Senator Puerto Plata Spa Resort reviews

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating

4.5 Excellent

  • Cleanliness 4.5
  • Location 4.0
  • Rooms 4.0
  • Service 4.0
  • Value 4.0

2468 TripAdvisor reviews

TripAdvisor users rated this property 2 out of 5

Not enough lounge chairs. All reserved by 7 am.

Wayne F on Mar 02, 2024

The Bad Not enough lounge chairs. All lounge chairs are reserved before 7 am. I would not go back or recommend this resort because of this. Setting an alarm for 6:00 am to get lounge chairs when on vacation is ridiculous. Many of the chairs are also broken. Buy more chairs Senator. The pools are not heated, that sucks. No pool side service. If you want anything you have to go to the bar and wait in line. The buffet has limited options and very repetitive. Only one small pan of bacon in the morning and was typically empty. Pineapple tray was typically empty as well. I tried some rabbit, it was all bones and sauce no meat. Only saw potatoes once at the buffet unless you want cold French fries. I tried to get a burger one day at a beach BBQ. Stood in line for 30 min and gave up. The evening entertainment is very poor. Take pride in your local culture rather than try and put on an American show. The Good The beach is amazing. Lots of spots to sit, if you can get a chair, either in the sun or in the shade, by the ocean or in the trees. Close to 1/2 mile of sand beach to walk along. The ocean water was much warmer than the pools. I saw lots of people snorkelling. The grounds are well maintained. Everyday grounds crews are cleaning up and making things look great. Lots of staff around keeping the place clean and helping out. Rooms are clean and everything worked. The sports lounge and the beach restaurant both have menus that you can order from at a table or from the counter. This is a nice option. You can get some fresh made food at these locations. Three al la carte restaurants available for diner. You have to make reservations in the morning at the info table. The Japanese restaurant was a fun evening. I had a nice Salmon diner at the Italian restaurant, the steakhouse is just ok. Sitting outside for meals is great at the buffet, beautiful views.

TripAdvisor users rated this property 4 out of 5

Paradise at the Senator!

