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“Very, very good.. Not excellent, but very good.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Carretera las Terrenas, El Limon Km. 4, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic (Formerly El Portillo Beach Resort)   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Special Summer Sales
Ranked #7 of 35 Hotels in Las Terrenas
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Bernardsville, New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Very, very good.. Not excellent, but very good.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013

Great service, friendliest staff! Food at the buffet was above and beyond our expectations for an "all inclusive" type of deal, as a matter of fact, the food was superb, period. The beach area was also great, amazing views, very clean and relaxing. Got a massage from one of the vendors and it was pretty good, I'd recommend that. The rooms were clean but I would rate them with a seven, because they are in need of a little upgrade, did not find the covers to be cozy or comfortable whatsoever. Overall, I'd say do not be afraid of booking because you will not be disappointed.
Cons:
The hotel needs to change the Television Sets, brought me back to 1985. The other thing they need to change is play some music in the common areas of the hotel, besides from the piano bar, and one side of the pool area, there's not music around whatsoever, which makes for a kind of depressing atmosphere.

Room Tip: There is an area with a "private pool", is very convenient if you don't want to walk f...
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, August 27, 2013
Dear Guest,

It is truly a pleasure for us to learn that you enjoyed your stay at our resort, especially the services from our front desk department and that you appreciated the professionalism of our staff, we are aware that it is only because of them that we are able to achieve our goal- the continuous improvement of our services. We are very proud to have received your excellent comments regarding our employees.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, all-inclusive hotels in Samana

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (652)
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Cairo, Egypt
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 24, 2013

After expending months reviewing hotels in DR and going there every summer, we found our perfect spot. The location is just amazing, walk 5 minutes away from the hotel to either side and you are in paradise. Nothing to compare with Punta Cana or other areas of DR. The hotel is extremelly well looked after. We upgraded our rooms. The service is also very good. The food, average, but like in all resorts, no matter how much you pay they cook for more than 1000 people everyday, so there is no chance that it will be amazing. The only recommendation will be to increase the quality of the entertaiment, especially when you travel with older people and children, it's an important part, and it was clear that the hotel didn't invest a lot of money in the shows at night. But apart from that (and it's not that important), the hotel is amazing and I totally recommend it.

Room Tip: Upgrade your room.
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, August 27, 2013
Dear Guest,

We want to thank you to have been chosen as the destination for your vacation, as well as taking the time to write and tell us your views on the pleasant experience you had during your stay in our hotel.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, your best hotel in Samana

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
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Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

Went to this GBP during the month of June and all I could say is that it is truly amazing. Took the trip with west jet. The drive to the actual place from the airport was about an 45 mins - 1 hour if the side road is taken. If you take the side road, enjoy the views as they are very nice. Once we got there we were welcomed with a dance unlike the GBP in Runaway Bay Jamaica. The only downside was that our room was all the way at the other end of the resort, but they always had golf carts to take people to their rooms. There are no elevators as well, so if you are travelling with somebody that cannot walk upstairs, try asking for a room on the first floor. The rooms were okay, typical hotel room. Keep in mind not to open your mouth while showering because the water is not good. The buffet was always amazing, I always found something good to eat, specially their seafood. The service in the buffet was hit and miss. The best thing about this resort is the beach, you can walk miles and miles beside the beautiful blue ocean. The water is calm so it's safe. We took an atv/ziplining tour through terry in samana and they had great service. We were lucky enough to get a tour guide to ourselves. It was definitely worth the money we paid. The worst part about this trip was that it rained everyday around 3pm & when it rains, the sand fleas come out and they are almost invisible so please spray yourself with off. I was stupid enough not to spray myself and got really nasty bites from these creatures.

Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, August 24, 2013
Dear Guest,

We cannot tell you how glad we are to know that you liked our facilities, rooms and Restaurant services. We feel very proud to learn that once again we reached our goal, exceed our guest’s satisfaction.

Thank you so much for share this wonderful experience with Trip Advisor and it will be a pleasure to can host you in the near future.

Enjoy an all-inclusive holiday as a couple with Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gibraltar
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2013

Great Hotel and amenities, exceptional location to switch off from your day to day. Active and energetic team of day animation they certainly bring a smile to your smile. Food and restaurant staff superb. Overall great staff all over they made our stay that extra special, a destination to return to definitely. Many thanks to special Rosa, David, Yandel - Animation. Carlos Rosario - Lobby, Starling and assistant - Photoshoot, Scuba Quatic, Franklyn, David, Rubio, Benjamin Catamarán Excursión. Don Pedro Suarez, Gesper, Juan -Privilige Club.
Kind Regards from GIBRALTAR xxxxx

Room Tip: Block 17 and 18 quite close to Lobby área and acces to Hotel amenities.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, August 24, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for your kind opinion about our hotel, we really appreciate it because it helps us to learn about our guest needs and satisfy them.

