Direct access to a broad, beautiful sweep of Playa Dorada
Within walking distance of shops and restaurants
Big, lagoon-style pool with kids’ pool
Guest rooms are generally tidy; most have private balconies
All-inclusive dining covers a la carte restaurants, buffet, and snack bar
Large fitness center with a range of equipment
Pleasant and colorful small kids’ club
Free Wi-Fi in the lobby
Facilities could use an update throughout
Guest rooms have outdated decor and limited amenities
Low-quality food and drinks, and buffet with minimal variety
No swim-up bar
No Wi-Fi access beyond the lobby
Playa Dorada Beach House is an all-inclusive, two-and-a-half-pearl property located on Playa Dorada beach. The resort’s 411 guest rooms have dated decor and simple furniture. This trend continues throughout the property, where everything from the fitness center to the pool area could use a refresh. Dining options include a buffet and four a la carte restaurants, but the food -- particularly at the buffet -- is subpar. While the beach is great, many neighboring properties provide access to the same stretch of sand, including Be Live Collection Marien, where rates often aren’t much higher, but the experience is significantly better.
Formerly known as Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada (most local taxi drivers still know it as “The Celuisma”), Playa Dorada Beach House may have rebranded with a more contemporary logo, but the actual property is as lackluster as ever. Guest rooms are old-fashioned, facilities are equally past their prime, and the food and alcohol is -- to put it mildly -- not the best. The beach, however, is top-notch, and room rates are some of the cheapest in the area, but guests should be prepared to seriously manage their expectations.
American and European couples and families are the hotel's main clientele. While the guests we spotted during our summer 2017 visit were certainly taking advantage of the free-flowing alcohol, the vibe was surprisingly mellow. Staff organize a standard lineup of activities throughout the day and evening -- think volleyball games and nightly shows -- but guests generally seem disinterested in the entertainment.
Convenient location in the tourist community of Playa Dorada
Playa Dorada Beach House is one of about 15 hotels located in the gated Playa Dorada complex. This safe, walkable neighborhood includes a golf course, a couple of casinos, and a shopping mall. Playa Dorada Beach House is about a five-minute walk away from the mall, which features a few restaurants, shops, a bank, and a movie theater.
The area around the hotel is fun and tourist-driven -- guests who want to get a feel for the “real” Dominican might want to consider renting a car to explore beyond this bubble. Downtown Puerto Plata is a 15-minute drive away, while Gregorio Luperon International Airport can be reached in 20 minutes by car.
Basic rooms could use a refresh, offering little more than a place to sleep
Guest rooms at Playa Dorada Beach House are drab and dated, decorated with tiled floors and older wooden furniture. With its green accent wall and touches of artwork, the Superior Room we photographed was slightly more welcoming than the Standard Room we stayed in, which featured dull beige walls and a garish tropical duvet. All rooms have flat-screen TVs and AC, but there is no Wi-Fi.
Although minibars are advertised on the hotel website, the rooms we checked out only had two bottles of water and no mini-fridge. Most rooms have balconies furnished with a couple of plastic chairs, offering nice views of the grounds. Closets hold clunky personal safes -- you’ll need to pay extra for the lock and key. Suites add separate living areas with sofa beds and kitchens.
Plain bathrooms have off-brand bars of soap, and some include magnifying mirrors. During our stay, the water temperature in the walk-in shower never warmed beyond tepid.
Large courtyard pool, direct access to Playa Dorada, and older but functional amenities
Playa Dorada Beach House has the extensive range of facilities you would expect from a sizable all-inclusive resort, but most need an update. The resort’s lagoon-style pool features a towering palm tree at its center as well as an arched bridge, but otherwise the deck feels somewhat bare. The stark, tiled deck surrounding the pool is overlooked by guest room buildings on all sides, with a row of loungers, some roomy daybeds, and a cluster of plastic four-tops. There’s a small, round kids’ pool, plus a covered stage -- the latter is the focal point for much of the resort’s daily entertainment.
The resort features direct access to a wide, scenic stretch of Playa Dorada. This public beach is shared with roughly a dozen other properties, but there’s plenty of space for visitors to spread out without feeling crowded. A hodgepodge of different loungers is available.
The resort’s fitness center is big but its aesthetic -- including the muscle-man logo -- looks straight out of the '90s and the equipment appears to be equally as old. The spa was under renovation during our visit, though massage treatments were temporarily being offered in tiny office next to a string of shops off the lobby. The shops located here sell jewelry and cigars, along with snacks and sundries.
The kids’ club isn’t especially modern, but it's cheerful enough and includes a cute outdoor play area with swings and slides. The resort also has a few aging meeting rooms. Free Wi-Fi is available only in the lobby, and the connection tends to be spotty during peak times. There’s free self-parking on-site.
Cheap drinks, a depressing buffet, and a few OK a la cartes
The resort’s all-inclusive package covers meals, snacks, and drinks with bottom-shelf alcohol. The pool bar has a beachy look, with flourishes of powder blue and rope accents, but its plastic chairs and minimal decorations give it a bit of a cafeteria-style feel. The breezy snack bar on the beach is also decent looking, with simple tables and chairs set on a handsome wooden deck that has excellent views of the coast.
The buffet, The Yacht Club, offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a no-nonsense dining area overlooking the pool. The selection is limited at best, with about five different dishes plus a salad and bread bar. There’s usually one live cooking station, which is a slightly better bet than the lifeless buffet spread.
There are three dinner a la carte restaurants, one of which (the Caribbean Cafe) was closed for renovation during our visit. Juanito’s serves up Mexican fare, while Valentino’s offers Italian -- both require reservations.
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