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“Great Beach”

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Grand Paradise Samana
Ranked #2 of 4 Hotels in Las Galeras
Reviewed September 26, 2010

I find it dfificult to review this holiday!! The rooms are what we would have expected from a 3 star hotel - basic but adequet, ours was cleaned on a daily basis and I did not see a cockroach until the day we were leaving, the room and beach towels were a bit old but changed everyday so no issues there, I found the block we were in very noisy mainly due to banging doors - we realised very early on in the holiday that people just didn't care about how much noise they made when closing their door. All they needed to do was to put their card in the door before they tried to close it and all the banging could have been avoided.
The beach area is very well kept and it does look like paradise, the sand was cleared of sea weed everyday even after the storms. There is shade but if you have fair skin it is not always easy to find enough 'solid' shade so if you are going to the GP I would reccommend you take a lot of high factor sun cream and a hat!
The entertainment team did try hard to get people involved and the Saturday night show with the Michael Jackson lookalike was very good - we don't normall stay for the entertainment but this show was well worth watching,
FOOD - The quality of the food improved at weekend when the Dominicans came to stay but was still cold. There wan no food hygiene standards in either resturant with food not being covered and always cold even when ordered from the menu. The beach resurant roof leaked and the floor became very slippery every time it rained, We both had a tummy upset for most of the 2 weeks. We have been to various locations and rarely have we both been stuck down with upset tummys which proved to me that the food hygiene was very poor.
The people at the hotel and on the beach were very friendly and tried to be helpful even though they do not speak much English. The hotel itself has a lot of potential but urgently needs to be upgraded.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank bookwormCannock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 25, 2010

Myself and my partner recently travelled to Grand paradise, on the 3rd september 2010, On booking the holiday we were expecting somethiing very special as the right up states its litterally paradise, but it most certainly was not the case! there were many cockroaches in the food, one was inside a cake our friend bit into! in our room, the beds headboard was covered in white mould as was the draw unit/tv stand, wardrobe and walls! pools were dirty although cleaned daily god knows what they were doing, as they were full of bugs, hotel staff are very room and unhelpful and can speak very little english which was unhelpful when needing things from reception, in our room the balcony door handel fell off, this being because the maintainance checks at this hotel where clearly very rarely carried out! the rooms were litterally falling apart and the reception staff were very slow and reluctant to help, more than half the hotel had been shut down for the two weeks we stayed due to lack of people! yet opened up again when locals came! food was very cold and unsatisfying and would most definately not reach and health and safety nor hygeine standards in other countries! thomson should do checks on this hotel more often as it was not up to standards what so ever, even our rep, who, however was wonderful and very helpful, said she would never stay at this hotel and had, had many complaints about the above things described. This was a very dissapointing hotel because it did not at all live up to the expectations described in the brochure. we felt thomson falsely advertised this hotel and did not give in depth details of the hotel, for example we had no clue half the facilities and hotel would be closed! plus the taps in the bathroom where falling off the wall and was rusty, the bathroom roof was falling down, its was not well look after at all! see photos attached. the room was also very damp, due to the aircon being poor.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Laura_louise19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 19, 2010

Wat an awful experience. There where 4 seperate couples an 4 where unhappy. Food was always the same and cold, there where added extras e.g. cockroaches in the cake! Bed sheets hardly changed and fridge hardly filled, had to request it to be. They closed half the resort down leaving one restaurant open with a timetable of what food would be served on what day. No choices! Management where obnoxious but staff where very nice. Was quite stressful holiday. 8 of us went for dinner it was the nite they decided for italian a la carte, everyone finished and i was still waiting on mine, when it arrived it was cold and the mash had a big skin over it.

