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.
- 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