Jerry L (Winnipeg, Canada) on Mar 02, 2024

We just returned from a beautiful one-week stay at the Senator! When on holidays, warm weather, great food and friendly staff is what we hope for and appreciate and we got all 3. The weather was hot for 5 out of 7 days but even on the 2 rainy days, we just hung out by the pool anyways. Food: No complaints on the food..... it was great with a huge variety at the buffet at breakfast, lunch and supper. Staff was very accommodating and friendly and food was plentiful. The day after we arrived, we were able to book reservations from guest services for all 3 a-la-carte restaurants. In order of preference would be the Italian restaurant, the Steakhouse and then the Teppanyaki but honestly, all 3 were perfect, food is extremely delicious, staff very friendly and attentive and we very much enjoyed all 3 restaurants. It's nice that they are all in one spot in the resort. The food at the sports bar inside the lobby is awesome as well..... burgers, chicken strips, pulled pork, nachos. You can also visit the Coffee Shop on Tropical Street for coffee and pastries as well as the Gelato Bar and the pizza place. It was fun to visit the resort shops as well. Drinks: The main bar by the pool was always busy .... bit of a line-up at times but the staff was great in making whatever drink was asked for and sooo good! The main bar drinks were definitely the best. There was also a bar closer to the Ultimate guests side, to the right of the kids' pool and of course the sports bar. We didn't really enjoy the sports bar drinks..... they were either watered down or much too strong. Rooms: We were in building 14 with 2 double beds, even though we had requested a king bed on our booking. Room had everything we needed..... water was hot every day, fridge stocked daily, clean towels. We did have a few issues though. 1) there was a safe but with a hole where the tumbler should be so we enquired at the front desk and were given a tumbler and key for the safe. Issue resolved. 2) on day 3, our room key card would not work so we couldn't access our room. Back to the front desk to reactivate our card, nope...still didn't work. Back to the front desk for a 2nd time. Finally a technician was sent to replace the aged battery in our door. Issue resolved. 3) our phone did not work..... no dial tone. Normally we wouldn't have cared but it would have been wayyy nicer to be able to pick up the phone and call to the front desk for both the safe issue as well as the key card issue instead of us having to walk back and forth each time to the main lobby to get help. We were traveling with family so it would have been nice to do room to room calling as well. We filed a report on the first day we arrived making the front desk aware that our phone did not work. For the next 4 days, several times a day, we asked to fix or replace our phone. During these 4 days, we received nothing but promises and a definite lack of concern, especially from Yessy at the front desk. On the 4th day, I spent one hour commuting from the front desk, back and forth to my room, with a phone technician who could only confirm what we already knew, that the phone didn't work so that was an unappreciated waste of my time when I would rather have been sitting by the pool. We finally spoke to Andy, our SunWing rep to file a report. Hats off to Andy for speaking on our behalf. He gave our issue his full attention right away and spoke to Angela from Guest Services. Angela is a gem and a definite asset to Guest Services. She too gave our issue her full attention immediately and that same morning, she called the right technician and got our phone working. Bottom line..... if you have a complaint or issue, don't waste your time at the front desk. Not once was it suggested by Yessy or anyone else that we go to guest services to resolve our issue. They should work hand in hand but they obviously don't. We could not have asked for better customer service from Angela! She was amazing, very caring and concerned. She offered us an upgrade for our inconvenience and helped us move our luggage over to Building 2 which is newer with a few extra amenities. She checked with us several times to ensure all was well. Her kindness and professionalism in the way she treated us was very much appreciated as she more than made up for the frustration we had experienced for 4 days. Angela from Guest Services and Andy from SunWing are the perfect examples of what customer service should be and how resort guests should be treated. Last but not least: Entertainment: Team kept busy interacting with guests, pool aerobics, dance lessons, games during the day. Evening shows were average. The absolute must-see show is the Magic Show. Best magician we have ever seen and you will be surprised several times during his act. Pools: 2 pools plus the kids pool. Kept clean all the time. Grounds: The grounds on this resort are beautiful. The maintenance from the ground workers requires a lot of attention but kudos to them for doing such an excellent job. They really deserve a lot of credit for keeping this resort so beautiful! Hope this review is helpful to travellers wishing to visit this resort.

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5

Vacation

26sahara on Mar 01, 2024

The resort is amazing and so clean the rooms and views are excellent. Everyone is friendly and nice. Dora is amazing and so out going. Always includes everyone and puts a smile on everyone’s face not only is she a worker but also can be a friend! Very awesome experience. So safe .

TripAdvisor users rated this property 1 out of 5

DO NOT STAY HERE!!!!!!

