Upon our arrival the resort was gorgeous. Nice lobby, palm trees, clean...everything the websites promoted. However, for us there were more CONS than PROS. So here's the heads up for this resort. There are 5 hotels in one resort so if you like a huge place this is the spot. You have to take the trolly EVERYWHERE!!! You have to trolly to the beach, the lobby, the pools, the buffet areas etc. unless you really enjoy walking everywhere you need to go. They don't give you face cloths unless you ask and even then its scarce. YOU CAN NOT USE THE WATER you have to brush your teeth with bottled water. The food at the buffet was wayyyy below average sometimes even to the point where it was not fully cooked so please be aware of what you eat. 3 out of the 5 people that went with us got sick during the trip so remember to pack that good old Pepto Bismol. They say you can make reservations to eat at many of their "excellent restaurants" but we were only allowed to eat at 2 of them during our stay. Since the restaurants were the only places to get a decent meal I suggest you make a reservation as soon as you check in!!! THEY DO NOT HAVE ROOM SERVICE!!! The only thing the will bring to you is bottled water or soda. The casino is very small. The drinks are extremely weak. The mosquito's will eat you up. You have to go to the beach/pool early to get a chair. And we went the end of July and it rained everyday. On a lighter note the entertainment was good, the club they have was fun, and the beach was clean.
We were a bit hesitant to get this resort because of some of the reviews. However, we had such a FUN time at this resort! Service--it was great! The waiters and employees were friendly and quick. Some could have been a bit more friendly, but the majority were nice. Beach-BEAUTIFUL. Only complaint is that sometimes the beach can be a bit packed with chairs and people. However, last day we got early and it was almost empty and it was super nice. There are some beach merchants, but they never offered to sell me anything. Also, there are some activities on the beach like volleyball, yoga, etc. AND BAR! Food-Food was amazing. Never once got sick. A lot of variety, would've liked more Dominican food since we are in DR. Desserts are spectacular. Rooms-Clean, spacious, neat. Beds are comfortable. I actually think the pictures don't do it justice. It looks a lot more tropical and caribbean in person. The beds are wide. TV channels are also good. Shower also doubles as jacuzzi. Ambience-INCREDIBLY well-maintained. Palm trees, birds, stoned paths, beautiful blue skies. The beach water is BLUE. Also, the lobbies are gorgeous. Gigantic chandeliers made in Punta Cana, wooden roofs. Entertainment-They have a club that's fun. Wished they played more authentic music, but each night we went it started off with some bachata and merengue and forever continued with dance/electronic music like Kesha, LMFAO, Usher, etc. They also have shows which are fun, but a little on the naughty side. So just careful. ALSO THE DRINKS ARE AMAZING. So delicious. I would definitely come back to this resort, especially for the price. I think it's a great catch. *I know some people have said that it can be a long walk from the beach to the rooms. It's somewhat true, but you're on vacation so you're not really rushing anywhere. Plus, they have these shuttles that transport you back and forth. So it didn't really bother me.
Overall this is a nice place and BIG! It's so big that half way through our stay we found more of the resort past the front lobby!!! It was nice because we felt like we didnt need to leave, there was always something to see or do and it went along with our "No Plan Vacation Plan." It was very easy to get around even for someone like me who is direction illiterate! There are little trams that go from one end to the other end of the resort to pick you up which was nice but we found the walking was better and didnt take long at all. The resort itself as a whole was bueatiful! The room was very spacious and was decorated every day with flowers! (Nice touch) The beach had soft sand and was very clean (there were employees walking around picking up after people). Most people found it hard to get a spot at the beach but we didnt. We'd grab something to eat around 12 and then head to the beach after and always found a place to sit (we never went to the pool). The food was below average at the snack bar/buffet area, it wasnt bad just VERY plain and their idea of a salad is very different. We dined at the Japanese, Italian and Mediterranean resturants. The Japanese was great be sure to book it with the show. A chef will cook in front of you and it's fun. The Italian was a let down, But the Mediterranean was to die for!! SO YUMMY!!! The staff was not unfriendly, they just werent as friendly as they should be. I think it has to do with the language barrier. Most groundkeepers, maids and others will not say anything to you while walking by. On the other hand, we had 2 maintenance issues and as soon as we told someone, they would come right away to fix it!! We had upgraded our package to include a private check in and check out, a private pool, a private breakfest and lunch and a room closer to the beach. I would recommend doing so. If you end up in a room closer to the beach without the upgrade, you'll have to go to the other end of the resort for breakfest every morning. Not a big deal but having the extras was worth the small amount to upgrade. I was nervous about having pan handlers or timeshare people bother us but it NEVER happend and having the wifi in the lobbies was great to contact people back home! As for our rep from Olympus Tours, I cant say enough! Nelson was GREAT!! Always there for questions and sugestions and always wanted to know if there were any issues with our stay so he could get them fixed for us! He really seemed to care how our trip was unfolding! Thanks for making it very relaxing!!
