We were three friends travelling to Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa, Samana based on it’s the positive reviews from Tripadvisor.com. For two of us, it was our first time in Dominican Republic and we stayed from January 23 – 30.
We arrived the resort hotel around 2:30pm. The tour company kindly suggested that we check-in to our room later so could proceed directly to dining room to catch the lunch (which finished around 3pm). The hotel is very relaxed about meal times, so if you are late, don’t worry you will be served and no one will care. It sets a nice pace for our stay.
The first impression of the hotel is that the hotel dark and a bit dated. Maybe the darkness is a style to protect from all the sunlight and heat esp. in summer.
The resort has the 2 beaches are small but we found both have their own strengths. The main one is where all the action takes place. The water was warm and you could swim laps if you wanted to in the enclosed area. The water was calm, a bit cloudy but ok with a pair of goggles or mask. One improvement is that the hotel needs to enforce a policy of no staking out the chairs at the beach and the pool. The resort seemed quite full and there was a bit of competition to get the chairs at pool and the beach. There was a small pool in the Royal Golden section – a bit more isolated… like being on a quiet island. Very quiet this was a nice alternative to the scene at the main beach and the main pool. There was BBQ food and salads served each day at lunch at the bar located on the beach.
All through the resort you could serve yourself water, juice, ice tea which is a huge plus if you ever had to stay somewhere where you had to bother the waiter or barman for every little thing. If you wanted alcohol you had to go through the bar tender which may go a little to controlling the consumption of the aggressive North Americans who brought their own large flasks to fill and refill (and refill) all through the day. Wow, our culture must make quite the impression of the local people who rarely overweight and don’t overconsume 24 /7. Don’t worry….you are never too fat for a bathing suit or even a bikini when you go to one of these places.
The resort has one main pool, not overly large. Many people gather at the pool each day and that is where the activities take place. You either participate or watch these activities as you basically right there in the middle of them – no escape. On the other hand, you are always welcome to join. There are few small pools which are really more like large Jacuzzis in Royal Golden section. I like the idea having swimming pools in different locations; we enjoyed a piece of quiet from time to time. We also enjoy taking a walk to the path between the main building and the Golden session. We found they put a good effort to maintain the resort area.
The three a la carte restaurants - Dolce Vita, Orquidea and El Pescador, are standard. Personally I quite disappointed with the buffet restaurant. It was acceptable but did not exceed our expectations. Part of reasons is the high expectation I got it from the earlier reviews. I found the buffet had less variety. Sometimes I noticed that they‘re serving similar choices in the same day in lunch & dinner. They also have theme night for dinner; we found the Chinese night is the worst. But we loved the local food night. They should substitute the Chinese night for Mexican night because they would have better luck preparing that kind of food. Even by Canadian standards it was not real Chinese food at all. In the daytime, they only serve cookies in the Lobby bar in the main building. If you want real food for snacks you are able to go to La Casita over in Golden section area. They serve a limited buffet selection on a smaller scale until 6pm. At night, restaurant Dolce Vita (next to disco) serves snacks (sandwich, chicken baguette, burger & hotdog with chips…) start from 11pm. You have access to food basically 24 hours a day. You would never go hungry.
The room we stayed is right on top of the main entrance and opposite the disco. If you are light sleeper beware of these rooms (330 & 331; 430 & 431; 530 & 531). Although there was a beautiful view of the bay, we found the room a bit dark as well, only 2 wall lamp and 1 floor lamp. TV was too small, yes we wanted to watch the news and tennis on TV (AUSTRALIAN OPEN) but there was a large TV screen (Wii available) in the room across the lobby bar (along with two pool tables). And we have 3 beds, 2 double and 1 rollaway bed. Sleeping on the rollaway bed like sleeping on the trampoline. But sleeping with the regular bed doesn’t have any advantage. The hotel did call on day 2 to ask if everything was okay. They did not get around to changing the mattress on the bed but they did fix the weak stream of water from the shower.
Overall we found the staffs from front desk to housekeeping are very friendly. Besides the front desk, they speak less English that I would have expected but we improved our Spanish for sure we didn’t find any difficulty to communicate with them. They are very polite and smiling all the time. These are very warm and welcoming people who were not aggressive at all about tipping. Again, it really contributed to setting the right pace for a relaxing holiday. Tipping really seemed to be optional which is what it is supposed to be. We appreciated the service and left US$2 or $3 with each buffet meal and then a bit more for the a la carte restaurants.
At night, you can enjoy the shows put on by the animation team. Well worth it, we went every evening and it was something different every night. Another option is to sit outside on the large outdoor terrace which overlooked the bay and the town of Samana. Again, there is not much to do, so it is relaxing in my opinion.
We enjoyed exploring the bridge to nowhere. Spending half a day in Samana where is ok. I nice walk along the marina but not much to see….I would be important to take a walk to see how the locals live. It seemed safe enough. Sorry I missed the whale museum. I only realized it was there after our trip.
- 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