Once you step on this property you feel the incredible ambiance. As you stroll through the lush gardens you'll notice the excellent choice of restaurants, the large pool and the hub of ongoing activities until you reach the beach and then you say - does it get any better than this?
An unbiased review of the Iberostar Costa Dorada from our stay in May 2022
May 16, 2022
My unbiased review…
We stayed at the Iberostar Costa Dorada in Puerto Plata from Saturday, May 7 to Saturday, May 14, 2022. We traveled with another couple, so we were a party of four adults and no children.
• The weather was nice. It only rained once. Even on overcast days, the sun still came out and it was very nice.
• The resort itself was beautiful and lush. There were beautiful palm trees, mango trees, flowers, an orchid garden with coffee and cacao growing in it, and beautiful peacocks everywhere. The large paths around the hotel room buildings were nice to walk on to and from meals.
• The lobby bar was nice. Great breeze coming through most nights and the bartenders were very nice and friendly. Nice place to have a drink before and after dinner. There is an area adjacent the lobby with flamingos and turtles and it is very pretty.
• The food was good. Some items were a little more basic than other Iberostar resorts we’ve been to, i.e., no ceviche and less fresh seafood offered. We enjoyed the Dominican and Mexican themed buffet nights the most. The restaurants were good. We liked the Italian and Mexican restaurants the most. The Japanese was disappointing as you couldn’t place an order, they just made-up chicken, steak and shrimp and served it with rice and vegetables. Also, the food was very salty. The tables in the buffet were sprayed down with disinfectant after each use. The bottled water system is excellent. Nice to have two large glass bottles to fill up and keep in your room refrigerator.
• Staff was very friendly, from the cleaning crew to the guy making my omelet every morning. Always “good morning, good afternoon, hello, etc.…” I found that all the staff I interacted with spoke English.
• The beach is beautiful. There were a few palapas to pick from on the beach and it was not hard to find one. Yes, there is seaweed, but most of the time it was not bad. The seaweed on the shore was cleaned or nonexistent most days. Upon walking into the water, you just had to walk around a patch or two of seaweed and the water was really beautiful. Nice relaxing water with not a lot of waves. I am a female of medium height, and I could stand pretty much wherever I went in the water. Only issue was some coral that we came upon while in the water. The pool area was nice as well, especially on the days where there were not tons of people. We noticed the wind tended to pick up in the afternoons so we would move to the pool area. Plenty of chairs to pick from with no issues.
• The daily maid service in the room was thorough. Room felt clean each day.
• The Wi-Fi was strong and good. I don’t think it ever dropped.
• The resort made it very easy for us to book our COVID-19 Tests to return to the USA. Quick and easy process. Since we stayed more than five nights it was free.
• The view from our ocean front, second floor room in the 5000 building was very nice. I celebrated a birthday while I was there, and the staff was very kind. They put a “Happy Birthday” banner on the door and gave me a birthday cake. The room had a really nice selection of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, and hand soap in refillable containers in the bathroom and shower. Beautiful scent and all organic.
• Weekend passes create a lot of people and noise at the pool area and in the buffet. It is very hard to relax and unwind when the music is blasting in the pool area, people are yelling across the pool to one another, children are screaming and running around. Anywhere you go in the common areas are overwhelmed by people, chaos, and noise.
• Aside from the bathroom, the room was very dated and musty smelling. No alarm clock in room. TV service was nonexistent with only one channel offered in English. Room air conditioning was mediocre at best. Room felt very damp and humid. Hard to get dry after a shower. Only two US plugs existed in the room, and they were in the bathroom. One didn’t work. Charging phones and tablets on the bathroom sink is extremely frustrating. Lighted mirror in bathroom did not work. The security lock on our hotel room door was missing. The room safe did not work. There are no elevators anywhere so if you have issues with stairs, keep it in mind. Felt bad for the porters who had to lug our heavy suitcases up and down the stairs.
• No cocktail service offered in pool area or beach area. This is our fourth experience at an Iberostar resort and at every single other resort we went to had cocktail service. Not sure if it is a post pandemic thing or due to the price-point paid. Either way, disappointing... The beach bar’s soft drink system had Coke Zero out every other day during the seven days we were there. There was never any urgency to fix it.
• The nightly entertainment shows were disappointing. I understand this is the Dominican Republic, but all the shows were 100% Spanish. Frustrating when you can’t follow along. At other Iberostar locations we’ve been to where Spanish is the main language, there has always been a lot of English spoken.
