More about Grand Oasis Marien
Coral Marien is #1!!
We spent 2 weeks at the Coral Marien in April. Pretty much every aspect of our trip was excellent. The resort was very clean and in good shape. At 330 rooms, it is smaller than most, but the property is big, and the pool is huge. It never seemed crowded. The beach isn't as bad as some reviews note. One walk next door to the Iberostar; now that's a seaweedy beach. And further east, the surf was heavier. We spent most of our days at the beach, laying around or going for long walks. There is usually a nice breeze that picks up through the day. There are no beach vendors harassing guests. Once or twice we were approached for a banana boat ride, but that was it. The pool area gets a bit hot because it is quite sheltered by the buildings and frankly, I couldn't bother to get up before 7 am while on vacation just to get a shady palapa. It could get a little noisy at the pool with all the activities going on, too. We had great weather. One solid day of rain, and the rest was sun, but usually cloudy by the afternoon, (not a bad thing after 8 hrs of sun) and occasional showers for an hour or so on a few days.The people at the resort were very friendly and the service was generally good. Occasionally, if you got to the buffet later in the meal, you would wait for place settings, or water and wine (which truly is bad). The food was very good for a buffet. Breakfasts were excellent. The snack bar burgers for lunch were very good. Mexican restaurant was so-so. Never did the Caribbean Grill or Creperie. The drinks were excellent, especially the pina coladas, bahama mamas and margueritas out of the slushy machines. None of the drinks were ever watered down. My zombies usually had about 1 inch of juice in them. LOL. Dropping a $1 tip at the bar each day might have helped me there. Lao (at the beach bar) brought a couple of coconuts to the bar on our last day and made us Coco Locos.The rooms were clean and cool. Sound bounces around in the halls, so it can be a bit noisy at times. A few times, our room wasn't cleaninconvenience. Get a fridge and keep some chilled bottled water handy as it's really easy to get dehydrated with the heat and the liquor. And get yourself an insulated big mug with a lid. 30 spf sunblock is a necessity, as are sunglasses (take a couple pair in case you lose a set.)If you want to see an awesome beach, walk out to the highway and wait for a "gua-gua" (minivan) to pull over. Negotiate a price to Playa Sosua ($5 US for two is plenty), about 25 km east of the resort. You can rent a couple of loungers under an umbrella for $2 us, the Presedente (grandes) are 35 pesos ($1.50 us), and there is a market for souvenirs. Don't use a taxi as they're much more expensive. You can get to Cabarete or Puerto Plata in much the same manner. It's quite the experience!The entertainment at the resort was great. The Chocolate Friends are busy from 10 am until after midnight. The evening shows were always very entertaining. ("It's Showtime!")Finally, there was a discreet security presence at the resort all the time. You could even go down to the beach at night and it was safe to do so.We had a fabulous time at the resort and would recommend it to anyone thinking of going to the DR.
The Truth about Coral Marien
The truth about the Coral Marien is that four stars may be a little ambitous - maybe two too many. The fact that Coral Resorts is flying the Hilton flag will probably fool most. The food, however, was definitely four stars (except for the creperie - terrible). Anytime of day there was something delicious to eat or drink. I did find it strange, however, that one could drink a bottle of scotch per night free but had to pay for an 8oz. bottle of water. The rooms were at most one and a half stars. The rooms (although kept reasonbly clean) reminded me of a moderate motel furnished with beat up furniture and a 19" TV in an amoire that could easily hold a 35". (Some guests did complain of giant bugs in their rooms). No warning however, that the porn channel begins promptly at 12:00 AM. If there are kids in the room, don't flip channels in front of them. The regular staff gets four stars and was very friendly except for the chocolate friends (no stars). The chocolate friends were a bit sarcastic and insulting. Each time I went to get a towel I had to bout with a smart-*** who found it amusing to make snide comments. Why do they call them chocolate friends? - "sweet, funny and friendly"? I found them dry, annoying and insulting. I guess if I had to work 16 hour days I'd be a little grumpy too. Guest services gets one and a half stars as well. They are a bit clueless and contributed to the lack of communication between the activities and excursions and the guests. Further, in order to dine in the a-la-carte restaruants, one must make reservations with guest services. Two times they screwed up our reservations and once we were forced to pay at the Caribbean Grill (excellent!) to eat. Speaking of eating, we didn't understand why they didn't offer any Dominican food. We had to go into Puerto Plata to get real Dominican food - Mofongo and Lambi. The only latin restaurant was Mexican! Mexican food maybe - but not a whole