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Reviewed 26 January 2011

We are frequent travellers at not first time in the Domincan Republic which we love. Usually stay at 4 star hotels.
-Service at hotel is great.
-Everyone is so friendly.
-Good animation team.
-Grounds are amazing.
-It is hard for waking on the beach but nice.
-We stayed 3 days in the regular rooms and 4 days upgraded.
-The room itself in regular room is good however bathrooms need upgrade...extremely low water pressure. Sink falling apart. Toilet seat whould be changed.
- At reception many complaining about leakage in room and after 2 days still not fixed.
-Upgrade will cost $15 US per person per day. Includes free internet however everytime we went either not working or closed. Went to other internet room that you pay 30 minutes $5US. Should inclued slippers and bathroom...asked 3 times never got.
-Best expresso and cappucino.
Was a great vacation...however will not go back to this hotel. I don't like paying extra to get a room with basis level of comfort.

Date of stay: January 2011
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Emy R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2011

We stayed in the Catalonia Gran Dominicus from 29 December 2010 for fourteen nights, it was amazing. I had read numerous reviews before we went and generally they were all good, there had been a few negative comments but I am very pleased we didn't let them put us off. On the coach journey in, we had to drop off at Dreams hotel and Iberostar, the approach to these hotels seemed much grander than ours and at first I felt a little deflated and wished I had been staying at one of the others. Luckily that feeling didn't last long, after looking around the Catalonia I realised it was amazing. I had a similar feeling also when we went into our room for the first time, it was very basic and like others had mentioned there was a musty smell. We did for a short time consider upgrading but as we had travelled approximately fourteen hours and it was now 7.30pm we really could not be bothered. I can honestly say that I am so pleased we didn't spend the extra £200 as after the first night we realised that the room was absolutely fine and the musty smell disappeared. It was very big, very clean and the bed was huge and very very comfortable. As we realised over the two weeks we really didn't spend that much time in the room anyway. The location of the hotel was perfect, it was on such an amazing beach the sea was so clear and calm, perfect for snorkling. We found the best part of the beach to sunbathe was on the right, near to where they do the beach massages. It was very quiet up that end and there are plenty of shades and also the palm trees help if you want extra shade for a while when it does get very hot. The opposite side of the beach is for those who want to get involved in all the activities, which are available, the animation team are fantastic, they are so enthusiastic and include everyone, but they also leave you alone if you don't want to participate. I found the selection of food really good, and they put such a lot into theme nights and making everything so special. We were there for New Year celebrations and again they made it so exciting it is the best New Year I have ever had, they finished the night off with fireworks over the sea. The gardens are immaculate, the staff are keeping the resort clean all of the time. We found everyone so very friendly, I must admit as I read on the comments before going, there isn't a lot of English speaking there and we only found one other couple from the UK, but everyone tried to communicate and we really didn't have any problems. I personally liked not being surrounded by Brits all of the time as it felt more like a holiday. We did do the Catalina Island excursion which was good but to be honest I was so happy around the resort that I dont think we would do it again, we had everything we wanted at the hotel. We asked our rep if it was safe to venture out to the Dominicus village which was about a ten minute walk away and she advised that is was very safe and she was right everyone we met were really friendly and actually thanked us for going to the Dominican as it was improving their lifestyle, one man said he has a lot of respect for us and to never be frightened. I really cannot think of a negative to tell you only that it went too quick. If you would like to email me with any questions please don't hesitate, I would be happy to hear from you.

Date of stay: January 2011
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Jacq54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2011

