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“Best Vacation Ever” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Paradise Samana

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Grand Paradise Samana
3.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Las Galeras, Dominican Republic (Formerly Casa Marina Bay)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #3 of 5 hotels in Las Galeras
North Bay, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Best Vacation Ever”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW via mobile

This was my first vacation with my mom. We were greeted in the lobby with cold refreshing drinks and very friendly staff. Our rooms were ready upon arrival. The buffet was open and ready for guests. The food was hot, plentiful and hugs variety.

A bellhop brought us up to our room, carried our luggage up quite a few stairs. He showed us our room and how to turn the lights and air conditioning on.

After getting acquainted with the room, we took a stroll to the beach, which was a 2 minute walk from our room. There was a nice brick path straight to the beach or you could take a different path where you had to cross a bridge over a cute pond that had fish, turtles and birds surrounding it. The grounds had beautiful shrubs and palm trees all over.

Directly in front of our room was one of the pools with a swim up bar. It had plenty of lounge chairs to choose from. The other pool area had two pools, one for kids and the other for adults. There was a bar located there too. The towel centre had a very friendly worker named Erick Santos. He was always joking and friendly. He was quick to serve you with a smile and an "HOLA!". The bar staff was quick with service and very friendly.

Every night there was a childrens show and an adult show, where the performers would sing, dance and play games with the audience. Erick Santos was my favorite performer. You can tell he loves his job because his feet move the minute the music starts. His face always has a smile while performing. He looks at the audience with a big grin. When he is doing a solo act you can tell he is in the moment. His movements are so fluid and effortless.

For the patrons 18+ there was a disco open every night, with a variety of music. The entertainers from the theatre would come and show off their moves. Erick Santos was the first person to grab my hand and coax me on the dance floor to try their dance moves. Even though I have 2 left feet, he laughed and spun me around the dance floor like i was a professional. It was a great time every night.

During breakfast, lunch and dinner you were sure to be joined by a staff member. Mikiki Johnson and Erick Santos were two of the most friendly guys there. They sat down with us and acted like we were long lost friends. They joked and laughed with us through our whole meal. We told each other of our heritages.

When we would walk the grounds, Mikiki Johnson and Erick Santos would be sure to yell our names to get our attention to come participate in their activities. The activities included kayaking, water aerobics, zumba, archery and many more.

The beach had beautiful white sand and clear blue water. There was palm trees scattered all over the beach to proved shade when needed. There were many lounge chairs as well. There was a bar located at the beach approximately a 1minute walk.
At the bar was bathrooms for your use. As well there was a sports area for your use it included a foosball table, ping pong table and a pool table. A tv was also in there, tuned into a sports channel.

The market was about a 10 minute walk from the resort straight down the beach. There were a variety of little shops where you could buy local souveniors. The people were all friendly, it was a little intimidating at first but you quickly got over it.

I hope to go back in the near future!

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 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
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (355)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
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  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

My best friend and I have just recently returned back to the states from what was the most incredible vacation of both of our lives. We've been back for less than a week and we are already planning our next trip to the Grand Paradise Samana. From the minute we stepped foot in the gorgeous reception area, we were treated like royalty with cold delicious drinks at hand, and staff eager to show us to our room. After unloading our luggage in our refreshingly cool, ocean view room we were excited to explore the beautiful white sand-clear water beach which was one of the most beautiful relaxing places we have ever seen. One week was not enough time at this amazing place ! The food and drinks were amazing, the excursions were great, and we were able to travel to the little markets of Las Galeras with new friends we encountered. We can not wait to return and see the amazing staff and incredible resort.

Room Tip: Ocean view rooms were very quiet, relaxing, and beautiful.
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 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.
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

I returned to Grand Paradise Samana for the 2nd time in 2 months. Upon arrival I was greeted by the lobby personnel in a friendly and timely manner. My room was ready when I arrived. I had a beautiful room with a nice view of the adult pool.

When I arrived I was told that the buffet was ready to enjoy. I was greeted in the lobby with a "Grand Paradise" drink. The food in the buffet was always hot and fresh and plenty of variety. The wait staff were always courteous and eager to refill drinks and clear the table. The dining room was always clean and presentable.