• There are a few vendors on the beach that are very persistent. Trying to offer hair braids, a massage, a ride on a banana boat, etc. They stand on the shore facing the resort and if you don’t select your beach chairs well, they could be literally standing right in front of you ALL DAY LONG.
• This is not Iberostar related but as you know, the bridge that goes to and from the POP airport is under construction. As a result, we flew into POP and flew out of STI (Santiago). Arriving took around an hour due to the construction and traffic. Departing and traveling from Puerto Plata to Santiago took 90 minutes, on a very windy and hilly road. STI airport was totally and completely overwhelmed with people having to divert due to the bridge being out.
This was our first time in Puerto Plata and our third time in the Dominican Republic. I will continue to support the Iberostar brand as I think it is very good. We have no desire to return to the Iberostar Costa Dorada.
Overall Nice Resort
(St. Catharines, Canada)
May 09, 2022
We travelled to Costa Dorada in May, 2022, as a family of 5 with 3 young adult women.
NOTE—The main bridge between Sosua and the resort is closed to vehicle traffic. Travel to/from the airport is significantly impacted. Travel involves either a lengthy detour or getting out of the vehicle and walking across the bridge, then get in another vehicle. They are working quickly to reopen the bridge, but estimates are around mid-June before it is repaired.
In advance, we contacted the hotel to confirm that our two rooms would be near each other. Elizabeth Ventura was quick to respond, and she graciously booked our rooms a door apart.
Check-in was simple. Michael was very friendly, and he kept me up to date with baseball scores throughout the week. I think he enjoyed doing it, being a Yankees fan as they were beating the Jays.
The rooms are well equipped, and the bed was comfortable. The pillows were somewhat thin, but manageable. The air conditioning was not working upon arrival, but maintenance fixed it the next day. A criticism – PLEASE leave instructions for the thermostat! Every resort- it’s like a puzzle for the few couple of days!
Maid service was exceptional. Friendly, thorough, and the towel animals are a nice touch. The mini-bar was lightly stocked, but leave a note and a tip, and they will take care of you.
The resort is well laid out with buildings on both sides with the courtyard and the main pool in the middle. It is about a 5-minute walk from the front lobby to the beach.
The main buffet, and the Mexican and Japanese A La Carte restaurants are located in the main building. The Italian restaurant and beach buffet are located between the main pool and the beach.
The grounds are kept very clean, with staff continuously tending to the property. The pool’s circulation system is a bit weak, which results in the water being dirty toward the end of a busy day. The pool is cleaned daily.
The buffets are well stocked with fresh fruit and vegetables. I would rate the buffets as “normal” for a resort this size.
The Japanese restaurant will very good; we ate there twice. The Italian was also very good; the pasta dishes were served very hot with plenty of seafood. The Mexican restaurant was good.
The sand is not as soft as Punta Cana, but still good for walking. The seagrass is present, but not along the entire beach, leaving you plenty of room to play in the water. The grounds crew manually clean the beach every day, but the seagrass does return. I have seen many negative reviews about the seagrass, but it a fact-of-life in the Caribbean. Criticizing the staff for not staying on top of it is beyond my understanding.
There are plenty of bars in the resort, and the staff will make you anything you want. Top shelf liquor is not present in this resort, which was a minor disappointment. Wait times were minimal, even during busy times. Jose and Jesus were fantastic servers all week.
We did an afternoon snorkeling cruise in Sosua Bay. The team were great, and the area is beautiful. It was inexpensive, and the snorkeling was pretty good.
The team are engaging; they work tirelessly through the day with activities for the guests. In the evening, they are the performers for the shows in the main hall. Pepsi, Pina Colada, Hula Hula, and the DJ made our stay quite enjoyable. A criticism – the resort needs to more proactive in displaying/promoting the events of the day and week. By far, the most common complaint was the lack of notice of activities at the resort. The Beach Lunch, Foam Party, and Paella Lunch all took place with virtually no notice.
There is a team of photographers who will take pictures throughout the resort, and their work is exceptional. They will do a photo session with you as well. Unfortunately, we found the pricing for the photos (I wanted the digital copies) unreasonable, and we ended with only two prints of the 100 pictures taken. For anyone who has used Photo Pass at Disney, will know how easy (and reasonably priced) it can be, but the manager was firm on his position. Thanks to Javier for the beautiful work; I wish we could have worked something out.
Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed our stay, and we wanted for nothing. The Dominican people are very proud and friendly; they want you to enjoy everything they have to offer. They have been hit hard by the pandemic, and they are working tirelessly to get tourism back on its feet. We will be back.