logo Old Reviews - Barcelo Puerto Plata
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Bill, Joanne and Hannah 
Mississauga, ON
December 2008
Hi Debbie - I'll echo other's sentiments by saying that this website is a great service to those wanting to travel to the Caribbean - thanks for all you do!

We just got back from a very nice week at the Barcelo Premium Resort in the Playa Dorado area of Puerto Plata. Here is our review.

Flight - our Canjet flight was 2.5 hours late getting out of Toronto. The reason given was that there was a water leak in the rear lavatory. Before telling us this, the pilot told us that the plane had sat for almost a week idle and we had to be de-iced. Don't you think that they could have found the water leak while the plane was idle? The delay made it that we were late getting to our resort and could get no food. We thought it would have been a good gesture if they had served a little more food on the plane seeing as we were basically stuck on it for 6 hours including the wait time to fix the leak.

One other note about charter flights in general:
We all know that they put in extra rows of seats to maximize revenues and there is very mininal legroom - our flight was no different. With that in mind, we think that it's very inconsiderate to recline your seat on these types of flights. The two inches of recline you gain really gives you no more comfort but for the person behind you, it feels to them like you are sitting in their lap! So PLEASE just keep your seat upright - you will definitely make a friend.

Arrival - no problems with getting through Customs and with the late arrival we had no problems with anyone trying to grab your luggage unwanted. Transfer was quick and easy and check-in was no problem at all.

Room - because there were three of us travelling we requested a king-size bed and a rollaway for our 14 year-old daughter. The king-size bed was there when we arrived at the room, but the rollaway wasn't. However the porter that brought us to our room radioed someone and it was there within a half-hour. This really impressed us. The room was very clean, if a wee-bit tired, but absolutely no complaints. My wife wasn't a big fan of the king-sized bed, which in reality was two 3/4 beds pushed together - one being very firm and the other being much softer. However, the sheets were spotlessly clean and crisp and changed and turned-down everyday - no complaints really. The bathroom was large and clean and we had no problems the entire week with water pressure or hot water availability. Because we booked through Transat Vacations, we were put in a "semi-upgraded" building - building 11. Based on our week there and seeing other rooms, it was an upgrade and in a perfect location. Seconds to the pool, a two minute walk to the beach and the same for the lobby and restaurants. Each room in the resort has a mini-fridge that is stocked with beer, bottled water and pop. Our daughter got a kick out of the glass Coke and Sprite bottles.

Grounds - absolutely beautiful. Because we were there at Christmas time, most of the palm trees lining the walkways were wrapped in mini-lights - it truly looked amazing. This is our 6th trip to the Caribbean (daughter's first) and we can honestly say that we have never seen a resort that works harder at keeping clean than this one - there always seemed to be someone sweeping a walkway, hosing down a patio or raking the beach. Palm trees everywhere, grass was lush and green - just beautiful.

Pool - huge and very well kept. Good temperature - not too warm - not too cold - very refreshing. Tons and Tons of loungers - never had a problem getting three together. The pool was spotless and never felt over-chlorinated. I've read some complaints about it being slippery where kids enter - I can understand where they are coming from but it's not as bad as some have portrayed it.

Beach - very nice. We are not big beach people, but we walked the beach and hung out there for parts of a couple of days. Again - lots of loungers. A few vendors, but not pushy at all - a simple No Gracias and they were on their way. Some seaweed and stuff washes in but there are people raking and cleaning it up all the time.

Food - in a word Excellent. Buffet breakfast was full with lots of choices. Cold when it should be cold, hot when it should be hot. Omlette station and egg station, lots of meats, juices and bread. Dinner buffet was more of the same - a pasta station that would make just about anything you wanted. Meats, vegetables, breads and desserts were all very good. For lunch we generally ate at the snack bar by the pool - burgers, fries etc - all very good. We ate at two of the a la cartes: First was Via Veneto Italian - good service, decent selection - only complaint was soda-pop wine. Second was the Brazilian - TONS of meat for the carnivore in the family but all done on a grill so relatively healthy. There is a open-air restaurant that serves pizza on nights that there is no rain. The pizzas are wood-oven baked and are excellent. We also ate at the Italian on Christmas eve. All the restaurants had the same buffet style menu for the evening - huge variety along with ice sculptures and better wine. It was an excellent meal. A couple of general food comments - my daughter, while not picky, can get put off by food that doesn't look or smell right to her and we were pretty concerned about her. We needn't have worried - she was quite happy the whole week. We had ZERO trouble with upset stomachs - perhaps because of a tip from our doctor. Take along a bottle of Pepto-bismol and take one tablespoon every morning. We had no issues at all. Our only complaint? My wife is a Weight-watchers leader and found it difficult at times to find low-cal choices (lunch especially) However, don't let that scare you off - you are there to let loose right!! There are 5 bars including a swim-up bar in the pool - we had no problems with servers ignoring you for natives and they were all always smiling and happy - just like everyone that worked at the resort.

Entertainment - excellent. Most nights they have a house band and singers that are as good any place you could imagine outside of Vegas. Different shows every night - could have done without Karaoke, but for some that would be perfect. The Animation staff work very hard on their dance routines and the resort has a choreographer that works with them so you can expect better than average routines. Can easily say that this place had the best entertainment of any of our stays in the south.

Excursions - we did one excursion. Based on the great reviews of others, we booked a Jeep Safari Tour through Martin Espinal at Isaira Tours. After sending an email to them, I made arrangements and one of their staff picked me up and took me to their office which was very close to the resort. I told them the trip and day, paid for it and they were their to pick us up right on time. We were taken on a trip out into the country where we were shown some stone carving and a very short cock fight (don't worry - the cocks have on "boxing gloves" so neither gets hurt. Also remember - it's perfectly legal and accepted there). From there we went to a very remote village where we were shown how they make coffee and cocoa. They lady showing us was named Mama Dora and was this very charming and beautiful older lady with the warmest smile you could imagine. We were given samples to try - the hot cocoa tasted amazing!! Our guide, Elvis was very knowledgable and was very helpful. From there we were taken to a ranch for an excellent lunch and then onto a place called 27 Charcos (27 Waterfalls). This is a National Park and is just amazing. Our tour took us up to the 7th Waterfall and from there you come back down, either sliding down the falls or jumping down. The slides are anywhere from a few feet to as much as 15 feet and the the two main jumps are 18 feet into a very deep pool and about 12 feet - also into a deep pool. While this is a truly amazing trip, know that it is not for the young, old or sedentary. You are given Lifevests and helmets and water shoes if you didn't bring your own. However, it is moderately physically demanding, but definitely worth it for those who go.

Checkout and Flight Home - no problems - all went very well.

Some final observations - In the 17 years that have passed since our first trip to the Caribbean, we are impressed by how much the staff at the resorts have improved in their English. Almost every worker can speak more or less fluently which obviously made communicating a breeze. As far as clintele goes, at the Barcelo, we found the mix of nationalities to be roughly 50% Canadian, 25% French, 15% English with some Americans, Dutch, Germans and Italians. Some topless sunbathing, but nothing too obtrusive (unless you ask our daughter!!). Is it a 4 Star? Yes, definitely, by Dominican standards - you really have to have "Dominican expectations" when you are there. Would we recommend it and go back? Most definitely - and have already encouraged friends to go there. If you are thinking of going - don't hesitate - the Barcelo is a little piece of paradise.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
B Mills 

July 2008
hi debbie, i am writing this review because i cant stand to read anymore wingeing ******** moans about this hotel,firstly you get what you pay for and this hotel is quite reasonably priced,the staff are wonderful the food alot better than in other hotels i have stayed in this area,both the pools are cleaned every morning, the beach is cleaned every day the grounds are kept immaculate.Check in quick and efficient,restaurants quite proffesional and the staff are always smiling.i came to this hotel at the end of may for a week and i was that impressed i ,am going back in the middle of august with a friend. My room was clean and comfortable, if i had to have a moan it would be about the locals who stay there at the weekends and it then gets longer to be served,so all you brits dont take any notice of the ******** reviews if they wanted five star luxury they should of paid for a five star hotel,this hotel is lovely.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Tanya 
London, ON
May 2008
Arrival/Rooms and Flight – Flight was fine, Air Canada seems to have a problem getting couples together in seats (as we experienced both there and back) but otherwise fine.

Arrival at the hotel was a complete mess. We literally spent the first 24 hours trying to get checked in and then moved to a room that actually had working air conditioning, mini bar, hot water and I could go on. We had to walk a good 5-10 minutes in the heat to get there and the key didn’t work three times. Finally my husband made a security guard come back with him as we had had enough of walking back and forth in our Canadian Clothes (HOT). So the key works and we go on with our day. We still had no fridge, hot water or a/c. We would deal with that later, we were so tired. Went to the disco that night and when we got back to the room we had no power at all. This was two full buildings, not just us. They supplied us with no apology, candles…nothing – and the power didn’t come on for 48 hours. I couldn’t even see to get my contacts out. We dealt with it and went to sleep. The next morning you couldn’t even breathe is was so hot in there – so off to the desk to get moved. They assured us everyone had the same problem but I refused to stay there as the a/c, fridge and hot water never did work even when there was power. It took 3-4 hours of waiting and getting angry for them to move us and we never did get an apology – but we got a room where everything worked except the mini bar. I could deal with that. The front desk was unbelievable. Terrible service, they all need to be replaced…literally. No question. Our first room would have been fine if anything worked…high ceilings, big bathroom, near the ocean. (12308) Our second room was normal, small bathroom and off to the side of the resort (bit of a hike, but that was ok)

Restaurants – the buffet was mediocre. You can always find something you like-and I like food. The a la cartes – the whole group of us (from all over the world) pretty much walked out of all of them. The pizza place was good – we ate there three times as it seemed to be the safest. Most people were getting sick during our week there. Three people ate lobster and all were very sick, one even on I.V. drip for three days. All the hotel said when we let them know was – you can’t prove it was the food. No sympathy whatsoever. The brazilian served raw meat which is pretty scary in a third world country – the only one I didn’t go to was the oriental I wish I had – may have liked it. The buffet had an omelette bar for breakfast which I thought was heaven and the pasta bar at lunch and dinner was great too. Safe.

Bars – all fun. They get busy…and often give you two to avoid you waiting for another. J The people were not overly friendly but they were also so busy most times they didn’t have time to be friendly.

Beach and Pools – all lovely. We spend most days at the pool bar, in the pool and enjoyed the beach too. Had no problem getting lounge chairs but it was not busy at the resort when we were there.

Grounds – Very well kept and clean.

