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“Detailed and Definitive Review of Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection

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Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Isla de Cayo Levantado | Bahia de Samana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #1 of 57 Hotels in Samana Province
Toronto
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
160 helpful votes 160 helpful votes
“Detailed and Definitive Review of Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

My family had the pleasure of staying at the Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in Samana at the end of July-beginning of August. We were part of a larger group of 16, and unanimously, we absolutely loved our stay at this exclusive resort.

Let me be clear though, I do not feel the resort is a 5-star in the truest sense. The room furnishings and design are not the most modern, luxurious and elegant. Nor is there an abundance of restaurants. (1 buffet, and 3 a-la-carte restaurants). The food is quite good (for the most part). The beaches are really nice, but not the best I’ve seen.

However, when you combine all of these very good elements with absolutely wonderful service and attentiveness, amidst the gorgeous and lush setting of Cayo Levantado island, collectively it becomes a truly visceral and memorable 5-star experience.

We flew in via WestJet vacations from Toronto to Samana International airport. The ride to get to the dock was over an hour long. We were slowed down a bit, as the bus stopped off first at the Samana Grand Paradise and GBP Cayacoa. At the dock, Gran Bahia has a small indoor reception area and reception desk. While we were waiting for the ferry, we checked in with reception and picked up our wristbands for the week.


First Impressions

One can’t help but feel a rush of excitement as you approach Cayo Levantado by boat. It feels like you’re entering the realm of Fantasy Island (without that little guy Tattoo). Once you walk up from the dock to the main lobby, you are greeted with a cold, fruity and refreshing drink. For check-in, there are only two staff at one time. Hopefully, when you arrive, you don’t come in a large tour group. Gran Bahia Cayo Levantado is a beautiful resort set in a lush tropical paradise. The buildings, property and grounds are immaculately kept. Everywhere you go, you always see staff cleaning, pruning and maintaining something. The whole island is immaculately kept. I am so happy that the island’s natural landscapes were pretty much maintained.


Accommodations

We stayed in a Junior Suite Superior Deluxe. The Deluxe Superior Suites are located in Villas 8, 9, 10, and 16, 17, 18, 19. Each Villa is comprised of three suites. Do not get the suites that end in 102 ie. 18102, 19102. These are the smallest of the Deluxe Junior Suites, and they face the garden and/or do not have ocean views. Suites that end in 101 are slightly larger and have an ocean view (** more on the view). Try and get the suites that end in 103, as these are L-shaped, have the largest floor space, and have an ‘ocean view’.

Now, here’s the truth about the ‘ocean view’. While the Deluxe Junior Suites do indeed face the ocean, the view is partially obscured by trees and foliage. Kudos to Gran Bahia Principe for maintaining the natural heritage of the island, but if you’re expecting breathtaking and sweeping views of the ocean – you may be a bit disappointed. When our family travels south or to a sunny destination, having an ocean view is a must for us. I love waking up in the morning, and watching the waves crash on an empty beach. However, as the week wore on, I didn’t feel compelled to go out and admire the view, because it was so limited. Even though the ocean view wasn’t the best, my wife and I still liked our suite, due to its size and proximity to the main building.

The Deluxe Superior Suites are well appointed and come with a sitting area with a flat screen tv and couches; a well stocked mini-fridge that comes with water, beer, pop/soda, and mini-alcohol bottles; an indoor tub; a glass shower stall; a toilet and bidet. The bedroom has a four-poster queen+ sized bed with an armoire and tv, and ceiling fan. We also had a very large outdoor terrace, with some lounge chairs and a Jacuzzi tub that overlooks the ocean.
While I found the decor and furnishings a bit dated, everything was clean and spotless. Housekeeping did an excellent job every day.

Some of our relatives stayed in the Beach Villas in Villa 31. The Beach Villas are single-story, and are directly in front of the beach. The suites have high, vaulted ceilings which creates a bright and airy space. Similar to the Deluxe Superior Suites, the Beach Villas did not have great water views. Villa 31 was approx. 50 metres from the water, but not directly on it. As well, there was a cart path separating Villa 31 from the beach. Aside from that, these Villas were ideally located by the beach, swimming pool, snack bar, and two a-la-carte restaurants. The only drawback was that it was a good 8-10 minute walk to the main building.

