My teenage daughter and I wanted to take a short 'get-away', and visit the Dominican Republic. This hotel is gorgeous, and we loved our room with a million dollar ocean view (and Jacuzzi in a marble bathroom with fresh tropical flowers). Luxurious! The food was plentiful, varied, and very fresh , from local sources -- lots of fresh sliced tropical fruit at every meal. We are mostly vegetarian, and there were plenty of choices. Everything was very classy, and so 'low-hype' it was even hard to book day tours, because there were no flyers, posters, or sales pitches. (We went zip-lining on a new 1 mile+ canopy system, ending with a lovely waterfall visit- tons of fun!). About 2/3 of guests are Europeans, I'd guess. Take a walk on 'The Bridge To Nowhere' -- it starts on the hotel grounds, but you almost have to ask a staff member how to find the entrance. There are some nice scuba dives here from the PADI Shop on the beach. I would definitely recommend the Gran Bahia Principe family of hotels!
The resort overall was alright except for the raw sewage being drained in the pool area and next to the snack bar. We did not received the rooms we booked and had a horrible experience with the registration staff. I would never go back to this resort again nor recommend to anyone.
The resort is beautiful and the staff lovely. We had several maintenance issues which they immediately came up to fix with the exception of our entire floor having no hot water for the last day and a half of our stay. The food in the buffet and Italian restaurant are totally tasteless and with the same limited selections daily. The El Pescador restaurant food was delicious, but again a very limited selection. The resort entertainment is worse than the food. The drinks are great though and plentiful. We did several tours including an all day tour to Playa Rincon which was absolutely beautiful and totally worth the money and the all day excursion. The ATV excursion for 4 hours was awesome as well. We would definitely return to DR, but probably search a little harder for a resort with reviews for good food. Also, the pools close extremely early at 6:00 daily. Also, the pools are only cleaned at night and do not have chlorine in them to clean them. Lots of debris floating around. It wasn't overly crowded so there was never an issue of having a chair on the beach or at the pools. Also, they are VERY aggressive in trying to get you to attend their one hour presentation for free gifts. We blew it off, but they attack you as soon as you step into the lobby from outside, the elevators or a stairwell. If you like firm mattresses, you are in luck, because they are extremely firm.
My experience at the Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa in Samana, DR was amazing. I expected to have a great time and my expectations were surpassed on every level. The staff is amazing. They were interactive with the guests and entertaining. We participated in group activities by the pool and evening entertainment at the disco. I miss the staff!! The beach area was a special treat. It was very relaxing. We did kayaking and took the peddler out for a spin. We also had the hotel shuttle to take us around town which was convenient and fun. The food and drinks were great too and the room was beautiful. A positive experience - I will be back!
Our stay at GBP Cayacoa was almost unbearable. We were moved to a different room twice during our 5 nights for various issues. First because they had given us a king size bed instead of two doubles (for 2 adults and 2 kids). Then because of plumbing issues, then due to air conditioning not working. Read reviews on TripAdvisor before you think about booking here. Our shower never drained, the (dirty) tub didn't hold water, the toilet was constantly stopped up. The air conditioning barely worked in any of the three rooms. You need a cool place to come back to when it's 100 degrees outside and 99% humidity! One room had mold/mildew all over the walls and ceiling. Yuck! The food was mediocre at best and a lot if the staff didn't speak English. Some were very friendly, most were not. Got the feeling they didn't think too highly of Americans. The water was far from crystal clear, in fact it closely resembled the water at the Jersey shore. We spent some time across the water at Cayo Leventando for a family wedding. The rooms and resort were beautiful. Spend the extra money and stay there. The water was a lot clearer and the amenities were better.
Me and my wife were looking for some getaway time and had heard how beautiful location was. The view that you have of first the city at a distance and then the bay is breath taking. You are then blown away by the service at check in. They really go out of their way to service each and every individual. May be different on weekend, but I arrived on 11/18 @ 1:30 and were checked in immediately, although it said 3:00pm check in. Already had long trip from New York to santo Domingo and then 2 hr drive to Samana so very grateful that this got my vacation going early. Gerdenis at check in was very helpful and accomodating throughout the entire stay,answering every question. We had suite which required shuttle service, and those guys were really attentive as well. Always available at your calling. You will start to get the lay of the land and move on your own, but comfort to know that they were alwaya available. Only issue was jacuzzi in the suite could have been in better condtion. Only other issue was deciding who to give tips to, lol... Great time, would definitely recommend and will probably be back as well.