The pool and pool area was kept clean. The towel personnel Erick Santos always had a smile and a clean towel ready for you.

At the beach you could always count on Mikiki Johnson and Erick Santos to include in the daily activities such as volley ball, water aerobics, zumba and archery. The beach area was absolutely breathtaking. The sand was white and the water was clear blue. While in the water, i had beautiful white fish swimming at my feet. The beach was an awesome place to sun tan and relax.

The nightly shows put on by the animator staff were always entertaining. Erick Santos and Mikiki Johnson are awesome performers as are the rest of the crew. Some of the shows were new and very funny. They also had an earlier show for the children, which was also entertaining.

The disco at night can always be counted on for a good time. The crew from the theatre show were there to show off a few dance moves and also include you. Erick Santos was always eager to involve the guests at the disco. You can tell he loves his job, no matter what he is doing. His face always has a smile and he is quick to give you a high five and an "hola!".

Erick Santos and Mikiki Johnson welcomed me back with enthusiasm. They treated me like I was family. If they didn't see me through the day, they would say "where have you been, I was looking for you!".

I traveled alone this time but i never felt alone. If I was in the dining room, Erick Santos and/or Mikiki Johnson was sure to join me.

I would definately return to this resort.


Stayed July 2014, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My boyfriend and I spent a week here after getting a deal on Groupon Getaways for this hotel. We had such a great time, there are so many activities everyday. We went snorkeling in the natural aquarium, did the free 1 hour SCUBA refresher course, my boyfriend got open water certified with the onsite Scuba Libre dive center, I went on two dives, was boated out to two exclusive beaches for snorkeling and to see a bat cave (Playa Madama and Playa Fronton), went kayaking, swimming, took a Spanish Lesson, practiced Archery, had a professional photo session, sunbathed, swam in the pool, played beach volleyball, ping pong, badminton, and pool. The beach was lovely, very clear water and occasionally little fish that nibble on your feet. There are patches of sea grass surrounding the swimming area which are nice to snorkel in, I saw a young sea turtle twice, sea urchins, tropical fish, and sea stars. You can pay $15 to get taken out to the natural aquarium (coral reef recently built by a man named Kaio) just past the swimming area and there you can snorkel see a lot of tropical fish while he feeds some of the bigger jack fish. The nightly performances look like they would be a blast to be a part of, I was always impressed by them and it adds a nice touch to the whole experience. Some workers have much better English than others, I wish I touched up on my Spanish beforehand or brought along a phrase book. The pools were nice and the weather was awesome the whole time, super hot. Make sure to bring a lot of sunscreen and aloe if you're fair skinned!

The people at the Scuba Libre dive center are great, everything is very reasonably priced and they were able to accommodate us and do the whole open water certification in 3 days, granted my boyfriend is very comfortable under water. This was a pleasant surprise.

We had a really nice room, 1125, it must have been recently renovated. The king size bed was huge and comfortable and the room was always very clean. It even came with 4 bottles of lquor. However it smelled a lot like smoke, not sure if that was from our neighbors or past guests. It also was always really hot, like even hotter than outside the room. We had the fan on but I don't think there was any AC. We could never figure out the temperature in the shower either, sometimes it went through spouts of being uncomfortably hot but if we left it running for a while, it eventually cooled down.

We had a great photo session with Leidy, one of the professional photographers there. It's a nice setup, you don't pay anything upfront, you just pay for the photos. Everyone at home thinks the photos are amazing. Thank you Leidy and Bruno!

