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Hodelpa Garden Suites 3.0

Juan Dolio, San Pedro de Macoris Province, Dominican Republic

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • In a gated country club in Juan Dolio
  • Adjacent to an 18-hole golf course and a 15-minute walk to the beach
  • Rooms are modern and spacious, with massage chairs and big bathtubs
  • All rooms have simple kitchenettes and separate bedrooms
  • Massive outdoor pool with swim-up bar and cold-water tubs
  • Free beach shuttle to Juan Dolio Beach
  • Free buffet breakfast includes hot dishes, smoothies, and fresh fruit  
  • Daily happy hour with free drinks
  • Simple 24-hour fitness room plus two tennis courts
  • Free and secure self-parking
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout
  • Meeting and event space

Cons

  • Location is remote and area outside country club is unsafe at night
  • Food at on-site Fairway Grill is mediocre
  • Very little to do at the resort and taxis are expensive 
  • Wi-Fi can be spotty in rooms

Bottom Line

Three-pearl Hodelpa Garden Suites stands in a remote gated development in the sleepy village of Juan Dolio. Surrounded by posh homes, pristine manicured lawns, and an 18-hole golf course, it's reminiscent of a Florida retirement community transplanted to the Dominican Republic. The pool is impressively large and the beach is just a 15-minute walk from here. The hotel's free happy hour -- an unexpected perk at a hotel that's not all-inclusive 00 is a nice touch, though food in the hotel's restaurant isn't great. The 125 homey rooms are massive and have separate bedrooms plus simple kitchenettes. Families with safety as their top priority will appreciate the 24-hour security, but others may want to compare with the more expensive Emotions Beach Resort, which has better food and hotel amenities. 

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Scene

Quiet, mid-range hotel that can feel empty and sedate

This property has changed hands a few times -- it was once an Embassy Suites outpost before becoming Los Marlins Suites and eventually being taken over by the Dominican chain Hodelpa. In any case, it's situated within a secluded, gated complex that houses a handful of expensive and seemingly empty vacation homes in the former fishing village of Juan Dolio. Once inside, one of the stranger things guests will see in the lobby is a faux bedroom set to the left of the entrance: a bed, dresser -- even a TV and scale -- are lit up like trophies in a case. It’s an authentic, if odd choice by the property to showcase their 2016 room renovations. Guests who walk by can preview the dark blue walls, light wood dressers, even test the softness of the beds just like they would in a furniture store or model home.

The lobby itself is a large atrium: skylights shine on tall potted plants surrounding couches, wood tables, and turquoise chairs spilling over from the on-site restaurant. It’s a big hotel, and seems even bigger because it’s so empty (as it was on our visit) -- it frequently only manages to get half-full at any given time throughout the year. That plus its location in a remote, generally vacant neighborhood makes it hard not to feel a little lonely here. But for the North American or European couples and families who sometimes pass through, the relaxed vibe might be exactly what attracts them, as well as the huge pool and 24-hour security. Those looking for a party, though, will want to head elsewhere.

Location

In a gated community in Juan Dolio, near golf and the beach

Map of Hodelpa Garden Suites

The resort is in Juan Dolio, a former fishing village turned touristy enclave that lies just past Boca Chica. The town stretches along the coast, and has less than 3,000 residents. The hotel itself is within an upmarket gated community known as the Metro Golf and Country Club, which also houses a series of high-end residential properties that seem to remain vacant most of the year. It’s set almost in the middle of the golf course, so getting to and from the entrance on foot is a solid twenty-minute walk (or a seven-minute drive). Having a rental car is almost a necessity in the DR, but especially here, where there’s nothing but a local grocery store and pharmacy at the property's entrance. In a country where safety is a major concern for both locals and tourists, Juan Dolio is no exception, especially at night. The hotel’s 24-hour gated security and general isolation might actually be a welcome sign to some.  

The most exciting thing to do here is play golf. The hotel is surrounded by the 18-hole Los Marlins Golf Course , and close to the Guavaberry Golf and Country Club, which is a 10-minute drive. The Estadio Tetelo Vargas is a 20-minute drive. Getting to the tourist sights in Santo Domingo takes a bit longer than stated on the hotel’s site. Expect trips there to take at least an hour, and in a taxi the time can add up. Some cabbies offer roundtrip fares for slightly cheaper than a one-way trip, but it’s still pricey. Budget travelers who know a bit of Spanish could try the minibuses, or gaguas, though the schedule for these is not always reliable.

The hotel offers free shuttles to and from Juan Dolio Beach, the closest strip of sand and just about seven minutes away in a car. Alternatively, the beach takes 15 minutes to reach on foot. Otherwise, there’s Guayacanes Beach, an eight-minute drive from the hotel. The hotel is relatively close to Boca Chica and its famous beach too -- it’s a 20-minute drive away. Las Americas Santo Domingo International Airport is just over thirty minutes away. 

Rooms

Homey rooms with simple kitchenettes and tons of space

The rooms here are all spacious -- in fact, the massive floor plans can feel a bit underfurnished in some cases -- and decor has a homey, modern quality to it. All rooms have separate bedrooms and living rooms with sofas and chairs that are done in modern upholstery with eye-catching patterns. White tile floors are clean while white walls are hung with abstract art that looks lifted from a model home in a retirement community, further adding to the sedate style at this hotel. Wood veneer furniture has a light oak hue and most colors throughout skew soft -- expect to see soft blues and vivid red used sparingly next to earth tone accents. 

All rooms feature flat-screen TVs, and simple kitchenettes with microwaves, coffeemakers, and mini-fridges. Higher-category rooms have additions like iPod docks, massage chairs, and white-noise machines. All rooms feature narrow balconies, some with pleasant views of the golf course. Bathrooms are extra spacious, with big tubs, plenty of granite counter space, and scales. The beds are large and comfy too, with plenty of pillows and a lap desk. High ceilings here give the effect of airiness and space, but it causes the rooms feel a bit sparse. Soft bathrobes, extra blankets, and Pascal Morabito toiletries (which include bath salts), certainly help make it feel a little cozier. 

Features

Massive pools, simple fitness room, free beach shuttle, and free happy hour

This large hotel has a decent number of features, though some are a little underwhelming. The pool is massive, with two cold-water tubs, a handful of lounge chairs, tiki huts, and even a swim-up bar. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to the nearby beach, and golf enthusiasts are within striking distance of a couple courses, including the Los Marlins Golf Course which is on-site. There’s a fitness room with two cardio machines as well as a small selection of free weights, a water cooler, and towels. It's a bit small for a hotel of this size.

The hotel lists three bars and restaurants, though there was just one open when we visited -- Fairway Grill. This venue serves international seafood and meat dishes that fall just short of expectations. Still, the breakfast is free and includes a variety of hot dishes plus smoothies and fresh fruit. The hotel’s daily happy hour is a better bet, where bartenders hand out free beer and cocktails for two solid hours. For a hotel that doesn’t count itself in the all-inclusive scene in the Dominican Republic, that’s an unheard-of generosity -- one that guests who stay here seem to appreciate. There are also a handful of up-to-date computers at their business center, as well as series of meeting rooms and free Wi-Fi, though internet can get spotty depending on one's location in the hotel.

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Things You Should Know About Hodelpa Garden Suites

Address

Autovia del Este, Blvd de Juan Dolio / Metro Country Club, Metro Country Club, Juan Dolio, San Pedro de Macoris Province 21004, Caribbean

Also Known As

  • Embassy Suites by Hilton Los Marlins Hotel & Golf Resort
  • Los Marlins Suites Hotel

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