Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
The resort has tons of kids' activities, but it's not very swanky.
Allegro Puerto Plata is focused on entertaining children and their families. Aside from the Royal Suites, an adults-only enclave of the hotel with its own clubhouse, pool, and suites, every nook of this giant resort is geared toward families.
It has a friendly, wholesome, summer camp vibe to it. Unlike most Dominican all-inclusives, there is no sleazy, over-sexualized entertainment, near-naked sunbathers, beer chugging, pounding music, or loud, obnoxious guests. In their place, I found a plethora of children's activities, safe, well-guarded pools, and entertainment that could have been the opening act to a Raffi show.
At 271 rooms, Allegro Puerto Plata is the largest resort within Playa Dorada, a gated community of 14 other resorts. It sprawls along a large portion of its beach. The labyrinth of guest-room buildings, pools, restaurants, and games facilities is connected by double-wide lanes suited for golf carts and trucks moving around , stray guests, and incoming food shipments.
Attentive and overwhelmingly kid-friendly staffers. Most entertainment staffers are native English-speakers.
It seems like every staff member was hired with the following question in mind: "Would I want them to babysit my kids?" Yes, I would. The staff is friendly, kind, and the vibe of the place is, well ... wholesome. From bartenders to security guards, the staffers all seem suited to host their own segment of "Sesame Street."
At check-in, a sweet but frustratingly unhelpful front desk staffer greeted me with huge smiles and broken English. The flirtatious comments were flattering, but I would have preferred the standard (and more useful) informational speech -- check-out time, map of the massive (and confusing) resort, and instructions on how to make a dinner reservation.
Overall, the staff is friendly and helpful. Service at the buffet restaurant is exceptional -- especially for such an enormous resort. The wait staff helped me find a seat and made sure I had plenty to drink. I got lost a couple of times, and the security guards were nice enough to escort me back to my room. Someone even called the room to make sure I made it OK.
The entertainment staff is almost entirely made up of native English-speakers (they are mostly from England or Canada). This is unlike anywhere else in the Caribbean. It provided a much-needed break from rapid-fire Spanglish and Sprench found at most other all-inclusives during the evening performances.
A 20-minute, $30-$35 taxi from Puetro Plata International Airport, inside a safe, gated complex.
Playa Dorada is a gated complex of 15 hotels, a golf course, a convention center, two casinos, and a shopping mall located just east of downtown Puerto Plata. The neatly manicured mini-city has that promenade up and down the main street at all hours. It's extremely safe and walkable, even at night. It sort of feels like a gated golf community in the United States. The hotels in the complex range from Casa Colonial, a luxury five-star hotel (one of the nicest resorts in the D.R.), to a plethora of budget all-inclusives and time-shares geared toward families and young partiers, like Viva Wyndham, Grand Paradise, and the Celuisma Tropical. In the center of the complex is , a two-story, open-air shopping center that caters heavily to tourists with souvenir stalls, sundry and tobacco shops, a playground, and a couple of liquor stores. There are also a few ATMs, banks, restaurants, and bars, including , , , and even a Pizza Hut.
Smooth sand and gentle waves -- the long beach is one of the best in Puerto Plata, but doesn't compare to those in Punta Cana.
The Allegro’s beach is better than most along the long Playa Dorada strip, which puts it high in the running for one of the best beaches along the north coast (which isn’t saying much). The water is clearer, the waves are gentler, and the sand is smoother.
But there’s no place for peace and solitude at this beach. Even guests who pay for the VIP upgrade will be subject to packs of hair-braiders, tour vendors, and cute little nose-pickers. The vendors closely follow guests with heavy sales pitches and binders in hand. The Flea Orange Market borders the beach, as well. With plenty of kids to spoil and families to buy up tours, activities, and souvenir trinkets, the wealth of vendors is no surprise.
Bunk beds and cartoon cut-outs -- these rooms aren't too stylish, but they're built for families. Bathrooms are cramped.
A couple seeking a romantic holiday would find these rooms tragically campy and childlike. But a family on a budget vacation would be pleasantly relieved to not have to stick the kids on a cot next to Mom and Dad's bed.
Cartoon animals greet children in the kiddy corner of this family "suite." Bunk beds allow kids their own twin-size mattresses, separated from the rest of the room. The swinging doors on springy hinges could be somewhat hazardous for small children. Kids in that sweet spot between toddler and teen will have this little corner of the room all to themselves.
About half of the rooms are on the ground floor, mine included. Rather than a balcony, they have a terrace that looks out onto a main pathway within the resort. When my curtain didn't close all the way, I certainly felt pretty exposed.
The bathrooms are less than impressive and weren’t especially well-suited for families. They’re cramped, so squeezing small children together for bath time or guided tooth brushing can get pretty tricky. Even the most mature guests might be creeped out by the strange, wormy insect that appeared in my bathtub as I prepared for a shower. Ew! But that’s par for the course in the Caribbean.
