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“First time in Dominican and loved the trip” 4 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 6 Hotels in Las Galeras
Nova Scotia
1 review
“First time in Dominican and loved the trip”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 14, 2010

Like others who have written reviews, this was our first trip to the Dominican and at an all exclusive resort. We were already of the mindset that we were travelling to a third world country and that sure helped upon our arrival. The resort held no surprises as we checked out many videos and pictures and have read several of the reviews and we felt very prepared for what we were in for. We were even prepared by our travel agent that the bus trip would be longer than would be indicated by the driver and guide on board. They said 1.5 hours and were were three. Mind you, there is alot of road construction en route to the resort.

Check in was very quick and so was their response to getting our t.v. repaired. That was done within an hour. The food was good and didn't vary a whole lot with the exception of the food the chef cooked right in front of you as every evening, they had a different theme. My two complaints about the food is that it was always cold and didn't vary a whole lot. Breakfast became a bore for me.

The entertainment was well worth watching and I don't know much about the activities put on by their staff and I actually thought it was only for the french tourists at the resort so we never participated in any. Even though we were met with rain for our first three days, we didn't mind as we used the days to explore the village for shopping and the hills which held a pleasant surprise. There was a gentlemen up there who opened up a bar and restaurant. He will drop down and pick you up at the resort, take you to the hill for dinner and drinks and drive you back.

The excursions were very expensive to purchase both through Air Canada and through the resort. After paying for one excursiion, we discovered that you could buy three at a time for a third of the price in the village. We were disappointed by that, however, live and learn is our theory.

When the sun finally showed itself, the beach area was definitely the place to be. There were plenty of loungers for every body to use and close to the lunch/snack bar. There were two bars ready to accomodate us Canadians who like to cool off with a nice cold beer or rum.

As for some of the reviews I have read, so what if the horses poop in the fields? Nobody goes there anyways.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    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 (384)
Date | Rating
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  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
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  • Norwegian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Montreal, Quebec
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2010

I'll start off by saying that this is my first trip down south, so unlike a lot of the other reviewers that post on this site I do not have anything to compare this trip to.

We arrived at the airport and I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly everything went. We were one of two flights that arrived and getting our bags and busses sorted out went very well.

The bus ride to the hotel is almost 2 hours (on a good day!), but we were unlucky enough that our bus' airconditioning overheated and we got stranded for close to two hours before the next bus could pick us up and bring us to our hotel. It was a little discouraging to see how poorly organized the 'backup' plan was, but we were just glad to get there! We were scheduled to arrive at 1:30ish and we ended up checking in at close to 4 pm.

Once there though, I thoroughly enjoyed our stay!

Rooms: Our room, the bed sheets, bathroom, shower and balcony was clean, neat and fully stocked with towels and shampoo/cond. daily. We left a little tip every morning and never had any problems with the state of our room. Our belongings were never touched and I felt very safe leaving some of my souvenirs. The air conditioning was fantastic, cooled the room for the night in a few minutes and really allowed for a great night's sleep. The fridge was stocked with water, coke/sprite.

Food: The buffet was fantastic. I saw that some of the reviewers mentionned catching something or falling ill during their stay, but luckily, I was not part of that group of people. The buffet was varied, always fresh, the service was great and there was plenty to choose from. We often went to the main buffet near the reception for breakfast and dinner and lunch at the snack bar/ resto near the beach.

Beach/Activites: I was expecting the area to be beautiful, and it certainly did not disappoint. The sand is beautiful, soft and warm without being uncomfortable. The water was clear with gentle waves. The seaweed did accumulate ( a lot) throughout the course of the day and in the afternoon it did sometimes get to be a problem. It made walking into the water a little difficult because it was very uneven. There were workers there constantly picking up the excess that washed onto the shore and they always left it in a perfect state before they left for the evening. The view is absolutely breathtaking.

There were two animations groups who were organising activities and we fully took advantage of both groups. Kiko, the more local animation team was there to organise step aerobics, stetching, archery, water polo games (and more!) during the day and also put on a nightly show at the theater room. The team was a delight to be around but you really had to be game to participate. They often include the tourists in on the activities, the dancing, the improv shows, played pool or ping pong with us as well as dancing the night away at the discoteca. The second animation team, Lookéa, is catered a little more towards the French tourists, but they welcomed us with opened arms to participate in all the activites (aqua gym in the sea, dance lessons at lunch, nightly shows near their pool). They were dynamic, energetic and really fun to be around. We were lucky enough to be there when we were, two of the animators wed on the beach on wednesday night. It was a great evening!

