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Grand Paradise Samana
Ranked #3 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Reviewed April 8, 2013

Grand paradise Samana March 31-April 7
BEWARE=4 hours from Puerto Plata Airport by bus/taxi
If we would have known this we would not have come to this place
Upon arrival in Dominican each person has to pay US$10.00
Many people were not aware of this and were scrambling for it
We arrived at our hotel at midnight after travelling 12 hours that day!
They did have fruit punch and sandwiches available upon arrival
The next day we had to get ourself s organized by purchasing a key for the safety deposit box $15.00. Make sure you have it ready when you go get it from the front desk at the same time pick up a remote control for your TV . The room key, you get just 1, activates the power in your room once you take it out of the slot to leave and lock your room all power goes off as well as air conditioner hence a hot room after spending a day at the beach! An extra room key will cost you $5.00 a day. Previously people mentioned an upgrade to an ocean view room cost $40.00 not now it was $15.00 A DAY per person, last WIFI is available throughout the hotel But at a price of $65.00 a week Internet is also available at $5.00 for half an hour, which you'll need just to connect, as it is very slow! Make sure you have US20.00 left to leave this country! Now after you read this and you are okay with all this and decide to book a trip to grand paradise Samana you will have a lovely time rooms were large and clean, the buffet offered a wide variety of food for breakfast they had a crepes station going as well an egg station where you could order them anyway you like them. For lunch and diner they always had a spaghetti station going as well as some type of meat station, they offer a large variety of salad bar items, plenty of desserts and breads. HOT Tea and coffee always available. There is a specialty coffee bar at the main pool. There are plenty of chairs by the beach and both pools, now shade is harder to come by, along the beach there are lots of palmtrees but they offer little shade, by the smaller pool there are umbrellas. The man made reef to the right when facing the ocean is a cool place to snorkel cost $15.00 pp but worth it, everything you need is supplied and you will be able to see at least hundred different species of fish. A walk to the small town to the left out of the front entrance along the beach offers you a variety of souvenirs, there are quite a few stores past the supermarket as well, the farther you venture the cheaper it becomes! Day trips can be booked here as well, cheaper then those offered at the hotel. A great relaxing time was had aside from the extra charges and the 4 hr trip to the airport in Puerto Plata

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank notlangie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 8, 2013

We were there for 7 days :March 23rd-30th
Good: Nice beach,nice sand.
Bad:dirty rooms,dirty towels:I 've had the first hand experience were the cleaning ladies were sorting towels based on smell,they didn't clean our room for two days:I had to call the Reception (without results) and I had to look for a cleaning lady and tip her to come and change out towels and have some water bottles in our fridge.The food in the restaurant was for most part edible,you have to plead to get some water.
They have two bars:one in the middle of the resort which close at 10 PM and one in the proximity of the beach which operates between 10 PM and 2 AM:poor quality drinks,line ups because of indifference and very slow service (I have to mention again that every time we tipped handsomely).A very sleepy resort,after 10 PM nothing was going on (after the sorry entertainment...),we have thought that there are no tourists ,which was proved wrong but considering that it is nothing to see or do is understandable.Also worth mentioning is the little store which is extremely overpriced and full of kitschy souvenirs.Oh,and the Disco Club with really crappy music :we saw max 10 people at one time ! If you want a nice resort for your money go to Mexico,even Cuba fairs better.

Room Tip: Ask for Ocean view second floor rooms,if you are going to a la carte restaurants eat first ,you are...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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5  Thank Mariana M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

This review is slightly delayed (ok so it's really delayed) but I have to give credit to the Grand Paradise. I travelled with friends at the end of April to early May in 2012. We landed at the Samana airport, which is new and close to the resort area. If you land in Puerto Plata, the drive is probably a lot less pleasant. The roads were recently paved so it's an easy drive.

Rooms - our room was in one of the newer buildings and was in good condition. The view was nothing special but we never spent time in the rooms anyway. The air conditioning worked great and the beds were big and very comfortable. I had a bit of trouble operating the safe (which you have to request on check-in) but a maintenance crew member in the building helped out quickly. We had to check out late, and the key cards to all the rooms for people on our flight stopped working the morning of our departure. Some other travelers seemed to think it was the worst thing to ever happen to them but it only took me about 10 minutes to walk to the lobby and back and have our group's cards reactivated.

Food/Drinks - the buffet had lots of selection. I loved the crepes and juice at breakfast and tried to eat different food at supper; this was easy to do since some nights had themes. We ate at the beach bar for lunch--mostly fried food and salads but there was always lots. We ate at both a-la-cartes: both good and a nice change from buffet food. There are lots of fun drinks. I tend to stick to beer and one-shot drinks so I drank a lot of screwdrivers and banana mamas.