restaurant! The night life - no stars - is absolutely terrible. I undersut c'mon, how about a decent DJ in the disco just in case you've relaxed enough and want to kick it up a little? We did meet young couples that didn't realize the lack of night life - they had to go down the street to Plaza Dorada to have some nightime fun. The nightly shows get one star - they were so lame. Put on by the chocolate friends who have been working since 10:00 AM, they were as tired as the shows were. After the first few nights, we decided not to even bother going. The beach gets one star due to its cloudy water and tons of seaweed. I believe the pool - two stars, maybe heated because it was not very cool. Although very large, it was not refreshing at all. The sales reps who lurked outside the restaurant trying to sell timeshare in the Coral Resorts get negative four stars. They bugged so much we decided to go to the presentation just to stop the barrage of pleadings. We found the timehsare not to be a bargain bordering on a rip-off. I'm sure they have their formulas calculated and prey on people in the midst of having a great time. Thank God we weren't having such a great time or we may have bought into it. Overall, the vacation was adequate as we did relax but found too many annoyances for a Hilton flag resort. We won't be going back.
Every thing you need !!!
We stayed here during Christmas. We were not dissappointed. The hotel was ran by very friendly staff. We had a couple problems which were corrected quickly. The hotel looked very impressive when we first arrived. It was clean, open and very nicely decorated.
The watersports kiosks, waiters, waitresses, cleaning staff....all very very nice and friendly. They went out of their way to help out. The worst bad thing was the beach. There was no great area on the beach. The shore line came close to the trees ao there was not much space for sunning. The swimming area was small and there was a lot of weeds....However....The hotel pool was spacious and the area around it spacious. This is where most people hung around. We walked down the beach towards the other resorts. The beach here was GREAT !! It was about a 5 min. walk in the waves. Nice and relaxing.
The Chocolate friends provided most of the entertainment. This group was always smiling and looked to really enjoy what they do.
The resturants we nothing special but the buffet food was actually pretty good. The food became unattractive after 7 days, as most buffets will. The ala carte resturant (only allowed one per room per week) we went to was the Santa Fe Grill. I enjoyed my meal but my wife and son absolutely hated their steak........
The exercise room was very poor, but who has time to work out during Christmas ???
There was internet services available for $5 us for 1/2 hour or $8 us for 1 hour. The cleaning staff was very friendly and did a great job.
Beware....the alcoholic drinks I found were very strong. Now, I love rum but I had to ask for weak drinks sometimes because they were VERY strong sometimes.
I would stay here again if I went back to the D.R.
Got back this morning from a one week vacation in paradise...aka the Coral Marien. I've only been home for 10 hours and already I want to go back. The resort was unbelievable. The staff was great, always friendly and smiling. I can't say enough about the Chocolate Friends, especially "Pepperoni". The activities they put on were great, and the shows were amazing. The housekeeping staff was always punctual, and our room was always clean by 9:45. The food was superb, the only complaint is that there is too much good food, and my stomach isn't quite big enough. The beach was good, a little too much seaweed, but overall it was great. The pool was great, the drinks were great, everything was great. I would recommend this hotel in a heartbeat. This is the place to go in the Dominican Republic. I would recommend travelling with Go Travel Direct as well. If you go to the Coral Marien, then Gareth would be your rep. He is friendly and helpful, and funny too. I'll say it again: CORAL MARIEN IS THE PLACE TO GO!
Would go back in a heartbeat!!
My husband, son and I went to the Coral Marien March 17 - 24/03. We absolutely loved it. The resort was clean, new and the nicest in puerto plata..I know this as we saw many while we were there and I did my research. The rooms were spacious and clean, bathrooms had marble. The food was excellent at the buffet. They had crepe stations for desert and always something enjoyable at the grill in the buffet..steak, pork, fish. The buffet was beautiful, ice sculptures every night. I've been to cuba 5 times 4.5 stars, mexico -mayan 5 star and this resort is the nicest I've stayed at and the best food! The Iberostar is just next store, I snuck through it and it's not as nice as the coral. The Coral marien is run by the Hilton so you know that you are getting great quality service and accommodations. I also went to the spa for a massage..very classy. I loved the chocolate friends! We didn't bother spending the money to go to the Carribean grill, the food was so good at buffet, mexican restaurant (a must) and the creperie why spend money.I would go here in the minute before I'd go back to Cuba. Enjoy!!!!
