Casa Colonial Beach & Spa

Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata Dominican Republic
5 star hotel

Overview

Ratings summary

Brilliant
438
Good
73
Average
14
Poor
16
Awful
17
 

10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Best place but only pretty good

4
Good
by

"Just returned from Casa Colonial. Resort is beautiful but beach is brown sand and water is the atlantic, not the carribean green water. No problems with vendors...they seem to walk on because the beach area is less crowded...Food, however strives but doesn't quite achieve. You'd think a place this classy would have an outstanding chef and kitchen, but not quite...Didn't get sick, but not par with the surroundings.
Didn't take the meal plan. We went to the Golf Club across the street for dinner...food was fine and less expensive.
Close to other places...can walk to a small shopping mall with snacks, other things.
People are very pleasant and accommodating and strive to achieve satisfaction. Weather was fine
Spa was beautiful."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 7th of March 2006

Great experience at Casa Colonial

4
Good
by

"We are in our 30s and wanted some place special to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. I probably spent over 15 hours researching different resorts before settling on Casa Colonial. So glad the research paid off! This was by far the nicest place we have ever stayed (and we travel quite a bit). The room was beautifully appointed, only the highest quality furniture, linens, and marble floors. We chose the "active life" package, and upgraded to a junior suite with an ocean view, 6 nights. The couples massage was great, and dining at Lucia's every night and the Veranda restaurant every morning was a treat. Lots of good choices on the menu, and the food was definitely 4 star or higher. We're foodies, and found the cuisine far better than places we've stayed at in Cozumel or Jamaica. The service at both Lucia and the Veranda restaurant can't be beat. There were always 3-4 staff attending to us, but not in an intrusive way, they are professional and want to make sure you're enjoying yourself. The people who staff the concierge desk were also very good -- we seemed to have lots of questions (about excursions, details of the active life package, etc.), and they always made us feel like we were their only customer.

Speaking of customers, when we arrived on a Wed. we were one of only 10 rooms that were occupied, so had the resort to ourselves for a little while. Then they get a substantially bigger crowd on the weekend, but still maintained the same level of service, and we never had trouble finding a lounge chair at the beach or the rooftop pool. Other positives: the gym is small but has state-of-the-art equipment with flat screen tvs in front of each machine, the drinks were well-made, and I never heard noise from any of the adjacent rooms. Of course, no place will be absolutely perfect, so here were some minor, minor issues that we noticed:

1. One ply toilet paper! Could be a DR septic issue, and it wasn't the super thin one ply, but still . . .

2. We called for ice sucessfully one time, but the second time after 20 minutes it hadn't arrived, so we gave up and went down to the beach. Later that night during the turn down service we were given the ice, but that was probably 6 hours later.

3. The actual resort property itself is tiny. Probably less than 4 acres even. This didn't bother us at all, since it's one of 14 resorts in gated Playa Dorada. So you can still have your long walk on the beach, you'll just be going by lots of other properties. Casa Colonial has access to a nice clay tennis court, for example, and will reserve your court time for you, but it's a nearby resort, not on site. Actually, being part of Playa Dorada worked out well -- the main Plaza has the touristy shops, places to arrange for excursions, cigar shops, internet access, etc. only a 5 minute walk from Casa Colonial. Wouldn't want that all on the resort property, but good to have access to it. There are also 3 casinos in the complex that you can either walk to or ask the Casa Colonial staff to take you over in a golf cart [Note for blackjack players: it looks like only one, Jack Tar Village, uses American black jack rules, the others don't check for dealer blackjacks before the players bet, so you could end up splitting/doubling down/etc against a dealer blackjack without knowing it. Minor, but probably changes the odds significantly].

4. The omelette at the Veranda restaurant wasn't that good, overcooked and a little bland. All the other breakfasts were good.

5. My husband is a diver, and while all the travel books and dive sites said Sosua was good for diving, he was disappointed with the lack of visibility and didn't see anything super-interesting. Could have been weather-related, as it did rain a small amount each day.

Once again, these were all minor details that didn't detract from the beauty or atmosphere of Casa Colonial. This is a 5 star resort that we would love to return to someday. I would be happy to answer any emails about the place."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 22nd of February 2006

Heavenly Paradise

4
Good
by

"Let me say, this is not a hotel for everyone. If you have children, please don't bring them to this Shangra-La called Casa Colonial. If you're looking for "all inclusive" frugal simplicity, this hotel is not for you.

