10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Holiday of a lifetime.
"We loved every minute of our holiday at this hotel. The staff are very friendly and can't do enough to help you. The hotel itself is lovely, very clean and can't be faulted. There are trips available arranged through the hotel if you wish to get out and about. The beach always had plenty of sun loungers when we were there, whatever time of day it was, as did the pool. The buffet always had a good variety of food, something for everyone. There is also a snack bar at the lower pool which we often went to for our lunch, as you could sit out there in your beachwear. This was a perfect holiday for us and would be hard to beat!"
- Travel date: 1st June 2007
"I recently returned from Samana Dominican Republic. It was a fantastic holiday and very very quiet, everything we wanted really. Even though its quiet, there is plenty to do but you need to get out and about. We did the jeep safari and the catamaran and they were fantastic days out with the holiday company First Choice. We also went to the beach at Bacaradi Island which was amazing, this was the end of the day of the catamaran. The hotel staff were wonderful, and likewise the rooms, food, peace and quiet around the hotel just like the brochure says and really I cant fault much at all. If I was to fault I would say that food can be sometimes a bit cool at the evening buffet, but this got fixed during our stay, but really everything else more than made up for it."
- Travel date: 28th May 2007
Excellent Hotel for couples
"This is an excelent hotel for couples to spend a very romantic getaway. The staff is very friendly and always looking for ways to please you and making your stay comfortable. Everything you see in the hotel's web site is exactly what you get. It's beautiful, clean and the food is excellent. We strongly recommend this hotel!!!"
- Travel date: 21st May 2007
"We just got back from Samana on April 26th after staying for 7 days at the Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa. Upon arrival, we were greeted at the airport by a Signature vacation rep named Guy who handed us both an envelope containing our hotel bracelets, luggage identification tags, a sheet containing excursion details as well as informing us that we were already checked in. Not only did we not have to go through the check in process at the hotel, the baggage tags that he had given us served the purpose of allowing us to get off the bus and not have to worry about our luggage. We could head straight to the bar and our luggage would make its own way to the room. This is how you know that you are staying at a 5 star hotel. Although only 6 months old and despite a few lapses in the still learning staff, this hotel is nonetheless a jewel. From the marble clad bathrooms in the rooms to the impeccably kept hotel grounds to the inviting vistas from the terrace this is a place that does not disappoint. Our room was always well maintained and sheets changed every second day. After leaving small gifts for the maid the minibar always contained 6 beers and not the standard 2. The staff was always helpful and more than willing to please. Anything that could be accomodated within reason was done with a smile. We actually asked for and received several bottles of sparkling wine while lying back and enjoying the hotub pool with several other canadian travellers we had met at the hotel and they were eagerly delivered to us by a staff that I must commend for all their efforts. Food: For anyone having stayed in Cuba you would almost certainly dread the BUFFET. Have no fear here. The buffet at this hotel was nothing short of amazing The menu varied throughout our stay and always contained delicious fare, varied enough to please almost anyone. Combine this with 3 A La Carte dinners per 7 day stay and you are almost always a happy patron. The Beach: You will either love it or hate it. It is not the best I have seen but it is easy to overlook this fact since way better beaches are just a short hop away on Cayo Leventado. Don't get me wrong the beach is well maintained and the water inviting but the sand is coarse and not entirely as white sanded as others. It is although adequate. Watersports were limited to Kayaking and Hobie Cat. Snorkle gear is available upon request but I would suggest packing your own. NightLife: This is a place for lovers and families looking for a getaway. Although I must add that the Casino and small village attached to the hotel being built just down the hill are under construction and are expected to open at the end of May. The nighly entertainment are at present limited to the stage in the on site Disco and probably will not be fully ready until after their newer oudoor theatre is completed. Overall, since Samana is a getaway and not a busy tourist area it is easy to overlook these chinks in the armor. I would easily give this hotel a 4 star rating but I lean to 5 star in service as well as cleanliness and food quality. I would go back in a flash."
- Travel date: 27th April 2007
"I stayed at Bahia Principe Cayacoa from Aprl 12-19. Upon arriving to the hotel i was excited and pleased. You are immiediately greeted with a drink. The service is great, the hotel is beautiful and super clean. There are people cleaning all around the grounds and in the actual hotel all day. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Just be aware that the staff in the dining area hardly speak english but communication isn't a problem. The food wasn't exactly good...just your standard resort food. The beach is small but nice...no problems. The pool is kept very clean and it is nice. There is also a whirpool near the snack bar that overlooks the ocean...a must see. Overall the trip was excellent. This is an exclusive place to sit back and relax becasue there really isn't much to do. It is an excellent price for a fantastic resort."