Excursions: We went to El Limon (horseback riding and waterfall) through Air Canada Vacations and we definitely were not disappointed. It was somehwhat grueling to get to the fall, the road up was very muddy (ir rained :( ) and rocky, but once we got there, it was beautiful. The water was clear, warm and we fully enjoyed our trip. Lunch was included and we were back to the hotel by about 2:30- 3pm.

Weather: We got there Saturday the 27th and were (sadly) really unlucky. We had about 3 days of sun in total (out of 7) and got two full days of rain towards the end of our stay. The activities on the beach are canceled and there isn't much to replace them, so I know that some people found it a little long. We took advantage of those days to practice our pool and meet a lot of the other tourists around. Everyone was really nice. A lot of Canadians, a lot of French tourists as well as quite a few Germans. It was great!

Shopping/Las Galeras: There were little vendors walking the beach and they had some beautiful souvenirs. They had some pendants/rings/bracelets of Larimar (the Dominican stone) and their prices (after negociation) were very reasonable. We dealt mostly in US$ and in pesos and got some great deals. The walk to Las Galeras is pleasant, about 10 mins away, and the paintings, shoes etc were limited but made for a great little outing on a rainy afternoon.

All in all, I was very satisfied with my trip. I kept my expectations low seeing as it was my first trip down south, and i was definitely not disappointed. I truly believe that in order to take advantage of this trip, and this hotel, you have to participate in the activities organized by the animation teams. It was well worth it!!

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 11, 2010

I highly enjoyed our trip to the Dominican, Samana was lovely. The weather was overcast and rained 4.5 out of 7 days... so it seriously cut into our outings/beach time. Yes i would return in a heartbeat.

The room we stayed it was spacious, clean and comfy. Fresh flowers were often tucked into our pillows when we returned to our room. Bed was super comfy, pillows were alil lumpy but we slept great everynight. Staff was all wonderful with the exception of one dinning room manager and our Sun Quest rep JJ...
This man needs to be fired, terrible travel rep. Shared very little information, very rude, arrogant. seems to have a hate on for Canadians.

The bus ride from the airport to Grand Paradise is approx 2 hours, I highly enjoyed the sights, bus driver was very well experienced, even talented. Bring a sweater! air conditioning works very well in the buses.

Food was great most nights, Sunday seems to be like left over night, so beware... It bites back. the rest of the food and nights i had no issues.

Yes a great many french people fill this resort, but i didn't find the staff any more friendly to them, or unwelcoming to us non-french visitors. Yes I recommend this area and resort.

It was the beauty of the locals and the land that captured my heart.
A vacation is what you make it, just like life.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2010

First off, if you are looking to be waited on hand and foot, this place isnt for you.
Second, a vacation is what you make it.
Third, you have to remember you are traveling to a third world country.

With that said, The Grand Paradise Samana is great, I would go back in a heart beat.
The staff was incredible.
The rooms were very clean.
Beach was very nice, the waves were small do to a coral reef that acted as a break wall.
Check in was very fast
The bus ride to the resort from the airport was about 2 hrs, but it seemed a lot shorter then that. The guide on the bus pretty much told us every thing we needed to know about the area and country.
The food, oh wow, the food was great, there was a group of 5 of us, plus two other couples that we met the first day that all ate together, and no one was ever sick.
There are two different entertainment staffs there, the Kiko Staff takes care of the Canadians.
Yousseff, one of the Kiko staff, is a very nice and helpful guy, and no worries, he speaks english, french, and spanish. The entertainment staff works very long hours for very little pay, so tip them if you feel they desevre it.
About a 5 min walk or so along the beach is the town on Las Galeras. In the town, there are 2 tour operators. If you book your trips through them you save money. Try both places, Razor Tours and Augusto Tours, talk them down, they will drop the price. Both places are on the main street in town, Razor is on your right, and Augusto is just up the street a bit on your left. There is also ppl with boats that will take you to a nice beach, 5 of us went for $70. Also, there are some very nice beach vendors as you get into town that sell some very nice stuff. Everyone in the town is very friendly, and no one will bother you. We walked the main street to the baseball diamond ( about 1 km ) and no one person bothered us. Near the baseball diamond is a liquor store that is cheap.
There are many side trips you can take. We booked El Limon Waterfall trip thru Razor Tours for $35/person. We also booked Whale Watching thru Augusto for $35/person.
All in All we had a great trip, and I would go back in a heart beat.