Both the Deluxe Superior Suites and Beach Villas offered butler service. However, it wasn’t a true butler service like the Sandals resorts. You’re not connected to a staff person by cell phone, who will fetch you drinks or run errands. Instead, it’s merely an enhanced housekeeping perk that offers one-time services such as ironing, unpacking etc. It was kind of frivolous, so we didn’t bother utilizing it.

Another cool thing about the Deluxe Superior Suites and Beach Villas is that you are offered a Pillow Menu and Scent Menu, where you can order memory foam pillows, and exotic scents such as mango and papaya to freshen up your suite.


Restaurants

Orquidea is the main restaurant which is buffet style. There is a huge array of different entrees, desserts, appetizers, and tapas. Not every single item is great, but because of the wide variety, there is always something good to eat. I was really impressed with the quality of the grilled beef. For the most part, it was usually flavourful and tender. Unlike some cruises and other resorts, the buffet restaurant at GB Cayo Levantado isn’t crazy busy. While there are always people there, one can always find a table, and there was never a huge line up to get food. On our last cruise, there were lengthy line ups to get food. This was never the case here. The breakfast buffet had the standard items, but I also appreciated the large array of freshly squeezed juices. At lunch, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they offered some tasty lamb on occasion. For the seafood lovers, Sunday night is all you can eat rock lobster.

Don Pablo is the premier restaurant on the island. The ambience and service are absolutely top notch. The presentation and execution of the food are also exemplary. You are given the choice of ordering a-la-carte or from its tasting menu. Both of the times we dined there, I ordered a-la-carte and had the Prince and Princessa which was steak and lobster. I don’t know what everyone in our party ordered, but I do know that everyone was happy. Additionally, the staff flambéed some bananas in liqueur (which wasn’t on the menu) and served it as a pre-dessert. On our final night, the head waiter cracked open a new bottle of Johnnie Walker Black and we all toasted.

Mediterraneo is the Mediterranean-themed restaurant (obviously), and is located by the pool area. While not as elegant looking as Don Pablo, it was also upscale with great ambience. Once again, the food did not disappoint. They allowed me to order two entrees, and I was able to enjoy both the veal and lobster.

Portofino is the Italian-themed restaurant, and is adjacent to Mediterraneo. This restaurant was more rustic-chic, but also had its own inherent charm. Both my wife and I had the steak, and it was very tender and delicious. My children had the pizza, and they were satisfied with it.

Mediterraneo and Portofino are open on alternate nights – so you may have to plan accordingly when booking the a-la-carte restaurants.

The a-la-carte restaurants all require reservations. This you must do in the main lobby. I suggest you do so on your first day. Ordinarily, I don’t think booking would be too big of an issue, however, because our group was so large, it was a bit problematic. For a couple of our bookings, they had to stagger our reservation. For a couple or a regular-sized family, I think it would be very easy to do. Please note, you cannot show up without a reservation. When we were dining at Don Pablo, a young couple was turned away, because they had no reservation – even though the restaurant was not at capacity.


The Beaches

There are essentially three beaches at GB Cayo Levantado. The resort has two private beaches, and one private beach. The first beach on the western side is very windy and wavy as the shore is exposed. My kids loved playing in the large waves, but after a while it got too tiring for them, as they were always getting knocked down. The second beach is right beside it, but is a bit more sheltered by some land and rock jutting out. As such, the waves are a lot more mild and manageable. The sand on the beach is soft and powdery, and you can go out quite a way before it gets too deep. On the gentle beach, bathers must be careful when going out to far and approaching the coral as there are sea urchins there. Ouch – my niece stepped on one and required a little bit of medical attention. The private beaches are also very lush with some trees and foliage acting as a natural shade if you cannot find a palapa.

With respect to amenities, the private beaches have a beach bar and are very close to a large swimming pool, and pool buffet. The towel room was usually well stocked. I think there was only one time when there were no clean towels available.

