BlueBay Villas Doradas

8  / 10
Average rating (36 reviews)
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10 / 10
Many visits

"The wife and I are now well into our fifties and have travelled the world on Holiday; in the Caribbean we visited Barbados, St Kitts, Aruba, Jamaica and Cuba before visiting the Dominican Republic. We first stayed at the Victoria Golf hotel in May 2006 and thought it to be too far to walk to get into any action, but we were playing golf 5 days and scuba diving for 3 days so the stay was pleasant. I never got the opportunity to have two weeks off from work so we went back to Domrep in the September and stayed at Blue Bay Villa’s.

I will leave out the bits they tell you in the brochure about available facilities etc. Everything we like is at this hotel. Peace, uncrowded pools, excellent staff, unbeatable service, friendly and clean rooms. We love the fact there is always a sun bed available in September night or day (not always an umbrella but each year there seems to be new ones). Everything is a short 1 to 3 min walk; perfect. You can take or leave the beach as it is separated by a 100 meter walk through the hotel grounds. The food for any Caribbean island is always different from what you’re used to but it is always available 24 hours a day, huge choice, fresh and well presented. OK so the pork chops are thinner, the peas are less green but you are in the Caribbean, not Devon. The rooms are variable on size but always clean and all you do is sleep in them. We are at breakfast at 7 and by the pool/beach by 8 and stay there until the sun goes down, shower, change and in the dining room by 8, entertainment until 10 or 11 then on our balcony until midnight before entering the room for sleep. There is an exchange library rack by the pool towel hut where most swap their paperbacks during stays.

Following that trip we went twice to BBV in 07 and twice in 08, since then I changed jobs and did 2 weeks in September of 09 and two weeks in 10 and 11. We missed 2012 but will return in 2013. Those that return get to know each other; there are dozens in our two week September spot. More importantly at returning you get to know your way round the system and the food. If you look close around the dining room there are tables with choices you may not see first time round as there is so much to choose from. We could live on the salads.

The Black Band Holiday sales guys get the most complaints: At first they will try to get you to go to a presentation and they use the “lets be friends” approach. It is not for everyone but the Brits hate salesman to begin with so the hackles are already up. It is their job and they do not get paid unless you go to the presentation so of course they try hard. They respect a firm no, even if you have to say it three or four times on the first day. As you enter the pool area for the first time, the guy that talks to you has won you as a customer and the others will just say hi occasionally but you are his customer. Imagine his disappointment if he picks all the “no thankyou’s”. When you return to the resort they remember you and you won’t get bothered again but they are still friendly and will sometimes just sit and chat to you. They are nice guys trying to do a job, it is just your Britishness that makes you uncomfortable.

We bring $100 in ones for tips and $60 in 10’s but it is your choice, English money is crap for tipping as they can’t use coins. As the staff know us, we end up changing at least £20 in coins to dollars for the staff. We tip the waiters on the evening who serve our drinks, after the first buck you never have to wait again. That covers about 14 x $5 a night or $70. You tip a buck each to the coach driver that brings you from airport, a buck each to the dude that takes your case to the room (and again when you leave) $8,. The $10’s we give on the last day; one to the evening bar waitress, one to the lady that cleans your room, one to the barman by the pool, rocky by day & Vincent at night, one to your day waiter and one to your night waiter in the dining room. Tipping always worries Brits but if you consider the service you get for that £100 extra in the fortnight I find it humbling. Bring dollars for the shopping Plaza and any eating out you may do, pounds exchange rate is less favourable and again the coins get in the way. There is a cash point at the Plaza which gives you local spondoolies.

