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“beautifully basic all-inclusive” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of Grand Paradise Samana

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Grand Paradise Samana
Ranked #1 of 5 Hotels in Las Galeras
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“beautifully basic all-inclusive”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 30, 2014

The Grand Paradise Samana had everything I was looking for in one tidy package, but with few amenities. I wanted an integrated beach experience where I could leave my stuff in my room and frolic on a pristine beach without the hassle of cooking or driving. The hotel beach, just east of Playa Las Galeras, is beautiful and immaculately maintained. The crescent of white-sand is ringed by a forest of shady palm trees and the Atlantic waters are crystal clear, warm, and calm. The hotel has opted to keep the beach uncluttered--none of the wood-frame beds and umbrellas that interrupt the natural beauty in so many places, just an army of blue lounge-chairs.

Rooms were super-clean. They were however quite basic with a bed, a single chair, and a dresser. Lighting was a problem for reading at night---a single, dim bedside lamp and one overhead light in the doorway were not sufficient. The bathroom was dark with corroded, poorly installed fixtures and there was no hot water--repeat NO HOT WATER.

The food was home-cooked (comida casera) and served in the main cafeteria for 5 of the days we were there. the other two days, they had a specialty restaurant for dinner. breakfast included excellent fresh juices and fruits, lunch and dinner had delicious beans and rice, but often not much else that I found enticing. Drinks are sugary and tasteless like most all-inclusive resorts.

Beware the weekends. Families drive up from Santo Domingo on Friday afternoon transforming the sleepy vibe of the resort to a crowded and loud party. The resort staff showed a marked preference for serving these guests (who wear metallic wristbands), often pushing us aside to accommodate them, which makes sense given that they probably come several times a year and we are only there the once.

Pros: beautiful natural beach, minimum commercial resort feel, clean rooms and grounds, generally professional staff

Cons: no hot water, poor lighting in rooms, the weekenders

Room Tip: Ocean view is worth the extra money--they are along the outside edge of the resort so are quiet and...
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  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank viress
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2014

It was a very nice place to visit. If I had a chance to go back again I would go back in a heat beat. The staff were all very nice and friendly. Expecially Mikiki he was very helpful on telling us were the shows were or just making us feel comfortable while staying there.

  • Stayed June 2014
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Jonathan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 28, 2014

My bf and I went for the first time and had a blast. We had never been out of the country and didn't know what to expect but we had a great time. The staff was very friendly and accommodating. The beach was beautiful. There was a lot to do. Makiki talked to us as soon we got there and made us feel welcome. He often checked in with us during our stay to make sure we were having fun and to tell us about different activities. We would definitely go back again

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Kyla9495
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nuremberg, Germany
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 27, 2014

A very nice hotel for enjoying your vacation. It is surrounded by uncountable palm trees and caribbean flowers. Absolutely breathtaking nature. Perfect place to recover from the everyday stress. Nice staff which make an effort to all the clients so that everyone is satisfied. A great thank goes to Samuel Vasquez-Room Manager-who pays always attention that everything is in good order and that all the clients' wishes as far as possible can be realized.
I recommend the hotel for sure.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank tanja509
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2014

My partner and I stayed at Grand Paradise in May 2014.The beach, hotel grounds, room, food, et were very good.

The only thing I didn't like about staying there is constantly being bugged but the staff to take pictures with this poor, sickly looking parrot or the capuchin monkey they have. I find usage of animals for entertainment cruel, unnecessary and upsetting to witness. Even when you're enjoying a swim in the pool, the hang around and pester you. Its seem as though the more you say "No Thanks" the more forceful they are until you give in and find yourself doing something you didn't want to do just to get them off your back.

The photographers could also stand to take a chill pill and not bug people so much to take pics to later try to sell to you.

Besides those two things, I would recommend visiting the Samana region and staying at Grand Paradise. The beautiful beach and the ocean was my favorite part.