- Travel date: 18th April 2007
"We traveled on Mar 15 - 22 and just loved it. The resort is very beautiful and clean, the food was excellent. The buffet was well done, all the meat cooked through with lots of variety and fresh baked breads and rolls. The dinning room with the buffet looked out to the ocean and was very elegant but at breakfast and lunch you could wear shorts, bathing suite with cover up, but every meal was great, the ala carts were good too but we preffered buffet as there was so much to choose from and it was very elegant. The wine with meals was good and so was the service. We noticed alot of people who were rude and abrupt with the waiters which is not called for as they go out of there way to please and although tipping isn't necessary it is appreciated. Usually the same rude people were also the same people who butted in line and always looked mad. The beach was lovely, the water was clean, the sand was clean and there were lots of shade and chairs. We did alot of walking along the bridge and into town every day and found it to be safe. The locals are friendly and if some people write about not feeling safe then they are probably not comfortable downtown Toronto either. It's probably because of the color because we sat in there restaurants and talked with the locals and you would be surprised how similar we all are. Child abuse and sexual abuse is almost non existant they have a laid back approach to life and because it is different to ours it doesn't make it worse. Our room was super with a wonderful view, and the bathroom had a jacuzzi tub and great water presure and lots of hot water, very clean. The rooms down by the smaller beach did have alot of stairs but do you research or ask you travel agent and they will tell you that it will not suite the lazy or anyone who cannot walk. The shuttle will pick you up gladly from these rooms or from the smaller beach all you have to do is ask. Some people would rather complain and whine about things than try to smile and ask questions. We travel alot and enjoy other cultures if you can't or won't adapt to other countries way of life and food then stay home. No one from our group was sick but alot of people were overdoing it by drinking anything in site and heaping there plates with food, moderation is important, we ate well but were careful of not eating too much fruit although it was great it is also a laxative. We booked our tours with Jose, a local man who hangs out at the bottom of the hill and if he approaches you don't be afraid to book with him, he took us on some great excursions for half the price as the hotel and was very flexible. He is a father of 5 and works on a farm in the summer and books tours in the winter. He worries over everyone having a good time and being safe."
- Travel date: 25th March 2007
Details and an objective review...
"We spent weeks investigating 4 * resorts in the Dominican and cross referenced each one that interested us against tripadvisor only to be disappointed not so much by the remarks but more by the candid photos which showed rot, mould, broken fixtures, wear, rust and dirt in every single resort that was of a comparable price. The Gran Bahia showed none of this wear and tear. I have stayed at the Hyatt in Hamburg, the Intercontinental in San Francisco, a suite at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and the Pan Pacific in Vancouver. All 4 and 5 star hotels and let me assure you the facility at Gran Bahia is on par for cleanliness, quality materials and fixtures, furniture and taste. People on Tripadvisor have shown disappointment in the beach and really if all you want to do is walk on the beach for miles - this place is not for you. If you want a nice "private" beach with a small tide, cleaned hourly, with full sun exposure until 4:30 p.m., a bar close by that you don't need a jug to save you walking for refills, and lots of chaises with padding, tables and sufficient covered cane canopies to shade you - you will not be fighting to find this here. You will not be tripping over people or waiting in line at the bar. There is an elevator that takes you down to the beach. The view of the elevator and the ocean is beyond explanation. The resort is built high on the hill providing views that you can not compare with resorts that lie flat with the ocean and bunk you into several inland buildings facing "gardens" or noisy pool areas. The resort has a main building, then 3 separate smaller groupings of buildings in the bay next door all fed by several walkways to the main building. We were in the main building and after looking at the other option, I much preferred being where we were. The other locations may have been more ideal for families with smaller children as they have their own shallow pool and a snack bar nearby. The entertainment area is small but seems adequate for the number of guests who attend each night at 10:00 p.m. The talent is actually the wait staff who work 16 hour days between these two jobs. Even so, they are dynamic, talented and the costumes surprisingly professional. My partner called one evening carribbean slapstick which even had him laughing. Get involved, they will certainly bring up members of the audience on stage some evenings and you can't help but laugh at them, or yourself if you have the courage to go up. There are 3 a la carte evenings, book them as soon as you arrive especially if you are a group of larger than 2. The staff are very attentive, the food is presented well but lacks the taste that should go along with the presentation. Even so, when you don't have to pay as you go, it has to be enjoyed! The environments, the dinnerware and ambiance are top notch for an intimate evening. The buffet restaurant offers lots of choice but takes some getting used to. By the 3rd day you zip through and know the drill to getting fresh meat you have chosen cooked for you, putting together ingredients for your own omelette, choosing a pasta stir fry dish and the ingredients you want in it which you hand to the cook, generally 2-3 choices of pizza all the time (and it is good), lots of bread