If you are using Santo Domingo as a base from which to explore the rest of the Dominican Republic, The Mercure Hotel Comercial Santo Domingo is a perfect choice for your stay. I traveled back and forth from the capital three times during my visit before heading out in different directions to discover various parts of this Caribbean nation. Each time I came back to the Mercure Hotel, of the Accor Hotels group, I was welcomed like a family member by the incredibly friendly staff.
The rooms, although fairly basic, were clean and comfortable. Strong AC, free Wifi (although it was supposedly not available in the rooms, I always had it on my laptop, but not my phone), and a TV with a plethora of English cable channels kept me content. I was working one night and became engrossed in a 24 marathon (you know, Jack Bauer?), which was great but not so great for my work schedule!
Location is key, and The Mercure is located in the center of everything. Only one block from Columbus Park and the oldest Cathedral in the Americas and a five minute stroll from Plaza España, all of the town’s historic sites are within walking distance.
The hotel is on Calle El Conde, the busy pedestrian street lined with commercial spaces: souvenir shops, cafes, markets, and even a Payless. I always seemed to end up at the Bon ice cream shop right next to the hotel. During the day, artwork is displayed on the street and vendors hawk their wears.
The price is right. The room rates start at $68.00 USD a night, which is one of the best rates in that area. The Mercure’s website also offers a best price guarantee. If you book your room from their site and find a cheaper rate on any other third party site within 24 hours of booking, they will honor that rate and give you an additional 10% off your stay.
Pay an extra $10 a day for a hearty breakfast in the morning. The buffet offers warm eggs, sausages, bacon, fruit, delicious oatmeal, an assortment of meats and cheeses, fresh juice, coffee, croissants and bread. I couldn’t stop eating croissants (and there are about 6 different local fruit spread/jelly options).
Check out is 12:00 PM, but for $12 extra, you can check out as late as 6 PM (depending on availability). Also, the staff are happy to let you sit in their comfortable lobby on the sofa and use the wifi for as long as you need to before or after check in/out. The bar service happily brings you what you need (in my case, lots of coffee with milk and water, but wine would be nice, too) while you’re waiting. I spent many hours after checkout working in the lobby.
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The Mercure Hotel: A Little History
The Mercure was once the site of the prestigious ‘Union Club.’ Rafael Trujillo, the omnipotent dictator, wanted to be a member of this club. He was “black balled,” and not allowed to join. This rejection provoked his unbridled wrath, so he closed the club down and persecuted the managers who wouldn’t cave to his wishes. Don’t mess with Trujillo!
After closing the club, he replaced it with a cultural institution directed by his cronies. Later, the building was removed from El Conde and replaced with it’s current resident, The Mercure Hotel.
Some photos of what the hotel once looked like as the Union Club can be seen in the information bulletin below (found on Calle El Conde, directly in front of the Mercure Hotel.
The Mercure Hotel maintains a fun weekly tradition with its staff and guests. Every Thursday, the hotel hosts Dominican Nights. The staff preform; singing, dancing and acting; while guests nosh on specialties from the Dominican gastronomic buffet.
I was sad to not be in town for Dominican Night. It sounded fun and would have been a nice way to interact with the friendly Dominican staff.
If you’re looking for good value in a great location in Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial, look no further than the Mercure Hotel.
Disclosure: I was a guest of The Mercure Hotel during my stay. All of the opinions expressed her are entirely my own.