The Beaches and Pools at this resort were beautiful!!! Just so you know if you book through cheap caribbean you get a different color bracelet than everyone else because they "Paid More". That's what we were told when we got different colors than our friends who booked through Apple but we paid the exact same price. No one speaks English. We only got dinner reservations one night, had to eat at the buffett the rest of the time. We did to try to make reservations as soon as we got there and still didn't get any. The staff was rude and didn't seem to care about anything. Our room was ok....needs to be updated a bit but not a problem for us since we are hardly in the room but the room had bugs everywhere. My husband got mosquito bites all over his face. None of our friends who were on the 2nd and 3rd floor had this problem just us and my sister in law on the ground level. Nice resort just needs a little help in the Customer Service Department.
Overall I would say that the convenience, the rate, the location, and the facilities were all a great value. Would I go again? Certainly. General comments about Grand Bahia Principe: - One thing that I didn't completely understand until I arrived (and is still somewhat gray) is that the Grand Bahia Principe property near Bavaro (town north of Punta Cana) is actually several "resorts" in one that all go by different sub names. Overall, if you are out and about on an excursion, lost, etc just say you need to be back to Grand Bahia Principe. - The different "sub-resorts" as I would call them are as follows (you can see these on the grand bahia principe website): -- Bavaro: Largest portion -- Ambar: Adults only, luxury level (if you are a couple wanting a romantic get away without young children around, I would highly recommend this branch) -- Esmerelda: Families, Luxury level -- (no other name) just Grand Bahia Principe: ??? - While there are no definitive lines fencing these areas off, and the differences between the areas are visually subtle, thre are differences in the level of service, shelf level of alcohol, in room amenities, and included a la carte dinners. - It is a HUGE compound. at least 100 buildings, with about 24 rooms per building - The property is perpendicular to the beach an long so some of the rooms and buildings are a good distance from the beach, mine was close and there are shuttles running all the time. I typically walked but this may bother some. - I would recommend taking a shuttle to/from the airport as it is a sizeable distance and personally wouldn't want to drive in the DR. Pros: - very nice property - Clean. The grounds, rooms, common areas, beach, and pool were all very clean. - Very nice staff. Everyone was very friendly, even just in passing. Most everyone is smiling. Service is generally very good and people do genuinely want to help you. - Several pools, all with attached bar facilities which i enjoyed Neutral: - Food - the food was always appetizing, differed slightly day to day, but I didn't find anything too memorable at either the buffets or the a la carte restaurants. Cons(things to be wary of): - Lobby areas are not air-conditioned. This may be the norm in the DR, but when arriving from a long flight, a significant run around at customs, and the generally hot/humid weather it's a little oppressive - Walkways run through the middle of buildings making them like a pedestrian freeway. These areas are tiled and echo chambers, for sensitive sleepers, request 2nd or 3rd floor to minimize problems with this. - While everyone was very helpful, sometimes you had to ask several people to figure out the answer to a question. This is somewhat more confusing because there are: People that work at the hotel, people that work for principe trying to sell time shares, people that make dinner reservations, on top of numerous tour operators. Sometimes a bit frustrating, a lot of these details could be written down and I wouldn't have had to hunt people down. WORDS OF WISDOM (from my experience): - Book all your dinner reservations the first day you arrive, if not sooner. Reasonable (6 - 7:30) dinner times go quickly especially at the more popular a la carte restaurants. - Book excursions early - same as dinner reservations, better times (such as morning times for a hot, in the sun activity go first. - Do NOT go to the timeshare meeting - you may be tempted to go for the free gift especially with the premise of them saying it will only be 1 hour. This is a minimum estimate. Cost me 2.5 hours of my life I will never get back for a bottle of rum you can buy for 10 bucks on site. - TAKE MORE SUNSCREEN THAN YOU THINK YOU WILL NEED - sunscreen on site goes for $40 (no exaggeration). If you do need sunscreen go to the shops furthest from the beach to save some money