Staff - this group of people was wonderful. The activities crew work so hard and try to include everyone in the activities throughout the day and THEN put on the nightly shows. Everyone else is friendly and pleasant.

Beach/pools - the pools are pretty plain and we didn't spend much time in them, largely due to how much we enjoyed being at the beach. The Lookea pool was our favourite; yes, it's in the section of the resort beside the French travelers' rooms but anyone can swim in it and it has its own bar. We spent most of our days relaxing on the beach or on the large grassy area behind it, where there was more shade. The beach is small (it's a cove), but the water is warm, calm, and clear.

Excursions - we did the Walk the Plank zipline tour. It was fantastic. Do it.

Other - I highly recommend you go snorkeling at the Grand Paradise. You can do scuba lessons or just pay $10 and take a mask and fins. We only discovered the snorkeling on the last day, and wish we had known sooner. I would have gone every day. A guide takes you out to a reef just outside the cove and you will have a blast being shown all kinds of creatures hiding in the water.

Overall - the Grand Paradise is not a luxury spot but we didn't go expecting anything like that. We were very pleased with what we got for our money and would recommend it to someone looking for a fun, relaxing vacation on a budget.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank miss_celo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

My family just returned from a 1 week stay, we got what I thought was a good deal but we were disappointed with our stay at the Grand paradise. We travel at least once a year and this was our first let down. Our room wasn't ready until 5pm on the date of the arrival, we were only allowed 1 key unless we wanted to pay for more, we had to pay for the safe, the air conditioning was only on when the room key was inserted into the key panel, so you walked into a very hot room every day. The bed's were very hard and the pillows were terrible. The room itself was decent and clean (although many other guests complained of unclean sheets and towels). The grounds were ok, poorly lit and the walkways were not kept in good condition. The pools were not very clean looking so we didn't even use them. The entertainment was ok, only 1 of the 5 nights was it enjoyable. The food was not good, there were a few options that were not that bad but there was never a meal that we felt satisfied or wanting more of anyhting. Breakfast was the only good meal, because you could get fresh eggs (although you had to wait on a long line).The desert was terrible. The bar service was the worst I have ever seen, only one bar had a blender but they only knew how to make Bahama mama, the liquor was terrible. My kids and I drank water the entire trip and my husband had to buy a bottle of rum in town and settle for rum and coke that he would make himself. Awful!!! How can you go to a tropical resort and not be able to get a tropical drink??? The employees were nice but the staff was limited. I don't know how anyone can rate this hotel anything better than a 2, the only thing that made this trip worthwhile was the beautiful beach and the day trips we made where we finally had some good food (that we paid for). I do not recommend this hotel to anyone that wants more than just a beach. I would never go back to this hotel.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank stell411
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

Our family just returned from a one week stay at the Grand Paradise. (March 21-28) We were fortunate to book at the right time and got an exceptional deal, thanks to our AMAZING travel agent, Brenda... so off we went! The hotel staff was amazing! We were always greeted with a smile! The front desk reception staff were very accommodating when we needed service and they tried their best to assist us promptly. The pools were maintained periodically throughout the day and the staff was always on top of the gardens, pruning as needed and raking etc. The buffet always had lots to choose from and they replenished as needed. Food was good...eggs, crepes, lots of breads, potatoes, yogurt, meats, ice cream and desserts, beans and rice, fruit, coffee and lots of herbal teas to choose from, and the list goes on! Rooms were kept clean and we had fresh towels etc. everyday. The bar staff was great, especially at the beach bar- Josie and Luis were excellent and they had a blender for drinks! (I was disappointed that the other bars didn't have a blender.) The night shows were full of energy and they tried hard to involve the audience and put on a great show! The rooms were dated and should be updated but everything functioned well, except our air conditioner quit and we were moved to a new room without any problem. Overall, the stay was amazing and we enjoyed our trip together and met many wonderful people, for the price we paid I say we did very well!

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank SFarcey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

We visited this hotel in november and weather was nice. Nature around the hotel is fantastic anyway like people in the hotel. I want say thanks all people from the hotel, for amazing holidays especially Mr. Euris Agueda for friendly talking and help. We come back later maybe with childrens.
Jonh and Jane from Czech.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Jan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 5, 2013

THE RESORT
This is not one of those grand all-inclusive hotels bustling with people but is unique with a highlight on nature. The lush grounds contain a pond with turtles, though that was the extent of the wildlife we saw. Though the resort is large, it’s laid out over a sizeable area so it’s not congested. The beach is lovely and calm but it does have seaweed in some places.

My one complaint would be that the walkways are not well lit at night. Walking on the cobblestone paths in poor lighting is an accident waiting to happen.

Food was fine; nothing great but there were enough options to always find something. Everything was fresh so we never suffered from any digestive upset. Each day they served rice and different kinds of beans, and the salad bar always had a selection of fresh slaws though I was hoping for a more exotic selection of fruit. The desserts looked better than they tasted.

