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Reviews (6,635)
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All reviewsjunior suitelobby barfisha la carte restaurantsquiet poolprivilege clubmain buffetgourmet restaurantmain poollots of varietygrand bahiadifferent themeair transatcoral reefride from the airportother resortsfamily resort
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Reviewed 7 May 2012

After walking onto the bus out guide informed us that there was two road we could chose from. The regular road would take 90 minutes and a toll road would take roughly half. We started of the trip by collecting 35$ total from all the bus passengers to take the toll road. In my opinion it should be part of the package, it just seems a little disorganized to have all the passengers on the bus scurry for 35$.

We were told the hotel was running at 40% capacity but the staff was still plenty.

The location is truly amazing. One of the best beaches I've been to, very clean. Lots of corral reef. Only downside is vendors. You get interrupted pretty often. Perhaps 15-20 times a day. After saying no twice they leave.

Room was good, had room 14205, (building 14), fairly close to the beach, on second floor of the building with a nice raised ceiling.

Food was great, went to the French, Italian and Fish restaurants. Enjoyed the French one the most. The service is great very professional.

There was timeshare sales people in the lobby trying to send you for a free day at another hotel or for some timeshare. I found these guys harassing, aggressive salesmen. Also on some evenings they invite the beach vendors to set up in the hotel. Obviously just before the restaurants so that you have no choice but to pass by them. On a few nights we had to brush off both the timeshare people and the vendors just to get to the buffet.

All and all it was a pretty good trip, I ended up reading a lot on the beach and enjoyed the sun. The only major complaint is the vendors. I really just came down to relax not to fight off clever sales people.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank Vidad_Traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded 18 May 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to give us such a good review of your recent stay at Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo in our Tripadvisor web page and share with our fans your experience with us, we are totally agree with you, we are blessed with one of the most beautiful beach. We would love to welcome you back soon in the near future whenever you are planning to come back to visit us.

Please do not hesitate on contacting us in our e-mail address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Regard,

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Jefe Calidad & Customer Service
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2012

We returned for the third time this past January. Met some fabulous new friends and enjoyed it even more then last time. LOTS of the staff remebered us and the service was top notch. The wait staff really don't mind if you tip or not. All the care about is making your time there memorable.

What made it especially great this time is that we came with 40 lbs of school supplies for Rosa Anderson School in El Limon and 40 lbs of medical supplies for the small hospital in El Limon. MUCH needed on both counts.

We are retuning next April for the 4th time :)

Not much more to say that wasn't already said in my other review.

Great for familys and couples.
On a side note:
I saw the pictures of the rouhg looking room in the travelers personal pictures. Not sure where this room was but we have stayed in villas #2, #7,#8. All superb and VERY CLEAN.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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9  Thank JoeFB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 May 2012

Spent 3wks in April at El Portillo and we had the best time.Because of the smallness of the resort it was easy to meet people and form a fondness with the great staff.We were quite involved with the beach games and everything that they offered.Samana is most beautiful the the Country side took my breath away.The resort was good for us and we've been to other Bahia's.It was the beauty of the area,the beach was great for swimming,snorkeling,walking and just r&r.The staff works very hard to please everyone and it was a pleasure to TIP.The resort itself could use a few changes like the smell around the towel shack and the garbage fumes around the stage area.The a-la carts could use major changes starting with the menu's.The Gourmet was our favorite(chicken saved me for 3wks).The room was guite small but fine.We had a daily issues with towels but no big thing....they got it spot on the last 2days;-)The staff from the VIP office were very helpful regardless of the question.Thanks Keri&Georgie.The dining staff were wonderful including the omelet cook,pasta cook,the greeters gardeners and the fun entertaimment staff.We went into Las Terrenas and shopped a bit and enjoyed he bustling town. We also stopped at "one love" on my birthday and met Rachel and Terry.They are a great couple with great information on the area.Carlos the reception Manager at El Portillio was a very good person to deal with incase of any issues.He was most polite and professional.I am a picky eater but always found something good to eat.We did the falls on horse which was great fun and gorgeous views.Took a ride in the beautiful Country side and stopped at an organic farm and went to Playa Ricon beach.We hired our own driver and had the best time in a small group.I could go on about many things but I'll stop.Will we go back to this resort(yes)and mostly because it si such a beautiful area with great Dominican people including all the beach vendors and the sales people in the enrtry(they have a job to do).It will be hard to go to a different part of the Dominican after seeing Samana....fingers crossed I can try and convince my husband this is the place to be for New Years;-)

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank LandryHalifax
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2012

The best: attentive staff, bathroom area in the room.
The good: spacious and clean rooms.
The bad: cheap furniture and decoration, hard beds and pillows, noisy a/c unit, small TV set, "generic" alcohol drinks (your best option will be cold beer).

Went there for a long weekend with the whole family. A lot of "locals" which crowded the parking area (we were forced to park in a far-away area) and the pool area. Nevertheless the staff tried their best to please us. Our room was in the farthest building (No.11) and in the third floor (no elevators). A 10 minute walk to the main building were all the restaurants and the beach are. There was a small pool (relax pool they call it) close to our building. It is a good option for the guests from "far-away lands".

They offer shuttles from and to your building. You have to call in advance for them to pick you up. There are no regular circuits.

