Barcelo Hotel Chain
Amazingly huge complex, Extremely clean. People very friendly. Costant tipping sucks altough it is inclusive, they do ask for tips. Room fairly large. Easy access for getting robbed in your room. Everything must go in safe at a cost of $15.00 pr.wk. All facicilities are as described on Barcelo internet pages.
Someon ransacked our room and stole our camera.$460.00 worth. Hotel does not claim resposibility. 2 Shirts stolen from pool area. Even vacationers can not be trusted.
Other than that our stay was very good.
Tremendous amount of tours at your beck and call., but register tours outside of hotel at other travel tour groups, much cheaper than hotel.
Food becomes monotonous after 3 days. Same old same old. Our stay was for 2 weeks
Had A Relaxing Time
My husband and I had a very relaxing time at Occidental Grand Flamenco - All-Inclusive Resort. We were there for 7 days to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. First and foremost, this is a "Family Friendly" Resort. If you want a more private, romantic setting without children, go instead to Occidental Jack Tar Village Resort - for couples only which is right next door. But we had a great time hence I am rating it a 4. Would I got back there again? Maybe not - only because I did not like their beach.
Cutting to the chase, here are my tips: BEACH PROS: Very relaxing looking out, fine sand, not that shallow waters which is great. You are not limited to swimming at your resort area. You can walk along the shoreline and choose which area of the beach you want to swim at (ofcourse, there are non-swimmable areas so look out for those. They have maps). Awesome sunbathing moments - you can stay there all day just looking out, very sunny, the breeze was awesome, the colors of the water changes depending on the sun's rays. Water is not freezing so it's nice to swim at. Lots of water sports to choose from: Parasailing, Scuba Diving, Windsurfing, Jet Ski, Kayaking, Banana Boat (by the way, forget about trying to hold on as tight as you can because THEY WILL PURPOSELY FLIP THE BOAT OVER! About twice to three times so just get ready for that! It was fun), Snorkeling. BEACH CONS: Water is not crystal clear at all, lots of seaweeds dragged ashore by the waves, you will be asked by countless vendors at the beach to buy their stuff.
Waves could be pretty high depending on the time of day. Best to go there in the morning. If you want to have peace and relaxation, you will have it but not completely free of the locals approaching you to buy what they are selling. You do feel for them as they carry all these different things all day long to sell and 9 times out of 10, the tourists will say no to them. They do work hard. Do not let them rip you off on prices. There are 2 gift shops inside the resort that also sell pretty much most of what they are selling so make sure you shop around in the store and look at prices before buying from the guys selling stuff by the beach. GUEST ROOM PROS: High Ceilings, A/C and fan on all day long, they have satellite TV so you will be able to watch English shows - not just Spanish. They clean the rooms every day and give you new towels daily. Nice size rooms. They are definitely larger than your typical hotel room. They do offer Safe Deposit boxes in the room but it's an extra charge. What my husband and I did was just lock our luggages and put our personal stuff there whenever we step out. We did not leave without locking the luggages. The beds are comfortable.
They do have hot and cold water in the bathrooms. They also have a built-in clothesline above the tub to hang your swimsuits. Awesome size patio with 2 chairs and a table, tiled floors. They are situated as clusters of buildings and each building is about 2 to 3 stories high.
So depending on which building you will be placed in, you may only have either 2 or 10 neighbors in each building. We loved our building - Building 1 because there were only 2 neighbors which we never saw, so it felt like we had the whole building to ourselves! Our building was quiet, and we are in between the small pool and the beach which is great, the La Giralda Restaurant (the Buffet Restaurant) and the Reception is just walking distance from us)! GUEST ROOMS CONS: The ACs, although in good-working condition, are old. They do not have an iron or an ironing board in the rooms so bring your own! The lavatories (bathroom sink) could use a little remodelling as the paint was chipped off and there were moments when we saw very tiny black ants crawling on top of them... - don't worry. They are harmless and they did not show up every night. There are entertainment EVERY NIGHT until 11:30pm so if you do not want loud music at night, DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO PLACE YOU IN BUILDING 10 which is right next to the stage! Also, you have to let them know if you want do not want loud music and they will accomodate you to a room away from the entertainment area. CHECKING-IN: Time to check in is 3:00pm. Try to schedule a flight arrival close to this time so you will not have to wait too long to be checked in. If you are not picky with your room, they may be able to check you in sooner than 3:00pm, but if you do not want loud music, you might have to wait till then to get into your room and settle down. They will put your bracelet on ahead of time so you can eat and drink right away while you wait and you can even scout out the surroundings and leave your luggage by the bell man with no problems but again, if you get to the resort earlier than 3:00pm, you may not be able to get into your room. FOOD and DRINKS PROS: Great variety to choose from. La Giralda has the best buffet choices as they have different themes every day. All the other restaurants (Purely Pizza and Ice-Cream or Mexican or Grilled Meats or Italian) are also part of the all-inclusive except El Cortijo. You have to make reservations on these restaurants ahead of time and they do get booked up quick so get ready for that. Before you make your dinner reservations however, try to find out if they are having any buffet specials for a particular evening by the stage as they sometimes deck up the stage and arrange the chairs to make it a nice, formal buffet dinner with entertainment. You're much better off with those sometimes.
