We just returned from a last minute trip to Blau Colonial and wanted to share our experience. I travelled with my wife and our 18 month old child.
For anyone considering coming here, I would recommend that you search elsewhere. If you’ve already booked, don’t worry because you’ll still have a good time but in my opinion there are other better options available.
We booked it through TMR holidays in Canada and they rate it as a 4.5 star. We paid a bit extra because it was rated pretty high and we wanted a nicer place. Even by ‘loose’ Caribbean standards this is way too high – we’ve been other Cuban / Dominican resorts and it doesn’t compare favorably (we visited Trip Cayo Coco (4) on this trip, went to Melia Cayo Guillermo (4.5) last winter, and visited Gran Ventana (4.5) in Puerta Plata, DR and Coral Canoa (I think) (4) in La Romana, DR among others in the past).
The resort: Some aspects were very nice; the beach was beautiful, the room was very nice, the resort is very charming and original (not just a big ‘block’ of rooms), interlocking stones pathways everywhere, nice landscapping, very friendly staff (didn’t expect to be tipped everytime they did something for you and were very appreciative when you did). Very quiet, not hard to get beach chair or chair by pool (more on this later)
Many aspects were not: It looks like 10 years ago, this was probably a very nice resort but now it’s been neglected and parts are not in good shape. A large section of the resort is permanently closed (chain link fence around it and brick wall closes off the road) (The official story is that this area is being renovated but it’s been closed since 2003 and speaking to the staff, it does not appear that there is any money to actually do these renovations so they will probably never be done). This includes the ‘salt water pool’, the swim-up bar and some of the restaurants and we were were told were the nicer rooms. There is also several blocks of rooms between the pool and the beach that were not used – we were told that this was simply because it was very quiet but I noticed that several rooms had a ‘official seal letter’ closing the door so I wonder if there is more to those rooms being closed. The resort is not good if you are in a wheelchair or have a baby stroller (steps / curbs all over the place, some ramps were at difficult to access areas, some ramps were very, very steep, etc. For anyone travelling with young children and needing a crib, you need to bring your own. They do have some and I was told I didn’t need to bring one but it was not suitable for use (the railing was maybe 1 foot above the mattress so any child that can stand could easily fall out). We asked several other parents and no one else was using the provided cribs either. Like many other resorts, on the last day, the checkout is early but you only leave the resort later. We were told that this was no problem because they provided a ‘hospitality suite’ where we could get changed and shower, etc. Turns out that they had ONE room for all guests to use (2 buses for us) so needless to say, a lot of people didn’t get to shower and/or change in the room. One major issue for some guests is that this resort is pretty much dead; there are very few guests here so if you are looking for a place to party, go elsewhere. If you go with kids and they want to play with other kids, go elsewhere. If you just want a very quiet place to sit by the pool or by the beach, this isn’t actually too bad. My biggest complaint was probably the lack and condition of the public bathrooms – when I eat at these buffets, I often have to go to the bathroom and it’s not always convenient to return to the room. Here, there were very few public bathrooms (only 1 male and 1 female bathroom by the pool so there was often a lineup and it was often not particularly clean.
The beach is actually very nice; very wide, super soft sand, water is very clear. Waves vary, when we first got there it was very calm and suitable for children but we had some storms for a few days and after that it was quite wavy – fun for adults but probably not suitable for kids under 10 without a lot of supervision. I didn’t look into it but there appears to be only very limited watersport availabilty – there are catamarans that you can go with the person, other than that, I did not see any sailboards, kayaks, pedal boats, etc. I didn’t try them but I was told that the snorking masks were very poor so you pretty much needed to have brought your own. As for snorklening, we didn’t do any (did not get nice weather) but I was told by others that it was actually pretty good just going past far out from the beach.
Some of the resort profiles from travel companies will incorrectly say that there are 2 pools – this is true except that one is in the ‘permanently’ closed section so you only have access to one. There is no swim-up bar (also in the closed section), The pool is actually quite large and was nice. It has a shallow portion (maybe 1 or 2 feet deep) and a deeper portion. The only small drawback is that it didn’t have a ‘reef entrance’ which slowly goes deeper, it’s either really shallow (kids section) or deep.
Although some people always complain about food at these resorts, we actually always think it’s fine. This was pretty typical with a pasta station and ‘grilling’ station and some ‘pre-cooked’ food however even here, it wasn’t as nice as other resorts we’ve been too; the selection was actually quite limited even for these buffets. However the biggest problem with it was that other than the food you have them cook for you (e.g. omelettes, pasta, stir-fry, etc), the ‘pre-cooked’ food was pretty much always cold – cold scrambled eggs, cold bacon, cold lasagna, cold meat, etc). The ‘a-la-carte’ restaurants where also not up to the standard of other resorts that we’ve been to.
The room was very large and nice. However there were some problems: First, the AC was not hooked up to the thermostat so whether you set it to 15 to 30, if it was on, it was blowing cold. Too cold, we liked having it on (with the fan set to low) but that meant that at night the room was usually 17C (we have a travel clock with a thermostat on it). Because of this, we’d turn it on for a while, get up and turn it off, … The problem was that if you didn’t have it on, the room would get damp and muggy. There was also water issues. Every night around 3am, we’d lose ALL water to the room – no toilet, no sink, etc, usually by morning we’d get the cold water back but not the hot, not sure why but it usually wouldn’t be until we got back from breakfast (around 10:30ish that) we’d have hot water – this isn’t there was no hot water left (we’ve experienced this at other resorts (usually before diner when all guests are taking showers), here, you’d turn the tap and you’d get air sound in the pipes.
We travelled with our 18 month old child so I had emailed the resort beforehand to verify that there were cribs available and was assured that there were so we were quite disapointed when the crib we were offered was not suitable at all and did not use it. There was also a kids club there which is advertised as 2-12 but we left our son with the attendant, Yojinda on several occasions and he loved and she was great.
Entertainment / shows:
The shows were ok but (the performers are all very talented) but overall, they were not as impressive as some that we’ve seen at other resorts. Part of the problem was that there wasn’t an outdoor stage and the shows were done in the discotheque.
Overall, while it wasn’t a bad experience and some parts where nice, I just fell that for the money there are much better options available. Unfortunately, I would not recommend this resort.