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Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Ranked #2 of 35 Hotels in Las Terrenas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 15, 2013

Friendly staff, JOSEFINA at the bar excellent worker and very professional, always very willing and helpful with my daughters.
Very clean and all care, good food, animation team meets the objectives.
Very relax, the people from the tours was amazing. I loved visiting the people and their customs. Friendly people. Great weather.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Rjsreis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

We greatly appreciate that you have chosen our Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo as your holiday destination. We regret not having been able to achieve our main objective with you, which is our guests´ entire satisfaction.

Family holidays with Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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Reviewed July 14, 2013

First let me state that we first visited El Portillo back in 2008 and fell in love with the resort, we have returned on numerous occasions and at different times of the year since, in fact we have only missed last year due to the unavailability from the UK tour operators.
The day last October that First Choice advertised we booked immediately.
We also informed some friends that El Portillo was back available and taking our word on how good the resort was they also booked.
I have promoted El Portillo to everyone when asked and I have found it really hard to write this review.
This is my review of El Portillo from the 27th June – 11th July

Please now take some time to read my review properly.
If anyone has any questions regarding my stay please feel free to PM me

Arrived at El Catey to a down pour we got through arrivals quite quickly and were met by Simon (TUI rep) and directed to our coach.
On board we were greeted by one of the Hotel staff and given our welcome pack with wrist bands, room number & resort information.
We travelled on the new toll road back to the resort; I must say that this is a fantastic improvement on the old road that we used back in 2011.
Arrived at the resort to a lovely welcome, and then had to stand in a queue for our room cards then another for our safe key.
My first niggle: why not give out the room keys with the welcome pack the safe is an option that not all people use anyway?

All sorted on that front we then seen the bell boy pointed out our cases and went round to our room.
We were in block 3 which is just about the perfect location.
Room was clean everything worked however we had booked junior suite club ( TUI label for Golden club) we had no pool towels, robes, slippers or umbrella.
Second niggle: Why does someone not go round with a tick sheet to check that all items are present in the rooms.

I went to reception to ask them for towels or were I would go for them, they directed me to the Golden club reception, I then informed the staff there regarding the pool towels and was informed that they would sort the matter out.
By now we were into supper time so we had a drink in the lobby bar and were welcomed back with some lovely cuddles, hugs and handshakes by some of the staff that had remembered us from previous visits. I am always humbled and amazed how they can remember.
Had our drink then went up to our room and changed for supper. We shouldn’t have bothered there were people in the dining room obviously still in the same gear they had been in on the beach
Third niggle: What happened to the dress code.
Please do not think it does not matter it is not pleasant sitting down for your supper then standing up to find out it looks as though you have wet yourself.

Anyway we all had our supper, quick drink and then early night we had been on the go since 04.00hr back in the UK.
Up in the morning informed reception that we still had not received pool towels & went for breakfast.
Down to beach with the bath towels from the room and found beds very easily.
Glad to say the beach is still as beautiful and stunning as we had remembered, vendors also seemed to remember us so we had a bit of a laugh with them, they are still the same never pushing people if you say no that will do for them, to be honest we always try to buy a little something from most of them
Pool towels were in our room when we returned after lunch.
We found that the buffet was very busy definitely busier than on our previous visits also I see that people (of all Nationalities) seem to loose all thier manners when trying to put food on a plate.
The children at my grand daughter’s playgroup had better manners than a lot of the people and this was not only at meal times I may add.
This is not a fault of El Portillo.
Rest of the day /spent on beach lovely time.
Supper that night same as previous night, so we decided after that that when using the Buffet we would follow the old adage of when in Rome.
Although, we did change into dry & clean clothes.
As you will have read by now the first 24hrs did not go exactly to plan so rather than continue with a daily report of my holiday I will raise my main concerns.

