Travelled from May 11 2012-May 15 2012 Advices: DO NOT USE SPIRIT AIRLINES- they tend to book your return flight too close to your connection flight. Remember that when you land to Ft Lauderdale airport you have to go through immigration (at least a 2 hr line) then you have to claim you luggage then go through TSA inspection again. Spirit will book your flight 40 minutes between your connection flights. I talked to immigration personnel and he told us that Spirit airlines are known for this issue. Remember there are also other airlines that serves Dominican Republic so be aware that there might be a few flights landing at the same flights. Buy the round trip transfer from the airport to the hotel. It’s a lot cheaper and safer. Cheap Caribbean has a member outside managing the transportation to your resort. But it’s outside so be ready to sweat a little. Alfonso (Cheap Caribbean agent at Gran Bahia) is very helpful and a subject expert on excursions. Highly recommend the trip to Sanoa Island. Sanoa Island trip – wear water shoes $10 at Sports Authority a must for Sanoa Island beach. Wear your swimming attire. BUY 100 SPF sun bloker, you will thank me later. Upgrade to Golden Room – you will have priority restaurant booking, air conditioned reception area when you check-in, drinks during check-in, great room location near the beach and pool. We stayed at 2716 and it was the room closest to the beach and pool. Get $100 worth of singles. TIP $1 to the people who served you and they will remember you. Especially the bartender and they tend to put more alcohol on your drinks. Lastly, smile and you will have a GREAT RELAXING TIME.
First let me say if you book, book through Cheap Caribbean. We learned from several people we met there that we paid the least amount and had the best options. We upgraded to junior suite which had a few perks like wifi, roomservice and it seemed as if it got us better service. The wifi didnt work in the clubhouse 3 of the days we were there, the pools were amazing, hotel was clean, beach was ok (murky water), spa was affordable and beautiful, food was not good at all. Food was not cooked well, catered to European clients and not much ethnic food on the buffet. Ala Cartes were just ok, service was good but people spoke little English and most guests spoke spanish as well. The casino is dated and boring, but the nightly entertainment was fun. It was weird being the only black people there on vacation, but hey we got over it. We had a good time, met a lot of nice amazing people, completely enjoyed the view of the island. Get your gifts from Zach's Gift Shop by the disco, he has the best prices around but takes cash only. Tip the waiters in cash, don't use the safe (locked our luggage with TSA travel locks), bring bug spray for beach and extra towel, don't eat uncooked food, sanitize, sanitize, santize and you should have fun.
I read many reviews before leaving, and wish more folks had been clear when giving advice. My 1st and largest bit of advice I can offer is upon arrival...ask to upgrade to "Ocean Front Don Pablo Collection" Forget the Golden upgrade, which online or via phone can cost you $650 per person, upgrading at the resort cost us $25 per person per night. What they fail to tell you is Golden Upgrades still leave you in the old buildings, upgrading to Don Pablo Boganvillia, put's you in a brand new building, with ocean front option, and all the advanteges of the Golden. The resort is nice and clean, the staff is very friendly. The food is okay, we did private dining in the upgrade cafe where the chef's prepare fresh food before your eyes. We never attempted to reserve a table at the ala cart options. The buffett offered lots of options and had fresh eggs for breakfast and fresh grouper and dolphin for dinner. The resort caters to its largest following (European & Canadian clients) but found plenty of options for us picky Americans. The water is murky as described, but if you walk East(left) from the resort, you'll find the water quickly clears. This may be due to the small dredging operation that is bringing sand up to construction crews with expansion of the resort. This project is in no way a disruption to your vacation. This resort is well maintained, with normal issues with some of the aging units, the staff was friendly and attempted to accomadate every request. This resort is rather secluded but offered many excursions and golf outings, lots of games and water fun. The evening on-site shows were amusing, Casino small but also amusing, and the ocean murky but calm. I would return and would suggest for couples or families. DONT Forget sunscreen as you will get sun rather searching for it or not...and the gift shops want $38. US dollars for sunscreen. Be Careful of the Mama Juana...great drink in moderation...keep that in mind...pace yourself!!