Activities and Entertainment – Theatre was a little cheesy – they could have done something more extravagant, but we watched every night before heading to the disco anyways. Something to do.

Tours – We did two tours and both were amazing. I recommend not booking through the hotel as we got a great deal by just walking over to the mall and booking through a guy there named – Joshua or “The King” – the hotel charges a lot more than the little companies. The dune buggies was amazing and the Monster Truck Safari also an eye opener. I recommend always having something on you to give to the kids – but I would give candy as their teeth are all rotting out and they don’t have dentists. I took a whole bag of school supplies, donated to the school and gave pens, pencils and books to the kids. Crayons, craft stuff and colouring books would have been great to have too.

Departure and Check Out – They were so much happier to get rid of us then they were to see us arrive. After having to move rooms and complain to get what we wanted…they all became happier. If only they would have taken care of the problem before having to get angry about it – things would have been so different.

Conclusion - I read all the reviews and thought people were just looking at the worst so I gave this hotel the benefit of the doubt. What a mistake that was. I would not recommend this hotel for two main reasons. The service (mainly front desk) was horrible, and the food not the greatest. The rooms need to be updated, but they are clean enough for the amount of time you spend in them. This hotel is definitely NOT a 4+ star, but closer to a 3 star for these reasons. But, you get what you pay for and this was the least expensive resort we found. Had a blast regardless and met a ton of new people…just wouldn’t return, that’s all.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Hockeydad 

May 2008
Five of us, two parents and three teenage sons, stayed at Barcelo April 9, 2008 to April 16, 2008 flying out of Halifax with Air Transat. The flight times were great in that you get a bonus day at the resort. We left Halifax at 6:00 AM and were on the resort around 10:00 AM. The flight home did not leave until 11:15 PM so we got to stay at the resort for the entire last day of our vacation, effectively spending 8 days at Barcelo.

The flight, both ways, was fine, left on time, arrived on time and the crew on the plane were friendly. Cramped but what charter flight isn’t. We pre-booked our seats and got the seats we paid for. No complaints.

Dominican Customs was very informal, just a friendly greeting and that was that. Not one question asked. Finding the correct bus to our resort was easy, Air Transat had a booth in the airport exit area and you just tell them which resort you are headed for and they give you a bus number. The busses are parked right at the exit so and finding the correct bus is as easy as reading the large number in the front. Just to make sure you are on the right bus there is someone at the bus door who asks again which resort you are headed for and makes sure you are not getting on the wrong bus.

A 15 minute drive and we were parked at the lobby entrance for Barcelo Puerto Plata.

As indicated in other reviews check in for Air Transat passengers is not at the front desk but rather at a private check in area just past the front desk and to the left. We were slow getting into the building and ended up at the end of a 60 person line up. I was impressed at the speed the line moved. Within 15 minutes we all had bracelets on, had our room numbers and were officially able to start enjoying the resort. While waiting in line we were treated to cold drinks. I had emailed the resort in advance and asked for rooms beside each other with a king bed in one and two doubles and a cot in the other. We got exactly what we asked for in building 12. We could even see the beach from our patios. We knew in advance that our rooms would not be ready when we arrived so even though we knew our room numbers by 10:00 AM we had to wait to get in the rooms. Official check in time is 3:00 PM. No problem at all, we changed into our swim and beach clothes, left our luggage with Pedro the doorman and headed out to explore the resort.

This was our first trip to DR having stayed in Cuba for our past vacations. If you think Cuban people are friendly just wait to you visit this spot. Within the first five minutes of being on the resort we were stopped by three different resort employees and welcomed to the Barcelo, asked if we needed any help finding our way around and given directions to the restaurants, bars, beach and our rooms.

At 1:00 PM we went back to the lobby, were told our rooms were ready, supplied with cards for the doors and safe keys and headed to the rooms. The rooms were a good size, bathrooms really large and super clean. Bottle of rum, beer, soft drinks, bags of chips and bathrobes were waiting for us in each room. The fruit trays were delivered within 10 minutes without us having to ask. The rooms were kept very clean for our entire stay. We left two bucks on the pillow each morning. The small fridge was kept well stocked. We had so much beer placed in the fridge that we had to leave some behind at the end of the week.

The restaurants were excellent including the buffet. We left two dollars for a tip at the buffet after each meal. Whenever we sat down at a table we had someone pouring water, replacing missing silverware and giving us a warm welcome within 1 or 2 minutes. Food was good to excellent. Just remember if you pick something that is not to your liking, get a new plate and try something different.

We only tried the Mexican, seafood and Italian a la cartes. They were ok but we found the buffet just as good and of course the buffet is flexible on the time you choose to eat.

The open air roof top pizza restaurant was very good and no reservations required.

The pool grill serves good onion rings, wings, ribs and french fries. The ketchup is Heinz. Burgers are a little rare for most Canadians however if you ask the cook he will prepare a well done burger for you. Give him a tip and says thanks and he will cook one for you, just the way you like it, next time you’re at the grill and even bring it to your table when it’s ready.

We experienced the same excellent service throughout the entire resort. We had an employee greet us and ask us what they could get for us within minutes of sitting anywhere including the pool area. These people try very hard to make your stay enjoyable and fun.

There is a fellow named Marino Cigaro (his real name) that comes on the resort every 2nd day and demonstrates how to hand roll cigars. He is super friendly and always has a big smile. Take the time to stop and say hello and he will likely give you a free cigar and let you try your hand at rolling one as well. Be warned that you get to keep the cigar you roll and he expects that you will fire it up right there and join him for a smoke.

The evening shows were always entertaining. The best shows were the ones that were meant to be funny. They can keep you laughing for a good hour straight. The shows where they try to be serious are just OK. The house band is fantastic with an exceptional drummer and sax player. The lead signer looks like a young Wayne Newton. Overall the entertainment was far better than I expected.

The disco on the resort is just what you would expect. Loud music, lots of dancing and cold drinks.

The beach is fantastic. It was not the white sand other areas are noted for but just as soft and fine. The beach was kept very clean with an employee walking back and forth all day picking up any debris left by tourists. You can easily walk for an hour or more in both directions and not run out of sand and palm trees.

There are a lot of vendors but they will accept a “no thanks amigo” and keep going. We took the time to talk to a few of them and they are just hard working folks trying to get by. Within a few days some of them would stop by just to chat and rest for a few minutes.

There were always lots of lounge chairs available but getting one under a shade umbrella means getting up early and staking your claim. This is not a problem on the beach as the sand continues back under the trees so there is always shade available. At the pool it is a different story. If you haven’t claimed a shady spot early then it’s full sun and very hot.

There are some topless sunbathers on the beach and at the pool. My boys main complaint about this was that all the topless sunbathers tended to be over 40 and the young women stayed covered up. Be warned as well that the type of bracelet worn by kids does not mean they can’t get a drink. The rule for alcohol service seems to be that if your eyes are over the top of the bar then you can get whatever you want.

My only complaint is the disorganized bus loading when we were leaving. The resort employees tried to control the crowd but the whole thing turned into a general stampede. I blame our normally well behaved Canadian tourists. Mob mentality took over.

I would recommend this resort for families travelling with teenagers. The kids were never bored. The food was normal enough to keep them happy and we all had a great time.

Go, have fun and relax. Remember a smile, taking some time to talk to and getting to know the resort employees and a small tip now and again will insure you have a fantastic time.

Based on my experience at Barcelo I am not sure I will return to Cuba. The folks in the DR are just as friendly if not more so and the food and service is far better.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Archie 

May 2008
Don't be fooled, the Barceló Puerto Plata Premium is definitely not a 4 star hotel - it is hardly even a 2 star. We usually go on vacation to Cuba but decided to see the Dominican for a change. Traveled with Air Transat out of Halifax. We stayed from April 9th to April 23rd, 2008.

Check in time: We traveled Air Transat Premium and check in was around the back of the regular check in desk. Not too speedy that is for sure as the whole plane load of travelers were also in line with us - a good two hours later we were checked in but since it was only 11 in the morning and the rooms aren't ready until 3 p.m..................! Long old wait when it is 80+ degrees and you are still dressed in your jeans. Then you have the pleasure of going to the front desk to line up once again in order to get the key for your safe. Very disorganized!

Beach: The beach is absolutely beautiful and as we love to walk several times a day it was great. We never had any problems finding chairs, although, in order to have umbrella shade you do have to be up early (like 6:30 a.m. or earlier) and mark your territory for the day with a towel. We love to walk early morning so that was no problem for us.

Hotel Room: The first room was at the back part of building 11 and smelled like a sewer - I couldn't imagine even staying one night in that room it smelled so bad. Once we complained they gave us another room at the back part of building 11 and the flush didn't work. Once again we went back to the front desk and they gave us a room looking out to the pool area and it was great. We had a few ants but since we always travel with bug spray they were not problem once I gave the room a good spray.

Food: Is definitely not good - we would have starved if we hadn't taken crackers, etc. with us. Breakfast isn't too bad as you can get an egg fried, although sometimes the burner was too hot and you end up with burnt fried egg - yuck. The bacon is raw but the guy on the grill with cook it more if you pick out a few pieces and ask him too. Fruit was not too bad most days and the bread is delicious. We went to all the a la carte dinners except for the Brazilian. The only one we enjoyed was the Oriental and it was very good. The hamburger in the snack bars is never cooked well enough and we both ended up with the back door trots for a few days and the french fries wouldn't be too bad if they would cook them a bit longer and crisp them up - nothing worse then a floppy fry! At least they have Heinz ketchup! Unfortunately, I don't think they know what mashed potato's are.

Air Transat Representative: We spoke with a rep by the name of Stephanie and she argued up and down that we were not entitled to snacks in our room (she was actually embarrassing as we were standing in the lobby at the time and her voice is pretty loud). We were told by our travel agent that snacks were provided before we even left on our trip. Funny thing, on about our seventh day (we stayed for two weeks), low and behold we started to have snacks left in our room (usually one bar and one bag of chips - for two people!). Perhaps it helped that we left a tip on our pillow every day!!! The small refrigerator worked well and every day we had two beer, two colas and two Sprite left.

Staff: We gave large tips and gifts to the staff on the front desk. The next day they ignore you and it is like they never saw you before in their life. Really weird! The people in Cuba are so friendly that we were shocked by the manner of people in Puerto Plata Barcelo. For the most part they are not very friendly people. Although, to be fair, the staff in the bar overlooking the pool (it turns into a Mexican restaurant in the evening) are really a nice bunch.

