Rancho Constanza caters to families and (large) groups. This becomes perfectly clear the moment I arrive at the wonderful facilities that are build against the slope of Loma de Peñón, at an altitude of 1097 meters above sea level and at a distance of 2.8 kilometers from the small town of Constanza. Would I have known that Rancho Constanza is not set up to accommodate a guest who passes by on a whim or if someone would have paid some attention to one of the three e-mails I sent, a lot frustration could have been avoided. Having said that, I found out that all but one hotel I approached by e-mail in preparation of my trip, did not respond to any of my mails. (Congratulations to Casa Blanca) The Ranch consists of 10 standard rooms, 1 junior suite for 2 guests and 1 suite for 4 guests as well as 12 rustic villas which each accommodate up to 5 persons. The grounds are green, beautiful and perfectly suited for families with children who certainly will enjoy the swings at the designated play area. The young girl at the reception tells me that I am only one of six guests. I pay my bill upfront and go to my basic room with a decent bed, a TV with lots of satellite channels but without a ventilator or air conditioner. The moment I am ready to step into the shower I find out that there is no warm water available either. Normally this is no big deal when vacationing on a tropical Island but here in Constanza, with an average annual temperature of 16 degrees Celsius, taking a cold shower is kind of roughing it. I notify the reception and I am being told that in an hour or so, warm water will be available. What concerns me more is that the restaurant is closed (apparently because I did not make a reservation that includes a meal plan). I am forced to go to “downtown” to get some food. Since it is dark and there is absolutely nothing else to do except for watching the TV set, I decide to take a 40 minute walk to a restaurant…. and back. Upon my return I figure I should try to connect to the Internet but unfortunately the Wi-Fi connection is down. There is also not one single beer available. Here arrives the moment where the girl who maintains a “don’t you know all this is normal” attitude, manages to find someone who is willing to pick me up some, thereby earning an extra Debbie flower for her boss.
While I sit down to drink my beer in the huge lobby and restaurant area, watching the girl who is watching a soap opera, I envision that by the time, the restaurant is open, the warm water flows abundantly, the Wi-Fi connection is reestablished and the huge available standing fridge is stocked with some common beverages, there should be enough guests at the ranch who could paint a complete different picture of the place.
Next time I will probably stay at the nearby Rancho Guaraguao, which was fully booked at the time I passed by to get some information, but definitely left a good first impression. It is time for bed! The clubhouse featuring a basketball court, an infantile Ping Pong table, chessboards, volleyball, billiards, dominoes etc. are of no use to the lone traveler who passes by on a quiet Friday night. Frankly, I am happy a new day has arrived. I will drive to Aguas Blancas, with 87 meters, the highest waterfall in the Caribbean before I return to Santo Domingo. I take two cups of coffee out of the thermos on the counter and forget all about my mediocre experience at Rancho Constanza.
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