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“Fantastic trip and perfect location for a wedding” 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 58 Hotels in Samana Province
Fort McMurray, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
“Fantastic trip and perfect location for a wedding”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 30, 2010

The whole vacation was amazing, the resort was beautiful and I would love to go back again soon. We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado from April 11-18th, 2010. There were 19 people (18 adults & 1 child) in our group, and we were there for my husband’s sister’s wedding. I’ll break up the trip to try and cover everything:

Flight
We flew with Air Canada Vacations from Toronto. We had people from Fredericton, Moncton, Halifax, and Alberta all meet in Toronto to go down together. Our travel agent was Jennifer Reece with Trip Central and she was great, we had lots of options for rooms and travel, the flight was on time, we arrived mid-day on the Sunday, and had lots of time to get to the resort and still enjoy the day.

Hotel
The bus trip was a little over an hour from the Samana airport, with a really long stop for people to buy beer and water along the way. The hotel front lobby is on the main land we got into 2 boats to take us to the island with the resort.

We were greeted by tons of hotel staff on the island, they were friendly, happy to see us, and brought us right in the orientation room and gave us cold drinks.

Most of our family members and friend stayed in villas 11, 12, & 13. They were all beautiful junior suite rooms with king beds and Jacuzzis on the patio. Us and another couple stayed in villas 9 & 8, these were Junior suite deluxe rooms, they were a little larger, with a sunken living room and large patio out the door to enjoy quiet time looking at the ocean. The rooms were super clean, the bar fridges were always well stocked and the bathrooms were huge with another Jacuzzi tub, separate shower, toilet room with bedai.

Pools
There were 2 main pools (one quieter and one by the beach) and another Jacuzzi pool by villas 12 & 13. The pool were fun, but I was disappointed there was no swim-up pool bar at any of them, and no bar open at the Jacuzzi pool (which was the most fun for a group our size).

Beaches
There were 3 main beaches, the rough beach, the calmer beach, and the public beach. Everyone LOVED playing in the waves on the rough beach, it was a little windy for sunbathing, but there was early morning sun on that side of the island. We went snorkelling on the rough beach and the coral was amazing, only be careful of the rough waves along the sides, we had a tumble into the coral when we were out there. The calmer beach was great for swimming and playing in the ocean as well, I tried snorkelling there and it was a little too murky. The beach is a lot wider on the calm side, it was great for sunbathing.

Restaurants
We ate the first time at the Mediterranean place, it was nice, the food we delicious. The wedding reception was at Don Pablos and it was FANTASTIC, the sirloin was wrapped in bacon, the desserts were great, and the wedding cake was beautiful. The third time we ate at the Italian place and we had lamb, which was really well done if you’re a lamb lover. The buffet is a typical AI buffet, different themes every night and good variety, the main buffet offered more choice than the beach snack bar at lunch.

Market
I went once to the market, the vendors were typical for DR, very pushy wanting you to come out back to see more stuff, except for one woman, her jewellery stood right out, all hand made right there, and it was soooo beautiful and unique, I think we all bought one of her pieces.

Nightlife
At first we were worried that there wouldn't be much partying in the evenings because the bars at the hotel close at 11pm and most of the staff leave on a boat to the main land at midnight. But we were happy to find that the public beach (short walk from the front lobby) had a outside bar (free for hotel guests) and a beach party everynight (when not raining) until at least 2am. They played great music and had a dance floor set up on the beach, our group partied there most nights after the lobby bar closed and really enjoyed it!

Wedding
My husand’s sister was married while we were there, they picked the flowers and cake before hand, and when they arrived the wedding coordinator took them around to show them the location and to pick the menus. It was really well done, the gazebo was on a stretch of land coming out between the calm and rough beach, the decorations were nice, and the flowers were beautiful exotic flowers. The minister was all business, and the music selection was a little cheesy, but overall it was fantastic, the couple seemed very happy with their day.

We didn’t have a single person sick on this trip, which was incredible, compared to last year in Punta Cana I think everyone took a turn in the medical center.

The cars that shuttle you around the loop to your villa from the front lobby were very good, you could almost always catch one out front of the lobby and driving by you on the way from your villa you can hail them down.

I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again and I recommend it to everyone.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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Nova Scotia
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2010

On April 8th , my Husband & 4 other Friends spent a week at the Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado . It was the most beautiful resort we have been too, and we have been to many !! Everything from the Food to the Service was great. Not one complaint from us. Hope to return again soon.

