Playa Dorada 538, Puerto Plata. Dominican Republic.
The hotel BlueBay Villas Doradas in Puerto Plata, which is only for the over 18s, is an ideal place for couples to relax or enjoy their honeymoon or wedding. Its location - literally next to the 18-hole Playa Dorada golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones – makes it a favourite among golfers.
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"This was best value for money by far."
Michelle on May 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: May, 2009
376 people found this review helpful
Arrival: 20 April - May 04
Photos on arrival collected our cases then we were off on the coach to our hotel which took about 30 minutes with 3 stops on the way.A cocktail and 15 minute briefing on arrival at the hotel. Nice and relaxed.They didn't have our room allocation but 5 minutes later all sorted.
Basic but functional. We did move room but purely because i requested a balcony as i am a smoker and dont like to smoke in the room.Arrived on the Monday, requested a move on the tuesday and got moved on the wednesday. Nothing was too much trouble.Reception and bell boys fantastic
Restaurants and Bars:
Good choice of bars with many cocktails.If you wanted them stronger you just asked for mucho and they willingly obliged without having to tip.We tried all the a la cartes and thoroughly enjoyed all of them.The young lady who seemed to be the maitre d at 2 of the a la cartes was fantastic and treated you all as a good friend from the minute she met you.Food we found more than adequate at the buffet.Always plenty of choice. Majority of the waiters were excellent and humourous.Customer service at this hotel is the managers no 1 priority and it shows. Best staff ever.
Everything was spotless.They spent more than an hour cleaning each room which is why they sometimes dont get to some rooms till the afternoon,but i would rather have a clean room than worry about a maid being in our room at 5 o clock. Just go to the bar and have another couple of drinks!
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Good fun games etc every day,they did not hassle you if you did not want to join in. All crew worked extremely hard all day.We went on the catamaran tour arranged by Thomas cook and would definately recommend but please tip these guys as they are fantastic and on our boat the day we went not many people tipped which i thought was a real shame as they go out of their way to make your day memorable.Also did Ocean world, again highly recommended.Will do both trips again when we return.
We have been to many all inclusives in both the caribbean and Europe and some 5 star and overall this was best value for money by far. Am looking to return in September even though it will be another 10 hour flight! The staff are a real credit to Oscar Lora the manager.
"I do not feel this resort came close to our expectations"
Jill on Apr 1, 2009 >
3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2009
389 people found this review helpful
Arrival: March 19 - April 2
Only a 15 minute bus ride from the airport and a quick check-in. Arrived at 10 am but room wasn't available until 3:30. We had prepared a beach bag of stuff, so it wasn't a problem.
The room was spartan, but more than adequate and the bathroom was large and nicely done. The constant smell of sewage off our balcony rendered it useless.
Restaurants and Bars
We found the mixed alcohol drinks to be inconsistent from one bar to the other. The wine was definitely watered down, as were the fruit drinks at the breakfast buffet. The food at the main buffet was very attractively presented, BUT it was very bland. Anything containing beef was inedible, it was so tough. The Steakhouse a la carte was fabulous. The beef was tender and tasty. The Oriental and Seafood a la carte had a great atmosphere and service, but the food was only so-so. We can only compare this place with other resorts we have visited over the past 14 years. We found it lacking.
There are 3 lovely pools surrounded by some of the nicest landscaping I have seen. The beach area is a bit small, but adequate for a resort of this size. It is raked daily and we used it a lot. However, the entire resort has a serious lack of chairs and loungers. Three days of our 14, we were unable to find seating at any of the 3 pools or the beach! This is unacceptable. The Guest Relations person shrugged her shoulders and said there were more loungers due to arrive in 2-3 weeks! This is a serious problem that a lot of guests were complaining about. Also, the beach vendors and time-share staff were relentless. You would be saying "no, gracias" every 5 minutes, every day. Tiresome.
Sadly, I do not feel this resort came close to our expectations. It has fabulous curb appeal, but there were too many issues for us to recommend this resort. If good food, and comfortable relaxation are important to you, don't go. This place does not compare to other 4* resorts we have visited.
"This was a great resort !!!"
Helen on Mar 1, 2009 >
4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
353 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Feb 8 to Feb 16
Fanatastic greeeting, we were welcomed to the hotel by lovly hostesses that handed out refreshing cool towels to refresh ourselves. then we were given our packages, with our keys and hotel info and a drink then invited to have lunch while our rooms were readied.
