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Reviews (6,626)
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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 26 August 2017

Me my wife stayed there last year with another couple. The service, the room the ambiance and the shows were excellent and from our experience there we visited the hotel in san Juan but what a difference. Hopefully this winter we will visit the one in Punta Cana,

  • Stayed: October 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Kenny M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 5 September 2017

Dear Guest,

First let me inform you that your opinion is valuable to us, therefore we are extremely proud and happy for having left a pleasant memory. We are especially appreciating your positive comments about the quality of our service and our staff. Comments like that you send us, are what motivate us as a team every day to improve the quality of service we offer.

We hope to welcome you again to the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo and to thank them in person. Contact us at our email address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, all-inclusive hotels in Samana.

Regard,

Braulio Vasquez
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2017

Finding a good deal for a place which allows kids seems to be a challenge in the Dominican Republic. After searching many websites, we settled on this resort and we were happy.

First, I'll start with my gripes...
1. A few LARGE roaches were found hiding in the bathroom, probably hiding out under the sauna. So, they could do a better job spraying in the rooms. (yes, we realize this is a tropical destination, so roaches are present.)

2. The reservations at the restaurants are all filled up by the time-share owners, so even if you try to get a spot on your arrival day for the day you leave, you may not be able to. We were pretty mad about this because we tried to reserve our spots upon arrival, and everything was booked, except for a few spots at 9pm in a couple of the restaurants. I was kind of disappointed with the seafood restaurant overall, when we finally got there, the dishes were not appetizing sounding and weren't prepared very well either. THe Brazilian night was probably the best, but nothing compared to some of the rodizios in the USA if that is what you expect.

3. They need more beach towels for exchange. By mid-afternoon they were all gone, so you had to keep it until the next day and exchange in the morning.

We stayed in room 18104, on the first floor a couple of buildings from the lobby/restaurant building, and enjoyed our stay. It was quiet, away from the loud music and shows which was nice. We didn't pay for any upgrades, and our plan included free minibar, and all of the food and drinks. The staff was friendly, and even brought our infant unpeeled fruit upon request so we could feel safe feeding him there too.

I had read through the previous reviews, and knew to go reserve my spot on the beach before 7am to get our prime seats away from the loud music and near the locals giving massages for much cheaper than the resort. We also didn't have any concerns with leaving our belongings at the beach, they have a few security guards on duty 24 hours a day along the beach, although vendors do walk by.

One of the cool things about this resort is there is a coral reef within their swimming area, and you get 1 hour of free snorkel use per day per person to go see what is under the water. And, there is a lot to see even in the shallow areas!

It was good to be picked up and transported both directions to/from the airport. Communication was good overall, although the process at the airport was a little crazy trying to figure out who to ride with. But we can't complain, with our infant they gave us a private transport for no additional cost, and they stopped for potty breaks about halfway there (>2 hours from the airport to the hotel). Overall, it was more enjoyable than being in the ultra packed resorts in the capital in the heart of party town.

Food buffet was good overall, not sure why so many people complained about it. There was a good mixture of things every night with a varied theme most nights. A few staple dishes from the DR were on the buffet most nights, but other dishes varied widely, and were always hot and fresh when we ate during normal meal times.

Beach was nice, activities were always going, staff was friendly, and other guests were friendly too. We would go back to this resort in the future for the DR.

Room Tip: Away from the road, pools and main lobby will get you a better night sleep.
  • Stayed: May 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Scott B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 24 August 2017

Dear Guests,

We are very happy to hear that you have found Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo a wonderful hotel and that the assigned rooms were suitable for you and your family.

Thank you for your review about the hotel. Your experience is specially valuable for us, as you can give us feed back along the time.

We hope to welcome you again to the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo and to thank them in person. Contact us at our email address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Regard,

Braulio Vasquez
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 August 2017

Niece hotel excellent food in every occasion, breakfast incredible different types of food to choose from, same at lunch and dinner. Beautiful privet beach, a nice swimming pool too. Nice clean rooms, but the air conditioned did not got the room at the right temperature. Nice stay.

