Be Live Hamaca Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Boca Chica, Dominican Republic

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

Cons

  • View of the nearby cargo port from the beach
  • Yet-refurbished standard rooms are old and worn

Bottom Line

Unfortunately situated in the D.R.’s sex-tourism capital, the 670-room Be Live Hamaca has modern Deluxe Rooms that were renovated in 2008. But the beach view of the nearby cargo port isn't exactly awe-inspiring. Most guests can look past the unfortunate area; all told, though, it’s a good but not great resort for the price.

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 Scene

Beautiful, even classy 670-room resort in a very seedy area.

Resort guests play organized games
Resort guests play organized games

A lovely, subdued resort in the D.R., the Be Live Hamaca is located in Boca Chica, a small town known more for prostitution than sunbathing. (Prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic and drives a sizable component of its tourism industry.) Somehow, in spite of its tougher surroundings, this vacation spot manages to be clean, calm, and surprisingly classy. It’s pretty easy to ignore the outside world from inside the quiet resort.

The resort is divided into three zones: Hamaca Beach, the beachfront side (built in 1951), the Hamaca Garden, back side (added to the resort in the mid-'90s), and Hamaca Suites, most often in the Beach zone, and with units larger than standard rooms.

Most guests choose to stay and play in the front section -- on the beach. The back portion of the resort may contain several pools, a fitness center, a miniature golf course, a kids' club, a handful of restaurants, a swim-up bar, and the majority of its 670 rooms, but it often looks eerily empty.

The beach, Boca Chica Bay, boasts plenty of cabanas and fancy places to sunbathe and take a nap or get a snack. The water, protected by a coral reef, creates a semicircle around the resort's entire beach area. Stand facing the calm turquoise water, but don't look to the right! There, you’ll find the nearby container port and a natural gas plant. Most guests don’t seem to mind the eyesore.

Bought in 2008 by Globalia, a Spanish company that also owns Air Europa, Hamaca is one of 18 Be Live resorts in the Caribbean, Spain and Morocco. The company began its overhaul of this property nearly right away -- starting with a fresh coat of white paint on the front buildings and a revamp of many of the rooms.

 Location

Ten minutes from the Santo Domingo International Airport, in the D.R.’s seedy, sex-tourism capital (though this hardly affects the serene resort).

Loosely translated, Boca Chica means "small mouth" because of its bayside location. It’s a rough town filled with hustling locals and sex workers. The main strip along the beach makes for an interesting walk and is a good place to purchase souvenirs -- but do so during the daylight.

However, inside this resort, visitors would never know they are smack in the center of such a raunchy neighborhood. The only locals on the resort are either employees or folks speeding on mopeds through the main roadway that cuts through the center of the resort.

 Beach

It's actually a bay, with views of a container port and a natural gas plant. Still, thanks to fancy canopies and plenty of drinks, guests enjoy their "seaside" experience.

The beach
The beach

The swimming area is surrounded by a natural coral reef. It has the same deep turquoise hue as nearby Barcelo Capella, but the water is much calmer since it’s a bay. By noon, staff members in galoshes are netting the seaweed that washes to the shore fast and furiously. They stay around cleaning up for most of the afternoon.

With its view of the nearby cargo port and waist-level water, Be Live Hamaca is not quite the picture of Caribbean seaside serenity. Still, the ample canopy beds make the beach a great place to lounge.

There is a public beach directly next to the hotel's property, but a fence divides the two sections. The local action rarely disturbs the guests.

 Rooms

Renovated in 2008, the Deluxe Rooms are clean, comfortable, and modern -- well worth the extra per night cost. The standard rooms have yet to be renovated and feature mostly worn-out, dated furniture.

The resort is divided into three zones: Hamaca Beach, the beachfront side (built in 1951), the Hamaca Garden, back side (added to the resort in the mid-'90s), and Hamaca Suites, most often in the Beach zone.

