As stated above, we stayed here from May 12-19. This resort was in a great location with no other resorts around it. we took the 10 minute beach walk to town which was safe and shop owners would engage you but were not pushy. Some have stated that the resort is a bit dated which I conquer but was tolerable and not an issue. The food was fantastic and the drinks are no different then any other all inc. Beer however, was draft and very good. They served it in frosty beer mugs which was a nice touch, never got sick of it all week. I never had any issues getting a seat on the beach or the pool area and never had to fight for shade either.
The staff all around were hit or miss. I've been all over the Caribean in my time and found that for the most part people are decent and respectful. This resort had a combination of both. It felt like the people in customer service roles had a sense of job security and entitlement. Some were rude and made you feel like it was a bother for them to answer very simple common questions. Please keep in mind I am a very tolerable person and not picky in the least. I just feel that people who choose a job in customer service should be customer service oriented. The girl at the front desk told people different things all week and seemed bothered when something did not work and assistance was needed. She told one traveller that there was no plugs for the bath tubs because people in Domincan only shower not bath but then when my wife asked for one she said it would be in the room in 10 mins . These are minor issues that I certainly don't lose sleep over but should be addressed if any management from the resort is reading this as I'm sure there are plenty of people that would appreciate such a position at the resort.
On the flip side of that we ran into Wilfredo who is the guest services manager. He was a class act and extremely outgoing. We called an offsite restaurant from the front desk which we were charged a nickel for by the girl mentioned above. When I needed to call back Wilfredo called from his cell phone and took care of it for us. He joined us for a cocktail on our last night and went over the top when our friends had an issue with there room. He was very professional, courteous and friendly. I would suggest to anyone who visits and has any issues to ask for him at the front desk.
I would highly recommend trying "El Cabito" restaurant. When calling to make reservations (which is a 5 cent phone call at the front desk or a wilfredo cell call as stated above!) ask them to send you a car. The Bulgarian lady (Leah) who owns it speaks fluent English and they get a better deal on taxis there which they add to your dinner tab. Its a small rustic restaurant with a patio set on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Can't describe, a must see. The chicken was incredible, filling and the best meal I ate all week. We went back a second time we were so impressed. 2 Chicken dinners, 5 beers and cab ride both ways was $49 usd, can't go wrong. Rough rode getting here but Fernando our taxi driver was very good guy, he drove us both times. His van takes a beating, he deserved his tips!!!!!
Air Canada vacations was average as tour operators go, travel by flight and by bus was normal. No food unless purchased on flight but we knew that when we booked. My only criticism of them is the rep "Joel" was less than impressive. He fit the role of a cocky used car salesman. He told the entire bus on the way to the resort that he would do his orientation on the bus ride there which seemed like a good idea cause there was no drinks/beers on the bus and a boring 90 min drive anyways. This was clearly for him to avoid wasting an hour of his time at our resort, c'est la vie, not an issue. The issue came when he told the entire bus that our departure time was at 8am to go to the airport and the bus got there at 7am. When confronted about it at the airport he denied saying it and said the entire bus must have heard it wrong. Mistakes happen but claiming it was our mistake not his seemed to fit his character.
I have listed some small complaints only because these are minor things one may not expect when going on a vacation so being prepared for this sort of service will make your vacation that much better. The resort itself was fantastic. It was only 50% capacity when we went so I can't comment on how it would be during busy season. Some had issues with the locals that seem to come in and book rooms for the weekends but this didn't bother us at all. They were friendly and enjoying themselves like the rest of us.
I do plan on going back again perhaps next year but I may stick to a non busy time. I also have a memory like an elephant and will ensure that people who weren't worthy of my tip money this time, I won't make the same mistake, they will surely not get it next time. I compensated Wilfredo at the end of the week, so his services throughout the week came to me with no tip or expectation of one. He was and will continue to be my go to guy at the front desk and will again be compensated accordingly.
I've been to 5 star resorts before and paid for a 4 star in this one. I knew what to expect and think it is a 4 star resort. Having the staff a bit more friendly may tip this over a 4 star but again I reaped the benefits of the entire resort with no line ups at 50% capacity.
I hope this helps someone's stay.
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Paradise Samana Hotel Las Galeras
- Casa Marina Bay
- Grand Paradise Samana Las Galeras
- Grand Paradise Samana Dominican Republic