Room Tip: Make sure you do tell them what you really want. (Type of room, number of beds size of beads. Top rooms have higher temperature.
  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank gvanderlinde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 24 August 2017

Dear Guest,

First let me inform you that your opinion is valuable to us, therefore we are extremely proud and happy for having left a pleasant memory. We are especially appreciating your positive comments about the quality of our services. Comments like that you send us, are what motivate us as a team every day to improve the quality of service we offer.

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. Contact us at our email address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Regard,

Braulio Vasquez
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 August 2017

Visited this hotel in August. First holiday to the Dominican Republic. Coach transfer was 3 1/2 hours from Puerto Plata airport. Please don't be put off by this, yes after an 8 hour flight it is exhausting, but the hotel location is definitely worth the transfer time.

Check in on arrival wasn't the quickest. The receptionist got slightly confused because we had booked two rooms, (two adults and two teenage children). My husband and I had to complete two separate forms for the two rooms. Not really what you want after such a long journey. We didn't receive any welcome drinks on arrival which would have been really appreciated. We also noticed that when some Canadian's arrived at the hotel, they were greeted by dancers, dancing to traditional Dominican music. We felt slightly disappointed we weren't greeted the same way.

Our travel agent (Thomson) requested two rooms together and I had emailed the hotel twice requesting interconnecting rooms( not receiving a reply from the hotel). To my delight my request was accepted and we were located in interconnecting rooms 17305/6. These two rooms was on the third(top) floor and located near to the main lobby, location was fabulous, quiet, close to main pool, beach and buffet restaurant. You could even just about receive the free lobby wifi from the room. Not a great signal but a bonus all the same.

We also purchased the safe for two weeks, which was 56USD. Don't really understand why you should have to pay extra for the safe?

The rooms were perfectly adequate for our needs. My husband and I had a massive king size bed, comfy mattress and nice pillows. The children in their room had a double bed each. The rooms were clean apart from the floor, which was very dusty resulting in filthy feet. The maid did a good job every day, sometimes we would have some lovely flowers arranged on the bed.

We didn't go to any of the A la carta restaurants, didn't feel the need as the main buffet restaurant (Las Dalias) was so good. Before entering the restaurant they give you some hand sanitizer to rub into your hands, this I thought was a great idea. I have eczema and i didn't get a reaction from it. Wide choice of food, catering for all tastes. Whether you went for breakfast, lunch or dinner always so much choice. Lovely fresh fruit, salad, vegetables. Great meat selection, cheese selection, pasta, pizza etc. Fantastic choice, lovely food. The freshly cooked omelette's were delicious. The cakes were already cut into small perfect size cubes and a lovely choice of ice creams. The food was to an excellent standard. The waiter/waitress service was excellent. They work so hard. Drinks were ordered instantly, plates cleared away quickly and water refilled. In the evenings we decided to sit in the quiet area at the back of the restaurant. Our waitress in that area was called Luisa, she was fabulous, she always seated us at the same table, had the children's drinks ordered without us asking and was really attentive to our needs.

The beach was out of this world. Our travel agent called it the "mini Maldives". Having already been to the Maldives I can understand why. Just stunning, golden sand, clear shallow aqua water, coral reefs and an abundance of fish. The palm trees lean towards the sea, just so tropical.The palm tree's offer you plenty of shade if you can't find an unoccupied parasol. Didn't have any trouble finding sunbeds. You can walk for some time in each direction. Walk to the left and it takes you past the kitesurf school. You can walk about 40 minutes this way. Once you walk off the hotel beach you have to sign a form, basically you walk at your risk. The beach is just breathtakingly beautiful. Walk to the right and it takes you past a shallow river. Our rep told us not to walk any further, the beach is close to the road and in the past there has been some trouble. My husband and I decided to walk past the river, lots of locals use this beach, we didn't carry any valuables with us. It's worth the risk as long as you take care. When the tide is out you can walk for sometime this way. The beach is very natural but the locals do not take care of it. Such a shame to see rubbish littered everywhere, they have that beautiful beach and abuse it. The beach also has a few stray dogs and also locally owned dogs who roam on it. They are not a problem and are very friendly. We did sneak food out and feed them.

