Upon our arrival met by a cold drink and told room not quite ready...not a problem, had a look around and a bite to eat in buffet restaurant. After lunch, room ready. Very nice rooms...had one overlooking the bay on top (5th) floor. Friends had a seaview, same floor...awesome views.
After settling in, went to book ala cartes. Told we had only 3 whereas Air Canada Priviledges said 4.No problem it takes sometimes a little too long to eat there. Average around 2 hours. We had a large group (12) and trying to get everyone together sometimes impossible. One dinner our family only. Prior to going on our trip, I asked in advance to have a reservation for the New Years Eve Gala dinner set up for the 12 of us. Was told there would be one for us, no problem. When we went to confirm this, it seemed all new to them. They gave us a slip for our party anyways. Upon arrival for the 8:30 seating, told it was too many of us for one table and that they didn't do more than 10 at a table. Funny thing was, there was a table for 14 right next to us. Not too happy about squeezing into a table of 4 with a round table of 8, Daddys and Raphael made best the situation and offered us a complimentary bottle of wine. They explained to us, there was no record of reservation. Point here, if told one thing...get in in writing and with a name. Even then, no guarantee. Meal itself okay, nothing special.
The food in the buffet in general is tasty but often repetitive. The ala cartes better quality but often not enough quantity. I felt the gourmet was the best of the bunch with the seafood next and then the italian. Another word of caution...men must have CLOSED TOE shoes for dinner for the ala cartes. But after viewing one male patron with sandals on and confirming this after talking to them outside the restaurant, both the restaurant manager and hostess denied that they were in there. They refused our friend entry earlier. Seems a little fishy...who you know maybe? The food and beverage manager Raphael was called and situation was explained. He apologized and made sure we were looked after the next night in the italian restaurant.
The hotel offered many things to do for both children and adults. Day trips were numerous and both Juan and Carlitos explained everything. We tried SCUBA in the pool...very good. A group of people went to see the sea lions on "Bacardi Island" aka Cayo Laventado. More went deep sea fishing and others went ziplining with "Walk the Plank" zip line tours done through Air Canada. The animation staff were wonderful and we had a lot of fun at some of the shows. The wait staff and bartenders were excellent all the time. A little tip here and there is very appreciated. My favourite was Evelyn at the beach bar. Nice bloody marys almost tasted little caesars. If looking for clamato juice, it can found in gift shop outside front lobby but very expensive. Town is a short shuttle away and wine and other necessities can be purchased there a lot cheaper than at hotel. You can bring your own wine to the ala cartes...do it as the house wine is a little rough.
Trip from airport quick and I mean really quick...fast drivers. Joel from Air Canada met us at airport and very helpful here and at the hotel. Doesn't deserve the negative reviews previously posted.
All in all a good trip with a good bunch of friends and family. Yes it is a little harder with a group of 12 but they try to fix their mistakes. Just get their names when promised something. Beautiful hotel, nice location, average food and most of the time great service. A lot of steps, especially if elevator is broken to get to beach...happened one day.
Last note of caution for the Canadians coming home from Samana airport. The manager at the duty free shop will try to sell you more alcohol than allowed by customs. Only 1.14 litres a person is allowed. He tells everyone that two bottles...any size allowed. I wish, lol.
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa Hotel
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa Samana