So here's the deal. It is exactly as advertised... This is all-inclusive... Beach, multiple pools, kids play areas and waterparks, golf courses, etc. GOOD VALUE. Some Pros with some tips: 1. The main Pool by the beach has a swim up bar with fun and attentive staff. Additionally they have daily entertainment in the afternoon which is a lot of fun. Their entertainment staff really get the crowd going and involved. Be prepared to hear the same latin/spanish songs dozens of times during your stay. I like most of it... just not as much as I heard it. American music is very limited, you want that bring your ipod. IMPORTANT TIP: Bring your own seal-able mug/cup that the staff will refill for you instead of settling for their cheap 8oz plastic cups for every drink. They're are limited options available to buy onsite so just bring your own. The bigger the better lol. 2. A La Carte Restaurants are very good, we experienced 3 while we were there (Santa Fe - mexican, Garden Grill - steak house, Meriaki - Japanese Steakhouse.) I'd highly recommend Japanese, especially if you have a group of 4 or more, this was the best experience and a lot of fun. TIP: email the hotel to get your reservations in advance, you are allowed 4 reservations per 7 days and will want to use them all. Just tell them the restaurant you want, which day, the number of guests and approximate times and they should have them ready in your welcome packet. 3. The safe in the room is extra, $4/day. Do it, yes it is a charge but don't take a risk, could really ruin a vacation. JUST GET THE SAFE. Also internet is free for 60 minutes in the lobby, don't pay extra, that is plenty of internet. You're on vacation, you don't need it anyway. If you do really feel like you need it, you can pay for it, i think it starts at $8/hr. knock yourself out. 4. I believe there are 2 options on Cheapcarribean.com for this resort. I'd recommend doing the more expensive one, not sure if it gets you into the Esmeralda or the other five star resort (includes slippers, robes, and most importantly 24 hour room service) TIP: I'd take the chance for an extra $10/person or whatever it costs or call and cheapcarribean and find out which package it is (the descriptions on the website show no difference but price) My biggest regret, tried to fix it before but I missed the promotion period so it was $600 more and had to roll with the standard room, which isnt bad anyway, dont spend a ton of time in the room anyway, but room service would have been huge. 5. I see complaints on the reviews about the size of the resort. I didnt find it to be a problem. Yes, it is a mega resort, but they do have trollys that go everywhere and they run all day and night, i think they shut down from 4-7am but thats it. Even if they are shut down, beach/pool/lobby/town area is walk-able from all the rooms. No complaints here about the size. 6. vendors are aggressive but not over-aggressive. If I were to do it again though I would have just got the souvineers I needed at the airport, prices were much less there and it was all the same stuff. Get a painting on the way out at the airport, you could get a really nice original oil painting off the canvas for like $35. We're talking 36x48 too. I paid $135 on the resort.. woops. TIP: everything is a negotiation, don't forget. offer, counter offer, offer, counter offer at least twice. 7. Entertainment is free in the theaters every night with exception of Saturday night they do their Caribbean party for $15/person. We went in for free after it started towards the end and had no issue. But I will say when we walked in the audience all had the expression of 'what did I pay for???' and the end of the show was just sort of abrupt and confusing. Maybe give it a shot, we didn't and wouldn't again if we went back. TIP: Probably don't pay for the $15 Caribbean night 8. Beach is good to fair. Their is plenty of spots to claim, we never had an issue finding chairs, cabanas, etc. but also never got down there after 10am. The water has a lot of seaweed kicked up from all the boats constantly going by. The time we were there, I did not see one tropical fish. The best bet is to find a beach with reef protection, keeps the beach clean and clear and often has fish swimming about that add to the beach ambiance - Great beaches in Tulum in Riveria Maya Mexico for example. The only watersport we did was para sailing which was $80 for 2. It was not much of an experience, they didn't really do much but connect you to the harness, snap you in, pull you, bring you down and back to the beach. I enjoyed the para sailing but I think I would pay half that at most for what it was... Try getting it for $40, thats what its worth ;) TIP: Bring sunscreen... apply... reapply...apply....reapply. I saw too many uncomfortable victims of sunburn. It gets really aggressive around 1-2pm. 9. Domincan people are very nice, friendly, attentive, funny, they love to sing and dance, and are truly good hosts. Most of them are not trained in english but speak vacation speak. They really would prefer spanish so spend a few days brushing up on vacation spanish and they'll appreciate it. tips:: Tip everyone $1-$3. This is not required but appreciated. Tips go along way. 10. Golf: The rates are $135 + $45 club rental... be prepared for that, pretty standard costs for Caribbean resort. Its right on site. 11. Massage: we did beach massage. It was $80/person for 50 minutes. I wouldn't do it by the beach again if you want the massage, its pretty good rub down. TIP: I would go to the spa. They put their massage cabana right next to the beach showers, the dialog of onlookers or people going about their way from the beach is not so relaxing. 12. Distance from the airport isn't too bad. You can share get the shared ride and probably only have to wait at most for one other group to be dropped off at the RIU resort next door. I think the total trip from the airport was only 30 minutes once we got going. It did take us a very long time to move from the airport -about 45 minutes Other vans shuttled back before we left so I think that was just bad luck due to other visitors taking forever in the airport and having to wait for them. TIP: if you want to get right to the resort and leave on your time, spring for the $60 personal travel, not $20 group travel. CONS: Not a lot of cons here... Again it is exactly as advertised. If you want an all inclusive experience which is eat, beach, eat, beach, pool, eat, show, bars/nightlife, sleep, repeat schedule for a week or so, this will work. For your sanity probably toss in an excursion or two to shake it up. We were just there for 5 nights and knew we wanted to just chill so didnt leave the resort. We probably won't go back, not because we didn't enjoy the experience, but just because we would prefer to try other places and we didn't have any deep connections with this resort. I've been to nicer beaches in the same price range (again think mexico) but so I might put more weight into that when choosing our next destination. Try it out, use my tips, and you certainly won't be disappointed. Solid trip.
