The hotel seems to run on the lowest possible acceptable standard. It is made up of a string of ongoing bad decisions:
Dec. 19, 2013 – Jan 2, 2014 – 2 adults 2 kids (4 and 6)
We stayed in one of the ‘new’ rooms. The size was standard. It was new due to the new headboards, dresser, desk and tv which were all nice. The bathroom was unrenovated. Bathtub was stained, shower-head was old and ‘spat’ a lot, toilet tank kept leaking and we had to wait 3 minutes (yes, 3 minutes) for the hot water to arrive. The first couple of days we thought we had no hot water. There is no sitting area in the rooms, instead of a couch or chairs the is a beautiful, huge, useless desk.
The beach and entire area is stunning. Large grassy area with palm trees and volleyball, mini golf, badminton, archery, shuffleboard, ping-pong and bocce ball. The sand on the beach is soft and the cove minimizes the size of the wave so the beach is very friendly.
The whole cove area is shallow and has sand mixed in the water so there is no visibility except in 1 area that is ‘off limits’ unless you pay $15 for the ‘excursion’ to swim there for 1 hour. Ridiculous.
The service is atrocious. We are very friendly and were tipping for the first few days at almost every meal and befriending the staff in the restaurants. They don’t seem to want to do anything more than the minimum required. There were a couple that liked our kids and paid extra attention however aside from getting water when we sat down there were no refills and we were offered drinks about once every 3 sittings.
The food left a lot to be desired which was the consensus of everyone we spoke with. There was bacon for breakfast only once in our first week. There was little variety and most of the food was the same from day to day, way more so than other similar resorts we have been to. The Italian A-la-carte restaurant (1 night Italian, next night seafood) was also terrible. The pizza for the kids was good however the adult food was not. We ended up eating the kids’ leftover pizza for our dinner.
Be warned, it rains in Samana just about every day for a few minutes at a time, here and there (maybe 1-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes). Other than that it’s usually sunny.
The new lobby is beautiful and well done. Marble floors and beautiful furniture. The rest of the hotel does not come close to matching this standard.
- Holes in the bushes on the side of the walkway were blocked off with barbed wire (I am not kidding). I told the staff about it and the one 6’ long stretch was removed a few days later, more remained.
- Remodeling rooms with a desk instead of a couch or chairs (cheaper)
- Gouging for any extra’s they can:
o $5/hr internet, $50 wifi/wk ($1/hr in town, 5 minutes away)
o $15/picture from photo centre
o $15 to snorkel in the only area that you can see anything
o $3/day for safe which is digital combination
- Sheets on beds not fitted and too small, wake every morning on bare mattress
- Employees pushing guests out of volleyball game to make spots for themselves
- Pushing employees to front of ‘egg station’ line ahead of guests
- One room key per room, can not get a second room key
- Juices are so sweet that I diluted them 3/1 and they were still sweet
- Too few ‘service staff’
- Lack of an eye for detail:
o Beautiful, impeccable new bathrooms in the lobby however urinals installed with holes and sloppy grout, patched with sloppy silicone then patched again with sloppy grout instead of just fixing it right which is not a big job.
- It is virtually impossible to get change at the hotel, either in pesos or small USD bills
- Many staff speak French however the English is below minimal
All in all we enjoyed our stay at the hotel because most of these things are not a bother for us however we found that the standards of this hotel were below comparable ones. I heard that in some places in Europe it's listed as a 4 1/2 star. In Canada it seems like it ranges from 3-4. I would rate it a solid 2 1/2-3 star.
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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