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Grand Paradise Samana
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Reviewed January 28, 2014

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)

The room:
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:
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.

Service:
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.

Food:
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.

Weather:
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.

Lobby:
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.

Bad decisions:
- 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.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Jsh99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 27, 2014

The worst resort I have ever been.
READ the negative reviews and judge for yourself.
This is a plain horrible resort.
The service is a nightmare.
The food is just horrible.
The bedrooms are filthy dirty.
The beach is very small, dirty and full of seaweed.
The lawn is dirty and full of horse waste.
The beach chairs are all broken and filthy.
The entertaining is non-existent.
The water sport that they claim is including do not exist.
Pool tables are completely ran down and disgusting.
$5 for Pina colada

Room Tip: "Avoid this resort"
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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8  Thank Marcel H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2014

Went with a friend of mine and we really enjoyed ourselves. Had no problem with staff, but probably because we were very friendly with them and so that was naturally reciprocated. I noticed the same people complaining that staff was miserable were the same people who didn't tip or ever have a smile on their face. I saw one woman literally yell at the man at the sandwich station because the two slices of cheese he put on the sandwich overlapped slightly and weren't aligned. These kind of guests should not be welcome anywhere. This is a 3rd world country and a 3-star resort and people like to forget they're guests in someone elses country and to have respect, the staff are human beings. As for slowness, you need to relax a little; do you really need that rum and coke in less than 10 seconds? I don't get it. I was and still am so disgusted and embarassed by some guests' behaviour and to be honest these disrespectful people was the only con for me on this trip.
Anyway, the beach was beautiful, room was clean and without bugs, and we didn't starve. Another reviewer here mentioned there was no bananas. There sure were for 5/7 days that we were there and they were delicious. The shower was fine, not perfect but we were able to wash ourselves just fine. The a la cartes were nice, we got a "special invitation" to this dinner they set up on the beach. I think they do it for all guests but on different nights, once per stay. It was really nice and had great lobster. We also had some beautiful pics taken of us by the photographers there. It's a big pricey but worth it to buy them after. It is one of my favourite resorts and would love, love to come again maybe during a quieter season so I don't have to deal with the miserable guests!

Room Tip: We stayed in the building near reception, our room was 1234 (lol). It was spotless and no bugs and h...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
10  Thank sarah l
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2014 via mobile

We went on this trip with two other couples. The resort is an hour and a half bus ride from the airport. The first thing we noticed was that our so-called oceanview room was a floor level unit with barely a view of the ocean because it was blocked by many many trees. Although we had booked the Nolitours concierge package, the rooms that we got were definitely not freshly renovated.

The food at this resort was sub par. I have traveled to many different countries and stayed at many resorts, I have never experienced such violent travelers diarrhea. Even after quickly switching to a diet of vegetables and chicken I spent a week running back and forth to the banõ. The best meal experienced was on our very last night when our group of people were treated to a lobster barbecue.

With all of that being said, the beach was absolutely beautiful. Although we would've preferred to enjoy some snorkeling at the resort it was still a nice spot. Except for a few quick little showers we experienced almost no rain.

The best asset that this resort has is its staff. They were willing to go above and beyond to assist us in anything that we required. Each time we needed a blanket, a remote control, or any other assistance they were always quick to help. All of the servers and staff in the restaurants were also very friendly and very helpful. It's a shame that the food was terrible.

I should also note that usually on a Caribbean vacation one would expect to have wonderful mixed drinks, not here. The blender was almost an obsolete machine, and even when used the drinks were still liquid instead of icy. I ordered wine on one occasion and it was literally poured from a plastic jug pulled out of the cupboard. After tasting that I referred to it as poison.

This was my second trip to the Dominican republic, and it is safe to say that I have given it a fair chance and will not return. Each time the food has been horrible.