The rooms are quite spacious. What I liked most was the bathroom area: very large with tub + shower. Thus I would have liked more lighting in the sink area. The worst part was the furniture. Quite "cheap". Small drawers and with bad rolling systems. The beds mattress, pillows and sofa are quite hard. Plastic and simple furniture in the terrace. The a/c unit made a loud noise all night long

The pool area is OK. They have a special pool for small children. The beach in front of the hotel is OK, but there are so many good spots in the Samana area, that this is not the best option (like a 2 out of 5). There is one of the best spots in the area just half a mile (walking distance) to the West of the hotel. Be sure to walk there, it is worth the walk.

The food was OK and varied. They offer a buffet-like restaurant and 3 other a-la-carte restaurants that opened for dinner only. Did not try them. Watch out for the alcohol drinks. They are made with very bad "generic" options. The taste is horrible and will provide you with a very bad headeache. Be sure to ask for beer. That would be your best bet. They also offer a small variety of wine bottles for dinner (not included in the all-inclusive package).

The hotel is good, but definitively not as good for them to claim a 5-stars rating for it. I would say more likely to be a 3-4 star.

Room Tip: Be sure to ask for a low floor in a low numbered building (1 being closest to the main building, pool area and beach). Buildings close to Pueblo Principe are loud on some nights with outside live music.
  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank RickyFeris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2012

Stayed at the GBP El Portillo April 3 – 17.
This was our seventh all-inclusive (Cuba, Mexico and DR) and definitely one of our best.

FLIGHT: West Jet out of Toronto approx 4 hour flight. Very much liked 10 AM departure. Suggest you pack a snack as they only provide a free soft drink and small snack, anything else you have to purchase – credit card only I would have preferred if they charged an extra $10 or $20 and provided a meal.

CHECK-IN: Front desk personnel were very efficient and helpful. We were debating whether to upgrade, they explain options and showed us different rooms.

ROOM: Decided on a Junior Suite ($20 per night upgrade). Difference from standard room, has a seating area with a couch and a larger bathroom that includes a walk-in shower. We found room very comfortable. Next upgrade is $10 more per night, for that you get; one extra À la carte per week, room service, internet service and towels delivered twice a day. Bed was fairly hard but okay, pillows were very thin. Rooms in building 10, 11 and 12 are furthest from Lobby and beach (3-4 min. walk) however they do have there own pool with a bar. This pool was very quiet compared to main pool.

GROUNDS: Beautiful, very clean, easy to get around. There is a lovely large with lots of seating area, both quiet and party atmosphere (near lobby bar).

FOOD AND DRINKS: We found the food very good. Some reviews have mentioned that the À la carte restaurants were somewhat lacking. We agree we have had better (particularly resorts in Mexico) however on the whole they were good and much better that most of our dinners out at home!
The buffet; though not as large as some, was also very good. The variety was good and there was a different theme every day.
We also enjoyed the beach snack bar, the food was good and the ambiance was great. It is about 10 to 15 feet from the water with a spectacular view. Drinks were okay, mostly domestic brands, they did make very nice cocktails. Also you had the option to purchase premium brands.

BEACH: Simply one of the best; white sand and turquoise waters for miles. The town of La Terrenas is 3 miles to the left. To the right you can walk about a mile and a half. There are some homes and apartments, many more under construction. We walked every day at least a couple of miles and passed only a handful of people.
You can also swim and snorkeling right in front of the resort. There is no need for water shoes or flippers as there are sandy areas to enter and the deepest spots with coral in front of the resort 6 to 8 feet most of which is only 3 to 4 feet.


LAS TERRENAS: As mentioned the town is about 3 miles (left) from the resort. We took a taxi once. It was twenty US dollars both ways. They dropped us off at the centre of town and picked us up at a prearranged time. A couple of hours were more than enough for us.
There are numerous bars and restaurants as well as some shopping, nothing exceptional. There is quite a lot of traffic and very narrow streets making it very noisy. We did walk there one day by chance. This was much nicer. There are bars along the beach before you get into the town and it was nice to be able to relax, sit have a drink and take in the scenery. We were sorry that we had not planned for this and not brought shoes so we could go into the town. If you are a walker, I would recommend that you grab a packsack with some water and flip flops and walk the beach; then you can either take a taxi or walk back.

MISC: If you planning to pick up rum or coffee (we really enjoyed the coffee) there is a small grocery store less than ½ a mile from the main gate of the resort. The prices are much better than at the resort as good as or better than the duty free shop at the airport. When you exit the main gate turn left towards Las Terrenas, it’s on the left hand side just passed the little airport across the street from the resort.

Other reviews have mentioned bug bites and I did get bitten by something. I had about 6 to 8 very itchy bites, my wife not a single bite. The difference may have been that she uses a lot of sunscreen and I use very little (only at her insistence!), anyways you may want to bring some bug stuff.

There is an umbrella provided in your room; if you’re going for extended walks, you may want to bring it with you. The two weeks that we were there it rained on a number of occasions; probably because we were on the windward side of the peninsula, and yes it got windy as well. The good news; there were always showers and even though heavy at times (once or twice) they lasted at the most an hour or two.

Wireless internet service is available in or near the lobby. It was nice to be able to get a drink and surf the web. Much better (my opinion) that paying extra to be able to this in your room.

As for money, we used US dollars. The exchange rate for CDN dollars was considerably lower even though they are at parity. You probably do better using local currency but for us it was too much of a hassle for the little that you saved.

SUMMARY: If you are looking for a quieter, smaller resort with a great beach you will probably not find any better value that this resort.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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9  Thank OntarioHappycamper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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