Exceeded our expections! We arrived April 7/11 via Air Canada Vacations to Samana from Halifax. The flight was much more comfortable than Sunwing, the other carrier we have used in the past. Much enjoyed the personal video screens. Food was expensive on the plane, but thankfully we waited to eat at the resort! And eat we did. The food was the best we have had. We were given our room assignments and keys on the bus, which enabled everyone to find their rooms and start their vacations upon arrival. The Air Canada representative, Maude, gave a very thorough, but not long, informational session - worth attending. She was available and on site. We go to an all inclusive resort (4-5*) every year and this one was the best yet.
Rooms- we had a JR suite and it was very nice and very clean. All the rooms are easily within walking distance of everything. Mini bar well stocked daily.
Food- As previously stated, the food was great! We both gained weight and tried to cut back after the first few days. We ate primarily at the buffet for breakfast and supper and the snack bar every day for lunch. We did go to the Italian and the Gourmet Restaurant, which were good as well. We were served both quickly and efficiently by the staff at the a la cartes. Sometimes during peak times at the buffet restaurant or eating outside, which we really enjoyed, there was a wait to get tables set, and drinks served.The hotel was fully booked while we were there. But the staff worked very hard, and we learned to sit and relax before getting our meal to wait for cutlery and beverages. In the morning, a coffee table was set up which made it much easier to self serve, which we did not mind at all. It did not feel like a cafeteria, like the place we went to last year in Cuba did.
Beach was great! Long and enjoyable to walk, powder soft sand, and calm water. The snorkeling was great! If you take bananas with you, and you swim over some of the green grasses places, you will come to some deeper holes that are about 15 feet across that have beautiful fish to feed and watch. We were on the beach every day. We did get up early to put out our towels and beach stuff, which we did not like, but when in Rome...... We had a great spot in front of the bar, a few steps to the snack bar and washrooms. Loved it! Drinks were super good at all the bars. I challenge anyone to find better elsewhere. Pina Coladas, Banana Mamas, ect, plus the mixed drinks- the rum punch, very good. The wine was not so great, but didn't stop me from drinking several glasses per evening!
You could walk into the town of Las Terrenas on the beach if you wanted or a cab ride is $10 each way. The walk is long and over an hour, but worth it to see the public beaches. People are friendly but the town is loud, busy and lots of exhaust. Glad I went in to see it, though.
Pool- we were not in the pool once as the beach was so nice. It was not a huge pool, but it seemed to be fine for the number of guests.
Staff- this would have to be one of the highlights of our trip. The staff were truly friendly and happy. Not only would they try to accomodate what you asked for, they NEVER expected a tip! We were surprised, to say the least. We did tip a lot but never saw anyone else do so during our stay, which is very unfortunate. These people work very hard and were very appreciative of being acknowleged for their work.
There is free wi-fi in the lobby and beside the lobby bar, which is convenient to keep in touch with home/work. A coffee station is set up every day in the lobby bar between breakfast and lunch for those who would like something at that time. Juice and sweets, as well.
Evening entertainment- We went a few times to the shows but left early as we were tired. Never tried the disco, but did enjoy the lobby bar after dinner. During the day, the entertainment staff did a good job encouraging people to join activities but were not pushy. And there was no loudspeaker pounding music non stop all day, which was great. We usually stay at larger resorts but found this to have everything we needed.
Any negatives which are hardly worth mentioning, in no way made this less than a perfect get away for us. We truly had a wonderful vacation (and well within budget!) and would totally recommend.