The food was fine, the only thing I thought was delicious the whole time were the fried plantains but they only served them once during our week there. The desserts always tasted funny to me, not sure if it was the flour or the sugar they use over there. The bread was also very dry The food at the A La Carte Restaurant, Michelangelo, was a lot better than the Asserado buffet, not sure if it was a different cook or if they just put in more effort.The two fancier restaurants were only open on certain days and it wasn't clear which days those were. The dinner on the beach on Sunday was nice but started late. You can find things that don't taste that bad, usually the chicken, ham, carrots, potatoes, olives, tuna, pizza, soup, omelettes, and ice cream were relatively tasty. Luckily neither of us ever got sick from the food. You'll find some of the english translations to be amusing, I guess they don't double check things with Google Translate or spell check. For example, the nice menu for Michelangelo said "Maen Curse" instead of "Main Course." I felt like the service was always pretty prompt, taking the plates away, refilling drinks, etc. There was supposed to be a late afternoon snack time and late evening snack but I could never figure out where they were serving it. I'm not sure why, but they were pretty strict about dress code which seemed kind of sexist and inconsistent at times, especially at the beach restaurant for lunch where it seemed like the workers were the only ones who cared about what people were wearing. It kind of made it a unnecessary hassle. Our room was far from the beach and my boyfriend had to go back to get a t-shirt because they didn't like his bro tank, while all of the women were walking around in bikini tops and sarongs. I feel like you should be able to just wear swimsuits at the beach restaurant instead of being forced to put clothes over your wet swimsuit.

We could drink to our heart's desire, lots of nice fruity drinks and some bartenders were better than others. However, I always wished the water was a little colder. No pina coladas though but we enjoyed the Banana Mama, Sex on the Beach, and the Grand Paradise. We only went to the discoteca once, we were usually super tired after the nightly performance and the one time we went they only played Latin music which only the animation team and local tourists knew how to dance to. I wish they kind of mixed it up a little, alternating between popular western songs and latin songs.

The ATM ran out of money for two days which was kind of annoying, make sure to bring US cash or euros, no need to get pesos unless you run out money and need to use the ATM. The only things we paid for while we were there was the taxi both ways (really expensive, $180-240), the professional photos, scuba diving course and dives, souvenirs at the gift shop, and the snorkeling in the natural aquarium. Flying into Santo Domingo is better than flying into Puerto Plata, the drive from Puerto Plata was bumpy, nauseating, and longer than the drive from Santo Domingo. I wish the hotel just did a cheaper shuttle a couple of times a day for everyone arriving/departing.

We were never bored and never had a reason to leave the resort, we didn't even have time to do the horseback ride to the waterfalls which sounded fun. They have a list of planned activities by the main pool, but it was never clear where the activities were taking place or where you're supposed to meet up for them which was a little disappointing when you wanted to participate. You kind of just had to be at the right place at the right time to join in or hear people yelling about it.

It looks like they give day passes to locals during the weekend, which noticeably changed the vibe of the resort and made it a lot more crowded and subsequently less comfortable leaving stuff on the beach while you swim/snorkel. They basically took over the main pool. The chaise lounges were nicer at the pool than at the beach.

We didn't pay for the safe and nothing was ever stolen. The people at the reception area weren't that friendly. They were dubious of our groupon voucher, when normally in the US all you need is the groupon number. We had to wear an ugly orange wristband but we were never really sure what the different colors meant. I think the locals get silver ones? They have a couple of computers and you can pay 3 dollars for I think either 15 or 30 minutes of internet, but it was nice to disconnect for a week. Bugs were never a big problem, only got bit a couple of times.

Overall, if you keep an open mind and don't sweat the small stuff, you'll have a fantastic time!

Room Tip: 1125 was nice, king size bed, only problem was how hot the room got
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

no electricity
internet 1 week 50 $ and sometimes work sometimes no work
everything extra
very bad show and animation
very small beach
mosquitoes everywhere
The TV doesn't work.
All channels spanish
everyone regret
Never opt

  • Stayed July 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

The Good:

Beach is perfect, it truly does look like it’s from a paradise. White sand, turquoise water, but also if you like to dive there are little patches of sea weed where we saw many sea life like sea turtles, sea stars, crabs etc. There are many beautiful palm trees that create natural shade and the grass looks like a natural soft carpet. Stunning!

Local village is close enough to walk by the beach and this is where we rented our scooter and went to Samana city. This was a lot of fun but heads up there is not a single traffic light nor a stop sign in this city and people drive like maniacs.

People working in the resort are not aggressive about tips like Cubans so we very much enjoyed giving tips with no pressure.

Food was actually not bad at all considering it was a 3 star resort. Two nights they set up a dining area on the beach which looked so dreamy and beautiful.