  • Stayed: September 2010
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5  Thank lisat102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2010

PLEASE READ VERY CAREFULLY BEFORE GOING TO THIS RESORT.My family have just come back from a 14 day holiday and the first 3 days were awful.The room was dirty and not up to scratch,light switches looked like they had not been cleaned in years and the bathroom was disgusting the filthy shower did not work properly, so blocked with limescale and dirt only 3 holes for water to come through, and dripped all night keeping us awake.You could not have a bath because of the skag around bath.
towels seemed unclean think they should be white but they were dark greyish horrid.
Reported shower to reception ,hard to get point across as they found it difficult to speak English . nothing ever done they always answer each query with "today is a good day in dominica" (not helpful)
In the 2 days we were there we had powercuts all the time on and off which took out the air conditioning in room which made a horrid heat.
We then ventured out to restaurant which to our disgust there were flys walking over food , and the fish dishes were stone cold, when we sat down the restaurant furniture was plastic garden chairs with bird droppings all over them which were not cleaned.
So we did not eat there we left and got pringles which we had that night.
not a good start.
did not see rep that day.
Next day we went to beach could not fault thelovely grounds and beach well looked after.
The sports bar pool table was broken and the balls fall directly to the floor as there were no nets in place to catch. no supervision toilets broken lock toilets mess all around made me gag.
The drinks are served in plastic cups which are cracked(ripe for bacteria)
One of the chefs walking around with a wrapped meat cleaver sticking out side of pocket not good.(Food hygiene- non existant)
The children were ignored by staff when queuing for drinks and only served aftert he adults regardless of who was there first.
Got back to room had to remove a couple of large cockroaches from my bathroom.
that night we decided we wanted to go home.
so i phoned the 24hr hot line spoke to a chap called mass he was very helpfull and told me the rep will come and see me to resolve.
this is the joke
the rep on this site spends only 3/4 hr on this resort before ventureing off to a 5 star platinum hotel away from this were she told me she spends more time there because she has more people to look after.
as far as im concerned not the point she should have spent more time looking after the site with the problems.
But to my disgust she told us we could not get a flight home but could only upgrade us to another hotel which we then had to pay another 800 dollars which we had to do as we could not stay another day here.
now heres the funny bit she then told us we got to make our own way there as she would not provide the transport.
so i had to get a taxi with a complete stranger driving through dominican with no security
i had all my money cases passports kids wife.very scarey
taxi driver charged us 50 dollars.
she made us leave a secure compound with a complete stranger.
so were is the help[ from thompsons.
ratings for lynsie a big 0/5
i have added a few pics for you to look at.
i have also reported this to thomsons investigation team hoping to get my money back....

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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7  Thank jellybean1165
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2010

Firstly, I am not in the habit of commenting on my holiday to anyone but friends, therefore this is an unusual step for me. My husband and I, and latterly with our children have experienced many of the wonderful islands of the Caribbean and all-inclusive packages. Therefore we felt that we were safe to do so again on the lush, palm tree lined beach with aqua sea island of the Dominican Republic, and more specifically the Grand Paradise Hotel.

Upon arrival, after clearing immigration and customs you are assigned to your coach where you are first ' fleeced'. Men are there to put your cases into the hold of the coach and expect tipping for the 5 seconds it takes to throw 4 bags. The journey to the Grand Paradise is at least 2 hours but at least it lets you see a little of the country. When you arrive at GPH your given the obligatory rum punch welcoming drink, preparing you for your next '$$$ fleecing'. They issue ONE electronic key between 4 people, this they say is for security purposes, yet they are quite willing to issue further ones to you at $3 a day. Not exactly practical when you have a 13 year old and half the family want the beach and the other the pool!!! What does this chain of hotels know that has skipped the likes of Hilton, Marriott, Ramada etc? The rooms are dated but adequate, although a few upgrades like bed linen, that needs to properly fit the bed and pillows that are like covered packets of cotton wool balls would go some way to help. The towels are the colour of my floor cloths as is the bed linen and invariably had 2 or 3 towels for 4 people and no bath mat, which really is essential on the wet tiles.
The grounds are lovely, a small narrow beach but plenty of grassy area with plenty of shade provided by the palm trees. The pools were satisfactory and better during the week as 10 people would be the maximum; until the weekends when the residents from Santo Domingo (capital of DM) descended, then it was party time and the pool closest to the Burren bar was packed,(be prepared for a long wait at the bars the Domincans don't know the term 'queue' and due to the centre of the pool plunging to a depth of 2.10mtrs intimidating for children who were not confident swimmers. A fact that was highlighted a week into our holiday by a 8 year old Dominican boy drowning!!

