First of all, I'm extremely late writing this review. My husband and I travelled to Punta Cana July 7 - 13, 2012 and met another couple there that we travel with each summer. We arrived at PUJ airport early in the morning and made it to the resort (small city) well before check-in. We booked our trip through CheapCaribbean.com and had no issues with airport transfers. We were, however, completely confused regarding which section of the resort in which we were staying. We had reserved our room for the Bavaro section of the hotel, but had selected a Premier room, because we were under the impression it was closer to the beach, and we checked in at the Bavaro Lobby. All of our paperwork from CheapCaribbean.com said Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro. We were then given our room assignments and bracelets for the Premier Club. We didn't notice this until we tried to find a place to eat lunch. We were turned away from restaurant after restaurant and told we could only eat at the "Premier Buffet". After being given bogus directions multiple times (from both patrons and staff) on how to find this buffet, we finally found it on our own. It was very close to the Premier Pool and our room, so this was convenient, but we were exhausted after just trying to find a place to eat lunch.
Once we were allowed to enter our rooms, we were very pleased with the size and quality of the rooms. We had requested to be near our friends' room and were graciously accommodated, only one other room in between us.
I'll start with the Pros:
1. There were plenty of options for food and entertainment. We made restaurant reservations online a few weeks prior to the trip, and we ended up eating at 4 of the ala carte restaurants. By far, the Japanese restaurant was our favorite.
2. The rooms were very comfortable and air conditioner worked well.
3. The pool bar was amazing, we especially enjoyed the hospitality and drinks prepared by Miguel.
4. There was free wifi that worked well in the lobby.
5. Maid service was excellent and drinks were restocked in refrigerator daily.
6. Grounds are breathtakingly beautiful.
1. Resort is entirely too large for my taste. I was prepared from reading other reviews, but I was under the impression we could hop on a tram and traverse the resort easily. This was not the case. The trams were most always full, so we ended up walking a lot!
2. The beach is nice, but there was always a lot of seaweed and we had a difficult time finding beach chairs. We also had our chairs taken from us several times while we were in the water! We ended up spending most of our time in the pool, which is something we could have done here at home.
3. There are very few Americans or Canadians at this resort, and we found it difficult communicating with guests and staff, and I even speak Spanish.
4. I ended up getting sick on days 3 thru 6 and one other person in our group also fell ill. We had visited Punta Cana the year before and stayed at Majestic Colonial, and none of us got sick there.
5. The men in our group signed up to receive our free welcome gift, which ended up being a 1/2 day timeshare presentation. They specifically asked if thi as was going to be a timeshare presentation and were told no. This was upsetting, because we did not want to spend 1/2 of a day listening to this.
6. We were denied entry into the buffet one day for lunch, because we were told we were too wet. We had all changed out of our swimsuits, so we were definitely confused by this, but left anyway.
7. There is a charge for the safety deposit box in the rooms, which we were aware of prior to booking. This is the first AI resort where we have been requred to pay for this. In my opinion, this should be standard.
We will definitely not be going back to this resort anytime soon or to Punta Cana for that matter. The stomach issues we had, along with the tales of many other travellers experiencing the same, will prevent us from visiting the Dominican Republic again. It is far too risky. We have travelled to multiple places in Mexico and Jamaica and have never had stomach illnesses there, so we will stick to those destinations instead.
If you are not afraid of getting sick, and you like the options provided by a massive resort (small city), then this is the place for you. Otherwise, I recommend Majestic Colonial or Elegance instead.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 1 Pool 4 Jacuzzis 1 children's pool Lounger, sun umbrella and towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 3 tennis courts, bicycles, football, volleyball, petanque, darts and mini-golf Water activity centre (snorkelling, canoeing, windsurfing, fishing) WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) 1 buffet restaurant and 3 speciality restaurants Japanese restaurant (exclusive to guests) 4 Bars 18 hole Punta Blanca Golf Club (additional charge) Wedding gazebo Pueblo Principe: Shopping and Leisure Mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars, disco and casino Rooms 502 rooms including three types: Superior Family Junior Suite, Family Master Suite and Premier Junior Suite Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Fully equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, shower, hair dryer and amenities Sofa-bed Sitting area Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Satellite TV Ironing set Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (additional charge) Balcony or terrace WiFi (additional charge) The Family Junior Suites and Family Master Suites also include: Bath robes and slippers for all the family for use throughout your stay Children's bath kit Welcome basket with sweets Mini-bar for children stocked with juices, shakes, milk and soft drinks Two separate and connecting rooms (Master family suite) Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Mini Club for children aged 4 to 12 (located in the Grand Bahia Punta Cana hotel) Baby Station Bahia Scouts Water Park Fun Area and Adventure Park (additional charge) Teens' Club (11 - 16 years) Other services 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) WiFi in the lobby (free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Personalised menus (forceliacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request and subject to circumstances. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Premier Hotel Punta Cana