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Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Ranked #2 of 35 Hotels in Las Terrenas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 December 2011

Our 2nd stay at this lovely resort. Excellent food selection. Friendly helpful staff. Clean rooms, good beds. I like the bathrooms in the jr suites.It's always smart to rent a safe, but twice we left cameras & chargers out & all were where we'd left them. Great beach for snorkelling.
Pool on the small side, but we never use the pools.
Tho the new road is complete from El Catey (I think about 20 min to El Portillo) the tolls are high & our bus still drove around the mountain (1.5 hr drive),,,but the scenery is so beautiful the ride goes quickly.
We enjoyed exploring Las Terrenas again, 10 minutes away by taxi, or an hour along the beach...yes, it's completely safe to go "off resort" just use common sense. If you get dropped at the taxi stand in LT, stay on that side of the road & you will quickly come to "Angela's" a great little shop for souvenirs. She speaks only French, but has Dominican helpers that know English.
We enjoyed the al a cartes when we visited in January, the food was excellent at the Italian. This trip we travelled with 2 of our sons, 20 & 22, & we ate only at the buffet (our choice, since we were often off the resort & didn't want to worry about meeting reservation times!)
Small touches: Hand sanitizer offered at buffet & al a cartes, and clay pots for cig butts at every palapa on the beach. We are smokers, but it sends me nuts to see people butting out in the sand...filter tips littering such beautiful beaches:( Also I noted this time a portion of the lobby bar is non smoking, which is nice for the non smokers. When it rained, board games for the children were immediately made available in the lobby.
The 4 of us visited One Love, owned by Terry & Rachel from Canada..best burger & hand cut fries we've enjoyed in a long long time!
Hubby & 1 son visited Restaurant Luis in Playa Coson, both swear they've never tasted such good seafood before.
We visited El Limon, exquisite! But if you can, do the hike instead of the horse ride. We were 4 of us walking & 2 very pleasant gentlemen from France on horseback (we went with Flora tours, book in Las Terrenas) We had the falls to ourselves & it was great. One of the guides took 1 son to a cave beneath the falls. Walking back down, we passed at least 50 on horseback going up...I think it would be harder to appreciate the beauty of the falls with that many people in the tour group. Take good running/walking shoes & expect to get mucky. Our guide Jessica was great.
We did Los Haitisis, also thru Flora. Stunning scenery & wildlife, great photos, but we found the trip a bit sedentary for our tastes. After visiting the caves, I think my sons (ok, us too) would have enjoyed a frolic on the island with some cuba libres. Our guide Eric was also great & very informative, but the day seemed very slow. I see other tour companies offer Los Haitisis tours combined with an island visit..perhaps their tours are more upbeat.
Great week, but I am prejudiced, I love Las Terrenas town.
I would not recommend this location for young people, however. The bars close early, very little night life on the resort. This is an observation, not a complaint.

Room Tip: We stayed 8 block, 3rd floor the first time. This trip 7 block, 2nd floor. We liked watching the bir...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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11  Thank carol s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,460 - 2,464 of 6,290 reviews

