This hotel has so much potential. You can't ask for a better location... the beach is great - water is clear and warm, snorkeling is right off the shore and long romantic walks along the water are calling you.
However, this is all spoiled by the vendors whom you can't escape = not only the beach vendors but the various hotel timeshare vendors - whether trying to relax on the beach or going for a walk along the water's edge. It got to the point where we no longer took walks or simply turned back as soon as we saw a vendor approaching us.
We've been to other resorts before where vendors are part of the environment, but this was the worst we've ever experienced. Even if they pass you by as you relax on the lounge chairs (we learned to avoid eye contact or pretend to be asleep) many of them simply disrupt the peace and quiet by shouting out their wares. It just became tedious to keep on having to say no - especially to the rude horse & carriage ride guy.
The resort timeshare vendors are even worse, starting with registration. Even though I indicated on my form that we did not want a presentation, we were guided to an area to meet with a hotel staff who would "show us what the hotel was about". Needless to say it was a high-pressure, snake-oil situation. We got up and left in the middle and were then pestered the next few days by other hotel vendors asking why we didn't want the presentation. We learned they earned a commission for doing this. During our 2 week stay we were constantly bombarded by these vendors. We tried to avoid our "assigned" vendor, Louis, after my husband witnessed him chewing out (very loudly & in front of guests) some of the excursion vendors.
Food was so-so. There was a lot from which to choose, and usually something could be found which was fairly good, but it was rather repetitive. One good thing was all 4 of us ended up losing weights, which is something that doesn't usually happen at an "all-in"! I don't think hygiene was a big concern with at least 1 of the cooks as after one of the serving tongs fell on the floor, he simply picked then up and placed them back on the serving plate for use again (until we asked for a clean pair!).
The a-la-carte restaurant was only so-so as well. However if you want to escape the extra crowds during dinner times on weekends when the locals arrive, you may want to reserve a table instead of fighting it out in the buffet.
We didn't have any problems with them, it was just quite a bit noisier and more crowded.
Rooms were average - comfortable and clean on the surface, but with little things that took away from the quality: 1 wall plug beside the bed was simply a hole in the wall, limiting what you could plug in at night.
We had booked a 2-bedroom room which was made up of a 1-bedroom suite adjoining onto a regular hotel room. the regular room was not large and the bathroom was very small. There was no TV in the living room of the suite although there was 1 in each bedroom. This just meant that the odd time we wanted to relax in the room watching TV, the 4 of us couldn't do it together.
We sometimes sat on the balcony reading at night but be careful as it was easy to lock yourself out.
Excursions were sold by vendors on the beach - they all worked for the same company, but prices were somewhat negotiable. Also make sure to read exactly what is involved since you are not told the details up front. Most of the excursions include the "free" extra stops along the way where you are encouraged to spend your money to support the local crafts people. Not a bad idea on the surface, but most of the stuff for sale is the same stuff you see at the hotel.
My sister & I went on the waterfall trip with my husband & brother-in-law only going as far as the bottom (they had no plans to climb it). However, no-one had mentioned that water shoes (or shoes that weren't hurt by getting wet) were necessary just to get to the starting point since we had to wade through a number of streams to get to the bottom of the falls.
The climb was really amazing and much more than we expected - very physical, requiring a lot of heaving & hoisting up from the guides. My sister ended up falling after completing the very last fall & broke a rib and tore soft tissue in her shoulder. The guides were incredible in their help getting her back down again. If you are physically fit this is a great excursion, just know what you are getting into.
There is a medical facility in the shopping plaza which serves all the hotels in the area. We had good service there with my sister after her fall. Again though, just walking to the plaza (a 2-3 minute walk) you are bombarded by vendors.
The beach as I said was very nice & clean. The lounge chairs were on the grungy side though with several that were broken. There was lots of shade from trees for those who
needed it (no little thatch "huts)".
If you are a non-smoker like us, be prepared for a lot of smokers everywhere - even in the dining areas.
There were so many staff just "in your face" so much of the time, that the beauty of the place was lost. It was stressful trying to relax on the beach! We heard a few guests being a lot ruder than we were in dealing with them.
We will not go back again.
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Hotel Puerto Plata
- Paradise Beach Club Puerto Plata
- Paradise Beach Resort Casino
- Paradise Beach Puerto Plata
- Paradise Beach Club Casino