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“Great experience - Beautiful area”

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Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa
Ranked #6 of 53 Hotels in Samana Province
Certificate of Excellence
Ottawa, Ontario
Level 6 Contributor
29 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 106 helpful votes
“Great experience - Beautiful area”
Reviewed March 24, 2012

I stayed at the Cayacoa from March 17 to March 24, 2012. This was originally a solo trip but a friend decided to tag along at the last minute.

WestJet: The service was great but the rep insisted that we sit through a long presentation on the very first day. This presentation was about the excursions but he was also going to tell us when we were going to be picked up on our way back (so essentially, you have to go to the presentation to get this information). I was already aware of all the tours offered in the area so I found this part a little annoying.

Room: I was in room 511 (main building) which overlooks the pool and the small bay. The room was very nice and clean. As per my request, I got a king size bed (personally, I did not find the bed and pillows too hard). Since the room is right above the main pool, you hear the music all day. As such, it is not a good room for someone who likes to take naps during the day but there is no noise at night. I would not suggest that people stay on the second floor as it is the main artery between the lobby and one of the elevators going to the buffet and the pool/beach. This means that it is noisy all the time and you can hear everything through the doors.

Service: Inevitably, I managed to block the toilet. This was fixed immediately. However, the ringer on my phone did not work. I mentioned it twice to the reception and this was never fixed. Generally, everyone was nice but some staff acted overly eager and some were a little indifferent (i.e. talking amongst each other/on the phone while you're waiting, etc.).

Grounds/hotel: Since I read the reviews, I knew about the stairs. However, I stayed in the main building so it only affected me when I went to the snack bar. The hotel, the grounds and the surrounding area are beautiful and very well kept. If you stay in the main building, it is actually pretty compact which is my preference. The hotel layout is a little confusing at first as the lobby, the buffet and the pool/beach exit are on different floors. It took me a while to get used to it but it was a breeze once I got it figured out. The beach is pretty nice and clean (not the nicest but again, I knew this from reading reviews).

Food: Here comes my only real complaint about this place: you cannot take food out of the buffet/restaurants. I don't know why and because of the language barrier, I never really found out why. This is the first time I encounter this. There is no patio in the buffet and I wanted to have breakfast on my patio. They eventually allowed it (for a tip, naturally). The food at the buffet was really good in general. There was something for everyone. The theme nights were a bit of a joke. For example, the Canadian night had a "poutine" dish which consisted of fries with melted cheese on them. That was it. I only went to the Italian à la carte and it was delicious. My friend went to the gourmet restaurant also and loved it. The snack bar only serves the leftovers from lunch and unless you're really starving, it's not worth the trek down the stairs.

Entertainment: I would say that the average age of guests during my visit was 45-50. This is not a party place and I was aware of this when I booked. We went to the disco three times and it was pretty empty all the time. I only saw the magic show and it was pretty entertaining.

Overall, I loved the place but it's a little too regimented for my taste: no 24-hour bars, no food in rooms. I chose the place as I was going to be a solo traveler but ended up going with someone. I would suggest this place to solo travelers, couples and people who like to have fun but within limits (this is a pretty classy joint, afterall). Also, I strongly recommend the Walk the plank zipline and the Los Haitises national park (I'll post reviews of those separately).

Room Tip: Main building, except for the second floor.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with friends
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5 Thank Alice669
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed March 24, 2012

Just came back to Toronto - stayed there 15-22 March, 2012. Loved the beautiful landscape, there are always places to go or walk around. Every turn brings you another view of the sea, pulls, amazing greenery.
Prepare yourself for lots of stairs, your legs might beg for rest for couple of days, and then you get to enjoy everything even more. Good exercise! There are shuttle buses to take you to some places.
Food was always ample with 4-5 choices of meat, fish, chicken; 5-7 choices of vegetables of vegetarian; 4-6 types of fruits every meal. Restaurants were OK, do not expect super service or delicious food.
We paid for one excursion "Catamaran + snorkeling" - it's not worth $95.
Town of Samana is dirty and unattractive.
Bought a couple of carved-wood figurines.
Sun lotion and slippers cost over $20 - better bring them with you.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Olevelaya_Em
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Durham, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2012

This area is very beautiful and reminded me of an area close to our home The Bruce Peninsula. Our room was on the second floor close to the lobby bar. The view was spectacular. As we are early to bed people I was concerned about noise, but there is a double door that makes room more soundproof. The room was very, very clean and the ladies left beautiful towel sculptures and flowers every day. The mini bar was always filled.