The resort offers free non-motorized watersports. They offer one two-man kayak and a couple of single kayaks. We never really had to wait long, but I suspect it could be a lengthy wait during the busy season. The snorkel gear was often signed out as well. They do offer a catamaran, but I think you have to pay for some lessons first.

In addition to the beach and watersports, there is a small beach volleyball court, a dart board, and bocce ball. Also nearby is the kids play area, which didn’t look too appealing.

The public beach is located on the northeastern side of the island. This beach is absolutely beautiful with a huge stretch of sand wrapping around a corner of Cayo Levantado island. I found the public beach sand to be a bit softer, with fewer rocks, shells, and coral. However, the water goes deep quite dramatically once you go beyond 15 metres from shore. Parents with children should be vigilant. This public beach seems to lack the trees and foliage of the private beaches. As such, the sandy shore seems a lot more expansive. This beach is open to the public. On any given day, you will see a lot of tourists taking a boat to Cayo Levantado just to enjoy this magnificent beach. As such, we only visited once during the week. We went there at 10:00 am to avoid the ‘outsiders’. By 11:00 am, the other boats started arriving, and you could literally see dozens of tourists start populating the beach. There is bar service at the public beach, but it is not free. Drinks were around the $6 USD range. Even though the public beach was amazing, I preferred our own private beach where there less crowds and free drinks.

The public beach also has a row of souvenir shops. The vendors will do their best to try and sell you their wares. Bartering is the norm. We went on a couple of excursions, and the beach shops had basically the same stuff as everywhere else in Samana. So, I suggest you buy your knick knacks from them if you want to save yourself a trip into town. However, if you’re planning on buying Mamajuana (DR’s native drink), I found there was more selection at the airport, at a better price.


Service and Tipping

Our family has visited many Caribbean destinations. However, it was our very first time in the Dominican Republic. As such, I can unequivocally say that the courtesy, professionalism, and friendliness of the GBP Cayo Levantado staff is probably at or near the top of what our family has experienced to date. I’m not sure if this is true for every resort in DR, or if it’s a reflection of the Gran Bahia Principe chain of resorts, but we were duly impressed. The staff seemed genuinely eager to please, and every time you walked by a staff person, you were almost guaranteed to receive an ‘hola’ or similar greeting.

I know tipping is a divisive issue, but I wholly recommend that you leave tips for the wait staff, bartenders, housekeeping and drivers. If you can afford to go to GPB Cayo Levantado, surely you can set aside a couple of more dollars to tip the staff. Sure, all of the tips add up by the end of the week, but what’s a couple of extra bucks out of your pocket? It might not be a lot to you, but it really makes a difference to these impoverished workers. In addition, once they know you’re a tipper, the staff are even more attentive to your needs. It’s definitely a win-win.


Final Notes

The GBP Cayo Levantado is a very relaxing resort. If you’re single and you’re looking to hook up – look elsewhere. If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, this isn’t the right place for you.

Everything in my estimation closes a bit early. In fact, the main lobby bar closes at 11:00 pm.
If you’re a night owl and are looking for something to do, the GBP Cayo Levantado takes over the public beach after 10:00 pm, and there you can listen to music, drink and dance. Some nights there is a dj. Some nights there is live music. It is not well attended every night. I think Fridays and Saturdays are the busiest nights. Otherwise, it’s a pretty low key affair.

With respect to alcohol, they have a pretty good overall selection, and have some good brand labels. The ‘Banana Mama’ and ‘Coco Loco’ are the popular beach drinks. However, make sure you get yours blended for that slushy taste. When you’re at the beach bar, you can also ask to have them in a pineapple or coconut. My only disappointment was that they didn’t have Corona. Their only beer offering was ‘President’ - a domestic label.

On Friday, they do a free boat tour of the island, which you have to sign up beforehand in the main lobby. It’s nothing too exciting, but it’s nice to take pictures of the island from the water. They go counter-clockwise around the island, so I suggest you sit on the port (left) side of the boat for the unobstructed view. We got some amazing shots of the public beach from the boat. Those made the whole boat tour worthwhile.