We arrived early on the 9th and had to wait for our room on the day of arrival. On the 23rd we were not flying out until 1115 at night so we asked about our room on first checking in and were told that for the price of $6 an hour we could keep the room but that we couldn't pay for it until the day before we were to leave (check out is at 1 p.m.). Well we get to the 22nd and are told to come back early the next morning (the 23rd) because the boss was too busy. When we go back on the 23rd we are told the boss is too busy again because she is in a meeting and can't see us. We ended up paying for a sub-standard room located in a building behind the main resort. We were not impressed with that little scenario. Pretty shabby treatment of their guests and as long as they practice this little money grabber they will never be able to call themselves a first class hotel. We complained to the Transat rep about this but there was nothing she could do. Guess we didn't complain loud enough though as we talked to a couple on the same flight as ours and she was vocal enough that they left them in their same room.

General appearance of Barcelo Puerto Plata: The grounds are beautiful and very, very clean. The staff are continuously cleaning something. No fault to find there.

We would never return to this resort and probably never again to the Dominican. We will stick to Cuba for our vacations. The Club Amigo Villas, Guardalavaca, Cuba should be a 5 star when compared to the Barcelo, Puerto Plata.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Connie & Lewis 
Nova Scotia
April 2008
Flight
Our flight was fine and once we arrived, were bused off to the resort immediately. This was an Air Canada Vacations holiday and our first time booking with them.

Our Arrival
We arrived at the resort at approximately 11:30am and we knew that check-in was at 3:00pm. At that time, everyone lined up for their room key and we had the extreme misfortune to; I believe, be the last room assigned. We were told from 3pm on to go to the bar and wait and come back in 30 min. We continued to ask why our room wasn't ready but no one would give us a reason. There were other guests arriving after us and getting a room right away. We asked why with no reply. We finally got our room at 5:30pm and the key wouldn't open the door. We were very upset and very glad that one of our friends stayed with us because, I personally, had a very bad feeling that there wasn't a room there for us! By the time someone came to our room with another key it was close to 6:00pm. The entire day was completely ruined from the very bad reception and total lack of respect for us to the arrogance of the Customer Service lady, who came to our room to find out what could be done to help. "What could be done to help!!!" I told her that we wanted a room at 3:00pm and why advertise that as check-in time when it obviously isn't for a majority of people arriving at their resort! Oh...and by the way...for the entire week, we struggled to get a key that would open our door two days in a row! Honestly...give me a break...we had, on some days, four keys and tried each one with usually only one working at a time.

Our Room
We stayed in room 1.211 and found the room rather outdated. This room had a very high ceiling and the fan was covered with dust and when we did use it, it was very noisy. The TV and lamp didn't work and there were a few cracks in the tiles in the bathroom. We did get someone to fix or change the TV but the lamp or bulb never got resolved. We found the room very dark and it would have been nice to have some extra light at times.

Restaurants
We ate at the Oriental, Seafood and Italian a la carte restaurants while there and of the three, the Oriental was the best. The decor, staff and general experience was very good and the food was delicious. I have to say that the Italian was the most disappointing. The staff weren't organized at all and the food was not to my liking at all. We were generally pleased with the Buffet restaurant. We found the area with the food too small for the size of the resort but while some meals were "same old, same old"....most were very enjoyable.

Bars
We found the Lobby Bar very hectic and disorganized. There was no 'rhyme nor reason' on how to get the bartender's attention to get service. If one found a table to sit, a waitress would take your order but usually there was only one working and she was extremely busy and you'd have to wait quite a long time.
The main Pool Bar was very good and the service excellent. We also ate lunch there quite a few times that week. We enjoyed the food and the staff were very nice.

Beach and Pools
We totally enjoyed the beach and only used the main pool one day but thoroughly enjoyed it. We've been to Puerto Plata three other times but never in this area where you have an actual beachfront to go for a walk. We really liked it! We were very surprised to not receive beach towel tickets when we arrived and later found out that that isn't done on this resort. We always got clean towels every day.

Grounds
The grounds were well maintained and workers did a great job everyday.

Entertainment
We went to the theatre a few nights during our stay. We really enjoyed Karaoke night but since I'd gotten a burn that day, wasn't up to go to the Disco. We heard that it was alot of fun with great music.

Departure and Check Out
We had no problem with check out the morning we left. We were leaving the resort at 9:30am and at 7:00 we checked out with no problems.

Conclusion
We would not recommend this resort to anyone and believe this to be 3.5* at best. We met some people from NS and they have been to this resort for the past couple of years and said that there are improvements each time they come back. We wouldn't return after the disappointing way we were treated our first day. We had never been treated that way before and no one should be especially since they are there on vacation. The owners need to concentrate on getting their desk staff onboard with treating people with respect and giving them the service they deserve. A few of the desk staff were very helpful but they were few and far between.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Carl, Marj 
Nova Scotia
April 2008
Arrival and Flight: Air Canada Vacations

Room 1.105

General This is definitely not a 4.5 star resort. More like a 3 to 3.5 star. Our room was tired and poorly maintained. Room 1.105 was very noisy from the evening entertainment. Room 1.112, where one of our friends stayed, smelled strongly of mold.

Most of the staff were friendly (apart from the front desk staff. However, staff did not seem to have direction and most often seemed to operate in chaos. There were few organized pool activities. Most staff we encountered spoke only a little English.

However, we made the most of the situation, improvised and did not let the low quality room or service impact our vacation.

Check in This was the worst experience we have ever had. We arrived at about 12, cued to check in We then had to wait until three at the main bar. While 3:00 check in is the norm, no orientation was given to the facilities. Front desk staff were not friendly, nor helpful. Rather than supply keys when we checked in (or during the wait) at 3 PM we had to cue up again at the front desk at 3 p.m. to get keys. No staff were available to take our luggage to our rooms. So, we had to take our luggage to find our rooms on our own, Directions given for the room by front desk staff was very inaccurate, resulting in more unproductive stressful time for us. We asked staff along the way for directions, but none spoke English well enough to help. Some travellers we talked with on the resort waited even longer for room keys.

Restaurants
We enjoyed the main buffet. But, the selection seemed spotty, some days good, some days less so. Seafood, apart from the tasty (but,messy) shrimp, is something most would likely do better to pass by. Mexican, that was part of the buffet one night, was excellent. Seemed to be far too much lamb for a mostly Canadian crowd (when we visited). Staff service was also spotty. While they were friendly, service was mostly poor, and staff lacked direction from management. ( for example, we ordered coffee and water often, and the server never returned).

We enjoyed the Oriental restaurant and found the atmosphere, food and service excellent. We found the Italian restaurant poor. The food was not as good as at the buffet and there was no attention to service; overall a very rushed unpleasant experience. Do not order the lasagna! Yuk! The Seafood restaurant was sub-standard. Again, staff seemed very disorganized. Service level seemed to mostly depend on the server, as no manager was seen supervising staff. This serving group understood very little English.

In any resort we have stayed at previously, the a la carte restaurants were about good food and great service. Aside from the Oriental, this was certainly not the case at the Barcelo. Quite a disappointment. Our experience was you would do better eating at the Buffet.

Bars
Service at the main bar was chaotic. Too few staff for their patrons. There seemed to be no system to identify those waiting from new customers to provide bar service. In frustration, we often I got drinks at the other bars and carried them to our table. Service at the beach bar was better, as people cued for service. The main pool bar gave excellent service, and the staff were especially friendly (especially Nelson, a buffet cook). The bar near the pool tables was o.k., but opened later in the day.

We visited the disco and had a great time dancing. The DJ has a ton of music and was very accommodating in terms of most requests.

Beach and Pools
Quality of both were fine. As with most resorts, chairs must be reserved early morning, or *no spot for you* later in the day. Since there was no system to track towels to rooms, some patrons took many towels to play the *early morning towel game*, by draping them over chairs to establish day-long ownership. I suspect some went shopping and on tours, never to return, taking up chairs that others could have used. More resort order to towel assignment may help? When on vacation, it’s a downer to have to get up at 6 or 6:30 a.m. to (unofficially) reserve a chair to use at the beach, or at the pool. An observation was that other resorts along the same beach seemed to have plenty of unoccupied beach chairs all day. It is likely because they provide more chairs per client, unlike this Barcelo resort.

Grounds
Quite nice and well maintained. Activities and Entertainment Pool events/activities were limited. The main evening entertainment area is in a location that makes it quite noisy, especially for those who wish to retire early (entertainment ends at 11)

Tours
We did not take any. But, front desk staff did not seem interested in offering much information when we asked about opportunities in the local area.

Departure and Check Out
Departure check out was fine. You can check out and settle accounts early. We had no cues at this point.

Security Seemed like poor security at beach disco and on pathways to hotel from the disco in the evening. I suspect this is important, as locals seem to have access to the beach area at night. (On a side note, at this resort it was the first time that I was asked for money from a resort security staff member. But, I suspect the experience was just one bad apple, as all other staff were fine).

Conclusion This is clearly not a 4.5 star facility. We feel that this rating is dishonest. More like a 3 to 3.5. We were surprised that Air Canada Vacations, who normally offer good vacation packages would have this resort rated as a 4.5. It must have slipped by Air Canada quality checks somehow.

Our room was tired and poorly maintained, as we noted others were. One of our friends room smelled strongly of mold (1.12). Check in service is terrible. While many staff are friendly and helpful, main desk staff are mostly not so. This is our fourth visit to DR. We will select another resort next time, not this one again, nor recommend it. We understand that there are new owners. They definitely have much work to do to improve the rooms and service to make this resort a 4.5.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Colin & Deanne  
Prince Albert
April 2008
Our Arrival
I can sum up the departure in one word.... Disappointment. We booked our vacation through Air Transat, who chartered SKYSERVICE for the flight. Due to mechanical issues a week previous to our departure, SKYSERVICE delayed our flight by nearly 12 hours. Yes... they were still behind from the week previous, which meant that everyone who travelled into, and out of Saskatchewan during this time frame was late. By the end of our week however, they were somewhat on time when it was time for us to leave the DR. It was bad enough that SKYSERVICE was behind on our departure, but, on the way down, we had to land in Naussau for refueling, because the aircraft would not be able to get fuel in Puerto Plata for the return flight home. When we did land in Nassau, the pilot gave us all a good scare with a hard bounce on landing. It was nearly 4 AM local time when our heads hit the pillow for the evening. I will say this about Air Transat. Should they continue to use SKYSERVICE in the west as their carrier, I will take my vacations through another tour company.