We opted for the main beach most days , always chairs available Twice we went down to the smaller beach area near the snack bar. This reminded me of sitting beside a river, very calm and non touristy feel to it. The smaller pool had very comfortable loungers.The snack bar had very decent options, when you travel from Ontario in the winter the taste of fresh produce is heavenly. As everyone else pointed out the stairs are brutal. We made sure and brought everything we needed for the day, you do not want to run up and down those stairs.I did notice a few people on crutches and their ankles bandaged. I also saw a few people that used walkers, I thought it an odd choice as this resort is not set up for people that have difficulty with mobility.

The dining room served good food as well with a different theme each night. We went to the Italian and the Gourmet a la carte's and the meals were very well presented, tasted great, and service was super. The wine offered was much better than some resorts I have been to.

The drinks at the lobby bar were the best ! The presentation was what made it. Beware they are strong.The only complaint is the cost of a "premium" drink $3.50 each. If you wanted something a little different you had to pay.

It did rain for one full morning. Other than that a few sprinkles off and on the weather was great, warm and humid.

A note on the bridge to "nowhere". Someone got held up by a little posse of kids that hang out down there, cops were called. It is a nice walk just make sure and not go alone. We were swarmed by children in town asking for dollars. I had a bag of candies to give out, they were happy with that.

I am glad we chose this resort for our vacation, it was a nice change of pace from Punta Cana.

Room Tip: Pay the little extra for an ocean view it is so worth it !
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Mary Lynne M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
17 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2012

This is a beautiful hotel. The beach/pool to people ratio is beyond anything I've seen thus far. The staff are lovely and helpful and the food was just above average.

My main reason for writing this review though was to tell people travelling here to FIND RAYMOND. If you are planning an excursion off the resort you must find Raymond. He will be under the bridge to the left of the main beach (typically, if he's not there any of the guys can call him and he will be there within 10 minutes.) He offers the EXACT same tours as the hotel but will do it for cheaper and a million times better.

Example #1 - we as a group of 8 booked the zip lining tour. The hotel wanted to charge $75.00 per person for ONLY the zip line. I convinced everyone to book through Raymond as I had myself read reviews on here recommending him. We did the tour for $70.00 per person which included the zip line, a local Dominican style lunch, beer, time spent at a nice little waterfall where you could swim around and jump off of as well as the afternoon at a gorgeous beach.

Example #2 - another group of 7 (we were there for a wedding and there were 23 of us in total, and although I myself didn't go on this particular tour the people who did had a great time!) booked the caves tour. The hotel wanted to charge $90 per person for ONLY the tour. They booked through Raymond after they heard what a great time we had zip lining and paid only $65.00 per person which included the local lunch, time at a different beach AND they had the opportunity to go whale watching! (depending on the season though I'm not sure they would be able to guarantee that part...)

Overall, I would just like to encourage everyone to support booking through the locals. Rather than paying even more money to the resort; give it to the people who will work really hard for you and go out of there way to make sure you have an AMAZING time on your tours.

Room Tip: If you book a Junior Suite ask for one in one of the 30's buildings. They are by far the biggest...
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  • Stayed February 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank EcstaticTraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 4 Contributor
26 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2012

I'll start off by saying that my wife and I don't generally go for 'resorts' or fancy hotels. We're more the Holiday Inn Express or funky local hotel people. However given that this was our first trip to the DR (or out of the US) we wanted to do a whale tour and also check out Samana we opted for Gran Bahia Cayacoa.