  • Stayed April 2010, 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.
Hamilton, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 20, 2010

A group of eight of us stayed the week of April 11 - 18 and there is no denying the grounds of this hotel and the island are beautiful. It rained a lot but that would help explain why everything is so lush and we still had enough sun to get a bit of tan. The rooms at the hotel are very nice, clean and a good size but if you like to shower watch out for rooms #217, #317 and #417 in the main building. These rooms come with a tub only and face the back of the building. A tub only was a big problem for my wife and I and so was the noise that came from the buildings used by the employees located at the back of the main building. It was great that the hotel put all eight of us together on the fourth floor but we were all getting annoyed with the noise that the employees made late into the evening and very early in the morning. The hotel did remedy our shower problem but I would suggest booking an upgrade which may help avoid this area of the hotel. The beaches and pools are nice but there is walking involved to get to these no matter where you stay at this resort. The beach is small and somewhat rocky as you wade in and it would be a good idea to bring water shoes. The pool, beaches, buffet restaurant and common areas were often crowded and a good number of little ones were there as well. We were advised the hotel was fully booked and it showed. Besides our room, the biggest complaint was the inconsistency of the service. At times it could take forever to get service (shuttel, bar, restaurant, maid) and drink and food orders were often wrong. Forget about a pre-dinner siesta. For a few of us maid service was not carried out until after 4:30 PM on a number of days even though we requested a much earlier time on the questionnaire that came in the rooms. Turndown service, chocolates.....sometimes. Regular tipping for maid service did seem to make a difference for one couple from our group. Tipping for service at the bars or restaurants sometimes had a positive affect and was appreciated by the staff and other times it was not depending on the server. The food at the buffet was good but especially good for the gala evening with lobster and prime rib. The gourmet restaurant was also very good as was the service The Mediterranean restaurant was sad to say the least for its food and service. They were out of everything and what we had was not good. The new Italian restaurant food was much better but again the service was lacking. The liquor was another story, but I knew going in that they use cheap alcohol but more than any 5 star resort I have ever been to. At the lobby bar the preparation of the drinks was carried out in a room behind the bar and we all found this very disconcerting. Some nights you could not get a glass of wine with you meal for whatever reason but not a problem on other nights...strange. I recommended this hotel to my friends based on the positive comments and rating on TA and I was truly expecting a 5 star experience for us with a couple of the usual blips along the way. However, there was more than a couple of blips on this trip and we all came away a little disappointed. I would still recommend this hotel to others but with a caveat regarding the rooms, service and liquor which in my opinion brought this 5 star property down to a 4 star.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riverview NB Canada
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
167 helpful votes 167 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 19, 2010

We stayed at this resort from April 8-15 for the second time as we had been there last year for an excursion for three nights from the Ambar in Punta Cana and were impressed.
This year AC vacations were flying to Samana out of Halifax so we booked six months in advance. A four hour flight got us in to the airport at 1pm and through customs to the bus. Ride took over 90 min to reach the first hotel Cayo Coco where we dropped off most of the people and had to wait 30 min there, then off to our resort. We received our packages on the mainland and had to wait 45 min for the boat to take us over which put us in at around 5 pm so we lost a day. Last year the boat had life vests on it for use if needed this year it did not which upset my wife as she is not a strong swimmer. Arrived at the hotel to a cool towel, a drink and a welcome from the management then off to our rooms. Most of us were located on the third floor which has some view of the bay and courtyard. We had emailed the hotel requesting a fourth floor room but never received a reply back. As we have always stayed at the Bahia chain and emailed the resorts with requests we had always recieved a reply back and if the space was available were granted what we had asked for along with several perks for repeat customers. Not here though which I found strange. Room was large with a king bed and the bathroom has a large tub with water jets. Only tried the TV one night but didn't find anything on, appears to be a few english channels but we didn't go there the watch TV. Our maid Felipa kept the room clean and we had towel art every day as we tipped and left small gifts for her. Bar fridge was stocked every day and we left the guy a tip also. Hotel was full but you never had that feeling there were that many people there.
You could walk around it and not see anybody except the workers cleaning and painting.
Beach is nice and we never had any problem getting shade there, do not swim near the rocks in the middle as there are black sea urchans with poison spines that will case you a trip to the onsite doctor to get them out. If it is not busy at the beach bar the girls will come around and take your order, tip well and they will keep your glass filled all day.
Afternoons were spent at the upper pool which is nice with its sunbeds and poolbar. Bar guy would not venture around to deliver drinks up there, but the guy that was there last year did.
Did rain a lot there mostly in the morning then would start again at 4 and go till midnight.
Spent a lot of time at night at the lobby bar where the best server was Maximo who speaks very good english, never had a dry glass when this guy was around. There is also a guy who plays the grand piano inside at night and outside an electronic organ if it is not raining. He will take requests and don't be afraid to give him a tip and clap for him as he really likes the attention.
Buffet is very good with theme nights and something for everyone breakfast was the highlight of the day with the egg guy Francesco remembering how you liked your eggs every day. We did go to the a-lacarte Italian but found it was not very good and the service was bad. Don Pablo is the best with great service and food.
I did a dive with the dive shop on the beach and we did the ferry wreck which has been down for 3 years but is covered with soft and hard corals and has so many fish on it, if you are a diver it is a must do for this location.
If you are with AC vacations save yourself some time and skip the meeting with the rep as he is a waste of time, and only wants to sell you high priced excursions. Just go to guest services on the night before you leave and they will tell you when you have to get the boat back. We got sucked into a VIP excursion to Playa Ricon which according to him was the best beach in the region, natural pool, lots of fish to see, shade on the beach and a BBQ.
What he neglected to tell us was that the VIP ride was in the back of a cargo truck with bench seats and a tarp over it. Very bad roads (we lost a shock coming back) a stop at a farm to see how coco was made and sample some fruits then off to the beach.
No natural pool, no fish to see, no shade and vendors that bugged you to buy their stuff.
BBQ was good though.
Hotel has free WFI only in the lobby and two laptops for use. WFI seems to cycle so you can't stay on for long as it kicks you off after a while.
All in all a good trip to kick back and relax
PM me if you require more details