Most guests choose to stay and play in the front section -- on the beach. The back portion of the resort may contain several pools, a fitness center, a miniature golf course, a kids' club, a handful of restaurants, a swim-up bar, and the majority of its 670 rooms, but it often looks eerily empty.

Since Globalia bought the resort in 2008, rooms have been slowly getting an overhaul, starting with the beachfront rooms. Visitors should absolutely request one of the renovated rooms, which cost slightly more per night for a Deluxe, Premium, or Executive Room. These renovated rooms are clean, modern, and decorated in neutral brown and cream tones. Premium Rooms are available with a balcony or a Jacuzzi but not both.

Standard Rooms are more of a throwback to the '90s, with a synthetic floral pattern coverlet, old wicker furniture, and not a whole lot of charm. They come with either two twin-size or one king-size bed. Most Standard rooms are slightly larger than others in the D.R. The matresses are not the most comfortable, so it came as no surprise that the hotel is replacing the mattresses in the newly refurbished rooms.

The lighting is horrible in the yet-renovated rooms. Even during the day, reading in the room can strain some guests' eyes. The bathrooms are subdivided with a toilet and bathtub in one tiny room and the sink in the large common area. The water pressure in the shower is impressively strong. Bathrooms are mostly clean, but the tiny shower/toilet room easily becomes stuffy and claustrophobic, especially after using the shower.

The standard-screen, 27-inch TV got a decent picture and about a dozen channels in English. There are no movies on demand, just cable, and the reception is decent. The air conditioner is an old clunker that pumped out bone-chilling air.

All rooms come with an enormous walk-in closet, which included a safe that is charged per day. (The lock is available at the front desk).

The minibar is locked and requires a staff member to open it. Unlike at most all-inclusvies, the minibar at Be Live Hamaca was really an actual minibar. Guests are entitled to two colas and two beers a day, and anything else -- the special spring water, the Ritz crackers -- must be paid for individually. There were two 1-liter bottles of water on the sink countertop. There is also a small coffeepot with all the appropriate accoutrements.

 Features

Several pools and tennis courts, a pleasant spa, and a VIP lounge for $70 extra a night.

The spa
The spa

At the back section of the resort -- Hamaca Gardens -- there’s an impressive pool, a Jacuzzi, a swim-up bar, a miniature golf course, tennis courts, a fitness center, and a kids' club. All of these features are in fine shape, if only because they don't appear to be used all that often (at least during the slow season).

Most guests hang out at the beach, at the front of the resort. There are two pools in the Hamaca Beach section. Unfortunately, one is directly next to a building under construction -- not exactly relaxing. The pool in the Hamaca Gardens section is larger free-form pool with a swim-up bar.

The new beachside Kin Ha Spa offers clean, sleek facilities and plenty of treatments at reasonable prices. There are Jacuzzis, a sauna, and a steam room available to guests who pay for any of the services.

The resort also features the Hamaca Lounge, a special VIP section of the resort. For a price hike, guests get access to a pleasant space that offers unlimited Internet use (both wireless connection and several new PCs), private breakfast and drink service, newspapers of choice, and general space to just lounge about or watch one of the plasma TVs. VIP guests are also entitled to one of the newly refurbished premium or executive rooms, and discounts at El Pelicano Restaurant and the spa. However, for the same price, it might be a little more worth it to head to Viva Wyndham La Romana.

 Family

Two kiddie pools, an on-site kids' club, and a less party-focused atmosphere, but navigating a stroller through the many staircases can be tricky.

The resort's playground
The resort's playground

Cribs and rollaway beds are both available to guests for free.

There is a staircase that leads from the main lobby building to the building that houses several of the restaurants, plus an additional staircase that leads to the beach. Some families might find this a bit cumbersome with a stroller. Thankfully, there is also an elevator, but guests will still have a flight of stairs to head down.

Kids love the beachside food -- hot dogs, burgers, french fries, and lots and lots of pizza.

 Entertainment

Spanish lessons, sports activities, evening dance shows, and a late-night disco – all the basics offered at most all-inclusives, plus a casino.