First, I'm an architect. I think buildings should reflect the local culture, be indigenous and blend in with their surroundings. I think hotels should be well laid out, easy to navigate (ie: you should be able to easily and quickly figure out where your room is and how to get to the restaurant) and comfortable. They should not feel like a Las Vegas casino which is designed solely to keep you unaware of the outside, time, space or anything other than blinking lights. I felt like I was in a Vegas casino at this resort. While I could view the pool from our 4th floor room - the view from which was wonderful, out over the cliff and trees toward the bay where on the first morning there was a beautiful double rainbow - it took me 20 minutes to figure out how to get there. And that's not just because of all the stairs. The lack of signage indicating where things were was confusing at best. The juxtaposition of the town of Samana to the resort was similar to plopping Disney World down in the middle of inner city Detroit. Note to resort architects - faux Caribbean is not an appropriate architectural style for anything between Charleston, SC and South America.

OK, enough of that. Like I said we agreed to stay here 3 nights as an experience. It's not an experience we wish to have again however I will focus now on the tangible aspects that everyone would rate things on.
The room: Ours was on the 4th floor with a balcony. Great view of the small bay opposite Samana proper and the main Bahia Samana. Good size, nice bathroom and good storage. The bed was hard but large and the pillows were flat. Not great sleeping IMO.
The resort: Typical upscale interiors could be anywere hotel. Nothing really made us feel that it was in the DR.
The food: We had one meal at the seafood restaurant down by the bay, El Pescadora I believe. It was better than the buffet. The service was good but not great.
The buffet has a lot of food. Not great food but if you want heaping amounts it's great. The omletes in the morning, the coffee and the views were the best parts. All the rest was average.
The grounds: Very nice actually and we quite enjoyed the stairs as it gave us an excuse to get some exercise and work off all the un-inspired food and drinks in the fresh air.
La Playa: The beach is small granted but it is very nice and the scenery is excellent. I'll admit to wanting to sit on that very beach after having seen a picture of it in a travel magazine. The bar service & staff were great, probably the best on the resort. We didn't have a problem getting chairs mostly because the time we were there was cloudy in the morning and most people opt for the pool. You can walk into town by following the beach around under the Bridge to Nowhere. It may not look appealing or safe but is fine during the day. Perhaps not at night but we never felt un-safe while we stayed there.

The least appealing part is having to wear an armband that, at least for me, felt like I was an inmate. It also seems to be an attractant when you are in town to people offering you everything from discount shoes to hand carved in another country items.

If you like resorts I'm sure you'll like this one. If you are looking at the options for staying in Samana (of which their are few) and are on the fence about resorts, you might want to take your chances with something else. Or stay in Las Terrenas or Las Galeras and day trip into Samana. It's a neat town and worth a day walking around. For the price there are far better options in L.T. and it's a nice hour taxi ride over the mountain to Samana.

Room Tip: Pay extra for a room with a balcony to sit and enjoy your morning coffee.
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank Joe A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed March 16, 2012

We stayed at this Resort from March 06, 2012 - March 14, 2012 and loved it! The service from the staff was exceptionally great. Everyone was super kind, polite and went out of their way to make your stay more enjoyable.

We stayed on the main floor, room 215 - which is on the same floor as the lobby bar and one floor up from the buffet. Therefore, we never really had to travel far to get to any of the amenities. We read alot of complaints about the amount of stairs, but as a younger couple in our 20's, we felt this wouldn't really be an issue for us. We did hear about a few people injuring themselves on the stairs... so drinking and walking should be done cautiously.

The main pool seating is filled VERY quickly. Unless you are up at 8am to go put a towel on your seats, you might as well sit on the beach or head to the other 2 pools on the lower levels. The lower level pools are just as great, if not better because they are less busy and have ample seating.

