My wife and I just got back from a 1 week stay at the Luxury Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, and we stayed there from November 23 to 30, 2013.
If you want a truthful and objective review, keep reading, because I’m blunt and objective.
This is an excellent resort in some aspects, but we did have some issues with it, which is why we would never go back.
This has recently become an adults only resort, which is one of the reasons we picked it, and also based on all the positive Tripadvisor reviews.
This resort does not feel like a 5 star in many ways, overall, it’s a 4 star at most, and on a really good day.
We have paid less and been to 4 stars that were much better than this one.
Free WIFI service is available in all of the resort and in our room, but it very slow.
Still it was much better than at many places where they scam you ridiculous prices for internet service.
I also loved the free safe in the room, which unlike some places, was free and conveniently located.
The resort is more than 1 hour away from the airport, and the bus ride was bumpy and a bit dangerous at times.
This is not in any way the resorts fault, it’s just that people in the Dominican Republic drive quite crazy and imprudently, and the roads are not very good either.
Upon arrival from the bus ride, it is then approximately a 10 minute boat ride to the island where the resort is located.
No issues with the boat ride for me, but bring some Gravol if you get sea-sick easilly.
Overall Resort & Appearance
This is a very beautifully landscaped resort, and the gardens, grounds and trees are immaculately maintained by the gardening staff. Nice job to them!!!
The resort itself is beautiful, and very tastefully furnished, decorated and is kept very clean.
There was construction going on in a section of the resort, and I must say it was not the least bit disruptive to us, nor did I personally hear anyone complain about it bothering them either.
This is a pretty large and spread out resort, with many up and down hills.
There are cart/trolleys for transportation around the resort, and they can fit up to 9 people at a time.
Unlike some places, these cart/trolleys do not run on a regular schedule, but when you called reception for transportation, they always came to pick you up within a few minutes, which was great.
We stayed in a superior junior suite, with a fabulous ocean view (Villa 4), and we were thrilled with our room location. It was not as far as many rooms from the main buildings, yet it was not too close either. So when my wife wore high heels, or if it was very hot during the day, we called a trolley, and it came right away to take us to the main area or back to our room, but otherwise we mostly walked around.
The room was large and spacious, with a large storage closet with a free room safe.
It was nicely decorated, and a beautiful room.
Our Balcony/Terrace was awesome, with a fabulous view of the ocean and pool below us.
We had a café style table for 2, and also a separate sofa and table seating area for 3.
There were free bathrobes and slippers provided for us by the hotel, to be used in or room or for the bathroom.
The Beds were very comfortable, but the pillows were horrible. We were given more pillows to try out, but they were still bad. If I had to come back to this place, I would actually pack my own pillow from home.
The water pressure in the hydro massage bathtub was so horrible and slow, that it took over ½ hour to fill the tub. The separate shower stall was unlit, and the shower nozzle squirted water very unevenly.
The mini-bar in the room was an issue. The mini-fridge was stocked with pop, and only 2 beers and 2 water bottles daily, as well as 3 mini 50 ml (airplane size) bottles of liquor, one of each: rum, whiskey & vodka.
Really???...it’s an all inclusive resort, and we should have all the beer/alcohol/water we want.
So I am obviously not happy with the stock in the room mini-fridge.
Want some more stock in the fridge? Well guess what, you have to pay extra for it.
If someone does not drink pop, and wants only beer, water & Vodka in the mini-fridge, that is what they should get, and they should not have to pay extra for it.
After all, an all-inclusive resort should be just that!!!
Beach and pools
The beach is tight and very overcrowded with trees near the ocean, making it sometimes very difficult to get a chair in a good spot in the sun, but easier if you wanted shade.
But who wants to be spending the entire day at the beach in the shade? I guess some people do, but definitely not us, as we go down south for the sun and beach.
The beach itself is not bad, but we have been to much nicer beaches than this one.
Keep away from the smaller beach to the left of the main beach on the resort, unless you are a strong swimmer and enjoy the hard hitting waves, it is definitely not for inexperienced swimmers.
There are 3 large and very nice pools, and we spent about 3 hours at one of them during one afternoon. The bar was very close, and the service was good. The pools and pool area were kept nice and clean, and we did not have a hard time finding spots in the sun, but it would have been hard if we wanted shade by the pool, as all those spots were taken. Good thing we like the sun.
Food & Restaurants
Food at the main large buffet Orquídea restaurant was better than average, and a few times absolutely amazing. On Thursday night they actually had full lobsters, caviar and lots of seafood selection. This buffet was much better than those at many other resorts that we have been to.
As for the a la carte restaurants, we went to all 3, and their menu selections were extremely limited:
They advertise 3 restaurants, but in reality only 2 of them are actually open on any given night.
Our first a la carte dinner was at the Don Pablo restaurant. It was nicely decorated, and they played great ambient music for my taste. The food and service however left much to be desired.
The wine was warm instead of room temperature, but it was decent.
BTW, the same wine was served everywhere on the resort, and you paid extra $$$ if you wanted some different wine to drink.
I ordered the lobster and steak combo, and I was very disappointed. It took over ½ hour for the entrée to come, and the steak was well done instead of medium rare as I had ordered it, and the lobster looked more like a jumbo shrimp, it was pitiful at best.
The desert was crème brule, and it was not even cooked, and was served runny and cold. Really???...Don’t they know that crème brule is served cooked and warm?
