|Barcelo Talanquera||Flopnfly and Johnnycastaway||Toronto, Canada|
Just returned last night from a week in sunny DR.
The weather was fantastic, hot and sunny all week and not a drop of rain. Average day time temps were 26 - 32 C and water temp was 27 C in the ocean. The pools were a little cooler but still around 25 C.
We flew out of Toronto to Santo Domingo with Nolitours via Westjet. Great flight with lots of legroom, TV's on the back of the seats and comfy leather seats.
The Santo Domingo airport has changed a lot since our last visit 6 years ago. It's much bigger and nicer now.
We stayed at the Barcelo Tanlanquera in Juan Dolio.
This was a family trip, with kids ages ranging from 27 - 2.
We were given rooms in the 200 block which were horrendous. Dirty, smelly and really run down. They were on the ground floor and it didn't take long before the cock roaches showed their friendly faces.
The kids were able to capture one in their ice bucket and took it to reception as a small token of our appreciation for the great rooms.
We were given new rooms in the beachfront 500 block the next day.
We had adjoining rooms with my daughter SIL and the babies and the boys were a couple of doors down the hall.
The adjoining rooms were great because it allowed us to babysit at night while the big kids went out to party at the disco.
There was a coffee maker in the room, but you only receive enough coffee for the first day and there was nowhere to buy more. The fridge had two small bottles of water and two bottles of coke. This was not replenished all week.
We could not buy a large bottle of water for brushing our teeth so we were constantly filling the small bottles at the bar or one of the water coolers on site.
The food wasn't bad and they did change it around everyday. The desserts were great, but the coffee was like mud.
We only had one al a carte which was italian. The food was really good there, but again the service let us down.
There were 3 good sized pools and two baby pools, and they were warm enough to swim around in.
The beach has been revamped. They just finished pumping in tons of sand and they have widened the beach now.
There is only about 6 feet of clear water to swim in before you hit the sea weed.
The entertainment staff tried hard to get everyone involved, and they just loved our kids. As a result everyone in our group had a great time day and night.
The boys did the resort dive course and went out on a shallow dive with us. They loved it, and are now planning on doing their certification course.
Overall we had a great week.
The resort is a typical 3 star which means that the service was minimal and the rooms basic, but the atmosphere at the resort was great.
I spent 2 weeks at this hotel from January 21st to 4th February 2003. I had read reviews on this hotel so I was well prepared to expect just a bog standard 3 star hotel. Believe me that's all this hotel is, it really is only 2 star. It is in desperate need of a total refurbishment and needs a considerable amount of money spending on it.
Rooms: Many, and I mean many, people were dissatisfied with their room and had to have a room change. I was fortunate enough to be in building 2 where my sparsely furnished room proved just about adequate. My room smelt damp on arrival but after about two or three days the smell disappeared. Everything worked in the bathroom but only on the final two days was the shower really hot. The WC pedestal (toilet) was badly stained with brown water marks, which I'm sure had it been cleaned and bleached daily would never occured. The maids just did not clean the rooms properly. I killed a fly on the washbasin tiles on my second day and it remained there up to my departure 12 days later. TV's in rooms have no remote controls either - not an issue with me, but I thought I would just mention it.
Food: The main buffet restaurant is called the Cocolo. Breakfast was reasonable, with the usual choices of omelettes, fried eggs, bacon (usual crispy, streaky bits), garlic sausage. Cereals, fruit juices, fruit and continental breakfast also available. Only one toaster was available and this caused quite a line of people queuing up to use it. A second toaster (which was under repair) made an appearance for one day, only for the original toaster to disappear on the next morning. Lunch and dinner selections were quite reasonable also, but apart from the difficulty in obtaining a table at dinner the main problem lay in the inconsistent temperature of the food. Most days the soups were excellent and hot and the bread and rolls first class, but you could never rely on any of the meat or vegetable dishes to be hot. I found this most annoying. Lunch can also be taken at a restaurant just off the beach, close to the beach bar. Midnight snacks, commencing at 11pm are also available here, which conveniently is right next to the disco. There are two a la carte restaurants, one French and one Italian. I tried the French and how pleasant it was to be waited on, the food and wine were OK here - no complaints. I did not sample the Italian, but other people I spoke to did not recommend it.
Beach: The beach here wasn't for me, far too crowded and quite narrow with too many sunbeds on top of one another. Admittedly if you wanted to get a shady spot under the trees this was the place to be. I spent all my days on the quieter beach of the next door so called 5 star hotel the Cappella Beach Resort, around 100 yards away to the left. Before Barcelo (who own both hotels) purchased the Talenquera, about 3 years ago, this part of the beach belonged to the Talenquera. The sun beds were also better here. The usual assortment of beach pedlars selling beach shoes, paintings, ornaments etc pass by all the time, but if you ignore them they do not trouble you.
Pool area: The Talenquera has 5 pools of varying sizes, none of them very large and two 'ambient' jacuzzis, these could do with being heated. The area is situated centrally with a Pool bar, Sports bar (with a couple of Pool tables and table football tables, darts board etc). The stage is also in this area for the night time entertainment. Various activites take place in this area during the day (pool volleyball, polo and pool aerobics) and other games in front of the stage). The nightly entertainment starts at 8.30 each night with a Kids mini disco, followed afterwards by the animation staff dancing on stage with holidaymakers. The nightly show starts at 10pm - not my scene, apart from karaoke night when the area was packed and everyone appeared to enjoy the music.
Grounds: The hotel occupies quite a large area and is in two parts. The main hotel and pool complex is separated from another complex containing more hotel rooms, the Italian restaurant, disco and beach restaurant by a service road which you need to cross to gain access to the beach. For me there is far too much vegetation around making the place appear more gloomy than it really is. Even the reception area (lobby) is dismal, dark and gloomy - the whole place needs brightening up. The majority of the sunbeds have seen better days too and need replacing.
Summary: I have travelled around this area quite a bit and this is the worst hotel I have ever stayed at. . Some people I spoke to would never return to the caribbean because they had such a bad experience with this hotel. I think that is totally unfair. but I would ask everyone who is considering booking this hotel to examine closely how much they are paying, and preferably do not go here. I have never stayed at a hotel where so many holidaymakers were dissatisfied. I am not a snob but would suggest that people who have praised this resort either have limited caribbean travel experience or are very easy to please. Cheap and cheerful, the hotel was full at all times, that's probably why!! Hotels guests are mainly Canadian and British - No US citizens, it's not difficult to guess why!! Having travelled to Punta Cana twice and Cuba three times since writing this review my advice would be just do not even think about staying at this hotel.