Reviewed 1 December 2011

We were at el portillo on Nov 13-27th, a nice two week stay. Air canada vacations roulette.
We step off the bus and the first thing you see is the amazing lobby, the polished floors everything was spotless. This resort has beautiful open areas with lush vegitation. Reception was excellent no problem with check in. The reception staff was always nice when we needed somethng they were more than willing to help us.
I only have one gripe about this place and will get to it a bit later in the review.
We had a room in villas 15, very close to everything and still quiet. Our room ws always kept very clean by our wonderful maid Amelia, many nights we would come back to our towels made into little animals and out bedding shaped into a fan with flowers all over it. Our mini bar was stocked every day with the pop we liked to drink.
The buffet restaurant was pretty good most days. This is the gripe, most of the time it was the same food night after night with a few items changed out. There was always something we liked we never went hungry but it got boring. Breakfast was always the best as they had a made to order egg station. Lunch they had a made to order pasta station so if you like pasta you have it made. The staff in there are amazing they treat you great. Anna is the best she also works in the Oriental and Gourmet restaurants. The staff always had a smile and a hello every morning when we came in. The food was always hot in the buffet. No swim wear in here, they like you to be covered up and dry. For supper in the buffet men must wear long pants. They like you to dress nice casual for supper.
Snack bar, down on the beach best view you can have to eat a meal. They have the basic food items, nachos, hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta, chicken, rice, pizza and then the fruit and salad. They also have a little desert section. Get your food sit at a table over looking the ocean and a waiter will get you your drinks. You can go here in your swim suit no problems at all.
Oriental a la carte, we really liked this one even though they got our order wrong the first night went in there. The food was presented well no complaints at all. The second time we went in we got the correct order and everything was still very good. Anna kept our drinks filled and always asked us how we were doing. Men long pants.
Gourmet a la carte, this one was our favorite. They had the best calamari listed on the menu as battered squid, they cook it perfect. Again Anna made sure we always had a drink. They also make the best veal, ask for it meduim and it will be very tender. We went to this restaurant the most out of all of them. Men long pants.
Seafood a la carte, I never had the seafood in there but the Lamb is really nice. My husband had the chicken and loved it. This one is also very good. Second time in we both had the chicken and loved it. They have a really nice icecream desert, it has cake in the middle. Men long pants.
Italian a la carte, now we did not like this one at all. It is hard to eat something you can not identify and the staff did not know how to explain it to us. The one thing on my plate that was really good was the steak, cooked med rare nice and tender. They do have the best desert selection but that is it. The servers were all really nice but the food was better in the buffet on Italian night. We opted out of this one for our second week. Men long pants.
The lobby bar was always nice and the servers there again all wonderful. By the end of the first week they knew our drinks. Both the Lobby and Lobby bar have WiFi, the non smoking section does not get good wifi reception for some reason. In the morning after breakfast stop in the lobby bar and order a "cafe con leche", best coffee on the resort. They only play music for about an hour and it is not loud you can still hear each other talk and no need to yell. The animation staff does a little dance around 9pm in the lobby bar. When it is show time they walk around to let you know it is about to start. Pablo and Michelle are the best.
Disco, we never went one night so can not comment on that.
Pool bar they were great. There is cold water and cups on the end of the bar to do the help your self, great when the bar is busy no standing in line for water. They make wicked drinks.
They also have a nice beach bar between the pool and the snack bar. We only went to this one on beach party night and got great drinks with staff that always had a smile.
The main pool is nice a lot of loungers there and never a rush to get a towel out early in the morning. At 9am there were still chairs available at both pools and the beach. The small pool is close to the front of the resort, this one is called the quiet pool it does have it's own bar. When we were there they were doing renovations on the blocks of rooms around this pool. No swim up bar but that is not a big deal.
The shops on the resort that sold clothing were really good, you always got a good deal from them. The one that sells paintings now that is another story, wow they are way to high. You can get much better deals in town on pretty much everything. The town is safe and clean no worries there. Ask the porter in the reception to call you a cab, for $20.00 they will take up to 6 people into town drop you off for 2 hours and pick you up bring you back to the resort then you pay him.
There is an ATM machne in the lobby that will give you dominican money at the current rate. We never had issues using the machine, we always got the correct amount.
The aircanada rep Joel is amazing he can give you any information you need about the town and area. We did our tours through him and had a great time at the national park.
The photo staff, they were amazing Guada, Lucre, Gogo and Carlos were the friendliest people we have ever met on a resort. They took amazing photos of us, we booked the sunset photo shoot and wow that was amazing. We had other pictures taken as well, the ones with the iguana and the parrots and cute ones in the pool. I tell you they made us look great we had a blast with them. They really put you at ease when taking your photos. I hope to run into them on another resort some day.
The Beach is beautiful, they clean it every morning. One of the longest beaches for a resort I have ever seen. The water was rough most days but it is winter right now that is to be expected. There is a reef right out front you can see fish on a calm day no problem at all. The water was very warm. Right now this resort is the only one on the beach but another resort is being built nextdoor.
Spa, we only used this for my husband to get a hair cut and that turned out really good. When you get spa treatments there will be a manditory tip added to your charge. example the hair cut even though my husband did tip the lady he still had the manditory tip added at reception, $2.00 for the hotel. On a message it is a higher tip added to your final bill.
Do the scuba in the pool it is really cool.
We had a wonderful time at this resort and would return again.

