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All reviews junior suite lobby bar fish a la carte restaurants quiet pool privilege club main buffet gourmet restaurant main pool lots of variety grand bahia different theme bacardi island coral reef ride from the airport other resorts air transat
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Reviewed 19 April 2010

We where at Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo from April 8-15. Travelled with Air Canada Vacations. Flights were on time both ways. Upgraded to Executive class on plane and was worth every penny it costs.
This resort is out of the way in Les Terrenas which is about an hour from Samana. If you are lucky you will get the little bus which takes you over the mountain instead of around the mountain. What a awesome drive.
We were at a Principe property last year in Mexico which we loved so that was one reason why we picked this resort plus we got a sell off price. Upgraded to a suite. Well worth the extra $50. This is a typical Principe property which is keep immaculately clean through out. No problem with staff communicating in English although other guests are another thing. When we were there 80% of guests didn't speak English.
Not much shopping on site except for vendors on beach. Was never harassed by them.
Small buffet. Food was okay but not always hot enough. Bread to die for. We did all 4 a La Carte's, Oriental, Seafood, Italian & Gourmet. Food good in all but Seafood.Chefs can sure ruin a good fish.
Beach has brown sand but very nice. Miles of beach. You can walk to town 7 kms away by the beach. Snokling very good right from edge of water. Reef right at waters edge. Lots of fish to see.
Pools small but good if you can find a lounger in shade.
Lots of bars in daytime but only lobby bar after supper. Bartenders do not know how to mix drinks!!!
Don't waste your time with cigars because they are not stored properly so they are dry as a bone.
Went to town of Les Terrenas by taxi (30us) one morning. For this amount he will take you in and wait for 2 hours and then bring you back to resort. What a eye opener but prices only about half as much as resort. Got money changed at place called Fort Knox and liquor and snacks at grocery store. Both places guarded by men with riot shot guns.
Went on one tour to Los Haitises. All day trip and probably best excursion offered.
I would recommend this property if the price is right. For us, we have never gone back to same place twice, too many places we haven't seen.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank bass41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 April 2010

Great vacations, very nice resort, great beach, spectacular staff very friendly and helpful, the animation team was great, many thanks to Eminencio, Pancho and to the other guy that gives the aerobic class on the pool and that gave us the towels every day, I don´t know his name, he named himself has Sexy something…  Does anyone knows his name?

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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Thank Elsalav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2010

We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe in El Portillo from April 1-April 8 during Holy week. I can't say enough about the resort. The food at the buffet was really good,there was something for everyone,the a la carte resturants weren't as good,but the service was great.The grounds were very lush and the beach was the best.Great place for snorkling.There were bars and snack bars everywhere,always something to eat.Weather was great,the rooms were very clean and spacious(remember to keep the airconditioning on)The staff on the resort were VERY friendly and did thier best to speak english.We went on two excursions, the first one was snorkling on the island where the show survivor was filmed,that was fun, the other one was to the national park, where we went by boat to some islands and caves, I highly recommend the national park excursion.I would take a lunch the next time to the airport on the way leaving because there is nothing to buy there.We will definitely visit this resort again.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with family
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Thank DOminicana2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2010

We stayed at the El Portillo from April 5'th to the 12'th and had a great time there was definitely more positives then negative points about this resort. We arrived at the Samana airport and was very organized and got through customs quickly and our luggage was on the bus and ready to go. The bus ride was long about a 90 minute drive but we stopped at a small restaurant and had a drink of Presedente beer which made the trip more enjoyable!! We booked with Nolitours but as soon as we got to the resort we asked if there was any Junior suites available with the Royal Golden club and there was so we upgraded and was worth it. The only problem we had was they gave us a room in villa #9 and were next to a water filtration station which was noisy and so we asked to change rooms and moved to villa 3. If you are going to be in villa #9 you best bet is to change to another area the noise is disturbing at night.

The lobby is great and very well maintained. The buffet has a different type of food each day and a variety of different types of food to try out. We really enjoyed the Italian and the seafood restaurants even the oriental was good even though it gets alot of mediocre reviews.

Beach - It is huge has has lots of space to walk around and had no problem finding a lounge chair to find during the day. I have one suggestion is to stay on the resort property, you can go and walk off but you have to sign out with the guard. We walked eastward and were almost mugged by one of the locals. We gave a dollar and decided to head back to the resort it was kind of a scary citation. As for the beach its one of the most beautiful beaches I've seen especially when the sun reflects off the water and the coral reef. You can feed the fish and watch them go crazy for rice or any type of food.

Excursions - We did 3 excursions Los Haitises nation park, El Limon Waterfall, Snorkeling at Playa Ermitano.
The National park was amazing the most interesting part was just getting there the ride on the catamaran was intense with the high waves and going flat out nobody complained and had a great time plus the rum and coke helped on the way back!! The views from the is something to see from the caves, mangroves, bird island and Bacardi Island is well worth the rough but fun boat ride. The El limon waterfall was ok but if your not into hiking or haven't been on a horse be warned its a very rough ride in the woods and on the road. We also went on the snorkeling excursion with the aquatics shop on the west end of the beach. This was my first time snorkeling and had fun but I would suggest buying your own snorkel equipment mine didn't fit right but not to take anything away from the trip the beach we were at was were Survivor was filmed but not the U.S. version. The views from the group we went with were great and enjoyed it. Another warning though the boat ride is very rough but you have one of the best captains driving the boat so there is nothing to worry about other then getting wet from the waves. Do bring bug repellent, pepto bismal and Imodium to be on the safe side.

Las Terrennas - There isn't much to see and not worth the $10 taxi ride. The coffee was cheap there but that's about it. We also had a another local beg us for money again just give them a $1 and move on. Its best to stay in the resort as other reviews have suggested.

Shows - The nightly shows at the Peuble Principe (Village) and in the Theater were entertaining and hilarious. All the dancers and entertainers put on a great show even though some people were "shocked" at some of the shows such as the backtrack songs. Your on vacation get the chip off your shoulder!!! Karaoke was one of the best and worst but you go out and have fun no matter what.

The only negative would be the amount of french speaking tourists and their ignorant attitude. I'm not saying all of them are like that but it only takes one to make it a bad apple. In all I would recommend this to couples and families who enjoy good food, adventurous excursions, pools, beaches and last but not least the bars and the wide variety of drinks to choose from. My favorite was the "Bugavilla" and "Grand Bahia Principe".

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank beachenvy36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 April 2010

We stayed at the El Portillo over the "Holy Week", and were overjoyed at the beautiful beach, hotel, rooms, landscape and the service of the staff. The food and drinks were good. If you go, look for the grill during the day and have your own cut of meat cooked up for you.
If you wanted the rough water to body surf you just had to walk about 10 minutes down the beach to the left of the resort. Very rough there and would not recommend for kids.
Upgraded our 2 rooms to junior suites and the staff was kind enough to not enough charge us for it; bonus. Sure, my alarm clock gained about 9 hours a day and the TV remote didn't work. Oh well, we are on vacation.
The grounds were very well looked after and lush. We had a little sheltered spot between the beach bar, the aquatic centre and the kids' club, on the beach and oh! what a spot for the day. We really loved the layout of the resort; things were close but spread out at the same time.
We did a day trip with Terry from toursamanawithterry, and it was a wonderful day. Nice quiet beach, great Dominican lunch, checked out caves, marble mines and a blow hole(Devil's Mouth). The snorkelling wasn't that good, although I haven't yet experienced good snorkelling in the Dominican.
Would definitely recommend this hotel; our friends had never been to the Dominican before and now say this won't be their last visit.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled with friends
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2  Thank willfillmore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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