We recently had the pleasure of staying at the Grand Paradise resort for a two week family holiday. Having never been to the Dominican before, we were a little scared of what to expect (we usually spend our vacation time in Cuba) especially when we were advised by our doctor to get our twinrix & cholera vaccines, and to take malaria medication before we went (we took our chances with the malaria but did take our doctors advice re: vaccines). The bus ride from the airport was approx 1.5hrs (...and I must admit, I was a little surprised we didn't have any casualties along the way. I thought for sure we were going to hit one of the many pedestrians). We were very excited when we arrived at the resort. It was better than we had expected and much more beautiful than any of the pictures we saw on-line. Our bungalow was spacious and quite comfortable for our family of four. The beds were not the greatest but we put the mattresses on the floor and felt that improved the comfort level immensely. The resort food was fantastic. We played it safe for the first week and stayed away from ice cubes and anything that may have been washed in water (lettuce, tomatoes...) but by the second week we were eating everything and anything and we were all totally fine. The hotel's retaurants and bars are very cautiou, all the water and ice cubes are purified. We did make sure to use bottled water for drinking and brushing our teeth as was advised by the resort staff. I recommend you take advantage of booking dinners at the two a la carte restaurants on site (seascapes and Michael Angelo’s) you can visit each twice per week. The fish is fresh and melts in your mouth and the deserts and aperitif cart offers a heavenly assortment of treats to indulge in! We also ate lunch every day at the snack bar as well. Our kids loved the thin crust pizza, hotdogs and shoestring fries. The breakfast buffet is also amazing. Every day they offer custom homemade crepes or omelets, and there is always a large supply of soft fresh bread which we never seemed to get tired of. The resort had plenty of things to keep us and our kids occupied. There is a different show every night (although after two weeks they all feel kind of the same). Our kids really enjoyed the mini disco which happens every night at 8:30pm. The pool show on Wednesday night is definitely a must see. The whole animation team were great. Our youngest daughter was quite enamored by Silpader (sp?) one of the animation crew. Much to my daughters excitement he took the time to talk, pose for a picture and he offered to join us for dinner on our last night. There is a Kids club (day care) is open from 9:00-12:00 and 2:00-5:00pm and is included at no additional cost for parents who need a break, archery, beach volleyball, poolside dance classes are also free to participate in. There is a fantastic natural aquarium where you can snorkel and see hundreds of HUGE fish and lots of colourful aquatic life for $15/person right on the beach (if you bring your own snorkels -which we did- you can snorkel anywhere along the shore and see still quite a bit of fish, there are locals who offer horseback riding for about $20/person (they have helmets available too) I recommend going to the little German owned restaurant/B&B built into the cliff side on the right side of the beach- it's worth seeing (you also won't get bombarded by locals trying to sell you handicrafts if you go that way). We went on a few excursions off the resort as well. One was a half day trip (about six hours long) to El limon. A breathtaking waterfall that you get to on horseback (highly recommend) and the other was a full day trip (10 hours long) to los Haitises where you can spelunk in magnificent caves and see ancient native carvings and sketches (I do not recommend if you have young children, but for older children it is worth seeing). If you do decide to go on this trip be prepared to sit a lot....it’s 2 hr bus ride to the port and 2 hr boat ride each way (bring gravol). We booked the hotel taxi and made two day trips to bolca del diablo (mouth of the devil)- a huge blowhole, and playa ricon (the 7th most beautiful beach in the world) both were bumpy but scenic drives. Ricon beach is very beautiful and the waves are unreal but not very relaxing (you have to rent beach chairs for $5 a piece and then get harassed by local sales people). We wished we had the time/money to do the whale watching tour as we heard many wonderful reports but we will save that for next time as we definitely plan to return to the Grand Paradise again soon!
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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