Relaxing not Exciting
A friend and I just arrived back from a 5 day 4 night stay at the Coral Marien in Puerto Plata. I must say the resort is very nice and the rooms are clean and spacious. I've been to other resorts and found the rooms to be less modern and not at all as nice as the ones at Coral Marien. The food was excellent and the staff were nice. The pool is very big and never crowded. The only problem with this resort is it's lack of night energy. THERE IS NONE!!! This is true not only of the resort, but of the whole city. If you are looking for a night life similar to Cancun....go to Cancun because this is not the place. If you are looking to relax and enjoy great shows, beautiful weather, and good food, this is your resort. The beach wasn't much to look at, but you could hear the waves crashing on the shore at night and that was therapeutic in and of itself. I recommend the All Terrain Vehicle excursion in which you drive 4 wheelers throughout the country side. This is a great way to see Puerto Plata and tour it's villages and sugar cane fields...alot of fun...spray on bug repelant. Overall, I had a memorable time and I came back rested and relaxed; a feeling I definitely would not have had if I had gone to a party resort.
Maybe it's because I don't travel much and it's been a long time since I have but I have to say that the Coral Marien was fantastic. There is not one thing I would change about my vacation! As all the reviews say, the resort is spotless. People are out what seems to be 24 hours a day cleaning, picking up cups and plates, sweeping, and they do so unintrusively. I had no trouble communicating with the staff and was amazed at the number of languages many of them spoke. At check in, our rooms were ready and perfectly clean with extra touches like towel sculptures and flowers. I won't go on and on about the pool... but I could. When I showed my pictures to my teenage son he said, "That's not a pool... that's a river!" The food was good. I could always find something I liked but there are choices that are unfamiliar and different. At breakfast they make omelets to order as well as eggs and the fruit smoothies are fantastic (made to order). When I got home I went through fresh fruit withdrawl... that was my favorite part of the meal! Don't miss the creperie if its open... The shrimp crepes and the spinach crepes were our favorites. The mexican retaurant was fun as well. Again, the staff was very accomodating and was usually right there with refills of drinks and coffee. I went on several excursions. The parasailing was fun (booked at the recreation hut on the beach). Because its off a boat a few of the people I was with got a little sea sick, but I think we all had fun. We booked the outback tour through Julio who walks on the beach. We decided to go through this company because they still offered the waterfall cascading (very adveenturous) while the hotel tour does not. I also went on the paradise island tour. It seems on the tours that they don't thourougholy prepare you like they would in the US so a word of caution: If you aren't comfortable swimming independently you might want to pass on the snorkling. They led us out (much farther than I would have thought) and the guides didn't speak enssible. Another must is the cable car ride up isabella mountain. We hired a taxi for $5 US. A guide took us up for tip only and it was worth it. We (3 of us) tipped him $8.00. At the end he brings you buy the gift shops. They are a little aggressive but will respond to a firm "No." This holds true for the markets. The chocolate friends were fun. I will say though, if you are looking for a wild party scene this might not be the place for you. Maybe it cranks up during the busy season but the friends I was with said it was pretty low key compared to cancun for example. I won't go on, suffice it to say that I loved it and would go back again! E-mail me if you have any questions.
