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“Best vacation ever! A great family Vacation Spot!”

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Grand Paradise Samana
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Reviewed March 30, 2012

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!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank WSMILNE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 28, 2012

Staying at the Grand Paradise was truly a memorable experience. With an extremely enthusiastic staff, grand paradise is a great place to go to raise your spirits and enjoy some time off.
The was always a variety of food to choose from, with newly themed buffets each day, always found something to eat with no complaints.
The room was beautiful, and nicely decorated and cleaned for our welcome. Kept clean daily no complaints with polite and courteous maid service...the bungalow is worth the extra money, and view of the beautiful ocean and palm tree view...
The entertainment staff made sure everyone had a great time through out the day, and always had smiles on their faces. The shows were spectacular and had humour enjoyable for all ages, good audience interaction too. You can tell which dancers put alot of effort in their routines (Victor Santos, Antonio Michael Jackson, Mykyky, La Blondie, Abraham Mexico)
Front desk workers were charming, and very helpful to my needs with answering general questions and making our stay more comfortable!
Walk the plank zipline is worth the money to do, book outside of the hotel as it will be cheaper!
The beach itself is breath taking surrounded by mountains and blue skys.
Its truly Paradise, see you all in August..

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Farah I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 28, 2012

First off, I want to clear up all the rumours about the food making people sick. It was a virus and not the food!!! (We received proof when two of our family members were tested upon arriving home.)

The food was delicious, and we preferred the evening buffets to the a la carte restaurants. (The selection of the food changed every day to a different theme). We all loved trying new dishes, along with the staples and regular dishes.

The resort is rather large and there are so many places to walk. My husband's and my favourite thing to do, after dropping off the kids at the kids club, was to walk along the water to where the horses were feeding. (off the property)

Another thing I want to address is the low, all-inclusive price that we all paid, and the high number of petty, complaining tourists that we encountered. The low staff wages are the main reason in why we paid so little. (Under $5,000 for 6 people and two rooms, all in, including airfare, taxes etc...) Once one realizes that the majority of workers are paid between $50 and $150 per MONTH, and work long, 16 day stretches before getting two days off, then it's hard to complain about the little things.
For example, people were complaining about the workers not speaking English. Our family learned a few Spanish words and got along just fine.
Another thing we heard that there was not 27/7 entertainment on the beach. Or that there was only one type of beer. We avoided the beach commotion as much as possible and consumed plenty of beer. (It was good and cold, the way beer should be.)

This is what I have to say...If you want to enjoy time with your family, experience a picturesque, lush, gorgeous view, have good food, and pay way less than other resorts, then this is a great place to go.
If you're generally a content, easy going person, then you'll have fun.
If you try to look for faults, you will find some here, and will not enjoy yourself.
This is not a five star, but can be a great family vacation spot.
I keep going back to this stunning place in my mind.
We got way more than we paid for.

Room Tip: Building 7, 8, and 9 are all new, but geared to people from France. We stayed in building 7 and it...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Bajanwannabe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