We did two Thomson trips. Los Haitises and Cayo Levantado, and El Limon waterfall. The trips are very expensive and in hind sight probably not worth the money. The first trip to the caves and the national park by speedboat was ok. The caves were not really worth the visit. Just caves with pictures drawn on the walls. The scenery around the national park was breathtaking and the wild birds nesting made brilliant photo opportunities. The visit to Cayo Levantado was not what we expected. The beach was so much better at our hotel and the sunbeds were old and dirty. Not nice at all.
The El limon waterfall by horseback was horrific. The journey to the ranch was ok travelling in a opensided large jeep. The horse trek to the waterfall was terrible. Those poor emaciated horses/ponies. The trek conditions are awful, wading through water, mud, slub, rocks and undergrowth. My horse was so ill it could bearly cope with the journey. It's about a 40 minute trek to get to there and 40 mins back. The horses are slipping and sliding under foot. We had no reins to hold on to just the saddle. There were some larger people plonked on small ponies. One poor horse had a deep, bleeding wound on it's front leg. Looked like an old reopened wound. The leadrein staff were quite rough with the horses. How Thomson can promote and sell this excursion is beyond me. It's animal cruelty. The waterfall was ok, just a small waterfall, the water underneath looked murky, we didn't swim in it. The locals climb it and jump off into the water below. I wouldn't promote this trip, wish I hadn't invested my money on it.

Our evenings were spent in the lobby. We didn't attend any evening entertainment/shows. Although the lobby has free wifi, it has no air conditioning, just ceiling fans. It gets so incredibly hot and stuffy. The sofas and chairs on the elevated central floor were very uncomfortable, sit back on the chair and your feet won't touch the floor. We did however have some quality family time in the lobby playing cards and having drinks.

On one of our last days we had an extreme storm. It lasted through one night and continued the whole next day. The rain was torrential. Part of the hotel grounds flooded as a result. The area at and around the lobby, totally under a foot( some places knee high) of water. As a result the ground floor rooms flooded. The Canadians in the room under us we're relocated to a different room. We had to wade through a foot of dirty water to get to our room. We had a tiny roof leak , nothing to complain about when you saw the poor people on the ground floor. The staff at the hotel worked very hard, mopping the floors inside the hotel to try and get rid of it. They worked all day, it wasn't their fault, just not nice for the poor paying guests who's rooms were flooded.

There is a towel service at the hotel. They give you cards and you exchange these for towels. Just hand your towels in and get fresh ones daily. Yes we did reserve our sunbeds at the beach, we would watch the sunrise put our towels down, go to breakfast and then head for the beach. Everybody does it, but as I said earlier there isn't a shortage of sunbeds.

The main pool is quite small but large enough to accommodate. The water is clean and warm. The jacuzzi isn't as warm as the pool. Most guests choose the beach, it's cooler with the sea breeze.

All in all we had a wonderful holiday, really nice hotel, superb location, comfy adequate rooms, excellent service in a beautiful location. Would we go back? Yes, if the price was right and had a room on top floor near lobby.

Room Tip: Not ground floor, room near lobby.
  • Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
11  Thank 801scarlett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 23 August 2017

Dear Guest,

We want to thank you to have been chosen as the destination for your vacation, as well as taking the time to write and tell us your views on the pleasant experience you had during your stay in our hotel.

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

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, your best hotel in Samana.