Room Tip: villas 15 excellent location. close to everything and still really quiet.
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Lori G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 November 2011

We stayed from November 21st to November 28th. The drive from the airport takes 1 1/2 hours. apparently there is anew highway that takes much less time but costs $50 so it is not used very much. We had a great time.the staff was very friendly, the rooms clean and the food was good. I had emailed in advance to say that it was our 30th anniversary. We were provided with a fruit platter in our room upon arrival and free resort t-shirts. we were also given a bottle of champagne at our first a la carte restaurant.

Reception: Could have been more organized. We arrived at about 9 p.m. Everyone just gathered at the front desk to register. Roped off lines would have been much more organized. We were taken with our luggage to our rooms by golf cart.

Room: We were registered in the Royal Golden Club and had a Junior Suite in Villa 3. It is well worth the extra cost. The room is very large with a big bathroom that included a Jacuzzi tub, separate toilet and stall shower all in marble. Amenities were provided such as a comb, 2 disposable razors with shave cream and 2 toothbrushes with mini toothpaste. Each room has a safe. Spend the extra $4 per day to use it. It is well worth it so that you don't have to worry about your valuables. the bar fridge is stocked with Pepsi, Pepsi Light, 7-Up, Fanta Orange and Brahma beer. Take a pass on the beer and get yours at the bars. It is El Presidente and much better.

Food: We found the food very tasty. Breakfast had made to order omelettes every day. Lunch and dinner in the buffet was a different theme every day and included made to order pasta. We tried all four of the A la carte restaurants (Italian, Gourmet, Oriental and Seafood.) We had good meals in each one.

Housekeeping: The rooms were kept spotless. We had towel animals on our bed each day. part of our package included turn down service each night. Tt was missed for 2 nights in a row but was corrected immediately once we spoke to the management.

Entertainment (Anamacion team): There was a different show each night. A little mediocre but quite common in these resorts. Make sure you see the "Ideal Couple" show. It was absolutely hysterical. If you don't want to be chosen to participate in any of the shows, sit in the back. They usually get all the volunteers by the time they get halfway back in the audience.

Pool: The main pool is nice, lots of very comfortable chairs and the water was great. There is a 2nd pool but it is hard to find, near the front of the resort and far from the main part of the resort.

Bars: Augustin at the pool bar was great. After the first day he knew that we wanted our water bottle filled with ice and immediately accommodated us. A couple of dollars on the first day does wanders. The Banana mama was our favourite drink. the frozen blended mixed drinks are better at the lobby bar, which is also steps from the pool. They are made fresh there, while at the pool bar they are pre-mixed. They don't scrimp on the alcohol as we have found at many resorts.

Town: We took a taxi into Las Terrenas one morning. The taxi from the hotel is $10 each way. The driver gives you 2 hours to shop and meets you back at the place he drops you. Make sure you pay at the end. Try and get a few couples to go into town with you. the cab is a flat rate and you can share. We had a van and went with 3 other couples. It cost us $6 a couple including a tip for the driver. It is a cute little town with lots of shops. This is where you get your best deals because the merchants with all bargain back and forth. If you are looking for Dominican vanilla, the grocery store sells a 1 litre bottle for about 35 pesos ($1 U.S.) They also have clear vanilla which is hard to get in Canada.

Excursions: We took one excursion - Samana Runners. We were picked up at 8:15 a.m. in a typical Domincan jeep and dropped back at the hotel at 5 p.m. We visited a typical Dominican 2 room home where we were educated in local fruits and vegetables. We sampled cocoa, bananas, pineapple, rum, papaya and Mama Juana. Mama Juana is a drink from the Dominican Republic that is concocted by allowing rum, red wine, and honey to soak in a bottle with tree bark and herbs. We were able to buy blocks of cocoa (you grate it to use) and fresh bottled pure vanilla. We were taken to a local school and on to Lulu Waterfall. the walk in and out to the falls is a little strenuous but there are teenaged girls there who hold your hand and help you walk when needed. the falls are small but beautiful. we were then taken to an outdoor restaurant for a typical Domincan lunch. there were 2 salads, rice and beans, chicken and fish, and fried plantain. Dessert was fresh pineapple, coconut and rum, of course. Our last stop stop was the cigar factory where we saw how the cigars are rolled and cigars are available to sample. There is a small shop where you can purchase cigars.