The food was good and much more varied than you would have at home. It did seem to improve when the Dominicans were there, although the latter part of the holiday the same food was re-appearing daily and at the bar different spirits were running out and the red wine was watered down. I am not sure whether it was the food or a combination of heat, diet etc, but people were getting stomach bugs , so if are still determined to go take plenty of prophylaxis medication, i.e. Immodium, re-hydration powder, antibiotics.

The trips are average and seem to be "fluffed out". Bearing in mind that where the hotel is, is nearly an hour away from the main town and the other resorts. The Jeep Safari is very staged and the best bit is being shown all the different fruits and vegetables that are grown and sampling them, (which you do in the hotel anyway pineapple,papaya,mango, banana etc). Then are taken to a small waterfall and surprise when you get there there are children of various ages grabbing your hand to lead you to the less than thrilling falls $$$$ (this now means tips). The horse riding to Le Limon Cascades is not relaxing in any shape or form. Firstly the horses look like they need a good feed and an animal psychologist. The journey is up and down hills and they loose their footings sometimes, quite scary in parts, you have yet again 'a helper' who is not employed by the stables and holds the poor horse's tail to get up the hills, you guessed it they expect $$$$$. When you get off the horse you are still not at the falls, there is a steep walk down and people coming up. Finally your at the falls, but it's so busy that it looks like all and sundry and 'taking the waters' like some Victorian Spa. The climb back is not for the faint hearted, then there's the scabby horse ride back, you also pass other horses and it is narrow, my knee has still not healed, and a friend we met out in Dom Rep her horse collapsed! The quad bike tour was good and we went to a lovely beach, sit on the loungers and, you guessed $$$$!
A good trip to go on is one you organize yourself, we along with 2 couples we befriended hired a boat for the day from the Diving Hut along the beach, we had the great La Pinky looking after the kids. Our skipper took us to 2 secluded beaches and showed us the best snorkelling sights and provided all the drinks for the day, then took us to another beach where we had a lovely lunch, more drinking and swimming before heading back to GPH. It cost $300 for the 6 of us and it was well worth it, highly recommended. We ventured into Las Galeras by walking along the beach from the hotel, it's safe and there is a pharmacy, cafes and loads of shops selling touristy things and if you like haggling this is the place to do it.

The Grand Paradise hotel has so much potential, the entertainment is good don't miss Michael Jackson lookalike, Antonio or the show by the pool. The waiters and waitress are lovely and helpful as are the bar staff and the chefs. What lets it down is the arrogant attitude of the management, who seem to think that we should be thanking them for allowing us to stay at GPH, they have no concept of the hospitality industry. Candido the Restuarant Manager has the attitude of 'don't speak to me your beneath me'. You would think he would welcome your views but alas no. Even the Holiday Reps are not listened to, although the Thomson rep Lyndsey didn't seem to stay too long to find out anything. There are lots of new resorts under construction near GPH and if they continue with the same management and therefore mentality, the standard will not improve and Thomson should seriously consider omitting GPH from they're brochure, until significant changes take place.
The question is, would I go back to the resort? The answer is a definite NO. Would I go back to Dom Rep yes maybe. The only reason why we did not ask to be moved to another resort was, that we met some great people who we now consider friends, and between us we managed to have a good holiday. Many thanks to them (they know who they are!)

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank NoFrillsnoFluff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2010

