My wife and I and 11 other family members stayed at the Celuisma Tropical Playa Dorada for 2 weeks from March 24th/25th thru April 7th/8th, 5 members from Toronto, ON and 8 members from Ottawa, ON. Everyone flew with Sunwing, bought through Sell-Off Vacations (thanks Edith for all your help). My wife and I paid 2714.00 taxes in for 2 people and for 2 weeks. Our entry tax of 10.00/person was not include neither was the 20.00/person departure tax, we were informed immediately of this during booking.
The flight down was great, free champagne hot towel service prior to takeoff, free in flight headsets and movie, a hot meal wine inc. and non-alcoholic drinks. Also there was a duty free service available as well. Wee arrived on time and got through customs and luggage collection very quickly. A Sunwing rep immediately directed us to the bus but not before my wife and I grabbed a couple of Presidente’s while waiting for the last few travelers. The ride to the Playa Dorada complex was about 20 minutes from the airport and there was only one other drop off before dropping 12 of us off at our hotel. Check in was a breeze and thanks Ramon (manager) for helping my family members during their check in.
We were located in building 21, room number 2143 on the 3rd floor. The room had a balcony and fridge, a working television and A/C unit. This room has not been renovated and we received an actual key instead of the entry cards. No complaints at all with the room, everything worked from day 1 and continued 14 more.
The grounds are beautiful and always being maintained. Hotel is laid out very well, even though there are 412 rooms you never get the feeling of a lot of people at the resort.
The beach is the best, arguably the best stretch located within the Playa Dorada complex. Kudos to Bobbie for cleaning up the beach every morning after all of us tourists and then trying in vain to keep the beach area all clean through out the day. There are 4 day beds available only the last week we were there did we notice the dreaded “reservers”. There are so many loungers available but the shaded areas fill up fast.
The pool is nice, water was nice and cool. The pool is divided into basically three areas, swimming and basketball and volley ball. There is also kiddie’s pool. A lot of loungers and seats available but shade is at a premium.
Dining There are 4 ala cartes restaurants and one buffet available for dining. The buffet served a very good breakfast including eggs on the grill including ommlettes made to order sausages, ham, and bacon every other day, pancakes, French toast, fried pineapple or bananas, hard boiled eggs. There are yogurts, cold cereals and lots of different fruits and breads. The buffet also served lunch with some type meat on the grill (beef, pork or fish) also a beef, pork and/or fish dish with hot veggies and pasta, lots of salad fixings and fruits and bread, they also have a panini machine, great sandwiches. The beach grill also served lunch, pretty much the same fair each day, fries, hamburgers and hot dogs, chicken and fish and rice. There were also salads and fruits available. Dinner was done by theme each night some nights in the buffet or other nights on the beach, every night had again some meat on the grill and great mixture of meats, veggies, salads, soups, fruits and breads. The ala cartes are booked through the Guest Services desk in the lobby, rule of thumb is book for the next day and book all the ones you want to do but we checked at noon one day and booked same day. The 4 are Italian, Tex-Mex, Beach Grill and Caribbean Grill. We did the Caribbean Grill which was done up very well, nice setting, a/c. Dinner is served in courses, drinks/wine, salad and soup, main course and then deserts and coffee, nice change.
There are 2 bars, one at the pool and one at the beach, full bar service is available at the buffet and a la cartes when they are open. We never did figure out the opening or closing times at the pool but never before 9am and they seemed to close when the last person left, these hours worked for us. Beach hours were 9am to 5pm and the waiters busted their tails all day long getting drink orders all over the beach area, great jobs guys.
Activities are plentiful both at the pool and beach, the animation staff were great, they always asked if we wanted to be involved but never pressured if we didn’t want to be involved. There is a kids club, 4 tennis courts, a onsite spa and one worn mini putt course but still fun. At the pool is a games room with 2 pool tables one token = 40 pesos per game (tokens available at the convenience store) 2 foose ball tables and ping pong, this equipment is available at Guest Services.
As a group we did a lot off resort some people did dune buggies and had a blast (bring clothes just for that, impossible to get them clean) other including my wife and I did zip-lining and this was a great trip, about 40 minutes along the road to Santiago. The tour guide, Franklin was very friendly and communicated perfectly with everyone on the tour. Safety, Safety, Safety were the words of the day doing this, very easy to do even for the younger to older. We will do this tour again. These excursions were purchased through Nelson on the beach, at a better price then through our tour rep and the mall. Thanks Nelson. 10 of us went up the mountain on the cable car rented 2 taxis 35.00 US each and spent about 3 hours on the mountain, what a great photo op.
We also grabbed a gua-gua at the main gates and went into Puerto Plata, 25 pesos per person, some checked out the fort and we all checked out the new super store La Siena a cross between a grocery store and a Wal Mart, a great place to get liqueur, very cheap. We checked out Parque Central and had a few beers on the Malecon, good day and very inexpensive. My wife and I grabbed a gua-gua and went into Sosua 50 pesos per person each way and had a blast checking out all the huts along the beach, very beautiful water and we had lunch at Rocky’s overall a great inexpensive day.
Staff The staff at the resort was great, very attentive and quick to do something for you, this was a huge improvement from previous years. The staff in the buffet refilled your drinks or were always taking a drink order, cleaned your plates quickly yet they never rushed you. The staff at the beach and pool areas was again excellent, always getting you a drink where you lying or sitting, we felt a little spoiled. Departing was all done on time got through check in very fast and our flight left on time, we had a brief stop over in Punta Cana to pick up some more people and then back to Ottawa, to everyone’s surprised we arrived 1 hour and 15 minutes before our scheduled return time, a pleasant surprise,
Overall this was a great vacation, the hotel is the oldest hotel in the Playa Dorada complex and Celuisma are doing renovations to bring it up to date. This hotel is the only 31/2 star on the beach as well, the rest are 4 and 5 star, a very good bang for your buck. This was our 4th visit and we will be back for trip 5 for sure.