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Grand Paradise Samana
Ranked #2 of 5 Hotels in Las Galeras
Nova Scotia
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“For the deal we got, this was a great place”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 16, 2010

My husband and I have just returned from our one week vacation at the Grand Paradise resort in Samana, (Sam-ah-na) DR. This was our first trip to this region of the DR. It is a beautiful area. The resort is located in a small town called Las Galeras. Ten minute walk from the resort to town, 15 if you walk slowly. We have also traveled to Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica and other areas of the DR. We flew out of Halifax to Toronto, we had about an hour or so wait and then on to Samana directly. On return, we took the same route but had an overnight in Toronto. The departure tax was included in our AI package. On the way down we did have a couple of spells of turbulence due to the hurricane that had just passed the day before; the return flight was nice and smooth. We flew via West Jet Vacations. The Samana airport is pretty small and we were the only plane that arrived (that I noticed). We cleared the airport pretty fast. If you take fruit with you to eat on the flight, don’t forget to eat it. The baggage is x-rayed before you leave the airport so they will find what you forgot. The transfer from airport to hotel took between 1.5 and 2 hours (we dropped off people at another resort). The trip from the airport to resort is like a mini excursion. You get to see a lot of the area. There is road construction happening now, so the roads will be improved.

Check in was quick and we found the front desk staff to be friendly. Our room was ready when we arrived. No welcome drink. We were given room 1102, the first room, ground floor in the right wing of building #1. You are only given one room key (credit card type) we asked for a second and were told they only gave one for security reasons. They used to let you buy the 2nd key for $3/day, that policy has been changed and now there is no 2nd keys period! I had requested a room on the 2nd floor. I asked if we could change rooms and was told that there were none available, try tomorrow. If you want a quiet room, don’t get one in building #1. It is beside the buffet, which is beside the theatre. It gets pretty darn loud when the evening shows are on. If you want a room that is close to the pools, buffet and reception, ask for building #1. There are three types of buildings at this resort. Villas (all in a row like a motel, looked nice from the outside). Two storey and three storey buildings. The buildings closest to the reception are the two storey buildings. The villas are kind of in the middle and the three storey buildings are at the back end of the resort. The resort is spacious, everything is easily accessible.

The room was a good size with two double beds. We both found the mattress uncomfortably hard (no mattress pads, I guess we are getting spoiled). The room was clean, no mold, no bugs, no bad smells, no worries. There is some wear showing in the bathroom, this is to be expected. The hot water in the shower was a little tricky. You had to turn the water on and get the proper temperature before you turned the shower on. If you need to adjust it during the shower, it went to cold and you had to turn it off and start the temperature process over again. There is a sticker on the toilet seat showing you not to put your toilet tissue in the toilet, but to put it in the waste basket. The problem with this is that the waste basket does not have a lid. We put our wet paper in the basket and the other paper went in the toilet! We had a garden view from out patio that had two plastic chairs and a small plastic table. There is an in room safe (electronic, but you need to get a key for the inside of the door at reception) US$15 /week. Double closet, one phone, one bedside table, the armoire held the TV (get remote at reception) and mini fridge which was stocked with two pop and two water (it was kept stocked all week). We had a desk with three large side drawers, no clock, and great air conditioning. There were also two chairs in the room. The furniture was pretty nice and all was in good shape. The hairdryer was on its last leg. We did not need our converter for the plugs. There are several English TV channels, including movies. Beach towels were supplied. Bring your own facecloth. When in the room you put your room key in the slot beside the door to get electricity and AC. Once the key was removed the power went out in about one minute.

Weather - we had a nice mix of sun, some clouds and a few showers. One day it rained all day, pretty hard at times we were told. We were not at the resort that day and we had sun where we were. : )

The actual beach area is narrow but nice and long. The entry is sand except for one or two small sections. You can walk quite a way out in the water before it gets deep. The workers kept the beach clean of seaweed. No real snorkeling from the beach. There is a roped off section that you have to pay $10 to use. They take you out by boat to that spot. There were kayaks, boogey boards, and wind surfers. There is a dive shop. We had red flags all but one day and I only saw someone using the water sports equipment on the one day we had the yellow flag. There were a few vendors on the beach, nothing like Playa Dorada. They were not bothersome. Mostly jewelry, cigars, diving, and horse back riding. One guy was selling shells and another had coconuts. I didn’t see anyone with clothing or toys. No guys selling toy monkeys.