The resort itself was pretty nice. The rooms were comfortable, the pools were great, the beach was awesome, and the grounds/landscaping are beautiful. The area where this place falls short is in their delivery of service and how they treat their customers. The people who do most of the hard work at this place, the wait/kitchen staff, the bartenders, housekeeping, and groundskeepers were very nice and extremely hard working, however, the front desk and "customer relations" staff (people who assist with dinner reservations, etc) are terrible. It seems that these people are only in these positions because they have the best English language skills and not because of their ability to interact with their guests. They usually acted like you were bothering them and annoyed with you coming to their desks for assistance, even with checking-in and checking-out. While this place appears very nice and the food and drinks are pretty decent, it is just far too big and their attempt at customer service comes across more as crowd control and herding cattle. Also, we were called the night before we were supposed to arrive and told the hotel was overbooked and we were being relocated to another hotel for the first 2 nights of our stay. (The hotel they put us at was great and is most likely where we will stay if we return to the DR). Well, the hotel makes you check out at 11:00, but the Grand Bahia Principe doesn't come to get you until 1:00. The shuttle came to pick us and about 40 other people up around 1:00 pm and then bring us to the Grand Bahia Principe but don't let us check-in until 3:00. They never once apologized when they came to pick all of us up and were actually rather rude on the bus ride over and at check-in. They just left our luggage sitting in the middle of the lobby and told us to wait for 3:00. Several people would go up periodically to see about checking in a little early and were basically ran off from the desk and told to stay away until 3:00. Everybody was pretty annoyed to lose the better part of the day dealing with the transfer and to deal with such foul attitudes from the people who cased the problem just made it worse. As part of the compensation for the inconvenience of the overbooking situation they promised additional a la carte meals with our booking, however, when we went to try to make reservations for one of about 12 restaurants they have we were told there were NO RESERVATIONS at any restaurants the rest of the week. So, we got Zero a la cart meals when we were supposedly upgraded VIP guests and ate at the same buffet place for about 15 meals. The guy working the reservation desk, "Eugenio", was a complete jerk about it too and if we would have had the option to return to the other resort at that time we would have. We tried to make reservations for the week immediately upon checking in also, so it was not as though we were walking in to places at 6:00 expecting a table. The resort is nice, and the beach is awesome, but the overall experience was pretty disappointing. They have a lot of room for improvement. **Side Note: The people at Cheap Caribbean and Olympus Tours (Cheap Caribbeans partners in the DR) were awesome. They alerted us to the overbooking situation as soon as they found out and helped to secure a very fair compensation. The Olympus people we worked with at the airport, both resorts, and the shuttle van were extremely helpful and very pleasant to deal with. They were a great liaison and helped coordinate between us and the hotels.**
Booked the vacation through cheap Caribbean tours and were pleasantly surprised when we arrived! When making a reservation, I noted that it was our anniversary and that we needed a pack and play, despite the fact that the front desk agent didn't even know what a pack and play was, we got to the room that had a huge white banner across the door with "Happy Anniversary", balloons tied to the post of the bed and the pack and play ready in place. A CON for the resort is that I felt it was so big, that they had those golf carts to take people around to their rooms and they were everywhere! You literally couldn't take a quiet path with pedestrians only anywhere. Whats worse is some of them would go really fast at night! So you, the pedestrian would have to practically jump into the bushes! Loved loved loved the beach and the ocean. The staff were always raking the weeds from the ocean, it was always clean and pleasant! ***If you don't drink, make sure to request all the friendly named drinks like "Banana Mama" and "Coco Loco" without any alcohol! As it sometimes just ends up being with a splash of this or that*** The only CON of the beach were the 'sellers'. Some appeared to be snippy along the lines of "yeah, yeah, whatever...!", when you politely declined a photo opportunity with a parrot. And the other guy jumped out at me after I had purchased a palm tree leaf hat from him, and later took a walk down the beach to check out the surroundings, on my way back he asked if i thought he had cheated me, as if i went looking for another hat down the beach. Jeez! Now to the food. I am an American and know what good meat tastes like. Here, quantity definitely overcomes quality. If you ask for steak, you'll get roast beef with mashed potatoes. Don't bother with the "specialty restaurant" reservations, as you are getting exactly the same food as you would from the main restaurant. The meat was almost always tough and overcooked. Didn't see shrimp till day 4, thought being in DR we'd be brushing our teeth with it. The water and ice cubes are all purified so they are safe to drink. Also was surprised to not be able to get or buy coconuts anywhere at the hotel. Dont drink or even brush your teeth with tap water. You'll regret it later. Mini bar was hardly ever restocked with beer. Bring: Immodium, Bug spray, Bite relief cream, sand toys (unless you want to pay $16 for a bucket) and a watch! (there are no clocks anywhere at the resort!) Ask for an extra room key, so you can keep the fridge and the a/c running.