Dawn C. R on Feb 29, 2024

I will break this down into sections. This trip was my 55th birthday celebration. Also, we are frequent travelers and foodies. We often purchase VIP-level experiences and are used to a certain type of accommodation. BOOKING I booked our accommodations directly from Senator's site for our 6-night stay. I "thought" I booked an all-inclusive, premium Jr. Suite. Part of my accommodations was free round-trip transportation to the hotel and airport. I read the reviews, and for the most part, they were "ok." the biggest complaint was that people felt the rooms were a little dated. ARRIVAL TO HOTEL/ROOM The resort itself is beautiful. Check-in was easy. The front desk staff was pleasant when we first arrived. However, we immediately noticed that the staff was less and less friendly as days passed. More on this later. We were not given any information about activities, the gym, or a list of numbers to call such as housekeeping, room service, or the restaurants. We did get a map of the property, however. We didn’t know they had nightly show/entertainment until about 3-4 days into our stay. There was a list posted on the wall near the bar, which we didn’t see until a few days before our last day at the resort. We also found out later that we were not in the “right room.” We were in room 1220. However, the system showed we were in another room, as confirmed 3x by the front desk. Likewise, we purchased a Senator Junior Suite (1 King Bed). We had a king bed, but this was not a junior suite--at least not by what we are used to having. It was a bedroom and bathroom. That’s all. Plus, it said we would have a minibar. We had soda and water. No spirits at all. We got to our room and was very surprised. The room looked nothing like the picture. And, as the reviews stated, it was dated. We just didn't realize how VERY dated it was. Likewise, over time, we noticed a lot of things didn't work, like the room safe, in-room phone, balcony screen, iron, towel rack, TV, outside clothes/towel rack to dry wet items, and air conditioning were all broken or didn’t work properly. The bathroom soap dish was used as an astray by a prior guest. Other than that, the room was clean. There were not enough towels for two people, and no washcloths at all. We had to use face towels as washcloths and the loofahs we packed with us. Most resorts have toiletries, like lotion, shampoo, mouthwash, etc., but this room had just a bar of soap and ½ a bottle of shower gel. Because the balcony screen door had holes in it, the mosquitos got in. It also didn’t help that the housekeeping staff left the door open when they cleaned. I got bites all over. We did report some of the items as we noticed them not working or fully broken. It took the staff 3 or more days to fix items, like the TV, and replace the soap dish. We then learned that only two TV channels were in English, CNN and BBC. We didn’t have a Dish Network or Cable/Streaming TV service. So, we couldn’t watch TV (after it finally got fixed) when we were in the room. We mostly used our phones. Of course, Wi-Fi was slow and often went out. And, we didn’t have a microwave in our room. More on this later. We did have a fridge that was stocked with water and soda. FOOD/DRINKS Well, the food was subpar. It tasted mass-produced and over-processed. There was just no love in the meals. For the most part, it was the same menu for each meal each day. Most of the meat was fatty and very low-quality/poor cuts. The scrambled eggs looked like they were made with water and sat way too long. The burgers looked like burnt hockey pucks. Hot dogs looked like they were boiled. Most of the food lacked taste/seasoning. Cold foods, like salads, were not cold. Hot foods were not even warm; most were cold. And, when I politely asked if there was a microwave or way to warm up food, I was rudely told no. More on staff behavior later. Cakes, muffins, pastries, and bread items were all dry and rubbery tasting. If you wanted toast, which my husband did get on one occasion, the bread took 20x to pass through the toaster before it got a light, light tan. It never got to brown toast status. We ate what we could stomach at the buffet and went to the bar for our key meals. Believe it or not, the bar food was better—slightly. Speaking of the bar, if you were not an Ultimate Club Member (more on this later) you could not have premium (more like mid-range: Absolute, Dewars, Tanqueray, Johny Walker, Cuervo) drinks. All the drinks were made with cheap, cheap, VERY cheap spirits. The wines were, let's say, swill water. I also got an immediate headache after drinking it. So, I didn't drink it after two classes! What they called “champagne” tasted more like cheap Asti-spumante, Champale, or Malt Duck. They also passed off what they called Cava as champagne. It wasn’t either Cava or champagne. So, we stuck more with mixed drinks. My husband said the beer tasted watery. I will say, the bar staff made great mojitos out of this cheap liqueur! My husband liked their pina coladas. If you decide to stay here, go with those two drinks. The coffee