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Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
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Reviews (6,487)
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All reviewsjunior suitelobby barfisha la carte restaurantsquiet poolprivilege clubmain buffetgourmet restaurantmain poollots of varietygrand bahiadifferent themeair transatcoral reefride from the airportanimation teamother resorts
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2,448 - 2,453 of 6,487 reviews
Reviewed March 31, 2012

We just returned from a week at this resort and gotta say that it was terrific! We had considered ourselves Punta Cana lovers until this stay. This is a return to the very best that the Dominican Republic has to offer. The vegetation was lush, the decor old school but very classy, and the beach!!! The water was crystal clear and the snorkling amazing. You didn't even have to snorkle to enjoy the tropical fish. The staff were great and the rooms very nice. We had no trouble finding lots to eat and the eating was terrific. The a la cartes were very good, our favorite was the Oriental (maybe 'cause Dauny really worked at keeping our wine glasses full). The resort is cozier than some of the larger ones in Punta Cana and therefore we had an opportunity to meet and greet people that you would bump into over the course of the week. Nice touch. The royal golden service is well worth it and we would recommend asking for it. The only downside is the long trip over the mountains from the airport. If you do not suffer motion sickness, it is a great chance to see the countryside. Maybe the downside is really an upside. Keeps the place less commercialized. We walked one day into the town of las Terrenas. Long walk by the beach but beautiful and we felt very safe. ( could have been the group of stray dogs that accompanied us) Guaranteed to be a great holiday!

Room Tip: the royal golden rooms are closest to all the facilities. Choose villas 1, 3, 5 or 7. and always turn right at every turn. LOL!
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank ddstockfarm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 31, 2012

Stayed at the El Portillo March 22-29th, this was our fifth visit to the Dominican, we have been to both Puerto Plata and Punta Cana. On each visit to the DR we have truly enjoyed each resort but the El Portillo was by far the best and would go back in a heartbeat.

Firstly, I have read alot of reviews about the bus trip back and forth from the resort. What I find amazing is all the complaining about how long the trip is. People tend to forget to get to a resort in Punta Cana you can count on at least a half hour bus ride. Our ride to El Portillo was exactly 1 hour and 10 minutes, so you are on the bus for 40 mins more then the Punta Cana bus trip. You are on vacation sit back and enjoy the ride and scenery. The highway we travelled was very smooth, looked brand new. The scenery is spectacular, very mountainous and lush, compared to Punta Cana. It's like going on your own mini excursion but for free! My only suggestion would be that the tour operators get together with the bus companies and perhaps have the bus assistants give a commentary about the DR customs, towns, vegetation as we travel along.

Check in was quick and painless. There were many front desk personnel awaiting our arrival, along with music and cool drink.

Front Desk/Reception - Amazing staff, always accommodating, no language barrier, and General Manager Carlos is always there to listen to your concerns and never ignored. I had a concern with my knees after being assigned a room on the third floor. Carlos was quick to change our room the next day to the first floor and even did one better and gave us room in building 1 that was close to everything. Thanks Carlos, much appreciated! And it always amazes me how well educated the staff are with the languages, considering visitors come from all different countries, Italy, Germany, France, etc.

Grounds - Impeccable, very lush and interesting, take a walk around the whole resort and explore all the different vegetation and florals!

Rooms - Very clean and spacious. Maid service very attentive, was always done before noon, bar fridge restocked every day!

Service - Can't say enough about the service personnel. Simply amazing. Compared to Punta Cana which I thought was hit and most times, the staff here seem to really care. We always ate our meals outside, which is quite a popular spot, and if there wasn't a spot available, manager Anna was quick to accomodate, even to the point of moving tables around so you wouldn't have to sit in direct sunlight. Staff around all the bars were attentive.

Beach - Again amazing. What more could you ask for, snorkeling right off the beach, clear and calm waters. This is the only resort on the beach, big residential oceanview properties on either side of the resort and when you walk further just complete natural beauty of the land, the waters edge has a flat hard surface to make walking or jogging quite enjoyable. Lots and lots of chairs on the beach and several shaded areas to sit under. The animation team always used the same area for their games and were not annoying and blasting their music all day long. Their games were fun and enjoyable, and not silly games to make anyone look like a fool.