We are really so happy that you have enjoyed your stay in our hotel and our beautiful beach we hope to welcome you once again in Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, a 5 star experience in Samana

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

The hotel was an amazing experience with lots of friendly staff and people who always say hello no matter where you are. The service is impeccable and is always on point with lots of helpful members of the hotel to give you a hand if needed. The choice of food even for the fussiest of eaters is catered for without any problems. There is only one negative thing I can say about my experience here which is the reserving of sunbeds as people tended to get too greedy and take the majority of sunbeds which is clearly stated in the welcome package that it is not allowed but I did not let this affect our stay. This is a perfect family resort which I would recommend to anyone.

  • Stayed August 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, August 24, 2013
Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for recommending us as an extremely attractive Hotel. It is wonderful to know that we have provided you a memorable holiday.

We are glad to find out that there were some aspects you find worth to mention, especially our friendly staff, excellent meals and gorgeous beach.

Family holidays with Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 21, 2013

Just returned from a fantastic holiday at the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo (1st-15 August 2013). Had an amazing holiday (one of our best ever) and all agreed that this hotel was the best we had stayed in.

The welcome was brilliant, with staff providing drinks and a welcome dance on arrival. Check-in forms were completed on the coach so check-in at the hotel was very quick and easy.

We stayed in a premium room (which was a surprise to us!) and were amazed at the facilities. It was very clean and very big. The bathroom had a separate toilet, shower and bath cubicle which were all well-maintained.

Food was excellent with a wide range of food at the buffet with excellent show cooking. You must make sure you take up all of your opportunities (we4 had 4 per week) to visit the a la carte restaurants as the food in these was exquisite, particularly the gourmet restaurant. The service here was also outstanding.

We spent our days on the beach, which is beautiful. There are sellers on the beach but they belong to an association of vendors and all it takes is a "no" and they don't hassle you at all. In fact their goods are beautifully made local products and good be a good place to find a souvenir. Contrary to other reviews, we were there in peak summer holiday season and had no trouble getting sun beds on the beach. If you don't like the blowing sand (as it is refreshingly breezy) take your sun bed to the water's edge were the sand is much firmer. This saved the age-old sand in the sun lotion saga.

All in all we had a fantastic holiday which suited all age groups: 17-year old boy (resort club and lots of young people to go out with), 23 and 25 year olds and older guests. I would thoroughly recommend this hotel asw THE place to stay in the Dominican Republic.

Room Tip: Premium rooms and very large and have a large bathroom with shower and separate bath/shower.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 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.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, August 24, 2013
Dear Guest,

First of all please receive greetings from the Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo; we would like to thank you for trusting in Grand Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts and for choosing us to spend your holidays.

We really appreciate that you have taken the time to give us your feedback on Trip Advisor as your comments are valuable to us in order to continuously improve our service and standards.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts for your summer holidays in Samana

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 20, 2013

Stayed in August at the GBP El Portillo and travelled with Air Transat/Canjet with the Royal Golden service.

Overall, it was a good value for the money spent. The resort is rated a 4.5 stars, but I would put it closer to a 4, mainly because of 2 reasons - service and food preparation
This review will be from a perspective that is in comparison with the GBP resorts we’ve been to in the past 2 years (Esmeralda and Cayo Levantado twice). At each of those other 2 resorts, the overall level of attention and friendliness was much better. Facilities, amenities, maid service etc were a step above and I really felt that there was a tangible decrease at El Portillo.
At El Portillo, I struggled to find staff who I really felt like giving extra tips because most seemed to just want to do their jobs as fast as possible. Very few smiles and pleasantries, but that may have been because of too many guests and the fact that they seemed overworked?….not really sure

Arrival:
Rating 5/5

Flight was on time and customs/immigration was a breeze. We boarded the bus and took the new toll highway to the resort. The trip was 45 mins long but it cuts through the mountains and is very curvy. If you suffer from motion sickness, I would recommend you take Gravol.
Got to the resort around 1 pm, so the room was not yet ready. No problem there, we were greeted in the usual fashion, (cool towels, welcome drink) and asked to go to the buffet and have lunch while the room was being cleaned. We paid for the safe right away ($4US/per day) and when we got back from lunch, we picked up our room key earlier than expected.

Room
Rating 4/5

We had a junior suite with a king size bed on the ground floor of Villa 11. There are 3 villas (villas 10, 11 and 12) surrounding the smaller pool area (The main, larger pool is closer to the beach area).The room was clean, spacious and not musty at all. During our stay, we had no bugs, no roaches or any other critters. Maid service was hit and miss. For the most part, it was ok but they seemed to forget to replace towels, minibar drinks, and tissue paper a few times during our stay. One day, they completely forgot to clean our room altogether, even though we hung out the door sign saying that we wanted the room cleaned. We had to track down one of the maids and they got around to it about 5 pm.