I am very carefully choosing hotels to spend my three weeks holidays at. After
long consideration I chose Catalonia Gran Dominicus for our wonderful, well
deserved holiday in December. I am so glad I did. Thanks to First choice we
were safely delivered to paradise. Flight was good and transfer very
entertaining by Dominican boys.
We have stayed in Dominican Republic before and we knew what to expect. We
stayed in 5 star resort in Punta Cana previously and my husband loved it so
much, that I was afraid not to disappoint him with my new choice for this
time. We didn’t want to compare both hotels, but you kind of do it
automatically. Catalonia Gran Dominicus supposed to be 3 star rating from our
tour operator and our previous hotel-was 5 star, but believe me-
Catalonia easily has beaten the 5 star hotel!!!! Everything we experienced
before was nothing compare to this time. It exceeded my highest expectations.
Best was food. We met Sous Chef and he was a person who so much cared about recipes, preparation, quality. He was always present, checking buffet with his chef’s
thermometer. On many occasions I told him how fantastic the taste of
everything was and he seemed to be very happy. I felt that he was proud of
himself that his efforts are appreciated. Food was the absolute best part of our holiday. We love good food and drink. We have received it. You could find healthy food, lots of
fish and seafood, fruit, veggies. I expected fresh and high quality, tasteful and well seasoned food. I never have been disappointed. My husband on the other hand,, is
very, very difficult to please with taste. He likes best of the absolute best
and he was very happy with food, he thought It was all sooo delicious.
Buffet was an open air restaurant. We always requested from hostesses to be
seated on the terrace. We usually ordered beer, because wine was not good, felt
like diluted vermouth. I did take tip from someone about ordering wine from bar
and taking it over. It was much better as they served from bottle. Very good
Spanish wine. Buffet had themed nights. It was fantastic idea. My favorite was Dominican night. Loved the stew with long cooked oxtails. Dominican desserts were
favorite to my husband. Generally I picked grilled or steamed fish and massive choice of salads on dinner. Breakfast was very good too. I eat fruit on breakfast so had lots of tropical choices, like mango, papaya, pineapple, watermelon, coconut, guavas. Fruit were always fresh, cold as suppose to be. Very ripe bananas-organic delicious. Organic grapefruits –paradise.There was a one downside on breakfast. The Juice blending lady. She was absolutely the worst kitchen staff ever. First of all-rude, second of all-her juices were watery, too sweet. I had to suffer to drink them. could explain to
her to make me without sugar. The only time when she was off duty, the other
kitchen person was making proper juices, medium sweet, not watered down. I
complained on many occasions, but she was coming back every breakfast. One time
I think she refused to make juice at all. She said in Spanish that she has no
ice to prepare it. She never looked you in eyes when she talked to you. She was
correcting jugs after you pour juice to your glass and seemed to have very bad
attitude towards it, like she felt annoyed you are actually taking the juice.
It was all behavior only, she didn’t speak word of English. I think I will
write serious letter about her behavior to management. A la carte restaurants were great. Best one was without any doubt Italian-open air fantastic, romantic restaurant. Served best fish in the world-Grouper. Every time we went there we ate this grouper. It was so well prepared that tasted almost like giant scallops. Steamed right, full of flavor. I lived in USA and ate grouper very often, but never that good. We had favorite waited Pablo or Paolo, sorry I didn’t remember very well. He was fast and courteous.
We always tipped him good and we received very best service.
My husbands and mine second favorite was steak restaurant Rancho. Steaks were
very good. Apple pie dessert best of all apple pies I ate in USA. They had nice
sirloin, rib eye. Caesar salad was maybe little different in taste that we used
to but why not to discover some new tastes? Mexican restaurant wasn’t great. We have fajitas and meat was not very good. We didn’t go again, because Mexican buffet night was much better. My favorite was seafood ceviche and fish salad. Again-better than the one I ate in USA in Mexican restaurant. Generally food was mainly seafood in the hotel. Giant mussels with great sauce,octopus prepared in many ways, shrimp, crab, lobster-extra charge, grilled calamari and squid salads. Fish, fish and fish, but so good that I never got bored. Delicious species like, grouper, Dorado (mahi-mahi?), tuna, Merlin,