The hotel itself is beautiful; however, everything else was extremely disappointing. Upon arrival, we quickly learned that hardly anyone speaks English - they do not speak traditional Spanish either, so communication was very difficult. Additionally, what I had read on other websites indicated that the city of Samana was extremely safe to go into, but everyone we know that ventured into the city begged to differ. Also very frustrating is that all of the beaches in the DR are considered "public" beaches, so they are filled with locals. There appears to be some security, but we were constantly being watched and things would come up missing if we left our things on the beach to go into the water. We tried snorkeling, but the water is filled with trash and quite murky. Another frustrating aspect was the food - at first it seemed good, but the menu never changes in the buffet. Also, the restaurant menus never change, so if you book one restaurant twice, you get the exact same menu and the food is quite terrible. We were also extremely frustrated that no one informed us that reservations needed to be made for the restaurants in advace because they book up so fast. And do you want to know why they book up so fast? The resort only has one restaurant open a night. That takes me to entertainment... not much can be said. The entertainment staff works very hard, but they are extremely unorganized and quite frankly, not much fun. Being an all-inclusive, you would think that you could get any of the drinks on the menus at any of the bars, but the bartenders were always "claiming" they were out of certain drinks. Overall, this trip totally turned me off from visiting the DR again. I might reconsider in about 10 years when they decide to clean up their tourist areas and learn to communicate with their tourists. If I did go back to the DR, I definitely would not stay at any of the Gran Bahia Principe properties because they seem to be geared towards an older crowd, with very little to do throughout the day and evening besides drink... and I think that gets old for everyone. If we hadn't been meeting friends at this resort, our trip would have been a complete disaster. However, we were lucky to be with friends and make the most of a bad situation.
We purchased the trip to Cayacoya Samana because I was looking for a nice resort that was off the beaten path. That being said, it is a 2 hr drive from the Santo Domingo airport. You get a great view of their culture this way, other than that it's a bunch of palm tree covered mountains mainly. We purchased the airport transportation to and from the resort as well, I HIGHLY recommend this unless your fluent in Spanish and even then it might be a chore. Make sure you call or email to confirm your reservations with the transportation company a night or two in advance. The hotel was beautiful, the staff can speak broken English whiched helped a lot but there were still a lot of language barriers involved. Check in was easy, there was no room upgrade offered for it being our honeymoon but that was fine since we got the second nicest room available anyways. The villas are located off to the side of the resort and are separate from the resort, there are a lot of stairs involved in staying in those rooms but you can call to have a taxi (cart) bring you to the main lobby. As I read from previous reviews the night life was a bit lacking. From what I noticed on all of the excursions is that the culture here is rich in music and dance but you only see a little of that at the resort. Throughout the towns there was bars with loud vibrant music and people dancing no matter the time of day. We only made it to one of the nightly shows and that was after we finally found where the shows are located. It's in a separate building across the street next to the Italian Resuraunt. The show was good, but very cramped and hard to see. The food was mediocre, it is an all inclusive Buffett so little was expected. Parts of it were nicer than I anticipated while other parts we less than. I will admit to being a VERY picky eater and even I found certain things I liked. There was a menu change each night for themed nights, but some of the basics still remained on the Buffett. My favorite part was the bread buffett, the bread was available no matter the time of the day and it was fresh and delicious! As I mentioned earlier I am picky and don't drink beer so I can't comment on how the beer was but I did enjoy their Banana Momma's!! Very yummy! We did tip the bartenders although Im not sure if they were too excited about it. Most of them seemed like they had a lot on their minds. The beaches were very nice and the clarity of the water changed depending on the weather. It's not much of a walking beach but very good to lay around and take a dip or a swim. We didn't have a problem finding chairs in the shade or under an umbrella. We didn't do any of the water sports other than snorkeling, I highly recommend that if you do nothing else! The pool was very nice as well. Lots of chairs but depending on the time of day they filled up quickly! They only had three pool umbrellas available and those were gone before the pool even opened! We used the trees as shade instead :) the pool was big enough to not feel crowded at any given time. My only compalaint about the beach/pool was that they shut down kind of early.They have activities during