This "small luxury hotel" is set on an ocean alcove with breathtaking views of the bay. The hotel staff parallels that of a Ritz-Carlton, get the picture? Extremely attentive and courtesy staff waited on our every need for 7 days. From the moment you step in the lobby you completely sense a relaxing and tranquil energy. The decor is awesome, the grounds perfectly manicured and I can honestly say I have not come across a "SLH" with such great attention to detail. When we arrived at our room, we were so pleased with our choice of suite on the ocean (all the rooms are suites so you can't go wrong). Tasteful furniture with a Caribbean Bombay flavor, everything was luxurious and plentiful (we couldn't use the Frette towels before a fresh supply was upon us!). The roof pool is sexy and decadent with private Jacuzzi’s overlooking the ocean. The beach is just as special with the most comfortable chaises I've ever curled up and snoozed on - all within 200 feet of your room. The restaurants and bars were consistent with all else - Delicious. The one area to improve upon is breakfast and the room service menu which is very limited. But somehow it was insignificant compared to all the things that were perfect. I think I will visit Casa Colonial for many years to come. BOOK IT!"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 9th of February 2006

Very Special Place

5
Brilliant
by

"My wife and I spent Christmas week and New Years at Casa Colonial. What an incredibly lucky find! We're addicted to small luxury hotels and great spas but "last minute" changes in our schedule meant that most of the places we usually would have considered were booked. We were hesitant at first but saw some good comments on this site as well as a listing on Conde Naste's top new properties so we rolled the dice. Wow, did we ever come up winners.

The place is magnificent - it's not just the kind of beauty that you appreciate as a great piece of architecture (though it is that stunning) but the kind of beauty that you can actually feel. It enhances everything you do while you're there - from taking a bath, to sitting around your room, to having a drink at the bar, to sitting by the pool - wherever you are there is a sense of tranquility and romance to the place that’s really very special.

Most amazing of all was the price. This type of facility, during Christmas week is a place for which we typically would have paid $600 -$900 a night. This was only $350 a night! We asked the manger about it and were told that it's just a function of the price points in the Puerto Plata market (he also told us a few of the celebs that have vacationed there - impressive.)Whatever it is, the price relative to the quality of the place made us feel like we had won the lottery.

Our standard room was anything but standard. It was beautiful, romantic and wonderfully detailed (a characteristic of the entire property). The view from our terrace (more like a small room) was wonderful - a lagoon surrounded by tropical green with beach and ocean just beyond. We were happy to stay there by the hour.

The spa is also great: great facility, lovely rituals and talented masseuses. Again, the prices were a bargain. The restaurants are gorgeous and the food is good. Dinner at either of the two restaurants can be a really romantic experience.

Perhaps the highlight of our experience was sitting at the pool. The pool area is truly a little slice of paradise – a place you just don’t ever want to leave -in and of itself worth the price of admission.

The downside? The service isn't five star - but, adequate. If you're picky about how fast you get your lunch or zippy room service, you might find the service to be a little slow. But, we easily adjusted to the pace of the property and it never stopped us from being incredibly happy."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 8th of January 2006

Casa Colonial - not quite a luxury hotel...

2
Poor
by

"My wife and I are in our early 30s. We’ve traveled to Costa Rica, Belize, and most recently the Ixtapa region of Mexico. We always try to find / stay at first-class hotels that have (1) great accommodations, (2) decent food, (3) some type of spa service, (4) etc. We’re not made of money, but we know what we like and we’ve traveled enough to be able to compare one “small luxury hotel” to the next. After visiting Casa Colonial, my wife and I agree that it’s a nice hotel but it certainly falls far short of the luxury hotel experience.

Tired of the normal holiday stuff, we wanted a relatively quick Caribbean getaway during this holiday season, and so – with the help of a travel agent – we booked a five-day stay at Casa Colonial. When we saw some of the pictures of the place online we were excited, but this was to be our first trip to the DR and all we really knew about Casa Colonial was that it was a relatively new place that was supposed to be very nice.

Casa Colonial didn’t live up to our expectations.

First, I admit – without reservation – that the rooms at the hotel are very nice: spacious, clean, and contemporary. The location is ideal: the beach is beautiful, the rooftop pool is beautiful, the main house is beautiful, and the grounds are very nice. In addition, the spa services were among the best we’ve had at getaway locations like this.