  • Stayed April 2010, 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BURLINGTON
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 16, 2010

Lou and I had an absolutely mar velous time, however, we found the washroom supplies a little abrasive. other than thay we strongly recommend this hotel to everyone looking to PARTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed April 2010, 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 12, 2010

We stayed from April 4 - 11. The landscaping was absolutely fabulous...a 6 star. The resort did not feel crowded and at times we did not see anyone along the paths to the beach. The calm beach was nice, the sand was not powder but more granular. The other rough beach was nice if you want waves and to use the boogy board. The staff are mostly friendly but many do not speak English or a bit shy to speak English. Tipping $1 or $2 makes for better service. I would not recommend shopping at Somana town as the vendors will harrass you to buy. The ride from the airport to the hotel was over hour long and bumpy as the roads are being fixed due to the installation of water pipes.

The buffet was okay, a 4 star, be careful with the cooking of the meats as they tend not to cook through, you can always ask to have the meat cooked again. I would recommend that you stay away from the buffet during the rush crowd as the cook can get overwhelmed which result in undercooked meats. The selection of vegetables was very good. The breakfast was the best meal of the day. Load up on the yogurt and oatmeal, it looks not appetising but tastes great and good for your system as you will need it.

The restaurants are okay, the presentation is different but it will take 1. 5 hours from start to finish so book the reservation for 7 pm.

Overall a 4 star resort, with room for improvement with food and staff. This is the place to relax and unwind.

  • Stayed April 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nova Scotia
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2010

Stayed at the Gran Bahia March 26-April 3, 2010. The resort grounds and landscaping are simply beautiful. The grounds staff are constantly working to maintain the gorgeous property. The views from the lobby terrace are spectacular. The resort beaches, while nice, are relatively small. The 'rough' beach is very rough; no one swimming there. Usually there are plenty of loungers available at the beach and various pools although there were more people than usual on a couple of days due to the resort offering special offers to guests staying at other Bahia Principe properties in Samana.

The rooms are beautifully finished. I stayed in a beachfront villa which was very large and nicely appointed (marble and stone throughout, mahogany furnishings, terrace tub, etc.). The villa was located steps from the beach or the beach pool, snack bar, and two of the specialty restaurants. Beautiful and convenient, but a higher traffic area so you do sacrifice some privacy for the location.

Areas for improvement:
1) Service-erratic. Some staff went out of their way to provide excellent services; others were indifferent. English is limited, but not a major obstacle. One evening received rum and coke after ordering wine. Service improved significantly when the corporate management made an appearance, but declined noticably in their absence. Enjoyed a room service breakfast on one morning. The food arrived within 45 minutes. Ordered a room service dinner one evening and it took about an hour twenty minutes to arrive. Not a huge inconvenience and somewhat expected thanks to reading other reviews before the trip.

After spending a long day travelling, the reception on the mainland was not particularly welcoming. A cool drink, of any kind, would have been greatly appreciated. We waited 45 minutes to board the boat. The trip to the island only takes 10 minutes, so the wait was inexcusable. The gentleman distributing the keys and reception packages was not very pleasant, nor did he make any effort to make you feel welcome.

2) Food-The buffet is mediocre at best (bland and uninspired). Although there are theme nights, the themes seem to blend together most nights. Meat generally undercooked. I don't mind beef medium rare, but chicken and lamb were not thoroughly cooked. Fish was a safe bet when it was available.

Specialty restaurants-did go to the Mediterrean and the food was very good. Tuna appetizer, Greek Salad, lobster, and cheesecake. Outstanding service and food presentation.

3) Air Canada representative (Felix?). Basically useless. Did attend the presentation which consisted of an excursion sales pitch. He really didn't provide much in the way of practical information about the resort, the island, or check-out procedures. In fact, his only comment was to read the binder if you wanted information (I thought that was the purpose of the presentation). Check-out was fairly chaotic. There was a notice on the last night stating that the boat for my departure would leave at 9 a.m. Not wanting to miss the boat, I arranged a wake-up call and made the first call for transportation at 8 a.m. At 8:56, after four calls, the transportation finally arrived and I barely made it to the boat. Very frustrating!

4) Entertainment: Watched the Dominican night performance. Talented dancers doing the best they can with a make shift performing area. Did not bother returning to the other performances. Being the Easter holiday week, there were many children at the resort and the animation staff did go out of their way to entertain the children.

Worth the experience, at least once. Not sure that I would return. A five star property with three star service and food.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
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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 Luxury Hotel in Samana Province
#1 Spa Hotel in Samana Province
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Samana Province
#1 On the Beach 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 and in rooms (free of 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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