throughout the resort was great as well. Also, if you want to not have watered-down drinks, you must tip the bar staff. Else, you get watered-down, cheap liqueur drinks. We ate at two of the so-called “up-scale” restaurants: Embers—their steakhouse, and Zao (?) their Japanese Hibachi eatery. Because it was my birthday, we splurged on getting the $49 steak (T-bone) for the hubby and a $29 lobster for me at Embers. We also got a bottle of Woodbridge Merlot. The Merlot was good. The salad presentation and taste were good, and we thought we would have a winner at Embers. Well, we could have saved our money on the food. Other than the wine and salad, the rest was not worth the time or extra cost. First, the T-bone had more fat and bone than steak/meat. My husband said it wasn’t even as good as a dive diner steak. The lobster bisque did not have a bit of lobster. It was also brown! Never in my life have I ever eaten brown lobster bisque. It tasted like chicken stock and fish soup. It had little black bits which I thought “may” have been thinly chopped mushrooms. And it had one small shrimp. Again, this was supposed to be lobster bisque. No sherry. No butter. No cream. I have no clue what recipe they used. I have made better bisque in my kitchen! My lobster was ok, but they cooked it with a lot of red pepper and other toppings. I didn’t think that was necessary, but it didn’t taste horrible. I did notice that my lobster was missing its claws. As you know, the claws and the tail are the best part. I got the body and the tail. Too bad the chef didn’t add the missing claw meat from my whole lobster to my bisque. We didn’t get dessert, which supposedly comes with the meal. And they didn’t even sing happy birthday to me, as my husband requested. They sang for two other patrons, however. The Hibachi place was ok. Our chef was very entertaining and gave a great show. The food was better than the rest of the meals we had. We had the house wine---swill. The sushi was good. Again, the steak was fatty. We went to the pizza parlor once! I am a pizza snob. After all, I grew up in Brooklyn. But this pizza was terrible. I’d rather eat movie theater or Chucky Cheese pizza. They only had plain cheese, pineapple, and ham. The bread/crust was doughy and chewy. Not enough sauce. But even so, the sauce tasted mass-produced and had no Italian seasoning. Just, not what I know as pizza. The ice cream shop was ok. So was the coffee shop, except for the pastries. They were the same as in the buffet hall--chewy and tasted mass-produced and over-processed. POOL/BEACH/OTHER GUESTS The beach was nice. I loved the views and there were different beach experiences/sides around the property. However, you will be hard-pressed to get a beach chair and the pool is always crowded. My husband went down at 5 am every other day to put towels, water bottles, and books on chairs to hold our spot. We noticed that other guests would hold their spots the night before. So, it was very common for people to hold chairs and stake out their territory around the pool and beach. And many of the other guests were very rude as well. For example, we had sat in our spot and this older woman looked us up and down, rolled her eyes, and kept sighing. If looks could kill, we would be dead 2x. We made no noise and minded our own business. Sometimes, people would stand in front of our chairs, blocking our view, or walk on our beach shoes (which there was enough space for that not to occur), and they make lots of noise or talked loudly, often in other languages, as they sneered and looked at us like we were from Mars. I thought to myself that if we had done this, we would have been called rude, obnoxious and goodness knows what else. Also, the other guests were treated with much kinder service by staff. For example, staff came out to take drink and food requests. Not once did they come to us. We always had to run after them, and then we were treated like a nuisance even though we were only asking for what other guests were receiving. And vendors often bypassed us to go to other patrons. Again, we were very kind, we tipped $5 or more each time we received service, and we were quiet while expressing openness to everyone. Many of our Canadian patrons shared how nice we were and liked meeting us. Some saw how we were treated and commented about it, saying it wasn’t right. We love our fellow Canadian patrons. They were always kind, and respectful and talked with us like life-long friends. (Thank you, Canada guests for being warm and accepting.) STAFF The front desk staff was polite and friendly. Most of the housekeeping staff were super friendly as well. Most of the bar staff, buffet staff, and restaurant staff were rude, often acting as if they didn’t want to serve us. However, there were a select few who went above and beyond, and they were joyful! So, of course, we always waited for them, tipped them frequently, and showed them our appreciation because they showed respect and appreciation for us. (Yessy at the front desk, the young guy at the bar who came in the evenings—“Happy Happy” he knows who he