(sorry, long review :-) )
First of all, you should be aware that this is a 3 star resort in the Dominican, not a 5 star resort in the USA, and is in a rural area. If you’re looking for a high class resort or a super clubby area, or somewhere the staff won’t look you in the eye, don’t go here.
However, if you’re looking for beautiful relaxing scenery, staff who are conversational and friendly, luscious greenery and lots of nature excursions close by, a gorgeous beach and calm waters, this is the place for you.
My friend and I went from Apr. 1-8, and had a blast. The white sand beach was beautiful, palm trees everywhere, and calm turquoise water. There was often seaweed on the beach, but that wasn’t a big deal to us. I’d only recommend snorkelling there if you aren’t an experienced snorkeler- I saw 3 different types of fish around the beach area. They were pretty!
The food was good – buffet style, and it’s not the Ritz, but always a healthy and hearty selection, something for everyone. The chicken at the snack bar by the beach was especially tasty. The water they leave in your rooms daily tastes kind of nasty from the treatment process, so if you want water to bring with you anywhere or to your room, bring an empty water bottle to a meal and get it filled up. There’s always fresh water available at all the bars/restaurants as long as their open. Our drinks were also always strong and tasty, and the bartenders are happy to make it how you like. We didn’t get sick and were careful to brush our teeth with the water in our fridge, but it’s always best to play it safe, so bring immodium just in case.
The area is great for taking excursions – we booked before leaving with Razor tours, and were pleased with the trips. El Limon waterfalls were beautiful (be sure to bring tipping money for your horse guide!!), and Los Haitises is great for nature lovers but keep in mind it’s a boat trip. I hear the ATV excursion is awesome as well. We would have loved to make it to Playa Rincon but never had the time.
People have complained about the staff and the language, but we were pleasantly surprised – most of the front desk staff, travel reps, entertainment staff and bar workers spoke Spanish, English, and sometimes French/German. Don’t expect your maids and other lower-paid employees to speak your language though, obviously. Our Sunwing rep Luis was often available, and we ran into him a lot. The entertainment staff was always friendly and outgoing, and very pleasant. They are all multilingual, and can readily communicate in Spanish, English, French, and I believe German as well. We loved them!! Check out their shows by the main buffet area every night, they are always so creative! The photographers were great, and take your pictures regardless of whether you are going to buy them or not. Definitely let them do it!! The nightlife isn’t amazing, since it’s strictly the people on the resort – some nights its busy and some not. We went dancing there every night though and had lots of fun. I highly recommend letting the Entertainment Staff take you for a dance or two though, it’s super fun!!
Our room was always cleaned well every day. It wasn’t a brand new room, but we had no real complaints. We didn’t travel to the Dominican to sit in our rooms all day. We also barely saw any insects, so maybe that’s seasonal. The air conditioning is controlled by your one room key, which I thought was good and efficient for a 3rd world country. Internet wasn’t too bad, 3$ for a half hour (one-time use though). Considering the location, I can’t complain. Phone calls were expensive, so avoid those if possible.
One thing I would stress is tipping – it means a lot to the workers there, and ensures even better service. We left our maid 2$ / day, and generally tipped ~4$ a day in singles to various bartenders (we drank a bunch). A dollar here or there is much appreciated. I’d recommend about 50$ in American singles to be safe for a week’s stay. You can use American money to pay for things in most areas of DR that get tourists, so we didn’t even bother bringing pesos.
All in all, we had a fantastic time!!
We will definitely try to come back someday!!
-Kim from Canada
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- Also Known As:
- Grand Paradise Samana Hotel Las Galeras
- Casa Marina Bay
- Grand Paradise Samana Las Galeras
- Grand Paradise Samana Dominican Republic