The buffet was not up to the standard that it used to be on previous visits, in fact it became repetitive.
Theme night for the 4th of July (American Independence) consisted of 3different types of burgers,
If I was Canadian I think I would have been putting a complaint in about “Canadian Corner”
What happened to the Maitre de that used to rule over the dining room?
On every previous trip we have had questionnaires handed out at supper on the weekends to ask how our holiday was going? How the food was? How the facilities were?
Do the management not want to know the truth?
The air conditioning in the dining room needs to be sorted out, when the staff themselves have sweat dripping from there brows whilst pouring water into your glass I believe something needs to be done.

The Lobby bar also needs some sort of forced ventilation installed as the existing fans are not doing a very good job

The fact that Cayacoa and Cayo Levantado are now adult only has already made a difference to this resort.
The resort was over booked; we had people offering swaps with Cayo Levantado in the 2nd week of our holiday.
El Portillo is no longer a well kept secret, the new toll road now makes it easily accessible to all on the island.

My wrist band disintegrated, I went to the desk for another and stood for 3/4hr waiting for another.
It might be a good idea to inform certain young gentlemen at reception that although a lot of English speaking people may not speak Spanish very well, that quite a lot of us can understand it Very Well.

Is it really necessary to have to return every second day to reception to get your room card back as the maid has removed it?
Would it be so hard for someone to gather all of the maids together to tell then not to remove the card if the customer has left it in the slot?

Finally last day at resort 12.00hr checkout, 1 male & 1 female checking people out fans were not on, queue going all over the place, it was a waste of time showering to go home we were all standing dripping of sweat.
Luckily one of Grand Bahia senior management noticed what was happening, he went into the staff room behind reception and all of a sudden there are people appearing from everywhere to check people out.

Please do not think that I am enjoying writing this review of El Portillo, you only need to look at my previous postings regarding El Portillo to now how much I care for the place.
I am telling it as it was for me on my holiday, and the standards have dropped to our previous visits.


The resort is still beautiful, 99% of the staff can not do enough for you, they are wonderfull and to be honest it is them that made our stay bearable.
It would not take an awful lot for the Senior Management to get it back to the way it was.
Please please Don Pablo come and have a look.


PS Second day we got slippers, third day we got robes,we never ever got the umbrellas!!!!!

Room Tip: Block 3 is perfect for easy access to beach, pool & reception area.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank CalMac35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to post a review of your stay in our hotel. We appreciate your comment and value your opinion for the overall betterment of our hospitality.

We are sorry that we were not able to impress you with our services. Please let this not be a motive to not stay with us in the future as I can assure you that we continuously work with our staff in order to improve the quality and promptness of our services.

