We just returned from this resort, having stayed from 10/28/12-11/1/12. I traveled with my father from Tampa, Florida to the Dominican Republic. This resort is absolutely beautiful, with plenty of room to wander, from the pools to the beach to the many many bars on the property. I found all of the staff to be warm and helpful, most especially two bartenders; Josephina (inside) and Carlos (at the pool bar). This is not to say that we didn't have excellent service by all of the servers and bartenders, but these two really went above and beyond the call of duty. We did have one negative interaction with a staff member whose name I don't recall. However, I'm sure we weren't the only ones with this feeling. At the resort, they have people who approach you to offer you a "gift" and to give you "information" about the activities available for you there. Unfortunately, this is simply a way to get you to agree to go and listen to a 90+ minute talk about all the various properties owned by the resort, as well as to "buy into" them. Although we didn't agree to attend this talk, we met others who, sadly, had gone. According to everyone we spoke to who had attended, they refuse to take no for an answer, and many people just got up and left. They do offer "gifts" if you attend, which consist of a hat/towel package or a "booze" package. Either way, for us, no amount of gifts was worth wasting our precious vacation time. The reason I mention this is because even after we said that we weren't interested in attending, we were asked several more times as we passed by their work area. Finally, they gave up, but this is annoying.
The food at the resort is very good, with many different types of food available basically 24/7. There is a snack bar that opens with food between breakfast and lunch, as well as another snack bar that is open from 11 pm to 7 am. And let's not forget that you can order room service as well. We also made reservations to eat at three of the "special" restaurants on the property. Although they were good, we didn't find them so extraordinary that we would necessary recommend them. We found them to be average at best and definitely NOT worth the wait and/or the very late time for seatings.
There are several activities that you can participate in while at the resort, such as scuba, wind surfing, snorkeling, etc. All these activities are on top of the ever constant activities that go on all over the resort, from water aerobics, volleyball, dancing, and all sorts of fun activities that you can partake in or avoid. I have to mention one very special person who organizes many of these activities; her name is Sugar. She is warm, funny and extremely helpful. Sugar is also an incredible dancer who helps anyone/everyone with dance moves that may overwhelm someone. Make sure you introduce yourself to her as she seems to also have a great memory and will remember you by name during your stay!
The beaches in the Dominican are all public. With that said, one must know that anyone/everyone can go on any and all beaches, regardless if a resort sits on one. This resort has security set up on each side of the beach that borders the resort. The guards will take your room number if you leave the "resort's" beach in the event anything may happen to you. In fact, we were told that walking on the beach above and below the resort is not recommended as it can be unsafe. Also, you will see several vendors selling their wares on the beaches around the resort. From the information we received from our "agent," we were told to make sure that you do not offer them more than 1/3 of any price they ask for, otherwise you will be ripped off. And don't be foolish enough to believe they're actually selling real gold, silver, etc. Your finger will turn green before you leave the resort!
We decided to go into Las Terrenas to walk around and do some shopping. We could have gone by taxi or motorcycle (both of which were waiting outside our gates), but we decided to go by "bus." This "bus" was actually a small, beat up pickup truck, privately owned and operated. You simply climb in the back (the bed of the truck) and hang on! It was actually a lot of fun and we felt very safe; the locals who were on board happily made room for each of us to get on and even attempted to communicate, although many didn't know English. Also, for the cost ($1.50 per person each way), it was a great way to see how the locals live and travel.
All in all, this vacation was absolutely wonderful and this resort was fantastic! The one and only downside was the distance from the airport. Due to the storm that they experienced a few weeks prior to our visit, part of the "good" road was washed away and we had to take a very long detour. This trip ended up taking us three hours to get to the resort, which was excruciating! However, even without the detour, this resort is a two hour ride from the airport in Santa Domingo. You may want to consider this when making your airline reservations, as there are closer airports to this particular resort.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services: 2 pools Jacuzzi Sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball net on the beach Water activity and scuba diving centre WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment theatre Main buffet restaurant and 4 a la carte restaurants 8 Bars Snack-bar Pueblo Principe: local craft stores, live music, shows, bars and disco. Rooms 582 rooms including 4 types: Standard, Club Golden Junior Suite, Junior Suite and Family 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, shower, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Air conditioning Ceiling fan Terrace or balcony Telephone Radio alarm clock Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (with additional charge) WiFi (additional charge) Ironing set (available on request) Superior Junior Suite: balcony or terrace, sitting area with sofa-bed, ironing set, coffee-making facilities, private guest service phone line, umbrella, VIP amenities. Club Golden and Club Hacienda 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: Children's pool Mini Club with daytime activities Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scout Water park Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Personalised diets on request and subject to circumstances Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo Hotel Las Terrenas
- El Portillo Beach Resort
- Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo Las Terrenas, Samana, Dominican Republic