Very clean, I had a large kingsize bed, with a beautiful swan towel to welcome me. the bathroom was amazing, nice towels and lots of hotwater any time of the day. Oh and every evening our fresh beach towels were brought to our room. No running trying to get your card ar trying to get fresh towel early in the morning
Restaurants and Bars
3 al a cartes, the Chinese was our favorite, the seafood was good and the brazillin not so brazilin beef chewey as anything, Great service everwhere. the buffet restaurant was excellent. I would have been happy there any night. there was always something good no it was not like at home but if I wanted canadian cooking I would have stayed in Canada. Hey your on an island of a poor country the quality is not what we get at home. 3 great bars and we tried them all it was fun to sit in the pool watching people havein a drink in the cool water. 2 different sluchie drinks to choose from hurray. Rum rum and more rum. Yumm
beautiful, It rained the first 3 days so we stayed mostly by the pool area as we could run to our room or lobby or the entertainment are to hang out. Lots of places to get out of the sun both beach and pool. there was not as many flowers out but I think it the time of year and all the rain they had.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did a tour of the city it rained so we mostly went from shopping area to shopping area also saw the rum factory and sampled more rum. the fort would have been nicer in the sunshine and we could not go up the cable car due to the rain. The activities were limited due to the rain. Only 3 in the activities planning they were pretty lame most of the time. really the only negative of the trip. the magician was amazing. I have been to lots of resorts and found this to be the poorest activities.
This year I left thinking I should have done 2 weeks. I could do 2 weeks here no problem. Usually I am quite ready to go. this was a great resort if you go to relax and have fun. No where will have the food of home so go with an open mind try different things and have fun.
Marie from Ottawa on Mar 1, 2009 >
6 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
362 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Mar 1 to 8
All went well on arrival... our bus waiting ... short ride to the resort
we originally had a regular room but upon request we were upgraded to a suite and it was extremely roomy and had a few chairs which was nice... the other rooms had no room for chairs... blow dryer and iron and ironing board in room... stocked bar fridge, for first load it is free if you get additional top up they charge you 10.00... so don't drink the stuff there, there is always a bar open.. the rooms are cleaned daily... we had no complaints...
Restaurants and Bars
we ate in all three a-la-carte and they were all fabulous... the food at the regular restaurant was really good too... no complaints there either
Although it rained 4 days while we were there the staff kept the grounds and pools extremely neat and tidy. They were always sweeping and cleaning around the pool area and walkways to the beach.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
There is much to do at the resort and are anxious for you to try what they are up to... you know all the crazy games... also darts, bowling and that type of stuff.. there is a guy in the lobby that you can book any tour with... we did not book with him... the guy (Cookie) on the beach that they tell you not to use is usually about 20-25 cheaper.. we rented a driver and took our own tour... went to Puerto Plata, Sosua beach and a local school... that was a humbling experience... although we brought with us pencils, paper, crayons, candy and the like we all left feeling we needed to do something more...it was a Haitian camp and was extremely poor... We got the address of the school and we will try to sponsor some of the children sho had no uniforms to go to school... I did not like that...
while you are there be sure to visit the disco ... only a few minutes walk from the resort...Coco Bungo... that is an experience in itself ...lots of locals dancing .... fun to watch and participate in... if you go be sure to tell Enrique I say Hi....
"We really enjoyed our stay!!! Blue bay"
Raquel on Mar 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
386 people found this review helpful
Arrival: January 24 - 31:
Flew in with Sunwing. Loved their service. Flight was on time. We quickly boarded the bus and were taken to our respective hotels. Check-in was smooth, with a refreshing cocktail. They proceeded to a group check-in, while siting in the lobby with a cool towel. Great! They asked for 5 volunteer rooms to move to the Victorias Resort next door as they had flooding issues from the previous day (It down poured the day before... Actually, they had to close the airport for a few hours). They offered compensation and it was all very well done.
The staff was very informative, very professional and our luggage arrived at our room 2 minutes after we went to it!
