Holidays in Playa Dorada (Dom Rep)
Where is Playa Dorada?
Playa Dorada on the Northern coast of the Dominican Republic and served by Puerto Plata (POP) airport is a huge self contained resort featuring 14 hotels, impressive leisure facilities and an 18 hole golf course. Ideal for all sorts of holidays thanks to the range of hotels at Playa Dorada, the resort is a short transfer from the airport which makes the thought of the flight more manageable.
Tell Me More
First, a quick intro to …
The Dominican Republic, also known as “The Dominican”, “The Dom Rep” and even just “DR” or in Spanish, Republica Dominicana is approximately two-thirds of a Caribbean / North Atlantic island called Hispaniola. The other third of the island being the country Haiti. With a population of close to ten million, Dominican Republic is the second largest Caribbean country by population (after Cuba). Tourism is helping The Dominican Republic’s economic growth and as such tourism employs around 15% of the employed workforce of the country.
Playa Dorada is a hotel / resort complex in the district of Puerto Plata on the Northern Coast of “The Dom Rep”, the resort which is the worlds largest all inclusive resort complex, comprises currently 14 hotels, an 18 hole golf course, a shopping plaza featuring shops and a cinema, bars, restaurants, casino and nightclubs. Best of all though is the golden beach which stretches for over 3 miles and also offers some good snorkelling opportunities as well as other watersports which vary by hotel. Playa Dorada is served by Puerto Plata airport and is around fifteen minutes transfer time.
Dom Rep Flights
Puerto Plata can be reached by direct flight from the UK in approximately 10 hours. The main airlines operating flights these days are Thomas Cook Airlines (MyTravel + Thomas Cook) and Thomson Airways (Thomsonfly + First Choice). Puerto Plata flights for 2018 are available to book now.
There are charter flights to Puerto Plata from Belfast (BFS), Birmingham (BHX), Gatwick (LGW), Glasgow (GLA), Manchester (MAN). Apart from these there is no direct scheduled flights, so you will be looking at flying via Miami or New York for example. Most people choose charter flights for 7, 14, or 21 nights. Both Thomson and Thomas Cook have been investing in their long haul flight products – seating, entertainment etc. It is possible to pay extra to upgrade your seating and have a more pleasant flight to Puerto Plata.
The airport code for Puerto Plata airport is POP. The airport’s full name is Gregorio Luperón International Airport or in Spanish, Aeropuerto Internacional Gregorio Luperón.
Playa Dorada Golf Course
Designer: Robert Trent Jones, Sr.
Number of holes: 18.
Length: 6,990 yards
Playa Dorada is known for its spectacular views from the Isabel de Torres high hill, just south of the course. Caoba trees, sea grapes, almond trees, giant cayenne pepper trees, coconut palms and the majestic royal poinciana trees are everywhere. There is even a mangrove forest, a small rainforest and fifty year old palm trees, all carefully conserved.
The holes circle the gardens of the Playa Dorada hotel complex. One of the best hotels in Playa Dorada for keen golfers is The Victoria Resort. Another good one is the Blue Bay Villas where you can request as golf club rack for your room.
The par 4 4th hole requires you to tee straight off from a narrow pine grove at a right angle, while fighting the strong sea winds. This is perhaps the most difficult hole out of the first nine. The 7th hole has gorgeous views of the Atlantic Ocean, which can be seen from under the almond trees.
Prepare to stop at the 9th hole, the course’s most photographed point, to take in the impressive view of the Isabel Torres hill for a few minutes. The 15th hole is equally as beautiful and surprises golfers with a display of tropical jungle almost reaching the end of the course. A legion of ducks acts then guard the water traps for the 17th hole, making it one of the most difficult holes in the course.
The final hole, a par 5, gives free rein to the wind to also play, and even decide the game.
Playa Dorada Hotel Choices
There are currently 14 hotels in Playa Dorada totalling around 4500 rooms.
Barcelo Puerto Plata – Right on the beach, this well run 3 star hotel offers 8 restaurants and 5 bars. A great choice for a Dominican Republic All Inclusive holiday. The Barcelo in Playa Dorada is located right on Golden Beach and is a very well run hotel. The hotel has changed ownership recently and was formerly known as The Occidental Grand Flamenco. Apart from the two swimming pools, basketball court and floodlit tennis courts there is an entertainment team and for kids there is a children’s swimming pool and kids club. For adults there is a disco on the beach with drinks included until 2 A.M.