Packing: You do not need socks, you do not need the evening jumper/coat (it does not get cold), you do not need shoes (except for excursions if you fancy them). Two pairs of trousers for evening meals and a 7 shirts you can wear twice if two weeks. Sandals are everyday and night footwear. For the day time I take 7 tee shirts and wear them twice and two pairs of shorts. You use them from the room to the pool, then to breakfast and lunch, 2 hours a day tops. The wife brings similar, throw over dresses etc for lunch and light cool evening wear. Add your nicks, swimwear, toiletries, sun tan lotion, a small umbrella (for getting to evening meals in rainy season), books, music and your packed. We never fill the 20kg each with clothes so we take a box of wine each in the luggage for late evenings on the balcony or terrace instead of the entertainment (house wine is iffy but drinkable with the French trick of Ice cubes, in local lingo just ask for hielo sounds like hyellow). Everyone speaks English but asking for ice is unusual for the locals so knowing the word helps. Shampoo, soap, conditioner, towels are provided unless your ‘hair fussy’. Beach and Pool towels are provided don’t bring any.

Long winded but hope it helps, too many complain as they are asking too much for the price we pay for this resort. Their first Caribbean stay at this price may bring out the food moaners, people not understanding what a 30 to 40 degree heat can do to a building and its surroundings, what you can cook and what you can’t, what you can and can’t provide. If you’re a natural moaner at work or in the pub BBV will not change you. If your chilled this Place is the mutts nuts.

The one down side is the admin, they always stuff up something for at least one in every flight to arrive.

  • Holiday details: Sep 2012, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Bring one dollar bills for tipping, and lots of them
  • Good For: Beach

8 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

6 / 10
Good holiday

"had a great time,did very little,relaxed by the pool and ate,a well earned rest.....staff very good,food good,drinks not so good,cheap brands...."

  • Holiday details: May 2012, booked with Thomson
  • Good For: Beach

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

3 / 10
hotel great rooms for cheap B&B standardbut not the price!!!!

"on our honeymoon i cried for hours after seeing our room and sat in lobby for hours refusing to go in that room, very disapionted no one was bothered.... i tried to get another hotel.... hotel was great rooms horrible... fur coat no knickers... look good all over untill saw rooms don't go if you expect luxury...."

  • Holiday details: Oct 2011, All Inclusive, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: none
  • Good For: Beach

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

7 / 10
A Nice and Relaxing Holiday for the Money

"We've been to many places in the Caribbean over the years, but this was our first time in Dominican Republic and we went, on a recommendation, in May this year. It was by far the cheapest of the Caribbean packages we've had and I would definitely say that the old addage, 'you get what you pay for' is very true in this case.

We booked with Thomas Cook, flying with Thomas Cook Airlines. I couldn't fault the airline itself, but the reps in the resort left a lot to be desired. The ones we dealt with seemed a bit clueless to be honest, (except one older lady who was very knowledgable). They also seemed disorganised, particularly when it came to pick up for our departure from the hotel. If you had an issue or a problem they were generally blase, but, of course, if you were booking an excursion with them (which we never did), then they were much more cooperative.

The hotel is spotless and comfortable and the staff are generally very helpful and friendly; our daily maid was excellent and our usual waiter in the buffet restaurant was top notch; nothing was too much trouble for them. It's great also that the hotel is 'adults only'. Our room (5112) was nice, but basic - right by the chill-out pool and bar and away from the noisy entertainment area (although, when we were there, there were a group of Americans in their mid-20's who failed to recognise that this particular area was supposed to be a quiet, no smoking area. They dominated the pool and the bar, they were obnoxious, very demanding of the staff, drunk and loud (even late at night) and persisted smoking wherever they pleased, even in the pool, which we found very off putting [even though I smoke myself]. Fortunately, they were only there for 4 days of our stay).

The food was okay, though nothing special; it was definitely catering for the masses and a bit repetitive, and the wine served with the evening meal in the buffet restaurant could only be described as rank (vinegar comes to mind!) Disappointingly, the A La Carte restaurants weren't brilliant either, the best of them being the Grill/Steak Restaurant on the beach. Here the food was better and you could buy a nice bottle of wine with your meal, but it was very expensive after paying the tax on top. We went to the Fish Restaurant only once, having heard from people with tummy problems after their vist. The oriental restaurant(Jade Garden), was a bit of a joke to be honest, with a limited menu and a most annoying waiter there - we couldn't wait to leave! We had a few of our evening meals out of the hotel: the Golf Club across the road did a nice meal, but not cheap and we also went to a couple of places in or around the Plaza. We had a fab lobster supper in one restaurant, though very expensive for what it was and there is a 'Hard Rock Cafe' type of place which did an amazing Pizza.