Rooms need some touch-ups. Nothing major. There are some damp spots along the ceiling, walls and curtains but hey, the humidity level is above 80% all year round!. They were very spacious. Bathroom was large with shampoo, conditionner,body wash, shoe shine, shower cap and sewing kit. TV had lots of channels. Mini bar was restocked with water everyday. The water is free. The beers and sodas are free the first time around only. In room safe for 15$ a week. 2 chairs with table. hair dryer, iron & board. The beds are VERY hard. That's the 1 thing I didn't like. The beach towels were in our room and changed everyday. Turn down service was wonderful, every evening. VERY clean.
Restaurants and Bars::
Honestly, they were all very good. Main buffet: They seat you, so no need to look for clean tables and cuttlery. You glass is refilled often and the service was excellent. it's very pretty. Breakfast: egg station, breads, meats, fruit, fresh smoothies. Lunch: pasta station, sandwich station, salads, desserts, etc. Dinner: different theme every night. Lots of choices. Truly enjoyed them. I saw the Chef and staff constantly mpnitoring the food, temperature, etc, etc. All 3 Ã la carte were very good. Seafood: Mahi Mahi- Grill: Chateaubriand- Asian: Curry chicken with fried ice cream. Excellent choices. No problems getting reservations. Would recommend all three. 4 bars. great service. We always tipped our wonderful bartenders. Ask for Brugal and you shall receive. They local brand is Normandy and that well, is just alright.
We stayed mostly at the beach. There were definitely not enough chairs or shade. We had to play the towel game. Unfortunately. However, it is well groomed and the beach bar and grill are right there. The water is not crystal clear as it is also mixed with some fresh water from the mountains that are right in Playa Dorada's backyard. beautiful!!!! It's a nice walk to the left and there are great spots for swimming as well as a flea market at the end of the beach. Vendors are doing their jobs. A simple no, gracias is enough. 2 main pools seem to have alot of activities but we're not pool people. We did go to the spa pool one afternoon to relax and boy, did we ever. great relaxing atmosphere! grouns are very pretty. Extremely well-kept. We did a couples aromatherapy 50 minute massage. It was fantastic :-) Prices were reasonable. $126.00 for the both of us.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
We did the Freestyle Catamaran and the Outback Jungle Safari . Well worth every penny. Informative, fun and would recommend both.
Also, for the partyers... There is Coco Bongo, a 2 minute walk from the hotel. it was happening after midnight and lots of fun! But mostly R&B, dance, etc... There was also a club called Spice and that was mostly Salsa, merengue and Bachata. Nice! it was not very full but we had a blast, with service for ourselves, and the DJ honoring pretty much any request we had! Drinks were approx. 4$ each, plus tip. Scotch was a little pricier. Like 7$. There are a few other clubs, mostly rock in and around the complex. We bought some of our souvenirs at the Plaza. Yes it was more expensive but we did not have to pay a cab to get downtown... There were our savings! 8$ for a bottle of rum and 3.50$ for coffee. 2$ for a magnet.
We really enjoyed our stay. The staff is very attentive to details. The GM, the Chef and everyone was around, asking guest about their stay, monitoring service, etc. The service was wonderful. Would we go back? Yes we would! But for the moment, we are not ready to start returning to the same hotels yet. We will, eventually though! Their repeat customer business is incredible! the majority of guests we ran into were repeat customers! So they are definitely doing something right!
""Adult only" was very important to us."
Chris "Captain2002" & Nenita fro Oakville, Ontario on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
415 people found this review helpful
My wife and I (53-59) stayed at Blue Bay January 13-27th., 2009. We booked our vacation last summer for a very good price through Sunwing. We booked early because 'adult only' was very important to us due to last year's debacle. Our flight was delayed a little due to de-icing, but not a big problem. We paid the extra money to pre book our seats in Elite class and was it was well worth it, with extra 10 KG per person, lots of leg room and express check in both in Toronto and Puerto Plata.
Check in. Very efficient and fast, we were approached by a staff member with a tray with a Canadian flag on it, two warm towels and a glass of ice tea. 5 minutes later we were in our room (#7112). Within 10 minutes of being at Blue Bay my wife's first comment was " this place is civilized"
Room. Very spacious and to our surprise a sitting area with 2 very comfy chairs for reading or watching TV. King size bed, dresser, 20" TV, huge closet with room safe ($30.00 for 2 weeks) and 3 drawers below. The closet had 4 doors and a light in it which turned off when the doors were closed. Marble and tiled bathroom with hair dryer. Never had an issue with water temperature or pressure, and we did shower at different times. Our room was one minute from the main buffet and pools, and also the quiet bar and pool, 2 minutes to the beach. Beach towels were in our room when we arrived and were changed every day or second day. Housekeepers were efficient and did a good job.