In conclusion, our week at the GBP Cayo Levantado was definitely one of our best vacations ever. Because you are on your own private island, you can't help but feel exclusive - like you're somewhere truly special. That's how it felt staying there. Sometimes you may fall in love with an area, but you may want to try a different hotel/resort. Not in this case. Once you go here, you will never ever want to go to another resort in DR. It is that wondrous and memorable.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Víctor L, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, responded to this review, September 10, 2012
Dear guest madrid2k:

I would like to thank you for writing a review about your experience at the Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. In the name of the Hotel Management, we would like to thank you for your loyalty towards our hotel while choosing a place to enjoy your holidays.
It is a satisfaction for us to acknowledge that you had a wonderful visit to our hotel facilities thanks to the friendliness of our staff members and the variety of our gastronomy and beverages. In Bahia Principe those aspects are part of our main target, and we work hard to turn them into our strengths.
We are looking forward to welcome you next time, please contact us before your arrival.
Sincerely yours,
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south of England
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2012

We visited Cayo Leventardo for our honeymoon for 2 weeks in July. What a paradise island! This hotel knows how to treat honeymooners, for all our stay they treated us like royalty! When we arrived we were given an upgraded to the best room in the hotel (even though we just brought a standard room).The room had a 4 poster bed, jacuzzi and a massive balcony with sun loungers overlooking the sea! They had decorated our 4 poster bed with free rum, tea shirts, and other gifts. They had also laid out a selection of fruit and cakes on the table.

The island is so beautiful. We really enjoyed having the choice of 3 beaches on the island. The public beach was very quite in the mornings so we often went there for a swim and walk after breakfast for a couple of hours. We noticed that we could always find a quite stretch of the beach. There are plenty of sun loungers around the island so there was never issues with finding one. The 3 swimming pools were also outstanding, we loved the main pool on the top of the island as it was very peaceful and the Jacuzzi pool (the pool with 3 hot tubs built into it). There is also a pool right next to 2 of the beaches. The gardens on the island were beautifully maintained and there were free golf buggies if you needed them (however we always preferred to walk round the beautiful grounds!). We would recommend going on the free weekly boat ride around the island!

The food for the whole of our stay was outstanding, by far the best I have ever experienced on holiday (and we both have been very lucky to have visited many luxurious hotels). I still cannot believe the variety food that was available. The hotel is all inclusive in all restaurants, this includes the gourmet restaurants that serve dishes like ‘prince and princess’ (steak and lobster). I really enjoyed all of the 4 restaurants (the main buffet, the Mediterranean, Italian and gourmet). The chefs and waiters could not do enough for you. I am vegetarian and in the a la carts if there was only meat/fish options they would cook me something special. This is the first time I have ever been given such treatment , so 10 out of 10 for customer service here! As we were honeymooners we also received buckets full of champagne and special deserts in the a la cart restaurants! The buffet was equally outstanding, breakfasts, lunch and dinner had copious choice for meat eaters and vegetarians alike (veggies no fear there is a whole veggie area). I have to recommend the gazpacho soup at lunch and the cooked options at breakfast! My husband was frequently impressed by the choice of fish (including lobster) and meat in the buffet. The main restaurants has themed nights, we particularly enjoyed the Mexican and sushi evening! We were also very impressed that the room service menu was also all inclusive!

Drinks, what a great bar menu! The menu is 5 sides long, this should give you some idea about the choice available. I tried many new cocktails, to name a few we would recommend the Mulata, caipirinha and strawberry daiquiri ! We even ventured into the non-acholic cocktails, the banana mama was a favourite. The bar staff were very friendly and we never had to wait long for our drinks. We were also very impressed by the beach bar staff who brought you your orders to you on the beach! The mini bars were also included in the all inclusive package and were refilled daily.

Activity wise we really enjoyed kayaking around the island and snorkelling. The hotel had both double and single kayaks and are all inclusive. Depending on the sea conditions, on some days the snorkelling was better than others, but when it was good there was a lot to see! We also really enjoyed the Thomson trip to Los Haitises national park. This trip included a boat ride to see all the beautiful islands and wildlife of Los Haitises and a trip through mangroves to two caves with cave paintings. This trip was excellent value at 40 pounds per person.