Ok so here is my honest review of this place play by play. Booked it about a month in advance to go for my birthday with my girlfriend. Got the shared ride from cheap carribean was only us on the ride there so that was a plus, santo Domingo airport is about 45 min away. So we check in late were both tired and so it begins... Takes forever to check in and the guy couldn't answer any of my questions, after almost an hour we finally get checked in and get our room keys. We get to the room there's stains on the blankets mold all over the walls and doorway the bathroom had mold everywhere and they were doing construction on the building. Ok..... So now we're hungry and tired and figure well call for room service there's no menu we call the front desk he explains our package doesn't inculde room service but there's a burger bar that's open late. So we figure ok not bad and we took a walk over there (assuming it's a made to order snack bar and you can order fresh cooked food) to our surprise there's burgers and hot dogs that look like they've been sitting out for days infested with flys basically growing arms and legs. Get back to the room call the desk telling him I'll just pay for the room service whatever the total is he says we can't do that and the only way to get room service right now is to upgrade to the golden club package for 20/pp per night at this point im so tired and hungry I went with it and went to the desk and handed him $160 cash. We get room service menus which literally have like 6 things on them we call to place the order and they tell us they only have fruit and chicken fingers and French fries lol. Mind you this is only the first night. So we go to bed wake up and go down to the golden club office to find out what our upgraded amenities are. We tell them about the room and show them the pics of the mold and they tell us they'll change our room, so she begins explaining the package and the only thing you get is use of the safe (you would think that would be expected) pool towels in your room lol, robes and 24/7 room service. We make our dinner reservations and go to the new room no mold or anything it was clean. Not GONNA go on with the play by play but they never service your room they never re stock the mini fridge, there's no hot water didn't take a hot shower once, they only let you make 3 restaurant reservations if you stay less then 7 days, they're all buffets only good one was the French gourmet , the food is horrible at the buffets and snack bar with the exception of a few things and there is flys everywhere. The good is that the beach is nice they have free water sports the staff is nice they do good activities and the bartenders hook your drinks up if you hook them up , ruddy Avery Juan kelvis and Manuel all were awesome and were the only ones that made a good effort to help you have a good time place is clean for the most part except the rooms, the principe don Pablo collection next door looked a lot nicer I wish I would've stayed there instead, I dont recomend this place for the price it is at all, santo domingo and la Romana are beautiful go to saona island and do the excursions if you go there just don't stay here lol. Oh also with the shared ride transfer on the way back the driver basically held us and our group hostage at a gas station and wouldn't let us leave because I had a $88 dollar balance with the hotel for a massage that they forced me to pay cash for and wouldn't let me pay with my card, horrible customer service and everyone I asked at the resort agreed
This is not the nicest resort ever, but for the price it is completely worth it. some of the complaints for this resort are a bit off base. 1. people have talked about rolling blackouts - actually there is a very ingenious feature to the rooms where you put your room key in a slot inside your room to turn on the power. This serves to save electricity when you are out of the room, and the rooms cool down quickly - also the AC turns off if you open the patio doors, again another bit of efficiency to keep their operating costs down and thus their prices. 2. People complain about the lack of English spoken at the resort. well Americans/Canadians/brits are only a small portion of the guests here. We met French, Italian, German, Dominican and other guests and the staff speak a little or a lot of all those languages. Learn a few words of spanish, or ask for someone who speaks english and you'll be fine. 3. People complain about the beach/sea water. Its not the clearest water, but there were no jellyfish when we were there in November. Unless you plan to be at the beach all day everyday, this isn't a problem as the pool is big and great, with islands with trees for shade and a swim up bar. We also did one of the beach excursions to sanoa which gives you those quintessential Caribbean beaches. 4. The food is another complaint. It was probably the worst part. They try to make American dishes on the cheap and they turn out badly. Stick to dishes that are Caribbean inspired, the Italian a la carte restaurant was good and the seafood both at the buffet and the a la carte was very good. If you do any excursions you usually get very tasty local cuisine for lunch. We tipped big on our half day of horseback riding and they stopped at t a local restaurant for us to get lunch. The entertainment was pretty good. Its mostly musical theater, but of pretty good quality. The bars are great. Go with a bunch of one dollar bills and tip $1 per two drinks and they will fight over bringing you a drink the next time. They have good espresso at the lobby bar, the service and friendliness of the staff can't be beat. The wifi in the lobby is nice. it got us out of our room every evening before dinner for a drink or two in the lobby while we checked email and caught up on news. The rooms were ok, some of the furniture was dated, and the tv was old only one or two English channels. but I didn't come to watch tv. The beds were comfortable. Other food tips. The snack bars were bad, the wine and beer is included at dinner if more than one of you is drinking wine they bring a carafe. They also have a wine list if you want to buy bottles for extra.
My friends and I just came back from a few days at Gran Bahia. Overall we had a great time and would go back when the pricing is right. The staff were courteous, friendly, multi-lingual and work very hard to see to your comfort and entertain you. We had alot of fun dancing and with the aerobics sessions. The rooms and general areas were nicely maintained. We spent most of the time in the pool and by the pool bar. The beach has hard packed fine sand and the water is a bit murky but calm. The best food was at the buffet, we gave up on the specialty restaurants after the 2nd try. Make sure to bring small bills to tip. I know it's not mandated as it is all inclusive but their staff deserve it and they are very appreciative. Tip: Bring a insulated bottle/thermos so your cocktails or iced drinks dont melt. Definitely go with the upgrade to the Golden Club as we got Towels delivered, faster room service,robes/slippers, a room at the beach/pool area and access the club office (private concierge, premium liquor/drink access, internet, light snacks, etc). The night life was slow, so I recommended bringing books, cards, games. They have evening entertainment but it usually ended by 10pm. Their onsite night club doesnt open until 12am. We ended purchasing dominoes/cards and hung out by the bar. .
