The author posted a review .... here is the copy and paste .... My friend and I stayed at this resort from April 26-May 4 and we both had a fabulous time. It was my fourth time to the Dominican (2 Punta Cana and 1 Puerto Plata) but first time in La Romana. I had read all the reviews, good and bad, and kept an open mind and my expectations low. I was shocked at the bad reviews, got everything I wanted out of my vacation, and would go back to this resort in a heartbeat.
- Check-in went relatively smoothly. We had requested 2 double beds but when we checked in it was a single king bed. When I went back to ask to switch rooms, they looked but said they wouldn't have a double room available until the following morning. We had to share a bed for one night, but it wasn't a big deal.The next morning we moved to the other room without hassle. When we noticed there wasn't a coffee maker in the new room, we mentioned it to a nearby maid and she ran to get us another one straight away. Minor hitch with the room swap, resolved as quickly as they could manage. No big deal!
- Gorgeous, well-manicured gardens.
- Clean pool, loungers always tidied and straightened up every morning. Swim up bar was fabulous!
- Villas were in very good condition, didn't seem run-down our out of date at all.
- Big, beautiful lobby with free wi-fi (best reception is near the front desk), lobby bar, plus self-serve coffee and sweets during the day.
- The Pueblo Principe has a few shops and a burger place open all night, as well as the disco. It was nice that those things were a bit of a walk away from the villas to keep the noise away from where people might be sleeping.
- The beach itself is one of the biggest and nicest beaches I've seen. Lots of shade because of the ample palapas and palm trees, nice clean sand. It's not the pure white sand you might find in, say, Pensacola Beach, Florida, but it's lighter than the brown sugar sand in Puerto Plata. I truly did not understand the bad reviews of the beach.
- We expected that the water wouldn't be perfectly clear because we'd read the reviews, but were not disappointed by it at all. Is not dirty and doesn't smell, and is nice and calm because it's in a bay. If you want bright white sands and turquoise water, you can always take a catamaran trip to Bayahibe or Saona like we did!
- Beach volleyball courts available
- Wheelchair accessible beach palapas available! I've never seen that before.
- Very friendly waiters and bar staff. Service always with a smile. We never waited excessively for service at any of the restaurants or bars
- Our maid always cleaned our room promptly and did a good job. We left a couple notes with some extra requests (more beer in the fridge, an extra towel) in Spanish (I'm learning, but not fluent) along with a daily 50 peso tip and she always obliged.
- The reviews about the amount of theft at this resort were the only bad reviews I'd ever read that made me a little nervous, so I took the extra precaution of bring my PacSafe with me to store my valuables, and kept my expensive camera with me at all times. I didn't anticipate anything would happen but figured better safe than sorry--which I think is an attitude everyone should have when they go anywhere, frankly. Nothing ever went missing from our room, even when I forgot to lock my PacSafe one day leaving my passport and some Canadian money inside. I'd even left some pesos on my nightstand--not the usual place I left pesos for the maid--and she cleaned the room without taking them.
- We went during a low time of the season, which was especially obvious during the night time shows where there wasn't a lot of audience members. The animation team tried their best to involve people during things like karaoke, but if the audience doesn't want to participate, the show kind of drags a bit. I always make a point of going to the shows at every resort because it's something to do in the evenings, and usually even if they're cheesy they're still fun, but this resort's entertainment was lacking...and I'm sure it had something to do with the low season (perhaps less budget for better shows?). When I went to the Grand Bahia in Punta Cana, the shows were SPECTACULAR, so it's hard not to compare.
- One exception was the Friday night beach party, which was INCREDIBLY FUN!
- There are fun activities available during the day: billiards, ping-pong, water aerobics, etc. Try the water aerobics...it's silly great fun, and afterward they'll teach you some sweet dance moves. ;-)
- We had one day where it rained for maybe 2 hours in the middle of the day, and when it started raining my friend and I left our palapa, grabbed some games, and headed to the lobby to play games and wait it out. We had a waitress serve us coffee and drinks, and there were WARM cookies and desserts available, so we had a great time!
- We had 10 minutes of light rain maybe 3 other times throughout the week, and then it went back to clear, sunny skies. The weather was fabulous.
FOOD (warning: I might rant a little here):
- I seriously don't get what people were complaining about with the food. The buffet was big and had lots of variety. We never went hungry or got bored with the food.
- Sure, I didn't love everything I tried, but there was always something out of each meal that made me go "YUM!"
- To people who complain that "This is a 5-star resort and the buffet is not 5-stars!" I ask, on what planet do "5-stars" and "buffet" go in the same sentence? You simply cannot expect gourmet food to be served en masse. The buffet food was not "gourmet"--don't expect it to be--but it was good, I never went hungry, and best of all, I didn't have to cook for myself!
- I am a semi-professional baker (I will admit to being a baking snob, it's true) and I have always been disappointed by resort buffet desserts when I travel, even at the super 5-star boutique resorts where I paid twice the price than I paid at GBPLR. This time, however, I have to say the desserts were pretty good! Sure, there were some misses (eg. anything made with Cool Whip, and the gelatine-based cubes/mousses) but the warm desserts were usually excellent, and there were some rather yummy cakes. I was pleasantly surprised by the desserts.
- I was travelling with one of the pickiest eaters I know, and even SHE didn't understand what everyone was complaining about.
- We ate at the gourmet restaurant twice, and it was a great experience. It's the extra little touches that give you a nice break from the buffet, and the food was a notch above. I had the veal, ordered medium, and it was nice and tender. I can't remember what I had for my second meal, but I remember it being good.
- I think my only complaints about the food is that it was generally over-salted and that the meat from the buffet trays was often overcooked and tough. You can avoid this, however, by ordering your meat from the cook-to-order station; you may wait a few extra minutes for your food, but at least you can tell them exactly how you want your meat cooked.
- The pina coladas were yummy and the Presidente was nice and cold.
- The featured cocktail list was a little small compared to some of the other resorts I've been to. I'd have liked a *little* bit more variety offered on the menu, as I'm not the biggest drinker and therefore not really familiar with different cocktails and didn't know what to ask for. I did ask the bartender once to "make me a surprise" and he came up with some purple thing that was delicious.
- If you don't like SUPER sweet cocktails, try their Bahia Principe cocktail. It's sweet but has lemon-lime tartness for balance and is quite refreshing!
If I could give it a 4.5-star rating I would, but I have to give it a 4-star rating instead of 5 because I've been to a couple 5-stars in the Dominican that were just a small notch above GBPLR in the following areas:
- evening entertainment just a little lacklustre
- very short cocktail list
- free wi-fi only in lobby (which, I can forgive because I don't want to be constantly on the internet while I'm on vacation, but the option to use the internet while in my room would have been handy once or twice)
- room safe wasn't included for free
All of that said, we had a wonderfully fun and relaxing time. We got off the resort for 2 excursions, and that was just enough to break up the 8-days that we were there. We got an excellent deal, and we wouldn't hesitate to return. I'm happy to answer any questions I can if you'd like to PM me.
Room Tip: Rooms ending in 01-08 are on the ground floor, and rooms ending in 09-16 are on the second floor.