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“Our Wedding Vacation”

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Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro
Ranked #63 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 January 2007

My wife and I just returned from a week at the Gran Bahia Principe in Punta Cana. The resort is massive, requiring “trams” to travel around the resort if you don’t feel like a 10 -15 minute walk. My wife and I had booked our wedding at the resort and went down with 43 other people. We had the time of our lives; however there were some people in our group that had some serious issues. I’ll get into those shortly.

There are 3 different categories at the resort; Club Diamond, Club Gold, and Regular. Diamond and Gold guests get access to a private pool, free internet, 4 a la carte reservations, and are located closer to the main lobby, buffet restaurant, Tropicana theatre, and the “town square” were all the shops, the disco and the casino are located. Regular members are closer to the main pool and the beach.

First things first, the food. The main place to eat is in the main lobby at the Buffet. There is plenty of selection and food was pretty good. They have food and drinks available 24 hours a day, you just have to move around the resort to get to the drinking bars and snack bars, not always located together, that are open depending on what time it is. The a la carte restaurants are alright, but you have to book in advance and you have to wear long pants to go in. So if you don’t feel like dressing up for dinner in 30+ Celsius weather, just stick to the buffet. We went to the Japanese themed restaurant, were they sit you down at a cooking table and cook everything in front of you. It’s a good show and meal. For our wedding we booked the “Garden Grill” for everyone, and the meal served was absolutely fantastic. The best meal we had there by far.

The drinks are pretty good, with bars located on the beach, by the pools, in the lobby and out near the “town square” where the disco is located. The drinks are what you would expect , one kind of beer on tap everywhere, then mixed drinks like pina colada, banana mama’s, dirty monkeys, and all other kinds of crushed ice drinks. The water in the taps is not safe to drink, which the staff take great pains to get across when you first arrive. However, all the bars, restaurants, and buffet serve clean consumable water, and bottles of water are left in the bar fridge in your room.

Now onto the resort grounds. We found the entire resort to be very clean. However, some of the people that came with us had rooms which were overrun with mosquitoes. When they complained about the bugs, the hotel said it would look into it, but never did. The room in question had mosquito eggs/larvae coating the vent for the air conditioner and was gross to look at. However, that was one room out of 46 in our group, and the staff seems to be always working to keep the place exceptionally clean. Especially if you leave your maid a tip everyday, or a gracious tip every few days.

Now on to the night-life. The resort puts on shows every night in the Tropicana theatre and at the stage in the “town square”. I usually avoided the shows and stuck with drinking with friends, but some of the people who went said the shows were “alright”.

And the beach. One word: Spectacular. The water was warm and clear, the sand was white, soft, and cool on the feet. The beach is a definite must when going here.
The staff was friendly, most speak broken English, and a few speak it quite well. As long as you tip, you’ll have no problems with the staff. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait for service, but they will get around to you.

The hotel offers a variety of excursions. Some of the people in our group went on snorkeling trips to see sting rays and sharks. Others went on an adventure tour to see the landscape, the sugar cane fields, and the local living conditions. A small group of us went deep sea fishing. Warning! Do NOT do this. It was a NIGHTMARE. We paid extra for the “new boat”, which was supposed to have two casting chairs and comfortably seat six. We were supposed to get drinks, beer/rum/etc, and a light meal. What we got was an older boat, with one casting chair and two deck chairs (three of us had to stand on deck and hold onto railings for the entire 4 hour trip). A single bottle of water each, no food and no alcohol. There were 15 -20 foot swells that day and apparently we weren’t ever supposed to be taken out in those conditions. Needless to say two of our group spent most of the four hours being sick. The rest of us came away with pounding headaches as the diesel fumes from the engine were overpowering. The tour booker at the hotel was furious when he found out what had happened, however, Great Azul Boat Tours refused to refund our money. So please be very cautious when booking excursions.

Now, onto the shopping. You can either go to the hotel stores, which are priced about the same as a convenience store at home, and do not barter. Or, you can go into the “town square” and be swarmed by the merchants who will give you a “free gift” just to look at there wares. The gift is usually a wooden idol necklace that is supposed to give you luck. Now the merchants are very persistent and usually start out asking absurd prices like $100 US for a necklace. The best thing to do is walk away. They will call you back with a new price, or offer you a calculator to offer them a price. Just remember; always walk away until they give you the price you want. If one merchant won’t meet your price, you can be sure one of the others will. If you walk down the beach for about 40 minutes, there are some shops where you can bargain with the locals. They all try overcharge meanwhile they tell you that you’re getting a discount. Always check the prices in the hotel stores before going into the “town square” or down to the beach market.

Everything being considered, my wife and I had a fantastic time, our wedding was beautiful and extremely well put together. I would definitely go back to this resort.

  • Stayed: January 2007
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21  Thank TnT2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4,997 - 5,001 of 10,623 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
    • Value
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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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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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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
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro

Address: Arena Gorda - Macao Seccion Baigua | Arena Gorda - Macao, Seccion Baigua, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#34 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#54 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#56 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#57 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#59 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: RM610 - RM1,708 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro 4*
Number of rooms: 744
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services 2 lake-style pools Large sun terrace New relaxation zone with Bali beds, sun umbrellas and loungers Pool and beach towels BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 3 tennis courts (floodlit for an additional charge), multi-sports court Water activity centre WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment theatre Wedding gazebo 1 buffet restaurant and 17 speciality restaurants Japanese restaurant 10 bars 3 Snack Bars Cocktail Lounge Punta Blanca Golf Club: 18 hole Golf Punta Blanca Golf Club designed by Nick Price (additional charge) Pueblo Principe: Shopping and Leisure Mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars, karaoke, disco and casino Rooms 816 rooms including two types: Superior Junior Suite and Club Hacienda Junior Suite Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Sitting area with sofa Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Alarm clock Satellite TV Minibar Coffee-making facilities Safe (additional charge) Ironing set Wifi (additional charge) Club Hacienda Junior Suite (See page 18 Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Mini Club for children aged 4 to 12 Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scouts Water Park Fun Area and Adventure Park (additional charge) Teens' Club (11-16 years) Other services 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Meeting and convention room Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request and subject to circumstances Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Punta Cana
Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana
Bahia Principe Dominican Republic
Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort
Punta Cana Bahia Principe
Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro Punta Cana
Principe Punta Cana
Bahia Punta Cana
Bahia Resort Principe
Gran Bahia Principe Dominican Republic

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