  • Stayed May 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Marta P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mississauga, Canada
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 26, 2014

We stayed at the Grand Paradise Samana from June 15 – 22 to celebrate our 15 year wedding anniversary. Our arrival to the Samana airport was smooth with no issues during the flight though I can say I am not a huge fan of the new Air Canada Rouge planes. Very little options for in flight entertainment and if you do not have an apple device you are out of luck. We found the connection slow and the streaming often stalled so we gave up and turned our devices off. Our luggage was quick to arrive and we were quickly on our way to the waiting bus. The ride from the airport to the Grand Paradise was comfortable and having the excursion and information session on the bus was a great Idea. It made the 1 ½ hour bus ride pass quicker and allowed us to get on with the fun and relaxation once we arrived at the hotel.

The hotel lobby was clean and bright and the cool fruit punch offered while waiting to check in was a nice touch. The check in process was fairly quick though you had to get in a separate line once you checked in to get your safe key. It might have been better to utilize the third person for check in’s and had the agents provide the safe key while checking the guests in.

Our room was located in building 5 on the ground floor facing the disco. (If you are a light sleeper request a room facing the pool as we could hear the disco music several nights but it was not an issue for us.) The room was very clean with two double beds, night stand, desk and flat screen TV. There is also a mini fridge that was stocked daily with soda and water. The bathroom was huge and also very clean. We had great water pressure in the shower but often had to shower in cool or tepid water as it never really got hot. The room did not have any luggage stands or benches so we had to leave the luggage on the floor which was not ideal. The air conditioning worked fantastic until the last few days when we were informed that it was down for repairs. The beds were very comfortable, though a few more pillows would have been appreciated. Keep in mind that there are no blankets on the beds just a top sheet and a faux suede runner at the end of the bed. If you run cold at night you might want to bring a light blanket or sleep with a sweater on. We also found that the lighting was a bit dim and had to take the shade of the lamp to make it a bit brighter. We often had to use a flash light near the closet area as it was just to dim. The patio area was great for laying out towels and wet bathing suits. We did not sit out there much but there were two chairs and a side table. When we arrived in our room the maid had left some pretty flowers on the bed and in the bathroom. A nice touch that she repeated regularly throughout the week. Our room seemed to have been double assigned because as we were unpacking another couple entered our room with one of the luggage porters. Not sure if they just entered the wrong room but it was a bit of a surprise. This occurred again on the last night of our stay when one of the hotel security staff entered our room unannounced while we had a do not disturb sign on the door. Needless to say this left us feeling very uneasy and my husband brought it to the management’s attention immediately.

The beach was one of the most stunning we have seen during our travels, We would have stayed there all day if we had been traveling alone but our son is a pool lover so we split our time between the beach and pool daily. We never had a problem finding lounge chairs or shade when wanting to get out of the sun. The ocean water was always warm and very calm. There were patches of sea weed but come on people this is the OCEAN! It never caused a problem for us and I did not hear anyone else complaining about it.

We only used the pool near our room as it was quiet and had lots of shade. For the first few days it was our own private oasis until other guests discovered it as well. We spent almost every afternoon here just lounging until dinner time. There was an issue with wasps near the pool though. It seemed like there may be a nest of them near the entrance of the pool as there is a small pagoda above the entrance. My husband was stung twice in one day and the wasps were constantly drowning in the pool. My husband would often get the pool net to clean them out though the hotel staff also did it a few times a day. There is a bar near this pool but it was closed during our stay, most likely because it is the slow season.

The nightly entertainment could use a bit of work. The entertain yourself shows were not my favorite. The water and fire show in the pool was by far the best show though I did feel bad for some of the girls as their hands were being burned while holding the lighted rods. I saw them trying to use the pool water to tame the fire down a bit. Some safety measures should be put in place for this show to keep the entertainers safe. The dancing shows were a bit odd as it seemed some of the dancers did not know the steps and were out of sync. The lip syncing routines needed a huge over haul as well. Just not good at all.

The food at this resort was a bit of a challenge for me being a very picky eater. There was always many things to choose from but the problem was the quality of the food. The meat was of a low grade and often had a very pungent aftertaste. I stuck with the chicken when it was available and it was great. The BBQ chicken we had while eating at the beach both nights was fantastic. I really missed the build your own pasta stations. We only had this on our last night. The food was often cold as the chafing dishes did not keep the food hot. Both my husband and son who will eat anything did not particularly like the food either though they never went hungry. We all had upset stomachs later in the week for a short time though my husband required Imodium to get back to feeling o.k.

