This is my second time in Punta Cana, but my first time at the Gran Bahia Principe. Two of my co-workers recommended and loved this resort. On my previous visit to Punta Cana, we stayed at the Iberostar, which was wonderful (see my review).
We traveled with Air Canada Vacations and there were no problems. Perks we received by flying with AC: 1 extra a la carte restaurant (total of 4 for the week), free room safe, cocktail party (lame, skip it), slippers and bath robes in the room.
The resort is beautiful and pretty big, compared to Iberostar. There’s a tram every few minutes that goes between the lobby to the beach. People complain that you spend most of your time traveling on the tram, but it’s not true. You’re really only on it for about 5 minutes. You can also walk. It’s just a 15 minute walk. Not too bad. It’s a straight road, so it’s not like you’re going through the mountains.
Rooms: We stayed in Villa 19, which is one of the villas close to the lobby. We actually preferred being close to the lobby instead of the beach because after the theater shows, we were only a minute away from our room. Also the villas closer to the beach might be disturbed by the constructions going on. I would have hated that. The rooms were big. The bathroom is nice and made of marble. We had no trouble with the bed being uncomfortable and the pillows being too anything. Our room was on the ground floor, which we didn’t quite like but didn’t bother changing rooms. Bring mosquito repellent. We didn’t and the mosquitoes feasted on my blood. We found two centipedes in our room over the week. No big deal. They were small. Just kill them. If you’re on the ground floor, make sure your balcony door locks. Ours did not, so we called the maintenance guy to come fix it. I would definitely recommend getting the room safe. It’s worth it. Some people’s reviews said the maid went through their stuff or stole things. Nothing like that happened to us. Just keep valuables in the safe. Make sure you put the "do not disturb" sign on the door whenever you're in your room. My BF and I were in our room relaxing, and the maid just walked in to put face towels in our bathroom. She didn't even knock.
Pool/beach: We usually get to the beach around 10:30am and all the lounging chairs in the shade were already gone. And by that time, forget the pool chairs, there’s none available until the end of the day. We usually go to the beach until about 4-5pm and then head to the pool. Because it usually gets a bit cold by that time, so we take a dip in the heated pool. All the pools have swim-up bars, which we liked. And they also have a Jacuzzi.
The night shows at the theater were good. We went to see the Michael Jackson show and the Lion King Show. Both very good. The shows begin at 9:30pm, but go early for good seats. I would not recommend the seats near the bar at the back. People end up standing behind you and talk.
Other Vacationers: It probably has something to do with the time of the year, but there were more people our age. And a lot of people from Canada, especially Quebec (we’re we are from). Lots of smokers, which I didn’t like.
Food: The buffet food is very good. Our first meal there, we had duck! Every night has a theme. Italian, International, Asian, Spanish…The food is good and you can’t say you can’t find anything good to eat. If you are afraid to try something new, just eat spaghetti. The fruits and veggies are safe to eat. They are washed with safe water. I definitely recommend having the pineapples. They are super sweet! I still dream about them. Breakfast and lunch are pretty much the same every day. But for breakfast, I like to get an omelet made. I like how the buffet restaurant is not a hut. The buffet wasn’t swarming with flies.
The snack bar near the beach was where everybody went for lunch time. They offer hamburgers and hotdogs and a small buffet. I wasn’t quite impressed with the food there, but the chicken sandwiches are quite good.
For lunch and breakfast, you can also go to the seafood place. For people staying in the villas near the beach, you don’t have to go all the way to the lobby buffet for breakfast and lunch. It’s no reservation. Seems like not many people knew about this.
The buffets have a dress code. No beach wear, but I saw some guys in wife beaters, swim trunks and towels go in without any trouble.
A la Carte: We had 4 reservations. We had the Seafood, Japanese, Steak, and Gourmet. The seafood was good. You get to pick your main dish. For appetizer and dessert, it’s the buffet. The buffet was good. We both got the mixed seafood grill for our main course. It was shrimp, squid, big scampi, salmon filet, and a white colored fish fillet. Our favorite was the shrimp. The Opera cake was my favorite (they sometimes have this at the regular buffet as well).
The Japanese restaurant is Maiko. When we got there, there were a lot of people waiting. They seemed disorganized. Once they seat you, you are seated around a teppanyaki iron grill with about a dozen strangers. On the menu, the only thing you need to pick is the soup. Everything else on the menu will be served to you. You start with the appetizers: tempura, sushi, and soup. Then the cook starts making the food; fried rice, chicken, fish, shrimp, beef. Then when you are done eating, you are moved to the general eating area for dessert, we had fried ice cream. The food was okay. Not great.
Garden Grill Steak has the same concept as the seafood. You pick your main course and appetizers and dessert are at the buffet. The appetizers were not great. Most of the people went to the salad bar. The steak was quite good.
The Gourmet didn’t have a buffet. You pick everything from the menu. I had the onion soup, then had a smoked salmon and avocado appetizer, lobster for the main course, and coconut cake for dessert. I enjoyed all of them except the dessert. I found that to be bland. We overheard a few people complain that the gourmet was not good, but I quite liked it.
Most of the time, we tipped the bus boy more than our waiter. Our waiters would greet us at the table, take our order and we wouldn’t see them for the rest of the night. They often don’t even come to check on us. The busboy usually took our plates, brought is our food, and always replenished our drinks.
Staff: The staff works hard at keeping everything immaculate. However, I found that compared to the 4 star Iberostar we stayed at last time, we could see that the staff at Bahia Principe were less friendly, and also less grateful when you tipped. At Iberostar, we tipped our maid $2usd a day and she would fold us different swan towels and give us extra water. At Bahia Principe, we tipped our maid $3-4usd a day and even left a note to ask for more water, she gave us the bare minimum. And when we tipped the other people on the resort, they just took the money with a quick thank you. Perhaps because it is such a big resort, the staff expects the tip.
I’d recommend this resort and I would go back.
Make sure you pack a lot of sunscreen and remember to bring chapstick with SPF, my lips burned.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 lake-style pools Jacuzzi Sun terraces Lounger, sun umbrella and towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, tennis court, multi-sports court Water activity centre Motorised sports (additional charge) WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Meeting and convention room 1 buffet restaurant and 5 speciality restaurants Japanese restaurant 16 bars Wedding gazebo Punta Blanca Golf Club: 18 hole Punta Blanca Golf Club (additional charge) Pueblo Principe: Shopping and Leisure Mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars, disco and casino Rooms 756 rooms including two types: Superior Junior Suite and Club Golden Junior Suite Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with Jacuzzi, hair dryer and a full range of amenities Balcony or terrace Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (additional charge) WiFi (additional charge) Club Golden Junior Suite (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 for children aged 4 to 12 Baby Station Bahia Scouts Water Park Fun Area and Adventure Park (additional charge) Teen's club Other Services 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) WiFi in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request and subject to circumstances ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Gran Bahia Principe