Restaurants/Food - Food was by far the best we have had in DR. Very tasty. Buffets always had quite a selection. We visited all four al a cartes, enjoyed them all! Figured out that out of 24 meals we ate at the resort (one week), we only ate 4 indoors and that was for the al a cartes. The rest we ate outside, this was our preference. Our most favorite meal was breakfast, eating and drinking our coffee outside on the veranda overlooking the ocean, couldn't ask for anything more. Most lunches we ate were at the beach bar area where the deck overlooks the ocean, all shaded and the buffet had enough of selection including fries, burgers, hot dogs and pizza for kids.

Pool - was nice and is small but never saw it overcrowded. Most people were on the beach, enjoying watching all the fish they could see just standing or snorkeling.

We will be back!!!!

Room Tip: Buildings 1,3,5 are in a great location, close to everything, the map of the resort makes it look quite large but it is quite compact and easy to walk to anywhere.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank shayla21Burlington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2012

Enjoyed an amazing week, February 17 to 24, 2012 at Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo. My husband and I were so impressed with our first visit to this resort in February 2011 we returned again and brought family with us. There were 7 of us ranging in age from 24 to 70.
The only downfall of the whole trip is the long bus ride to and from the airport. It’s either 50 or 90 minutes depending on which highway taken and a lot of winding roads (might need Gravol).
Booked this time through Sunquest, and selected Diamond Club so we had rooms furthest from beach, which are most quiet with private pool and private bar with washrooms. The Royal Golden Rooms through Sunwing are in same section and share the same private pool and bar. This area is so very peaceful and relaxing. There are three, three storey villas in this section. Rooms are very clean and spacious. Cleaning staff do a good job. Although farthest away from restaurants and beach, the walk is only minutes and you can enjoy the beautiful gardens along the way.
Beaches are clean with many miles of flat sandy beach to walk and shallow water for a long way.
The staff at El Portillo are so hospitable and they make you feel welcome. The staff display much happiness in a friendly atmosphere and most go above and beyond to meet your every need. Many of comprehend several different languages and most times if they did not understand what I was saying in English they would try and find someone that could.
There is plenty of selection when it comes to food. The main buffet offers a wide variety of options for all three meals, plenty to satisfy pretty much anyone and the food was very good and fresh tasting. The beach buffet was really good, with a lot of variety.
We really enjoyed the Italian, Oriental and Mediterranean al la cartes and received outstanding service. We had same staff serve at both Italian and Oriental and their service was beyond exceptional, very professional, friendly and prompt. Thanks very much to Rut, Winton and Pedro – a job very well done!!! Service was also excellent at the Mediterranean al la carte – thanks Freddie, Willy and Antonio. The food service was perfectly timed and we felt relaxed and not rushed at all three dinners; and the staff took the time to briefly talk with us and make us laugh. The food at all three was very fresh tasting, hot, beautifully displayed and more than fulfilling – hats off to the chefs!!!
The service at the buffet was excellent as well – thanks again Pedro, Antonio, Winton and especially Rut (you are such a lovely lady).
There is a very good selection of drinks at the beach bar, and Carlos is a great bartender. The lobby bar lounge area is big, well laid out and very relaxing. Each night before dinner we would gather for drinks. The service was great (thanks Martina and the another lady which I did not get her name, sorry). Enjoyed some of the night life which was good and also saw some of the children’s entertainment which the kids seemed to really enjoy.
If you are looking for a relaxing resort – this is a great selection. I would not hesitate to return.