I visited Grand Bahia in Jamaica with my family and absolutely loved it- food, rooms, most service, etc. So I figured for our next family reunion we would visit the same chain in the Dominican Republic, as expectations were the same. We were very much disappointed. Check in- the check in personnel were very lax, they could not find our reservations and asked for document after document. It turns out that the hotel (not Cheap caribbean) misspelt our last name. The guy did not even attempt to look for a similar name. After working that out, we were taken to our room on a golf cart. Upon approaching the room, two guys jumped off the cart and proceeded to the room (note that we only had two small carry –on bags, so there was no need for two guys to handle the bags. Three in total were on the cart). The guy proceeds to say in a rude authoritative voice “Give me the key” as I was removing it from my bag. Upon entering the room after putting down the bags and explaining some things, he stood there and waited for a tip! - with his change in his hands. ( I couldn’t believe it). We told him that we did not have change and this is all we had for now. He said “I can make change”. After giving him a look, he said “ I’ll let you off the hook this time.” (I find this so rude, I thought he was joking, but he was actually serious. ) Time share/Upgrade- They are all over the resort and try to form conversations and tell you its not time shares. They try to get you to buy in to the upgraded rooms and name some ridiculous prices. One of my family members attended and they started out with $8000. and came down to $200+. Something is wrong with that picture…fishy. But the amount of persons approaching are overwhelming and can become irritating if you are simply walking from one area to another and do not want to be bothered. They also were present in Jamaica, but were not as many. Dining- The dining options were reasonable- a buffet and a la carte restaurants requiring reservations. The Asian restaurant was the best. Lunch in the buffet was not memorable, they need more variety. The tap water here is not good, so don’t try to drink it. I’m speaking only based on rinsing during brushing my teeth. For the first time in my life, I drank sprite and coke that tasted nothing like it. They seem to add some sort of sugar to their sodas and it tastes horrible, I took one sip and could not finish the rest. The drink named “San Francisco” was good though. It tastes different depending on whether you order it from the bar or in the restaurant. The bar is the better one, even the presentation of the drinks are better at the bar. Room- The room was no way near my expectations based on Jamaica’s room. First they placed us on the ground floor when we specifically requested no ground floor (when booking our reservations approx. 5 months before with Cheap caribbean). When checking in, we were told, they had no more rooms to switch us to. The general theme with Grand Bahia is that they do NOT leave wash rags in the room. For some strange reason, you always have to ask for them and this was no different. Even when the housekeeper was right outside our door or in a nearby room and we asked, she would make a rude face, mutter something in Spanish to her coworker and either ignore us, or tell us –‘5 minutes’. Note that this is after she had cleaned our room. It’s like you’re asking them for gold. Another thing I can never understand about hotels (not just this one)-“ Why do they give you Shampoo & Conditioner but no Toothpaste????” We all brush our teeth on vacation, we DON’t All wash our hair. There was 1 day our room was not cleaned, we had very noisy neighbors at wee hours of the morning. You could hear everything when someone in the room above was walking and moving around. It was like living in an apartment made of wood. People in the nearby room were obviously smoking. At first, we could smell it upon entering the room then it actually seeped in to our room. We were forced to put a wet towel under the door. I don’t know whether they placed us in a smoking section, but I don’t think this was the case. The day before we were supposed to leave, they reset our keys so we were locked out of our rooms. So we had to go around the back, jump over the porch and go through the sliding doors which were unlocked. Yes, the sliding doors to several rooms could not be locked, the locks were broken so when we thought our room was secured, it was not. So anyone could make their way in to our rooms if they knew the right way through. We called to say our fridge was not working, they never came to fix it. So we had no cold drinks. You have to pay (per night) to use the safe in the room . The safe in Jamaica was free of charge. There were several times the shower did not produce hot/warm water. The first day we arrived, inside the toilet bowl was dirty (even though it had the paper seal covering the bowl showing it had been cleaned). The room was nothing spectacular, very average. Actually, below average. Beach/Pool- The pool was very nice, not too crowded. The beach was nice to look at and nice to lay on under an umbrella. However if you dislike seaweeds like me, you probably won’t enjoy going in to the beach as they were everywhere clinging to your legs and arms. The service was good from most people there, but a little too aggressive for me. Fortunately it was a group of us and we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company, but I would not recommend this hotel. Go to the one in Jamaica, it’s much better and if you love food, you will enjoy the buffet there.
