February 23 to March 2, 2002
Arrival: We traveled from Punta Cana to the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus, which is approximately 1-1/2 hours. We had made prior arrangements for Rafael from RS Taxi to pick us up and take us to Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus. The Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus is a new hotel located near the Village of Bayahibe, 90 minutes from Punta Cana, 20 minutes from La Romana Airport, and about an hour and 45 minutes from Santo Domingo Airport. It opened on November 15, 2001. We arrived at the hotel around 2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. My first impression was “wow”. This was my first visit to an Iberostar hotel, so I can’t compare it to other Iberostars, but the lobby is absolutely amazing! I’ve never seen such a large lobby area. And the décor is beautiful. Huge chandeliers, beautiful tables, comfortable chairs, wall decorations, porcelain vases, etc.
Our room was not ready yet and we were told it would be 30 minutes. When we returned to the front desk, we were told some repairs had to be done in the room, so it would be another hour. They offered us a different room, but after seeing it, we decided to wait for the original room we had been given. The front desk staff was very courteous, however, and trying to do the best they could, as the hotel was fully booked. A short time later we were taken to our room on a golf cart with our luggage. Housekeeping and maintenance were still in the room finishing up. A last minute check revealed that our toilet was leaking around the base, which apparently has been a common problem at this hotel. However, by the time we returned to our room that night, it had been repaired. The TV remote we had been given on checkin did not work. We called the front desk and someone arrived promptly with two remotes, handed them to us and left, not taking the one that didn’t work, so now we had three, so if there was anyone there that week that couldn’t get a remote for their TV, I apologize 🙂
Rooms: Our room was really lovely, there was a full bathroom with good lighting, king-sized bed, dresser, couch and table. It was on the point of the building, so had the added bonus of an extra window and two balconies and had a partial view of the pool. We were in Building 6, which is a central location, halfway between the pool/beach and the restaurants/lobby. There was a hairdryer in the bathroom, as well as daily supplies of shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and bath gel. There was also a shampoo and bath gel dispenser in the bathtub area. Water pressure was good and we always had hot water. There is a minibar in the room with soft drinks, beer and a gallon jug of water. This is refilled every two days. If you run out of something in the meantime you can ask for it and they’ll bring it to you. There is no clock/radio or coffeemaker in the room. We bring our own small travel kettle and coffee/teabags. We bought milk at a store just down the street to the right of the resort, they don’t sell any in the hotel shops. You might want to bring your own mugs, we didn’t and the maid kept taking the cups that we brought from the restaurant. I hid them one day so she couldn’t take them, but I left them out again after the room had been cleaned and when we returned to our room that night the maid had been in, and the cups were gone. There is a mini-safe in the room. When the hotel first opened the safes were free, but they started charging for them the week we were there, the cost is 200 pesos per week. Most North American appliances should fit into their plugs, our travel kettle was fine, but my travel iron, which has worked in other places, had a left-hand prong that was just a little too wide to fit. Pat performed surgery on it with the nail clippers, though (the iron plug, not the outlet) and did get it to fit. After traveling to the DR so many times you learn to improvise.
There are 496 rooms at Iberostar Hacienda, in 7 two or three storey buildings. Map of Resort The whole resort is built in sort of a horseshoe shape, and you can actually walk from one building to another under cover if it is raining. Each building has a central courtyard, each with different decoration and landscaping. Very beautiful. Standard rooms come in two types – one with a full bathroom, king-sized bed, couch and table, like the one we had, and the other has a large walk-in shower (no tub), an armoire instead of a couch, and two beds (they call these double beds, but I saw one of these rooms and it is more a ¾ size bed, not much larger than a twin.) They also have 36 Junior Suites with ocean view. The only difference I could see from a regular room was that the living area where the couch is is a little bit larger.
The Beach, Pool, and Grounds: he resort is huge. Considering there are only 496 rooms I was surprised at how big it is, it’s almost as wide as it is long. There are fountains, ponds, gardens, topiary sculptures, trees, benches to sit on, they seem to have gone all out in the decoration of this resort. The vegetation is young and the palm trees are a little sparse right now, but these will grow quickly. There are 3 pools. The main pool is very large, with a swim-up bar. There is a sports pool, which is about 3 feet deep, and another circular pool which is deeper than the others, about 5 ft. There are lots of shade palapas around the pool area. The week we were there the beach seemed to be the most popular spot, and there were always lots of chairs by the pool and shade available. There is a kiddie pool located at the Kids Club, which was not yet operational. Several days when we went for lunch we saw a maintenance person standing there looking into the kiddie pool, I think there was some problem, but it didn’t seem any closer to resolution by the end of the week. The beach is beautiful, the water was crystal clear, different shades of blue. The water was a little cool, but not too cold to go in. The sand on the beach is quite deep, it’s not natural, it has been trucked in and I found it a little difficult to walk in. It’s not white sand like Punta Cana. The palm trees on the beach are very sparse and don’t offer much in the way of shade. They do have shade palapas, but they need to add some more, (and I understand that they are going to) as the ones they have fill up very quickly. They are trying to solve the issue of saving chairs early in the morning by not allowing anyone to put their stuff on them before 8 a.m. unless you are going to stay there. The first day we headed to the beach around 7:30 a.m. and were greeted by the security guard waving his arms, saying “no reservations”. Meanwhile another guard was coming from the beach with an armload of towels, bags, books, clothing, etc. which was taken “someplace” for the owners to claim later. I don’t imagine this went over very well, but at least they’re trying. For the rest of the week Pat would go down about 7:15 a.m. and put our stuff out and stay there, as this is what everyone else was doing. I’d come down just before 8. As long as you stayed with your stuff until 8:00 a.m., you could go for breakfast at that point and leave your stuff there. You can walk a long way on the beach in either direction. Lots of topless sunbathing along this beach.
To the left of the Iberostar is the Ventaclub Dominicus, then some vendors stalls, and then the Coral Canoa Hotel. To the immediate right are more beach vendors and Club Dominicus Palace and Club Dominicus Resorts.