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Reviews (11,169)
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All reviewsgarden grillclub diamonda la carte restaurantsmain buffetkaraoke barbbq restaurantcloser to the beachmain poolseafoodguest servicesthomas cooklarge resortdominican republicsteakbeach poolother resortsbreakfast and lunch
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5,174 - 5,179 of 11,169 reviews
Reviewed 22 January 2007

My wife, 27, and I, 34, traveled to the Gran Bahia frrom Jan 13-20th. We had a great time and could not believe some of the negative reviews we had read before we went, this place is great.

It is a beatifully maintained resort, the pools are kept very clean and the service was friendly every where we went. We did not up-grade to the diamond club or gold club and never once during our stay did we wish we had.

Please remember when you go, you did not pay for the Ritz, you will have a great time!!! We spent most of the week lounging around the pool and the afternoons sitting at the pool bar. The language barrier was only an issue once that was in the Lobby shop. All of the servers, bartenders, tour guides, etc. spoke enough english to make us feel very welcome.

We stayed in villa 14 which was pretty centrally located on the resort. We walked to the lobby every time and only used the tram to get to the beach the last couple of days. This is a big resort but after reading the reviews, I was expecting much larger. Juana at the pool bar next to our building was a blast. I highly reccomend you make friends with her and the rest of the bar tenders at this pool early in the week. I never waited for a beer. I tipped them each $2.00 a day and they seemed thrilled.

The buffet was good always alot to choose from. We did find it true that alot of the food was under-cooked, just be smart, you'll do fine. We ate at the seafood and japanese A LA Carte restaurants loved the J apanese, would not reccommend the seafood.

We took the snorkeling tour with the sharks and the rays. The snorkeling portion of the trip was very brief, it quickly turned into a booze cruise, looked like most people had a blast but I was there for the snorkeling.

Over all we had a great trip. I am going to give my e-mail and promise I will try to respond to any questions any has. Relax and have a great time.

contact me at billsfan38@fuse.net

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled as a couple
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18  Thank billsfan38
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2007

I spent New Years, and the week following, here with my husband,. mother and 3 grown kids...22, 20 and 16. It is a huge resort and we were glad the trolley ran as freqently as it does. We found the food to be very good and were lucky to enjoy rooms in building #1 which was right at the pool/beach. My kids had a great time in the evenings with kids their own age in the casino or karyoke bar for example. The only complaint was about their check-in procedure. It was THE worst check-in. As a Golden club member we were supposed to get prefferred service howevere the right hand did not know what the left hand was doing and check in took us from 3pm to 4;15. We had to be a little aggressive after a while or face being ignored. Signing up for dinner was awul as well and we never got the times to eat we reqested..in fact we ate at 10pm one night...way too late..we took our own bags to the room and back to the bus on check out...my boys were in a different building and despite empty rooms around me there was no way they were going to move them and would give no reason why not either...I guess I wonder what we got as a Golden upgrade and wonder if it was worth it( room close to beach was nice tho)...we really had a nice time but we decided to go somewhere else next vacation :0)

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled with family
    • Value
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13  Thank tnmama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 January 2007

We stayed over Christmas and enjoyed our time at Gran Bahia. The food was excellent and the variety was huge. We took along 4 kids (10 - 16 years and they all found something to eat). Both local and international food was found at the buffet. The service was excellent and the settings high class with clean table linens on the tables at all meals and coffee and drinks served by waiters. Unfortunately we didn't get to any of the restaurants.

The resort was huge. We booked late and got a suite in the building the absolute furthest from the beach (building 47). It took 15 minutes walk (at a good pace) to get to the beach. You could take the tram but with waiting for it and the ride, it could take as long as walking. My one big warning is to ask where you will be roomed (if that is possible) and, if you want to have reasonable access to the beach, ask for a room between the lobby and the beach. We were in the "Premier" section - an newer section built beyond the lobby and further away from the beach (albeit closer to the nighttime activities).