is; and the tall gentleman in the AM during breakfast who greeted us with a smile each time, and always had my cup of black coffee waiting for me was phenomenal!) SPA/BIRTHDAY SURPRISE I reserved the spa. The golf cart driver took us there and back, which was nice. The spa itself was beautiful and my services, a facial and an 80-minute massage, were a good experience. My hubby got an 80-minute massage and used the sauna (which cost a fee to use; typically, when I go to spas at resorts the sauna is complimentary, along with the pool/Jacuzzi, steam room, and resting chairs. But all of these had a fee—or at least the staff didn’t say these items were complimentary). The cost was about the same as any other resort spa. When I booked services, we thought our massages would be together, but they gave us separate rooms. We didn’t get water after our services. And we were not permitted to just chill after our services. It was sort of an in-and-out experience, and that is not what I am used to. NOTE: an Ultimate Club Member (who is entitled to get spa service as part of their membership) could not get service. She was told to see if one of the “beach spas” would render service and if she “begged” and said please, maybe they would give her a facial too. Again, that’s why the membership is b.s. if you must pay a costly membership fee and can’t get services, plus need to beg a service provider that is not the same standard as your membership service to accommodate you. SMH! On my birthday, my husband reserved a surprise in our room. While it was nice, it was not worth what he paid, and they didn’t give him the service requested. First, he was supposed to have lit candles lighting the path from the entrance to the bedroom area. They were not lit. Second, the so-called Cava/champagne was the same cheap stuff they give you at the bar (I mentioned this previously). Third, the Charcuterie board had the same dry, fatty meats and cheeses from the buffet and were not quality items for the cost. The chocolate plate was very nice and so were the rose petals on the floor, balloons, and birthday messages on the bed—laid out with rose petals. I also had a ½ dozen red roses. My husband had to light the candles and set the ambiance. He was so upset and disappointed! It just wasn’t worth the expense for the quality (or lack of) we received. I, however, liked it and appreciated the effort and time it took to pull it together. I felt it was romantic and I enjoyed the concept. Plus, I don't know how much it cost. I don't want to know--I'll just enjoy the memory. WELCOME BREAKFAST/SALES PITCH Ok, so, about 4 days in, we were scheduled for our welcome breakfast. Our signer was Jeraldo. He was very kind, at first. He always greeted us, until after the “welcome breakfast.” So, we meet Jeraldo in the lobby, and he takes us into a room for Ultimate Members. We had to sign a waiver/claim that we agreed to sit through a 90-minute presentation as part of the breakfast. And, for our time, we would receive $40 in voucher money to use at the resort. We realized that we were being pitched a vacation timeshare. I wanted to back out but then said, well, let’s see what it's about. I should have listened to my first mental voice and not attended. The breakfast was no better than what we got at the buffet. But we were told by the presenter (can’t recall his name) and the QA assessor (Markus) that this was a premium breakfast. Then they gave us a tour of the Ultimate Membership accommodations, private beach area, and club. This is when we discovered there was a gym on the property. Also, this is when we saw that they had much better rooms. The ultimate member’s rooms were outstanding, modern, and had beautiful views of the property, beach, and mountains. They had a full kitchen (with microwaves!!), a fully stocked bar, and all the toiletries that we didn’t have--but wished for. They also had washcloths and lots of towels, robes, slippers, and a gaming system. THIS is what we were used to having! Of course, I started asking about the price of membership before we got through the presentation. And, of course, I was told to wait, but it wouldn’t be as much as one would think. It was worse! More about that later. All in all, the concept was very intriguing. We were told with membership there was exclusivity, better liqueur (see the list I spoke about previously), spa service, and a personal chef and butler included with our membership. And, at all the “home properties,” we also have higher-quality food included. And, if we patronized one of their 10.5K “sister” affiliates, we could have the same accommodations, but we would need to pay for our food vouchers and an exchange rate of $799-899 per weekly stay. Our friends and family could use the membership as well. And we could sell our weeks to others, too. We would get 25 weeks or 25 years for the best/platinum accommodations at the highest membership level. They also had gold, bronze, and silver packages, as well as a starter package. We then saw a video of so-called Ultimate Club members. The promo video was all about how working-class