On the down side, the service was absolutely terrible – and in my mind that is the thing that should be the easiest to accomplish no matter where you go or where you stay. The service was so bad that it became a running joke between my wife and I. Here are some examples of things that happened to us during a four-night stay at Casa Colonial:

(1) The main restaurant (“Lucia”) apparently has a “formal” dress code policy. I immediately thought this was somewhat ridiculous given the setting and the fact that no one had told us in advance. It was also bad for me especially, because I had only leather sandals and what you could call “dressy” flip-flops to wear during our four-day beach vacation. To avoid a scandal, we called the hotel concierge well before dinner, and he told us my footwear would not be a problem. However, when we reported to the restaurant just before our reservation, the hostess eyed me suspiciously and insisted that she speak with the “manager” before allowing us entry into the restaurant. The manager appeared and said that he would make an exception for us for that one night (this was our FIRST night at the hotel, with three more to follow). I was particularly annoyed by the scene the hostess and the manager made – in front of the other restaurant guests – after the concierge assured us there would be no problem. I was flabbergasted when we were finally seated and I looked around the small restaurant to see other patrons dressed in ripped jeans, beat-up penny loafers, and a kid wearing a t-shirt.

(2) The next day for lunch, we attended the only other restaurant on the premises: The Veranda restaurant. My wife and I ordered the signature “Veranda salad” to split as a light lunch. I was surprised at how difficult it was to explain to the waiter(s) what we wanted and how we wanted it. Language barrier?? After nearly an hour had passed, the waiter brought out a chicken ceasar salad. Although it was clearly NOT what we ordered we ate it because by this point we were starving and we believed it would be useless if not impossible to explain to the waiter his mistake.

(3) The next day, my wife wanted to grab a quick lunch before her 4pm spa appointment. I assured her a “quick lunch” was not possible, judging by the Veranda experience. However, I succumbed and we decided to try the rooftop bar. It was cloudy that day, and so when we sat down at 2:45pm we were with two other couples at tables near the pool. A waiter took our order almost immediately. Long story short, an hour later our sandwiches had still not arrived. My wife and I literally got up and walked away. I would’ve done so without a word, but my wife stopped to explain why we were leaving to one of the attendants at the bar (she had her spa appt in 15 minutes and our food had still not arrived), and got nothing but a half-hearted apology in response.

(4) There is no beach bar. (Yes, there’s NO beach bar.) Sometimes a Casa Colonial attendant will wander by and ask whether you want something, but visits from this guy are few and far between. So, my wife went directly to the Veranda seating area and asked for two beers. The waiters at the Veranda tried to instruct my wife that she should order from the beach attendant; she told them she hadn’t seen anyone; she gave the Veranda people her order. Thirty minutes later, we see one of the waiters wandering up and down the beach with a tray in his hands, lost and confused. Ten minutes after a followup discussion with the full Veranda wait staff, he comes over to us with one bottle of beer and explains that they didn’t have the second type of beer that my wife ordered for me (a Becks, on their menu). So, 40 minutes after we ordered two beers he brings us one Presidente and wonders whether we would care for another? We told him no thanks (we didn’t have another 40 minutes to spare) and settled for the one beer that was now nearly warm after being walked up and down the beach for 40 minutes.

(5) The bartenders can’t make drinks. I ordered a Tanqueray martini, very dry, with olives. The martini I get is mostly vermouth and nearly undrinkable. I order another, and this time I watch how it’s made since another bar patron now sitting next to me relates how she started ordering straight vodka after her own failed attempts to get a drinkable martini. I hear this, and I see where things are headed as my second martini is being made. No joke, I go around the bar and literally show the bartenders how to make a martini, and end up making my own second one. (Two is my limit.) It would’ve been funny, except when I got my check to sign I noticed that the same bartenders who I’d shown how to make drinks had in fact (over)charged me for the wrong drinks.

(6) The larger point to all this is that the staff doesn’t know what they are doing. For one, the bartenders can’t make drinks. Beyond that, the service is excruciatingly slow; even if you’re on vacation it’s slow and annoying. The wait staff gives you a hard time about the shoes you are wearing (see above) and fusses over arranging the knives and forks in front of you, but they don’t know what’s on the menu, they can’t explain any of the dishes that you might have questions about, and they get nearly everything wrong. When they do, they don’t seem to care about making it right. Instead, the staff people bicker with each other (in Spanish) in front of guests.

(7) After the first day, my wife tells me that the hotel didn’t give us any small bottles of hair conditioner along with the free shaving kit, shower cap, soaps, shampoos, and other items in our room. After explaining to me the importance of hair conditioner, my wife calls the concierge and is told that the hotel does not have hair conditioner. The next day I see conditioner in the men’s shower in the spa; curious, I tell my wife. She calls the spa and asks for someone to bring conditioner from the spa, and they promise to send someone up. No one comes. Hours later she calls the spa again for hair conditioner, and someone eventually brings shampoo. Later that night I sneak into the men’s shower in the spa at this luxury hotel to get hair conditioner that apparently doesn’t exist.