The Allegro Puerto Plata resort is like an amusement park. There’s the typical, all-inclusive activities -- life-size chess boards, table tennis, etc. -- along with less typical activities like Gordon's Aeroball. The amenities here are completely focused on entertaining children and their families, and they do a good job of it.
The high-ropes course, centrally located just outside of the lobby, is probably the most distinctive activity offered. Instructors hoist daring teenagers onto a giant, harnessed rope swing and let them swing back and forth from the giant frame. Crowds of families take photos below as kids scream and kick mid-air. One kid I saw seemed to be enjoying himself, but as he waited for the instructor to help him down, he complained to his family about some "pinching down there" from his harness.
An elaborate playground of bars, slides, swings, and ladders entertains the younger set.
A wedding gazebo even graces the property, though if you've read any of this review you know by now that this is not exactly a romantic hot spot.
The casino on the edge of the property is utilitarian, if that word can be applied to a casino. It was tame throughout my stay, but offers a rare adults-only atmosphere. Likewise, there’s the adults-only Aquanox bar, which is a nice reprieve from the Disney Channel entertainment that overtakes the rest of the resort.
Perhaps the most essential family feature is the on-site laundry room. It’s a much cheaper alternative to the hotel’s laundering service.
Kid-centric pools of all sizes and shapes keep families entertained. Parents and children play hide and seek around a spewing chlorinated water over the kiddy pool. Whole families body surf in the wave pool.
Unlike every other resort, ais always on duty at the kid pools. With all the kids around and parents catching a break in the sun on their loungers, this is especially reassuring.
Championshipwithin walking distance, plus a small-scale .
Allegro Puerto Plata also has its own small Playa Dorada simply offer access to the , a considerably better championship course that's really only suited to experienced players. The Allegro’s course is a much better place to train the kids on their drive.. Most resorts in
Near the resort is the 18-hole Playa Dorada golf course, designed by Robert Trend Jones. In 2005-06, it was reported as among the 100 best golf courses outside the United States by Golf Digest. There are short courses for beginners, but the course is better suited to advanced players. Free beginners' lessons are held at the course's driving range.
The kid-friendly resort in the D.R., featuring a kids' club, wave pools, endless games, and a lifeguard.
The resort features a kids' club, wave pool, endless games, and a lifeguard. Virtually every aspect of the resort is dedicated to families. Inside, there’s a thriving kids' club, wave pool, water park, and endless games. Even better, the resort has its own lifeguard -- this isn’t common. Guest rooms come with bunk beds in a separate small bedroom designated for kids. At the buffet, there are loads of kid-friendly options like pasta, French fries, and self-serve ice cream. There’s even a laundry room on-site.
The complex includes, among other things, its own medical center. The beach at Playa Dorada has less aggressive waves than most areas of the north coast, and the sand is plenty soft.
Well-cleaned facilities with no major issues.
Except for the creepy crawly that I met in my bathroom, the property seems well-maintained and cleaned. Wet, warm napkins at each meal are a nice touch.
Meager buffet, but that’s the norm in the D.R. for a hotel in this price range. There are also several à la carte restaurants.
"Well, the food is sure not like at home," I heard one man lament to his buddy over the buffet lunch. No, it sure isn't. Like most Dominicanhotels, Allegro Puerto Plata serves a standard to sub-standard buffet with the option to reserve seats at one of its à la carte restaurants. None of the food is very good, but the kids don’t seem to mind.
For lunch and dinner, Tropaz, the resort's standard buffet restaurant, serves a full English breakfast buffet, as well as repetitive staples like bread, cold cuts, and a mixed salad bar (with lettuce consistently frozen stuck to the platter). At , chefs worked the griddles at an omelet station and a pancake and French toast station. At lunch and dinner, these same stations turned into Pasta Land, offering made-to-order pastas with a choice of sauce and add-ons like onions, garlic, and peppers. Choices here definitely seemed better suited to British and Canadian tastes than American (things like parsley dressing and boiled potatoes that rarely turn up at American buffets were popular here). The good news is that, for all the families coming to Allegro Puerto Plata, the bland buffet is like one big kids' menu. Kid-friendly options include pasta, French fries, and even self-serve ice cream.
Regionally themed à la carte dining options are also included and available by reservation. These restaurants include Lotus (Thai), Pancho Villa (Mexican), Don Genaro (Italian), and The Palms (beachside Caribbean).
Low-grade booze only, but drinking isn't really the focus here.
This might be the only place in the D.R. guests can order a fruit punch without getting alcohol in it. If you do want mixed drinks, take your pick of low-grade "Classic"-brand liquors. Alcohol isn't the focus here like it is at many other.
Located inside a gated community, the 271-room Allegro Puerto Plata keeps kids happy with high-ropes, a wave pool, a huge beach, a teen center, and constant kid-friendly activities. Even better, it lets parents relax, with private bunk beds for kids, lifeguards, and nearby medical facilities. HOTEL CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS.