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“Tough to get to but worth the trip”

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Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa
Ranked #6 of 54 Hotels in Samana Province
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 18, 2009

My wife and I just returned from a trip to the Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic. Everyone needs to know that the DR is NOT frequented by Americans. We were told by staff at the Cayacoa that we were the first Americans in a month. Primarily the DR is visited by Canadians and Europeans.

The Samana Peninsula is breathtakingly beautiful and the staff at Cayacoa work hard night and day to keep the grounds at the resort looking spectacular. The rooms are generously appointed though not opulent by any means. Call them nicer than a chain hotel, but not a Four Seasons.

Upon arrival at check-in you are fitted with a wrist band. I have seen this done at many all inclusives, but it's a small hassle.. It tends to fade over time and gets in the way.
The staff were friendly and professional. An important side note.....it really helps if you know some conversational Spanish, as their English is fairly limited.

The resort has 3 specialty restaurants along with a couple of snack bars and the buffet restaurant. The food in all of them was about average. It is NOT gourmet dining by any means, but the selection is very good and you will not ever want for anything to eat. By all means, make a reservation for the Gourmet Restaurant. The ambiance and view are outstanding.

I really can't recommend a trip into Samana town. It is a typically dirty, and heavily trafficked Latin American town. Watch out for motorscooters. DR citizens as a rule ignore the rules of safe driving.

If you're looking for a fair priced resort in a gorgeous setting, I'd definitely recommend this place.

The activity staff is really on top of their job and always trying to get you involved in something. The main pool area is a gathering place and is well appointed and large.
There is also a large Jacuzzi, though it is not near warm enough.

  • Stayed: March 2009, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank mrbeaverpayson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 17, 2009

Yes, I should have written this review a year ago, but didn't check out this website until I was looking for a trip for this year.

Overall, we did love this resort, especially the luxurious rooms, very comfortable beds, and tasty food. We enjoyed the variety at the buffets...always something new to try. We also took advantage of the A La Carte restaurants. For the most part they were very good, except for the bits of shell accompanying my lobster...couldn't eat it without crunching....pretty disgusting. My husband and brother-in-law said their meals were fine, so I must have just been the unlucky one.

We had a bad experience booking a "deep-sea fishing/whale watching" trip outside of the resort. I wouldn't recommend this at all as we ended up in a small motor boat catching itty-bitty fish using fishing line with hooks attached...not even rods. Did get to see some whales, but we should have done it properly and booked through the tour desk at the resort.

Our worst experience was realized only on the plane ride back to Toronto. On our last day, and as we had a late flight, my husband decided to go for a massage at the resort. He really enjoyed it...but on the plane home, he noticed that his wedding band was not on his finger. He remembered that the masseuse really "greased him up"...including his hands, and told him that he was too tense...to relax. We cannot be sure of course, but what other explanation can there be? Extremely heart-breaking, to say the least, after having worn this wedding band for 34 years!!!

If you like to walk, there is nowhere to walk, as this resort is very small and very quiet. Perfect for older couples who want an early night to bed and a whole lot of relaxation.

All in all though, we did enjoy the resort but would be very cautious next time and at other resorts (once we get a replacement wedding band).

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled with family
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Thank ibuskidz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 17, 2009

Traveled with husband and friends. Had ocean view room and balcony. Maids great. Had bar fridge everyday. Got extra beer.
Beach was great. Lots of sun and chairs. Bathroom was a little skanky. Great to swim.
Went on excursion to Levantado. Beach their great too. Came back in tiny boat with 13 people. Not fun. Buy off beach guy not desk - too expensive.
Went into town. Felt safe but stayed close to drop off.
Food was excellent. Buffet and ala cartes. Three good restaurants. But bad location for fish place. Off side of cliff. Lots of stairs but could take golf cart from front desk.
Entertainment was ok. Shows in disco- bad.

Had a great time- would go again.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank LindaC54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2009

We were a little uneasy booking this location, since we didn’t know much about Samana. All I can say is great choice!
The resort is 5 star in every way except the night life.
Set on a hillside, makes for some exercise with lots of stairs when going from our room in the club golden section away from the main building. Of course considering the amount of food and drink, this was not a bad thing. And if you didn’t want to walk, there were shuttles running all the time to get you around.
We never spent any time at the main pool. To get a chair meant very early towel drops. However, we did spend some time at our Jacuzzi/pool by our building. It had a bar & restaurant so it was very accommodating.
The beach:
The beach was interesting. An outdoor elevator took us down, or you could challenge the 200 steps. Smaller than what we are accustomed to, but never had a problem getting lounge chairs and the scenery was breath taking. It wasn’t the white sand that made the water crystal clear, but it still was nice and the water very refreshing. Special thanks to Tomas & Victor (beach activities and over all entertaining) making it an enjoyable and active experience.
I brought a book to read and never opened it….just couldn’t stop looking at the view. This area has more palm trees per square acre than anywhere else. Mountainous and rocky.
We have previously stayed in Punta Cana, and even though their beaches are better, it does not make up for the rest of the subtropical scenery.
The food:
Probably the best we have had in our travels. No surprise spices, lots of choices in the buffet and good meals in the ala carte. If you can’t find something here, then you are extremely picky.
The town:
When we were driving in from the airport, we weren’t sure if we would go into town. You can walk down the hill in 10 minutes. We’re glad we did. Gran Bahia has their own shopping area and local shops as well. The cruise ships come in twice a week so be careful at some of the restaurants. They will try to overcharge when you order. We ordered some beers and had to get a written bill in order to pay the right price….so make sure you ask for a written bill! Lots of deals too at the local shops….pay about 1/3rd of the asking price.
Whales:
The hump back whales come into this area Jan – Mar. They are amazing to see!!
We didn’t take the expensive hotel tour. We found Joselito in town. He was half the price (5 of us went along) and catered to our time frame. No we weren’t in a charter boat, but rather a 20ft, 75hp fishing boat with life jackets. Just as good and then spent the afternoon over at Levantado, a beautiful white sand island with restaurants, drinks, chairs and local crafts. If you book with Joselito, buy him lunch there. I would have to say, the lobster was good too. If anyone would like Joselito’s number please email is, and make sure you only call him when you get there as it will cost him too much.
Special thanks to Jocelyn & Bill and Susie & John for making a great vacation even better.
The only area where this resort is lacking is their nightly entertainment…the disco is extremely small and the live entertainment is not great. However, we were early risers, so it didn’t really effect our time.

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank SCOTTSROSE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2009

We stayed at the villas Feb. 16 - 23rd with two other couples and we had a beautiful week. Weather was perfect and we stayed by the pool by the villas almost all week. The food was fantastic and varied a lot....went to the Gourmet Restaurant ( view and food - excellent ) and the Seafood Restaurant was delicious ). The Domincan's are very happy friendly people and always trying to please. The villas were gorgeous and entertainment was great - music under the stars every evening. The staff really want you to have a good time!! We found they had a lot of staff everywhere and it was always easy to get a waiter to help you get a drink, etc. The resort is built on a hill and the stairs are many, but it's a good way to work off the buffet, and it also has graduated pathways if you don't wish to take the stairs.....no one in our group got sick from the food or water....we went to the beach one day, it's small but very nice....preferred the pool with the " hot tubs" within the pool. We took the shuttle into town twice and wandered around the shops....all owned by Bahia so very safe. All in all, we had a great holiday, planes were on time.....a nice 40 minute drive to the airport, flight was uneventful and we had a restful yet fun time.....met a great couple down there named Rich and Barb who were celebrating their first wedding anniversary so we hung around them a bit too....they were fun and Barb painted the toenails of one of our friends as he was sleeping!! Would go back to this resort in a flash......

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with friends
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5  Thank rosys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2009

I travelled to Bahia Principe Cayacoa from Mon Feb 23rd – Mon March 2nd, with my boyfriend. We are 23 years old.

I thought it was great. Even though I’m young, I wasn’t looking for a party resort – I was looking for a beautiful and relaxing week. I didn’t want to go somewhere that was rammed with people and wild parties. I think Bahia Principe Cayacoa was exactly what I was looking for. The majority of people there were 50 years old +. However, there were a few younger families as well, and we met a few fun people to talk to.

Room/Hotel: The rooms very were clean and the hotel was lovely. We had a junior suite, which was in villas separated from the hotel – nice and spacious. There was a mini-fridge in our room that was restocked with 2 beers, 2 giant waters, and some pop (Pepsi, diet Pepsi, and orange pop) each day (free of charge). We used the safe in our room, which cost us $30US for one week. The main hotel was nice too – well-kept. There are a lot of stairs, as the hotel is built on a hill, but we are young and healthy so it didn’t bother us one bit. I can understand it being an issue if you are elderly, however.

Food: Sometimes it was really good, other times it was just so-so. The buffet had a wide variety to choose from – always something for everybody – but it didn’t differ too widely day-to-day. We went to 2 a la carte restaurants – first, the Italian one (Dolce Vita): it was decent. Not amazing, but it was just nice to have a change of scene from the buffet. Then we went to the gourmet restaurant: Orquieda. It was really good – I got the shrimp dish and my boyfriend got the surf and turf (which isn’t lobster, but actually shrimp) – we both really enjoyed our meals and the restaurant is beautiful. At no point did either of us get sick or upset stomachs from any of the food – so that is a good thing.

Beach: We’re beach people, so we spent a lot of time at the beach. It was fine – I knew before our trip from reading the reviews that it was a smaller beach, so we were prepared. We played beach volleyball everyday and there are lots of activities and kayaks, etc. at your disposal. It’s definitely not the best beach in the world, but we thought it was fine.

Pools: We didn’t spend much time at the main pool, so I can’t comment too much on it – but it was very nice looking and seemed to be a popular choice. There’s a smaller, Jacuzzi pool over by us in the villas, where we spent a lot of time – especially near the end of our week.

Trips, etc: We didn’t end up doing many excursions – the only thing we really did was go snorkeling one morning and then over to Cayo Levantado (a nice white-sand beach island) – the trip cost only $35 pp through the guys who do the water sports on the beach. The snorkeling was so-so, as the water was kind of murky so we didn’t see much…but the beach we went to was nice and it was fun to go somewhere away from the resort. Other than that we only left the resort to go into town to the gift shops (we didn’t really venture past the strip owned by the hotel though), and we walked the long bridge next to the hotel (which was kind of fun, but there were areas that seemed a little unsafe – just go with a group and you’ll be fine).

Nightlife: There isn’t much nightlife here (the latest bar – the lobby bar- closes at 11pm). We knew that before our trip, however, and were fine with it. We would usually go for dinner at the buffet, then head over the lobby bar and sit on the patio having drinks and listening to music until around 10pm when we’d either head over to the disco (it wasn’t spectacular but it was entertaining and they work really hard) or just head back to our room and play cards or watch TV.

All in all I had a wonderful time at the Bahia Principe Cayacoa. If you are young and looking for a good party however, perhaps choose somewhere else. If you have any questions for me, please message me and I’ll be happy to respond!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank TObeachbum7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2009

Me and my new husband and 38 of our dearest friends, mostly from Toronto, NY and BC went to this resort from Feb 17-24th, we got married on Feb 20th, and an amazing week, I wish I was back there right now! The resort is beautiful, and every room I saw had a breathtaking ocean view.

Everyone had a wonderful time, we partied the whole week. The disco had decent music, and with our 38 friends, the dance floor was a jump off. Without us there though, it would have just been a couple of old people. I would only go to this resort if you are looking to relax, or have enough people to party with. There weren’t a lot of young people other than us.

The wedding went well, the pictures came out beautifully, we did it on the dock in front of the villas. The planner, Simona did a great job; she was wonderful to work with. The meal at the Gourmet restaurant was delicious, and so was the ocean view. If there are any future brides reading this, send me an e-mail and I would be happy to give you all the wedding related details. (sashahennebury@hotmail.com)

The food was better than I expected, I have only been to Cuba before though. We ate at all the a-la-carte restaurants and the Buffet.

The staff was awesome, check out Thomas at the pool, Edwardo at the Seafood restaurant next to the Disco, he keeps a good chicken parmesan sandwich! All the boys loved Pamela who works on the Animation team. If you see her, you’ll know why! The staff loves tips, these people earn $50 a week, so money or anything else is much appreciated. They seemed to really like clothing, cigarettes and beer, so even getting unopened beers from the maid, and giving them out as tips went over very well. Or bring Tupperware and give them dinner for their family from the buffet. Some members of our group arranged with the hotel management to get the staff off one afternoon and went into town with them for a baseball game. The Dominicans were very good!

We took an excursion on a catamaran, a bunch of our friends pitched in to get me and my new husband on it for free, so I feel bad complaining, but it was a bad trip, and I want to warn everyone not to bother with it. They said we were going snorkeling, but they took us to a spot where everyone got bitten by something in the water, and nobody saw any fish or coral. Then we went to the Cayo levantado beach, it was beautiful, but you have to pay for your drinks. The catamaran boat sucks too, uncomfortable & limited seating.

We got scooters one day too, saw some amazing coastlines, and went to a local beach. Almost everyone’s scooter broke at some point, so I would recommend getting home well before dark, and traveling with a working cell phone and a Spanish/English dictionary!

There is a cute little market about 20 minute walk from the resort. You have to know how to barter with them, but it has lots of really nice souvenir gifts. There is a shuttle that leaves the resort every hour. It’s in the same spot as the casino. The casino is good too. I wouldn’t recommend leaving the resort alone, the Dominican is dangerous, and there are guards with loaded shot guns at every point of entry on the resort.

The beaches are nice, not as nice as Cuba or Punta Cana, but still beautiful. I think the water is polluted though, every girl who traveled with us got yeast or bladder infection, so come prepared.

We took malaria medication before going, but I didn’t see any mosquitoes. One person in our group got a bunch of bites, but we don’t know what they were from. He’s fine now though.

Overall it was a wonderful week, and I couldn’t have found a better way to get married!

  • Stayed: February 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank Toronto44
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

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: $129 - $450 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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