Dominican Republic – The Resort {Casa Marina Beach & Reef Resort}

I’ve been quite busy since March and the whole COVID-19 thing, so I haven’t had a chance to post about my trip, back in January, to the Dominican Republic. So, now I’ve FINALLY gotten around to it.

At the beginning of December some excellent deals for travel came up, so of course my mom and I caught the travel bug and decided we just had to go somewhere. We looked at Jamaica, Mexico, and numerous other places but the Dominican Republic had a good deal that matched our desired timeline.

We stayed just outside of Puerto Plata in Sosúa. I loved it more than Puerto Plata to stay in as it was much more intimate and relaxing whereas Puerto Plata was definitely more of a busy city. I was happy too because the bus ride we took from the airport to the hotel was super quick and our resort was the first drop off, which never happens for us!

The resort was stayed at was called Casa Marina Beach and Reef Resort. It was right on the ocean and felt very safe. There was numerous restaurants on the resort grounds to choose from. The only downside was that you had to pre-choose the restaurants and the times, so you couldn’t really change your mind last minute. But, you didn’t need to reserve for the buffet.

When we got there we had been ‘upgraded’ to the adults only section because they ran out of regular rooms. This section was BRAND new and beautiful. We didn’t have to pay anything extra for our room, but if we wanted to use the extra amenities (i.e. private restaurant, cafe, multiple pools, infinity pool, private beach area, bars with much more drink options, private entrance to the buffet and separate seating area, private lobby/concierge, etc.). At first, we were like nahhh we won’t pay extra, but as soon as we saw the infinity pool and hot tub thirty steps from our room we instantly changed our minds and we were SO GLAD we did. We never even went in the main resort pool or hot tub as we were happy in our peaceful little bubble. We even converted three separate couples who decided to upgrade…we should get a commission!

Everything was elegant and quiet in the adults only section. If we had to go back I don’t think I would want a regular room, especially now that I’ve gotten the taste of the adult side.

The private restaurant was intimate and wonderful. The staff were cheerful and great at making sure you had what you wanted. All the food I tried was great. There was different courses. First, you got bread, soup/salad, a palette cleanser (usually passion fruit or papaya blended with ice and put back in the fruit SO GOOD), your main course, and finally a yummy dessert with cappuccinos. The menu rotated everyday so you didn’t get bored of having the same thing.

We also had our own private snack bar. It was always loaded with fresh fruits, plantain chips, desserts, sandwiches, nuts, etc. or if you wanted a yummy sandwich or salad you could order it from the private bar until 4pm, I believe. At the bar, we found out we got all kinds of drinks that the regular bar didn’t have included this delicious banana drink with chocolate and a bunch of yumminess.

Snack Bar!

The room was great. With our upgrade we got free WI-FI for the week and it worked very well. As well, they always stocked your fridge with bottled water, sprite, and coke. They came in the afternoon to cleaning the room and often at night to turn down your bed. Also, they came more often because as you may know in the DR you cannot flush your TP as the plumbing is old so you need to throw it out, which is much different than we are used to but we were happy to oblige as to not wreck the plumbing….hahaha.

This trip, we mainly stayed at the resort as the pool and the beach were so relaxing and the food was just that good. On our trip to Cuba , we left more often as it was more walkable and we tired of the food so we ventured out for variety. We didn’t find it as easy to leave the resort, but also we didn’t want/need to as much since they had everything under the sun there. We did leave twice for tours and once to check out the shops down the road, but other than that we stayed put.

The girl that worked at the private lobby was so sweet (well they all were, but this one was extra great). She would answer all our questions, make us our dinner reservations, take an interest in what we had done and/or were going to do.

The private beach was great. They had someone who made sure that no people were in our designated area. There was always beach chairs and they came and took our drink orders. The beach was a cove so it wasn’t super wavy and mom would’ve spent the whole trip in there, if I had let her.

There was a little cafe right near our room that had foosball and pool. The guys that worked there were very friendly and the cappuccinos were delicious (my mom even had one and she doesn’t like coffee!).

We tried all the restaurants. There was our private one (I think we went there four times), Italian, Mexican, and a seafood one. They all had names but I cannot remember them as when we booked that’s what they called them so we knew what to expect. The staff of the seafood one was super friendly, but the food was only subpar. The Mexican one was really busy and it was hard to get water re-fills and such, but the food was great. The Italian one had food that was delicious but the staff were quite snobby. I understand why the staff might have been rude as the whole resort had three restaurants and a buffet to choose from, so they were probably TIRED. The first night we ate at the buffet the food was great, but we didn’t realize we had our own entrance to the buffet and our own area until like the third day. We always had breakfast at the buffet and the staff on the adult side were very friendly.

Ways the Resort Could Improve

My recommendation for the resort is to have someone who gives you a tour once you arrive, if you want, because I am sure there are some areas that we never even saw. Especially if you pay extra to stay on the adult side.

Also, they may need to hire a few more servers and/or helpers to make sure their staff are not so overwhelmed and then maybe they might be more friendly. But, all the staff on our side of the resort were GREAT.

Checking in and out was a nightmare. There was no order to it and no one knew exactly what was going on. Checking in took as an hour even though there was technically only one group ahead of us. They need to find a way to expedite the process. Checking out wasn’t bad because we did it in the private lobby, but then we were told security at the front would take off our bracelets, but then when they went to them they told us the front desk is supposed to, which meant we had to stand in line forever again.

Overall Impression and Rating

Overall, I would definitely return here as the overall atmosphere, food, and experience was great. The water was much more swimmable than our resort in Cuba and this time I didn’t have to stick to bread and potatoes ;-).

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall, I would give the resort a 4-star review. The only reason they lost points was due to the cranky serving staff at some of the restaurants, the check-in and check-out process and the people doing it at the front desk, and because it wasn’t always super clear where things were and when they open/closed.

Stay tuned…I will post about our different excursions soon!

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