Rooms
Our room was in building 12, second story, and faced the neighboring resort (the Grand Vantana, where we have stayed before, and absolutely loved). The room was not as clean as my wife and I would have preffered. There was heavy dust on the ceiling fan, and a few spider webs too. The bathroom had some mold issues on the corners, and into the grout of the floor tiles. The bathtub has a structural crack from the faucet to the ceiling. It should be noted that we arrived on Easter Monday, and if you don't already know, the Dominican people are quite Christian. As a result we feel that the staffing level was probably lower than it would normally be. We made mention to the cleaning staff of the mold and the dust, and steps were taken to clean the room. This impressed us. Every morning we would leave a gift for the kids, and something for the maid on the pillow. They really appreciate this, and it does show in the service that they extend to you. We had no further issue with the room, as a matter of fact, several of the rooms in that building, and ours too, had their mattress changed for new ones.

Restaurants
We found the buffet staff to be unorganized, not properly trained, and maddly off with no direction or supervision. There were many meals where we never did get the water that we requested when we sat down. As a matter of fact, I found that I had to request water several times, and often from the same waiter. However, the food was very good, lots of selection, but the manner in which they have the buffet set up is yet another gong show. Management needs to see this area as a real bottle neck, and perhaps change the layout to allow better flow though of guest. We are typically generous with tipping, but, in the buttet restaurant, I just could not bring myself to reward a last place finish.

Bars
My wife and I were busy on this holiday attaining our PADI open water certification, so we did not spend a lot of time at the bar. But when we did belly up for a shot, the waiting was long, especially at the fron bar near the check in. We did tip here, hoping for better service, but, sadly, the service was still not what we are used to from other resorts in the area where we've stayed. I did notice though, the the regulars did seem to get better service. We did hear others make the same complaint.

Beach and Pools
On our arrival, the pool was very cloudy, and mirky. Again, I suspect that the staffing levels where lower prior to our arrival due to the Easter celebrations. After the Easter Monday, we saw several staff cleaning the pool, and the water after our first day was much more clear.
The beach is great. Every morning the shore line is raked of seaweed and garbage. The staff do a very good job of keeping the area clean. The vendors this visit, along the entire coast, were very aggressive compared to previous visits to the area.

Grounds
The grounds staff work hard, and are doing a fantastic job of cleaning the grounds. Every morning you will see staff sweeping sidewalks and raking the grass. They really do a good job on the appearance of the grounds

Tours
For this vacation, we concentrated on our PADI scuba certification, so we never took any tours.

Departure and Check Out
Quick and smooth.... painless, just they way you want it

Conclusion
For me, it took some time to warm up to this resort. I would not consider this a 4 or 4+ resort. There are just too many bugs yet to be worked out with the new ownership. I do however see that management has been taking steps, and progress is being made, and that one day this will be a very very good resort.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Keith 

March 2008
Our Arrival
Our flight with West Jet from Halifax was delayed two hours because of a snowstorm. Nothing you can do about the weather. Consequently our arrival was delayed and by the time we got to our room it was 1:30 am Sunday morning. Does anyone know why these flights all seem to leave at night and return in the middle of the night...what's with that? There is lots of leg room and the seats were fairly comfortable. The tour company, in our case Transat, only provides a sandwich in a box and if you are vegetarian like our 14 year old is, there is no alternative.

Rooms
Check-in was fairly smooth but we were told the hotel was overbooked and if we wanted to change rooms come back after 8am and same for safe keys. I would suggest any one choosing to stay at this hotel to bring your own tool kit...it sure would have been handy for us. The room and bathroom are a good size and the balcony too but the hot water knob to the shower fell off in my hand. Did I ever wish I had an Allan wrench! I did bring a can of garden Raid and put it to immediate use eradicating the bugs in the bathroom and on the bureau. The room had a strong musty odour and we discovered mildew growing on our bedspread. The bathroom door would not close properly and could not be locked; the closet door would not close; the trim was falling off the bathroom mirror; the tub was chipped as were the ceramic tiles; stucco was falling off around the bathroom door; there were water stains on the ceiling around the AC unit. Generally the furnishings were shabby and needed to be replaced and the room was in severe need of refurbishing; both chairs in the room had the seats broken in them. One of the balcony chairs had a cracked seat and the light on the balcony did not work. Being the laid back Maritimers we were able to put up with most of this except the shower knob which was finally attached after supper on our first day. So what did we like about our room on the ground floor in Edificio 12, well it was very close to the beach and it was quiet at night.Our three teenagers were housed in the room next door and they had several issues similar to ours with their room. From talking to other guests we discovered our experience was not unique. One couple told me they were in three different rooms before they found one that was habitable. The highlight of our week came on Wednesday morning when we arose early to depart on an all day excursion only to discover that we had no hot water. When going by the front desk on our way out we relayed this info to the staff who assured us it would be taken care of before our return. Do you see a pattern here...yup we get back to our room at 6:30 pm and no hot water. I went to the desk and was offered another room in another building but declined because our kids would be left behind. However, the staff produced a maintenance man who marched back to the room with me and proceeded to get the hot water working, albeit a meager little stream, but it was now hot. He asked me if there was anything else he could fix so I pointed out the non working balcony light and he happily left with a dollar tip after getting it working...the only thing when I went to turn it out the switch had absolutely no effect on it so I ended up unscrewing the light bulb. We had lots of towels in our room and our mini fridge worked and was restocked daily. You can always snag some extra bottled water or pop from the maids if needed.

Restaurants
There was plenty of selection at the buffet and lots of things for breakfast. We liked the Pizzeria Fontana and had two suppers there. We were able to book three a-la-cartes: The Brazilian, Italian and Mexican. The Brazilian...meat overload and not very good, dry and tasteless. By the end we were expecting the desert to be beef too but were pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a selection of sweets. The Italian: Not bad except the waiter wanted us to pay for a bottle of champagne we did not order.The Mexican: lots of choice for a vegetarian but the location of this a-la-carte at the pool grill next to the site of the stage was not ideal. The Mexican music was competing with the entertainment on the stage to produce one big headache. Go to the 7 pm seating if possible to avoid your own headache.We found the service at the buffet to be poor and I blame the management for lack of proper training and not having enough staff on duty. The Dominican staff were certainly not rude but simply lacked the skills in food service that people would expect at a four and a half star resort. The service at the a-la-cartes was slightly better but not what you would expect. We tipped generously at every meal but it did not seem to make any difference in the level of service we received from the laid back Dominicans.

Bars
Not much experience here but did find the pina coloda mix was very watered down and not what you would expect in the Caribbean. Otherwise no complaints.

Beach and Pools
We went for the sun, sand and warmth and we had lots of that. The beach is raked of seaweed every morning. The beach is long for nice walks; there is some nice snorkelling nearby where the fish will eat out of your hand if you feed them the bread from the buffet. The water was warm.The afternoons got quite breezy and could whip the sand up on the beach.I was up early each morning to snag a shelter and 5 loungers for my family.We brought our own distinctive beach towels and had no problems with stealing or poaching. There are many vendors on the beach and you could get almost anything from jewellery to a pedicure if you so desired. That is fine with me, just say no gracias if you don't want to be bothered or better yet engage a Dominican vendor in conversation and learn something new.I bought a hat and my daughter a bathing suit.The pool looked very clean and large but we spent all our time at the beach.

Grounds
The grounds are very well maintained.

Activities
We went snorkelling a few times...no problem; took the kayak out once. The life jackets need to be replaced...very greeby and smell of BO. Banana boat was $10.00 per person, Para sailing available and all the other usual things you would expect at a resort.

Tours
We went on the Paradise Island tour and this was the highlight of our week...truly an awesome tour. The snorkelling was fantastic and our whole family had a great time. The island is a small spit of sand in the ocean but very beautiful. The bus ride is long, about two and a half hours, and could be called the Paradise Island/SafariTour because the road turns into gravel about 30 minutes from the end and I have seen better wheeler roads in New Brunwsick.My wife, daughter and son went for an afternoon horseback ride at Rancho Lorilor that they booked with a sweet young girl from Holland named Evelyn. They tell me that Joyce at the ranch was a hoot and they had a great experience with some great views of Puerto Plata. My wife had never been on horseback before but that proved to be no problem as the staff was very attentive and reassuring.

Conclusion
We all agree we would not return to this resort. We booked about three weeks before we left and had previously stayed at a five star resort in Punta Cana. We could not get over the difference that half a star made in our experience. I would spend a few extra hundred dollars and stick with 5 stars next time.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Alan 

March 2008
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata: March 12, 2008
Our flight from Halifax was the 6 am departure and 8 pm departure, perfect for an early start and a full day before leaving. The trip was good with meals and movies provided both ways. We prebooked isle 13 on the way back for extra legroom.

Check-in: one word, confusion. We started out in the wrong lineup, the AlaCart lineup. Without signs, who would know? We were then directed to the front desk lineup, this looks right. Wrong. You have to go around the back to another desk, without a sign, to register. These fellows are friendly and checked us in but we then had to go back to the front desk to be assigned a room. Ok we now killed an hour in lineups, but we are on vacation, right? No rooms until noon we are told, go enjoy yourself and come back. We came back at 12, 1, 2 and then 3 pm. I am now tired of lineups, but we are on vacation, be happy. Sorry, no rooms with king sized beds, only double beds. I’m worn out, any bed will work.

Rooms: Finally we are wisked away in a stylish golf cart and two fellows huff our bags to the 3rd floor, building 10, room 18 away from the stage, overlooking the basketball court. Nice rooms, old but clean. A/C works, ceiling fan works, bed is firm, balcony nice, bathroom is huge, hair dryer, multi-plug for Europeans, lots of towels, lots of closet, room safe, remote for TV, new clock radio, nice phone system, bar fridge with 2 beer, 2 coke, 2 sprite, 3 water. Something is missing, the beach towels, robes and slippers, welcome fruit tray, bottle of rum and personal concierge. The fruit, rum, chocolate bar, chips and towels show up at 7 pm. Turns out the maids work late into the night, they earn their 2 dollar pillow tips. At 10 pm our beds are magically turned down before we returned to the room. Nice, but how many people are in our room to make all this happen? We leave a do not disturb sign on the door after the maid makes the bed next day. My wife ran into the turn down service maids at our door the next night, at 10 pm, they looked truly disappointed.

There are two maids per 7 day stay, a fellow who mops your floor, turn down service maids and perhaps a 7th person in the mix. Geeze, I feel guilty since we only paid $820 plus tax for everything.

The room is quiet after 11 pm and the TV works ok with several English channels. We had lots of hot water except for one night. Showers were brisk, soap and shampoo supplied. We brought face towels, but not needed, they are supplied. We want for nothing.

The Star rating Frequent travelers in North American will be expecting a 4 star to look like a Quality Inn or Hojo’s with perfect rooms, perfect bathrooms, perfect TV’s etc. The 4 star Dominican is based more on food, facilities etc and less on room appearance. This hotel is a 4.0 star Dominican. Frequent Dominican travelers will know what that means.

