One of my annual travelling buddies and I recently spent a glorious week at this resort. I have stayed at all of the other major all inclusive hotels on the Samana peninsula over the past 20 years many times and this hotel is truly a jewel.
We travelled down with Air Canada vacations and had the hot and uncomfortable luck to check in at the dock while watching the boat leave for the island. I asked for and was given a bottle of water but no one else was offered one. On arrival at the island everything suddenly got better. We were greeted with cold cloths to freshen up with and one of those sickly sweet pink cocktails served in a fabulous air conditioned lobby. We went directly to the bar for a real pina colada but sadly this is a principe resort and there isn't a blender in sight.
Aside from the location, the most outstanding feature of this resort is the fabulously attentive staff. I have never stayed at a resort where upper management was not only visible but attentive to their guests.
We had booked a superior room and had asked for one with two queen sized beds. Our first room was on the 5th floor of the main building. You take the elevator to the 4th floor, walk the length of the hallway and take the stairs up to 5. The room is a garret with roof rafters and all with a king sized bed and a single bed squeezed in as well. There was a tiny balcony that you had to duck when walking to the railing. Down to the lobby we went and met our new best friend Ramon. Now to work on the front desk at one of these resorts it helps to have the patience of a saint and to understand that the unhappy guests in front of you probably haven't had enough sleep and are exhausted. Ramon told is that the resort was full but he had one room in one of the villas. These small villas have three rooms in them. The room has two small windows about four feet off the floor. It is dark on the brightest of days. The wee patio, the paved area under the window, has no view, no privacy, no garden, and the side of the linen storeroom to look at. Ramon thought that we would be able to upgrade in a couple of days so we took the villa. The resort has some pretty ridiculous rooms and villas and some majorly fabulous ones. Two days after our arrival we were given room 306 in the main building and it was pure heaven. The room is huge with a grand expanse of window and balcony.
The grounds are lovely and well tended. I have often stayed at the hotel on the mainland that you can see from the north side of the island and we used to come over to the old hotel on this island before the present hotel was built. The trees were magnificent and I was so happy to see that they have managed to keep the majority of them. I always bring down about 100 US one dollar bills and so do my friends. We tip the gardeners and the guys who clean up the beach as well as the service staff in the hotel.
Now this resort is part of the principe group and so is the food. This is the same food that you eat at el Portillo and Cayacoa. The fish and the seafood are always overcooked, the beef very chewy but I have never gone hungry and I always gain weight. The one thing they really should do is enlarge the area of the outside dining. At every meal there were people either waiting in the bar area or told to eat inside. I was surprised that there didn't seem to be any sort of dress code in the dining room and some of the guests were definitely under dressed.
On the whole this is a 4 star resort with some spectacular rooms and a lovely location. I would definitely come back in November when the price of a junior suite is about $400 a week higher than GBP El Portillo but when I return to the Dominican Republic in February the price doubles and El Portillo is a far better value.and well worth waiting for.
- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel
- Cayo Levantado
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
- Cayo Levantado Samana
- Cayo Levantado Dominican Republic
- Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
- Cayo Levantado Hotel Samana
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Feel the comfort in a exclusive Island surrounded by beautiful landscapes, exotic gardens and the view of the turquoise sea from the Caribe. Get pampered in our Spa or keep on shape in our fitness center! Relive your great love in a very romantic dinner in our Gazebo under the moon and candles light on the beach. ... more less
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