There are two pools towards the front of the resort beside the pool bar, no swim-up bar. These two pools are side by side with a nice wide walkway between them. Both pools have nets for water volley ball. The adult’s pool is closer to the back in the Lookea section. I don’t know if the adult’s pool was being used while we were there. The only people I ever saw around it were workers. I didn’t spend much time around the pool so I don’t know if they had any activities there. The other two bars are at the beach area. One in the restaurant and the other was called the Sports Bar. There is also a bar in the buffet.

Nightly entertainment – They did not have a night show every night, maybe every second night. They had a beach party scheduled one evening, but it got rained out.

Food-we had no problem finding food. Breakfast - lots to choose from. Sausages, egg station, crepe station, pastries, sliced meat, cheese, fruit, cereal, etc etc. We only saw bacon one morning and I only saw yogurt three mornings. Lunch was good also. There was always something in chicken, beef, pork and fish, vegetables, rice, salads, fruit, pasta, deserts, breads and rolls. They also had something on the grill at lunch and supper. Supper – Fish, Chicken, Pork, beef, vegetables, rice, pasta, salads, fruit, etc. Great deserts. Lots of selection. Buffet food can get a little repetitious, just don’t eat the same food every day and you will be fine. They even had goat a couple of meals, maybe on Dominican themed days. One evening they were carving turkeys another pork shoulder and on another beef. We found the beef a bit chewy. At lunch you could go to the beach restaurant they always had hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, French fries, pizza, salads, some sliced ham, fruit and usually cookies for dessert. If you wanted ice cream, you had to get that at the main buffet. You booked in the main buffet for the restaurants that were located at the beach restaurant in the evening. This time of year they have the Italian on Tuesday and the Seafood on Thursday. They also have a cash menu at the restaurant if you don’t want what is on the included menu.

There are two computers located just inside the buffet doors (between the buffet and the theatre. Not sure what they cost, never used them. Well I did once while we were waiting to speak to our travel rep. I played solitaire. No charge for that. : ) Next to the lobby in a separate building is a Market. Take a peek, lots of stuff in there if you forgot something. The town of Las Galeras is well worth the short walk. Several shops, drug store, grocery store, clinic, restaurants and local people. : )

The activities include introductory scuba lesson in the pool, Spanish lessons, aerobics, maybe some other stuff. At the resort they have Croquet, mini golf on a grassy course, archery, table tennis, volley ball, bocce ball, and ping pong. You could rent ATV’s right at the resort. Beside the resort there was a guy with horses. This resort does offer a lot of activities if you choose to partake. We never did find the bicycles.

We did one excursion, to Los Haitises National Park. This is a full day trip that costs $178 for two people. We were picked up at the resort around 8:00 am. We picked up people at Bahia Principe Caya Laventado and continued on to Samana where we got on a boat. The park is located in the ocean off the coast. It was raining when we got on the boat. Everybody wore a life jacket and they also offered raincoats. When we arrived at the park, the sun was waiting for us. We motored around some islands where there were pelicans and other birds nesting in the trees. They took us to a mangrove forest and then to some caves. One of the caves we went to was the one that they filmed part of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. There were caves drawings in that cave. If you go on this trip, bring your own flashlight. We went to another cave and then on to Barcardi Island for lunch. Lunch was a buffet lunch, rice, beans, French fries, chicken, fish, tomatoes, cucumbers, fruit and rolls. You got water or pop with lunch and if you wanted a drink, you paid $5 for that. On the boat they had water, pop and rum. We had about two hours on the island for our lunch. Some people went swimming in the rain. Oh yeah, the rain was waiting for us when we got to the island, lol. There were also vendors on the island in shops so those that had the urge could visit them. We got back to our resort around 5 pm.

I didn’t notice a big problem with mozzies, but I wasn’t out a lot in the evening. I would bring bug repellant and remember to use it. Hubby had a few bites.

Overall, we had a pretty good vacation. I would recommend this resort to others. We probably won’t return because we like to visit other resorts. Only having one room key is a negative for us so we would not return to this resort until that policy was changed.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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4 Thank MissKittyNemo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
168 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 10, 2010

After reading so many bad reviews, we were also a bit weary as to what we would find at Grand Paradise. We were there from the 29th of October for 5 nights and had a really good time.

Resort: It is set in a charming undeveloped part of the Dominican. From the beach, you can walk to the small town of Las Galeras and a bit further following the coast or walk the other way among palm tress.... The resort is kept really clean as well as the beach. The one point was that the beach is a bit small and the water not very deep so if you like swimming, it may not be the best place.
There were shows every night and other type of animation/sport throughout the day. Water sport equipment was also available although we personally didnt you use any.

The food was ok. It is not a 5 star buffet but more than enough choice for 5 days. The quantities were also good as well as the heat... So definitely no complaints there.