Building and Ants : Well, this building is a beautiful work of architecture. The huge atrium separates all 3 floors, no elevators. The air conditioners hum outside each internal pod and are cleverly hidden by massive beams, nice. Workers are always mopping and cleaning and painting. There are several large cactus gardens on the 3rd floor and one happens to be beside our room. It’s a beautiful place for plants and ants.

I made the mistake one night of squishing a small bug in the bathroom and not cleaning it up. An hour later we had hundreds of tiny red ants mounding over the bug and carrying it off to their nest, via a tiny crack in the molding by the door. By placing a penny in the path, it stopped the flow and we cleaned up the remaining soldiers and their prey. Lesson: there are scout ants everywhere in the Caribbean, no matter how clean the room is. If you leave a drop of food, soda, sugar, crumb or crushed bug, the scouts smell this a mile away and move in. Don’t eat or drink in your room or you will have ants. After this incident, the penny guarded the crack and we ate in the restaurants.

Restaurants: I gained 7 pounds. The food is outstanding. The food is 5 star. The buffet is smaller than most and could use layout redesign, however what is contained in the buffet is the most important. Because of the variety of places to eat at night we only had supper here once! For the travelers that frequent Tavern on the Green, Peter Lugars or Sardi’s you may be disappointed. For the rest of us the food is outstanding. The complex has 7 different places to eat, we enjoyed the beach club after 7 pm and the brick oven thin crust pizzeria most. Others were outstanding but my personal tastes are skewed towards atmosphere, variety and desire for instant service. I must say the most memorable meal was the oriental night at the buffet and the chicken skewers bar b q ed with a honey glaze (memories of Fun Royal beach club sauce). Bring long pants for the ala carts. The pool restaurant is open in the day for tasty snack food and drinks, at night it becomes a Mexican restaurant, the beach club has the same snacks in the day and becomes a gourmet meal at night (recommended). I could go on and on about the food. Lots of fresh fish lots of meat, lots of variety. Yum.

Pools: The main pool is the nicest I’ve ever seen. A gentle slope going in allows the most feeble to inch in as well as allowing you to lie in the water at the edge. The pool is huge, water is warm, with a waterfalls from the restaurant above a swim up bar and a deep end. It has a small island in the middle with a healthy ant population who look forward to an empty beer glass or cola. Lots of fun to watch on a lazy afternoon. I brought my floaty chair, which allows you to sit up, sip your drink and float around. Highly recommended. Over by building 3 is another pool with whirlpool jets. Made for socializing and finding pressure points. Hello to CC, Kim, Rene and Linn, who helped pass an afternoon with great conversation. There are 2 other pools that are less amusing but good for quiet relaxation.

Massage My wife had the massage and it revitalized her. She recommends the ½ hour at $30. The background of the waves and birds adds to the ambience.

Beach Very nice. Brown sand, no rocks, tiny bits of coral, no weeds, warm water. Each morning at 6 am a parade of beach lounger fanatics make the pilgrimage to the beach to place a towel on a chair. Similar to the sea turtles of Galapagos Islands, who come in at 2 am to lay their eggs and they disappear, these people appear before sunrise, select their chair, lay their towel and never appear again until the next morning to repeat the process. My friends Ray and Colleen witnessed this strange behavior one morning after several days of being lounger-less. I wished we could have taken pictures.

Ray and I took out the Hobie Cat sailboat on Monday, expecting lessons. The teacher asked if we sailed before, Ray has when he was younger, that made us qualified; we took off at a great pace, flipped the boat trying to turn it around. We managed to get it over, I was traumatized, Ray laughed, he went off later to snorkel and found a lot of fish just a few 100 feet off shore. I recovered and returned to my floaty chair. The beach rental booth has lots of free items to loan you for an hour. Banana boats are $10, parasailing is $45. A 30-minute walk to the left will get you to the orange market, some good wall art for $10 to $20.

Security These guys are dressed in uniforms and equipped with clubs. They guard the premises day and night with one exception, the disco. The disco is open to the beach and anyone can wander by and join in. I was concerned with this due to the young age of the attendees. The security guard was very concerned when informed and advised they will respond immediately if there is an issue. I wish there was a spot check every hour to thin out the locals from the guests.

Entertainment Every night except Sunday there is a show. A beautiful wooden ceiling covers the stage and seating area. 5 horns, 3 singers, drummer, guitar. Wow. The shows are OK, some are spectular, but wait now, I paid $820 including the flight. A nightly show with 25 people is a bonus, if it isn’t Broadway quality that’s ok. Who can fault these entertainers who work 14-hour shifts for one missed dance step. Daily poolside entertainment is fun, the usual games; I wish the entertainers were less interested in the young ladies and more interested in their job.

Other There is a mini shopping plaza on site with a few jewelry stores, grocery stores, convience stores. You don’t need to leave the resort. The shopping plaza is next door for booking trips and shopping for other items. We found Simon (See Mon) an English speaking older Dominican gentleman who waits outside for tourists who want a specialized tour. He took us to the fort, downtown P.plata, Amber museum, Neptune statue, and up the cable car to see the Jesus statue and Botanical gardens for $12 each. This includes the taxi, driver, 5 passengers and him! Geepers how can this be? A 5-hour tour. He did a great job and we tipped him well. As well we took an ATV tour from Marytour in the plaza. Tiny villages, remote beaches, rough terrain, sugar cane fields etc. $35 each.

Summary This is a 4.5 star resort. Every room needs minor maintenance: new light switches, ac outlets, plumbing help and tile work. Facilities are clean and well maintained, food is great. Highly recommended.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Nancy  
Cambridge, Ontario
March 2008
Arrival - Flew Skyservice from Kitchener, great flight arrived 20 mins early as we had a tail wind. Very quick transfer to resort and even quicker check-in probably because it was 11pm.

Rooms - Requested 2nd floor building 14, 2 rooms ajoining or close together as we were traveling with our 12 and 13 year old daughters. Rooms were great, large very clean and everything in working order. Housekeeping was wonderful..snacks and beverages every day, turn down service and extra clean towels each evening. We always had tons of hot water and good water pressure; some other guests we spoke with had problems with theirs. In talking with other guests over the week we figured out that buildings 14 and 15 are newest and have been fully renovated...so might be your best bet.

Restaurants - Buffet is hit or miss for quality depends who is cooking I guess We tried all the other restaurants and had no trouble getting reservations for 7pm.Brazilian and pizza were Ok..too much meat at the Brazilian..who needs 14 different meats, poor table service as well. We LOVED the Italian and the Oriental excellent food and wonderful service. The Mexican was nice, better than we expected as we had read poor reviews on this site.

Bars - Service at the lobby bar was slow and the drinks never correct unless you ordered a cervesa. The beach bar was good, line moved fast and the drinks were accurate. All the bars ran out of the frozen strawberry/pina colada mixes frequently which my daughters found frustrating...just the volume of people being served, the mix didn't have time to freeze. Be sure to bring an insulated large travel mug as the plastic 6oz cups they use are too small and didn't look to clean.

Beach and Pools - Beach was beautiful, very clean water warm and clear. Very hard to get chairs or cabanas at both pool and beach as people were playing the towel game. We spoke with an older gent who was staying for a month and he set his alarm for 0430 am every morning to get to the beach for chairs and a cabana...not on my vacation!!
The main pool was huge but loud and crowded and got rather scummy with sun screen by the end of the day...we spent most of our time at the beach...much better and less cigarette smoke.

Grounds - Beautifully kept, lots of mature trees and plants. Well lit path ways and good signage.

Activities - We did our own thing most of the time but did see beach volleyball and waterpolo being organized.

Tours - Would recommend the cable car, catamaran day trip ...not if you suffer from motion sickness though. Avoid the dune buggies we had mechanical problems and were left stranded on the side of the highway for some time...had to really insist on a refund as they were trying to give my daughters a 5 speed ATV which she couldn't drive.

Conclusion - Great resort for the price, visiable improvements being made the whole week we were there. Other reviews were really helpful as we were well informed about some pit falls and how to avoid them. I expect this resort will be much higher priced in the next year as Barcelo continues to renovate and improve it.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Lois 
St. Catharines
March 2008
Hola,

Clean, great food, staff were great (very busy but very nice), some surprise drinks, fun entertainment, beach was clean. Only complaint is not enough pool/beach chairs: due to people saving them with there towels and then not using them. Would not go deep sea fishing again. Shopping in Sosua was fun, 200 vendor's to bargain with. Casino night was fun, Ocean World, was way over rated...swimming with Dolphins was to rushed. Premium package at the Barceló was worth it, we had little extra's and the package covered the export tax to. Debbie, you were right about the baggage carriers at the airport....We would go back tomorrow.

Thank you, your reviews and information were very helpful.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Penney 
Ontario
March 2008
Arrival
Our vacation was Feb 14 - 21st. We flew Skyservice, but never again, very small, no leg room, my husband is over 6 ft and had a rough time sitting.
Upon arrival we were taken care of immediately on the bus and to the resort. There was a bit of a wait for a room, so we decided to head to the buffet for lunch and by the time that was done the room was ready

Rooms
Rooms were nice, little out of date, but we didn't spend much time in the room. We had a bar fridge that was filled everyday, but some days the towels were not always replaced and the floor should be swept everyday. I gave the maids $1 tip and left a hat or t-shirt, along with makeup, soaps and creams etc. everyday.

Restaurants
We didn't try any of the restaurants, we just stuck with the buffet. The food in the buffet was great, they had mexican night, Italian night, oriental night, etc. No complaints on food, and if you are a picky eater, there was always, french fries, onion rings, chicken, always something there to eat.

Bars
I'm not much of a drinker, but my husband did his share, for the most part, the lineups were not bad, but you need to stick out your arm of yell out something to get their attention, somtimes.

Beach and Pools
Didn't go in the pools, I stuck to the beach, very well kept. We went first thing in the morning before 9am, picked out our loungers and left the towels and then you are set for the day. Water was perfect, absolutely nothing but sand underwater, no rocks and nothing sticking between your toes. Vendors were sometimes annoying but not bad, bought quite a bit from them, but you have to barder with them and stick to it.

Grounds
Grounds were very well maintained, they did a great job. I gave one of the workers a t-shirt.

Activities
The most activity I did was lay on the beach and soak up the sun, and about every hour, jump in the water to cool off. Take a long walk up the beach though, to the left is the Orange Market, and to the right was a few local guys selling. Well worth the walk.

