Although smaller properties of less than 20 rooms comprise most of the rental locations, a handful of big, all-inclusive resorts have about half of the approximately 3,600 rooms available throughout the peninsula. And even though the big resorts provide a complete, vacation package popular with many visitors, it is the small “mom and pop” operations that give the peninsula much of its unique, international flavor and charm. Many small hotel owners are directly involved in their accommodation’s daily operations and their guests experience a level of personalized service that only these small hotels can provide.
Nightly rates run from less than $10usd in the smaller hotels and guest houses located away from the beaches to over $130usd in some of the peninsula’s nicest, oceanfront accommodations. Breakfast is frequently offered with the room and in addition, many hotels offer a regular or modified meal plan for the day’s other meals. The big, all-inclusive resorts generally serve buffet-style and all beverages, including alcohol, are normally included in the resorts’ packages. For those accommodations that don’t offer food, there is usually a nearby comedor (restaurant) or colmado (a little, neighborhood food store).
Until the widespread availability of modern communications on the peninsula just a few years ago, all but the larger properties relied on “walk-in” traffic mostly comprised of adventuresome travelers wearing a backpack and clutching a well-worn and dog-eared travel guide. Although there is still a certain amount of those travelers who prefer the freedom of not having advance reservations, during our winter’s high season (mid-December until Easter) and summer’s mini season (mid-July until the end of August) many hotels tend to fill up quickly and reservations are suggested. During our spring and fall low seasons when occupancy is reduced, many hotels offer discounted rates and non-advertised specials.
Due to the international makeup of most of the accommodations’ management and staff, a number of languages are spoken with English, French and Spanish being the most prevalent. And although the services offered vary from hotel to hotel, they all have one thing in common: Dominican hospitality liberally laced with large doses of smiling faces and pure, tropical sunshine.
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