We arrived at the airport and some guy grabbed our luggage and put it onto a cart and brought us to the bus. He then expected money and stood there waiting for more when we had already given him $4 CDN. My husband gave him another $2. We got onto the bus and drove for about 2hours to the resort. It was bumpy and longer than they said it would be, but having read reviews prior to going I had expected this. The checkin was quick and easy, a guy took our bags and showd us to our room. I tipped him as well, $3USD. The room was on the main floor and had 2 double beds, I was alittle disappointed because I had requested a higher level in my booking request through Redtag.ca It was alittle after 3pm and we were really hungrey, we had a hard time finding anything, but eventually found that the beach restaurant has some food in between buffets.
The buffet food was good in general. The a la carte was nothing fancy, we went to the italian one and it turned out to be the beach buffet, just sectioned off and with waitresses. We had expected more of a restaurant with air conditioning for the a la carte. The entertainment was alright, we enjoyed the danse shows quite a bit. There is better/more entertainment offered for French guests. There was nothing offered in English. Also the bars ran out of Vodka all week long, I drink Rum and didn't really care to much, but when I wanted to try one of the many mixed drinks on the menu, 85% of them have vodka as the main ingredient. The Vodka magically appeared on the weekend though when the locals came to the resort. We did go on a horseback riding trip, it was a couple hours to a restaurant, where we had lunch and swam and then another couple hours riding back to the resort. The trip was great and the landscape was beautiful, but the guides didn't speak alot of English and weren't able to educate us on the beaches that we seen nor the history in general. We were very lucky and had beautiful beaches and landscape to enjoy. When we returned to the resort we were approached by another man looking to book us for a trip on the 4 wheelers for that Friday, we negotiated with him and were able to get a good price for the two of us. Thursday we hung around the resort and the beaches, we took out a kayak for an hour and had a nice day. Whyen we arrived at the 4 wheeler spot on Friday we were the only guests there and the guys at the hut didn't speak english very well. While waiting for the owner to arrive and tell us whether or not the trip was cancelled or not we were able to pat and take pictures with a bird that one of the guys had brought with him. The bird was friendly enough and got right onto my husbands hat and shoulders. It made for some really nice pictures. The owner arrived and told us the trip was cancelled and gave us our money back. That was alright, we decided to take a walk into the local town. It was only about a 15min walk from the resort. We bought a bottle of vodka and some necklaces for a good price. My main complaint about this resort would be the cleaning staff. It took them All day to get our room clean and they gave us 3 towels a day (so my husband OR I could take 2 showers), and she never replaced the hand towel all week.. The checkout was fast enough and the trip back to the airport seemed to go by quickly enough. I wouldn't say this is a bad resort, but the one that we had gone to in Cuba was much better- Brisa's Guadalavaca. We wanted to try a different country and I'm glad we tried the DR, but I would stay at a different resort next time.

  • Stayed: August 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank TravelersNB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 31, 2010

The 9hour flight from gatwick werent as bad as i thought it would be but by the time you get to samana airport you rely feel like cheacking in and having a lie down, the tour guid will tell you its 45mins away But they have no Sense of time out there, It takes 2hours to get to samana Town then another 1hur to get to Grand paradise. The roads are being done out there aswell witch was a pain. the hotel is Ok but not the best the beach is a little small, The Food is fine if you can live on Pasta, Rice pizza and hotdogs but that is only by the beach resturant 12 - 4pm, when the dominicans come they put on better food but its still not the best. The pool with a childrens pool with it is very dangerous and is like a whirl pool in the middle! a small child died due to this and there is NO Lifeguards. The doctour there is Very Rude and would not see too the young boy due to the family being poor, he also harrssed a family member for money for cleaning up a few grazzes and was told the insurance would sort it! The manager Carlos Is very Friendly and will do what he can to make your stay a Good One, The childrens club People are very friendly and are very fun to be around , Daniel and micko and two of the best and also La Pinky ! theres a man on the beach who will try and sell you horse riding id go with him rather than the horse riding with the waterfalls if youu dont like walking up about 1000 steps LoL! The quads a quiet Good But mine did brake down. when you go on day trips the video you and you can buy the dvd but if you go on a few trips you can do a deal with the men other than that its $45 per film. Every Body talks about Baccardi island its a lovely beach better than grand paradise and you can also stay on the island.
The photo shop people in the resort take milllions of photo's of you, they take gawjuss pictures in colour and black & White For a small photo its $10 but you can get a cd with all your pictures they will put the price up but knock them down and they will do you a good deal. most ov the rooms in the hotel have lovely views. Make sure u wear loads of sun cream i used factour 50 and still burnt. There are loads of people trying to sell Youu things and they are rely over priced and they will give you a sob story about they 9kids! Dont fall For it. Most of the country are very poor and have nothink but they are not one of them. Lovely place but its nowhere near the town you can go down to las galeras whitch is safe theres loads of police around so you do feel safe.

  • Stayed: August 2010
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Thank MissJLocke
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: $121 - $577 (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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