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“You'll gain weight!”

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Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana
Ranked #65 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Montreal
Level 1 Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“You'll gain weight!”
Reviewed May 1, 2009

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.

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank mtl_joey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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tampa
Level 4 Contributor
43 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2009

i've traveled everywhere- this place sucks!!! rooms are only 3 star- the property itself is immaculate.. thats it ...beds uncomfortable and small, beach his ok- but not spectacular, food- is not very good... staff could care less about you... huge resort- plan to spend alot of time on trams from room to beach, buffet etc. ate in 2 restaurants- japanses maiko -poor, garden grill just ok...get up at 4 a.m if you want shade- all shaded area taken by then and no one even uses them. i threw someone else towels on the ground. i didn't care- its 230 p.m. and towels have been there since 6 a.m.... the ride from airport half an hour of disgusting trash everywhere- very dirty area looked like a huge landfill wit humans living in it.asked management why 1 room had robes, fruit, etc- it was a mistake other room didn't get this until 3rd day??? don't book any fishing trips with anybody cause its just a boart ride for $100.00- no refund if u don't catch anything. you can't even touch the rods..... shopping on property is ok... off propery is sucks..... cigar factory little else.. if you want a great vacation go to riu ochos rios- best all inclusive for your $$$

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank urbagurba
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
new york
Level 5 Contributor
90 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 274 helpful votes
Reviewed April 27, 2009

I am a hotelier and have been in the industry for 18 years. So, please take my word for it. The rooms are spacious, clean, simply decorated but functional. The resort is not really as big as it is drummed up to be and it is a good thing. You can walk from one end to the other in 15 minutes to give you an idea. There are shuttles running practically around the clock 6a.m. to 3 a.m. 21 hours a day. The only time we took the shuttle was when my 7 year old daughter wanted to ride it for fun. The beach is clean and nice. It is a little crowded but it is not like some of the beaches in Europe where you literally are putting your head next to someone else's. The staff was very nice. Having a few dollars with you always helps. These people work very hard so give them a dollar when they serve you a drink and they will remember you forever.

The drinks served were plentiful and great but if you want premium drinks - top of the shelf- or particular brand names, they have it ( and it is very cheap ). Drink the local rum ( ron ) which is fresh and sweet.
For the restaurants: The restaurants that are by reservation suck with the full sense of the word. They are slow, bad and too small. It is hard to get a reservation at the time you want it. Our travel agency booked us the spots we got there but after the first dinner, we canceled the rest. The buffet is great! try local fish caught and delivered daily, grilled very simply, fresh salads, fruits, and desserts. I recommend bringing your own wine or at least order the wine off the menu which is 15 to 30 bucks with dinner because the house wine is really not good. Overall, this hotel gets a passing grade from me if you can overlook some flaws and notice how hard the staff is working to keep it going. Thank you

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank selcukny
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 26, 2009

April 9-16th; at the resort over Easter Holiday (hotel was sold out) and you would never know it was Easter as all services/water sports were in full service.
Beach>beautiful sand (don't need water shoes)/ no bugs at all/able to get chairs anytime during the day in the sun or shade even though many reserved with towels
Accomodations>were in building 71 just built a few months ago; 5 min walk to the beach or lobby (restaurant). Slight must smell due to humidity but very clean and comfortable; nice marble bathrooms
Food>huge variety; some things unable to tell what they were/every night a different theme for variety/ easy to eat lunch at the buffet by the pool/beach/were able to book "al la carte" but could only get after after 8:00 pm ; French (not good for kids) and Japanese very good (good for kids)
Entertainment>every night by the lobby/Michael Jackson and Disco show good but beware with young kids that the cast at times wear limited clothing

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank HalifaxSueC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Essex
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2009

This is a complex of 4/5 Hotels, if you are in the Punta Cana Hotel you are restricted to two pools and selected bars?. There are a total of 2,700 rooms, soon to be expanded to 3,700.rooms, for part of our stay the Hotel was full to the brim with 6,000 guests. This is the largest complex that we have stayed, it took me a few days to work out that you must be up with your towels by 6.45am at the latest to secure your beds and shade. The average temperature was over 100f, the pool bars have no shade? The alternative was to go to the beach, an easy option . However the Hotel owns a small beach front, all the beds are crammed together and again there is limited shade! I wondered if it was the Hotel's policy to recreate the " Spanish Holidays of the 70's" something which most Brits would avoid like the plague. During our stay we came across a number of people who had tummy problems and ear infections, this I put down to the pool bars, the number of people (not the youngsters, the older one's) who sit at these bars for hours on end drinking, without leaving the pool for the obvious,
NOW FOR GOOD BITS!
The whole complex is the cleanest that we have ever come across, the food in the restaurants was of a very high standard, the salards were fresh as can be, hot food was hot, with a vast selection to tempt any palete, the restaurants were very clean well run and the staff wre polite and on their toes. The reception and bar areas were spotless, the waiters were quick and polite, I tipped our waiters $5US every evening. The drinks were good 90% of the time. Our room was large and clean and our maid very good we gave her $10US at the start of the holiday and $10US at the end, there were no ants bugs etc. The aircon was quiet as was the fan, even the fridge was quiet, the bathroom was large, the towels were faded at times but always clean.
Overall we had a great holiday and made some very nice friends.
What makes this Hotel stand out for me was, the staff, the quality of the food, how clean and well kept every thing was. The down side, it does get very hot there and having no sunbed and no shade was bad, there were a few problems with beds being taken having been reserved . For this reason I would not recommend this Hotel untll the problem is solved, which is a shame!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Michael_tx2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
philadelphia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 24, 2009

The hotel is very large and beautiful. We had a wonderful time i would go back. Book Resturants as soon as you arrive.The only real prob we had was with the resturants being all booked up and we tryed booking them the morning after we arrived ) =. we could not get in for even 1 resevation! but we spoke to the manager about it and he was very kind to fit us in. when we went to the resturants they were all not even half full, witch upset us. but If ur looking for a 5 star hotel with with 4 star service, stay here. The resort is huge but i loved it, walking everywhere....if ur not up 4 the walk they have shuttles to the beach and lobby and inbetween!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank philadelphia023
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BC
1 review
Reviewed April 24, 2009

Absolutely spectacular holiday. Stayed in villa 21, Sandra was our house keeper, what a great lady. My wife and 3 kids, 12 and under, had 2 adjoining rooms as requested and it worked out perfectly. We alternated between the pool and beach during the day to explore and experience the different activities available to all ages. They had ping pong, volleyball, slides and climbing walls (the inflatable kind) available just to mention a few activities. We went on one excursion to swim with the shark and ray, what a great time. Thanks to Mr. Sharky and crew for being so good to my kids. Very patient and supportive crew. I could go on and on about how much fun we had. The Royal Golden package was worth the extra money for us, as we liked being close to the beach, We booked well in advance so maybe that was why we had no problem getting adjoining rooms. Furthermore, if you are flying from Vancouver, I would recommend paying extra for the big seats (Air Transat) because it is a long flight, especially with 3 kids. We had 7 days of full sun, take lots of lotion SPF 50 for kids, very important!!!

  • Stayed April 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank FinnBc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana

Property: Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana
Address: Crta. Arena Gorda, Punta Cana 9999, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#18 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#24 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#40 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#55 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#57 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#58 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#60 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana 4*
Number of rooms: 756
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

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