Tours
If your up for a Jeep Safari, go see *Juan* on the beach, very nice guy and not pushy, we told him we would mention his name on the internet because he is a great guy, he was so happy for that. This trip was one of the best parts of the trip. We went to the waterfalls and it was amazing (about a 20 minute walk, bring watershoes, or you can rent them, you have to walk through brooks and stream with lots of rocks), local fruit market, Grandma's house for coffee, Banana, pineapple, etc plantation, it was a great day. Also keep in mind you can buy things on this trip so bring your money. and if you decide to go, please take lots of candy for the kids, they run after the truck calling "Menta" (candy), you through it over the side...it was so much fun. I have a soft heart, so to see some of the people and how they live was hard, but I bought lots of candy. We tipped our guide and the driver, our guide was perfect, very well educated...he knows he's stuff. We also tipped the guys (guides) on the waterfalls tour, they deserved everybit.

Conclusion
Overall, we really enjoyed our vacation, I would recommend the resort, and I would return. Before you buy a load of stuff from the vendors on the beach, if you walk off the resort and head to the right, there is a mall 5 minutes away, a ton of stuff in there, check it out !!
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Holly 

February 2008
I returned from Barcelo POP on Feb 29th after a week of sunshine. I had stayed at this resort 2 years ago, under a different name. I again this year enjoyed the stay. Upon arrival, we were immediately looked after, given our Rm. #, but had to wait almost 3 hours for our room. We were happy with the room when we got it. We had the 2 beds we requested, a mini fridge, a large bathroom, and a balcony. The day before we left, all rooms were given a new clock-radio with a cd player with MP3 hookup. Also each building got a new ice machine, but they were not hooked up while I was there. The rooms were cleaned daily. The beach was crowded, but nice. The buffet is small, but good. The pools were well kept . If you want Heanev on Earth....get a massage. It is only $35. US and hour or $20. US for half an hour. The girls are amazing. The entertainment could be spruced up a bit, but, since we got to watch it in 80 degree envenings...who cares. Tues. eve they offer to take you free of charge to Ocean World to a Los Vegas style show, the a few hours at the Casino. It was a good time. All in all, I feel I definitely got my money's worth.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Samantha 

February 2008
Your Arrival
Our flight was delayed 4hrs due to a snow storm and a computer malfunction. We flew skyservice, and other than being overcrowded and tired from the delays it was almost enjoyable. We arrived at Puerto Plata airport around 1.30 am and had no trouble with clearing customs. A short bus ride to the hotel and we checked in quickly and smoothly.

Rooms
We we sent to building 15 and were on the 3rd floor. Room appeared to be satisfactory. Two small beds {twin} bathroom nice size and balcony. We slept until noon the next day and missed our orientation. This was our 5th trip to the Dominican so we knew what to expect. During the second night of our stay we discovered the ceiling above the shower was caving in due to the roof leaking and had requested for maintenance to come have a look at it. We went out for breakfast and when we came back we were surprised to find our door was open and discovered that my camera had been stolen and also the tip that we had left on the bed for the maid was missing as well.

Restaurants
The main buffet is small compared to most resorts that we have stayed at. I enjoyed breakfast but found the rest of the meals were just so so. As far as the gourmet goes we went to the Brazilian and the food absolutely sucked. We were served overcooked dried out meat and i,m afraid that even my steak sauce could not save this meal.

Bars
Bars were adequate and plentiful. I am not much of a drinker although the wife usually can drink for two. Bar staff seemed friendly enough.

Beach and Pools
The beach was very nice, clean water and nice sand not like in Punta Cana though, but still no signs of garbage were to be found it was kept up very nice. I never went in the pool I saw a lot of scummy oil floating on the top{probably sun tan oil} and straws from the swimup bar as well floating in the water.

Grounds
Very nice very clean.

Activities
I didnt participate in any activities. When I go on vacation I want to lay on the beach and enjoy the warmth of the sun and the ocean breezes. For the most part the staff did not bother you if you did not want to participate.

Tours
We went horseback riding at Rancho Lorilar. It was awesome the kids and myself really enjoyed it. We were treated to sugar cane and a cold beverage after about an hour into the trip. Also our guide Angel danced with my two daughters and they really enjoyed it. I found that after returning to the stable that they were pretty agressive soliciting tips from some people. I had no problem tipping but when some others said no they were harassed.

Conclusion
I would not stay at this resort ever again. When security came to our room to investigate the theft, they said that it would be impossible for anyone to smuggle anything out of the resort past hotel security. I told them to go into town and visit the local pawn shop and if there was a silver kodak z650 camera there it was mine. There were also other reports of people saying their rooms had been entered and luggage rifled through.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
 
PEI, Canada
February 2008
Arrival - We traveled on Air Canada. They were wonderful. All though I am not the worlds most famous traveler,,they made my journey as comfortable as possible. (And it helped too that I also had my husbands hand to grab every now and again.)We flew out of Halifax and arrived in the Dominican about 4 hours later. The service was good at the airport and there were people willing to help you take your bags to the 'right' bus, for a small fee of course. A rep was also there to make sure we did make it to the right bus. Arrived at the hotel Barcelo at 12:45 p.m. or so and rooms were not to be ready until 3:00, which is understandable. My husband and I have traveled to Dominican before, so we knew some of the things to except. So, the couple that were traveing with us,,knew too. This is our first time staying at this resort though. While waiting for the rooms, we went to eat at the buffet and took a walk to check things out. Went back to the front desk at 3:30 and they gave us a key, and the other couple also. So one of the workers drove us to our room and when opening the door, realized it wasn't clean. So he took us right back to the front desk and told them. They immedialty gave us another key to a diferent room. The worker took us there and told us, "This is a much better building." (#14) We had an upgraded room and it was wonderful. The service when we arrived- until we actually got to our room was excellent.

Rooms - Our room was wonderful. It was tidy and clean. The doors locked, except the patio door, but they soon fixed that. The fride was also stocked with 2 beer, 2 water and 2 pop. Every morning I left a few little things for the maids. Make use you leave it on your pillow other wise they are not allowed to take it. We never had a problem the whole week with anything going wrong in our room, breaking down or anything. We did have a safe in our room and you only have to pay $15 U.S. at the time of check out if you decide to use it.

Restaurants - The buffets were wonderful. It is true what they say, everytime you go on vacation you eat too much. There is always a wide selection at the buffet. I highly recommened the ommlet (So good!) Even for the pickest eaters,,there will be something for you. We didn't go to the Al A Carts...Why bother? We were getting excellent food at buffet. Also when we did walk by the desk that was accepting the dinner reservations fot these restaurnats,,they were a mile long...So, we just didn't bother.

Bars - I, myself am not a drinker...I know ! I know! All the free drinks down there and I didn't take advantage of them. But according to my husband and our friend,,,the service was sometimes slow,,,and usually there woudn't be enough working the bar to keep up with the crowd that was always there. The service in the pool side bar was very good. When you are sitting down watching the evening shows, there is a waitress that comes around to see if you would like anything.

Beach and Pools - The beach was wonderful. All though I do recommened you get up early to go down and get a chair because if you wait too long there will none left. We learned that leason. So, alot of the times we would be at the beach around 8:00 a.m. And they would already have the beach raked clean. They rake the moss off of the beach every morning. The vendors will be "bugging" you as soon as you set your feet on the beach. But all you have to say is no and they will leave you alone.
The pools were beautiful. Very clean. Again if you want to spend the day the pool, go down early and get your seats... You don't want to be sitting on the hard ground all day.

Grounds - The grounds are very well looked after. We would get up early in the morning and already the guys with the rakes would be raking the grounds or sweeping off the walk ways. They work really hard. The next time we go down though, I am going to take some gloves for the workers. Friend of ours gave an older man that was raking a pair of gloves and the look on his face was priceless. You would think you just gave im a million dollars.
The landscape was beautiful. And I have tons of pictures to prove it .

Activities - Every night they had kids shows from 8 - app.9 p.m. Which is very good cause it gives the kids a chance to take part in the show which they loved. After that was over - they would have shows for the "adults" One night was comedy night and another night it was kareoke night. That was excellent. A fellow Canadien, Bob, Got up and sang and he was wonderful. We didn't go to every show., But if they were anything like the ones that we did see, I'm sure they would be excellent. The performers work hard.

Tours - We went on the city tour/Sosua Beach. It was an all day trip. Met up with our group at the Hotel lobby @ 8:15 and we left shortly after that. The first place we stopped was the rum factory. (On our first trip to the Dominican we had stopped here). After the tour inside, we were free to buy some in the shop. Very cheap. We then went to a gift shop and they should us quite a few things. Had to be careful getting back on the bus, cause the locals in the city, were sitting on our bus steps and they were holding things that they wanted to sell us. But when our tour guide came out of the shop, he asked them to leave and they did. When done there we went to a fort which is located by beautiful water. Got lots of nice pictures there. We then went to the Amber Museum and then to a dinner in a restaurant in the city. Didn't eat very much there. Mostly ate bread and rice. I am the type of person,,if I don't know what it is,,I am not going to eat it. After dinner we went to Sosua beach. On the walk down to the beach there is a huge flea market and people are always asking you to go in their shops,,,unless you are interested in buying things,,the best thing to do is say no and keep walking. The weather that day was really hot. The beach was beautiful. Our day trip ended at 4:00. Was a wonderful day.
Also we went on a horse and buggy ride. Very cheap. Only $20.00 U.S. for 4 people and the guy took us through all the different resorts. Very nice.

Conclusion - I would most definiatly reccomened this resort to anyone. The people are very friendly, the food is excellent, our room was always clean, entertainemet was very good. All in all I would rate is resort a 9 out of 10. Would love to go back!!
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Bill 
London, Ontario
February 2008
Arrival - We flew Air Transat via Air Transat Holidays and arrived an hour late due to bad weather in Toronto. Once we arrived at the airport we were able to find our luggage and bus easily. Check in was slow (only one person working the desk) and because we were checking in late (around midnight), we couldn't get a safe and a preferred ground floor room. We were told to return in the morning. One good thing is there is a bar in the lobby and the guests were going to the bar and getting drinks while waiting in line. The lobby bar is open until 1 AM.

