Returned Feb 28th 2006 from Azzurro Estrella. Not impressed at all with this resort and I have been to Puerta Plata just last year and stayed at Viva Tangerine and loved it. I honestly couldn't beleive that they rate Azzurro as a 3.5 star considering that Viva was a 4star.
First of all for anyone who might be booked to stay at either the Estrella or the Cabarete Azzurro resort, be forewarned that they are not sister hotels but infact are the same resort. They some how classify the two buildings on one side of the resort as being the sister resort. I forget which is which but you sure want to make sure that your staying in the newer buildings #6 or 7 because the other buildings on the opposite side of the resort are like comparing night and day! There is a sister resort in Sosua but unfortunatley I wasn't able to play there as before leaving for my trip I had a phone call informing me that this resort was having health and safety issues so if I chose to play there I would do so at my own risk! Just know that when they say stay and play at the two sister hotels, it's not really true and there is only the one and apparently you do have to pay for the shuttle if you decide you want to venture out.
I had to move rooms 3x the first two days I was there and I am being honest when I say that it was like pulling teeth to do so as none of the front desk staff or guest services were there to make my stay nicer or easier in any way.
My first room was in building #1 and on the ground floor. This is where they put us when we arrived in later than expected that night. I'll just give you the basics........due to rain coming in under the door, there was a big puddle right as we walked in. The whole room itself just looked dirty but I was willing to live with that until I saw the bathroom. That room had mould in every corner, brown water in the toilet with leaves floating around and the ceiling was leaking due to it be raining when we arrived but what made it worse was that the ceiling wasn't even attached to the bathroom wall and you could look right up and see the parcial cement structure of the building. The light fixture was nothing but a hole with a lightbulb screwed in and when I went to check the tub water, the whole faucet came off in my hand ( they hadn't even caulked around it, it was just placed there) My son had a seperate room and he had his shower head fall right off and onto his face while he was showering. As we looked around some more we noticed that the door we had just come through looked as though it wasn't even shut and as though it had been broken into at some point. We tried to shut and lock our sliding glass door to the patio and found that the glass wasn't even attached to the frame and the lock was broken too!! Regardless to say that I wasn't liking my room at this point. We had to stay there for the night as when we went to the front desk to complain about the room, they informed us that the resort was full and we would not be able to move ( people were coming in from another flight right behind us and booking in still??? ) Non of the rooms are really pre booked because before I left I tried to book adjoining rooms since my 12 & 16 yr. olds were travelling with us but I was told first come first serve and no reserving?? Yet I wasn't able to move to another room that night even though I was ahead of a group behind me?? Anyway, that was just another issue I had with the front desk. The next day they finally let us move to another room after hours of complaining to them and letting them know I wasn't stupid ( people were leaving that day and I wanted one of the rooms they were leaving ) When finally agreed to, they put me in a room where the air cond. didn't work and I had to find that out myself hours later realizing that it was hot air being pushed out slowly!! Again to the front desk and they told us that they would have it fixed! Ha, they sent a fellow up who looked at it puzzeling and then told us he would fix it tommorow ( yeah, right ). Decided to deal with Guest Services and that was just a joke. By the way, no one there speaks anything but Spanish so communication is brutal. Finally got a room that I could live with ( told I wasn't allowed to move to building 6 or 7 because Sunquest does not have a contract for those buildings and they are more expensive!! Imagine. Ended up spending an extra $40 U.S. to con one of the staff to get us a mini fridge for our room as it didn' t have one and then found out that the t.v. didn't work without the converter!! Oh well, we did what we had to do in order to get on with our vacation. Whole room process took me three days to get fixed ( no rep around to help me out as she was busy with other problems)
Things of interest.........rooms do not have all the amenities they say they have, towel, soaps, mini fridge contents are not replenished ever. You can tip till your broke but they will not do any extra ( even though at most resorts these things are a given ) No washcloths at all in this resort not to mention the fact that they don't even have enough linens, table cloths, napkins, glasses, cutlery or ashtrays to accommodate all that they have staying there. In the dining room we saw them flipping over the table clothes and we were constantly having to walk around and find our own place settings to bring back to our table so we could sit and enjoy a meal. They were gathering up the plates as fast as people were finishing so they could run them back wash to be able to restack them by the buffet ( sure hope they weren 't just rinsing them) A few times there were a stack of styrofoam dessert plates as they had run out and more than a few times they didn't have styrofoam plates so you had to wait to eat till they finally got them out into buffet area. Just unreal that you have to work at having a meal.
As far as the food goes, there was not even enough of that to accommodate all that were staying there. If you didn't get to the buffet as soon as they opened you would be left with slim pickings as alot of the food was not appealing in looks or overall variety. Usually found something to eat but had to work at it or eat rice for the whole week like my husband ended up doing. Desserts were only replenished twice in the first hour of the meals and then plates of the same cookies would come out and that was what you were left with if you hadn' t made it in sooner. As far as the 24hr snack bar, it really doesn' exist so you couldn' t even count on that to fall back on. They had a sandwich bar that was open mid day ( again the same old meat and buns every day, not much of a variety either), they would open a hot snack bar over by the pool and bar area but again, food was put out and once it was gone that was it, no replenishing there either and although the pizza was good, good luck getting any because as soon as they put it out, it was gone and that was it!
Just also want to mention that the bar is open till 5:30AM and what they call the 24hr snack bar is a spread they bring out at 1am for all the people in the bar which is where the snacks are located. Again, good luck fighting for a snack at 1am with all the hungry drunks!
The entertainment consists of the same two guys every night and by the way they do the day time entertainment through the day. The entertainment consists of drinking games and women guests being asked to dance on chairs provokitively mostly but then there is the odd dance routine. Real family stuff!!
The weight room and the game room is one, and nothing but a joke. It consists of two broken pool tables where the balls come out all over the place and they only have enough balls for one table anyway. There is an excercise bike and a bench with one set of weights in the far back and then the rest of the room is empty oh, except for a fooz ball table which I just remembered but that is probably broken by now too!
Security is non existant. The fellow at the front street side of the resort mostly hangs out with a group of locals and is just there to man the bar that lets vehicles in and out, there used to be large rot iron gates around the resort but they no longer exist and there is only a stone wall between the sidewalk of downtown Cabarete and this resort which by the way anyone could jump right over the wall and come on in if they wanted to as it is not a big wall. Locals do come into the resort too, my room was close to the road side and you could see the entrance. Alot of women there sell their bodies and believe it or not but alot of tourists buy them for the evenings and they are allowed to bring them into the resort as their guests. Non of the security carry weapons and I find that strange as this resort is right there in the main area of Cabarete. The security at the beach side does about the same job ( nothing ) Local boy's selling goodies that they carry in bowls on top of their heads come right into the resort from the beach ( saw it with my own eyes ) I thought that your suppossed to be able to sit and relax within your resort and not have to worry about vendors unless your out on the beach but not here at this resort. The beach security just sit and watch them. In fact I saw two boy's walking around in the resort with sandwiches they had gotten from the sandwich bar ( I don't begrudge them something to eat mind you, just don't like the fact that they are allowed in the resort like that ) Why bother wearing wrist bands??? Come one, come all!
Just a real joke this resort and I will not stay here ever again.
If your young and your stricktly there to party, don't care where you lay your head then this is the place for you but anyone else beware.