the day around the pool different games and workout activities with music. The staff at the pool are very friendly and I've read a few reviews of how the husbands became offended of the male staff. They are harmless! Very friendly and love to pay you compliments! When you participate in the games/activities they give away awards and prizes (local paintings) during their nightly shows (located in the red building across the street). It's not a gimmick, they are just friendly people trying to get you to be interactive! The room was big and spacious. The bed was a bit stiff but what do you really expect for a third world country? It was still comfy enough to sleep on at the end of the day! The bathroom was spacious as well, nice tub with bubble jets. The hot water was a little tricky, most of the time the spicket had hot water but when you switched it to the shower head it went cold. I didn't have this problem, just my husband was lucky enough! We never tried room service (language barrier) but the mini fridge was filled daily (as long as you didn't hang the do not disturb sign) with two big bottles of water, two beers, and three or four sodas. We did manage to find a few English channels which was nice to watch in the evenings. I had ordiginally thought that I would be too busy at the pool and beach to worry about tv but after dinner we seemed to be pooped! The sun really drained us! I highly recommend trying different excursions! We did the trip to El Limon, Las Haitises/Bacardi Island, and the Zipline (through Walk the Plank). If you take the trip to El Limon, wear your bathing suit and sometype of water shoes would be helpful, take a backpack to store snacks/water. A waterproof camera is AWESOME, got really nice pictures here. Make sure you bring tip money, the guides with their horses aren't paid by the travel company they work for tips and that is one heck of a hike! Our guides took pictures for us and tried to educate us about the plants. Las Haitises is a long all day trip. They have drinks on the boat, a multilingual guide and even a toilette. A bit of a boat hike so take motion sickness medicine if you could have problems. You venture into a couple of caves which were really cool and our final stop was at Bacardi Island (levantado). The water there was amazing! Lots or barters/local shops on the way to the food Buffett that was included on this trip. Same kind of food as the resort just not a huge variety. Then we had about 2-3 hours to swim! My favorite part, we forgot our snorkeling g gear so we had to rent it (a man is walking the beach with that and drinks). The Zipline group Walk the Plank was a lot of fun! It was about a 3 1/2 hr trip, we were drove most of the way in a safari bus but there is still a bit of a hike up to the top. They seemed to be very professional and this was a ton of fun! At the bottom there is a small waterfall where you can swim for a bit (and we even jumped off a small cliff with the locals). We weren't told ahead of time about the waterfall so we went swimming in our clothes! Still a bunch of fun! Then we took another short hike back to the bus. Afterwards the guides took us to another small and secluded beach with a few local "restaurants" but very secluded and nice! There were few things we didn't participate in. We didn't venture down the bridges to nowhere, the guard at the end of the beach taking our room number in case we didn't make it back was not too peasant of a feelings. There were warning signs sayin it was dangerous and do not enter. If I would've had the cash to pay one of the local guys to be our tour guide it would've been fine but we left that in the room. We did buy a safe since it was mentioned by so many people. The peace of mind was worth the few extra bucks. And I'm not sure if I mentioned it before or not but the restaurants requiring reservations were not that impressive. From what I read the Italian one was the best so tat was the one we went to. Very full food and the pasta in the Buffett was much tastier. Overall we had a great time, a very pleasant experience!
The resort was very relaxing. My husband and I both have demanding jobs so being able to escape our world was a blessing. The staff was very eager to please and did everything they could to accommodate us. The maid stayed on our floor throughout the day cleaning and replenishing towels as needed. A lot of reviews spoke negatively of the food so I didn't expect too much. I kept it simple by eating fruit, vegetables and pizza which didn't bother me because I'm from Charleston SC and I'm fortunate to always have wonderful food at my fingertips so I never let the food alone spoil my vacation. I simply have a great meal as soon as I get back home :-)
The hotel was located in a beautiful area surrounded by a marina, mountains and the beach. Everything was within a short walking distance. And the hotel provided a cart service for those areas that were beyond a comfortable walking distance. The pools were clean, the beaches were gorgeous and the food had a variety to choose from. This hotel differs from those in Punta Cana in that there were a lot of local residents frequenting the hotel on the weekend. Our week would have been much more enjoyable had we bypassed the rains that came in for 3 days due to Hurricane Sandy. This is definitely a fun, family venue with something for everyone. Highly recommend.