The pools at the hotel were lovely; very clean and inviting, but the main pools were obviously busier and noisier with the daily entertainment. The chill-out pool was the place to go for some R&R, but the adjacent gym was disappointing as the equipment did not work well and the spa/treatments was very expensive. We spent a lot of time on the beach, which again is very clean and safe, with a nice breeze making the high temperatures bearable. The downside here, as with most places you go, was that it was extremely annoying and infuriating that all the spots with parasols were 'reserved' with towels and beach bags at the crack of dawn, with nobody using them for hours, despite notices requesting people refrain from such practice! We later observed the beach staff removing towels etc. after a time if people were blatantly not using the parasol areas and this caused a bit of aggro and fuss now and then with the culprits when they did condiscend to show up!

Another annoying aspect of the holiday were the 'touts' constantly pestering you to attend their timeshare meetings. We stood firm with them, however persistent they were (and boy, there were persistent), but you shouldn't have to put up with that within the confines of your hotel and we did complain about this. However, they are doing it on behalf of the hotel, so the response we got was pretty indifferent. (Interestingly, we met a couple over there who had taken up the timeshare deal a couple of years ago, but they were desperately looking to 'opt out' of it; they weren't happy at all - apparently they had paid an awful lot of money yet didn't received the VIP service they had been promised and were constantly having to complain). The touts also, understandingly, do not appreciate the concept that we work hard during the year and don't expect to be bothered and hassled with touts when we take time out for a well-earned holiday; at the end of the day, they are doing their job. As with many places you go, they also are under the misconception that all English people are loaded!!!

The weather was generally very good, low to mid 30's as you would expect, but very humid and prime mosquito weather. And like most places in the Caribbean, when it rains, it sure does rain, though soon dries up again when the sun comes back out.

In the end we didn't go on any excursions, though we had wanted to, but following reports we heard from others, we decided to save our money and, as a result, we didn't venture far from the hotel itself, save for a couple of visits to the Shopping Plaza and a few evening meals. The Plaza itself has some lovely shops, but very expensive and you do have to watch your change. You also get hassled quite a bit in there.

I would also mention that we found Puerto Plata airport to be complete chaos and quite unlike anything we had experienced before; it was a 'cattle market', both entering and on departure. We were flying Premier Class, but, even so, on departure the check-in staff were very rude and unfriendly and by no means helpful. The toilets in the airport were dirty and annoyingly in the airport we had to run the gauntlet here too away from the touts trying to lure you to buy cigarettes and perfume. I would also add that, while non-smokers may consider this petty, if you do smoke and want to have a cigarette in the airport before the long flight home, you must buy a drink at an astronomical cost if you want to smoke and use an ashtray. I did not want a drink and would not buy one on principle, however, I was kindly invited to share an ashtray with another couple who had a coke between them. There were several others who also, like me, didn't have a drink and whilst we huddled around the one ashtray and were having a natter, myself and the others with me were approached by staff who point-blank demanded we either buy a drink or put our cigarettes out there and then!!! They were quite hostile and stood and patrolled until you complied. I was rather insensed by this, to say the least.

All-in-all though, we had a very nice, relaxing break at Blue Bay Villas and we did enjoy it, despite the niggles mentioned above. However, compared to other 4 star all-inclusive packages we have had in the Caribbean, which admitedly have all been substantially more expensive, Dominican Republic / Blue Bay Villas did not really fulfill our expectations and I would therefore say it is worth paying the extra. Would we go back again? - Possibly, if we were on a budget, if only for the weather and relaxation.