Restaurants
Rating 4/5

Buffet, snack bar and a-la-carte restaurants were all decent. Selection was good and there was always something to choose from. The level of service varied and most staff seemed so busy that we had to ask for everything on most occasions. Not a problem though because it’s a vacation after all, so we didn’t have a problem waiting a little extra. The Gourmet restaurant was good, very attentive service and generally good food (although the steak was a bit tough and not the medium well that I wanted)
The buffet had A/C which was good, but it could still become very hot if you sat close to the kitchen area. There was a also a terrace with canopies where you could have your meals and this was very pleasant because it was closer to the beach
In the buffet, I want to make special mention to Elyseo Kelly who was fantastic in his service, always with a smile and conversation with my 8 yr old son. He reminded me a lot of the type of individual attention we received in our visits to Cayo Levantado before that resort converted to adults-only. If Management is reading this review, Elyseo is top-notch and you need to bring on- board more staff who has customer-oriented skills like him
Another staff who was also very pleasant in the buffet was Santos. He was attentive, always stopping by to ask if we needed anything and actually remembered what we wanted every morning, which is amazing in itself, after having to serve so many people day in, day out. So, special kudos to him for doing such a great job.


Beach
Rating 5/5

As other reviewers have stated, this is THE reason to come to this resort. The beach is absolutely fantastic… calm, gentle swells, lots of reef and fish and snorkelling was possible without having to go too far out. The beach area is wide enough that we never felt cramped and we spent hours just in the water.
There are no other resorts beside this one, only houses and villas, so walking along the beach was easy. It is possible to walk along the beach for about 1 hr and even get into the town of Las Terrennas, but it is not recommended anymore because of the increased instances of tourists being robbed.


Overall Rating 3.5/5

So, it may seem strange that I am rating this 3.5/5 even though all the sections above have 4s and 5s…..but don’t worry, there is a method to my madness (sort of :))
The resort was good value for the money we paid, but nothing really stood out as exceptional service or amenities.
I do not know for sure the exact reasoning but I think the staff levels at GBP El Portillo need to be ramped up. The Grand Bahia chain has converted both Cayacoa and Cayo Levantado to adults only in the past year and this resort is having to cope with a lot more guests and families than before in the Samana region. It is obvious from a facilities point of view that there is not enough to handle the increased demands. This is not a quiet resort anymore, there are lots of teenagers, young adults, shouting and drunk at all hours of the night and generally being a nuisance.
In some ways, it seemed more like Punta Cana that what we are used to in Samana. A lot of the adults, including my fellow Canadians, were also rude and obnoxious, so it was not only down to immaturity.

Another point to note is that during the weekends, the resort opens its doors to locals from other parts of DR. That in itself is not a problem, but when there are limited facilities to begin with, this causes overcrowding on the beaches, pools, and buffets especially. Also, the locals drive in and park their cars along the resort roads from the entrance off the main road all the way to the lobby….really gives it a very commercial feel, all that’s missing is a casino!

I also suffered from the stomach bug for the last 3 days of my trip. This was unusual since I have never encountered this problem at any resort in my many years of travel. After taking Dukorol prior to my trip and Ciproflaxin anti-biotics, I certainly did not expect to have this problem and is one of the main reasons that contributed to my average rating of this resort. Maybe it’s because I had continuous exposure to too much bacteria which the drugs could not handle?

Another downside to the resort was the Privilege Club salespeople. These individuals are stationed at the lobby and try to engage you at every opportunity to come to their presentation on the benefits of the GBP Privilege Club Membership. For the most part, you can tell them you’re not interested but you have to keep doing that every time you pass through the lobby. For this reason, I avoided that area a lot. It’s unfortunate that guests that have paid to have a vacation at the resort have to be subjected to upselling tactics like this especially when they are there to relax…..having to deal with these guys was just plain uncomfortable.
In conclusion, we enjoyed the beach and had a mostly positive experience, but not sure if we would return to GBP El Portillo. I like Samana a lot and especially Las Terrenas, so I feel that I will look for a private villa or another hotel in this region to try out the next time

I think Management needs to upgrade this resort on various levels and make some fundamental changes in the way it wants to operate in this region of DR.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, August 24, 2013
Dear Guest,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write us such a detailed review about the Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo. It will certainly help us to find the satisfaction and fulfillment of our hotel standards.

We are very concerned to read about your disappointing experience and we are sorry to hear that we could not fulfill your expectations of a five star hotel. The problems you mentioned are totally under our standards of services, we will take actions in order to improve the areas indicated by you.

It will be a pleasure to assist you for your next visit.

Receive my warmest regards

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

Address: Carretera las Terrenas, El Limon Km. 4, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic (Formerly El Portillo Beach Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Terrenas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Las Terrenas
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Las Terrenas
#4 Spa Hotel in Las Terrenas
#6 Romantic Hotel in Las Terrenas
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Las Terrenas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 582
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

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