In the last 2 1/2 years, have stayed at the Decameron 6 times and will return again in May for my birthday. So obviously, I must like it. Yes, there are reviews with extreme differences on Debbie's site. But here's my opinion about the issue.
The Decameron is a 3-star hotel with extremely reasonable rates. You are not going to get 4 or 5 star accommodations or services. The rooms are a little run down, but they are in the process of renovating all of them. The food is OK, and since the change of ownership, it has improved (they have a new chef). Two things that can prevent you from getting sick is one, don't brush your teeth with tap water. Use the bottled water they provide. And don't eat any of the raw salad vegetables. I think it is one of those two things that cause people to get sick.
I know for a fact that the staff there is paid very little (as are most working-class Dominicans). If you treat them with the same respect that you expect in return and tip them a little here and there, they will bend over backwards for you. And at least try to speak their language. This is a Spanish-speaking country. You should not expect for everyone to be fluent in your native tongue. You will find if you at least try to speak their language, they will try even harder to speak yours.
I suspect that I probably get a little better treatment than most because I've been there so many times, and I stay there with 2 local Dominicans from Santo Domingo. They love us, and we have a fabulous time. But I'm sure anyone could get the same treatment if you make an effort to be a good guest. The pool is big and clean. The animacion team is very festive and entertaining. The beach is quite big too. In fact, if you look at the other more expensive resorts in Juan Dolio, the Decameron has far more space on their beach.
Oh yeah. The Decameron has huge 1 and 2 bedroom suites that you can have without paying extra. I don't think any other resort, even if they have such facilities, would give you the suites without paying extra.
Bottom line. You get what you pay for, and with a little effort at being friendly and being a good guest, you can get far more than what you've paid for.
There are always the $100+ (minimum) per day per person at other resorts that you can pay for if that's what you want.
Forgot to mention. If you should make a reservation at the Decameron, ask to speak to Eduardo, and tell him Mr. Wansley from New York referred you. He'll probably give you an excellent rate. And when you check-in ask for Raphael or Jose in reception and tell them the same thing. At the risk of this becoming an advertisement, if you want to know anything else, email me at EddieW8@yahoo.com.
You can tell by looking at Criss Colon's picture that he is a lovable guy with a big heart. The problem with Criss is that since he has been around Dominicans for so long he has become quite adept at using ganchos.
You see many times Dominicans will say something they don't really feel in order to elicit a response. If you aren't aware of what is going on then you'll fall into their trap. Though that may be in total contradiction to how they truly feel they want to see what you truly feel. Thus they know at what angle you are coming from and what they have to do to get what they want.
This is innate. That's why the PRD's economic team can fool the IMF and all these lending institutions. That's why foreigners get scammed so much by a simple limpiabota. That's why my lovely country is so messed up. Of course there are varying degrees of sophistiaction when using this psych. instrument.
Well before I go off on a tangent I think that what Criss does here.... maybe?!