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 12, 2013

Initially, I was hesitant to travel to the Dominican Republic, but now, if someone were to offer me the same opportunity, I would not hesitate to take it. The Dominican people and the country itself are just amazing! I went to the resort with my parents and my younger brother for seven days from June 29th to July 6th. When we landed at the airport, the people working there were absolutely amazing! They greeted us with a warm "hola" and smiles. The trip to the resort took 45-50 minutes and we travelled through mountains and it was amazing to see how different everything was. We also went through a particularly impoverished area, but it really made me realize how lucky we are. When we got to the hotel, we were greeted by the staff and given drinks. Getting our room keys took a couple of minutes(1-3), however, my parents and me and my brother were placed in different buildings. We didn't even notice this, but the people at the front desk did and they changed the rooms and we ended up with two room connected by a door in building 11. It's a really nice area, and quiet throughout the day. We had a room that overlooked the little pool, and if we wanted we could easily get there. I guess I'll talk about other things now.
(i) The staff:
The staff here is absolutely phenomenal! They were all so helpful, warm and genuine! My father had a little bit of an accident with his kayak and ended up stepping on and grabbing hold of a sea urchin. Needless to say, his feet were riddled with numerous little "needles." When the resort doctor could not fix him up, Amilcar got my dad a taxi and sent him to town to see another doctor. After this was fixed, Amilcar asked about my father every time he saw one of us. It felt really good to know that someone cared enough to ask. Then there was Carlos, the Assistant General Manager. He made a huge effort to make sure that everyone was having a good time. He came up to me every morning and asked if I was having fun and how I was doing. When my father needed closed toed shoes, all he had to do was ask Carlos and it was arranged for him. Honestly, Amilcar and Carlos are great guys. They put so much effort into their work and are so passionate about doing it. Throughout my entire stay there, I never saw them sitting down or just relaxing. They were always working! The waiters and waitresses were absolutely fabulous! Language was not really an issue because they all understood English to some extent, and it was fun to learn the Spanish words for common English words! They were quick and very efficient. The ladies in front of the buffet were amazing! Ysabel made my morning! She was always so happy and seemed to genuinely enjoy her work.
(ii) The Room
I personally found the room to be very comfortable. The AC was always perfect, so the room wasn't too hot or too cold. The beds were a little bit hard, but I didn't really care because I spent most of my time away from the room. The mini bar was restocked everyday and when we got back the beverages were always cold. The bathroom had a bathtub with jets!!
(iii) The Food
I didn't eat much of the "food," but I did eat a lot of the fruits. They were sooo good! The pineapples were so sweet that they tasted like there was sugar sprinkled on top of them, and the mangoes were absolutely dripping with juice. There was a wide selection, ranging from watermelon to passion fruit to tropical fruits. The fruits were the highlight for me and I spent the week just eating fruits.

We went to Las Terrenas for two hours on the third day(?). I expected the people to be a bit rude and take advantage of us because we were tourists. However, this was not the case at all! The people were honest, genuine and warm-hearted. They let us look at what they were selling and they didn't try to push us to buy their merchandise. Again, language was not really an issue. It was easy to understand what they were saying even though I don't know Spanish. The town was small, but nice.

On the last day, I went to the front desk to ask for scissors and was surprised to see that the people there knew who I was. They told me that they had seen me in the lobby everyday, just reading away and asked how many books I had read. I wish I had some more time to stay there because I thought that everything there was superb. The staff was great, the food was great, the location was great, and the resort overall was great! I would definitely love to come back next year with my friends!

Stayed from June 29th to July 6th with my parents, my brother(14) and me(17).

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank AparnaTiwari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for taking your time to write this detailed review for your recent stay at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

We are really glad that you have enjoyed your stay with us, specially our services.

We work every day to satisfy our guest needs and to make their stay a memorable holiday and we are really happy to see that we did it with you.

Family holidays with Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

I stayed at the hotel for 3 nights and it was great the whole family had a great time!!! Very relax ! Love it's location very quiet area and not other hotels around. Service was fantastic very friendly staff and food is delicious!

Room Tip: Love it's location!
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Judmarte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

First let me inform you that your opinion is valuable to us, therefore we are extremely proud and happy for having left a pleasant memory. We are especially appreciate your positive comments about of our facilities and our beautiful beach. Comments like that you send us, are what motivate us as a team every day to improve the quality of service we offer.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, all-inclusive hotels in Samana

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

I am a bit late in posting this review but, better late than never! :) once again the bahia has come through for us. we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at 'el portillo'. we had a little problem with our room when we arrived but, carlos took care of it immediately...what a guy!!!! between carlos and valentine any issues were solved immediately. you couldn't ask for better care! also, i have to mention iris at reception because she was very helpful and always wearing a smile, so she deserves a pat on the back too. :) the weather was wonderful, the room beautiful, we were in the royal golden club, this is our 2nd visit to 'el portillo' in samana. no complaints! must mention picardo as well, wonderful service. miguell at the buffet as well, nothing to complain about. would recommend the place to anyone.