Overall, an outstanding holiday on an exceptionally beautiful island .We are already planning to return to Cayo Leventardo!

Room Tip: We really liked our room in the main building with a sea view
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Víctor L, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, responded to this review, September 11, 2012
Dear guest loveshotsunnydays:

I would like to thank for writing a comment on Tripadvisor about your experience at Cayo Levantado. In the name of the Hotel Management, we would like to thank you for choosing our hotel to celebrate your honeymoon; we congratulate you and wish you the best.
We are very happy to read that this memorable occasion was very special as it is supposed to be. In Bahia Principe Hotels one of our guiding principles is to serve a unique gastronomy.
We will be happy to celebrate in our hotel your first anniversary, please write us a mail before your arrival,
With kindest regards,
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Manchester, England, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

I'm a really fussy person (some would say princess but I disagree). I work hard and have precious few leave days from work so expect my holidays to be heavenly as I pay a good price and expect a good service.
It's quite simple. This holiday was fantastic.
Hotel beautiful - clean, staff everywhere working hard, everyone friendly and had a smile.
Food - fabulous, fresh, great choice, we didn't use the ala carte restaurants because we loved the atmosphere in the main on.
Yes the transfer is a pain but it's so worth it to arrive at paradise on the Bacardi Island.
Trips sometimes get cancelled if they aren't full enough. We were gutted that the Catamarran didn't go as we were looking forward to some snorkelling.
The Thomson rep in the hotel was fab. Really knowledgeable of the area and the resort.
All in all nothing was too much trouble.
Loved Miguel down at the bottom beach bar. He looked after us well during the day.
Loved Ramon, Angel Daniel (no. 1) and all the waiters in the main restaurant who looked after us (it's always happy hour, two for the price of one).
The cocktails, freshly made and from such a choice of alcohol, all brands available.
We flew with Thomson (First Choice) and they were fantastic.
Even the rep on the transfer was lovely. Imagine Frank Bruno was a spanish accent and a beer belly and you've got him.
Tips - it's good to tip if you feel that someone has looked after you. We took American dollar bills and only tipped the people who went out of their way for us. We got through about 60 dollar bills in the trip and gave our favourites a fewer bigger notes before we left.
Maid service is fab. Clean sheets. Clean towels. Beach towels replaced as often as you want.
Nothing is too much trouble.
Pools lovely. Sunbeds at the pools are heavenly with a gorgeous thick matress on.
We loved the windy beach. I sat one morning watching staff cleaning seaweed off it. That's the attention to detail.
I defy anyone to not like this holiday.
We had a beach villa (31106) and all I can say is Wow. I think it was the best room in the hotel!!!!! Air conditioning on 24/7 if you want it which is good because the humidity is high.
Two negatives - the woman who looked at our passports at the airport was properly grumpy and we did not want to come home. That's it!

Room Tip: 31106 beach villa is paradise. Living room, bedroom, Queensize bed, Bathroom double sink, wet room...
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Víctor L, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
Dear Rachel F:

I would like to thank you for writing a review about your experience at the Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel. In the name of the Hotel Management, we would like to thank you for your loyalty towards our hotel while choosing a place to enjoy your holidays.
It is a satisfaction for us to acknowledge that you had a wonderful visit to our hotel facilities thanks to the friendliness of our staff members and the variety of our gastronomy and beverages. In Bahia Principe those aspects are part of our main target, and we work hard to turn them into our strengths. We appreciate your nice words about Ramon in reception, Miguel at the pool and Angel Daniel and the rest of staff , we have shared your comments with them.
We are looking forward to welcome you next time, please contact us before your arrival.
Sincerely yours,
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Bristol, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 7, 2012

this was our second holiday, we dont normally return to hotels, and were a bit worried that it would not live up to our memories, but it certainly did!
We have tried to think of any negatives, but other than the transfer by coach (4 hours...) there were none. The a la carte restaurants are superb, food and service both being excellent. The beach is lovely and well looked after and cleaned every day, even after the tropical storm. Our room (villa rooms 11) was huge with a lovely view. Myself and my friend went to the spa for massages, my friend goes often and said this massage was one of the best she has had. The thing though that really enhanced our stay was the staff, they provided exceptional service and were good fun, we must pick out particularly Waster, Walky, Mickey, Fernando (never an empty glass when you are on the beach), Maria, and I dont know the man's name that made the omlettes and whilst he must have been boiling he was always smiley. Will we go back for a third time, yes!