Noise - don't worry about noise. The night time activities are contained within a square of buildings - the nights are peaceful.

Pools - clean, warm and never crowded, all with swim up bars.

Drinks - plentiful, though I wish the bartenders would be more consistent with their drink preparation. A rum and coke that is half rum I find rather unpalatable.

Rooms - clean, generously sized, beds good, as usual a little tip to the maids gets you more drinks in the room and a fancy towel sculpture. Don't worry about getting enough bottled water. All the bars and food places have good quality water. Also, the idea of bringing an insulated mug worked for us in the room but we didn't cart the mugs with us anywhere.

TV - the kids had to watch some tv of course! The selection was decent and the reception good.

Bugs - there are mosquitos. Hardly saw any but had the bites to prove they were there. The bites weren't itchy and big like the ones we get in Northern Saskatchewan (the mosquito is Saskatchewan's official bird did you know).

Overall maintenance - definitely signs of a resort being kept up.

Night time entertainment/shows - saw two shows and found the quality good. Unfortunately we couldn't keep ourselves awake for the late evening entertainment.

Off site activities - took a day safari with Bavaro Runners. Lots to see with a good host. Well worth the money. www.bavarorunners.com
-also took a 4 hour quad trip with two of my boys. Good value for the money but the quads were in rough shape - brake issues and broken strut and bald tires - the risk of an accident unnecessarily increased with the poor maintenance.
-there's not a lot to do outside of the resort. No real towns nearby and if you wish to be charitable by bringing things for the local poor you will find it hard to get the opportunity to do so. The closest real town is 1 hour away (Higuey).

Weather - absolutely beautiful (28 C, a light breeze all day)

Beach - fabulous! Lots of chairs, no problem getting one if you're there by 10.

Kids club - checked it out but seemed a bit juvenile for our 10 and 12 year old sons

Shopping - we walked about 30 minutes south down the beach to see a local tourist "shopping center". The selection is rather limited and much the same from one shop to the next. The only thing that struck me as authentic Dominican there was the art. Bright and colorful. (I wish I had more walls at home to display some). There is a shopping center at the resort and it had everything the beach shopping centre did.

Music - Merengue - I find it less interesting than Salsa and other Latin styles of music, the rhythms are less complex. I got quite tired of it and the volume that it was played at at the pools.

Staff - excellent and yes, English is not well known or spoken except at the front desk.

Christmas Day - for a country that is supposed to be 80% Roman Catholic I thought I might hear the music change or that the food might be special for Christmas Day but the only thing different was that Santa came with presents for all the children.
It was a nice touch but Christmas Day sure felt different!

Finally, Westerners, realize you're in the Atlantic time zone. I acclimatized quickly to the time zone and it cost me. On the way back I lost a night's sleep due to the late arrival home (got to bed at 2:30 am which is 5:30 am Atlantic - my body wasn't going to sleep and I spent the next 4 days getting over jet lag). My next visit will be straight south to the Pacific coast of Mexico. But I'd still highly recommend this resort.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with family
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36  Thank Vdberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 January 2007

The resort is very well cared for. It is clean well maintained but is huge. It is so big that you have to take a trolley from the restaurants / reception to the beach!

Food was also great. Many restaurants to choose from but you have to book (and waiting line for that) early in the week in order to get a seat.

Over all, I would have returned to this resort had it not been for my wallet being stolen the very first day by the bell boy. Even after it was reported, I go little if no help getting it back. The written reports I saw earlier in the week suddenly disappeared when I asked for copies. Basically, a very corrupt people at a very corrupt place.

Again, I must say, if it were not for that incident, my rating would be 4 or 5 out of 5 but having my wallet stolen left a horrible taste in my mouth.