  • Holiday details: May 2011, All Inclusive, booked with Thomas Cook
  • Good For: Beach

4 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

10 / 10
Treated like royalty

"We've just come back from blue bay would highly recommend all the staff can't do enough

For you day and night food is great lots to choose

From rooms are very clean beach is great

Waiters bring you drinks on the beach free just tip when you want to

And you will meet cheepy willy what a funny man and also luis he will get you any trips that the reps can get you but a lot cheaper than them and you can trust him but be very aware of the time share men inside the hotel they walk around the complex they are called blue bay vacation club they get commission just for getting you to giro the office and you do get get a free gift for going

3hrs and they wanted me and my wife to spend £21.000

This gave you 25 yrs in the club for discounted hotels luxury rooms avoid them at all costs also there was was 2 Americans staying at the hotel when we were there they went swimming late at night left there belongings on the beach in the dark and had mobile and money stollen and they blame the hotel if thhis woman had a brain she should had left them in her safe not at the side of the beach and to say that the hotel was dirty that would be a lie it's spotless they are forever cleaning gardening painting yes she moaned every day she was there please ignore this woman

  • Holiday details: Jul 2011, All Inclusive, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Everything and the paradise VIP island trip

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

8 / 10
Blue Bay - Positive and Pushy

"Positives - Lovely, friendly staff, superb entertainment day and night with a great crew of charectors, the 2 large pools are great for socialasing and playing voilleyball, the third smaller pool is great for relaxing (with lovely chill out music playing quietly in the background). The food is delicious with massive variety and great themes each night like Mexican, Dominican, Mediterean etc. The three a la carte restaraunts are very nice too, especially El Pescador,(seafood).

Pushy - Look out for white T shirt wearing staff who trick you into a building to try to persuade you to buy into thier holiday club and make it very difficult to leave even after you have said no thankyou. Other negatives, the gym is small and the machines barely work in it. Although the food is good the sweets are quite poor with a few exceptions. I am sure that some of the rooms are amazing but I had a small basic one - not very impressive. That would be fine if it wasn't for the 3 issues that EVERYONE seemed to have with thier rooms. 1- the key card would regularly fail. 2 - the water would suddenly stop and not come back on for over an hour. 3. Regular, short power cuts.

Otherwise, the beach and location is amazing, with plenty to do around the area. I recommend Paradise island which has the most exotic coral reef I have yet seen.

  • Holiday details: Aug 2009, All Inclusive, booked with Thomson
  • Good For: Beach

15 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

7 / 10
Nice Relaxing Holiday

"Before we went to Blue Bay Villas, my husband and I read a lot of the reviews, some of which are quite scathing (particularly on tripadvisor). Nonetheless, we decided to keep an open mind and would judge for ourselves.

We went with Thomas Cook and the airline was very good for a package deal, but we didn't think much to the Thomas Cook reps. at the hotel. When it came to our departure, nobody knew what time we were supposed to be being picked up and any information there was was all conflicting. It was a bit of a sham and no apology was offered when they did finally arrive.

The hotel was lovely, very clean and comfortable, although we did have to change our room on the second day as we'd paid extra for a balcony and when we initially booked in, the room we were given was pokey, no air.con, top floor and no balcony. The bed was hard and the pillows were lumpy. We were lucky when we did get moves as the room we were then given (after we kicked up a fuss) was much better and in a quieter part of the hotel, not near the night time entertainment.

Food was quite good at the buffet restaurant, but nothing amazing, and if you do like a nice glass of wine, you may very well be disappointed. We didn't rate the a la carte restaurants at all, the Jade Garden being terribe and if you want to buy a half-decent bottle of wine with your meal, you can buy it in the a la carte restaurants, but you'll pay through the nose for it. I didn't think much either to the food at the 24 hour beach bar ... it's pretty much the same thing every day, burger and chips and fried chicken (which was usually rock hard)!

All round, the service was very friendly and efficient and our room was kept lovely and clean by the daily maids. Our maid was very attentive and nothing was too much trouble.