Room Tip: villa block 11 was superb
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Víctor L, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
Dear Guest 155billie:

I would like to thank you for writing a review about your stay at the Cayo Levantado. In the name of the Hotel Management and our team, we want to thank you for your loyalty towards our hotel when choosing a place for your vacations.
We are very satisfied to read that we could ensure you again a wonderful holiday. As you have experienced two times in Cayo Levantado we are committed to provide the best service, to offer a nice service, and to be settled in one of the best paradises around the world.
We appreciate your nice words about Waster, Walky, Mickey, Fernando and Maria in Bars, and Yrineo the man who made omelets; we have shared your comments with them.
We are already waiting for your next visit.
Kind regards,
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Toronto
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

We have been to DR 7times, mostly to Punta Cana and La Romana.  This was our first time to Samana.

We are a family of 3 (myself and my husband in our early40's with our 7 year old daughter). We travelled with my sister's family (in their early 40's and my 8 year old nephew).

Flight
We flew with Westjet.  The flight was smooth except we encountered some turbulence when we were near our destination due to the tai lend of Issac.  There was no compliment meal on the flight, but it's no big deal since we packed our meals anyway.
We we're the only flight in that afternoon, and going through custom was a breeze.

Transfer
We then boarded a bus together with guests who were going to GBP Cayocoa. When we arrived at GBP Cayocoa, we were asked to go to the frontdesk of GBPC, and we're told that we might need to stay at GBPC for the night since the condition of the ocean was too ruff for us to go to the island.  We we're disappointed, but after 10 minutes our rep from Westjet got a call saying that we ca go (excited!). The bus then came back and picked us up again going to the pier.  The ride to the pier was very scenic, and we got to see the local life.

Check in
This happened at the guest house by the pier.  We received a package with a map of the resort, time table of the ferry, and our wrist bands.

Boat ride
It lasted less than 10 minutes, and when we were close to the island we saw the  breath-taking beaches, and the lush vegetation of the island.  Cayo Levantado IS a paradise island!

Room
We booked the Paradise rooms, and we're first assigned villa #21.  When they took us via the shuttle to our rooms, we were disappointed, the rooms were on ground floor, very small rooms with NO WINDOW!!
We went back to the frontdesk asking if they could switch us to the main building top floor rooms.  Frantz of the frontdesk was so helpful, he immediately took us to view 2 rooms on the 5th floor of the main. Building.  They were exactly what we want - with ocean view!  We were moved to the new rooms in no time.
The superior rooms are large with a good size balcony. Bed is firm and large just to our liking.  The in room fridge is well stocked with pops, water, wine, beers and chips.  The bathroom is large with 2 sinks, and the shower is in the jacuzzi.  Ww have no problem with the water pressure, and hot water. Flat screen TV and free Wi-Fi.
The down side of top floor rooms was that it was very noisy when it rains.

Food
Great food at the buffet!  We ate our breakfasts at the buffet everyday, they have caviar, smoke salmon with a variety of bake goods, fruits and sausages, meats, fruit juices, milk, soya milk for breakfast.  
We ate our lunch at the poolside restaurant, which also provides a wide range of choices.  As for dinners, we booked 3 a la carte, but ended up just going to Don Plabo.  The environment, services, atmosphere and food quality of Don Plabo is exceptional!  I am a vegetarian, and they made a veggie pasta for me which was the best vegetarian meal I have in the Caribbean, my sister, my husband and my brother-in-law all ordered the sample menu which allowed them to try out all items from the menu.  Thei chocolate fantasy is to die for!
The rest of the week, we ate our dinners at the buffet restaurant.  They have different theme every night, we love the Dominican Republic night, and the Italian night the most.
Two things I would love to see more in their menu are more Mangu and passion fruits.  We only have Mangu for breakfast once, and during the DR night.  And they have NO passion fruit!