Rooms - Terrible. If you like things to work in your room, don't count on this resort. If you can manage without a mini-bar, fan, A/C, working lights, then this resort is for you. Also, if you like changing rooms several times, this resort is for you. Our first room was 8203, the WORST room in the complex. All of the above didn't work and the patio door didn't lock. Also, right behind us was a public disco that blared music until 4-5 AM most nights, so if you are a light sleeper, avoid buldings 8-9. The common theme among the guests is their initial room was terrible and the next a slight upgrade but most just settled for what they got because they didn't want to waste their time moving and waiting for other rooms to become available. The beds are 3/4 (basically twin beds). So if you are sharing with 3 adults, they can provide a cot, but the cot is very uncomfortable. The maid service was good. NOTE** Be prepared for the fact that you cannot get a safe. This was the most difficult thing for us to get from this resort. There is a safe in our room, but no key????. We went back several times to get a key, only to be told to come back when they had keys. This confused me, so I talked to our Air Transat rep and his reply was "Sorry, they have no keys". So our room safe was totally useless!!!. We ended up carrying our valuables (ie. keys, passports, cameras, phones,etc) everywhere we went. So take a good carrying case for these things if you decide to say here, you will need it.

Restaurants - Excellent. We tried the Brazilian and Oriental restaurants and both were quite good. The main buffet was pretty good, although the layout is not the best and you will find some of the most popular areas (toast, omelette/pasta bar) quited cramped during peak periods. The pizzeria was marginal. The BBQ's at the beach bar and pool bar were pretty good with lots of variety for lunch every day.

Bars - Bars were pretty good. Service was slow at times as staff was minimal. The lobby bar patio area had waitresses who would bring drinks to your table which was a great feature.

Beach and Pools - Pretty good. Beach was clean with lots of shade and lounges. Pools were well maintained.

Grounds - Excellent. The grounds are well kept and very lush and colurful. The layout of this resort is simple so that there is easy access to all the amenities. There were lots of signs throughout the resort to tell you were to find the restaurants, buildings, beach, etc.

Tours - Air Transat rep had several tours that were available for booking. We did not book any this trip but may in the future.

Conclusion - Resort was 4* quality in restaurants, amenities, grounds, pools and beach. The rooms more like 2-3* quality and need need some work. We would return to this resort for another vacation and hopefully by then the rooms will be upgraded with double beds and all the things in the room will be working upon our arrival. As this is now a Barcelo resort (as of Nov 2007) the rooms will be improved making it an all around 4* resort. Also, during our stay, we met a lot of fellow Canadians who were also staying at this resort which was great for getting additional information regarding local sites, tours and resort information.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Ronnie 

January 2008
My husband and I just recently returned from a one week stay at the Barcelo Puerto Plata. (Jan. 4th - 11th). We booked with Air Transat who were using Sky Service for the transport. We wanted to try something different as our past seven vacations had always been to Cuba. (Varadero and Cayo Ensenachos)

We did not have excessive expectations going in as we knew the rating, had followed forum posts, read the latest reviews and understood that the hotel was in transition under new ownership. We always knew that the beach would not be like the soft white sands, and turquoise waters we were used to in Cuba.

We got a great last minute deal, booking 2 weeks before take-off so I e-mailed the hotel to inquire about the cost of upgrading to their Premium Club Royal Service Suites. They promptly replied welcoming us and quoted a price of $40 per person per night.

After over a 5 hour departure delay, we arrived on the morning of the fifth at 2:30 am. The lone front desk agent who was registering two busloads of people told us that we could not upgrade till the next day so we were led to what Air Transat claims was a premium room in their own private section.
This was not the case for us. We ended up in a rather drab, tired looking room on the second floor in building ten with a lovely view of the back wall of the tennis court. The fridge was not working, the faucet was leaning off it's perch on the sink, and the drain was plugged. The room however was clean. As it was nearing 4:00 am., there was not much we could do but get to sleep. The next morning we went down to the front desk who made a quick call to the Royal Service concierge and we were shown two rooms, one is referred to as a Luxury Suite and the other the Grand Club Concierge Suite which resembles a small apartment with a separate sitting and dining area and massive king bed in the sleeping quarters. We opted for the single room Luxury Suite. The decor was the same as in the standard rooms the hotel offers but has a much larger bathroom and everything was in working order.

We really enjoyed the perks in this area as you are in a small gated compound just off to the right of the main pool. The concierge staff is very friendly and accommodating. The internet on the lone computer in their office is free. They have a small heated pool/jacuzzi depending on whether you want to swim or feel the jets or"bubbles" as the girls call them. The loungers have thick pads and are laid out with towels. There is also a small covered outdoor dining area for breakfast/lunch. In the morning a private chef makes your eggs to order and side dishes can be obtained from the small buffet. At lunch there is a small selection of hot and cold dishes laid out.
Throughout the day snacks/hors d'oeuvres are available as well as premium brand alcohol and bottled beer (Presidente) Italian wines are also available as is a very nice Spanish champagne.

The butler offers pool service throughout the day. We quite enjoyed a pre-dinner drink and apetizers in this small bistro. After dinner drinks were always enjoyed in the small lounge just off the eating area which had lovely oversized chairs and a flat screen TV.

Although we walked the beach we never swam in the ocean as the water was very murky throughout our stay due to the heavy rainfall. We spent most of our time in the private area enjoying each others' company, reading or talking to other guests there.

The restaurants we found to be usual AI fare. Food and service could be inconsistant. We had a really good meal in the Brazilian our first night there, however when we returned a few days later it was overcooked and all the meat was really dried out. The food in the Italian was good but the sevice was not. We had two good lunches in the buffet but when we decided to try it one night we did not enjoy it as there were no carving stations as there had been at lunch and most of the entrees consisted of varied seafood or meat stews which to me were simply not appealing. We enjoyed the pool snack bar and the Mexican as well. The guacomole was really good.

The grounds are well maintained and lovely. The main lounge and pool areas are very clean. It's quite a compact resort so walking was not an issue.Housekeeping services, I thought were excellent. Our room was very clean and evening turn down service and towel change was a nice bonus.

Overall, we had a really lovely holiday. Would we return? Absolutely but only at the right price and if we could get the same upgrade. We are not big party people and don't need organized activities to keep us entertained which is why we chose the quietness of the Premium Club over the "busyness" of the main resort as the animation staff seemed to work really hard at getting people involved in pool activities and stage shows during daily rainfall periods or later in the evening.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Twylla 

December 2007
Booked with Sell Off Vacations out of Calgary, and through Air Transat. Stayed Nov. 28th to Dec 5th, 2007.
Stayed in building #15 ground floor. Two double beds, huge bathroom, clean, towels changed 2xs daily. Fridge stocked daily, and could easily get more by asking. Had some bugs, the usual hot holiday kind, and were easily taken care of with bug spray. I have been on a lot of hot holidays and have always noticed some kind of an insect. My tip - take a can of Raid in your checked luggage and use it every morning when leaving your room.
Beach had good sand, lots of chairs and lots of shade. The usual venders, but very polite. Water was not very clear. This could be mostly due to the time of year (just after hurricane season). The last couple of days the wind did die down and snorkeling was not too bad.
We used the kyaks, bannana boat ride, horse ride, dune buggy ride, and a trip to Ocean World. All were good.
Food was very good. Tried all the restaurants and were great.
Tipping is incouraged, and it isn't hard to leave a couple $$ here and there.
If you have the chance book with the Air Transat Premium Club, our room was good.
Overall very good. The change from an Occidental to a Barcelo is definitley going to make for many improvements.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Barriebrian 
Ontario
November 2007
Arrival - We arrived via Skyservice Nov 16-23..At the airport there was a bit of confusion on what bus to get on as some drivers had Barcelo and the rep had Occidental Grand as the hotel name. Once at the hotel check-in was a breeze, they were organized and prepared. Golf cart whisked us off to our room, all in all took 15 mins. Get your safety deposit lock and key at reception, cost was $15 for the week.

Rooms - We were in the 10 block on the 3rd floor, which was nice as it has a cathedral ceiling, making the room seem even bigger. King bed, hairdryer, iron, coffee maker and fridge filled with Presidente, Coke, water and Sprite. If you wanted more of each just leave the maid a note and she will give you more..Besides a few $$ we gave her a beanie-baby reindeer for her daughter and was very appreciative.No bugs at all and room cleaned spotless everyday. No problems with the a/c.

Restaurants - Food was excellent, if you go hungry then you are way too picky.Buffets had variety, the pool and beach buffets both had hamburgers, hotdogs, fries, salads and then a specialty item. Each day it was either ribs, t-bone steak, pepper steak or bbq chicken, southern fried chicken and a fish.The main lunch/dinner buffet had a variety of hot items including roasted turkey, pork, roast beef, a made to order pasta station, and a grill with different types of fish and meat. Also pizza, soups and salad bar and of course all 3 buffets had ice cream wich was very good. Ala cartes were Italian, Mexican, Brazillian, Oriental and Pizzaria. We tried all except the Mexican, and they were outstanding. The service was exceptional and the food wonderful!! The pizza is open air and closed if it rained.The pizza is a wood fired oven and very tasty. You must book (5 max) within 24 hrs to get your choice of either 7pm or 9pm seating with the Air Transat premium package.

Breakfast had made to order eggs with salads, bacon, sausage, fresh fruits, fruit slushies and plenty of pastries and breads. 4-5 variety of cold cereal including Fruit Loops, Corn Flakes etc.

Bars - All had Presidente on tap, as well as mixed drinks. We did notice on our last day that the Theatre bar was carrying Canadian Club rye.This might be the Barcelo upgrade from Occidental. Previous posts had the pool bar only having soft drinks and beer...They now have a full bar menu including slushies. Victor works the pool bar and was always happy to fill my bubba keg. Pool bar closes at 5pm so then you must go to the beach or lobby bar. Theatre bar opens at 6pm

Beach and Pools - Beach was nice and raked every morning of debris and garbage. Lots of shade and loungers at both pool and beach. Yes there were beach venders but a simple no gracias and they moved on. A 30 min walk to your left and there was a small flea market to find items to take home, colourful and fun to barter. 2 pools, one small and the other a free form with a walk in entrance, great for kids or the elderly.

Grounds - Nicely landscaped and well taken care of. Everyday we saw them cutting, raking, planting.

Activities - Animation team was a hoot!! Say hi to Chewy ( he cries like a donkey) They all try and get you on stage at night for the Choco-lata dance at the end...great fun. If you happen to win one of their games, you get a bottle or rum as a prize. They have an activities board that posts the days fun stuff to do.

Tours - Only did one tour, the waterfalls, which is more adult orientated as its a cross between Indiana Jones adventure and Fear Factor. We had 2 guides and felt safe the whole time. You wear helmuts and lifejackets and climb up the waterfalls, only to turn around and slide down them.

Conclusion - We had a great time and will definately return....Staff, service, food were all exceptional. As mentioned before this is a Barcelo hotel now(effective Nov 1) and everyday there were improvements to this hotel.. i,e painting, repairing tiles, lights etc. We flew via Skyservice, just wish it was Air Transat who we booked the package thru. Any questions PM me ...barriebrian
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Matt 

May 2007
This hotel and room and grounds were decent. Food in the main restaurant (buffet) was not so good. The waiters/waitresses were working hard but there were too many diners for them to accomodate.

