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Celuisma Cabarete 1.5

Cabarete and Sosua, Dominican Republic

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • All-inclusive resort on the beach
  • Technically has two pools and two hot tubs (sometimes)
  • Rooms have balconies, some overlooking nice grounds
  • Buffet restaurant and sports bar with karaoke and billiards
  • Breakfast is included
  • Free Wi-Fi, but only in the pool and lobby area

Cons

  • Hotel is in dire need of a renovation
  • Room decor is outdated and rooms have cleanliness issues
  • Beach isn't the cleanest we've seen and surf can be rough
  • Maintenance issues include a non-working pool
  • Area has little to offer within walking distance

Bottom Line

The 120-room, one-and-a-half-pearl Celuisma Cabarate, is a beachside all-inclusive property, but it's memorable for all of the wrong reasons. From the trash-filled parking lot to the poor sanitation in the restaurants, it's a stretch to call this place a resort, mostly for the lack of functioning amenities. The website lists two pools, but only one was working when we visited, and despite the promise of multiple bars and restaurants, there’s just a buffet serving sub-par food and small bar with limited hours. Rates are low for the area, and budget travelers only concerned with having a roof over their heads may be fine, but UltraVioleta Boutique Residences is a far nicer option up the road.

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Scene

Run-down hotel with cleanliness issues and a dreary vibe

The abandoned lot that serves as the parking lot for Celuisma Cabarete could be confused for a landfill, based on the massive pile of trash that’s been dumped in the back part of the lot. Despite the presence of two guys who sit on the side of the street, presumably to guard the space, it still feels risky to leave your car here overnight. It’s a dreary welcome to an even more depressing hotel -- the sheer size of the lobby only highlights how run-down the place is. It makes sense that there are rumors that the hotel is shut down -- it’s not, but it seems like it might be a good idea to at least temporarily close it for some major renovations. Besides retired Germans, all manner of European and American tourists stay here, mostly budget travelers and those who spend long days surfing at the beach. This is the tropics, but the mosquitos here are ubiquitous presence -- in the rooms, lobby, restaurants, and everywhere else you don’t want them to be.

Location

Just 10 minutes east of Cabarete with little in walking distance

Map of Celuisma Cabarete

The hotel is just east of Cabarete, wedged between a cluster of buildings and a few sugar cane fields. There's not much in the immediate area that's within a comfortable walk, though there are a couple of restaurants that offer an alternative to the hotel's buffet nearby. The hotel sits right on a local highway, where motoconchos, cars, and trucks whizz by throughout the day. It’s a 20-minute taxi ride to Puerto Plata International Airport and about a ten-minute drive to Cabarete. The town is one of the water sports hubs in this part of the Dominican Republic, and there are all manner of outfitters in the center of town, including kite surfing shops, an activity for which Cabarete is especially well known.

Rooms

Spacious and bright, but sparsely decorated and some cleanliness issues

On a positive note, the rooms here are bright and spacious, with tile floors, peach accent walls, and simple rattan furniture. Aside from that, decor is essentially nonexistent save for a single framed picture on the wall and bright orange curtains. Certain elements look a little beat up, like the closet doors in the Standard Room we visited, and there were some minor housekeeping issues. Balconies are a nice touch -- they aren't huge, but some have nice views of the grounds. Rooms above the sports bar have the benefit of a nice view of the pool, but they also seem to be the noisiest late at night, so it’s a tradeoff. All rooms have mini-fridges, tables and chairs, old safes, and tube-style televisions, but no telephones. Bathrooms are dark but reasonably sized and include shower/tub combos, small vanities, and a single bar of soap.

Features

Buffet, sports bar with karaoke and billiards, outdoor pools, and the beach

At first glance, the hotel seems to offer a wide range of amenities -- buffet and a la carte restaurants, several bars, two pools, and a snack bar. But upon arrival, it quickly became clear that most of these were either not functioning or functioned with very limited hours. The buffet, at least, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (with strictly observed mealtimes and subpar food), but the Japanese restaurant, Teppai, looked abandoned throughout our visit. The sports bar’s hours seem dependent on the whims of the bartenders, and the buffet bar has a very limited selection of spirits and soft drinks. The most popular activity here seems to be the evening entertainment at the sports bar, where guests can play pool or just drink a beer and watch a sports game. It can get rowdy here late at night, thanks to cheap alcohol and the karaoke machine. 

There are two pools, but one seemed perpetually under renovation on our visit (it's pictured as Pool Two, which represents how the pool looks when it's open). The other one -- which is tiny -- flanks the entertainment area and buffet restaurant. There’s a raised hot tub at the far edge that seems fairly clean, and it's lined with plenty of lounge chairs. The hotel is adjacent to the beach, but it somehow feels just as abandoned as the parking lot. Rusty outdoor showers stand at the entrance and broken beach chairs are haphazardly strewn about the sand -- not exactly an invitation to sit down. But for the commonly overcrowded beaches in the DR, this might still be a welcome relief for some. It’s a bummer to see the trash that litters the beach (something that’s also common in the DR), and the water can be too rough for swimming.

Wi-Fi is free in the hotel's common areas

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Things You Should Know About Celuisma Cabarete

Address

2 km from Cabarete, Entrada Camino del Sol, Cabarete, Puerto Plata Province, Caribbean

Phone

(809) 571-0342

Also Known As

  • Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada
  • Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada Hotel
  • Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada Resort
  • Tropical Playa Dorada

Room Types

  • Standard One Bed Room

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