We traveled with Westjet Vacations and weren't incredibly thrilled with our tour guide, but he did recommend one excursion we really enjoyed and that was the Safari Bus to Playa Rincon. The tourguide, Mama Jackie - a born and raised dominican, was a pleasure to travel with. She was super informative, lively and fun. Playa Rincon is amazing, bring a boogey board from the hotel if you can, the waves are awesome!

We also did an excursion to Cayo Levatando (bacardi island) which included snorkelling. This was booked on the beach of the hotel through the Watersports hut. The package cost $35 each, and included an hour of snorkelling. The snorkelling wasn't good at all - i wouldnt recommend it. We barely saw any fish, and where they brought us seemed to be very polluted. The beach at Cayo Levatando was amazing though, and I would suggest you at least spend a half day there soaking up the sun and seeing the sights.

Lastly, we did a whale watching tour with Whale Samana - We were 100% satisfied with that tour and the guides that brought us!

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank Kelly K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sunderland, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed March 10, 2012

Visited between 23 February and 9 March 2012 and had a good time with only a few negative comments.
Having requested a room on the 5th floor before we arrived (as we were celebrating our wedding anniversary), I received a confirmation email from the hotel confirming that they would try to allocate us a room on the 5th floor and as we were celebrating a special occasion we would receive " T shirts, Bottle of Rum, basket of fruit ".
I was disappointed on arrival to find we weren’t allocated a room on floor 5 and in fact was given a room on the far west end of the resort in the bay next to the villas. The room was in a small two storey block of 10 or 12 rooms however the rooms were very spacious and well maintained and had a nice sea view of the bay so we decided to stay with the room for the duration.
Amenities were very limited in this part of the resort and to access the main part of the resort you had to either walk up approximately 150 to 180 steps to get top main buildings i.e. main restaurant and lobby bar or alternatively you could catch the shuttle bus service that ran every few minutes up and down constantly.
The main reception and hotel bars in general were very well maintained and the staff was very polite and provided good service.
Snorkelling in the bay opposite our room was disappointing as poor conditions caused poor visibility and there was always excessive amounts of debris floating on the surface of the water, some of which was natural (i.e. leaves, tree branches etc) however there was quite a lot of human waste (i.e. plastic fast food containers, bottles, cans etc), floating which was very off-putting. Staff did clean the beach daily but debris floating in the bay was unsightly.
It was not necessary tip staff to get good service although occasional tipping was apparent.
TV picture reception quality (visual and sound) in the room was very poor and the English speaking channels were hardly watch-able.
If you decide to dive with the on-site dive shop be aware you might have to pick up other divers from 'Bacardi Island' which is approx 40 minutes in the speed boat and this can add an hour and a half onto your time depending on conditions and can be quite rough. I did 6 dives and found the visibility to be generally poor due to sediment or poor light approximately about 10 metres visibility and dive sites were limited and repeated on two occasions.
Although we enjoyed our stay we won’t be returning - Still waiting for our T shirts, etc.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank stanhope
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 Cayacoa

Property: Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa
Address: Loma Puerto Escondido s/n, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection 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:
#4 Top resorts Hotel in Samana Province
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Samana Province
#6 Spa Hotel in Samana Province
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 295
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services: Main pool with Jacuzzi surrounded by a sun terrace 3 beachside hydromassage tubs Loungers, sun umbrellas and towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Water activity centre WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) Wedding gazebo Buffet-style main restaurant and 3 speciality restaurants 4 bars, cocktail lounge, chill out zone, 1 snack bar Sports facilities: gym Pueblo Principe: Shopping and leisure mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars and disco. Rooms: 295 rooms including 4 types: Standard, Standard with Sea View, Superior Junior Suite and Club Golden Junior Suite. Junior Suites are larger than Standard rooms. Room facilities: King size bed or 2 full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, hair dryer and magnifying mirror. Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (additional charge) Terrace WiFi (additional charge) Junior Suite: sitting area, sofa-bed and ironing set Club Golden Junior Suites (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: Park Mini Club for children aged 4 to 12 Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Auditorium for corporate meetings Panoramic lifts Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa Hotel
Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa Samana

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