Pools and beaches
We stayed at the main pool since the kids like to play in the pool.  The pool is very clean. My sister and my husband and I went to the beach a fe time to snorkel and saw a few star fishes, rock fishes.  There were a lot of sea urchins though.  There are a lot of shades on the beaches. And no one need to either get up super early to find a spot.  We also went over to
 The windy beach to cool down.  Both beaches are breath-taking.
The ground of this resort is immaculately kept.

Staff
Super helpful and friendly, EVERYONE of the staff!  They don't say no to you, if you need something, they will make it happen!  GBPCL let me know what  the true meaning of a 5 Star resort is.  I would like to say thanks to Frantz and Ramon of frontdesk, Miki of the poolbar, and their are too many staff whom I couldn't even remember their names in the buffet restaurant, poolside restaurant, gift shop, and our maid in the main building.

We already planning to go back next year for our summer vacation, and we will go for the junior suites next time!

Thank you GBPCL, you made our summer vacation memorable!

Room Tip: Go for junior suites
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Víctor L, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
Dear guest KittyKatKat:

I would like to thank you for writing a review about your experience at the Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel. In the name of the Hotel Management, we would like to thank you for your loyalty towards our hotel while choosing a place to enjoy your holidays.
It is a satisfaction for us to acknowledge that you had a wonderful visit to our hotel facilities thanks to the friendliness of our staff members and the variety of our gastronomy and beverages. In Bahia Principe those aspects are part of our main target, and we work hard to turn them into our strengths. We appreciate your nice words about Franz, Ramon in reception; and the rest of the staff. we have shared your comments with them.
We are looking forward to welcome you next time, please contact us before your arrival.
Sincerely yours,
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Lisbon
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 4, 2012

We spent 1 week at Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. The hotel is located far from Samaná airport, it takes around 2 hours to get there, including the boat to the hotel. We did the check in before taking the boat and it was fast. When we arrived we were welcomed by Ramon who is very nice and helpful.

The hotel is very beautiful, great decoration and the gardens are amazing.

We booked a Superior Junior suite which is very spacious, huge bed, nice bathroom and an amazing view (villa 2). The minibar was refilled everyday and the room was very clean. You have wifi internet for free. The only problem in the room was with the toilet which sometimes flooded because it didn't flush properly. However we called the reception and they always sent someone to fix the problem.

We had bad luck with the weather during the first four days because of Isaac and what I noticed was that there were no efforts from the hotel staff to entertain the guests who couldn't go to the beach, pool or get out of the island because of the storm. You just have some board games and other entertainment games, however there is no entertainment staff which is terrible specially whey you are a young couple. I thought that this was probably because of the weather however in the remaining days there were no activities as well, during the day and when there were at night it was very lame. The most negative aspect of this Hotel is entertainment which is almost nonexistent. I have been in 4 and 5* hotels in the Caribbean and even in the 4* hotels the entertainment was a lot better than in this one.

Food at the buffet Orquidea is fine, it has good quality but there is not a lot of variety from one day to the other, but it has vegetarian food, soya milk and I think this is something to value. Buffet close to the beach has not so many variety and it is almost the same everyday, but you can get a nice lunch anyway.

Restaurants à la carte are all great, fast service, very good food and friendly staff. Don Pablo was my favorite but the others are excellent too.

Reception staff are polite and friendly. Entertainment staff you barely see them, and when you do they are just walking around. Staff at the lobby bar and buffet restaurants are polite however I noticed that they give much more attention and better service to Americans. I think this is because of tips however I don't think it's fair to tip every time they get you a drink, you already paid for this service when you booked all inclusive. I only tip in the à la carte restaurants because here they really deserve a tip since they are providing you a full service but in the lobby bar I don't think so.

One of the big problems in this hotel is with beach towels. Whenever you go to get a towel they don't have them and they only ask for more or go get more when someone asks for one. This didn't happen only once this happened every single day of my stay. This is terrible in a 5* GL hotel and it never happened to me in any hotel.