Beautiful Hotel, Poor Service
We wanted an all-inclusive hotel in Puerto so we chose the Marien Coral under the assumption that because it was a Hilton, the food and service would be good. When we arrived, no one at the front desk spoke English. We soon found this was the case for the entire hotel - surprising since the hotel was about 70% Canadian/20% American/10% German. We were lucky to get by with the little Spanish we knew. Unfortunately, that wasn't nearly the worst of it. When we were trying to relax by the pool, we were constantly harrassed by hotel staff trying to sell us tours. What makes this worse is when we wanted information on the tours, the hotel's activities desk was either closed or the coordinators had extremely limited information. The choices were so few that we had to use intenet access (paid for by us and accessed in the hotel lobby - not in the rooms FYI) to book our tours. In addition, we were at the hotel for 8 days and requested 3 wake up calls on various days. We received only one and that one was an hour late. We almost missed an $80 excursion because of it. You'd think the one thing a hotel should get right are the wake up calls. Above all that, the food was the worst I've ever experienced at a hotel - tastless and difficult to determine what you were eating. Also, if you have dietary concerns (Diabetic, Kosher, Vegetarian, etc), disregard their food labels. They label the majority of the dishes, but the labels are completely wrong! One example, a dish marked vegetable fritters turned out to be pork friiters and there wasn't a vegetable in them. The bigger problem, however, is the food is not fresh. 2 friends we met at the hotel were sick for 4 days of their trip after eating at the hotels Mexican restaurant. The hotel accussed them of bringing the illness with them from the States, but they had already been at the hotel for 3 days when they became ill. Also, they never left the hotel ground. The hotel finally said they would cover the Doctor's bill (they had to have IVs), but later gave them a haed to write down what he gave them, so they had nothing to bring back to their own doctors in the States. I'll mention a few good things about the hotel in case you've already booked your trip there and are unable to cancel. The layout is beautiful - the pool is enormous, but not overpowering to the landscaping. Also, the entire hotel is very clean and the rooms are comfortable, but don't bother calling to request an extra towel. Housekeeping will arrive 2 hours later with a bar of soap.
Great service great people freat fun we had a blatst and we will return next year
we did not expect the service we received it was spectacular, they even played Newfie music at the disco, they had no problem with us having a sing along at the bar aswell, it was awsome,,, I will return again next year. Thumbs up to the Chocolate friends.
LOVED IT SOOOO MUCH!
The Coral Marian was awesome!!! Everything was kept very clean. The beach was one of the nicest beaches I have ever seen with so much to do. Snorkeling, windsurfing, kayaking, it was all wonderful! The pool was the biggest pool I've ever seen, I could even see it from the plane when I was leaving! I can't say enough about the chocolate friends! They were so awesome and made the vacation so much fun. Grace, Isabelle, "Ugly-Ugly Man", Jimmy and all of the other chocolate friends, they were so fun to be around! I can't wait to go back!!!!!
Gregorio Luperón's statue
Start/end of the climb
Marien Coral by Hilton
Hi all. I'm gong to Puerto Plata in November. How much would be the taxi from Puerto Plata international airport to Marien Coral by Hilton. Thanks to all.
RE: Marien Coral by Hilton
Hi. I assume you did not pay for the all inclusive package, as your transportation would be included. This resort is very nice by the way and not far from the airport, about thirty minuntes. I'm not sure of the cost, I could guess and say about $50usd or more. Make sure you hire a taxi that is licensed and decide the cost before you leave the airport so there is no confusion when you get to the hotel.
RE: RE: Marien Coral by Hilton
What you want to pay for it!! You didn't go all incl.?
Taxi prices can differ very much, depending on your destination and bargaining skills. Going to Playa Dorada will raise the price. UP, UP, UP and UP!! All taxi drives from and to Playa Dorada will be expensive, although I think 50 USD is VERY expensive!!!
One day we went to Puerto Plata to go to Church with one of the waitors we met at our resort. He gave us directions and expected us to pay 500 Dominican pesos(RD$) for the drive. He directed us to a hospital and we only paid 120 RD$. We didn't even bargain!! On our way back to the resort HE called for the taxi and we paid only 70 RD$ for the ride.
Dominican people are working very hard to earn a descent living and tourists are BIG MONEY!
Which AI to stay for March vacation?
My friend & I are planning to go to DR to celebrate my 40th bday. We want to stay at a nice AI, on the beach, where there is good nightlife for 2 single gals. Here are some of the resorts we're looking at. Which would you recommend? Any others we should look at?? Also, any good or bad comments are greatly appreciated! ~ Taya
Suncape the Beach in Punta Cana
Majestic Colonial, Punta Cana
Sunscape Casa del Mar, La Romana (what airport do we fly into & how long is the drive)
Coral Marien, Puerto Plata
By bike from Marien Coral Hilton to Cabarette?
Has anyone cycled this route? What is it like and how far? We are going next weekend and husband is DETERMINED to go windsurfing!!