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
4  Thank SabrinaWallace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2014

we had a great time at this little resort. Staff was very friendly and willing to help you. Food was good. Nightly entertainment was good. Just a ten minute walk along beach to a village les galleras.
Room was very clean no bugs and had a ground floor room facing the ocean. this place had three pools and a nice beach with palm trees for shade. everyday the beach was raked for seaweed and grounds were very clean and could see staff cleaning grounds all the by people time. true water pressure in shower could be better but remember this is a third world country can't expect it to be like the Hilton.Would gladly go back.Price of trip was great .Had all the excersions available just like 5 star resorts. was very relaxing and great to be able to walk into village and not be harrassed by locals selling stuff. they asked once if told no left you alone.

Room Tip: no complaints about rooms
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
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8  Thank milkshake123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2014 via mobile

My husband & I spent 1 week at GP January 10th to 17th.
I had followed the trip advisor reviews for months leading up to our vacation. Despite all the negative reviews I thought it was an amazing price & thought "were not hard to please" & just wanted a place to relax and catch some sun & booked anyways.....BIG mistake!!! Hotel has lots of potential but needs a lot of work. Check in was very slow, 1 person at front desk for a full bus load! Took 1.5hrs to check in.
Room had funny smell, almost no water pressure in shower, toilet kept running & no hot water.
The only employees that that deserve recognition is the grounds keepers! They are always hard at work & always smiling.
Reception, bartenders & waiters ( waitresses) are miserable!! The food was nasty, same thing every day & always cold. We were lucky & did not get sick as many people did, but we were very careful what we ate.
The excursions offered by the resort is a complete rip off!! Walk 10 minutes into town & book there at least 50% less. The "end of the road" offers great excursions at reasonable rates.
Not sure how this resort gets its 3+ star rating, must be all the dishonest reviews!! Don't learn the hard way like we did, all the negative reviews are pretty much the truth!
Hope management takes all negative reviews into consideration because in reality this resort only deserves a 2 star!!

Stayed: January 2014
8  Thank shelley d
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2014

I went to this resort in January 2014 and was very pleased with my experience.

BEACH: The beach is very nice, although it was quite small and there is a lot of algae. If you go later in the day, during high tide, there is not much sand, but there is plenty of nice green grass under high palm trees to sit on! A lot of people will be walking around trying to sell you things, which can get annoying, but you can just politely decline.

STAFF: The staff was extremely helpful and most of the staff members are quick and efficient in doing their job. As a Spanish speaker, I spoke Spanish during my entire stay and received excellent service. I have been told, however, by non-Spanish speakers that they sometimes had a hard time communicating because the maids and some of the waiters are not very fluent in English. Geury at the reception was extremely kind and helpful to us and always offered his help whenever we needed something!

FOOD: The food was actually very good, for the most part. There is a good selection of all kinds of meat, rice, vegetables, pasta, etc. However, I got sick from some chicken I ate at the À la Carte restaurant towards the end of my stay, which was not very pleasant, but unfortunately common for tourists traveling in the South...

ROOM: The rooms were absolutely wonderful! They were large, clean, and very well-kept. Everything in the room looked new; especially the big plasma screen television! The beds were comfortable and the cleaning ladies came to clean 1-2 times a day.

ALCOHOL: Most of the drinks I tried were alright, nothing too fancy or extraordinary...The beer and the wine were not the best, but overall, the alcohol was just fine.

ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment could really be improved...out of the seven days we were there, there were good shows only about 2-3 nights with dancing and really interesting spectacles (swimming with torches in the water, dancing on a moving mat in the pool, etc.)! The rest was a bad attempt at involving the audience by organizing contests of ''the most macho man'' and stuff like that.

Overall, I would recommend this resort to people who want to have a nice relaxing vacation on a budget, and who simply want to enjoy the sun and the beach! There is also a disco open during the night at the resort for those who enjoy clubbing - I have to admit though that I have never been, so I have no idea how it is. If you don't have incredibly luxurious demands, you will surely enjoy your stay there!

Room Tip: Try not to be in blocks 6,7,8 (especially 8) because they are next to generators which are quite lou...
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  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Service
6  Thank Emi483
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: $102 - $694 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Grand Paradise Samana 3*
Number of rooms: 420
Reservation Options:
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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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