Kind regards,

Braulio Vasquez
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 August 2017 via mobile

My family from Boston and DR travelled and stayed at Gran Bahia Principe from 8 to 8. The travel from the capital is about 2.5hours. Long drive...roads are good but many swerves and hilltops. When we arrived. We were looking to upgrade to suites because we had two standard rooms,however they were not looking to accomdate. Already a bad sign to our vacation stay Front desk worker Was not very pleasant nor went over and beyoned to help us. We also had to add an additional guest that was part of our group after reporting to them that we spoke to a guest service member before our arrival who reported that the price would be much cheaper at the resort and to wait to book. They wanted us to pay so much more and would not accomdate. When it was obvious miscommunication on their part. We were situation. One suite two standards. The standard rooms were on the lower levels of 22101 and 22102. Both had limited water, no warm. Worse yet the reaked of sewege! We complained of the issue and all they did was give us a top floor not upgrade us to a Suite. Awful customer service specifically management. The following day more of our party arrived. We also had to pay for additional guests at the resort which again was recommended by Gran Bahia Principe guest services. We asked to speak to the manager Miguel Placido. He lacked interpersonal skills and was extremely rude to both my sister and I. Reported to us that we would need to pay for a child who was 3 when his staff at reception had reported that it was children 3 or older. He asked us who of his staff members said it and reported that he would have them pay the difference. We could not believe his lack of professionalism and would never report to him who told us. It wasnt worth the employee getting in trouble or fired. He refused to work with us after we were a party of 11 nor because we had been guests at Cayo Levantado (excellent resort) night and day from the customer service at El Portillo. Mr. Placido the manager never helped us would walk off to his office for 15 20 min at a time to report he "contacted"guest services which couldnt help with rates. To end our conversation he reported to both of us "Caso Cerrado" in other words case closed he would not speak to us any longer about our issue. I could not believe he would say this and mentioned to him how very unprofessional he was. He than refused to come out to further our conversation and it was reported that he convienently was in "an important phone call"
We were than take care of by Narcisio, who really tried their best to do what they could to help and to their reach. They honestly are just doing their job unlike management whom are capable of offering good service and dont.
The resort is nice. Most of the working staff are friendly. Housekeeping Margarita was a pleasure and very nice. Shuttle drivers Orlando and Samuel were so very nice and helpful. Great kind people. The pools were good, although the large pool can get crowded we enjoyed the relaxed pool along with the kiddie area. Beautiful spot for the kids. Food was plentiful in the main buffet. Good food and fresh fruit all times. Dining area outside is nice although their are many many stray cats. If you have allergies to cats not recommended to sit outside. Or I would suggest for the hotel to do something about the cats. Bars were good. Very nice servers and bartenders one of the landscapers even brought us fresh coconuts. Wish I would remember his name. He cares for the turtles in between the lobby and main buffet. Higher end management should consider a change in uniforms for all aside from having better customer service. Most wear long sleeve shirts ties as well as heavy housekeeping uniforms. Way too hot and inhumane for that! Consider shorts and shorts sleeves for all. Care for your employees as well as your guests. Night entertainment is good. The Michael show is spectacular. Performers are so very talented even better than Las Vegas. Really hope the Michael impersonator can make it big some day. Such amazing talent. Beach is nice lots of shade. Water was lovely with subtle waves. Many fish. Very safe for the families. I want to specifically thank some employees for trying to help and going over and beyond to make us feel welcome even after management did not. Most of these individuals do not get paid top dollars and really try. I would highly recommend tipping them with a few bucks as much as you can. They dont see their families for weeks on end and work non stop. Nery, Narciso, Adrian, drivers Samuel and Orlando, Margarita(cleaning services) many others in the buffet and the entertainment area for the kids and adults. Thank you! Unsure if we would indeed return we just may if management is further accessed and or changed.

Stayed: August 2017, travelled with family
2  Thank Kennmari01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 23 August 2017

Dear Guest,
First of all receive cordial greetings from all the team working at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo.
We are very pleased make us participant of your opinions that we will take in consideration to improve all the areas needed, because there’s no better opinion that the one that comes from our guests.

Definitely your comments have been of the knowledge of the General Manager of our Resort to give the proper attention and take the necessary actions to avoid these situations indicated in this message, because your opinions are the best opportunity of improvement.

It will be a pleasure to have the opportunity to welcome you once again at the Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, so do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to visit us again in the near Future.

Our best regards,

Braulio Vasquez
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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