Pools/Beach - No chairs if not out by 7a.m. and staff don't care. Worse than a cruise ship for poolside chairs. Had to take a tram car to the beach it was so far away! Service - poor. Entitled to 2 speciality restaurants, went to book as soon as we arrived as we await our room to be ready and were told no availability in any restaurant for our stay. After an hour of arguing and a return the next day to argue again we were able to get reservations for two restaurants (but not the ones we wanted) and one was for 9:20pm! Restaurant Staff (5 folks) hovered over my daughter and I all through dinner trying to get us to hand in a stack of evaluation cards they filled out saying excellent! Very annoying evening. Staff attitudes were poor and more often than not gave the impression we were bothering them - particularly guest services and bar service, and pool activity folks. Housekeeping - good and helpful Room - large and clean but very small old TV in room. Extra charge for a safe. Nice balcony jet tub with shower. Food - plentiful but mediocore. Nice roasted pig one night and leg of Lamb the other but breakfast/lunch - have had much better at other all inclusives. Have been at another all inclusive in La Romana and had a wonderful experience - completely opposite. Would not recommend to anyone. 2Jan-5Jan12 - rained 3 of 5 days and rained hard with wind. Way too expensive for the experience. Much nicer places providing more value for the price.
Got to resort and they gave us the room key and sent us on our way.Didn't tell us where the room was or how to get there.We booked a room with an "Exquisite ocean view". When we finally made it to our room we slid the sliding glass door open expecting to see the ocean and all we saw was the buiding next door.Called the front desk immediately and told them we booked an ocean front room and they told us none of their rooms were ocean front.Was very upset about this since we paid extra for such a room.Then since we were traveling all day we wanted to get a shower and found there were no wash cloths.There happened to be a maid in the hall and I told her we had no wash clothes and she didn't understand English and since I speak only English she didnt understand what I needed.We were there for a week and of them 7 days we had clean wash clothes 2 times.Talked to front desk about this and they said they had a shortage of wash cloths! Getting a reservation at on of their restraunts was another chore. Had to book at least 2 days ahead because they were always full. To top it off we had money stolen from our room that was hidden in a closet under clothes. We reported it and filled out a report but am sure nothing will come of it. Only good thing we liked about our vacation was the pools and beach. Will never go back!
This was mine and my husband's first time in the Dominican Republic, and our expectations were high. What we noticed immediately was how many people were there on the resort...EVERYWHERE! I did not realize it would be so incredibly crowded. And other people are so rude too! Ugh! The first day we went to the beach, there were literally no loungers that we could find. It was THAT crowded. I hated it, but maybe some people like this. Who knows? The room was definitely a disappointment. It was old. The tile was cracked in the floor. The bathroom caulk around the tub was disgusting. The water pressure in the shower was a JOKE! It was a trickle. And after being at the beach all day and getting all greasy from suntan lotion, a shower sounds like the best thing ever to rid yourself of that....nope, not here! The TV did not work well. It was very fuzzy. The fridge hardly worked at all. They do supply you with drinks and beer and water every day, but they were not cold in our mini fridge. My husband checked it out, and the temperature gauge was frozen. Since we had never been to the DR, we had never experiences the "all-inclusive" getaway. We thought it would be awesome, and we would be drinking all day and kicking back. The drinks were awful. There was only one type of beer included, and it was sick!! The mixed drinks and cocktails were horrible...cheap alcohol, hangover. The food was buffet only unless you wanted to pay extra. Buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinner. GROSS!!! It was nasty. All in all, I was incredibly bummed and was actually ready to go home. The staff was excellent though. We did not meet one person who worked there that was being unkind AT ALL!
