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Catalonia Gran Dominicus
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Reviewed 17 November 2010

After reading previous guest reviews my husband and I were expecting a so-so stay,but we were thrilled with everything the hotel had to offer. The grounds are beautiful, I have never seen so many palm trees, and so many different types at that. For us it is all about the beach and the ocean. Both were gorgeous,sure the beach was not terribly deep,but what it lacked in size was made up by the number of palms and the amount of shade you got from laying under the palapas.The water was crystal clear,and my husband was thrilled as he could snorkel for hours in front of our hotel over the man made reef. He saw at least ten different types of fish.You could be entertained all day if you so chose,they had organized games at the beach,plus darts,ping pong,boce ball,volley ball,soccer there too.The staff offered aerobics both in and out of the water.They have kayaks,Hobie cats(small sail boats) too. They even have board games like snakes and ladders , scrabble and rummicube. They have tennis courts and bicycles you could borrow. The pool was huge with many different levels where you could swim or play basketball,water polo or volleyball. The bar served delicious drinks,the food was great(with the exception of the Steak Place), the buffets were great- there was always something to eat.I don"t know if this happens a lot but we were upgraded as we booked through Expedia. Our experience was further enhanced by the staff who were great,very friendly and well trained in knowing when and when not to solicit you in conversation or try and get you up for the various activities. We only saw two groups of
Americans while we were there,the majority of guests were European who stay for weeks and love to have a good time.It was fun to listen to all the different languages and try the limited Spanish we spoke. We never had a problem communicating.A lot of the staff were multi-lingual,speaking spanish,french,english and german.
We made a few long distance calls from our room and it worked out to be about a dollar a minute to the States.I forgot to pack deodorant,but was able to buy it at the hotel gift shop for only $2.50. Everything else seemed reasonably priced too.
We were so happy with our stay that at check out that we inquired about a future visit.
I can't vouch for crowds as there weren't any.November seems to be a great time to visit the resort One more thing to mention about the hotel- we were never solicited about buying a time-share as we have been at other resorts.. We had quite a drive from the airport in Santo Domingo,about an hour and a half,but we got to see some of the country. La Romano was interesting- mopeds with entire families on them,ladies balancing baskets of food on their heads,crazy hustle and bustle of city life.We traveled fro the airport to the resort with Colonial Travel and Tour.The escorts who took us to the car service were a little sleazy,almost pressuring you to tip them.I am a generous person,but I don't like to be pressured into it.The driver stopped just before we got into La Romano so we could "purchase " water etc- this was weird as I felt pressured again. Once I got over those 2 incidents the trip was fine.We had the car to ourselves both ways.Our return driver was Jose(obviously very common down there,) but he was very friendly and professional. Don't forget to buy your " Visitor card" before you get in line for immigration,you purchase it for $10 right as you enter the immigration hall. Usually after three or four days I am ready to get home,but at the Catalonia Gran Dominicus I could have stayed longer. I miss it already. I hate to have something negative to say after such a nice review but the gym was awful,really pathetic- they need to pull the building down,or do a complete makeover.

  • Stayed: November 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank wanderlust81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 October 2010

Stayed here from 24th Sept until 8th Oct 2010, and thought I would share my thoughts on this hotel. After our initial fears, founded from us being the only people from our flight to be staying at this hotel and a slightly longer and frustrating check in then I would have liked after a long flight, (we arrived on the Friday of a bank holiday weekend in D.R) overall we have a really relaxing and enjoyable 2 weeks holiday. We had done our research before travelling and knew pretty much what to expect, and I'd say for the price we paid the hotel matched our expectations.

The beach is beautiful and of ample size with plenty of shade from the palm trees, and lots of sun loungers. The water when calm is turquoise, clear, warm and shallow so you could still stand up until at least 30 metres from the shore. Plenty of fish to be seen around the man made reefs near the buoys. The beach bar was convenient for drinks and snacks, and the creperie serving made to order crepes and drinks was a nice addition.

Food was pretty reasonable, certainly didn’t go hungry, I would recommend the Italian restaurant for lunch, especially the pizza's fresh from the traditional wood burning oven, and the pasta was pretty good as well. Always a good choice. The food in the 3 al a carte restaurants were enjoyable, with informal dress codes in force so no need to dress up too smart if you didn’t want to. Again our favourite was the Italian, however the steak house restaurant and fajitas in the mexican were also tasty. The al a cartes were not all open every night, although that may have been due to it being low season. Drinks were good, the presidente lager very drinkable as were the cocktails.