options, and always soup. For breakfast hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks cooked in it, 4 different fresh juices, tons of fruit, jams, yogurts, ice creams and toppings, sausage, bacon, hard or soft boiled eggs, scrambled as well several meat dishes, potatoes and other oddities. Lunch always has hot food but it doesn't start until 1:00. Note the meal times when you arrive as the restaurant is not always open. The staff although friendly are new and for the most part don't speak english. They only remember the last thing you ask for so don't give them a laundry list. They also need to be reminded. You are in a different country, a different culture and these people work long days. Keep this in mind and it won't annoy you like some other people who have commented negatively. We ventured into the neighbouring town, you can get a shuttle down the hill from the hotel. This is not a tourist town by any standard. It is dirty and ugly but an education for all. See how the other half lives and begin to appreciate what you have. Do not plan on spending money unless you want some t-shirts or coffee. There is really nothing to buy of any value. The coffee though if you like the resorts is called "Santo Domingo". You can buy a pound in the hotel gift shop for $4.76 US or go into town and get it for 77 pesos (roughly $3.00). It is hard to find a grocery store as they do not look like grocery stores - check with your tour rep on site for directions. If you like the jewellery you may find on some of the excursions, you are better to buy it there as I could not find any in town that was of the same variety or quality. The gift shop has nothing much to offer either. Take the free shuttle to Cayo Levantado island (Bacardi Island). They have a lot of vendors near the beach which I have not seen in the same abundance anywhere else. The beach is much bigger and there are tons of beach chairs. The food they pre-sell from your resort at $12.00 US per person for this island trip is not necessary. It is a chicken dinner with rice and some vegetables, a beer and a cup of tapioca. When you get there with your "ticket" that you apparently must have in advance you find that they sell hamburgers directly for $5.00 or lobster for $20.00. You do not have to pre-purchase. Do take your own boogie boards, towels, snorkeling equipment if you desire as this is not provided there. You are basically stranded for 4-5 hours until the boat shows up but it was a good day. The main pool is beautiful shaped and there is always an activity going on there. I am not a pool fan when I go south. Figure I can go to one anywhere but a beach is much harder to come by. This area is populated early and people take over the lounge chairs for the day by leaving something on them. If a pool is your thing - get up early and mark your spot. For guys who like a bit of a thrill for free, venture along the bridge that joins the two smaller islands seen in all the photos. There is a spot about 2/3 way out on the lower bridge where you will see the locals jumping off. Check the water first with a kayak and see how deep it is with a paddle and then note a landmark so when you get on the bridge you know where it is safe to jump. You can climb backup the bridge support and pull yourself back on the bridge for another jump if you are that fearless. Worst that will happen is you fall back in before you planned. We took the horseback/pony ride to the Limon waterfall. Truly an experience from trekking through rivers, up a treacherous path to the top of the mountain to a once in a lifetime view (make sure you set your camera properly and check the photo as ours didn't capture the depth and beauty of what we saw with our own eyes). Then you must be in good shape as you dismount and walk down a steep mountain to get to the waterfall. Wear you swimsuit underneath as you can't get this far into nature and not swim in the basin. Take some tip money as someone will walk beside you to help guide the horse and you will not believe how difficult a trek this is for them as well as the horse. Bring an apple from the resort for your horse to give them when you dismount - I felt badly after that trip that I did not think of this. They are thin and boney and I'm sure have not been appreciated or treated well for a long time. If you are planning to take other excursions and have children budget for adult fares for any kids 12 and over. Most trips run about 65$ to 84$ US for the day. I think a bit outrageous given the actually cost of the outings and the salaries they pay the locals. If you go in town, there is a "tour" operator (follow the bum of the horse statue in the circle) down the street and it is a blue sign on your left maybe a block up which has the word "tour" in it. I think they will be much less in price but we didn't discover them until late in our stay. There were 3 cases of stomach/diarhhea that I heard of, one from our party. Basically watch out for the fruit and coconut milk - they are much higher in fibre than what our bodies are used to and therefore act as a laxative. Also do not drink or brush with tap water. They provide lots of bottled water in your rooms as well as pop and beer in your fridge for free. Our kids were 16, 14, 11 & 11. There were not many kids at this resort, a blessing for adults and parents who really don't want to be overun with attitude, noise and mess. Our kids made their own fun, played volleyball, kayaked, swam, snorkeled and joined in the daily activities. They did not complain once about the lack of "new friends" they could have made and all begged to come back when we were leaving. I know those of you who are like me will appreciate these details. When we checked this resort out 2 weeks ago there wasn't much input on Tripadvisor as this resort just reopened under the Bahia name. It basically outlined the deficiencies due to a recent renovation. Frankly I would much rather have my toilet running non-stop for a while, or a light bulb missing than dirt, and rust and mould and wear. This place was a piece of heaven on earth and worth every penny we paid and more."