I read many of the review written here and it was about 50/50, but I'm so glad I decided to book at Gran Bahia Principe anyway. It was me & best friend and as we were checking in, the guy at the desk told us we were getting upgraded, for fee!!! Yes, we got a large room with a safe, jacuzzi tub and separate shower, mini bar, and room service ALL included, no extra charge, plus it was at the adults only areas, we had our own pool and private access to the beach. The buffets for each meal had so much variety that I think I must have gained about 10lbs, it was so good, and they had different themes and separate restaurants that you can book reservations for. They also had shows every night, a casino and club all within the resort. It is very big, but they have trolly transporttation to get you around. The staff was all very friendly and helpful, my favorite was the swim up bar, we spent most of the day there meeting people from different countries and the bartenders learn your name, and we learned a few as well, thank you so much, Domingo, Ismael, Quintino, Woody and Jose for always having a smile on your faces and keeping the crowd happy with mamajuana!! Needless to say, I am coming back next year for sure, I was there for one week and did not want to come back home, I just got back today and miss it already. Thank you CG
As an overall experience, the resort was amazingly beautiful and the staff was very friendly. I will start from the beginning - which was frustrating. It would have been nice to have our representative meet with us upon arrival instead of the next morning to discuss the attractions along with the "do's" and "don'ts." Some things to take away: Everyone only gets 60 minutes of free internet per day. It would have been nice to find that out upon arrival so that we could contact relatives without having to pay. (I heard that if you pay internet is hard to set up). At the restaurants you need to set reservations. We stayed 5 days and 4 nights and received 2 dinners at the restaurants. However, the ones we wanted to eat at were all booked! Maybe if they told us we needed to make reservations once we arrived we could have gotten lucky with openings. Nevertheless, the buffet was just as good and nothing to be disappointed about! A warning to not buy anything from the people at the beach also would have been nice upon arrival, considering some people replace the tobacco leaves with some other leaves. As for the attractions, we went snorkeling. Got to hold the sting ray and swim with the fish and after we went to the sandbar and drank! We had a great time and met great friends. The beach - you can snorkel there but most likely won't see anything. We also had to put a $10 deposit down for each person. The pool, the bars, the hotel, the plays, the food - ALL OF IT, AMAZING!!! The weather, amazing! I know I ranted a little of things that could have been improved but this did not take away from my experience at all! It was so much fun and I really would recommend it to anyone! If anything, you will be better prepared going into this trip reading this!
My husband and I spent another week at this fantastic resort. This was our 24th trip to Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana. the rooms are very clean, the food excellent and the beach it's very clean with clear water. We have always received great service and the people are extremely nice. We always buy our package thru Cheapcaribbean and have never had a problem and have found that their prices are the best. We don't have to worry about anything. I recommend this resort to all my friends and they love it too!
It is really a large resort and the beach and surroundings were beautiful . The rooms were nice and the nightly entertainment was good. The beach was a long distance from the main hotel which made it a long ride back after a day in the sun or when it rained, but they did have a nice shuttle system. The food and food service was good. The only problem we had was with housekeeping. I called several times to get a wash cloth and did not get them for the remaining 4 days there. Some of the staff at front desk and tour guide dept were rude, but overall it was a nice place to stay. The surrounding condtions did not appear to be safe, but there were guards at all the resorts. We did not feel safe going outside of the resort, mainly due to the language barrier. We would return and recommend to family and friends .
Well, this place was beautiful and decent food. Service was horrible! We would go to eat and their would not be any high chairs. In the first room the ceiling leaked above the shower. In the second room the ceiling leaked above the toilet. Housekeeping left much to be desired. We made five calls for towels and sheets until finally one of us went to the front desk and it still took a half hour to get what we needed. We originally requested towels and sheets at 3 p.m. and did not receive them until 10 p.m. Maintenance people came multiple times to try and make repairs in our room. One time we signed up for the catamarans at 11:30 we showed up, the proceeded to say it was their lunch time even though it was the time they scheduled us to go and they said, "It's not my problem." No one takes responsibility and numerous calls were made to acquire items. The pool area was nice and clean but service at the bar was lacking. At dinner it would take 20 minutes to get two sodas. Everyone expects to receive a tip for doing their job, not exceptional service. One evening, upon returning to our room our card would not work. We made two trips to the reception area. Which takes fifteen minutes each trip, only to find out the batteries in our door were dead. There is an additional charge to use the room safe. Scuba diving is not free. The spa was very nice and affordable. They do not use top shelf liquors in their drinks. Upon entering the room, you have to put one of your key cards in the holder to activate the power to the room. If you remove the key card, it shuts off everything including the AC, clock settings, lights, etc. This is very inconvenient if you need two keys. As stated earlier, the beach was nice just be aware tops are optional and there are many "banana hammocks". This is important to know especially if you have young children. Buyer beware of, "Privilege Club".