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Review of Barceló Colonia Tropical

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Review posted 2/9/2007 view all
J P Nunes from , London
Excellent place and value for money
Ok, so here’s the deal: when you write a review about the Hotel Barcelo Colonia Tropical you also have to write about the Hotel Barcelo Capella, which is literally across the road, because as a guest of the Colonia Tropical you can use all the facilities of the Capella.

The Colonia Tropical is rated 4 stars on the Barcelo website (www.barcelo.com), but I would rate it 3 stars. The main reason for this is that, despite having been built in 1995, it seems that management has not been worried about maintaining things as well as they could be. For example, the hinges of the door to our bathroom made a loud noise (that could easily be fixed), there was some rust in areas of the toilet, and it seemed that any cleaning was very superficial. Also, as it is clearly the poor relative of the luxurious Capella, we had the clear impression that staff were not very motivated. Having said all this, the hotel is nicely designed and a great place to stay.

The hotel has 40 rooms, with 25 of them built in five villas of 5 bedrooms each, dotted around a nice swimming pool with a beautiful garden, and the remaining 15 bedrooms in the main building on the main road. After a long flight from London to Punta Cana and a 3-hour transfer to Juan Dolio, where the Colonia Tropical is, we were very pleased to be offered a huge room with 2 double-beds and a large cooking and living area, and a balcony in one of the villas. The room was actually bigger that most 1-bedroom apartments in city like London or New York!

As part of the all-inclusive deal, you can have breakfast here (but you can also have it at the Capella) all other meals and drinks must be had at the Capella, which works out fine, although it must be dispiriting for the restaurant’s staff, as it is always empty. Actually, the distance from the bedrooms in the Colonia Tropical to some of the restaurants in the Capella is shorter than from bedrooms inside the Capella compound to the restaurants. Both hotels seem to be popular with a very international clientele from France, Germany, Italy, USA, Canada, and some Eastern European countries. Over the weekend, lots of Dominicans also stay over.

The Capella is a 5-star property that provides an amazing holiday! It has 500 bedrooms distributed between several buildings amidst well-manicured gardens, with two big swimming pools, fountains, flamingos, etc. You can choose to stay in a bedroom, apartment or villa, and the facilities are very comprehensive, including shops, a spa, volleyball, tennis, badminton, mini-golf, gym, pool tables, aerobics, Spanish classes, diving lessons, kids club, free towels, etc., etc.

The Capella has 5 restaurants to choose from, with two buffets that offer great food. I was a bit apprehensive about staying in an ‘all-inclusive’ because of all the stories you hear about food poisoning, but the food here is excellent, with plenty of things to choose from and they seem to be always fresh. You also have beach bars on the sea front open from 10 to 6 serving all kinds of drinks.

Another good thing of staying in one of the villas at the Colonia Tropical is that you avoid all the noise from the entertainment at the Capella that can be quite noisy if you want a restful holiday.

The beach at the Capella is beautiful and even though some people have complained about rocks and weeds in the water, it is still fine: it is just that the coral is not as powdered as in some other beaches of the Caribbean, but it is fine. It is also nice to swim amidst the rocks and sea weed and spot the fish swimming nearby. There are lost of beach chairs to use and plenty of shade under the palm trees.

The area outside the Colonia Tropical and the Capella compound is not that nice, with litter strewn in the pavements and bad roads. But things may be changing as some luxury apartments are being built and there is a swish country club close to the Capella. Both hotels organise excursions and we took the half-day one to the capital Santo Domingo. It is worth a visit once, but remember that this is a poor, developing country. There is a UNESCO designated area, the Colonial area, that has some nice buildings but most of the city is chaotic, with bad driving and lots of pollution.

Also, just to point out that as a male gay couple we had no problems with any of the guests or staff in either hotel. There were other gay couples staying at the same time we were there and it didn’t seem to be a problem for anyone.

If I had to rate the Colonia Tropical for this stay I would have rated it 3 or 3.5, but bearing in mind that you use the Capella for most of the time, I will give it a 4 (close to 4.5). It is also good to remember that if you stay here, you pay 4-star rates but are allowed to use all the facilities of a 5-star resort. Bear in mind there is a 3-star Barcelo down the road (Barcelo Talanquera) that, although it is also all-inclusive and on the beach, does not seem as nice.
Month and year of stay:
February 2007
Length of stay:
7 nights
Recommend hotel for:
singles,couples,young,older gay
Describe the hotel:
Mixed gay/lesbian/straight
Would I stay at hotel again?
Absolutely
My ratings on the following categories:
FIRST IMPRESSIONS
Rate the reservation process, either on-line or by phone.
Were the staff helpful and welcoming?
Not Applicable
CURB APPEAL AND LOCATION
Was the property well located and externally attractive?
Exceptional
CHECK-IN
Was it welcoming, informative and painless?
Were the staff able to devote time to answer all your questions?
Exceptional
COMFORT AND CLEANLINESS
Was the bed comfortable, and the room and bathroom
well appointed and clean?
Acceptable but not special
STAFF
Were the staff friendly, helpful and efficient?
Good
DINING
Did the quality of breakfast or other dining services
meet your expectations?
Exceptional
DETAILS
How were the little personal touches that make all the difference?
Acceptable but not special
VALUE FOR MONEY
Was your stay appropriately priced for what you received?
Exceptional

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