from Baltimore, Md
Submitted on 02-01-2016
Would Return or Recommend: Yes
We visited Don Juan in mid-January 2016 and it was our first trip to the Dominican Republic. We stayed for 5 nights on the all-inclusive plan. I'd consider this to be a budget hotel; this isn't going to be the right place for you if you're looking for a fancy, up-scale, perfect, all-inclusive experience. We're relatively easy travelers to please and always go in with low expectations. For us, it worked just fine and we would go back again. Here are some details. Rooms: We didn't pay for an upgra...
We visited Don Juan in mid-January 2016 and it was our first trip to the Dominican Republic. We stayed for 5 nights on the all-inclusive plan. I'd consider this to be a budget hotel; this isn't going to be the right place for you if you're looking for a fancy, up-scale, perfect, all-inclusive experience. We're relatively easy travelers to please and always go in with low expectations. For us, it worked just fine and we would go back again. Here are some details. Rooms: We didn't pay for an upgraded room, so we got a ground-level very very basic room in the older, non-renovated section. But it was fine. The bed was fine, though we would have liked more pillows. We did pay extra for the lock for the security deposit. All the windows and sliding doors were unlocked when we arrived. First thing I did was check them and lock everything up. There were some cracks around the doors and we had some mosquitoes get in, but the weren't really all that bad. We had just a handful make it into our room before I squashed them. I do wish we'd had more pillows. They weren't so great and we only got two. I probably should have asked for more--I suspect they would have obliged. Our shower drained just fine and we always had hot water WIFI: There was no Wifi in the room, though we were so close to the lobby that we could sometimes pick-up on the lobby wifi from our bedroom. Even in the lobby, though, the Wifi is s little slow. We were able to Facetime back to the States, but the connection wasn't always great, especially on the rainy nights when every seat in the lobby was filled with people trying to access the wifi to kill some time. We'd sometimes have to come back 30 minutes to an hour later and try again before we could connect. Pool: We hung out on the family side where the bigger pool was and the pool area was great. Very clean. Plenty of chairs, though a few here and there were broken, so we'd go out early and put our towels down to claim a spot. It gets a little loud there mid-day when they're doing their activities, but we enjoyed watching those. Beach: As other reviewers have noted, expect vendors--lots of vendors. We read other reviews and were expecting it, but it is pretty constant. I'd say every 1-2 minutes someone walked by and engaged us. After 1.5 days on the beach, we found it was quieter/more relaxing to chill by the pool and walk down to the beach for a swim if we wanted to. The water is absolutely gorgeous--clear as can be, calm, not as green as in the book-it picture, but definitely Caribbean looking. Staff: Extremely friendly and helpful. Our maid was nice and the front-desk and restaurant staff were attentive and good. The front-desk staff, in particular, were incredibly helpful when we ran into problems with our airport transfers (see below). I spoke to them often in my basic-level Spanish, but when I got stuck with an idea, I reverted back to English, and they understood my English just as well and spoke back to me in English. The staff in charge of entertainment did a really good job of trying to get folks involved and having fun. We're not joiners, but it was fun to watch everyone dancing and doing Zumba. Food/Drink: This isn't a 5-star hotel, and anyone expecting great things with regard to the food is going to be disappointed. But...we were never hungry, and there were always a TON of different options, so you were bound to find at least 1 or 2 things to fill your plate with. The bread was good, there was always a pasta option at dinner, always eggs and some meats at breakfast. I thought the pancakes and French toast had an odd acidic taste to them that I didn't care for, but my husband didn't taste what I was tasting. The desserts didn't float my boat (even though I love desserts), so I mostly passed on those. The drinks were strong and good, but we did tip a few bucks every time we went up to get drinks, so maybe that helped. We mostly drank beer and margaritas. We did also pay for lunch at the restaurant on the dock and had free mid-day drinks there a few times and LOVED that place. Be sure to check it out if you like a chill/laid back vibe--very very relaxing there with the breeze blowing right off the water. Day Trips: We went to Saona Island and that was really fun, but it took more time getting there (we stopped at 5 or 6 different hotels along the way) and while the Island was gorgeous, and the lunch delicious, there were also vendors galore there, so just be prepared for that. It was a good 12 hours start to finish. Airport Transfers: So this was the only negative part about the trip. Our rep was nice, but I understood his Spanish better than his English and we had some kind of major miscommunication at the airport. When we arrived, the Rep handed me his cell-phone to speak with our Travel Agent I started to panic, but couldn't hear him over the airport , couldn't understand him well, and it was just a little scary. It was just an unsettling way to start the trip thinking that the ride we'd paid for wasn't coming to get us. The end of the trip was pretty much the same. Our rep was supposed to call the night before we were leaving to tell us what time they were picking us up to go to the airport, but all he did was call and leave a message for us to call him back, We tried 3 times that night and 3 times the next morning before he finally answered us back with a time. Our ride was then an hour late picking us up. So next time I'd either rent my own car or go with a completely different transfer group. Overall, we had a nice trip, and I thought we got a lot for the money we paid. No major complaints.