- Travel date: 25th March 2007
not yet finished
"My family of six was bussed here with about eighty others from BP San Juan because it was overbooked, had no power and had 700 plus Ontario grade 12 students, some of whom were very poorly behaved. Actually, one of the best parts of our vacation was the 2 hour bus trip which gave us an incredible opportunity to see the countryside. Three of us love running, but that was not to be at CC. The 2 beaches were about 150 metres long each and before 9 am, one was incredibly full of garbage that had washed in overnight. (it was cleaned very, very well about 9 am). The gym was advertised as open at 6:30; after a few days of asking, we got it opened for 7 am. It had only 1 tread mill which worked except for the readings which fluctuated. Other machines had me doing personal bests, beating my old times by 10 minutes! No attendant, no spray bottles for wiping down machines and although the view of the bay in the distance was great, right in front of you, 3 metres away was the security guard, an old transformer, and a chain link fence. This is where the workers enter the resort and they all have a good look at you, so don't wear a skimpy outfit. or you may feel uncomfortable. The buffet was always great, hard to get the 1 table for 6 by the window. It was always very cold in the buffet, we learnt to wear sweaters. We did not enjoy the waits and much of the food at the a la cartes. At the Italian, 5 of us ordered what we thought was 1 small pizza and we each got a pizza to serve about 4. There were no student groups here, and I would say about half Canadian and the other half German, British, Italian or Spanish. The floors were mostly marble, very slippery and lots of steps. We walked downhill into town, about 500 metres, in the morning, but didn't feel comfortable. The amount of garbage, especially plastic containers, in public areas was depressing. We were scheduled to leave in early evening. I went to shower at the gym where there are 2 showers and there was a line up of about 10 people. Resorts know that guests vacate their rooms at noon and often don't leave until evening, so why did this new resort only build 2 showers ? Our family found it a bit disconcerting that many of the security guards had hand guns, shot guns, handcuffs and metal detectors openly displayed, although we never saw them being used. 1 of our rooms, the toilet never worked, and I heard at least 2 rooms had leaks from the bathroom above. Staff at public relations, especially Laura and Fransisco to right inside entrance were very helpful. Animation staff, especially Jonathan and Luis could not have been more enthusiastic or energetic. I never went to night shows, but heard they were very good. The hotel resort was a bit too upscale for us, we were looking for more of a cottage vacation,which is why would not return. But I am sure others would have a super time there, especially an all adult group."
- Travel date: 24th March 2007
Samana-Cayacoa , what a place !
"Hola, back from Hotel GBP Cayacoa in Samana, D.R. Hotel is one hour drive from the new airport. It is a new hotel with stunning scenic views. Rooms confortable. Hotel's golf cart takes you down the hill to Samana city (Santa Barbara), where you are able to walk and explore the city on your own. Signature has a daily free trip from hotel to Bacardi Island (Cayo Levantado), (others pay $ 15.00) , the trip takes about 25 min one way. The boats leave at 9:30 and return at 1:30., Reservation one day before. On Cayo Levantado lovely beach and good swimming, place crowded when cruise ships arrive. . Cayacoa Hotel's beach is small and crowded. Swimming is ok. and water warm. (even in January) Diving school and other sports available. Food in buffet restaurant is good (4 stars) and in a la carte restaurants (3 available) also. Make reservation one day before. (three per week) During our staying the wine was changed from sweet Italian to a pretty good Spanish one. Main pool very nice with confy chairs,(not enough) not much shade available. suerte"
- Travel date: 17th March 2007
Not a 5 stars but definitly a 4
"We went to Cayacoa for a 15 days vacation February 1st to 15th. Although this is not a 5 stars as I have often travelled to but it defintly is not a 3 stars either. Food was very good except for one of the restaurant '' a la carte''. We enjoyed food from the Italian and Gourmet restaurant although not delicious, acceptable. Beach: Small, well maintained and snorkel is possible by the small bridge. Forget about the long walk on the sand this is not the place. Best beach is 15 minutes away in Cayo Levantado if you want blue water and salt like sand. Rooms: It has everything you need -hair dryer fridge always filled with sodas, beers and water. Grounds: This is a hotel with a magnificient view and as such you have to travel down an elevator to go to the beach, charming I guess or you can walk to the end of the beach where stairs will bring you to the terrace. People are friendly and always ready to help you. Wine is terrible either white or red so we purchased a few bottles downtown and at the hotel. We needed and had a very relaxing vacation and this hotel fulfil this need. I will not suggest this place to a family or young couple who want lot of entertainement sport etc..."
- Travel date: 12th March 2007
Bahia Principe Grand Cayacoa is also called
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa
- gran bahia principe cayacoa hotel
- gran bahia principe cayacoa samana