The room was tidy and no leaks of any sorts although we did upgrade to a sea view room (you are not directly by the sea though). You can tell the resort is a bit old due to cracked floor or walls but again, this is a 3rd world country so you cant expect the same standards as in the UK. The mini bar may not be stocked up every day but a simple trip to reception will get this fixed.

The staff was very welcoming and friendly. They do know a little bit of English even at the bar although a basic knowledge of Spanish does help a bit.

Please note: what you have read about the weekend is true! Locals invade the hotels and can get a bit aggressive at dinner. The resort does go back to quiet during the week.

All in all, a very satisfying holiday and good value for money when bought on Thomson.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Melkai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
.
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2010

We have stayed here twice and would not hesitate to go back again which we will do next year. We have visited other resorts in the Dom Rep including Caiyo Levantado and in our opinion this is the best kept secret in the DR. It's a 3 start hotel so yo get what you pay for but judging by what other travellers we met had to say the food in the Samana peninsular resorts is can be a bit on the cold side occasionally but not often. The rooms are clean and well appointed if somewhat basic but in keeping with the 3 start standard. many have been recently refurbished to a good standard and we have never had a problem. the staff are friendly and go out of their way to help and get you to join in, nothing is too much trouble. Ok you will meet the odd unhelpful member of staff but that can happen any where. Reception staff are next to useless but you only interact with them when you arrive and when you leave so no problem. The entertainment is interesting and mostly ok with a couple of exceptional nights well worth watching. Go and find out for your self. The beauty of this location is in it's location. Going off season is a definite bonus. Dominicans arrive every weekend in their droves and stay for two days and then leave, not too bad and this happens all over the DR. Each time we have been we have met some great people and made some long term friends. It's up to you to make an effort. Our holidays here have always been memorable and it's difficult to leave especially as we have got to know the staff now. If you want the pool to yourself without a fight for a sun bed, this is for you. If you want to lie on the beach and in every direction all you see is more beach and sea, this is for you. If you want to be away from the crowds and meet a nice small bunch of people this is definitely for you. Relax, read a book, catch some sun, swim in fantastically calm clear seas, have some fun, not be pestered by sales people on the beach every five minutes, never go hungry, have plenty to drink then give it a try. Keep an open mind this is not 5 star expensive, it's very well priced and better than most resorts for value. If you want to go clubbing go to Benidorm.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank red911_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
luton
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2010

When booking our holiday we booked a return taxi (£50) which was worth every penny! Would highly recommend doing this if you’re planning a trip to grand paradise samana
it took about an hour and a half – two hours to get from the air port to the hotel we’ve herd it can take between 3 – 4 hours on the coaches and we had air con so total god send and we beat the checking in queue,
Checking in was quick and easy and we was greeted with a much needed rum punch.

Room was clean and tidy mini bar always stocked with soft drinks room was made up everyday, the maid would place little red flowers from the resort on the bed and in the bathroom, lovely little touch, there was air con in our room and a patio with a stunning view of the sea

you can get a clean pool towel every day at a hut by the pool the bar by the pool is great especially at night all the tables have candles on and mellow music in the background and when you order a cocktail the measures are huge, try a shot of mamajuana ! Locals are really big on it and it’s nice to try something new.

The beach is stunning both morning and night in the day there allsorts of activities going off such as volley ball, archery, aqua gym, football, the sports bar was a good hang out, ping pong, pool, foos ball a TV and drinks!
The best for us was kayaking on the sea it’s free for an hour every day and the resort looks amazing while your out there and great form of exercise!
We paid for a quad biking day (take a ruck sack and water) there are no words to describe this trip it is a total must when staying at grand paradise!
We also paid for horse riding which was fantastic! A lot of the journey is through the forest our guide was cutting down bits of tree with a machete as we were going along, we finally got to a stunning empty beach
Our guide then used his machete to break into coconuts for us where we drank the water and then ate the flesh there’s nothing like a fresh coconut from the Caribbean, staff at the hotel will also do this for you on request! No request is out of reach either the guy we booked horse riding through was great with us he even went and get fresh aloe Vera for our sun burn.
There is photo staff at the resort that take pictures of you posing with a monkey or a parrot which you can purchase for $10 and you can book a session with one of the photographers they take you around the resort taking snaps and edit the best ones and you pick the ones you like best

At night you can go to the beach bar grab a cocktail and go for a walk along the beach – get a few sun decks and look up at the stars the sky is so clear its beautiful.