  • Stayed February 2010, 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
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11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 7, 2010

This was our fourth trip to the Dominican and one of the best places we stayed at. THe staff was terrific, The rooms were very clean,and the beach was very nice. Check in was very fast. The bus ride was a bit long but this gave evryone a chance to see how the people live. The food was good ,five of us went , no one got sick. The shows were better than some and there was lots to keep you busy during the day , volleyball, games archery. The walk to town was short if you took the road by the beach. It is very safe and a good place to book a trip. Ther are two small places to book trips and try both, Try to talk them down. they are flexable. We got a boat to Rincon beach for.70. dollars for five and he waited ther for us and brought us back when we wanted. We just asked people on the beach and got a boat. Ther is a cheap liquor store in town , a bit of a walk . It will be on your right abouy a kilometer from the beach. The staff especilly Youseff was very helpful and if you are friendly with them they will join you for lunch. They work very long hours for little pay so tip them if you feel they have done a good job. The bar staff was great . There are a lot of europeans but we never felt left out because they have their own animation staff and we had ours. Ther are some nice places to walk and we always felt safe. .We would not hesitate to go back again.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • 5 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 1
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London Ontario
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2010

We just returned from the Grand Paradise in Samana. There is nothing "Grand" about this resort except the view. It's rated as a 4 star and I don't know if I'd even give it a 2. Everybody we encountered became ill to some degree. We took the precaution of taking a perscription drug prior to leaving so we did not become ill, but we've been home 5 days now and we are going to require medical attention since over the counter drugs are not sufficient. We saw a group of 7 passing Immodium around at breakfast. Beach bar glasses are not even washed, they are collected and rinsed in a small bar sink in their water and returned for reuse. Horses freely defecated all over the grounds and this was not cleaned up the entire time we were there. Buffets seldom vary and there is no temperature controls to ensure bacteria growth does not occur hot or cold. No snack bar as advertised - its the lunch that's served from noon to 4:pm, It's cold and never varied. Rooms are ok, but grout and bathroom fixtures are dirty and moldie. Our clothes had to be washed twice to get the smell out. Snorkeling well, there is a small reef where the fish are, but it's roped off and you pay $15.00 US. for a guide to take you out. I don't have anything good to say about this trip - couldn't get home fast enought - not what I wanted to pay for. We are frequent travelers and this is the worst place we have ever been.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Montreal, Canada
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
66 helpful votes 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2010

We stayed in GPS on the week of February 15th. After reading and following all the reviews published, (and being a little apprehensive) we decided to judge for ourselves.
Traveled with CanJet through Sunquest, beverages and a sandwich during the flight were included, as well as the departure airport tax in DR
Airport experience at arrivals was good: fast and no hassles. Within a half an hour we were in the small bus and driving to the hotel. Yes, it's a long and a dark ride - 1h30.
At the hotel we registered quick, got the key, rented a safe ($15 for the week and highly recommended). Ask for the remote as most of the rooms don't have it since you return it on check-out. All reception employees do speak English , are polite and very helpful.
After changing we had time to have supper, drinks and check-out the nightly show.
The room in the block 6 was spacious, clean and ,the few things that needed fixing in the bathroom were quickly fixed. Good service.
Food was good and adequate. Saturday's and Wednesday's dinner buffet was quite good. The seafood restaurant is interesting, drinks are all local staff, but then it's not a 5star hotel.
Grounds are well kept with lots of beautiful flowers, the beach shallow and rocky in places but good for little kids.
We bought an excursion to Los Haitises park in Las Galeras, with Augusto, as recommended by some. We also wanted to give business to the locals. 1/2 a day trip trip the park cost $55 per person, much cheaper than Sunquest. It was a beautiful trip (mangroves, pelicans, caves) and well worth it. A word of caution: the boat didn't have or they didn't give us life jackets. The ride was long (40min.) and very bumpy. We had to hold-on for dear life not to have our backs injured.
There is no preferred treatment for French tourists in the general resort population. They do , however, have their own animation team and activities. And the small pool, closer to the beach, is NOT only for guests from France.
A suggestion: The French guest were taken around the resort after their briefing and everything was shown and explained. Maybe Sunquest rep could copy that, which would be more helpful then pushing for his excursions. And his presentation could have been bilingual, as most of our group came from Quebec.
Then again, it's vacation time. So who cares. We had an excellent vacation.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
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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
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 6 Hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Grand Paradise Samana 3*
Number of rooms: 334
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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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