If you’re planning a trip to the Dominican Republic and you’ll be staying in Santo Domingo for one or more nights, you should consider staying at the Hotel Atarazana. We stayed here two nights before our Caribbean cruise in February 2014.
With only six rooms, the hotel is small, and more of what I would call a Bed and Breakfast, since breakfast is included in the room rate. The hotel is quite popular and well known in the area. It is rated highly on TripAdvisor, which is why we decided to give it a try. We really enjoyed our stay here and would highly recommend it to anyone.
The hotel is in a restored building from 1831, and sits right next to a police station. You can’t get safer than that. The street is narrow and quite busy during the day, but in the evening things quiet down. It is located in the heart of the Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone) in Santo Domingo, and a short walk from several restaurants, and the Plaza España. It is also less than a mile from the cruise port if you’ll be staying here before or after your cruise like we did. If you don’t have a lot of luggage, or have just a backpack, you could easily walk to your ship.
The rooms are clean, nicely furnished, and include a small balcony with a couple chairs so you can sit outside and enjoy the day. A small air conditioner unit is attached to the wall up by the ceiling, which has a remote control to change the temperature, and our room had a ceiling fan.
The bathroom has a walk-in shower with a liquid soap and shampoo dispenser on the shower wall. Also included in the room is bottled conditioner and hand cream.
There are stairs to the roof area, which has several chairs so you can sit up there and enjoy the view of the area. From the rooftop you can look out over the Zona Colonial and we were able to see our cruise ship when it docked across the river.
There is a laptop computer available upstairs so you can get on the Internet and check your email or look up a restaurant or places to go see.
There are two dogs and a cat named Zorro who are residents in the hotel. Zorro is very friendly, loves to be pet, and will jump up in your lap.
The owner/manager and hotel staff is friendly, helpful, and offer recommendations for sightseeing, restaurants, or information about the area.
Breakfast is served downstairs on an enclosed, but roofless, patio filled with plants that provide a nice shaded area. The breakfast consists of pancakes, fruit, cold cuts, and an assortment of cheeses and breads. They will also make you eggs. To drink we had fresh star fruit juice (that was a new one for us and it was delicious), coffee, and an assortment of teas. I tried one called Four Red Fruits Tea and it tasted like cherries. There are three tables in the dining patio area so you can talk with the other guests. We asked one couple their recommendations for lunch and they told us about a couple great restaurants to try in the area.
When you check in, the staff gives you a keychain containing keys to the outside door, the roof, and of course your room key. The entry security includes a passcode, which you choose.
The airport is about 17 miles (27 km) from the hotel, about a 25-minute ride. As far as getting to the hotel from the airport, the hotel can pre-book an airport transfer, via taxi. They use a driver named Jesús, a friendly guy who speaks perfect English. He is also available to drive you around to see the sights for $10 per hour. That’s a darn good rate for a personal driver and if we had more time before our cruise we would have hired him for a tour around the area. The ride from the airport to our hotel was $32 total for the two of us including tip and he didn’t mind being paid in American money.
All in all, the hotel is an excellent value for only about $100 per night including taxes, and it includes breakfast. If you want to save even more, you can save 10% off the rate by paying cash.
A few things we noticed that you may or may not care about:
For those who can’t climb stairs, all of the bedrooms are upstairs and there is no elevator that I saw.
The rooms have no peephole but the door has a security chain on the inside.
All of the rooms, and the hotel, are non-smoking but smoking is allowed on your balcony.
The rooms have no clock by the bed, but hey you’re on vacation right? Who needs a clock? You could bring a small travel clock with you, or use your cell phone like we did.
The bed was a little harder than I’m used to, but comfortable and I slept like a rock.
The rooms don’t have room numbers but there are only 6 rooms anyway. You won’t get lost.
The bathroom has no Kleenex so you may want to bring your own if you need it.
There are no carpets anywhere in the hotel, including in the guest rooms. Because of this sound tends to carry through the hotel. For example, we could hear them downstairs preparing breakfast at around 6:30. It wasn’t loud enough to wake us, but something to keep in mind if you’re a light sleeper.
The water in the Dominican Republic is not good for drinking or brushing your teeth so the hotel provides free drinking water upstairs. There is also a small refrigerator if you want to store some food.
The hotel has free electrical converters if you forget yours. The Dominican Republic uses the same outlets and voltage that the United States uses so we didn’t need a converter, but guests from Europe, etc. will need a converter.
There is a small hot tub located on the side of the patio where breakfast is served. While we were there was no water in it so I’m not sure if it wasn’t working or they only fill it when someone requests to use it.
The hotel windows don’t have screens, but we didn’t see any bugs at all while we were there, inside or outside the hotel. One thing that all the doors and windows do have is metal security bars. In fact most buildings in the area have bars on the windows and doors making you think the area may not be very safe, but supposedly the area is safe day or night.