BlueBay Villas Doradas – An adults only 4 star hotel with all inclusive available 24 / 7. A great choice for an all inclusive holiday in the ever popular Playa Dorada resort. This is an adults only hotel (18+) and as such is popular as a honeymoon destination. The BlueBay Villas are also popular with golfers as it’s close to the Playa Dorada Club house. The All Inclusive programme at the hotel is really that – 24 hours a day. Another nice touch is that breakfast is available on room service.
Casa Colonial – A 5 star boutique syle hotel featuring the Lucia restaurant and Bagua spa. Casa Colonial is a tasteful, luxury resort that is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. From the same owners of the Victoria Golf Resort and the Gran Ventana but quite different from either hotel, the Casa Colonial is all about fine dining, world class service and luxurious surroundings.
Celuisma Tropical – formerly known as the Playa Naco, this 3 star hotel is right on the Playa Dorada beach. A good choice for an all inclusive holiday in Playa Dorada. The hotel is right on the beach and there’s plenty to do both day and night. With four themed A La Carte restaurants as well as good variation in the main buffet there is a great choice of food – even if you are staying a fortnight or more. There’s a beach club which serves lunch and drinks so you don’t need to leave the beach where you can also try windsurfing, kayaks and snorkelling as part of the Celuisma all inclusive package.
Fun Royale & Fun Tropicale – two 3 star hotels on the same complex with an emphasis on fun in the sun. A budget friendly, simple all inclusive hotel with plenty of activities on offer and as the name suggests an emphasis on fun. A decent choice for families since there is loads to do with a kids pool and playground on offer as well as free ice cream included in the all inclusive package. There is also a kids club for children aged 4 to 12. If entertainment teams round the pool sounds too much like hard work you can always relax at the quiet adults only pool.
Grand Paradise – a 4 star beach front hotel formerly known as The Paradise Beach Resort & Casino. There’s plenty to do here if you are a beach lover and away from the beach the recently renovated hotel offers a free form pool with swim up bar, jacuzzi, and the popular Eden’s restaurant.
Holiday Village Golden Beach – Rated between 3 and 4 star, well rated by guests and popular with families – more of a British clientelle than many of the Playa Dorada hotels. The holiday village features a wave machine. The hotel offers a 24 hour all inclusive programme, five restaurants and three swimming pools – one of which features the only wave machine in Playa Dorada. The hotel enjoys a beachfront setting and is perfect for a family holiday. The whole family can enjoy quality time together enjoying activities like raft building, trampolining, and the fantastic high ropes course.
Occidental Allegro – A 3 star plus hotel featuring a large lagoon style pool. Occidental Allegro Playa Dorada Hotel is near the golf course and the plaza. The Occidental offers all inclusive guests a choice of five restaurants, four bars and two swimming pools.
Puerto Plata Village Hotel – A smaller all inclusive hotel with 1 pool and 4 popular restaurants. A relatively small hotel on Playa Dorada with standard rooms, superior rooms and suites on offer. There is 1 swimming pool, plus a separate kids pool, and 3 speciality restaurants – Mexican, Italian and Dominican. There’s also the beach bar, pizzeria, bicycles and water sports to keep you occupied.
Viva Wyndham Playa Dorada – A colourful 3 star plus hotel ideal for couples and families. Despite being one of the smaller hotels on Playa Dorada. They still manage to pack in two outdoor swimming pools and three restaurants though.
VH Victoria Golf – Perfect for golfers as well as honeymoon couples. Certainly one of the best choices of hotel in Playa Dorada for golfers – it’s right on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Course and guests can take advantage of green fee discounts as well as the services of the hotel golf concierge who can book tee off times. The Victoria is a smaller, charming resort with an emphasis on service which particularly suits honeymoon couples (bring your wedding certificate for some honeymoon freebies !), there are two pools to choose from, one of which is adults only. The hotel is 10 minute walk to the beach, but beach lovers are still well catered for – you can get a lift in a golf buggy. The Victoria has it’s own beach club so you can stay well fed and refreshed and from where you can try windsurfing, snorkeling and kayaks.
VH Gran Ventana – A popular 4 star hotel on the beach, Gran Ventana is ideal for family holidays. Consistently delivering good holidays it’s no surprise that the Gran Ventana is offered by almost all the tour operators to Playa Dorada. Being right on the beach, the Gran Ventana offers a real Caribbean holiday with palm trees and cocktails. It’s a large complex with over 500 rooms but it’s well planned and made up of low rise blocks in attractive gardens. An excellent choice for families, thanks to the friendly staff, kids club and pool.