The hotel is very grand and stands majestically perched upon a huge mountain peak. With the exception of the plane-ride (crammed in like a bunch of sardines in a can) we were greeted at the airport in Samana by Joel, our tour/Air Canada rep. He was wonderful, professional, and extremely eagar to be of service or to answer any questions anyone of us may have had. We boarded a relatively modern coach after breezing easily and quickly thru customs and were given envelopes containing room assignments, keys, towel vouchers and slips allowing us to dine in the hotels A'la Carte restaurants. The ride itself takes about 45 minutes or so but it allows the travellor to get a good glimsp of the countryside and it's population.
Despite Samana's mountainous terrain, it is very beautiful and lush in local fruit and vegetation. Although most of the resident housing is somewhat delapitated with many of the small 2 bedroom dwellings perched on red clay, many are very colourful and the people curious and welcoming. Also, for all of you animal lovers out there (like ourselves) prepare yourselfs as the city is overrun with abandoned dogs, and garbage. These poor animals appear to be boardering on starvation with many of them so weak and lathargic from lack of food, that they sleep anywhere. My partner and I spent numerous days walking around the city, feeding the dogs that would allow us to approach them, with hot-dogs purchased at one of the 2 supermarkets. That made us feel a little better although it was hardly a bandaid solution to a very extreme problem. The hotel/resort complex however seems to be another world apart. Definately a clear contrast of the "haves" and the "have nots
The hotel is a gated community in itself with freshly painted and colourful shops on it's grounds. Despite some peeling concrete on column posts, etc., it is very clean and oppulantly furnished. The staff are magnificient and so attentive to your every need. Any issues or concerns that we had were delt with immediately and to our satisfaction, We have no complaints about the service staff what-so-ever. Although gratuities are built into your price, we did tip on a regular basis as the hotel employee's average about $70.00 per week for a 40 plus workweek. There were many times when l saw our maid arrive at 8 in the morning she was still there at 8 o'clock that night. Everyone works very diligently and very hard, and are completely trustworthy. Our lovely maid worked the full 7 days that we were there and always did a great job cleaning or straightening our room, and always with a big smile on her face.
The Buffet was always good, hot, with plenty of variety, and the A la Carte restaurants also very good however, they could do with a bit more of a selection in the entree department and also the quantity of their servings as there were a few occassions where we ended up ordering room service later in the evening because dinner just didn't fill us up. On that note also, the room service menu really needs a make-over as it is basically burgers, dogs, fries, etc. Not much of a menu really and usually cold when it finally gets to your room as they don't have heated bags or units to transport it from the main kitchen to the other area's of the hotel or Villa's (supposedly room service is only for those who upgraded to the Jounior Suites). There is however always food available 24 hours (limited mind you) should you suddenly have a midnight attack.
Despite the rainy weather which we understand was uncharacteristic for the region, we managed to make the best of the situation by frequently going into town (careful of the potholes, sidewalk cracks and garbage) and taking the horseback riding excursion to the waterfalls. Despite the downpour, rocky terrain and the mud, we met some very lovely people and enjoyed a home-style Dominican lunch which included a bottle of Rum at every table. The cost for this was $65.00 U.S. dollars per person, and well worth the thrill despite the rain.
Oh before l forget. Don't feel threatened when you go into town and one of the locals approach you to act as your interpretor and tourguide. They really are very helpful and we negotiated many deals with the locals because of them. Tip accordingly for the time that they spend with you as this is their way of making an active living in a city where unemployment runs surpreme.
Despite the weather, would we go back? Probley not, but we do not regret the trip what-so-ever. Fantastic sites and fantastic people who will live on in our memories. One sugguestion to the hotel....add more elevators and ramps because the amount of stairs that a person has to go up and down, are killer for anyone over the age of 30.....lol.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services: Main pool with Jacuzzi surrounded by a sun terrace 3 beachside hydromassage tubs Loungers, sun umbrellas and towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Water activity centre WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) Wedding gazebo Buffet-style main restaurant and 3 speciality restaurants 4 bars, cocktail lounge, chill out zone, 1 snack bar Sports facilities: gym Pueblo Principe: Shopping and leisure mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars and disco. Rooms: 295 rooms including 4 types: Standard, Standard with Sea View, Superior Junior Suite and Club Golden Junior Suite. Junior Suites are larger than Standard rooms. Room facilities: King size bed or 2 full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, hair dryer and magnifying mirror. Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (additional charge) Terrace WiFi (additional charge) Junior Suite: sitting area, sofa-bed and ironing set Club Golden Junior Suites (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: Park Mini Club for children aged 4 to 12 Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Auditorium for corporate meetings Panoramic lifts Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa Hotel
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa Samana