The buffet was never particularly busy when we ate in there, and they have themed nights, although this is mainly just one or two different options, the majority of options did become very familiar after 2 weeks. It was also pretty warm in there, no a/c so tended to want to eat and go fairly quickly, but then again we were there at a very humid time.

The grounds of the hotel were well maintained, they don’t stop tending to the gardens, even when pouring with rain. When it rains, it really does rain as we unfortunately found out on a couple of afternoons, but we knew the risk of travelling during hurricane season. The staff did their best to clear up the puddles and paths after the rain stopped and get things back to normal.

I have read several reviews about the staffs lack of English, and yes sometimes it was difficult, however instead of letting this annoy us and spoil our holiday we decided to take it as part and parcel of the holiday. After all you are in a foreign country where the language (i know it’s hard to believe for some of us Brits) is not English! If you made an effort with them it was fine, and to be honest, very few knew no English at all, most had a basic understanding. In reception if you need something sorting by some one who does speak good English then I found the couple of guys who worked on guest services very helpful. One of the light switches in our room wasn’t working, I phoned guest services and it was fixed that evening, and they were also prompt when we wanted extra fumigation to kill any mosquitoes in our room. I can honestly say that to a person the staff were friendly, hardworking and always with a smile on their faces. Also no one expected tips, but when we did tip, it was gratefully received and appreciated.

The only real down side to the hotel was the quality of the rooms. They were basic and in need of updating, however they were kept well cleaned daily with fresh towels. We were in Samana Villa, which had a nice garden view and centrally located. The only other gripe I have is with Thomson/First choice, we did feel like when we arrived we had been dropped off and slightly abandoned as we were not accompanied into the hotel, probably because the rest of the coach was going else where. However if we were accompanied I’m sure the problems we had at check in could have been avoided.

We did 2 trips, the out back safari and the Catalina gator trip, both through Thomson, which we felt were well organised, very informative and a good way to see some of the island. The guides on both trips were fantastic! It certainly makes you appreciative of the lifestyle we enjoy in comparison to the majority of Dominicans.

To sum up, we had a great time in the Dominican Republic and at this hotel. Despite a few short comings it was good value for money. I wouldn’t return however, this is not necessarily a reflection on the hotel, but there are too many other places to visit. Would I recommend to others? Yes I would if you can get a good price, you do your research before you go so you know what to expect and if you don’t mind the slight language challenge.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank mitrebrab
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2010

I don't even know where to start.. it was that bad!
it was me and my mate travelling together, we wanted some nice and not too expensive beach holidays, and after a long consideration decided to book Catalonia Gran Dominicus as it was very good price and quite good reviews as well. It was the biggest mistake in my life, and actually for the first time i wanted to go home asap. Thanks to our Holiday rep we were able to change the hotel and at last to enjoy our holiday.
The reason why we hated the hotel:
*First of all we didn't have very high expectations because of the price, but everything was just terrible, first of all all our luggages almost ended up at the wrong hotel, thanks god I saw them being left on time. So we went to the hotel, they gave us the keys to the room, we walked through quite nice garden in to our room, open the door and it was just really bad smell of bleach, shower was nearly falling off, room dark and decorated like 20 years ago. My first thought was that i do not want to stay in there for 2 weeks. we went straight back to the reception and asked for an upgrade, for which we had to pay of course. Hotel charged us $420 straight away, and we there given renovated room 1112. it was very nice room, newly done, but cleanliness was not there, after redecorating or painting or any works i believe rooms should be properly cleaned, as i was in the shower i touched the walls and there was a chalk on there, which means after putting new tiles nobody actually cleaned them.
*After all the stress we go for a swim in to the sea, get out of the water and all legs and body was covered in flies straight away! i wanted to disappear the same second! That flies actually were mosquitos and they there everywhere! and butterflies as well! just awful!
*Food was not good at all, you could choose something to eat but not for 2 weeks I'm afraid. The breakfast just bad, couldn't not get eggs i wanted, as the cook could not even understand when i actually showed him how i want them to be cooked.
*Loud music everywhere and all the time, you could not hide from it whatsoever, bear in mind that we are 2 girls 24-27 years old, and we didn't like it! Loads of young people there, mainly Italians, and they looked really happy, but i just could not understand why??
*We were not able to get towels at the beach, had to go to the reception every single time and get one!
*staff not good, except the guy at the reception Manuel, he was very helpful. General Manager should not wear his tag anymore as he was very incompetent and here the reasons why: after 3 days of this disastrous holiday we decided to move the hotel even we had to pay extra, of course we wanted to get our money back for the upgrade we didn't use. It was about $330. it took us about 3 hours to sort this out, we had to go the general manager, and he was not even able to refund the money, as he needed to ask for a permission of the hotel owner first! can you imagine such a nonsense, so what is the point having a general manager then if he is not able to make any decisions! So the general manager was telling us that hotel was very good, had very good trip advisor reviews and so on, he even wanted to send us to the other Catalonia hotel in Punta Cana, but we refused as it was 2 hours drive and we didn't want to waste any of our time anymore. After a long conversation we went to pack our bags and expected that everything was sorted, but unfortunately we didn't get a refund till we got back from the holiday and made a claim to Thomson.
Overall please remember one thing you get what you pay for!
P.S. We've got a refund, so thanks very much for Thomson, but not the hotel!