let me start off by saying that this resort is not a 5 star resort and no where does it advertise that it is....BUT it is advertised as a 3 1/2 to 4 star and that it definitely is. i think i can confidently say that my family is seasoned,experienced travelers that have previously been to jamaica, mayan riviera,cuba and various places in the d.r. we have stayed at many 5 star resorts and if that is what you are looking for or expecting than you should book and pay the big$$ for that because this resort is not for you, but if you are an open minded traveler looking for a beautiful beach, nice resort, decent food and wonderful people than this place is for you. prior to traveling to grand paradise samana we had read many negative revirews about the resort and we were very nervous about going but let me assure that we had absolutely no problems with this resort, food or people.. ok, so now i will start with my review. the hotel is very clean with very comfortable rooms.(we stayed in block 7 and had 2 rooms there and had no problems with either room) the rooms are cleaned daily and mini fridge stocked daily with water and pop, very comfortable pillow top mattresses and we slept great every night for 2 weeks.. yes, i would say they could spend a little $$ to replace all of the beach and bath towels but not a big deal, they were always clean and available for changing daily. the hotel is not huge like some so very easy to get around. food, breakfast at the main buffet was very good with a crepe station, egg station(made to order), great fruit with a huge varity of breads and cakes, cereal etc.lunch we had everyday at the beach snack bar that was more than enough with fresh pizza being served continually, hamburgers, chicken, pasta, rice, french fries,salads, desserts...always something to eat. dinner we had nightly at the main buffet and again there was always something to eat, bbq,pasta station, meat, fish, veggies,potoatoes and so on(the food could have been alittle hotter when served but i think they are working on that)again, we were there for 2 weeks (myself, husband and 14 and 17 year old daughters) none of us were ever sick from the food or drinks and we were never left hungry.(if you want shrimp or lobster you won't get it hear unless you are willing to pay and try the seafood a la carte, which we didn't do as we didn't want to spend the money $30 per person in case we were not happy)the beach is short but warm, beautiful water which somedays had some seawweed that you would have to step over to get into the water but they worked everyday at cleaning it up and once you got passed that the water was wonderful.(very safe to walk the beach and to the left you could walk right into the town of las galeras for shopping or to mingle with the locals.(not much to buy though)lots of daily activities that you were invited to partake in if you wished and ok if not. we were not bothered by the french group at all they did their own thing which was fine with us.volleyball, bocce, water areobics, free kayaking, crazy games and much more was available.(horseback riding on the beach for a fee)now as far as ALL the staff at this resort.... they were all very very very friendly, welcoming and we had so much fun with them. the maids,gardeners, restaurant staff, front desk staff,animation/dancers were some of the nicest people that we have ever met. i don't know what other reviews were talking about. the front desk staff were always so friendly and we had so much fun with them and made it a point to stop by and see them everyday before or after dinner and their english was great too. i was in touch with a WONDERFUL LADY by the name of NORIS before we arrived and she was so helpful and friendly. she was able to make sure our stay their was fun and she was a pleasure to deal with, as was the sunwing rep their by the name of annie(anis) always available at the front desk and very knowledgeable and big smile on her face all the time even when she was having to deal with unrealistic difficult people.juan kelly and roberto in the main dining room were always so kind and trying to make our vacation memorable and providing great service lastly, the animation/dancers...the shows that these non proffesionals put on every night was GREAT and very entertaining. we saw every show 2 times and were not tired of it. they work so so hard for so little $$ and deserve huge recognition for their efforts and long hours.special mention goes to some of them and we made some great friendships with them and hope to see them again next year. mikiki, micheal jackson(best impression ever seen),jessie, blondie, victor,youseff, alfonso,eduardo,frank,zabata,mexico. you should all take a bow for your great work and friendliness to all the guests we were very lucky to have met such wonderful people. please be kind if going to this place and bring along some small gifts as a token of appreciation, we did and they sure did like it. we brought lots of snacks and my girls had so much fun sharing them with the staff there....by the way the bus ride from the airport is almost 90 minutes but on a beautiful air conditioned coach bus so remember you have lots of time to relax when you get there, so just BOOK AND GO. i promise you will not be dissapointed if you go with an open mind and remember that you are not in canada you are in the d.r.we were there march 5-19

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank roston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 27, 2012

First of all, peeps, don't bother about negatives reviews about this hotel (or another) because you should go and make your own opinion because everyone standards are not the same. So go and discover the world !

This hotel was awesome from A to Z ! The staff was overall very welcoming and helping at all times ! Somehow some of them where speaking 3 languages (spanish, english and french) and some (a few) were hardly understanding english. The check in was quick too !

The rooms were average-good, larges enough with a nice bathroom ! We had HOT WATER the entire stay ! AC was working well too ! We were in the building 13, room 5201 and we can not had a better location on the resort. Near the beach and one of the buffet (and the a la carte), in front of a beautiful pool (overcrowded with europeans who seems to think the whole place was theirs ! hello lookea club ! :) ) but we didn't mind !

