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Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
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Reviewed February 4, 2010

My friend and I were guests of Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado for one week, Jan. 11-18, 2010 and we regret that we didn't stay for two weeks. The hotel is luxurious, the room was spacious, comfortable and elegantly appointed, with a very large terrace overlooking the sea. The service was very friendly and efficient, and even with our limited grasp of Spanish, managed to communicate with the staff, who always went the extra mile to please us. If you tip them, they are appreciative, but even if you don't they serve you with the same quality of service and courtesy. The food is excellent, both in the buffet and a la carte restaurants. There is a vast selection of foods to choose from, and the only challenge is to restrain oneself from overindulging in all the delicacies. There is an emphasis on Spanish and Caribbean cuisine, and different international dishes are introduced in the buffet restaurant each evening. My friend and I would have settled for the paella alone, which was outstanding. My friend had his birthday during our stay and the dining room staff pulled out all the stops to celebrate it; carrying out a lovely cake while singing "Happy Birthday" in Spanish, and following that by bringing out a large bottle of champagne.

The atmosphere around Cayo Levantado is very quiet and tranquil, with no cars--other than the golf carts that shuttle people and luggage around the island. This is not a place for party animals, but for people who want to get away from it all and escape to an island Paradise. The beach and pools are very nice, and on a sunny day you could spend the entire day there, since there are bars and a buffet restaurant nearby. Or you could take a walk around the island, enjoy the trees, flowers and birds--or walk through the public beach and enjoy haggling with the local vendors.

It is hard to find fault with this perfect resort, and if there is any suggestion that we would make, it would be to include live music to compliment the fine atmosphere.

We would definitely return to Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, and would recommend it highly to other travelers.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled with friends
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5  Thank quill13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 31, 2010

This hotel felt like one that had just been opened, and was struggling to "get it right". Hard to believe it is part of a large chain and purports to be a 5 star, but there is the potential. It seemed that more than 90% of wait staff were new - unlike quality hotels that have had staff work there many years. English ability poor, including with reception staff. Many people complained of lack of response to queries or complaints such as hot water, mould, and safety deposit problems. We had none of those, our room was as ordered and great.
Beautiful location, buildings, landscaping. Great attention paid to room/maid, and all physical features of hotel. Food was ok at best, with promise to be better. Our second week was better than the first, but still inconsistent quality and service. Have had much better quality and selection of food at 4 stars. A la carte restaurants not very good - had same meal twice at Don Pablo but very different quality the second time. Buffet is better option. Met a few people who had serious food poisoning. There is a doctor 24 hours. Alcohol is terrible, the wine awful, and as an earlier reviewer said, deisel/gasoline brands proliferate. Bring your own if you drink CC - otherwise $5.40 US a shot. Most of the service staff appeared to be brand new -- took 4 tries to get a rum and soda one night. Pools don't have the "floatie" things that all other 5 stars do, the watersports are virtually non-existent based on the poor quality of kayaks and one worn hobie cat.
I would only go back to see the Humpback whales on Kim Beddall's tour (mid Jan to mid March, best time mid Feb). I would bring my own wine and brandy/zambucca. And would bring lots of Imodium. It also rained about 9 of the 14 days we were there from 9th Jan. Would only go for 1 week, and not 2. Air Canada only way to fly.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank gentletraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2010

We spent two weeks at Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in January.

Pluses.
Free wifi in the lobby.
Excellent location with two beaches:- one open to wave action and the other much calmer.
No vendors on the hotel beaches.
Easy check-in.
Friendly staff for the most part.

Minuses.
Wifi access is slowed or even stopped because some inconsiderate people play online games instead of limiting their usage to email only.
Buffet has food enough to satisfy most tastes but beware:- they only half cook the bacon and even the eggs.
Troubles with the ensuite safe. (Fixed after three visits to the manager's desk)
Troubles with insecure suite door. (Fixed after three visits to the manager's desk.)
Check your food carefully for under-cooking. You can get easily get sick from slightly undercooked fish etc.
Hot water was scarce during the first week of our stay.
Rooms can be noisy due to furniture being re-arranged.

