Four of us recently returned from the Gran Bahia Principe, La Romana (January 18th -25th). This vacation was a long time in planning and locations along with respective hotel reviews were carefully assessed. We have previously been to the Gran Bahia Principe Akumel, Tulum and Coba (all rated 5 star) thus we felt the La Romana destination would be comparable but it is definitely not a five star or even a 4.5. After our experience, we would be hard pressed to even give this hotel a 3.5 rating.
Overall, the food was, in our opinion, of sub-standard quality, both at all the a la cartes but especially at the buffet. There was very little variety and the same limited choices every day. No other five star hotel that we have ever been to would offer guests so many different variations of hot dogs, rice and cold cuts. Dinners centered on hamburgers, chicken and dolphin fish every day. Omelettes and eggs in general were never cooked properly – always raw in the middle and the bacon undercooked. Coffee station generally empty of either coffee, cups or spoons. Either toasters did not work at all or you had to put the bread through multiple times. We swear that the orange juice was actually Tang. We noticed at every a la carte restaurant; half the restaurant always had empty tables yet hearing from others that they couldn’t get reservations. In addition, the Mediterranean and Italian restaurants are not full a la cartes; you have to buffet your starters and dessert with basically the same food found at the main buffet. The food at the beach restaurant and bar was basically no different from the main buffet except there was even less choice. By late afternoon, many of the limited choices were not even being replenished but if you liked to dine on French fries, pizza or Tostitos then you were OK. I could go on but you get the picture.
The hotel we were told by a staff member was only 13 years old yet there were many signs of wear and tear particularly in the rooms. The most significant issue here (and I heard from others) were the number of patio door locks broken or missing. This, in our opinion is a definite safety and security risk. Rooms were on the small size. The especially small combo bathtub/shower had a dangerously slight incline. The television was the antiquated tube style and could not be any larger than a 24” size. Another very irritating issue were the room phones. The message light continually flashed and could not be turned off. The hotel management told us that the phone system had been changed (sounded like this had not just happened). They did not know how to get rid of the flashing so told us to cover the phone with our paper-thin bath towels – took several of them to block the light and flashed for all seven days we were there.
Water pressure was generally poor but more importantly was the issue of having no hot water for three of our 7 days there. For a short time, there was absolutely no water – hot or cold. Throughout our stay, the water was never ever hot but at least it was warm except for those 3 days where there was only cold water. If we had no hot water and at best warm water throughout our stay then I shutter to think how dishes, glasses, sheets and towels were being cleaned and properly sterilized. On multiple occasions, we received dirty cutlery, coffee cups with lipstick stains and otherwise soiled dishes. I witnessed a server drop a handful of dinner knives, pick them up off the floor then continued to set tables with them. It is no wonder that three of us came down with bouts of dysentery.
The hotel communication to it’s cliental about the hot water as well as the pretty much non-existent access to the “WIFI” was basically either “soon” , “later today” or “tomorrow”.
As a non-smoker, you definitely had to stay clear of the casino and the entertainment. We limited our time in these places because of the amount of smoke. The casino had no air conditioning only fans. The entertainment was in very poor taste and at times quite offensive – gun violence, female violence and racial stereotyping. Overall, we would categorize the entertainment as awfully amateur and not what one would expect from a “5” star hotel.
What was to be an enjoyable and stress free holiday was anything but. All of us have travelled extensively to the Caribbean and had wonderful experiences, so this is a first which has left has with a very negative opinion of the Gran Bahia hotel chains.
- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe La Romana Hotel La Romana
- Gran Bahia Principe La Romana Hotel
- Santana Beach Resort
- La Romana Gran Bahia Principe
- Santana Beach
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