folks can get celebrity accommodations and a luxury experience for a low investment. There were also no blackout dates. They then served us a much better liqueur--probably to reduce our reasoning power. It sounded great until they sat us down to talk about the investment, and I took my phone out of my pocket to search for reviews, while my hubby started asking hard questions! For example, how many members they have (approximately 40+ thousand), what happens if our dates or resorts are not available (we must be flexible), the exchange fee (charges for using affiliate resorts), the food vouchers (even for places that are all-inclusive), etc. They did not have great answers for us. Most of the reviews I read said that it was hard to get customer service or support. After they get your money, they forget about you. You can never get your desired resort and often must pay the exchange and food rates in addition to your membership fee. You also must pay $20 extra if you want a room with a private pool. Most resorts are not available. You can only use the spa once a week. You can only use the chef once a week. If you booked more than one room, each room counts as a week's usage. They can’t guarantee services, but they can guarantee accommodations. The membership fees were outrageous!!!! Even the starter package for 10 weeks was not worth the headache or the price. I guess we didn't drink enough to accept the program. Let’s just say you can get a REALLY, REALLY nice car for the amount they are asking. While they will finance you, you have a very short time to pay off the balance (45-90 days). To us, it was not financially worth the additional debt, especially when I could pay for that level of accommodation without a membership at other resorts. Likewise, many resorts will have upgrades to have that type of exclusivity (VIP status) just by paying a few extra dollars more during your stay. This whole experience felt like a bait and switch since the pics I saw on the website when booking was closer to the Ultimate Club members’ rooms and experience--but were never available. And there didn’t seem much of a difference between the food you get at the non-membership level and the membership level. But this could be different for different resorts in their membership plans. The presentation lasted way over 90-minutes. Once we could not be sold a membership package---and at least 3 sales folks (manager levels) tried, they walked away from the table without saying goodbye or anything. They had nothing more to say to us. They sent over a coordinator to do our survey. Once that was complete, we got our vouchers, and she left the table. No one walked us out. We even saw many of these folks at the resort later. They ignored us. No one from the sales pitch ever spoke to us again—even when we spoke to them. CHECKOUT As I mentioned earlier, we had VIP/free transportation with our accommodations. We emailed the company the day before our checkout. We called too, but no one ever answered, and we never got a response to the email. We then went to the front desk to find out when our transportation would arrive. We presented him with our voucher. Yessy (front desk staff) was very polite and said for us to come back in the AM and we would try to the company again. We did this. And, when Yessy was able to get the manager on the phone, we discovered they had no transportation for us. We had to pay $60 to get a taxi to the airport. NOTE: when we called to book our airport pickup, I was advised that my timing was off on the voucher. It said AM vs. PM. The manager told me that it was fine and not to worry about it. They know what time to pick up from the airport and the hotel based on the flight arrival and departure times. Well, they used this against us and said we were supposed to get our ride the night before due to the AM/PM error, which I had already clarified and confirmed with the manager it was fine, but that was not the case on our departure date. At any rate, they could not give us the ride they owed us. They never confirmed the pickup time or responded to our communications. CONCLUSION I recognized that as frequent travelers and foodies, we are used to a specific experience. We also visited the DR before but stayed in Punta Cana. That was an amazing experience and if we visit again, we will stay in another part of the island or another resort if we decide to go to Puerta Plata. Never will I ever stay at the Senator Spa again. It's just not worth the money—even with a membership or a better room.

TripAdvisor users rated this property 5 out of 5

Awesome trip

Lisa L (Wasaga Beach, Canada) on Feb 29, 2024

We an awesome trip. The food is very good, a la cartes are delicious. The rooms are clean, beds are comfortable. The staff are very friendly. Everything was excellent except getting up by 5am to get chairs around the pool, ridiculous, especially when people dont even come until late afternoon or do not show up at all but reserved chairs by the pool. The resort needs to get control of this. People do not go holidays to get up at 5am.

View All