Iberostar Costa Dorada
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, All Inclusive, Resort Review
It’s a 20-25 minute taxi ride at $35us (from the Gregorio Luperón International Airport to the Iberostar Costa Dorada).
Taxi rates are set and posted on boards. As you leave the airport and go outside the taxis are right there and a driver will be quick to offer his services. At the resort the taxi rates are posted as well, however it is $5 more, making it $40usd one way back to the airport. Keep in mind rates can and do change so this is a guide only. These were the rates when I was there, of course.
A small to mid-size resort, I found it to be quite compact, and easy to navigate. I rather liked the lobby, finding it inviting with lots of seating and an excellent lobby bar with premium liquors.
A busy spot at night, with lots of resort guests around both the lobby and bar areas. On the negative side, a lot of cigarette smoke sometimes makes it difficult to find seating for us non-smokers. With 516 rooms, you have standard, superior, ocean view, junior suites and family suites to choose from. Being all inclusive allows you to have everything you need to eat or drink (and do), without the worry of carrying your wallet. You’ll find all of your typical activities and offerings here: a variety of restaurants both buffet and a la carte, a variety of sports activities like tennis and diving, a kids club, a tour desk, nightly entertainment and so on. One noteworthy item is a bank machine at the resort.
As with many resorts in this country and particularly in Puerto Plata, be aware that many weekends there will be an influx of local guests to the resort. Our experience with this was minimal… however I did find the local guests not overly pleasant with the staff, in witnessing a few arguments. I have heard many stories from clients over the years of much worse scenarios but I have not experienced anything other than what I mentioned above. I guess my advice is to remember you’re in a different country and it’s a different culture.
Resort Grounds and Accommodation
The resort’s accommodation buildings run down both sides of a lovely central garden and pool area. Beautifully manicured with trees, ponds and flowers, this leads into the pool area.
You’ll find abundant rows of loungers and shade trees surrounding the freeform pool. Just past the pool is a buffet restaurant/bar (El Bohio, which becomes El Rodizio -Brazilian- in the evening). Continue a bit beyond this and you’re on the beach.
My room was comfortable, having the needed amenities… bathroom, closet with safe, bed and a sitting area, along with a balcony. A slight musty smell was present, though given the tropical environment not surprising. Rooms are one area of the resort in need of an overhaul. Updated furniture and some paint couldn’t hurt. While serviceable and comfortable, I didn’t find it luxurious.
There are three a la carte restaurants:
Japanese – Sakura
Mexican – La Hacienda
Brazilian -el Rodizio
The Japanese Teppanyaki is nicely done. Four large spaces each seat 16 people. Teppanyaki chefs do a terrific job of entertaining, and the food is tasty… Main course selections are chicken, beef, shrimp and octopus.
We ate at La Hacienda twice. Fine food both times, though I preferred the Japanese.
We missed out on the Brazilian…
The buffet offers an assortment of choices, mostly appealing. During the week the resort brings eating to the beach… buffet beach party one day, paella on another day.
Weather was a mixture which is typical for Puerto Plata. Rainy on arrival then cleared and very humid… Lots of sun though and some rain showers mixed in each day. It started raining late afternoon the day before we left and never stopped… Excessive water pooled around the resort on grass areas and lobby entrance, and the rain caused flooding on the roads.
You WILL find a swim up pool bar here, and pool activities- one day they held a foam party in the pool. There are lots of loungers and palapas, and a few cats playing about, as well as roaming peacocks. I was quite pleased with the pool and lounge area. Even amidst the rain-showers and downpours, I was able to relax on a lounger by the pool sipping a pina colada. The trees and palapas provided adequate coverage.
For you beach people, like me… you’ll not be disappointed. You can actually walk all the way along to the Playa Dorada complex much farther up the beach. Our first day there the tide had brought in a fair bit of garbage (pop bottles etc, and seaweed)… they didn’t rake right away… after the second day the raking and clean up became more regular.
Trees, palms and palapas are king on this wide stretch of sand. Puerto Plata is known for its darker golden sand beaches; however Costa Dorada is the exception. Much lighter sand graces the shores.
To the left of the Iberostar Costa Dorada is the Marien resort… you can walk the beach past this hotel, and then it ends. There is a ton of garbage at the end of the beach where it’s no longer the hotels land.
Looking to the right side of the beach in the direction of the Playa Dorada Complex, your views take in the white topped roofs of the Grand Paradise Playa Dorada resort.
Facilities and Such
Iberostar Costa Dorada offers a kids club with its own building and playground, and also a gym, with decent facilities.
An onsite dive shop offers two 45 minute dives for $145us, dive sites vary.
Tucked away to the far right side of the resort you’ll find the ‘Orchid Place’… a relaxing garden area, somewhat secluded. There are orchids and a water pond feature, including a bench to sit and relax.
To Sum it up
Overall, the Iberostar Costa Dorada stands as a more upscale resort in the Puerto Plata area. While its age shows in areas such as the lobby with its leaks, or the rooms needing upgrades, other important features such as the free resort-wide Wi-Fi (works even on areas of the beach!), make it an attractive choice. Look for deals, as the resort is often at the higher end of the price scale. Break times and holidays expect to pay higher rates.
I enjoyed my stay, and although I would consider a future stay, it won’t likely be soon… there are too many other places I need to see first! However, I’m totally open to a future stay at another Iberostar resort. The brand offers a quality all-inclusive experience. Having sold this brand for many years while working as a travel agent, I have confidence in them. Not every Iberostar resort or hotel is the same or carries the same rating, so make sure you do your homework to find the best fit.