Iberostar Costa Dorada Hotel Rating: 3.5 Pearls
For a massive, hyper-indulgent, all-inclusive mega-resort, the Iberostar Costa Dorada is among the best in Puerto Plata -- great buffets, activities, entertainment, liquor, and service. Sure, there's no gym, and the giant pool can get a little chilly. But to the many guests who come back every year, those are just petty details. It's also cheaper to reach Puerto Plata than La Romana or Punta Cana; flights to the Puerto Plata airport tend to cost less, and the 25-min taxi ride from the airport averages $35.
Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Located in the safe mini-tourist city of Playa Dorada, this family-friendly all-inclusive resort has an excellent buffet, some of the newest, cleanest rooms in the D.R., and one of the best beaches on the north coast. It's an incredible bargain, if you ignore the cheap booze, the lingering service kinks, and a pool that's less awe-inspiring than others.
Be Live Grand Marien Rating: 3.5 Pearls
Modern rooms (half of them renovated in late 2008 with marble, Jacuzzi-equipped bathrooms) amp up this otherwise ho-hum all-inclusive. An enormous pool, a nice spa, name-brand liquor, and reservation-free restaurants are the property's other perks, but the crowded, less pristine beach isn't ideal, and the buffet and entertainment are mediocre. Still, for Puerto Plata, it's a great value.