Located in the University District of Santo Domingo, Plaza del Sol is reasonable priced and in a reasonably safe area of this massive city. As with any area, being a solo female traveler, I limited my outdoor excursions to day time hours unless I was in a group, but I never felt threatened in this area. I did, however, choose to stay inside or in a group after about 7pm each night.
The hotel itself was one of the best ones that I stayed in ($30-$45 US per night range). It was clean, had a small kitchenette and powerful air conditioning in each room. Make sure to pick up your own matches to light the gas stoves though as they don’t have any available for you. The TVs were large, new and cable worked well. The beds seemed fairly new, firm and were very comfortable! The sheets were clean, fitted and the comforter or top sheet was always white (or cream) and well kept. I was also pleased that the internet worked regularly and with decent speed so I was able to keep up with blogging, work and social media whenever I wanted.
The bathrooms were also fairly good, although each one that I stayed in was different. One had a bathtub and a great shower. If you could figure out the switches, I believe there was warm water, although it only worked once for me. The other had just a shower stall and the warm water was hit or miss. The stall also allowed water to spill onto the bathroom floor, making quite a mess.
I dealt with two staff members – a less than friendly woman and a lovely young man. The man was often there in the evenings and was very patient and helpful when I wanted to arrange my taxi to the airport for 3am.
The main doors into the hotel are locked and you need to get the staff to buzz you in or out which is slightly annoying, but also provides good security, so I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Call ahead to make your booking. If you can get a local friend to call for you, you can likely get a better room rate. They often have tourist rates for people who call or book online, but if a local calls, they can get it for $5-$15 per night cheaper.
The Hotel is located on Jose Contreras Street, which is one-way. Don’t be surprised if your taxi driver drives head on into traffic to get to the hotel (about 4 or 5 blocks from the main intersection). Not sure if they are unaware of how to get to the hotel from the other direction, too lazy to drive around, or if they simply don’t care about it being one way, but I was regularly driven the wrong way down this one way street.
The hotel is centrally located and within walking distance to La Sirena (Dominican’s equivalent to Wal-Mart), several local convenience stores, bars and snack shops, as well as being close to McDonald’s, Domino’s, Burger King and several pizza places. You can pick up groceries and snacks at La Sirena, or El Super Mercato National which is also within 10-15 minutes walk. La Sirena also offers a pharmacy, bank with tellers for money exchange, Claro and Orange kiosks for cell phones and a food court with local and American foods.
The hotel is about a 30-45 minute walk from Zona Colonial or the Malecon (waterfront area), both areas offering lots of restaurants, bars and historical sites to view.
Jose Contreras is also well serviced by local buses as it is a university district. If you know where you are going and what bus to take, I assume you wouldn’t have to wait long to hop on one. There were always plenty going by.
You can also walk 5-10 minutes to main public car routes, or call a taxi to pick you up at the hotel.