wreck fish(never ate before, one of best), tilapia, salmon(could be organic
cause very tasty), red snapper (only ate once in three weeks but so lucky to
get it), mero (I don’t know English name), sardines (unfortunately chef didn’t
grill them long enough and they were undercooked on many occasions, I tried to
ask him to keep them longer on grill but no result as ‘no comprende’)
For meat, they served generally pork. Pork was prepared well,
especially I was impressed with little piglet rotisserie on the beach. That
must have been very tasty. They did serve good beef with bones-like t-bone
steak. On Dominican station I could sometimes find very special stew prepared
from intestines, stomachs, which in Europe, where I come from is our
famous. I tried it little and it was lovely. There was always sandwich station on breakfast and lunch. Good choices even smoked salmon. Always fruit station, no matter is it breakfast or dinner. There was great snack bar right on the beach, also with fruit station.
We loved the creperie. We have some great tasty crepes and cappuccino in
afternoon. Their famous pizza on lunch was seriously best. Stone baked, great mozzarella, many choices. My hubby said he won’t eat pizza on holidays, but he changed his mind after tasting first bite. Very nice bar with central location, well maintained, many staff, but you need to find Tito if you want a good drink. I know cocktail tastes and only Tito could make it happen. Other bartenders did not have a clue how to make it or made it distasteful. We tipped Tito well so we got good drinks. When Tito was off, we did not drink at all it was that bad. You can ask Tito for any cocktail, but
obviously there are not many American travelers there, so you just need to let
him know how to make it and you got it. He is a good one. They have great popcorn machine in the bar. Loved it. Music in the bar needs improvement. It can’t be always salsa and meringue. I was little tired of music there. Only good one was coming when they had aerobic near pool. We both were very angry when French entertainer was on and we usually had to live the bar area. He was really annoying on the microphone. I understand he was fun for French but not for us. Also a joke was children entertainment at night in the middle of the bar. You had to bear watching couple kids at 8-9pm dancing around and had to listen to kids music while you were sipping on your
margarita. Oh what a shame!!!! Great thing about bar that they had self service liquor station, with fantastic coconut rum liquor, mamajuana, mango liquor. They all were highest quality. Better than many international exported brands.
They also served canapés in the bar.
The only thing for me was missing was live bad in the bar. Didn’t need to be
every day, but at least on weekends or something.
Little disappointed with that part. Because resort was mainly for French and
Italians we didn’t get much attention. I felt after while they were avoiding
us. I came to this hotel to dance but I did not do any dancing. I tried once
with my husband on the beach and lesson was too annoying. Clapping constantly
we didn’t learn anything. We did not give it another shot. We had better things
to do around there. I felt that animation team was very full of themselves. I
don’t like that attitude. You are there for us-guests not for your fun only. My
hubby was very disappointed with soccer which happened twice. He loves to play
and he prepared himself for that. Nobody seemed to care to organize that. Only
beach volley all the time and some European strange ball game on the sand.
My husband was promised bottle of rum after winning a match game-but never
received. We did mention to Sebastian on several occasions, but he always
forgot to get it for him. I don’t really care about rum, cause it was cheap
anyway and we bought lots. It is only the way how they cared about us –English
speaking- guests. Big area of improvement for this hotel.
I watched jealous how hotel next door-Canoa- had great beach entertainment,
some great competitions for guys. I wish my husband could participate in one of
those. We have not seen many night shows in amphitheater, but all of them were quite
good. Beach had very nice coconut grove, not many left in this area. Sand beige, almost
white. Perfect, absolute perfect color. Definitely better than yellowish in
Punta Cana. Way too many beach long chairs on the beach and huts, but at least