The service at this hotel was hit or miss. Sometimes we would have great service and other times it was terrible. My son was often ignored at the bar until one of us escorted him to get a drink. We tried to eat at the Italian restaurant and waited 40 minutes for someone to take our order after asking several times if it was possible to place our orders. We were told that the order taker would be by soon to take our order but time just kept ticking. When he finally showed up he ended up taking the orders of a table that had been seated after us. We ended up walking out of the restaurant and eating in the buffet. I work in the hospitality industry and know how hard people work and always tip accordingly but a little courtesy goes a long way. The service was really bad!!! I started to take it personally. Our maid however was a gem. I think her name was Elizabeth or Isabelle. She did a great job.

We went to the Grand Paradise ready to celebrate a major mile stone (15 Year Anniversary) but it was never even acknowledged. Our travel agent informed the hotel that we were celebrating and we informed them when we checked in. They mentioned that they would do something special for us but nothing was ever done. I really wanted to love this hotel as it is in such a picturesque location but it was difficult to do so. I don't know if I would return.

Room Tip: We stayed in building 5 which has been renovated. The room was very clean and close to the beach and...
See more room tips
  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mione
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Woodstock, Canada
Level Contributor
64 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 185 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 25, 2014

First off, let me say that we got an absolutely ridiculously good deal on this vacation. Like the type of deal I haven’t seen in YEARS and I travel a fair bit. I had no real intention of taking a trip in June but after seeing this price (I get a lot of travel emails LOL) and checking the reviews I convinced my best friend we’d be stupid NOT to go so we booked it. You know that saying “if something seems too good to be true it probably is?....” well…it’s sort of fitting in this case.
Part of me thinks my review should be better/less critical because of the price we paid…but at the same time that a review should be based on experience not on what you paid. In the end…this review is a combination of both.
To start with some positives…the resort itself is very pretty. The grounds are nice and lush, lots of trees and flowers. It is spread out but not gigantic. The beach is…a real WOW…one of the nicest beaches I have ever seen. Not long (or wide) but clear, calm and lovely white sand. It kind of makes you feel like you are on a secret desert island. There are “wild” horses running through, you can hear cows mooing…it is like a postcard. I have never taken so many nature related photos on a trip! Our room in block 5 was large, clean (more on the maid service later), the AC worked…most of the time (again more on that later) and the beds were comfortable. There was a fridge that was restocked with water and pop daily. The TV got a surprising number of English channels.
Now for the rest of the review! It’s long…I apologize.
Flight with Air Transat was fine. As others have mentioned it is about a 90 minute drive to the resort. If you get motion sick, take something as it is a very hilly/wind-y drive. They gave us room keys and wristbands on the bus which was nice. Oddly though when we arrived there were really no bell boys, welcome drinks…or anyone to give directions. We just sort of wandered around with our luggage until we found our room.
Again we were in block 5 on the second floor with a distant view of the ocean. I’ve read others complain about noise from the disco but we never really noticed it. Good location, close to the beach but not too far from the lobby/main buffet. Some areas to work on with the rooms…the AC works well when the hotel is quieter however once it fills up a bit (lots of Domincans stay here over the weekend) it doesn’t work well at all. For us, most of the week our room was like an icebox…but Friday through Sunday evening it was like a sauna. Also the shower water never really got hot, in most cases it was freezing. We were pleased with the maid service overall. They do come back into your room in the evening to do…random things (it never really seemed to be the same?) One night they would leave a single towel and empty the garbage, the next they would turn down the bed and fold up a blanket etc.). Then something weird happened the last day. We returned from the beach about 5:30pm and found displayed on one of our beds (centered on its own pillow case, kind of displayed like a towel swan normally would be) a face down bible. I’m not really sure how to take that? Maybe the maid just wanted to share her views, or maybe she thought we needed guidance in our lives? It just seemed…really odd and somewhat off putting?
