We stayed 11July - 25 July....
The flight out with Thomson was fine...friendly staff as usual.
Check in for the hotel was brilliant - its all done on the bus on the way there. you get your band and room number etc. So all you collect when you arrive is your safe key (56 for 2 weeks) and your room key....takes about 5 mins to get this and then you are whisked off to your room.
We were in a golden club suite #8201 (rooms at the end of each block are bigger - so ask for one of these!!) The bed was huge...and we found it to be comfortable. Great air con - which wont work if you have the balcony door open...which we thought was great...conserving electricity and not wasting cold air going out of the door!! We had a jacuzzi bath and a seperate walk in shower...more than adequate for us. TV had a few english language channels such as FOX news, Al jazeera news, Sy Fy and AXN (which showed NCIS, CSI and Criminal minds!!)
The beach was lovely - very long...you can walk miles and miles each way apparently. When you get to a certain point a hotel security guard comes down and takes your room and room number and 'ticks' you off when you come back...good feature. The only downside of the beach was the early morning sun bed run....I HATE getting up early to place towels on beds...however it was the ONLY way to secure a bed with some shade on the beach as by 8.30/9.00am they were all 'taken'!! And 'taken' by people that were also reserving beds up by the pool AND the jacuzzi and not using them at all...its extremely irritating. And the hotel really need to address this issue. The snorkelling is fab - lots of lovely fishes to see and its not deep - so great for the whole family.
Food - the food was ok and seemed to be quite varied...remember there are lots of people to try and please from all over the world. We did find that it was quite hard to get a drink to go with our meal at times and often had to get up and go up to the bar to get them ourselves (which is a walk away from the dining room) after asking 3 or 4 times....From what I could gather the hotel was pretty full as the other 2 hotels in Samana had recently gone adults only and therefore all families booked into them were changed to the Portillo. The staff in the restaurants were rushed off their feet and coped quite well - so for us to get our own drinks wasnt really a major issue. We ate in all 3 of the speciality restaurants..gourmet was lovely but extremely HOT in there...some air con would be great!! I had the entrecote 3 times - and it was the largest piece of steak I have eaten (or tried to eat!!) The italian was lovely...but we over-ordered in there and nearly had to be rolled out!! My favourite was the seafood one - although I had chicken (???!!) in there it was actually the best meal of our holiday..the food was gorgeous and the service and staff were brilliant.
Wifi - you can get free wifi in the lobby quite easily - there are lots of chairs and sofas to sit on...we also tended to go to the lobby after dinner and chill....we could order drinks from there and a few $$$ tips to the girls and they would really look after us...although to be honest, some people didnt tip at all and were served just as well....with regards to tipping...take lots of $1 and $5 with you - you dont have to tip to get good service at all - however please bear in mind that all the staff work VERY hard and in EXTREME heat..you will see them serving you at breakfast and they will still be there at 10pm at night..they dont expect the tips..but come on...we can all afford a few extra $$$$$ for them cant we?
The main bar closes at 11pm, on the dot and the lights are turned off...a tad early I think. I dont like to be told when to go to bed.....as an adult I like to make that decision myself!! You can stroll down to the disco if you want another drink - but when we went it was full of teeangers having a great time and we felt pretty ancient!!
The guys that maintain the gardens do a phenomenal job - they are pristine and so pretty. We saw almond trees and mango trees (even brought some mangos home with us that one of the guys gave us!! They are nearly ripe now)
Alot of people we spoke to (incldung ourselves) had dodgy tummys..I cant blame it on the food definitely.....it may be the heat, change in diet..I dont know...but it seemed to affect ALOT of people. Take plenty of immodium..(I had it for 6 days and just ended up dealing with it and accepting it in the end!!) I did get sunstroke and had to call the hotel Dr out - at a cost of $125!! He did try to get me to go for 'tests' etc at a huge additional cost - but I declined..once I knew what was wrong with me we could monitor it ourselves. And I recovered fine. Take plenty of high factor sun cream with you - I didnt go below 20. I completely underestimated the sun...burnt and peeled 3 times by the time I was leaving!! Lol - so be VERY careful.
I made use of the laundry service and it was very reasonable ...$2 shirt, $2 skirt etc - it all came back within a couple of hours.
In all - yes we enjoyed our holiday at GBP El Portillo. I think this is a great hotel for families and would go back to a GBP - but probably to an adults only one.
I have to mention Gabino - the bell boy there...this guy was one of the most amazing, friendly, cant-do-enough-for-you type of guys. He was always so happy and cheerful and full of conversation...we found out on the last day - he is only in training with the hotel and has just 2 weeks left before he has to go off and find a job somewhere!! My advice to the hotel management is give this guy a job straightaway. He will be an asset to you all :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 pools Jacuzzi Sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball net on the beach Water activity and scuba diving centre WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment theatre Main buffet restaurant and 3 a la carte restaurants 4 Bars Snack-bar Pueblo Principe: local craft stores, live music, shows, bars and disco. Rooms 462 rooms including 4 types: Standard, Club Golden Junior Suite, Club Hacienda Junior Suite and Superior Junior Suite. Junior Suites are larger than Standard rooms. Room facilities: King size bed or 2 full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, shower, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Air conditioning Ceiling fan Terrace or balcony Telephone Radio alarm clock Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (with additional charge) WiFi (additional charge) Ironing set (available on request) Superior Junior Suite: balcony or terrace, sitting area with sofa-bed, ironing set, coffee-making facilities, private guest service phone line, umbrella, VIP amenities. Club Golden and Club Hacienda Junior suites (See page 18 Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Children's pool Mini Club with daytime activities Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scout Water park Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Personalised diets on request and subject to circumstances Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo Hotel Las Terrenas
- El Portillo Beach Resort
- Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo Las Terrenas, Samana, Dominican Republic