Room Tip: Diamond Club or Royal Golden sections are worth the extra money. Quieter area, private pool with pool bar.
  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank DebnBill23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 30, 2012

Stayed at the el portillo march 17th-24th.we had an excellent time all around except there was a glitch with our plane on the way back home,more on that later.
the hotel is typical Bahia,large beautiful lobby,well groomed grounds,rooms are reasonable size and very clean.our room was located in building 5(after being moved from building 2 due to poor ac) very near the lobby which is grouped beside the pool and restaurants as well as the beach so very little walking.only one pool in this area but never seemed to be overcrowded.there was a second pool at the other end of the property which seemed to be more of a quiet pool and possibly for just the surrounding buildings but we never used it.
the beach is one of the best i have ever been on as it is long,flat and amazing to walk for hours on.if you head left of the property and go 6 km the town of Las Terrenas awaits you .if you like to walk i highly recommend it but bring water as it takes well over an hour a 10$ cab ride will take you there if you prefer.
the water was warm and totally clear.the beach is totally protected by a huge reef that spans most of the whole beach and starts only a few meters from shore so snorkling was amazing,saw all kinds of fish,stingrays,mantis shrimp etc.all for free meters from your beach chair.because of the reef the water is always calm even when there are 2 meter waves out beyond.
we found the food to be very good at the buffets with a large variety at every meal and we also noted it was usually very Hot.the a la cartes were all excellent,italian,oriental,seafood,gourmet.i had had the steak at the seafood and while it had good taste it was a bit tough,still in the mood for steak i tried it again at the gourmet and what i had there was superb,a perfectly cooked medium rare bonless rib steak that melted in my mouth mmmmm .service was impeccable at the a la cartes and the staff always friendly and smiling.
the staff overall were all friendly,helpful and smiling.
one tip i can add is that if you have any issues that you need help with in regards to the rooms or hotel look for the french canadian girl who works at the front desk,i forget her name but she was always helpful.
wifi was always available free in the main lobby and the lobby bar area and even extended to the pool and the beach at times.
this is our second visit to Samana this year,we love the area it is a very beautiful area and the only other hotel i would consider visiting next to this one is the bahia cayo levantado but that one is about 50% more expensive.
can not wait to go back but not sure i would travel with air canada vacations again.they handled a malfunction with our return home plane very poorly and cost us almost 12 long exhausting and hungry hours as well as the "tranfer to/from hotel bus scam" where they coerce passengers to pay a fee to travel a shorter toll road charging passengers 1$ a head which if the bus is full is close to double what the toll costs,all to get you to the airport an hour faster so you can sit and do nothing for an extra hour instead of touring the beautiful countryside for free.an easy choice for me to make but the majority ruled in the end and everyone paid,not once but twice.air canada vacations must address this as we pay for the transfers in our package.

Room Tip: buildings 1,2,3,4,5 are close to lobby,pool and restaurants.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank timbo114ca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2012

Our week at the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo was nice. We decided to pay for the short route using the toll highway from the airport because it was a half hour ride, everyone on the bus pitched in a dollar. The drive and scenery was very beautiful.

The food at the buffet is way better than the ala cartes and they have a lot of variety and theme nights. We had three a la carte reservations and only made it to one and cancelled the other two.

We had a nice room and it wasn't very far from the beach, restaurants or lobby area. The housekeeping was okay. The staff was very friendly and did a great job keeping the grounds clean.

The beach was great and we were always able to find a chair in the shade because there are a lot of palm trees in the area. One rainy day my husband and I decided to go swimming and we had the beach to ourselves. During our trip it rained only one day and the rest of the time only late in the evenings. The only thing about the beach is it isn't that deep.

We did the Whale watching tour booked through the hotel and we had a great time, it was a half day tour. We also went to Las Terrenas to do some shopping and it was very interesting.

We were told by our rep not to drink the tap water but it was okay to brush your teeth with it, this is not the case.

Be aware of the sales people in the Lobby they will not take no for an answer until you are somewhat impolite to them which is not something either of us liked doing.

I have stayed at three Gran Bahias including this one and I would rate this one third on the list. The other two resorts were way better.

Overall we had a nice trip it was great not having to go to work, lying on the beach etc., but we have to say we will not be returning to this Gran Bahia in the future.

Room Tip: I liked the location of our room which was in Building 18 because it was not too far from the beach, lobby or restaurants. We chose a room on the third floor.
  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank travelzgr8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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