The food was great and it was really refreshing trying new things. There was a member of staff handing out a different cocktail every night as you enter the restaurants, we ate three times a day and tried a bit of everything, at breakfast the chef would make you a fresh omelette in front of you, you’ll probably find that you’ll not even need to eat much with the heat, the service is great! Waitresses constantly top you up with a glass of water and take your order for a drink from the bar every time you finish.

We couldn’t resist booking a table for the a la carte restaurant for $60 we had a bottle of champagne and two 4 lb lobsters served with mash and vegetables followed by a walk down the beach watching the sunset the perfect evening for couples.


Only disappointment is that we only booked one week and we did not want to go home

Only take small dollar notes with you as they cannot give you change and when they do give you change its normally in peso which we used mainly for tips

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank may_i_be_seeted
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 24, 2010

Saw a lot of negative reviews and almost didn't go.
The resort is under 2 hours from the airport, the road can be a little rough, but not too bad.

When we went there it was off-season, so not many people there, we liked that - faster service, and not so much noise, that changed as the french tourists showed up at the end of the week.

The first room we had rained in the bathroom, the second room was older, but drier.
They cleaned the room every day, and restocked the mini-fridge with water & pop.
No coffee machine in the room, but they had coffee in the restaurant.

The food was okay, sometimes a little on the cool side and boring after a few days.
Can always get a drink at the bars, no problem.
The pools are clean, and the night entertainment was fun to watch.
There is some wear-&-tear on the rooms/resort, but nothing too bad.

The staff had a hard time understanding english, but were friendly and helpful.

The beach was very nice and clean (they cleaned it every morning) - the grounds were always clean and nice to look at.

We are glad we went, but would go somewhere else the next time (been there - done that)
If you are on a budget and want a sunny vacation and don't get upset about the little things - this will work for you.

Expect a 5 star hotel and need to be pampered? Don't go here.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SteveR4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Milford Haven, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 28, 2010

Just returned from 2 weeks sun ..............a 2 centre holiday with the first week spent in San Juan followed by the second week in Grand Paradise, Samana. The week that we spent at this resort was far from paradise....in fact it was a nightmare!!.The list of complaints is far to long to go into depth so we will list as many as we can remember.

* Checked in at reception but had to wait an hiur before we were given our room
* So few guests, majority of facilities were closed
* Only 1 small restaurant open with limited food available
* Food was nearly always cold & it appeared tha some if had had been reheated from previous service
* Lack of service in the restaurant i. e no water
* Food hygiene poor - flies all over unchilled & uncovered desserts
* Offered A La Carte services one evening but never got the first course, had to wait some time for second course gave up on dessert after seeing all the flies on the food, offered no drinks
*No 24 hour services available
* Mini bar in room rarely topped up, when it was, only got water & the occasional soft drink.
* No tea or coffe facilties in room
* Bathroom ceiling leaked badly when it rained
* As already mentioned, there were few guests & minimal services available.....this all changed at the end of the week when approx 750 locals descended on the hotel. The only way to describe it is complete & utter bedlam! - all the facilties were suddenly made available. The main restaurant opened but we went from one extreme to the other. Suddenly the quality of the food had improved but we found it nigh on impossible to get a table. We had to fight to get to the food only to find on some occasions that there was none left! Once we had a table, we had to make sure that at least one of us stayed with the table as we witnessed that even if you hadn't finished your meal the table would be cleared of its contents by the locals & they would sit there or adjoin it to another.

We had no rep at this hotel for various reasons, but if we did have, we would have asked to have been returned to the resort where we had spent the furst week of our holiday.

This is the fifth time in 8 years that we have visited the Dominican Republic, our first time at this hotel, but after this experience, it will be a long time before we comtemplate returning to this Country.....but one thing is for sure - WE WILL NEVER RETURN TO THIS HOTEL.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank williams1509
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 26, 2010

There have been a lot of negative reviews about this hotel so I was a bit nervous about going. However, I had a great time. The food wasn't bad - yes it was buffet style and sometimes a bit dry (depending on when you ate) but the variety was good and the al a carte nights were excellent.

The beach was fantastic and the pool bar was good too. Not all the amenities were open, due to the low number of guests staying but there was still enough open to have a great time and you didn't have to queue for anything.

The rooms were clean and functional, although at times the maid service could be a bit haphazard (somedays the mini bar was restocked with soft drinks and others it wasn't for no apparent reason). Staff were friendly and helpful and while some restaurant staff didn't speak fluent English, they knew enough to get by.

If you're going here expecting five star service you're not going to get it, because it doesn't pretend to be a five star hotel. However, it ticked every box for me and I wouldn't hesitate to go back.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Almeida1982
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 #2 of 5 Hotels in Las Galeras
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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