you didn’t have to fight at the morning for them. Lots of shadow from coconut. Like
I said, good snack places, so you are never hungry on the beach. Good soda
machines, clean ice. Photographers on the beach trying to take your photo. We
were polite to them and they were not pushy or something. Problem is there
weren’t that good. I am myself quite professional and found their skills to be
quite low. Problem was that to buy one photo you need to pay 18 Euros. Way too
much. We never bought any. There was a guy who was bringing some parrots and
iguana to the beach to have them photographed on peoples head etc.
Another problem on the beach were SELLERS. Oh my God, what a nightmare. If I
counted every minute spending on explaining that WE DO NOT WANT to BUY their
PAINTINGS, I think it would be half of a day altogether. I think hotel should
not allow them on the beach. It is not hotel’s fault they are so hungry for
customers. We were extremely annoyed with sellers. We were there for three
weeks and they didn’t learn we didn’t want any shopping. They attack you from
every side when you leave hotels beach and try to have relaxing walk along the
coast. You have to walk about 1.5 kilometers to get rid of them.
RECEPTION-excellent, good English knowledge, very efficient, problems resolved
fast. We have problem with bed and they send replacement bed immediately. We
were happy. We needed assistance with booking some trips outside hotel, they
gave me professional assistance. I was most impressed. Concierge wasn’t that
good, better use reception. Especially nice Dominican girl, forgot her name,
she was brilliant. Good porter service, very polite. Staff of the hotel
generally very polite, no one will pass near you not saying Hola! I was again
very impressed and felt welcome every time. Lady who exchanges money in CAMBIO
didn’t want to give my husband change for tips. Reception also didn’t have any
change. Bring lots of $1 or at least have good change of pesos at least 50’s
handy to tip everybody. They all deserve it as they work had for your
enjoyment. ROOMS-We didn’t have any problem with rooms. Clean, spacious, maybe a bit too dark,but you don’t spend time there anyway. Flat screen TV, nice new fridge full of water and drinks. Air conditioning was working all the time-waste of energy.
Room was always nice and cold, no problem. Nice balcony with chairs and view
for gorgeous gardens. I saw many birds at the morning, even Lizard Bill Cookoo
and hummingbird. We were quite lucky, we didn’t have noisy neighbors. Walls
are thin, like in many hotels and you can get some disturbance from neighbors.
Over weekend lots of noisy locals come to resort and it may be little problem
for people who enjoy quiet sleep in the room at night. But that is just for
one night, I could live with it. Housekeeping was working good. They did bring
flowers to room, decorated bed with swan towels, etc. Everything in room was
working in order. You are getting free safe. We liked our room. Good TV
channels with great movies. About room problems that I read from other
reviewers. I can see why people complain. This hotel has its style, old
colonial style-I loved. Many people doesn’t. They want modern buildings, modern
furniture. You are in Caribbean, musty smell is part of your holiday!!Loved the
villas, we walked every evening around all of them. I would want to pay for an
upgrade. I liked our ‘ordinary’ room which for me was ‘extraordinary’. Have a
positive attitude to your room and you will be fine. Relax-you are on holiday! POOL-
Gorgeous, not too busy, one part was really deep, 2.5 meters-my favorite. I
have good swim in that pool almost every day. Water was nice and cold, very
refreshing. I think families with kids enjoyed the pool a lot, but kids had
their separate section. There was not very polite person working on the pool area, giving pool towels. He had always problem with us giving him towel at the morning. I understand where he is coming from, towels need to be washed and dried overnight and we were bringing it another day, but we were staying late on the beach and his
services were closed before we finished. He made us feel bad all the time and
soon we were afraid to ask for towels. I feel that guest should just enjoy
holidays, not worry about pool towels to be returned on time. Anyway nothing,
even small negatives couldn’t spoil our holidays. I hope it gives some good, positive view on this unique hotel. I would love to
return fast and I am just hoping that everything will stay same, or maybe even
better. I will post some pictures soon.
Happy travels everyone. I recommend this hotel to everyone who loves nature and
likes healthy style holidays.