Please note that although they allow you to pay more for the "Concierge Deluxe" package it will be the same room as all the others. The additional cost is a rip-off. I would recommend that you not book the grand concierge deluxe package or grand romance package for this hotel.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
The Corey's 
New Brunswick
April 2007
We stayed at the Occidential Grand Puerto Plata from April 4th to the 18th.

We have travelled south for 25 years and have stayed at various hotels and resorts.

The Occidential Grand was great value for the money.

We stayed in building 10 overlooking the pools. Rooms was great, air conditioning worked. The room had everything we needed. Good food, you could walk for miles on the beach and yes away from the hotels there is garbage, the same as every other location we have travelled too. The resort had beautiful grounds, the best we have seen in the Dominican, Cuba and Mexico.

We ate at the Brazillian and Italian resturants, both were great. The oriential is very small and we did not get in but the cook from the oriential does oriential food at the buffet on Tuesdays.

We were at the Occidential over Easter and it was very crowded with Dominician people. I do not have any problem with Dominican people being at the resort. My only complaint would be with management booking families of 6 to 10 people, and maybe more, in a room and overcrowing the resort. The pools were full, buffet resturant was very crowded and the whole resort was very noisy, however, we knew this going in and booked because we got an excellent price, $3350 for two people for two weeks with Air Canada, deluxe room, from Halifax. I did not have anything to do for two weeks except get a drink, have something to eat and go for a walk on the beach, hard life!

I think the people who complain about this resort should book highter priced packages, you cannot book the cheapest package in the books and expect to get the same quality as the resorts who charge two or three times as much. Relying completely on the star system may not always carry the options that you are looking for.

Relax and enjoy you vacation.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Katie 

March 2007
Let me start by saying i would NEVER go back to this resort again. Along with the beach being completely filthy EVERY day with garbage everywheres, there were also a lot of thefts. Our first day there we had $120 and a case of cd's and pringles stolen from our rooms. Everyday after that our luggage was gone through when we were not in our rooms. We would leave stuff set up so we would be able to tell if people were going through our stuff or even in our rooms at all, and we came to notice that people were coming into our rooms more than once daily. The room would be cleaned, we would come back, leave somethign set up, like keep the lights on, or arrange our luggage a certain way, and when we would come back, the lights would be off, of our luggage was rummaged through. On top of that we made friends with another family. A family with 2 young kids that were vacationing for 2 weeks. So like a normal family they brought some things to entertain there children, they brought a play station, a portable dvd player, and then a video camera and digital camera. All of which was stolen. Someone went onto their balcony and broke in with a butter knife and stole over $3000 worth of belongings. Being there as a witness when security arrived, they didnt even attepmt to apologize, they said "have a good night" and that was it. Five days later after paying to write a police report and meeting up with someone everyday to find out what they were going to do. Still nothign was done. On the 5th day they mother was not having it anymore and decided to finally speak up. STILL no one apologizing. She finally came across a woman who apologized to them. The only thing they go out of this whole situation was to move to a bigger room. $3000 worth of stuff and money later, they are in abigger room, and recieved one apology. I would NEVER recommend this resort to anyone ever.
Barcelo Premium Puerto Plata
Troy and Tara-Lynn 
Nova Scotia
March 2007
3 couples, ages 29-36, were at the Occidental Grand Flamenco from March 13th-20th staying at the Transat Holidays Premium Club. He flew out of Halifax at 6am via CanJet and were on the resort with drinks in hand by 11:30am. All 6 people boarded the aircraft with photo id’s and birth certificates without problems. What can I say about CanJet that hasn’t already been said? It’s small and cramped with no leg room. No one cares about the flight anyway, so on to my review.

Check-in: We were greeted at the hotel by friendly staff and cold drinks. Check in was very fast, maybe 5 minutes, but were told our rooms would not be ready until 3pm. We had packed our swim suits in our carry-on’s and proceeded to the washroom to change, got drinks at the lobby bar, and waited in the lounge. Around 12pm we asked one of the bell boy’s (Ramond) if our rooms were ready yet. He must have pulled a few strings as he came back moments later with our room keys. He then loaded our luggage on a trolley and took us to our rooms where he showed us how the electrical switches and air conditioning worked.

Rooms: My husband and I stayed in room 11-220, the other couples with us had rooms 11-204 and 11-206. Our room was huge with vaulted ceilings. It had 2 ¾ beds which we just pushed together, a dresser, tv, min fridge, night table, and a seating area with table and 2 chairs. On the balcony it also had a table with 2 chairs. The bathroom was very spacious as well and came equipped with toiletries such as soaps, lotions, a sewing kit etc. and the bath tub/shower had body wash and shampoo dispensers. Since we were in our room before the required check-in time, our beach towels, slippers, robes, bottle of rum and fruit platter had not arrived yet. The mini fridge was also empty. By the time we unpacked and got ourselves settled, (maybe 1 hour) the above mentioned were all delivered to our room. The mini fridge was stocked with 2 beer (cans of Presidente) 2 soft drinks (7UP and Pepsi) and 2 bottles of water. This was replenished everyday as were the snacks (1 bag of chips and 1 chocolate bar)

Beach: Not the greatest. As soon as you step foot on the beach you will be swarmed with vendors trying to sell you anything from necklaces to coconuts and women wanting to braid your hair. They know new faces, so as the week goes on, they are not as aggressive. I did have my hair braided with the extensions and it cost me $90US. I could have gotten it for $70US but before I knew it I was in the chair getting it done. It was worth it though. It did rain quite a bit while we were there so the beach was littered with garbage and debris. The staff work very hard at cleaning it up. There were always plenty of lounge chairs and the Premium Club guests had a roped off section. I never used this section as it was very small.

Restaurants: This resort has many dinning options. At the beach you will find a snack bar which opens at 10am for drinks and serves a buffet lunch at 1pm. Here you will find vegetables to make your own salad, tons of fresh fruit, pork chops, fish, potatoes, rice dishes, hamburgers, fresh breads and desserts. This was my favorite place to eat lunch. The only draw back with this bar is they close at 5pm. So if you’re a beach bum and are down there past 5pm, you’ll have to head up to the resort for a drink.

Pool and snack bar – The swim up bar also opens at 10am but only serves beer and soft drinks. No rum drinks found here. Upstairs of the swim up bar, you will find another bar that serves snacks until 5pm. Here you will find food such as veggies to make a salad, fruit, hamburgers, hotdogs, nachos, french fries, etc. I did not eat here often, and if I did, it was french fries and fruit. The hamburgers here (in my opinion) were awful. Not like our beef at home.

Buffet – The main buffet restaurant opens at 7am-10:30am for breakfast. Breakfast here was amazing. My favorite meal of the day. If you can imagine it, they serve it. Pancakes, french toast, eggs served 3 different ways and fresh omelets made to order. Bacon, sausage, ham, fruits, breads, cereals, yogurts. I could go on and on. This restaurant opens again at 1pm-3pm for lunch and from 7pm-10:30pm for dinner. You will not go away hungry here. I’m a very picky eater and there was always something I liked.

A la carts – We did the Italian a la cart twice, the Mexican once, and the Brazilian (steak house) once. The Oriental restaurant is next to impossible to get into and the pizzeria was rarely open due to rain (it’s open air dining) They do however, move the pizza to the main buffet in the event they are closed and the oriental food is served in the main buffet on Tuesday nights if you happen to miss it. All a la carts were excellent, but the Italian was my favorite. The spaghetti with meat sauce is to die for as well as their white chocolate cheese cake for dessert. The a la carts take reservations for 7pm and 9pm. You should make these reservations as soon as you arrive to avoid disappointment.

Excursions : We did 2 excursions. The first one we booked through our Transat Holidays rep. and it was the Sosua Tip Top tour. It was $79US per person. You board a 60ft. catamaran at 8:30am, sail, sail and sail some more. They stop twice for you to snorkel. Once in Sosua and once at Casa Marina. They serve drinks and a light lunch and return to shore around 3:30pm. This was the trip from hell so I can’t really give too much detail on it. At least half of the people on board were sick and they didn’t have enough buckets on board for the amount of sickness. I have been out on the ocean many times before and never had a sea sickness problem, but this trip was hands down the worst day of my life.

The second excursion was a Jeep Safari tour that we booked through someone on the beach. Unfortunately I can’t recall the companies name, but if you want more info. on them, I can get the receipt from my friend. This excursion was $45US per person (almost half of what Transat Holidays charges) They pick you up at the lobby of your resort at 8:30am. From there we traveled through the streets of Puerto Plata until we stopped at a small store. What an eye opener that was. The driving was insane. At the store i purchased 2 lbs. of coffee, vanilla, and a bag of candy. (you’ll need the candy to throw to children later in the trip)

We then traveled through the country side stopping along the way to take pictures. We went on a Saturday so the children were not in school. As soon as they hear the jeep coming they will run after it for candy. We stopped at several places on our trip where we watched people make wood carvings, another place where they make coffee and chocolate and got to sample mamajuana and fresh coconut milk. After touring the country side we stopped for a traditional Dominican lunch where we were served fried chicken, 2 different rice dishes, pork, beef, spaghetti and fresh fruit. After that we were off to the water falls. Here you will have to rent water shoes for 50 pesos if you do not bring your own. Flip flops are not acceptable as you have to do a lot of walking and the rocks are very slippery. You are also required to wear a life jacket and helmet which are supplied.

I thought was ridiculous at first, but soon found out why. The water fall consists of many levels which you have to climb and then either slide or jump off each level into very deep pools of water. This was my favorite part of the trip. It was terrifying at first to climb the steep rocks, but the guides help you along and it’s so much fun to jump off. Our entire excursion was filmed and you could purchase the dvd for $45US. I highly recommend this trip. The sight seeing is fantastic and you get to learn about the country and it’s culture.

Summary: There are a few things I did not like about this resort. There are not enough bars. The bars they do have are under staffed and you often have to wait a very long time to get a drink, especially if it is after 5pm when there are only 2 bars open. You can not get food at this resort between 5pm and 7pm or after 11pm. Everything shuts down at 11pm, so if you want a drink you have to go to the beach disco.

Things I loved about this resort were the huge rooms, cleanliness, food, super friendly staff, pool and it’s location. It’s only a short walk to the shopping mall where you will find lots of souvenirs to bring back home. We had a great week and I would definitely return to this resort. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at nschik28@hotmail.com. Here is a link to some photos http://new.photos.yahoo.com/nschik27/albums/