Pool areas were lovely, though usual scenario with the beach towels out at 5.30am in the morning, which was quite annoying, particularly around the chill out pool/bar as there aren't that many loungers to begin with. The beach was where we spent a lot of our time and it was clean, safe and a great place to chill out. With the sea breeze it was also more bearable than being around the pools, which were intensely hot at times (and we like the sun). The only draw back again was the battle you had sometimes trying to get a parasol at the beach, with people getting up at unearthly hours to hog them and then going off again for hours at a time, presumably back to bed!!

We didn't really do the excursion thing ... was put off by some of the reports we heard about the places we wanted to go. By all accounts, the catamaran trip was a total rip off; there was no way on earth I was going on the Monster Truck Safari after I saw the actual vehicle you travel on and the amount of people they pack on it and the Amber Museum is apparently a waste of time, being nothing much other than a collection of stalls and shops selling Amber. Sosua had also been on our list of places to go, but it threw up bad reports from a lot of people we spoke to and it would seem its the place you go to if you wanna pick up a prostitute, with the girls blatantly touting for business wherever you go. Our friends went into Puerto Plata in a cab and were glad to get back ... said it was really rough and the journey was a bit touch and go. So it was a shame we didn't get to do a bit more, but as the weather was fantastic (low to mid 30's) I was more than happy to do some sun worshipping on the beach and just relax.

My hubby played a lot of golf also while we were there and loved the Playa Dorada Golf Course which is just across the road, although it did work out quite expensive.

The main shopping plaza in Playa Dorada is about 5 minutes walk from Blue Bay Villas. I would have liked to have browsed a bit more and had a better look around, but we were put off with everyone trying to hussle and hassle you in the Plaza. You also have to really watch your change in that place ... if they get the chance, they'll try to rip you off really badly. One shop attendant attempted to short change my husband by $33 and became quite defensive and rude when we demanded to speak to the manager.

I guess you get hassled most places you go to these days on holiday ... if you're a tourist, and an English one at that, your immediately a target. You also have to remember that it is the Caribbean and it is a poor country, so you can't blame them to some extent, but at the same time, it was a down side to the holiday. We didn't mind the lucky-lucky guys on the beach so much, they weren't too bad and if you said no, they'd usually leave you alone. Some of them were quite funny and entertaining and would welcome the chance to just have a chat and a giggle with you. But, it has to be said, what we really did object to (and I know this has been said many times before in previous reports) ... is the timeshare touts within Blue Bay Hotel. In the complex I can accept it is going to happen, but not when you are trying to enjoy the sanctitude of your hotel. They were there constantly trying to hassle you wherever you went, coming over and making false conversation to draw you in .... we gave them a wide birth and tried not to let them get to us, but we saw other people being badly pestered. I am surprised at the hotel allowing it to go on so blatantly .. although I realise they are working on behalf of the hotel in any case.

Another draw back we found was there wasn't an awful lot to do at night time .... the hotel entertainment wasn't our thing at all ... pretty much repetitive and annoying to be honest.

So, all-in-all, in our experience, we found there is good and bad points to Playa Dorada and Blue Bay Villas. You don't expect it to be like home and you wouldn't want it to be, but we were a bit disappointed with some aspects of the holiday. However, they do say that Dominican Republic is the 'Paupers Caribbean', so for the money we paid, we were generally pretty happy with the gorgeous weather and the relaxing, restful time that we had when we were there.

  • Holiday details: May 2009, All Inclusive, booked with Thomas Cook
  • Good For: Beach

15 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

8 / 10
good and bad bits

"First the good bits. Excellent hotel excellent food great service nothing is to much trouble for them the rooms are clean and new looking ,if you like the quiet life E mail them before you go and ask for a room in the 7000 numbers this will get you in the quiet part of the resort next to the chill out pool and bar,if we got put in the main pool area i would have asked to be moved as its really noisey and lots going on for the younger lot.