Food. Excellent, plenty of variety in the buffet for all 3 meals. There was an egg station at breakfast, along with a smoothie station. Lunch and dinner the pasta bar will make to any dish you like. A different theme every night for dinner, roast beef, pork, fish, turkey, you name it and was very good. We ate 3 times each at the El Pescadores (fish) & the El Dorado (steak) al a carte restaurants. The Mahi Mahi and grouper were excellent and the Argentinean steak and Chateaubriand for 2 were so tender you could cut them with your fork. We ordered medium rare and that is what we got. The best appetizers for us were the shrimp and avocado salad, breaded calamari and shrimp and grouper lasagna. Service was wonderful and they had a name tag on our table--nice touch. The snack bar at the beach was great for burgers, sausages, chicken, pizza and fries. How some people say they could not find anything to eat, blows me away. My wife does say that she would like to see an alternative to the hot cereal (oatmeal) offered at breakfast and that is the traditional Caribbean cornmeal.
Bars. There are 4, swim up, pool/entertainment, quiet and beach. Like most other resorts (Riu's) the main brand of liquor is Normandy, which well how can I say it nicely-- not top or middle shelf (a euphemism for awful), but with a smile and a por favor, you can always get Brugal(3 grades) & Russian Vodka. That is what I did and all was good.
Grounds. Well kept and maintained. Statues and romantic dinner set up were really a nice touch.
Tours. We have been going to the DR since 1989, so we have done them all previously.
Entertainment. We watched two shows, the Cirque du Soleil, and the water ballet. Both were good and worth the time. At our age we did not participate in any games, and after the first day of saying No Gracias, they left us alone and concentrated on the younger set. The animation team do work a long and hard day, and are always smiling and laughing. I got tired just watching them.
Pools. There are 3, the 3' deep swim up, the 4' sports activity pool and the 4' quiet pool (very small) All were clean and well maintained. A wee bit chilly for the first 30 seconds but great after that.
Beach. Clean and well maintained from what we could see, as we spent our time at the pools.
Staff. Very helpful, from Sr. Oscar Lora the G.M. to the groundskeepers. Many a time we saw management helping out in the restaurants, cleaning and setting tables for more guests to use. Sr. Lora has his finger on the pulse of this resort and it carries over to the staff.
Overall. All my comments so far have been very positive, however, we all know that no one resort is perfect. Here are my thoughts to enhance the positive:
More shade around the pool areas along with small tables to put your drinks, book, or camera down.
Umbrellas for every room, believe me we did need them. Perhaps candles in the buffet for dinner. We were asked to fill out a questionnaire while sitting at the back of the buffet restaurant one night and could not read it from lack of lighting.
A proper lounge or lobby bar would be a good addition, since the only bar open after 11:00 PM is the beach bar so there really is no alternative. At other resorts, we used to enjoy a drink or 3 relaxing in a nice lounge bar with friends after the entertainment is over. Housekeeping should clean the room at the same time every day, so guests can plan around that. Now having said that, would we go back? A big YES for the first time. we have never gone back to any resort we've been but are planning a return visit to Blue Bay in 2010.
Any questions contact PM me - Captain2002
"Heavenly Holiday at BlueBay"
Sylvia from Ottawa, Ontario on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
388 people found this review helpful
Heavenly Holiday at BlueBay
My husband and I just returned from our 4th 2 week holiday at BlueBay and again had a fabulous vacation. Our stay was from January 15 until February 1. While at the resort we met many former guests, some with whom we were acquainted.
Since we were at BlueBay last February we noted many positive changes:
The majority of staff remain at the resort and a great number of them show personal growth. They are more confident and have learned to speak more English, French and probably German. All staff are committed to providing guests with a good experience while on holiday.
The food is varied and of excellent quality in the buffet and three specialty restaurants. BlueBay has earned the Cristal Award of Excellence for 2008. A detailed description of the Cristal food safety risk management program can be found on the following website which is worthwhile reading:
The General Manager, Manager of Food Services, the head chef and others are constantly surveying the food stations ensuring that high standards are being maintained.