So much for a gourmet restaurant, LOL...
Our second a la carte dinner was at the Mediterráneo Restaurant, where the menu was limited, but the lobster tail was actually a real lobster, and not more like a large shrimp, as was the one at the Don Pablo restaurant.
I ordered a second entrée of steak, and they gave me no grief, and it was very tasty and properly cooked to medium rare, just as I had asked for.
We enjoyed this place, and we came back for a second and equally enjoyable time.
For our third a la carte, we went to the Portofino Italian food restaurant, and we were not the least bit impressed. We never bothered to go back since the food quality and selection was mediocre at best, and the service was totally unimpressive.
There were 4 of us for dinner that night, and the waiter actually refused to give us 2 entrées, much to my surprise.
It was not until I asked for, and spoke to the manager Stephanie, that we did get the second entrée, but only ½ hour later, and the same waiter never came anywhere near us again.
A la carte restaurants should give you 2 entrees if you make that request.
Telling someone no is unacceptable. All inclusive should be just that, and nobody should need to go to the buffet after an inadequate dinner.
Bars & alcohol
The bars close way too early, 11 pm is totally unacceptable.
If you want quiet at night, this is the place to go, as the is virtually NOTHING going on after 11 pm, and all the bars are all closed by then, contrary to what it says on their web page.
The only thing going on late was a “beach party”, and when we arrived and saw that there were 4 people there, we knew it was a bust.
Also, this supposed “beach party” was held on the PUBLIC beach, not even on the actual resort grounds, how pathetic is that?
Another issue is that you have to pay for premium liquor!!!
Wow, how cheap for a supposed 5 star resort!!!
For the all-inclusive drinks, they served some of crappiest brandy, whiskey and rum that I have ever had. There were 4 choices of vodka, but who knows if the alcohol inside them was actually the real thing.
I have gone to many 4 and 5 stars hotels (all inclusive) in Mexico, Aruba, St Martin, etc., at cheaper prices & never had to pay for premium liquor!!!
One night, it was exactly 10:20 pm, and we were sitting on the patio outside the Portofino restaurant as a group.
We were politely having a few drinks and enjoying quiet conversation, and all of a sudden the lights were turned off on us, and there was no more bar service!!! The 4 of us were alone and deserted all of a sudden.
I could not believe it, what is wrong with this place???
Maids & Room Service
The maid cleaning service was very inconsistent as far as time of day for cleaning.
Our Maid was rude 2 times because we asked her to come back later when she arrived before 9 am, and she even rolled her eyes at me and my wife.
We continued to tip her, but less money after this occurred. She did however keep the room clean to our satisfaction.
As for room service, we ordered coffee and breakfast a few times. The wait times were quite reasonable, and the service guy we had was very polite and pleasant (same guy all week).
We saw a funny magic show one night, and that is it.
If in fact there were any other shows going on other nights, they were definitely not well publicized.
None of the staff ever told us about any shows going on, like they do at most resorts.
We did ask a few times, and we were told that either they were not sure, or did not know. I guess that meant NO.
By 11 pm this place was pretty much dead and deserted.
If you want quiet relaxation, and an early bedtime, this is the place for you.
Otherwise, there will a lot of boredom in the evening, if you want to have some fun.
In summary, I would like to say to management:
-Please give people the drinks that they want in their room, without having to pay extra for them.
-If someone wants 2 entrees at a restaurant, the answer should always be :Yes, of course”, and never “No”
-Keep your bars open longer than 11 pm, as this is ridiculous.
Overall, this resort does not feel like a 5 star in many ways, it’s a 4 star at most, and only on a really good day.
We have paid less and been to 4 stars that were much better than this one.
I can even give an example from their own chain, the 4 star Gran Bahia Akumal in Mayan Riviera Mexico was much better than here, overall.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 pools 3 Jacuzzis with bar Large sun terrace and gardens with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 1 tennis court Motorised water sports (additional charge) Store Heliport WiFi access in the lobby and in rooms (free of charge) Main buffet-style restaurant and 3 speciality restaurants 4 Bars Cocktail Lounge Snack-bar Wedding gazebo Rooms 268 rooms including 5 types Superior, Junior Suite, Superior Junior Suite, Deluxe Junior Suite and Beach Villas. Superior Junior Suites, Deluxe Junior Suites and Beach Villas are larger than the Junior Suite and Superior. Room facilities: King size four poster bed Air conditioning Ceiling fan Sitting area with desk Balcony or terrace Fully-equipped marble bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, separate shower, bidet, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Telephone in bathroom Don Pablo Collection amenities Bathrobe and slippers Radio alarm clock with iPod docking station Direct phone line (additional charge for external calls) Flat screen satellite TV Safe Mini-bar with alcoholic drinks Wifi Coffee-making facilities Ironing set 24 hour room service Evening downturn service Outdoor Jacuzzi (Deluxe Junior Suites) Butler service Pillow menu Aroma menu Beach Villas: Seafront location with outdoor Jacuzzi, pillow menu available on request, baggage unpacking and ironing service, laundry service (optional) Other services Medical and pharmacy service (additional charge for both) Stores in the hotel Heliport and private boat (available on request for an additional charge) Mainland reception and transfer by boat (included in the booking fee) Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel
- Cayo Levantado Samana
- Cayo Levantado Dominican Republic
- Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
- Cayo Levantado Hotel Samana