Entertainers worked very hard to keep us entertained and I really liked that most of the aerobics and dance lessons were happening either on the beach or in the sea (rather than by the pool)

Super nice and friendly and cultured taxi service in front of the hotel. Especially a black gentlemen with gray hair – many thanks to you sir for helping us out with the crooked police officer ! :)

The Bad:

Broken toilet on the first day.

Mouldy smelling beds and a room. This is the reason I don’t want to come back- over a course of days this smell got worse and when we talked to the reception they did very little to fix it as the smell was there with us in the room like an unnatural presence till the very end. There is no way to relax in the evening if your bed stinks!

Service was ridiculously slow in the restaurant and we always had a stack of plates on our table. There is a balcony section in the restaurant that was always full of tourists but no person working there wanted to set it up (?) and very often we were completely ignored (all 8 tables of tourists) and we even had to get our knifes and forks ourselves. On the first day this happened we didn’t care but over a course of 7 days this really gets super annoying.

A la carte didn't have items on the menu and we were told it's beacuse most of the people always order the same items like calamari etc. Wouldn't it be logical to then order more of those items?

The place is overrun by locals on the weekends (and obviously as pretty much everywhere in Dominican they get the preferential treatment). Everything was cleaned like never before for their arrival and an extra bar beside the swimming pool opened for them only (interesting fact : I’ve never seen them leave a tip- ever)

Our towel got stolen so they asked us to pay $15.

All alcohol is made by the same company and all the drinks taste the same.

Safe is not free - $15.

On the last day we asked for a wake-up call just in case our cellphones crap out. We were awake long before 7 so we knew we didn’t receive the wake-up call. When we asked at the reception they were telling us they called, and somebody put a check mark beside our name. So unreliable and unprofessional.

And the Ugly
(nothing to do with the resort but worth knowing)

On our way back from Samana city to our resort we were pulled over by a dirty cop who wanted a bribe. If it wasn’t for the Taxi driver from the resort who drove by we would have to pay the police officer to leave us alone even though we had the documents.

Not a single person (I’m serious not even one) at the Samana Airport speaks English, they have no working Flight Screens so good luck catching your flight. I’ve talked to several people who got on the wrong plane and if it wasn’t for the stewardesses they would’ve ended up in Montreal instead of Toronto and vice versa.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Boston, Massachusetts
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

The Grand Paradise Samana had everything I was looking for in one tidy package, but with few amenities. I wanted an integrated beach experience where I could leave my stuff in my room and frolic on a pristine beach without the hassle of cooking or driving. The hotel beach, just east of Playa Las Galeras, is beautiful and immaculately maintained. The crescent of white-sand is ringed by a forest of shady palm trees and the Atlantic waters are crystal clear, warm, and calm. The hotel has opted to keep the beach uncluttered--none of the wood-frame beds and umbrellas that interrupt the natural beauty in so many places, just an army of blue lounge-chairs.

Rooms were super-clean. They were however quite basic with a bed, a single chair, and a dresser. Lighting was a problem for reading at night---a single, dim bedside lamp and one overhead light in the doorway were not sufficient. The bathroom was dark with corroded, poorly installed fixtures and there was no hot water--repeat NO HOT WATER.

The food was home-cooked (comida casera) and served in the main cafeteria for 5 of the days we were there. the other two days, they had a specialty restaurant for dinner. breakfast included excellent fresh juices and fruits, lunch and dinner had delicious beans and rice, but often not much else that I found enticing. Drinks are sugary and tasteless like most all-inclusive resorts.

Beware the weekends. Families drive up from Santo Domingo on Friday afternoon transforming the sleepy vibe of the resort to a crowded and loud party. The resort staff showed a marked preference for serving these guests (who wear metallic wristbands), often pushing us aside to accommodate them, which makes sense given that they probably come several times a year and we are only there the once.

Pros: beautiful natural beach, minimum commercial resort feel, clean rooms and grounds, generally professional staff

Cons: no hot water, poor lighting in rooms, the weekenders

Room Tip: Ocean view is worth the extra money--they are along the outside edge of the resort so are quiet and...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.

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Additional Information about Grand Paradise Samana

Address: Las Galeras, Dominican Republic (Formerly Casa Marina Bay)
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Galeras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 5 hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Grand Paradise Samana 3*
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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

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