Overall the hotel is good wonderful beach but I probably wouldn't come back because of the poor entertainment.

Room Tip: Villa 2 has an amazing view.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Víctor L, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
Dear guest Andreiapep:

I would like to thank you for writing a review about your experience at the Cayo Levantado Hotel. In the name of the Management, we would like to thank you for choosing us to spend your holidays.
We are very happy to read that you had a memorable stay thanks to the friendliness of our staff members, the beauty and the cleanness of our premises and facilities, and the good work of our staff.
On the other hand, I have shared your suggestions and comments with our Executive Chef to improve our standards.
Related to entertainment we are very sorry to not have meet your expectations.
One of the strengths of Cayo Levantado Hotel is that the entertainment is minimal and not noisy.
For the next occasion, If you are interested in a more lively hotel, We can put you in touch with the management of Esmeralda or Ambar in Punta Cana, belonging to Bahia Principe in the same category.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us for further assistance.
Sincerely yours,
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2012

This is a review from very fussy person (my boyfriend could confirm this!).
Last year my boyfriend and I went to Cayo Levantado for our first holiday together. We were pleasantly surprised with how lovely the hotel is. You can look at the hotel from the photos, but it does not compare to the reality. The villa rooms are simply amazing, very spacious and well laid out. The furniture is very modern, the bed is very comfortable and the size of the bathroom is almost like another room. The food was very tasty. We went to two la carte restaurants. Both restaurants were very lovely. The atmosphere and the food were also very pleasant. The pools and hotel ground were very well maintained and clean. Hotel staff was very polite and always helpful. We also tried the hotel spa which was fantastic. I highly recommend trying that while staying in the hotel (of course only if you like to be pampered). We wanted to come back this year, but the dates are not working for us. However, if we could come back we definitely would. The only downfall was that we only stayed there for a week. We could do with two weeks :)

Room Tip: We were staying in one of the villas so I would highly recommend this type of accomodation rather th...
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Víctor L, Manager at Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection, responded to this review, September 9, 2012
Dear guest Paladinkak:

In the name of Bahia Principe Hotel Management, we would like to thank you for your loyalty when choosing a hotel for your holidays and for posting your experience.
In Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado we are committed to provide an excellent service through a high qualified team.
We hope to welcome you soon, please contact us before your arrival,
With best regards,
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection

Address: Isla de Cayo Levantado | Bahia de Samana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Samana Province
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Samana Province
#1 Spa Hotel in Samana Province
#1 Luxury Hotel in Samana Province
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 268
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services 2 pools 3 Jacuzzis with bar Large sun terrace and gardens with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 1 tennis court Motorised water sports (additional charge) Store Heliport WiFi access in the lobby (free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Main buffet-style restaurant and 3 speciality restaurants 6 Bars Cocktail Lounge Snack-bar Wedding gazebo Rooms 209 rooms including 5 types Superior, Junior Suite, Superior Junior Suite, Deluxe Junior Suite and Beach Villas. Superior Junior Suites, Deluxe Junior Suites and Beach Villas are larger than the Junior Suite and Superior. Room facilities: King size four poster bed Air conditioning Ceiling fan Sitting area with desk Balcony or terrace Fully-equipped marble bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, separate shower, bidet, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Telephone in bathroom Don Pablo Collection amenities Bathrobe and slippers Radio alarm clock with iPod docking station Direct phone line (additional charge for external calls) Flat screen satellite TV Safe Mini-bar with alcoholic drinks Wifi Coffee-making facilities Ironing set 24 hour room service Evening downturn service Outdoor Jacuzzi (Deluxe Junior Suites) Butler service Pillow menu Aroma menu Beach Villas: Seafront location with outdoor Jacuzzi, pillow menu available on request, baggage unpacking and ironing service, laundry service (optional) Other services Medical and pharmacy service (additional charge for both) Stores in the hotel Heliport and private boat (available on request for an additional charge) Mainland reception and transfer by boat (included in the booking fee) Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel
Cayo Levantado Samana
Cayo Levantado Dominican Republic
Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
Cayo Levantado Hotel Samana

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