Normally this is where I would give a review of a Hotel after staying in it. But with the Residence Corte del Mar in Las Terrenas that is going to be a little difficult. Even though we had reservations we didn’t end up staying there that night.
We had planned an overnight stay with a small group of friends and family and thought this would be a good time to try out one of the larger apartment style accommodations you often find in the Dominican Republic. This time we chose a 3 room apartment with a kitchen where we would heat up several of our meals that we had pre-made. There were several different Hotels to choose from but the Corte del Mar (Sea Court in English) was close to the section of beach we liked, had nice grounds and a pool, and had a good price.
Reservations at Residence Corte del Mar
The reservation counter didn’t have a person that speaks English (not uncommon) so it was necessary to speak Spanish (no problem, my wife is fluent) but this is something to consider when making reservations here. On that note though, Las Terrenas seems to have a very large Italian population, many of the business owners seem to be Italian and most menus include English, Italian, Spanish and sometimes other languages, so if you speak Italian you might have that as an option too.
So, reservations were made. The person we talked to at Residence Corte del Mar said they have no way to take credit cards over the internet or by phone for the deposit, but they said they would send us some instructions on how we could send a deposit if we wanted and took our email address to send the instructions to. The email never arrived but we were not too concerned, the deposit was optional and most of the Hotels we have stayed at here don’t take credit cards, so except for sending by mail (which we have found can take up to 6 months to arrive at it’s destination), there is no way to send a deposit.
This is one of the advantages of staying at one of the larger chain style hotels or one that goes through a reservation service; you can actually make a deposit in a secure manner and get a reservation number; however that is not available with many of the DR hotels.
Upon arriving we stopped by the Hotel to check in, it was around noon and they were on break. The sign said to come back at 2pm so we returned then. When we got there we talked to the same person that we talked to on the phone and she said that she could not find our reservation in the computer (apparently she forgot to type it in) and there were no rooms left. While she was very nice to work with, that still leaves us with the problem of having no place to stay for the night.
She made a call to one other Hotel and said they had a room at a much higher price or we could come back in a few hours to see if someone didn’t show up to claim one of their rooms. We decided it would not be a good idea to wait until it gets late and then find they still don’t have a room so it was time to grab the bags and start walking down the street looking for a motel.
Finding another Hotel
The problem with walking in a Hotel with no reservations in the Dominican Republic is you get the “Normal” price. This is pretty much exactly twice what you would pay if you reserve ahead of time.
So with Residence Corte del Mar losing our reservations and not being willing to take responsibility to find a replacement at a reasonable price we’re stuck with walking from Hotel to Hotel trying to find a set of rooms that are both available and that we could afford (remember that when you walk in the price doubles).
Yes we did end up finding a place, we got normal motel rooms instead of the nice apartment that we had reserved, but at least we weren’t stuck with sleeping on the beach.
Would I recommend Residence Corte del Mar? How adventurous are you?
The place looked very nice from the outside but are you willing to take the chance of getting there and not having a place to stay. Consider that you will likely be dropped off from the airport in a taxi (sometimes at night) and if they lose your reservation like they did mine you’re faced with the prospect of towing your luggage down the road trying to find another room while at the same time expecting to double your hotel bill.
With all the other hotels in Las Terrenas it’s pretty doubtful I would try the them again. Which means the Residence Corte del Mar has the distinction of being the first entry in my new “Places to Avoid” section. Mistakes happen and my feelings would have been completely different if they took responsibility for their mistake and found us a comparable place at a comparable price.
If you do decide to take a chance and stay here I recommend you have phone numbers of other hotels in the area to save you some walking “just in case”.