Our room was cleaned well every day; towels were changed twice a day. Durng the first week of our holiday our room was cleaned at irregular hours. At the beginning of the second week we were asked when we would prefer to have the room attended to and we requested before noon. From then on that's when it was done. There was a problem with water pressure for a period of time but this was due to a system failure in Puerto Plata and not the fault of the resort. Any small problems with plumbing etc were dealt with immediately. Later in the day we received a call to ask if the problem had been resolved. The lumpy pillows have been replaced with ones which are very comfortable. The new towels, inlcuding the beach towels, are thicker and fluffier.
The spa area is now a smoke free zone. Yea!
Thanks to the gardeners and maintence staff the grounds are beautifully kept. During the heavy rains staff members worked non stop to keep the walkways and public areas clear of water. However, it was impossible to keep up with the demands of that job.
I can't comment too much about most of the entertainment as my husband and I prefer to walk in the evening and visit with other guests rather than join in on the fun, However, we did enjoy the water ballet, circus and magic show. They are all not to be missed.
When we went to the beach it was nicely groomed and we always managed to find a lounger or a place to perch. However, we're not beach people and only went very early in the morning to walk or late in the afternoon to watch the waves. Beach staff will remove personal belongings from loungers if they're left for too long so beware of reserving places and disappearing for several hours. There are signs indicating this rule.
Room for improvement::
The resort could use a few more umbrellas around the pool areas. It was often difficult to find some shade.
Perhaps the next time the pathways are painted a non-slip paint can be used. The paths are extremely slippery when wet. That being said, Crocs are fabulous when it rains. They may not look elegant but they sure help keep a person upright.
BlueBay is a fantastic, reasonably priced resort with staff dedicated to providing excellent friendly service. Guests can be assured of having a fine vacation and meeting wonderful people from Europe, Britain, Canada and the US. We certainly did.
If you would like any additional information do not hesitate to send me a personal message.
"We enjoyed ourselves at Bluebay"
Sean on Jan 1, 2009 >
2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
384 people found this review helpful
14 of us (from 25 to 55 years old) went to the Blue Bay PP from Jan 18 - Jan 25. Overall we had a good time. Here is a summary of our vacation. We all noted that it is more like a Good 3.5 star but would be a fair 4 star at best. No major problem..but a bunch of small situations.
Flight: SkyService - OK
Arrival: We were very late getting in due to delays at the airport. Had no food for us. No reception and minimal to no information on arrival.
Meals: Overall we found the food good - quite acceptable. The buffet was good and the head chef was often seen on the floor taking care of the presentation and quality. We all agreed that the buffet overall was good. We took in two of the three a la cartes (Beef and Sea Food). We enjoyed them both very much and the service was excellent. We did not try the Chinese.
Rooms: Acceptable rooms with some good features and some weaknesses. No chairs or dressers but a large closet with a safe for $15/US per week. The bathroom was very nice. Water pressure varied from good to fair. We had a huge rain storm while we were there and several of our rooms leaked. The quality of cleaning varied: some of us received very good service and some fair only even though we all left tips and gifts everyday but it didn't seem to matter.
Excursions: We only did a catamaran due to the weather...we all loved it, even those that felt a bit of motion sickness. Booked from Cookie on the beach (no problems). However, the food was not up to our expectations..most of us didn't even try it.
Beach: The beach was nice and safe for walking, running, etc. There are many venders on the beach that keep asking you to buy. Look these are locals trying to make a living. We had no problems with them. Bought some of their stuff the first day and the rest of the time they left us alone..other then to say "Hi".
Entertainment: OK...A few really enjoyed the entertainment and some felt it was just OK. We all agreed that the CREW try really hard to make your time fun...but could use more professional guidance, especially for a 4 star resort. After 11pm there is no on site entertainment. The resort basically shuts down. (Bar remains open)
Staff: The staff overall is friendly and respectful. Watch out for the time share saleman in White. They will take up a whole morning / afternoon of your time...for a free t-shirt and cap. That being said one of our brothers went and indicated it was informatiive and a good deal if you are interested in such an opportunity, he wasn't and they respected that.
Overall Summary: The 14 of us had a great family vacation and we spent a lot of quality time with each other. We enjoyed ourselves very much and liked the DR people. We all agreed that there was more good about the resort then bad but this is not quite yet a four star resort. It was a good deal for the price we paid but we were glad we didn't spend more.