The staff try their best, I think, but it should not take three trips to the front desk to have hotel maintenance repair the latch on the suite door. This is basic stuff.

There was evidence that the bar refills liquor bottles with other brands.
The lobby bar staff do not prepare drinks in plain view. There is no bartender as such. Each server seems to prepare his or her own drinks. I would have thought this was inefficient and results in inconsistent drinks.

The hotel does not seem overcrowded even when full, which is a good thing. At least you can usually avoid the le mob Transat. The rooms are all very large, and some are even larger. I am glad we stayed in the main building because mould was a problem in one of the villas. The hotel did move the guests, clean the room and launder clothing in this instance.
Lastly, if you go out too far on the calm beach wear some surf slippers:- one guy suffered from stepping on a Sea Urchin. This same fellow also got food poisoning from the under cooked fish. But there is a doctor on staff.....

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Jetlagerry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2010

We loved this resort, we thought we got good value and we can't wait to return. We got exactly what we were looking for: a quiet romantic getaway in a tropical paradise.

It is a lush, tropical haven with pristine beaches and gardens, luxurious pools, and large clean rooms. The whole resort is immaculate and cleaned all day every day. Don't waste too much energy worrying about what room or cabana you are in, they are all big and clean and fairly luxurious with large balconies and nice bathrooms and nice "sitting areas". Some are a little closer too the main building, some are closer to the beach, some have ocean views, some have garden views. We asked very nicely to get moved to a room with an ocean view, but it didn't really matter and was more trouble than it was worth because we spent all our time at the beach or the pool, and when we were in our room we were in the bath or in bed...

Service was very friendly and they try very hard. Most of the staff speak only passable English so expect a (small) language barrier. Our room was cleaned and re-stocked at least once a day (thank you!). Buffet/restaurant staff are very attentive and polite. Don't expect too much from the 24hr all-inclusive room service. Tipping is certainly not required but we found it was greatly appreciated and don't forget about those guys out in the hot sun raking the beaches.

Food at this resort was only fair to pretty good. We ate at the Don Pablo a la carte restaurant and we loved the romantic room and the elegant service, but the food was only OK at best (we eat out a lot in Toronto and maybe we have high standards). We had much better luck at the buffets where there is plenty of variety and if you are savvy and look around you are likely to find something that hits the spot. The coffee, fresh squeezed OJ and fresh papaya and pineapple were all fantastic. Our favorite spot for dinner was actually on the terrace by the fountain surrounded by palm trees and the stars. The all-inclusive wine was very low quality, the local beer was pretty good but we stuck mostly to pina coladas and capharinas.

The beaches and pools are all breathtakingly gorgeous and the main reason to come here. We much preferred the private beaches where there was no chance anyone would bother us or our stuff (camera, etc. was safe to leave by our chairs while we swam). Really nice bonus of not having to worry about towels or towel cards. Drinks delivered hourly.

We were grateful that the animation team was almost invisible here, although I hear they put on a couple of great shows.

Thank you to all the staff and the tropical paradise that is Grand Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado!

ps Our flight home was canceled and we had to take accommodation for 1 night at the Grand Paradise Samana. Although we need to thank JJ our Sunquest Rep for finding anything for us at 3am it was disgusting compared to our what we left.

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank laMarisa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2010

We had researched Cayo Levantado (mainly this site) before booking and found it to be mostly as advertised and we would now agree with the positive reviews.
Unfortunately the Quebec Nicotine Liberation Society appear to have been holding a convention at the resort during our stay, so dining or just sitting on the terraces was a smokey experience......why the resort promotes cigars is a head shaker, they stink!
A suggestion for senior management:
Next time there is a tsunami warning issued for the DR (as witnessed immediately following following the Haitian earthquake) it would be a courtesy to guests and staff to let everyone know!

  • Stayed: January 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank BCBB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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