Happy to answer any questions you may have.

Date of stay: December 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank AnnieLennox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 January 2011

We traveled in November to this hotel in La Romana, we have been to Puerto Plata, and Punta Cana in the last few years also. We love the Dominican and this hotel did not let us down, the food ,rooms and staff were very good , our concierge Sufa was excellent. During the day there was alot of activities along with snorkeling with hundreds of fish 50 ft from the shore at man made coral reefs...it was awesome! ,at night the Animation crew kept you busy with shows , dance lessons , games. I highly recommend the steakhouse and pizzeria. also the Safari trip in the mountains and the day trip to Sona Isalnd aboard a catamaran. *BRING SNORKEL EQUIPMENT

Date of stay: November 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank shank22
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2011

I seriously do not understand why people have so many negative things to say about this hotel! I think some people expect to pay a relatively cheap(ish) price for a hotel in this country and still expect 5 star plus standards! If you want a luxury holiday worth thousands of pounds then that is what you should pay for.
We had a FANTASTIC holiday at this hotel and would definitely rate it at 4 stars!

The staff were brilliant and worked tirelessly night and day to ensure we had the best stay possible! We are English and did not in any way feel ignored by the staff because of this, they were all more than friendly and made every effort possible to hold a conversation with us and include us in activities and were always very friendly!
We stayed in a standard room which more than sufficiently met our needs. I don't think the rooms are old or dated and are comfortably decorated with a large comfortable bed and more than enough room. The air-conditioning and safe in the room are FREE of charge, which is practically unheard of in a lot of places. The bathroom also more than met our needs. I must admit there was a slight musty smell when we first entered the rooms but this soon went and did not continue beyond the first night!
We only wanted a comfortable room for a siesta and to sleep in at night and our room was perfect for this! If you go on holiday and want a room that you can sit in all day, you may as well stay at home!

The food was AMAZING and again I don't understand the complaints in some of the other reviews in this respect! There was always plenty of choice at breakfast and dinner time and the food was always of a very good standard. In a lot of respects it was better than the food you would get in a restaurant at home. My mother in law is a vegetarian and always found enough to eat, although obviously there is a limited choice. The little italian restaurant opens at lunch time which we did not realize until towards the end of our holiday, but if you want to go somewhere a bit different at lunchtime then this is a perfect option.
Sometimes we found the choice at evening meals could be a bit hit and miss, but there are three themed restaurants (although our advice would be to check at lunchtime if they are open that evening as they were not always open every night) and the pizzeria so we were never really short of choice!
We loved the fact that there was a theme at the main buffet restaurant every evening as it gave you the chance to sample lots of different foods and the staff dressed up in costume every night, allowing for some great photo opportunities which we will look back on for years to come.

The grounds of the hotel were immaculately kept and very clean, there was evidence on a daily basis of how hard everyone worked to keep the hotel and its surroundings clean and well maintained! The beach was beautiful and just the right size, we never struggled to find a sun-bed and did not find it over-cramped at all! The pool and Jacuzzi were a really good size and never overcrowded. You could see someone checking the chlorine levels everyday which reassured us that the hotel had our welfare in mind all the time!
The bars again were great with a wide choice of drinks on offer, we particularly enjoyed the cocktail bar, which could be busy at times, but you were never left waiting long before being served. It is also worth noting that there is a snack bar on the beach which has a variety of light options if you do not feel like going to the buffet restaurant at lunchtimes.

There were a wide variety of activities on offer all day every day, ranging from yoga to aqua aerobics to tennis and table tennis and dancing in the evening and volley ball on the beach (one evening) . The evening entertainment was GREAT and we would definitely advise you to see the Notre Dame show which we did not understand as it was in Spanish but you could follow the story through the acting and we thought it was AMAZING! They got a standing ovation at the end!
There was also a wide variety of water sports activities on the beach and I would highly recommend trying the parasailing! I had never done this before and was naturally nervous about it but the guys were took me out were really reassuring and looked after me well!

We had a problem with one of the safes in the room while we were there and when we went to reception they were very good and sent someone out to deal with it straight away!
We were also asked on several occasions whilst there by members of staff about what they could do to improve our stay which really pleased us as it showed that they are constantly striving to make it a better holiday experience for people!

As reported yes the hotel does open up to the Dominicans at the hotel but we thought this was a nice touch and it was nice to think that the hotel gave something back to the locals and the country! On these days it was much busier but not unbearable and if you really did not want to stay on the resort on these days there were trips you could go on, but again we do not understand why you would visit the country if you do not want to interact with the people who live there.

I cannot stress enough how hard the staff at this hotel work! It was our first trip to the Dominican Republic and we would definitely visit again and use this same hotel and will have no qualms about recommending it to our friends in the future! It really was a great holiday in a beautiful country, made all the more pleasant by the friendly and untiring staff at this hotel!
Please don't be put off by the reviews on here just go and give it a chance! You won't regret it! I know we didn't!

Date of stay: December 2010
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Emma_R1113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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