I question the alcoholic content of their liquor because it had zero effect on me even though I’m a light drinker. All their spirits are a generic brand labelled “CLASSIC”. You’d have to drink a gallon of the stuff to feel anything.

The à la carte restaurant was a nice change of pace. Though they served basically the same food as the buffet, it offered a lovely ambiance with an outdoor patio overlooking the beach. The dessert cart served better desserts than those at the buffet.

On the weekend the locals arrive and there is a noticeable change in the resort. The buffet is fancier with more options and the evening show features traditional folk entertainment.

The only equipment I saw that was advertised were kayaks. I didn’t see any windsurfing equipment, their catamaran did not look sea-worthy, and the only bikes on the resort were used by the hotel staff.

ROOMS
The rooms were more than adequate and larger than expected, and our bathrooms looked recently renovated. The mini fridge was always stocked with bottled water, Coke, and Sprite.

The room key operates the electricity in the room so you are only given one key in order to conserve energy.

Bring your own clock as there aren’t any in the rooms.

They use scented toilet paper so if you’re sensitive, bring your own.

The instructions on operating the safe were not clear. You have to enter your code TWICE in order to set it.

The gift shop/market near the lobby has better gifts than any shop we found in the town of Samana.

PUBLIC TRANSIT
It’s easy to get to the town of Samana by a guagua (public transit). Walk west along the beach to the main strip in Las Galeras; the bus stops every 15 minutes at the covered stand on the west side of the street (look for a painting of a bus on the wall). Don’t expect a traditional bus - the guagua could be a small pick-up with in-cab seating for 2, the rest in the covered cargo area, or it could be a 6+ seater minivan. The trip takes 30-45 minutes, depending on the number of pick-ups/drop-offs along the way.

The cost is $100 RD/per person, one-way ($2.50 US). The driver may want to wait for you while in Samana but if you prefer to spend your time unencumbered, you can catch a return guagua at the bus stop just outside the Mercado in Samana. Look for a bustling parking lot.

And for the intrepid traveller, you can catch a bus to Santo Domingo from Samana though the ride is 3 hours long. The road from Las Galeras to Samana is smooth so driving a rented vehicle is an option.

EXCURSIONS
We booked two excursions through our Air Canada rep: the Cultural/Playa Rincon tours was from 9:00 -5:00 and was $85.00 US. We were scheduled to visit a school but that was cancelled at the last minute. We visited a “plantation” which was more like someone’s large backyard. The information session here was an excuse to sell souvenirs to the group, though we were provided with a light buffet of fresh fruit and coffee. Then we were off to Playa Rincon. The beach is picturesque and unspoiled. We had a buffet lunch at Ruby’s then spent a few hours on the beach. Afterwards we drove to the western end of the beach for a dip in the River Frio for those who dared the cold water. Our last stop was a short visit to the Iguanario, an Iguana farm where you can enter the enclosures and get up close and personal with the reptiles.

Our second tour was to El Limon Falls from 8:00 – 1:30 for US $65.00. It’s best to wear sneakers or water socks as sandals and flip flops are not allowed. Included are helmets (mandatory) and rubber boots if needed (bring socks). The track to the falls is muddy and rocky so, although it’s possible to walk the route, it’s much easier to go by horseback, even if you’ve never ridden before. The horses are tame, and each is led by its own guide. There is a concrete staircase that everyone uses for getting on and off the horse so no “saddling up” is required. It is an exhausting walk for the guides so do tip them appropriately (we tipped $10/each).

Afterwards we were treated to a “typical DR meal” (rice, beans, chicken, beef, cassava fritters, salad, and sugarcane fudge). This was perhaps the best meal I had while in the DR.

We also took walks into Las Galeras and handed out candy and clothes to the children living there.

AIRPORT
El Catey airport has a duty-free shop with a decent selection of imported alcohol.

For those flying Air Canada: No meal is included though they do offer meals through their Onboard Café. Credit cards only. You can save up to 20% if you purchase meal vouchers in advance. Check the Air Canada website.

You cannot carry food items onboard from the Samana airport. If you’ve packed food for your flight, there are tables and chairs to the right of the check-in counters. After check-in there’s a café that serves coffee, sandwiches, burgers and fries.

It might be wise to pack a poncho in your carry-on luggage since you have to cross the tarmac in order to get to the airport terminal. The Samana airport doesn’t allow umbrellas in carry-on luggage.

A special thank you to Ginauri Balbuena (Gina) at the front desk who always greeted us with a smile.

And lastly, treat the resort staff with respect and you’ll be treated in kind. They really do work hard to make your stay pleasant. Leave your worries behind, smile and greet them with “hola” and you’ll enjoy your stay in the DR.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with family
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Thank TorontoTica2012
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 #3 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range: $94 - $478 (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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