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Raimonda L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 October 2010

ok place not realy catering for english accomadation ok but trying to get them to understand what you wanted got very frustrating the simple thing asking for milk for my cup of tea was a daily routine

Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
1  Thank brianbonsell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 October 2010

We stayed at the Catalonia Gran Dominicus between 15/09/10 - 29/09/10. It was lovely I will go through and share our thoughts about what the hotel had to offer.
The reception was lovely and the staff friendly and very quick to get us checked in and too our rooms. The rooms were basic but very clean. The maids worked hard to make it spotless, as we don't spend much time in the room we only have need for a bed, AC, shower and cold water, which it had. The only downside was for the ladies that if you wanted to get ready in the bedroom not the bathroom the lighting is a little dim.
The grounds were beautiful and well maintained, the beach and pool were both lovely.... extremely pretty.
Food - the main buffet was okay - food was always warm and there were different themes each night, you could always find something to eat - although not as much variety as other all inclusive resorts. The pizzeria was lovely and had pasta/ salad/ fruit and dessert as well as pizza in the day. The pizza can be made to order, which is a really nice touch also.
The speciality restaurants were the best I have been to out of all the all inclusive resorts I have visited. The Steak house and Italin especially. The Crepe bar and beach bar served hot snaks throughout the day also and were both really great. I had no complaints with the food if I am honest. I loved the ticket idea for the al a carte also, usually you have to book when you want to go in advance, which can be irritating if you change your mind on the day, where with this it was first come first serve and you went and handed your ticket in for that day. Really nice and because of low season we always got in no problem. (We did learn to use these at the weekends when the locals book in to the resort as the buffet can become busier)
The drinks were great as much or as little as you wanted when you wanted. You only get the waitress service by the main bar, but the beach bars are very central so they are never to far away if you need refreshment. The hotels low lighting and intimate feeling at night also made it very romantic.
The staff were ALL great, from barmen to animation to reception to maids, and yes there were language barriers with some of the staff but that is part of the fun practising your spanish and feeling like your on holiday not butlins abroad!
All in all we had one of our best holidays here, and we have stayed in 5* in the past. The only thing I would say that is if you don't want to attempt the language, this isnt the place for you. also there aren't many Brits or Americans which we loved, but if you go to socilise it may be a problem if you cannot speak Itlaian or French. :)
Also if you want to book excursions then I would say book these for the Saturday - this is when the locals come to the hotel for a holiday so the resort is busier but by Sunday they are gone, plus if you are used to holidaying in high season then you will be used to high amounts of people. (Also it appears the locals do go to all the hotels and they all experiance high volume at the weekends.)

I hope this helps, I have tried to be as honest as possible, like I said we had a lovely time, the weather, people and resort were all fantastic.......... we are even thinking of going next Christmas!!

I may of rambled or not go in to enough detail in places so if you do hqave any more questions about the hotel/ excursions/ local amenitites etc just PM me.

  • Stayed: September 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank jollyenjoyer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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