The beach was beautiful with white and soft sand and clear water. There was a little bit of sea weed on the beach though.. they should have clean it more but it was still beautiful don't worry !

The food was good in general ! The morning buffet was pretty good in general ! The evening buffet was good too ! Maybe lunch buffet should add a little bit of variety since it was pretty repetitive but everything was tasty and good !

Also make sure to buy your rum in Las Galeras, a little village next to the hotel (10 min walking distance). It's a lot less expensive there !

Overall it was a memorable and romantic vacation for us. We will definitely go back to that resort again ! I'm a travel agent and Ioved that hotel ! :)

**Note that the grand paradise samana hotel is known to have Samana's prettier beach !

Room Tip: Ask for a second floor, not a third floor, ask for a quiet place near the beach and the pool.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank FiestaSun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2012

I don't know where the people who say this place is terrible were staying but that is not the place I stayed at. The staff were amazing, always there when we needed them, the dancers we have gotten address' to keep in touch they were so friendly. The rooms were not the greatest but honestly I didn't spend much more time then to sleep and get ready in the morning in my room because I was on vacation and I was going to spend it outside. We left a little present for the maid and that always helps, not sure their cleaning without it but she desirved it there was one maid to do our whole building so she was busy. Location, really can't ask for much better, a little bit of grass and stuff in the water but once your past it, beautiful, no huge waves, good for kids and you could go far out because there was really no drop off point it just slowly got deeper. There were unreal excursions, I highly recommend. We traveled with a 10 year old girl and she was really nervous and went with her father for 3 runs and the staff made her feel so safe she went alone! And we also had 2 people in their 60's zipline with us. At the end of the week the dancers and some front desk staff knew our group and were so nice and did everything they could to make our trip amazing. Some say they had a run down bus, I personally had one like you would see all through canada, airconditioned and yes it was a little over an hour drive but honestly that was one part of the trip I enjoyed, you seen all through Samana and the tour guide told us all about it. I think I got just as many pictures on the way to the resort as I did on the resort!
HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Room Tip: Go into the town, and go to walk the plank zipline excursion!
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with family
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5  Thank JennaCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 25, 2012

Wow...that was bad!!

The Good...The beach is outstanding as well as the view!!

The Bad...The front desk staff...could care less about their guests.
No hot water in our room AT ANY TIME
Their "one key" policy...yes I know it is to keep the demands on their electrical power down, but come on...$5.00 a day for a second key?! (We got one for free but I ain't telling how)
The food...No I do not expect gourmet cuisine. I have been too many many all inclusives, I know to expect the same thing day after day. But could we get bacon at least once at breakfast? Their bread products were outstanding but as it is said man (and woman)cannot live on bread alone. Beef ..poor, pork --next to poor.
No top shelf liquor (or even recognizable brands). Please tour operators clarify "domestic" drinks in your literature. Again I have been to many places that say that but there are at least some brands I've heard of.
And now the truly UGLY...I had never heard of Lookea before. Just so everyone else knows, it is a tour company out of France and they seem to think the entire resort was just for their guests!!! Separate staff, separate activities, separate show at night and absolutely ALL in French. They took over the quiet pool for their water aerobics and told us to move! I don't think so. I went immediately to the front desk and asked them where the All English, All Spanish, All German, All Italian activities were being held? They looked at me like I had two heads!! Then they had the nerve to say the resort treats all guests the same. BULL!!
We made the same mistake before, and you'd think we had learned...YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!. And at this resort that ain't much!!!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled with friends
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7  Thank Mrsmom89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Paradise Samana

Address: Las Galeras, Dominican Republic (Formerly Casa Marina Bay)
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Galeras
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range: $101 - $623 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Grand Paradise Samana 3*
Number of rooms: 420
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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

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