Beach: A beautiful beach that is only for this resort. Since it was the end of the rainy season it was a bit windy and the ocean was somewhat rough most of the time. The last day the red flag was up meaning you could not swim in the ocean.

All in all, we had a fantastic time. If you are looking for a smaller resort in a very quiet area, this is the place for you. November is a great time as it is low season. The resort was not too busy and there were very few children.

Room Tip: Villas 3 and 5 are centrally located, very close to the pool, beach and restaurants
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled with family
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10  Thank Shayna_J_S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 November 2011

We booked the vacation through Air Canada, It was a pleasent flight with Air Canada. Once we arrived getting at the airport our bus and the guide was very organized. The bus ride was about an hour an half through beautiful mountains in Domincian and the Bay of Samana. We saw the beautiful way of the Dominican culture. Check in at the hotel was very smooth and very quick to get our rooms. The room was very comfortable with new mattreses. A/C worked without any noise at night. The bathroom was clean and very updated. The front desk speaks very good english and is very friendly. The rest of the staff speaks english with some hesistation but still provide an excellent service. The food in the buffet had a variety of different cultures every day. The grounds are perfectly clean and lots of beuatiful flowers and trees surrounding the area. We dont have one thing to complain about and reccomend this place to anyone we know. The beach is gorgeous with plenty of shade and never have trouble to find a spot with shade on the beach. We will return in Feburary or March, first time ever we want to return to the same spot.Thanks for this resort to make our stay unforgeteble.

Room Tip: any room its great
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  • Stayed: November 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank casanova154
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2011

We stayed at the El Portillo between the 12th and 26th of October and loved it!! We were in room 11101 and it is as far away from the main pool/area as you can get, which suited us just fine as we had the 2nd pool to ourselves for the first 10 days. It was quiet, we saw humming birds, lizards and the room was cleaned and mini bar restocked everyday. If you put your mini bar stock in the safe, you could easily stockpile enough for trips down to the beach (which was amazing) or if you went on any day trips, you had enough for that too.

The Hotel was lovely, the food was different every day and the weather was stunning, for the time of year.

We had issues on arrival but this was First Choices fault (never again) but I won't go into that as the rest of the holiday was fab........

If you are going to this hotel, you won't be disappointed, we were staying at the Gran Bahia, San Juan until 2 weeks before departure (then it closed unexpcetedly for refurbishment) and having spoken to people who had been to both, we got the better option......

The reef is 20ft from the shoreline and there are some cool tubular fish with spikey noses that if you take a bread roll into the sea, will spike the piece of bread and swim off with it on their nose, very funny to watch.

Can't really fault it to be honest, would definitly go back and recommend to anyone!!

If you are going soon.....lucky you!!! :)

Andy

Room Tip: 11101 Or any around the quieter pool......
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  • Stayed: October 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank morphears
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

Address: Crta. las Terrenas - El Limon, km 4, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic (Formerly El Portillo Beach Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Terrenas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 Spa Hotel in Las Terrenas
#3 Family Hotel in Las Terrenas
#6 Romantic Hotel in Las Terrenas
Price Range: $182 - $483 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 606
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services: 2 pools Jacuzzi Sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball net on the beach Water activity and scuba diving centre WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment theatre Main buffet restaurant and 4 a la carte restaurants 8 Bars Snack-bar Pueblo Principe: local craft stores, live music, shows, bars and disco. Rooms 582 rooms including 4 types: Standard, Club Golden Junior Suite, Junior Suite and Family Suite. Junior Suites are larger than Standard rooms. Room facilities: King size bed or 2 full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, shower, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Air conditioning Ceiling fan Terrace or balcony Telephone Radio alarm clock Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (with additional charge) WiFi (additional charge) Ironing set (available on request) Superior Junior Suite: balcony or terrace, sitting area with sofa-bed, ironing set, coffee-making facilities, private guest service phone line, umbrella, VIP amenities. Club Golden and Club Hacienda Junior suites (See page 18 Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Children's pool Mini Club with daytime activities Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scout Water park Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Personalised diets on request and subject to circumstances Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo Hotel Las Terrenas
El Portillo Beach Resort

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