We love our time here. Recommend villa 27 best view of beach. Beautiful resort with great food. We had the golden package upgrade. The golden gets a special check in...very quick while others were waiting. The highest level was the luxury. We did not op for this and saw very little difference. Make your specialty restaurant dinner reservation at 9am your first morning (do not wait..they book up early) Best restaurant is La Gourmet (French). Excursions... see the guys on the beach for best prices to Catalina for snorkeling. They leave from the beach by boat and go directly to island. Price between 55-60 US per person for half a day. To visit caves, a 10-15 minute trip from resort, take a taxi. Taxi is 20-25 US for group and taxi will take you and wait during the excursion then bring you back. Caves are 10 US per person for entrance. Caves only opened to the public within past 15 years. Have ancient cave drawings. Huge caves with an elevator back to surface. Souvenirs are priced high at resort. Shop at caves is cheaper with many of same items. If you go to bayahibe or La Romana even better. Be careful with water in room. While taking meds I used water from sink (habits are hard to break) and had case of Montezuma's revenge. Lots of medicine available in gift shop off lobby. From antibiotics to the pink stuff. The symptoms were manageable and did not distract from a wonderful vacation. Did not see anyone else sick at resort. Spoke with one family and the wife had the same. Continued to eat and drink and had no real problems. Resort is huge and still building. Very secluded and private. Pool bar was awesome recommend "Banana Mama" frozen with dark rum. If you are booked on Spirit Air get ready to pay more. You will pay an additional fee for all baggage. 30 US each way for 1st bag 40lbs and under. If you wait to get your seat assigned at airport it is free....if you chose assigned seats online 10 US extra each way. Carry-on allowed for free but cant be too large or you pay a huge fee. Have a great time and enjoy this vacation....we did.
Service was very good.. food needs some help .The weather was great so were the beach and pool. We would go back..
We found the hotel, grounds, and rooms very nice. The service was fantastic all around. Our only complaint was with the beach and bay water. Normally we spend most of our time at the beach snorkeling, drinking, and swimming. Upon booking we didn't realize that the water did not have good visibility. We usually snorkel a lot. There was also a bug infestation on the beach, especially at night. Because of the high rains the shallow waters were plagued with small puffer fish that like to give painful nips and bites. Since we enjoy snorkeling so much we will not be returning to this particular resort but if the beach and ocean are not your thing, this is the place for you. The staff were especially friendly and welcoming. There are many pool area activities and the shows at night were an added bonus.
The Grand Bahia Principe La Romana is a beautiful resort. The most well maintained landscape I have seen in the Caribbean. The rooms are large, clean, and stocked with everything from toothbrush to skin lotion. The shampoo was a big hit with the wife. So don't bother with TSA mini bottles. the soap and everything else is good. The staff was very friendly and helpful, but please remember it's not America. Learn a few words of basic Spanish, and remember some customs are a little different. You don't need to, the staff are outstanding, but a little effort on your part can move the service from very good to great. I cruise a lot, and this was my first "All Inclusive Resort". Over all it was like a Princess cruise ship ran aground in the Dominican Republic, and offered free dinks for the inconvenience. The value was far better than I expected. I was thinking "Beach bum paradise" but found a high end resort. I half expect a police man to knock on my door to ask about my stolen week in the Dominican Republic. Cheap Caribbean lives up to it's name. I'm a Floridian, so great beaches are the norm for me, and pools are a back yard staple. the beach was very nice, but obviously not natural. the coconut palms, and thatch umbrellas made it a fantastic place to hang out. the pool was also way above average, and I enjoyed the swim up bar. As you can imagine the chlorine was fairly strong. A forty minuet boat ride from the beach at the resort brings you to Catalina Island, A truly stunning natural beach, and one of the best reef systems I have snorkeled, or dived on in the Caribbean . Don't miss it! The food is very good, with the exception of the pizza. The "gourmet" restaurants were not really any better than the buffet. I'm a butcher, and have a passion for food, and cooking, I give the food a solid "very good". Lots of fresh local fruit, and an impressive array of European cold cuts, and cheese. I also enjoyed some new interpretations of Caribbean staples, the Chayote squash in cream sauce is a good example. The room was clean, and had some nice design elements. as a cruise ship regular it felt gigantic. Plenty of extra pillows, and an extra blanket were already in the closet. as well as robes, and slippers. It was well soundproofed, and I loved the shower. Things to be aware of... 1) Don't drink from the tap. The resort provides plenty of bottled water, and clean safe ice, and ice water. Drink that, the beer, and the cocktails. 2) Your airport transfer company does not own you, and don' let them scare you. The resort has a few companies that provide air port transfers, and all of them offer tours. You can book your tours through the transfer company or through the resort. shop with both, and even the other transfer companies. The tours I wanted were cheaper through the resort, but shop around prices fluctuate. 3) If you want a freebe, and are willing give up an hour of your vacation, go to the time share- vacation club presentation, But don't buy. Grand Bahia Principe, is an RCI member. If you want time share- vacation club go to e-bay and pick it up for pennies on the dollar. This is a great place to relax, It has a solid thumbs up from me. Hope this review helps, enjoy.