They have drinks available anytime you want them. They have a lot of bars around serving the exact same drinks - one of which is the swim up bar. Try the Pasta Bar - you tell the cook which ingredients you want for your pasta sauce. Dominican Coffee is awesome! FOOD and DRINKS CONS: La Fontana (the pizza and ice-cream restaurant) is great but watch out for the suprise spurts of pouring rain as you will be drenched! It's an outdoor restaurant with no roof. My overall rating as to the quality of food is a 3 (5 being the highest). But then again, you have to give them credit, these are hard-working people (and I mean they really do work hard daily) taking care of all the guests and are trying to cater their American/Canadian/European guests' tastes. The pina colada is not that great as they come from the machines and not made fresh in front of you. The Banana Mama (reddish blended drink right next to the Pina Colada) did not have a taste of banana in it.
POOLS PROS: Awesome, great temperature pool and you have a swim-up bar on the big pool. Guests are only allowed to swim till 7pm as they try to maintain cleanliness of the pools. That's a bummer for me as I love night swimming but hey! if that's what it would take to keep the pool clean, I'm all for it. POOLS CONS: They get crowded with KIDS KIDS KIDS! I love kids don't get me wrong but they love to get drinks by the swim up bar, then simply throw the cups in the pool so you'll see some of these cups floating on the water. The pools get majorly crowded especially on weekends so watch out. No night swimming allowed. The pools are big so it gets crowded easily especially on weekends but I have been to other resorts that have pools 3 times the size of the pools here. SERVICE: The people are very friendly and hard-working and they always give you a smile. All you have to do is say "hola!". They do not expect tips from you as they are already included in your package but again, it would not hurt to give them something as they would gladly receive it. A few of them speak not just English and Spanish but also German. SHOPPING AREA: You are only a 5-minute walk from their mini-mall which is great! They have 3 movie theaters, pizza hut, shops, tour booths, internet access (very cheap! $2 for 30 minutes (or 60 pesos), a mini-hospital but they are only open from 9 to 5 I think. TOURS: The hotel tour booths will charge you MORE than the actual price of the tour so do not get ripped off. You are much better off getting tours from the guys selling them as they walk around at the beach with white t-shirts on and a book of pictures. CURRENCY EXCHANGE: They do have a currency exchange place inside the resort but you're much better off getting it from the US as they are a bit higher. Try NOT to buy Dominican Pesos here in the US lower than 28.
Have a great time!
We just returned on October 1, 2003 from staying five nights at the Occidental Flamenco. When we read the reviews we were unsure of what to expect. But No Worries! The hotel is nice. The rooms are nice and roomy with tile floors and colorful bedspreads and the bathrooms have plenty of room as well with white tile. Rooms are not extravagant but comfortable and nice. No problems with air conditioner, phone, bathroom, etc. everything worked fine. All staff was very helpful and extremely nice!!!! The food was average but there is something for everyone, and the drinks were good. Try the Pineapple/Coconut juice and add rum--delicious! The banana mama is good too.
The pools were very nice and the patios have thatched umbrellas around it so you can have some shade. Believe me it is hot and sunny. The beach was very nice also. I particularly liked this beach for it is located on a nice crescent with golden sands and wide beach. The wind can pick up in the afternoon but you'll be thankful to have some breeze due to the heat. There are thatched umbrellas on the beach for shade and vegetation as well. The only thing about the beach is you will have several people to try to sell you something; however, we just politely said no thank you or shook our head adn were not bothered any further.
Lots of topless sunbathers. So if these things do not bother you, you will love it here. Not crowded either. We were told it is the low season right now.