We felt a bit misled. We were told it was very close to the beach, but we were a half mile from it. Once you get there, the beach is wonderful. The resort is pretty and clean, but too big and confusing. The food is very average. The show was nice. Much of the staff was very nice, but some gave us misinformation, like about how to work the safe and how to get places. I felt good about ratings in the past, but I would say this is a three palm resort, not four. I would go back to the Dominican Republic, but not this resort.
We just got back from our trip. Love the Dominican and overall thought the Bahia Principe was great. Some things to know: the beach is about 1 mile walk from the main lobby. There are "shuttles" but they are slow. We preferred to walk. Also, if you are staying at the "Premier" know that this is an ironic name, as the Premier is actually the cheapest area of the resort. We didn't mind this, as the rooms were still very nice; however, it was the furthest from the beach and we were VERY limited in where we could eat (just 1 of the buffet restaurants was open to us and it was mediocre). As for the food, we were there for 5 days and got 2 nights to eat at the specialty restaurants. Both were VERY good, especially the French (Le Gourmet) - had lobster and filet. YUM! There was a strange issue with the beach/pool towels. You had to turn in a "card" to exchange for the towel, but out of 3 times that we attempted to do an exchange, the towels were not available. We were repeatedly told to "try again in 1/2 hour." A strange management issue that could be resolved. Also, we weren't thrilled about the 1st room we got (1st floor, loud and the tub drain didn't work), so we switched rooms without a problem the next morning. If you book this trip, you may want to call the cheapcarribean concierge service before booking online to see if there are any flight options that better suit you. I tried to do this after booking, and there would have been some ridiculous fees to change.
Unfortunately our first time to the Dominican wasn't as pleasant as we had hoped it would be, resort wise. Luckily we did a few excursions and loved all but one! Do not reccomend Catalina Island unless you like horseflies, rocky/slanted beaches and companies worrying more about who sits in their designated area. Upon arrival at the Gran Bahia around noon, we weren't able to check in to our room until 3pm. This was absurd, the first thing a person wants to do is place all of their belongings into their rooms so they can instantly start enjoying their "vacation". Instead my husband and I grabbed our swimsuits out of our bags and headed to the beach, no help from the map they provide, the resort is HUGE. When we finally found the beach and arrived by trolley, we layed out until 330 and headed to our rooms. Forgot to mention when we checked in the only gave us 1 room key, saying that was the policy. One would have assumed since our room wasn't ready and we had to leave our bags out in the open in the lobby, that the bags would have been in our room upon arrival. Well to our suprise our bags were not in our room. Not only no bags, we couldn't figure out how to turn anything on, lights/ac. Back to the lobby we go. So in the first 3 hours of our trip we are already stressed and not happy. Back at the lobby we saw our bags, ok guess we have to take them our selves and carry them up the stairs since there is no elevator. Then we asked the receptionist about the lights/ac. Ohhhh you have to put your room key in a slot to the right when you open the door to make everything work, would have been nice to be told them from the beginning. This must be why they only want you to have one room key, cheap. Well we asked for another room key, back to the room, with our bags in tow, room key 2 doesn't work. UGHHHH. Took us 3 times to get both keys to work, of course we left one in the slot the whole time so we didn't come back to a 100 degree room after being at the beach/pool all day. Come to find out our tour guide Fransica told us when we booked our excursions that they ARE supposed to give 2 room keys. Food was terrible, except in the French, Medditteranian and Japanese restaurants, only were allowed to try 3 because you can only get as many reservations depending on how long your stay is (we were there for 7 nights). No room service. Awful snack bar by the pool. Best lunch was the hot dogs on the beach. This resort has multiple hotels at it. A couple are for the "higher paying" visitors. They get treated MUCH better, have their own pools and own spot on the beach, couldn't believe the segregation right at the resort. Usually if you want all the "extras" you go to a better resort. But this one rubs it right in your face that you booked from cheap caribbean. When we went to Aruba last year it was NOTHING like this. The vendors do NOT leave you alone. At the beach, at the resort, on the excursions. All they want is your money. We missed out on seeing alot of shops/vendors because we tried our hardest to avoid contact with them because they don't take no for an answer. Not much entertainment/good entertainment. Really lacked on the activities. Beach is beautiful, water was seaweedy the first 2 days but was overall gorgeous. Being that I speak english, that made it difficult as well. Most of the staff couldn't understand us and everything was mostly in spanish. One tour we went on there was only 3 couples that spoke english so the tour guide pretty much spoke 90% spanish, it was very frustrating. Do a ton of research before you book anywhere in the Dominican.