(8)(a) The last night we’re there we have dinner at the bar outside the Lucia restaurant (since we don’t want to be involved in another footwear scene). I see a very well-dressed man come up to the bar; he asks whether they have small bottles of champagne that he might enjoy with his wife before dinner. I smile, because my wife just tried to order a glass of champagne and she was told by the bartenders that they only have large bottles. In response to this gentleman, however, the bartender says that they will check. The man returns to his seat, where he remains for 10 minutes while the two bartenders do absolutely nothing to get his champagne or figure out whether they even have any. Obviously frustrated, the man then approaches the Lucia hostess, who comes over to the bar to figure out what the bartenders are doing. The bartenders tell the hostess that they are too busy to keep up with the five people in the bar, and they suggest that she tell him that they don’t have small bottles of champagne, only large ones.

(8)(b) Later that night my wife and I go back to our room and remove the small bottle of champagne that occupies every mini fridge in the hotel. We take it to the beach where we can enjoy the starlit night with some bubbly. Unfortunately, when we open it up we can tell right away that this bottle is bad. It’s sugary sweet. We pour our glasses onto the beach and take the rest of the bottle back to our room. As we check out the next morning we tell the girl that the champagne was bad and we couldn’t enjoy it. She asks us whether we checked for an expiration date on the bottle. We admit we hadn’t. She says she’ll have to check with the “manager” to see what to do. There was no checking – minutes later she gives us a revised list of our charges, that indicates she’s charged us for the bottle of champagne. We said nothing. At that point, we just paid for it – we paid for everything and were happy just to be leaving the hotel."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 31st of December 2005

Dont go to Puerta Plata

1
Awful
by

"We just got back from our vacation to Puerta Plata. What a dump this area of the Domincan Republic is. Casa Colonial is has nice rooms, but BEWARE. It is by no means a true luxury hotel. They try, but its not.

1. The rooms are only Ocean Front, all rooms are blocked by trees, so the Ocean View is minimal. This really pized me off.

2. We asked for the hotel to arrange for a rental car. Eventaully Ramos shows up and takes me with him to his shack office to rent me the car. Needless to say, the hotel must be getting a kick-back, or Ramos is the owners brother. The car had 100,000 miles on it. Smelled like azz. Had a broken radio. Worn tires (one of them actaully blew out on the second day). We got another car from his fleet (lol) and that one was even worse, the air con didnt work.

3. Several times over the stay we could not get hot water out of the shower. Other times, it would take upwards of ten minutes for the water to get hot.

4. The food is good, but over priced. I ordered room service one day, got charged a 10% service fee (as i would had I eaten in the restaurant) and also got charged a $10 room delivery fee. And they messed up the order. Go figure? Small bottle of water, $5. Rip off. $40 Salmon? not worth it.

5. If you try to ask for things, good luck. They dont speak english very well. Never got a lounge chair for my balcony (as the other rooms had). Couldnt get hot water out of the Jacuzzi.

You are really much better off going to Cabo San Lucas or somewhere else. Its just not really that nice of a place."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 7th of December 2005

Fabulous!

5
Brilliant
by

"we are totally spoiled after our short stay @ casa colonial. we are from n.y. and felt like we were in some swanky soho hotel with palm trees. the service was incredible you never have to ask for anything and if you do its there before you can blink an eye. i must admit puerto plata was not my first choice for vacation and i was very hesistant to go but i was so pleasantly surprised. i will definitely visit this luxury hotel that totally understands the whole "luxury" concept.
jackie, atlantic beach, ny"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 29th of November 2005

Magnigique!

5
Brilliant
by

"I just returned from a fabulous 3-week holiday in Casa Colonial Beach and Spa in the Dominican Republic and I must say I fell in love!! This is my 4th time coming to this country and it never ceases to amaze me!!! The hotel is stunning and definately is at par with hotels such as the Ritz or the Delano and company. The rooms were fantastic, the spa was divine and the attention from the staff was outstanding. Trust me, I know what I am talking about, I've stayed at top hotels such as the Ritz in Paris, Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo, Copacabana Palace in Rio De Janeiro, et al... Anyway, I would like to respond to the person who was wondering why a hotel like casa colonial was built in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is a very diverse and beautiful island with a very rich history. It has all types of hotels for all types of budgets just like the "states" have hotels for all budgets. For those that are interested, many high profile people holiday in the Dominican and even have luxurious homes there. Just look at how many ex-presidents, prime ministers even European royalty holiday there. It's lovely!!
So please, do us a favour, don't offend the country with a statement like that. I reckon you wouldn't want people to say" Oh my, why would a hotel like the Four Seasons be in a place like Dallas"?