We did take the Jeep Safari tour. We highly recommend this tour, especially if you would like to go out into the countryside and mingle with the local children. Take bags of candy with you so you can give it to them. Next time, I would like to take bags of crayons to hand out along with maybe some coloring books would be nice. We hiked some waterfalls (lovely). We also took an ATV tour which was an excellent way to see some of the countryside as well. We rode through small villages and sugar cane fields. Our final day, we went to Haiti. It is extremely sad and poor there. Be prepared if you do go that it is poverty stricken. It did make me feel thankful for all I do have.
However, the site lays heavily on the mind. One description I feel is very true is that it is like the deepest darkest Africa.
Overall, our trip was great, we would love to go back to DR. The people are very friendly and the art work is really nice and colorful. The countryside is very beautiful. There was some earthquake damage downtown from 9/22/03 and we did feel some tremors and movement while on our trip there. Didn't seem too major....However, can't wait to go back!
The good the bad and the Ugly.
This resort has many problems but offered a couple of nice things. The Pro's are
-THE ROOM (STANDARD OR ABOVE) - THE GROUNDS (VERY, VERY, CHARMING) - THE BEACH (SMALL AND PRIVATE)
The Con's are
- The food was terrible, to horrible to describe - The pool bar served no alcohol at all. - No room service available - Everything was buffet style, not good. - You had to call year ahead to reserve spots for the resturants that actually took your orders. - The drink were grosely watered down -The entertainment was no good, it made karoke in the midwest bar scene look like paradise. -The staff was very unfriendly - No one there spoke English -Besides laying out at the pool and eating the grose food their was nothing else to do, the enterainment was for 1 hour every night. -Everything is very unorganized, they dont give you a map to the resturants you have to find everything on your own.
-The disco was open from 11pm to 3am but you had to pay for your drinks, isn't that why we do the all inclusive? -The beaches were full of seaweed. -Oh, and food is not available 24 hours like at all the other resorts.
Overall this Resort at best gets 2 stars.
Were moved here after one night in a dreadful hotel. It was amazing, the people were lovely and the food good. The pool is fabulous, the only problem is the other guests who get up at the crack of dawn to put their towels on the loungers - very irritating especially as they are British! The rooms are quite basic and the air conditioning is indeed dodgy, like a tractor when it is working and quite often broke down!
All in all though an excellent holiday, good entertainment and relaxing surroundings.
we have just returned from this hotel and i cannot express my disapointment enough.
1.they closed one pool for three days in our first week without warning to due maintainance.
2. they closed the main buffet at the beggining of our second week to instal air conditioning, this was done by lowering the floor by 3 feet with the use of jack hammers. again we had no warning or apology.
3. the buffet was moved upstairs in part in a corridor where football type tactics were needed to get a meal.
4. even though were on all inclusive we had to on to occasions eat outside the hotel just to get a peaceful unhurried meal. we were offered by the hotel as recompence free use of the room safes, for this though we were asked to sign a disclaimer to say if we accepted the offer it would negate any further claim against the hotel. this offer we declined.
Singles Resotts in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
i am a single male in my 30's from new jersey. can anyone recommend the best single resorts in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic and if they are consistantly good for singles all year round or seasonal.
RE: Singles Resotts in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Yes there is. Go to www.blackbeardsadultresort.com
I went there last year and I am going back there this summer. You will have a good time.
Transportation from Santiago, DR to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
I am taking a vacation in Puerto Plata this April. Flights have been very expensive and difficult to arrange (from DC area) I am finding that it is significantly cheaper to fly into Santiago. Does anyone know what type of transportation is available from Santiago to the resorts of Puerto Plata? Prices? Safety? Thanks!
A week in Central America.... where to?
I am planning to spend a week in Central America, I went to Costa Rica last year, and was thinking about Panama or honduras this year. Any suggestions? We want to go fishing, relax by a beach, and do some adventure tours. Please let me know of any locations that come to mind. I am currently researching Boca del Toro. Thanks!!
RE: A week in Central America.... where to?
Pacific coast of Panama would be cool.There are some nice islands to bounce aroundI've been told.Ive read about a resort just south of punta burica on the Costa Rican border-Can't remember the name-but the fishing is supposed to be good.
RE: A week in Central America.... where to?
Just got back from Coata Rica Gunacaste Province. Flew in to Liberia ,went to Occidental Grand Papagayo great resort, hired Captain Ned out out of Coco 10 minutes from resort. Caught 1 blue marlin 250 lbs 1 roosterfish 40 lbs 8 tunafrom7 to 25 lbs in a 6hr fish,$400.00 US Get back if more info wanted