Room Tip: royal golden club will get you a room closest to the beach!! worth it!!
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  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank Satisfied_Relaxed
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

It is truly a pleasure for us to learn that you enjoyed your stay at our resort, especially the services from our front desk department and that you appreciated the professionalism of our staff, we are aware that it is only because of them that we are able to achieve our goal- the continuous improvement of our services. We are very proud to have received your excellent comments regarding our employees.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, your best hotel in Samana

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

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Reviewed July 10, 2013

I just came back from the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo for a week vacation with 2 friends. We simply loved it. The beach is awesome and the staff is very friendly, We came back very relaxed! Our room was very clean and the AC kept us cool at night!

It is not the place you want to go to if you are looking to party though!

We loved the food and we loved the "Orchidea" restaurant. Take the time to go out of the resort and visit Las Terrenas.I also suggest you stop at "One love Surf Shack" where I had an amazing Hamburger!!!

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Marie-Eve R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

First let me inform you that your opinion is valuable to us, therefore we are extremely proud and happy for having left a pleasant memory. We are especially appreciating your positive comments about of our facilities and our beautiful beach. Comments like that you send us, are what motivate us as a team every day to improve the quality of service we offer.

Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, a 5 star experience in Samana

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 10, 2013

Me and my girlfriend (both aged 22) stayed at the Portillo from the 13th - 27th June and really enjoyed our experience.

Ill start with the positives:

- Amazing animation/entertainment team, going out of their way to ensure everyone got involved in games and activities, especially Daniel, David, Daviel and Rosa. They were always full of energy, ensuring everyone had a great time.
- The beach as other reviews say is incredible, clear water with many tropical fish on show early in the day. The beach is private to the hotel and there were always plenty of beds and towels available.
- The gardens and pool areas were always immaculate, there were constantly staff cleaning throughout the day which I have never seen before.
- We had a junior suite, which was very big, fairly modern and always cleaned thoroughly, with very good air conditioning.
- The majority of dinjng staff were very friendly, apart from one lady in the lobby bar who never smiled.
- The evening entertainment was good for the price, with different acts every night over our two week stay.

Negatives:

- The food was below par compared with all other aspects of the hotel, although each night had a different theme, many of the same dishes were available every night and there were only a handful of new dishes each night. This became very boring after week one. Furthermore much of the meat was overcooked and many items cold.
- The restaurant is extremely hot in the evenings making it very uncomfortable when eating, the air con is very poor.
- The responsiveness of staff varied, some days we would receive our drinks quickly, others we would have to ask 3 times and wait over half an hour.
- All soft drinks are poured straight from bottles, which are often not tightened properly by the bar staff, meaning the majority of the time you are served flat soft drinks.
- Pillows in our room always smelt like damp, even though they were changed everyday, which wasn't pleasant.

All in all the negatives are fairly minor points, the only real negative was the fact that the food was poor compared with other similar rated hotels we had stayed in. What really makes this hotel is the animation staff, the beach, and the amazing grounds. I would thoroughly recommend this hotel for both couples and families.

A final point is that First Choice should really provide clearer information, when arriving into the airport you have to pay 10 dollars or euros for your tourism card, they do not accept peso or pounds which we found very strange, we were forced to wait around an hour whilst the majority of the flight had to queue to change money to get through. First choice should really make this much clearer to avoid this hold up when arriving at the airport. Furthermore the first choice rep Simon we found to be of little help throughout our stay.

Scott and Hayley. (June 2013)

  • Stayed: June 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank ScottFox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this reviewResponded July 17, 2013

Dear Guest,

First let me inform you that your opinion is valuable to us, therefore we are extremely proud and happy for having left a pleasant memory. We are especially appreciating your positive comments about the quality of our service and our staff. Comments like that you send us, are what motivate us as a team every day to improve the quality of service we offer.

Enjoy an all-inclusive holiday as a couple with Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

Address: Crta. las Terrenas - El Limon, km 4, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic (Formerly El Portillo Beach Resort)
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Terrenas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 Spa Hotel in Las Terrenas
#3 Family Hotel in Las Terrenas
#6 Romantic Hotel in Las Terrenas
Price Range: $129 - $412 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 606
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

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