I have just returned from this resort (April 9, 2012). I have been to many ( in excess of 20) Caribbean resorts in my lifetime. I have read most of the reviews (good and bad) and can say that both are accurate. Confusing... yes ...so here comes my review.
Summary: This resort has some aspects that are barely 3 star but some that are 4.5 and it is thus very difficult to give a star evaluation. In short, if you get a great price (under $1000.00 taxes in) then this place is excellent. Your feelings toward this resort will diminish as you pay more. I give this resort a 3.75 star.
Lets us start with the layout and general outer appearances of the resort- I give it 4.5 stars. Clean grounds, and one of the best layouts (ease of figuring out what is what and where it is) of any resort I have ever been to. The beach is beautiful and generally well kept.
The room..... well I was smart and planned ahead... I emailed the manager and aske for a room in one of the newer buildings... they gave me a room in building 9. It was completely updated. King size bed, sofa, flat screen tv, beautiful tile...etc.. The bathroom even had a jet tub. The negatives were: few English channels on TV, fit and finish for the upgrade is second rate, the jacuzzi tub looked a little narly. The bed was very firm as there was no box spring... my wife and friends complained greatly about this... it didn't bother me much. However, I could get a good sleep on a rock.
The food: I found the buffet at about a 3.5 star level at best. They didn't have that many options at the buffet. Only one night did the buffet have any high end seafood served as a feature (shrimp). The desert table I would have to rank sub 3 star... very few good dishes many bad attempts. With that said I enjoyed the flavour of the majority of hot dishes served. The bread station always had an ample variety of delicious bread. The a la carte's faired better. The Brazilian and Gourmet were our best dinners by far. The Mexican was okay but not very mexican... they figure if they place a chilli on your dish it is Mexican.
The service: only just above a three star. There was no table service outside of basic water/coffee/wine at the buffet. There was no beach, snack bar or poolside service..... all self serve. The line ups at the bars were quite long. The staff was polite and friendly but were rarely providing service beyond basic.
The Time share issue: okay......no need to worry about this issue. Yes they are floating around and say hi to you... but when you turn down there attempt to lure you to the "hotel information session" or whatever baloney is spewing from them... they will leave you alone. They are not rude or overtly aggressive. The people who complain about this obviously have social issues and cannot utter a simple "no". This time share issue is similar to 90% of the resorts I have ever been to.
Smokers: Yes a large portion of people attending this resort smoke.... some don't follow the directions of the signs... and the staff will not address the issue.... I agree on all points.... however my wife, daughter and I never had a problem finding a clean smoke free area even when the weekend invasion of Dominican's occurred. Most smokers made efforts not to trouble the non-smokers. I didn't see one smoker in the buffet or a la acarte restaurants. This problem is exaggerated.
Invasion of Dominican's: This does occur on weekends and holidays. My family and friends at the resort had no issue with this occurrence. The only problem was the lines for the bars got that much longer.
Drinks: only 3 stars for drinks... ready... they don't short you booze they short you mix. I like a balanced drink with flavouring of alcohol. This place is upside down... it is all alcohol with a flavouring of juice or whatever. No two bartenders make the same drink the same way. If they run out of anything they substitute more booze of anykind...usually rum. If you like your drinks strong you will love this place.
Entertainment: I give it 2.5 stars. 6 of seven nights the animacion crew lip sinked. One night a pretty good magician (had seen him twice before). The crew couldn't really entertain... but they tried.
Other negatives: no swim up bar. you had to pay to use the hot tubs in the spa... $10 for 15 minutes.
Other positives: Casino a short walk from the entrance, well situated to access Puerto Plata and tours.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at the Grand Marien.... but I paid only $900.00 taxes in for seven days. Under $1000.00 and you should have no complaints as great value. If you pay more you should consider the fantastic deals in the Mexican Mayan Riviera (where we usually go....). I would only go back for $900.00 per person. Anything more and I would go elsewhere. Cheers... I hope I helped.
- Also Known As:
- Be Live Grand Marien Hotel Puerto Plata
- Be Live Grand Marien Hotel
- Grand Oasis Marien
- Coral Marien
- Marien Coral
- Grand Oasis Marien Hotel
- Coral Marien Puerto Plata
- Oasis Marien
- Marien Coral Resort
- Grand Oasis Marien Puerto Plata
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