Evening entertainment
Evening entertainment

Like at most resorts in the D.R., the entertainment staff works hard to make sure guests are having fun. Enthusiastic bocce games take place on the beach, and the daily schedule includes everything from darts to Spanish lessons.

Every evening, the staff puts on a show in the theater. These include the “Lipsing contest,” choreographed renditions of favorites like "New York, New York," "Mambo Number 5," and "YMCA." Twice a week, the entertainment staff takes the nightly entertainment to the beach, hosting a band, tropical dances, and conga lessons by the water. There is also a clean and moderately used casino on the premises as well as a disco.

 Cleanliness

Old and worn standard rooms but refurbished deluxe rooms are nicer and cleaner.

Standard rooms have yet to be renovated, but the furnishings are basically just old and worn out, not actually dirty. Remodeled Deluxe Rooms are relatively clean.

The beach was well groomed, and staff members can be seen clearing seaweed out of the water several times a day. The gardens and grounds are incredibly well cared for and tidy.

 Food

Several dining options from Mexican cuisine to Dominican to a buffet.

A dish prepared by the Rigoletto Pasta Club
A dish prepared by the Rigoletto Pasta Club

The buffet offers a solid breakfast selection, on par with some of the better all-inclusives like the Iberostar. It includes a hot bar, an omelet and egg station, fresh fruit and juices, waffles and pancakes, cereal, and an exhaustive array of breads. The buffet also has an equally comprehensive menu for lunchtime and dinner.

Reservations are required for some of the more formal a la carte restaurants, but there’s no limit on the number of times a guest can eat at each specialty restaurant.

The Mediterranean restaurant serves a variety of pasta dishes, accompanied by well-prepared fish and meats. The Mexican restaurant offers festive food in a southwestern setting though reservations are required. The Dominican restaurant, also requires reservations and has a minimum age of 7-years-old for children who dine in the establishment. The Italian restaurant serves up reasonably good food. For a nicer setting, guests can literally dine on the water at either El Pelicano or Rodizio. Pelicano serves up fresh grilled fish and lobster. While Rodizio presents Brazilian fare. However, these restaurants are not included in the all-inclusive rate.

For late night munchers, the hotel has a snack bar that is open 24 hours.

 Drinks

Plenty of places for a drink -- and the mojitos, made with fresh mint and local rum, are out of this world.

A mojito
A mojito

Some name-brand liquor like Malibu coconut rum and Smirnoff vodka are included in the all-inclusive package, but mostly you get the cheap stuff. At the beachside bar, cheerful bartenders whip up several perfect mojitos -- made with lime, local rum, sugar, and fresh mint. The fresh mint is what marks the quality here -- this isn’t available at most Dominican all-inclusives. There are plenty of other spots to enjoy a tropical cocktail, and they sure don't scrimp on the booze. At dinnertime, decent house wine is served at the restaurants.

 Bottom Line

Unfortunately situated in the D.R.’s sex-tourism capital, the 670-room Be Live Hamaca has modern Deluxe Rooms that were renovated in 2008. But the beach view of the nearby cargo port isn't exactly awe-inspiring. Most guests can look past the unfortunate area; all told, though, it’s a good but not great resort for the price.

Things You Should Know About Be Live Hamaca

Address

  • Duarte 1, Boca Chica, DO

Hotel Is Also Known As...

  • Coral Hamaca
  • Coral Hamaca Resort
  • Coral Hamaca Santo Domingo
  • Hamaca
  • Hamaca Coral
  • Hotel Hamaca
  • Hotel Oasis Hamaca
  • Oasis Hamaca
  • Oasis Hamaca Hotel
  • Oasis Hamaca Resort
  • Oasis Hamaca Santo Domingo

Room Types

  • Double Room
  • Double Sea View Room
  • Junior Suite
  • Superior Double Room
  • Superior Double Room Executive Floor

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 589
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Kids Club: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
Casino: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Boca Chica, Dominican Republic
Address: Duarte 1, Boca Chica, DO
(See Map)
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