So now the bad bits. If like me you dont get alot of sun and need to get under a parasol at some point to stop getting burnt then you will need to get up really early 6.30 am to be in with a chance of getting your towel on a sun bed next to a parasole before they are all gone the problem is that there is'nt enough of them so every body gets up early to try and get one once they have got there towel on the sun bed they go off either back to bed or for breakfast and come back later its really annoying but there is nothing else you can do!!! this problem could easyley be fixed all the hotel would have to do is put some more parasols on the beach and a few more around the pool area. the only other bad bit, If you go to the beach from the hotel you cross over a wooden bridge when you get to the end the is a building with BLUE BAY written on it on the right! AVOID this at all costs its the hard sell time share team trying to sell you more blue bay holidays if you are silly enough to go in its a devel of a job to get out with you check book intact be warned Thats all the bad bits apart from that its all good. Have a good holiday

  • Holiday details: Apr 2009, All Inclusive, booked with Thomson
  • Advice: Take your own parasol unless you like getting up really early
  • Activities: diddent go on any
  • Good For: Beach

9 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

3 / 10
Dont do it...

"If your expecting 5 star hotel, you'll be sorely disappointed. this is Butlins for the over 18 swingers! i was ill with food poisioning for over half the hoilday. the excursions that frist choice tell you need to be booked through them are a rip off. 20 minutes snorkel and a pasta salad hardly warrants the £50 each the catamaran trip was.

the superiour rooms that first choice sell you the rooms at, are a complete lie, the hotel staff will tell you that they are only for blue bay members and first choice shouldn't be seeling them like this.

you are pestered every second to join in the crap entertainment daily and nightly, if your room is near this block, you wont be sleeping!

first choice are total scammers and if you had any sense you wouldn't touch them with a barge pole!

  • Holiday details: Sep 2008, All Inclusive, booked with First Choice
  • Advice: there is nothing outside you resort
  • Activities: The fish bar made me ill

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

10 / 10
Thank you

"I just came back from my first carribean experience and I loved it. It was the first time being away without no children. Everything about the island and the people on it were fantastic. I got engaged out there and we are definitly going back for more next year."

  • Holiday details: Oct 2008, All Inclusive, booked with First Choice

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10 / 10
me and my girlfriend went to the blue...

"me and my girlfriend went to the blue bay on july 2008 for two weeks, she was a bit worried it was going to be a rowday because it was "adults only" sh e actualy thought it was going to be a swingers hotel lol, but it was one of our best holidays, the staff were first class the hotel must be the cleanest i have ever been in they are constantly cleaning, painting and renewing any thing that looks worn or tattered, the best thing i would say about it was the anamation team "the crew" they are the funnyest people you will ever meet, the shows they put on is slap stick comedy but you will be falling about laughing they'v all got mad names like; james bond, tony montana pinnapple ect. the food is great but u get board with it after a while same stuff usualy at the buffet but their are three a la carte resturants they are good also. the beach is to die for when the sun comes over it turns pure blue/ green. dont go to the flee market its the same stuff in every stall, u will get it bettet price on the beach any way, and if your doing any excursions do it with your rep its safer, the outback safari was amasing get to see the country and culture. well 10/10 from me, enjoi your holiday."

  • Holiday details: Jul 2008, All Inclusive, booked with First Choice

5 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

10 / 10
Stayed at this hotel for two weeks....

"Stayed at this hotel for two weeks. The food was amazing... beached was a mazing weather was brilliant.. until the day we left... as we left just before the hurrican season. ach day had a different food theme. The best was the American lunch (hotdogs burgers chips) and the mexican Dinner. Breakfast was good and ulimited drinks all night. The beach restaurant was FANTASTIC! When we first arrived we had fied chicken and chips right by the beach.. an amazing start to the holiday. Always somehting to dowith all of the entertainers. Sports on the beach fun by the poolside and in the pool!

Amazing holiday

Definetely recommend it!

There was two downsides but didnt affect me or many people.

One person woke up with a man holding a gun to their head! not sure if it is true.

Also this is truee... a women went to the toilet and can out and got grabbed by a Greman man she got away and he got arrested.

She was fine.

But apart fromt hat Best holiday ever! x

  • Holiday details: Aug 2005, All Inclusive, booked with MyTravel

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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Address: Complejo Playa Dorada, Calle principal, 538, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic (Playa Dorada)