Located right in a busy local strip in downtown Bavaro
Pretty courtyard pool that gets shade
Conveniently located for a local feel
Clean, quiet rooms with attractive Caribbean decor
All rooms have AC, safes, and flat-screen TVs with cable
Free breakfast at the open-air Italian restaurant
Located in the back of a strip mall
Dimly lit rooms
Five-minute drive to the beach
Staff speaks limited English
No fitness or business centers
Bar next door can be loud
This quiet, mid-range hotel in the back of a strip mall on a busy local shopping street is a great value among the overpriced all-inclusive resorts of Punta Cana. Clean rooms have attractive Caribbean decor but few frills (no free bottled water, for example). There is a small, attractive courtyard pool, and both breakfast and Wi-Fi are free. The location near downtown Bavaro is well-suited to those looking to explore local restaurants and shops, but it's a five-minute drive to the beach. The all-inclusive whala!bavaro has a location closer to the beach, but a more party-oriented crowd.
The MT Hotel, made up of a small cluster of buildings, draws small families and couples on a budget. To the right of a trellis-covered path is a rather dark lobby, and to the left, the hotel's open-air Italian restaurant. The lobby has marble tiles, pretty flower arrangements, potted plans, and charming local furniture and artwork. Past the building housing the lobby are an outdoor seating and bar area (closed during our visit) and a pool traversed by an arching bridge. A second guest-room building, with some of the larger rooms and suites, sits behind it. The exterior walls are decorated with pilasters and painted with archways to fake cobblestone avenues, as if guests are walking down a side street in a sleepy colonial town.
The hotel is designed to be inward-looking for a reason: Once you're outside, it's hard to ignore the fact that you're in a strip mall. You have to hang a right at the tattoo parlor to find the lobby, and you share parking with local patrons of a burger shack, a chicken shack, a Lebanese joint, and a urology clinic. The hotel restaurant sits toward the center of the mall, so when you're sitting down to your free breakfast, the attempts to camouflage the surroundings are only partially successful. Some guests may not be able to ignore the fact that they're eating eggs and mashed cassava only a couple yards from dialysis patients grimly waiting for their appointments.
On a heavily trafficked street near downtown Bavaro, near local shopping and dining but a five-minute drive from the beach
The hotel is just off the major highway, about a 25-minute drive from Punta Cana International Airport, and about 15 minutes from most of the all-inclusive resorts in Bavaro. Crammed into the back of a strip mall, the hotel shares its space with several casual restaurants, a dialysis center, a cell-phone shop, and a biker bar-slash-discotheque on the far side of the mall. There are plenty of stores and cheap eats for blocks on either side -- a large drugstore and small supermarket on one side, and a steakhouse, seafood restaurant, and various shops (including both inexpensive souvenir shops and stores for locals) on the other.
The street is constantly abuzz with cars, trucks, and swarms of mosquito-like mini bikes in both directions -- none of them the tourist mega-buses that are ubiquitous in the usual resort areas. The sidewalks are filled with Dominican salespeople, shoppers, and diners, rather than flip-flop-wearing, knickknack-seeking Americans and Europeans. It's a slice of genuine local culture, but it's also nowhere near the beach -- it's about a five-minute drive to the public entrance to Cortecito Beach, in the best traffic.
Clean, attractive rooms, but lacking frills such as extra towels and even free bottles of water
Rooms at the MT Hotel are furnished with AC, mini-fridges, safes, cable TVs, and ceiling fans, but lack anything else -- guests don't even get the free bottle of water common to most hotels in the area. They may even find themselves running out of towels. Furniture is typically of sturdy dark wood, and is showing minor wear and tear. Decor is reasonably modern and incorporates bright Caribbean colors such as orange and green.
Rooms face inward, so the main views tend to be of interior paths and hallways, or the pool in the back courtyard. (The views we saw from side and back windows faced onto roofs or service lots.) There's another benefit to being inward-facing, too: Despite the nonstop, loud traffic on the street, and the pounding nightly music of the biker bar/discotheque on the other side of the mall, the rooms typically remain quiet, with only the occasional noticeable hallway noise from passing staff or other guests.
A courtyard pool and a restaurant serving free breakfast
For the price, the features are perfectly adequate. There's a quiet courtyard pool surrounded by greenery and a few loungers, as well as an attractive open-air Italian restaurant with terra-cotta hexagon tile floors, pretty wrought-iron detailing, and plants hanging over the balcony (to distract from the location). The free buffet breakfast that offers a surprising amount of food, which may include eggs, pastries, fruit, yogurt, juices, and sweet plantains.
The hotel also offers something that can be found at almost none of the all-inclusive mega-resorts of Punta Cana: A look at local Dominican life beyond a merengue-laden theme night at a buffet. Guests have only to walk out the hotel and go a block in either direction to be thrust into the daily hustle of Dominican locals going about their lives -- and not in pressed uniforms or carrying trays of neon-blue cocktails.