I’ve read a lot of reviews saying the food is really good, I’m not sure what food those people were eating. Please know I am not a food snob and have stayed at a lot of all inclusive resorts over the years (both higher and lower rated) and the food at this resort was really not good. At all. It was very bland and the temperatures just seemed off (hot was never hot, cold was never cold). I stopped eating meat and anything that could really be spoiled by temperature as much as possible. By the end of the week we were only eating twice a day (and not much when we were) and supplementing with chips from the gift shop and protein bars we had brought from home. Still needed stomach meds by day 4. Definitely the worst resort food I’ve had in a long time.
The bars…I’m not even sure how to describe that part of the experience. Language was an issue as others have said but it really didn’t seem to be the biggest problem. I think they were training new people, which I totally get doing during the slow season. But it was like they had literally NO idea how to make any sort of drink…and I’m talking either very basic things or drinks that they were advertising as specials/had on the displayed bar menu. One would think they might teach some of that before having trainee’s serve guests? Some examples…I asked for a vodka and soda water (in both English and Spanish) repeatedly and after a lot of discussion got a shot of vodka. My friend asked for a coke AND a coke light….they just mixed the 2 together and handed her one glass. When asking for a Tom Collins (again it was on their drink menu) they hovered over a recipe book (I assume) then brought us two Shirley Temples. They made margaritas with Pineapple juice. These are just limited examples…but you get my point. It almost became…like a fun game…you literally had no idea what you were going to get..ever (other than it was rarely what you actually ordered). But it was also annoying. And it happened at all of the bars. They also ran out of mixes a lot..or..I think they did? I was never sure if they actually didn’t have ingredients or were just saying they didn’t have something so we’d order something easier to make! Ended up drinking a lot of beer! A point on that though…until our last day they were serving from large bottles of “Bohemia” which were never cold and often flat. Last day they had the advertised Presidente draft back and it was WAY better/colder.
Most of the staff were pleasant but not overly so. A few that did stand out in a good way…there is a animation staff member named Nakiki (I’m sure I am spelling that wrong) who was really friendly and welcoming, a bartender at the beach bar closest to the disco (I didn’t get her name but she worked during the days and had red hi-lites in her hair) who was always smiling and helpful and another bartender at the middle bar by the main pools (again no name but he wore a yellow shirt…I assume he was a supervisor) who always made sure to point us out to his staff so we got faster service. They didn’t get us the right drinks but we did get something because of him! One thing I will say that I just read in another review and agree with…the security staff seem a bit..creepy. We decided early on in the trip we wouldn’t be walking around the resort alone at night at first because it is just really dark (buddy system) but in the few times I was alone I just felt very uncomfortable. One guy basically stood in a way that was blocking my only path out of the building and stared at me. Eventually I retreated back into the building and waited for my friend. Probably nothing would have happened but I didn’t feel safe as a woman walking around on my own at night which I’ve rarely experienced at a resort.
A few other things to wrap up this VERY long review (sorry)…There is not a lot of option for shade (no umbrellas on the beach or by the pools) so bring lots of sunblock, a hat and prepare to move around a during the day to find shade under the many palm trees. Bring an insulated cup and I would honestly recommend bringing snacks and maybe some hot sauce, peanut butter packages etc. to jazz up the food. Be prepared to walk a fair bit because it is spread out (might not be great for people with mobility issues because of both the distances and the somewhat uneven/varied terrain around the resort). If you are a pool person…this might not be the best place. Now maybe this changes during the busy season but there was rarely anyone using the pools, there are no swim up bars (and the one bar at the pool by our room was actually never open). You have to pay for the wifi (which is silly in this day in age) but it does work pretty well and isn't insanely expensive.
I am giving Grand Paradise Samana 3 star review…because I feel like for the price we paid it wasn’t an absolute disaster or anything. It was relaxing, the weather was great and my friend and I made the best of things. Believe me when I say though, if we’d paid more and had the same experience it would get a 2 star review. Would I recommend this resort….no…the amazing beach just doesn’t make up for the other issues we had. I mean if you see it for $500 and really just want to get away and relax on an amazing beach for a week, go for it. But if you also want even average food, drinks and service, I’d suggest spending a bit more and trying somewhere else.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank melmo1
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

Property: 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 #1 of 5 Hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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