We stayed at Daniel's villa for March Break 2017. We have visited the DR before and stayed at a resort just up the highway and had an amazing time. This vacation, I convinced my husband we should rent a villa and be closer to a town to better see what DR life is like. Well, I got my wish. Regular DR life is not like resort life.
Yes, there were power outages. Yes, the water pressure is non existent. Yes, there was little hot water. Yes, there were tons of mosquitos due to the trees and shrubs surrounding the house.
The villa itself is well laid out. The place was clean and the maid came most days to clean up. She is not that friendly and often played very loud music while she cleaned. The kitchen's amenities were severely lacking. Basic things like the can opener frequently broke. If you plan to cook for yourself, good luck with that oven. We were never able to get it to light and had to confine ourselves to meals made on top of the stove. We had asked for a cook months ahead of time, but when we arrived, Daniel had no recollection of that request. He was able to secure us a cook, Nellie, who was great. However, the food from the DR grocery stores spoils very quickly, especially the meat. A lot of the ingredients we bought on Saturday had spoiled by Monday and so we decided to just throw it out and eat at restaurants. Groceries are very expensive here. If you buy groceries here for a week, expect to spend over $300 CDN at either Janet's or Polla. The restaurants in Sosua or Cabarete are expensive. Decent entrees will cost you $18+. On average for dinners, we were spending $100 CDN for two adults and a child with entrees and a couple drinks. The restaurants run by Europeans or Canadians are your best shot in terms of quality, quantity and breadth of choice.
There are things in the villa that do need repair. The pool's filtration system was broken the entire time we were there and we had to clean the pool ourselves because of all the pollen, bugs and such that accumulated each day. The tap handles in the master bedroom kept falling off after each use. The toilet in the downstairs bathroom kept leaking onto the floor. The master bedroom is the ONLY room in the house that has an air conditioner. It was a good AC but the only one. The bed in the downstairs room is small- not quite a double. The second room upstairs is small too- a double, not queen. The master bedroom is a true king and the most comfortable bed. It gets crazy hot upstairs during the day.
The only comfortable seat to sit in the whole house is the wicker furniture on the master bedroom balcony. We often had coffee and drinks out there but the bugs were vicious and we constantly had to reapply bug spray. I had over 40 bites in the first three days and I was using bug spray that I use in Canada to keep black flies and deer flies off me. The couch and seats in the living room will make you long for a nail bed to sit on.
Daniel is....condescending. He had a car accident the day we arrived and was flustered about it, which we understood. But he was very impatient with us and when we asked him and his driver Edwin to drop ups of at a restaurant in Sosua, he literally left us in the middle of downtown, and stomped off saying he'd never heard of the restaurant we had asked about and that we'd be fine. To be honest, if you've never been to Sosua on a Friday night, you'd be a little nervous about being dumped there and not be able to speak the language. It looks tres shady. There are a LOT of people loitering, including hookers and their security.Several of the email interactions with Daniel were frustrating, as he would react with a scolding to questions I had.
The car service with Elias Taxi was great. We recommend you ask for Leonardo. He has an air conditioned van. Most cabs are just cars. It costs $10 USD to go to Sosua from the property and $15 to go to Cabarete-one way.
The private beach is great and only a little walk. The private beach entrance is currently under massive repair because of recent storms. You have to negotiate with the guard at the local condo building to use their access. Access to the children's water park will cost you about $25 USD for two adults and one child. Many of the things you think are "Free" are not.
The "security" is minimal. There is a fellow at the guard house who opens the gate to people but there is no checking of identity cards or any such thing. The other villa residents are friendly and polite. There is constant construction in the little villa community, and the hammers begin swinging loud and early in the morning, so be aware of that should you plan to sleep in.
There are some good things about the property and the villa. With a little upgrading of amenities, like a good couch or chair, improving the amenities in the kitchen, like knives and bowls to cook with, and fixing toilets and faucets, the house would feel more comfortable.
All in all, this mode of vacationing cost us more than our week at Lifestyles Vacation up the road and was significantly less enjoyable. I won't be renting this villa or any other villa. The cost of transportation into town adds up quickly, the groceries aren't that cheap, restaurants aren't that cheap and the accommodations are nowhere nearly as luxurious as a good resort. Lesson learned.