Anyways, cheers:)"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Tue 1st of November 2005

Such a great hotel-Do not read other reviews!

5
Brilliant
by

"We just got back from a trip to the Dominican Republic which I had to take for a friends wedding-after looking at hotel reviews....I was not the most excited traveler.

My sister called and said she saw a great place in Travel and Leisure Magazine and once I looked it up-I booked it.

I read reviews posted on this site about Casa Colonial and I don't know how to say this but I think these people are all crazy!!!!!!!

Now-I know what you are thinking-you don't know what kind of hotels I stay at or what my review can be compared to. I just had my wedding a year ago and we were married at the Four Seasons Biltmore in Santa Barbara, we were engaged at the Bacara, and just came back from a trip to Cabo where we stayed at Las Ventanas-on our honeymoon my husband got us our own private island with chefs, maids, a boatman-whatever we wanted. We have stayed at the W in San Diego and the Hudson in NY. I am just saying all of this so you really pay attention to my review and know that I know when I stay in a good hotel!

This hotel is amazing! I don't know why they built it in the Domincan Republic but I am glad they did! I actually don't like one thing about the Domincan Republic but would go back now just because of this hotel.

I read that the food was bad. People on this board were saying that Pizza Hut was the best place to eat-which was really upsetting. I would not even eat at Pizza Hut at home. I read that the food was not good at Casa Colonial-WHO ARE THEY KIDDING? The food was amazing with fantastic service.

The first night we had an eggplant appitizer, seafood soup, fillet with mashed potatoes and dessert. It was superb! Day 2 at the pool I had a black bean soup (the best I have ever had) with a salmon plate with goat cheese and fresh tomatoes. Day 4-seafood plate with lobster, calamari, shrimp-all grilled to perfection! For our last night we had steak again-it was so amazing that I didn't want to try anything else! The food was cooked to the highest standards. How could anyone not like it??? I am so lost with that!!!!

The spa was exceptional also! I had a manicure/pedicure which was ok-You can't go wrong with that. On the third day I had a couples massage and then a facial. Both were up with the best I have ever had. After the couples massage they let you sit in the room filled with candles, rose petals, and a bathtub full of warm water so that you can sit and relax with your significant other after. I have never seen this and it was very relaxing and impressive.

The room was nice, large, cool, and the bed was one of the only hotel beds that comes even close to mine at home. It was so comfy that I did not want to get out in the morning.

The pool was very nice-I loved laying out every day. As soon as you sit down-the waiter brings you a nice cold towel to cool you down. I read that the hotel lets the next door hotel guests come over and use it---that did not happen while we were there!!!! Not once in 5 days.

The only bad thing I can even say about this hotel was the beach. Vendors will walk up to you and they won't even take no for an answer. You tell them "no thanks" and they just keep coming and showing you their crap and won't go away. After the 15th person came by-we got up and went to the pool--and never went back to the beach.

I took a lot of pictures which I will upload here-so that you can see how nice it was. I was so excited to return to write this because I was truly amazed with the hotel and the service.

I would definitely reccommend this hotel-there is nothing even close that touches it here. The other hotels are stinky, smelly, and full of men in speedos with hairy chests and gold chains.

The strange thing is that since this hotel is so new-there is no one there! I had to ask about this because there was no one here (which was nice because it was like having this entire resort to ourselves!!) I asked the waiter at the pool because it just did not make any sense. He told me that the hotel is fairly new and a lot of the people that come to the Dominican Republic are cheap so this hotel is too expensive for them.

I really hope this hotel does well because it is truly a surprise and a one of a kind hotel."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 8th of August 2005

Very Special with a few Reservations

4
Good
by

"A truely a first class operation in a sea of all inclusives.The 55 room resort only had about a 10 to 20 rooms filed when we stayed for 4 nights in June 2005.The management unfortunately lets the VIP Flamingo Hotel guests,red stripe bands, come over and stay at small upstairs pool area. They buy nothing but want to change the music to loud rap.At first the staff thought to please them more than their own guests.The staff is well trained and really trys hard to please. I thought it odd that the management never made their presents known.No-"Are you enjoying your stay".Don't even think of bringing children of any age-nothing for them to do. Only the main inside lobby restaurant was open for dinner. We ate alone one night and only three others the next. There is only El Fresco,mid range in the area because all the other hotels are off limits. The mall restaurants are very below average.Sousa, 20 minute drive, has 4 OK restuarants and Cabarete,40 minutes away, has Vento's and LAX. I hope my pictures transfer so they can tell the rest of my review."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 19th of June 2005
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