Stayed: January 2007
20  Thank Gorden3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 January 2007

We have returned from a week at the Gran Bahia Principe in Punta Cana. The resort is huge; however there are trams to travel throughout the resort. My husband and I had booked Club Diamond, however we were put into the Premier section. I don't know if there is much difference between the two sections. Premier had a private pool, free internet, 4 a la carte reservations, etc. The only difference is that Premier is further from the beach and main pool, but closer to the main buffet restaurant and Tropicana theatre (for nightlife) and shopping square, with disco and casino.
FOOD: Depends on your tastes. My husband found the food just okay. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables and there was always plenty. A buffet is a buffet, after awhile the food seems the same. The hot food wasn't always hot and the cold food wasn't always cold. There were theme nights, which was nice, Italian night was great. Best to get the made to order food, such as eggs, pancakes, smoothies in the morning, pasta and meats at lunch and supper as this food is always hot and fresh.
The snack bars are okay, however as the snack bars are open for a long period during the day and near the sun, food doesn't keep proper temperature long, but with +30 weather, I suppose that's impossible. There is the convenience of eating lunch there in your bathing suit, etc.
A la carte restaurants were great. My favourite was the Mediterraneo, very nice food, especially the pork tenderloin and the welcome cocktail. Japanese was great also. The food is prepared in front of you. Sushi and the chicken, beef, fish were tasty, as well as fried ice cream for dessert. No complaints. Garden Grill/steak house was wonderful. The Mexican was okay. At the Mexican restaurant, appetizers and salad/soup were buffet style. The main entree was a little greasy. The cooks definitely prepare meat and eggs with a lot more oil than I am used to, however, the flavour is excellent.
The drinks are not watered down. Occasionally can tend to be a bit strong, it depends on the bar tender. We found the drinks at the pool and beach bars a lot stronger. The lobby bar on the Bavaro side has great bartenders that do bottle tricks and a little comedy relief; they are a blast to sit with in the evening.
GROUNDS: Very clean resort. The staff is always working to keep the place exceptionally clean.
NIGHTLIFE: There are two shows every evening, one at the Tropicana theatre then at the stage in the shopping area. Some of the shows were unique, like circus and the Michael Jackson show. The disco and casino are other evening options.
BEACH: Beautiful. However, 5 out of the 7 days were red flag days which mean no equipment is allowed out. Best to bring or buy a boogie board, as red flag days have the best waves for boogie boarding. On calmer days, plenty of equipment is available to use. Best to book it ahead of time, as it is hard to know what the weather will be like the next day.
STAFF: Very friendly, and they do make an effort to speak other languages. Some staff know more than four languages!
EXCURSIONS: The Caribbean Festival was a wonderful and unique experience. Snorkeling over a coral reef and with sharks and sting rays! My husband even touched a ray. Our guide took our underwater camera and took some excellent pictures for us, as we are new to snorkeling and did not dive very far under the surface. The staff dance on the catamaran and encourage participation. Definitely worth doing! The only disappointment was that they offered a DVD of our day, which we purchased, but when we went to pick it up the next day, we found out it didn't work. We were given our money back, but would have preferred the DVD of course.
The Outback Safari is another great excursion. We went for the half day option. Our tour guide was exceptional and very knowledgeable. He talked throughout the drive on the jeep, which was better than just driving to the destinations. We went to a typical house, a secluded beach, a coffee and cocoa plantation, a school, rum and cigar shack. We were given samples, plenty of rum; the staff were very funny and knowledgeable. The proceeds from the Safari souvenirs you buy are donated to the schools for the children. Another excursion to check out.
SHOPPING: I found the prices in the hotel stores reasonable. I preferred to shop in the shops as the staff do not bargain with you and do not hound you to buy. Down the beach, about a 30 min walk, are shops which you can bargain with the locals. They overcharge although state you are getting a discount. I found it useful to check out prices in the hotel stores first, that way I could have prices in mind to bargain with at the beachfront shops.
All in all, a fantastic vacation. I would return to another Bahia Principe, perhaps in another location however, due to the red flag days at the beach and because I would like to travel to different places for different experiences.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
11  Thank cercy3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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