We have just returned from the DR. My parents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. All 7 of my brothers and sisters and all the in-laws (16 of us in all) enjoyed 6 days here from Feb 12-Feb 18 2013. Many of my family had never traveled outside the US. This experience has sparked the interest in more international travels. My husband, for example, was scared to leave the USA.. Now he wants to plan trips all over the world. That is no small miracle, let me assure you. He felt very safe. And the friendliness of the staff helped dispel the myth that the world is a scary place. :-)
The hotel grounds were immense but the trolleys were always there when we needed a ride. We were in the Premier section, with our own pool and lobby. We enjoyed the swim up bar, water volleyball, and water aerobics. One of my sisters had trouble with the air conditioner in their room but the staff was there to fix it in 5 minutes. The grounds, beach, rooms, and buffets were always very clean. The staff was always friendly and had enough English to communicate with us. They were grateful if you even tried to speak a little Spanish. Even Hello, Good Day and Thank you were enough to get a smile from the staff.
I would recommend emailing 7 days before your trip to make reservations at the a-la-carte restaurants. We enjoyed the Barbacoa, and the Dominican. We tried the Mediterranean as well. The Lobster lasagna was very good, but the lobster casserole was not. The buffet provided a wide variety of foods and all were quite good. I particularly enjoyed the breakfast omelet bar. You can chose your own ingredients and they cook it up right there in front of you. But like my Mom always says "If I don't have to cook it or clean it up, Its got to be GREAT". The staff was always quick to remove our empty plates. We enjoyed the a-la-carte's mostly because we had 2 large tables for 8 and we could sit there together and enjoy some conversation and laughs, without the busyness of the buffet. The beach = WOW. Powder sand. Beautiful trees. Always shade to be found if you were a little sun burnt from the day before.
Excursions: We did the Extreme Buggy 1/2 day. Dune buggies that hold 4 people each. We had to line it up a week before because of the size of our group. Lots of FUN! they provide goggles to keep the mud out of your eyes. Suggestion : wear clothes that you can throw away after. You will get muddy (that half the fun), and bring a bandanna to cover your mouth and nose. Lots of dirt.
Canopy tour zip-line. The ride into the mountains is almost as entertaining as the zip-lining. It is quite the 4 wheel drive trail. Zip-line is a double cable and with other safety equipment. Friendly staff. It is quite a hike on uneven ground. And they keep you moving at a pretty good pace. Even though i'm not real comfortable with heights, I did not feel unsafe.
My advise ;
Bring lots of small bills, Tips are included but the country is poor and 2 dollars a day for the maid and maybe one or 2 dollars for the people at the restaurants and bars is greatly appreciated. Don't worry about exchanging $ for pesos. They prefer to deal in dollars.
2 excursions in a 6 day stay was about right. Don't schedule too many or you wont have time to enjoy all the things that the hotel has to offer.
Night time shows- Circus was entertaining.We all enjoyed that one.
Legends- was not family friendly. Full-Monty stuff. We walked out as soon as the guys dressed in police uniforms came out and started dancing.
You also need to be aware that at the beach you will see topless ladies. But not many. I think we saw 3 over the 6 days we went to the beach.
All-in-all we would return to this hotel and the DR. It exceeded our expectations!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Adults only ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Premier Hotel Punta Cana