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Gran Bahia Principe La Romana - a few questions please

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Gran Bahia Principe La Romana - a few questions please

Going to DR end of October and staying at Gran Bahia L R. Been to DR once before so know mostly what to expect of the country. Stayed at RIU Merengue a few years ago when it was getting bad press for food poisoning etc. I had no problems and most of it was down to people trying to claim money back from the tour company or overeating /getting well drunk etc. Really enjoyed it and after similar (disappointing stay) in Cuba and an expensive time in Cyprus, my wife and I are going to DR again as ir ranked so much better.

I have had a few bad health issues this year so this will be a real chill out holiday. I have a problem with "dry Mouth" so need to check on the food (going AI). Is it the usual wide choice as I need moist food rather than dried/burned offerings? Is water OK as I need to have regular sips of water? Good standards of hygiene?

Beach - plenty of shade? Is sea as cloudy as claimed as many photos show good blue colour? Caused by river or barrier work?

Usual 50% DEET and are mossies bad at this time of year? I know its cockroach mating season so are they a problem? What about insects in rooms as there appears to be an issue here.

Any trips recommended? Local shopping OK? Any rip offs to avoid?

Plenty of questions but I would appreciate anyone's help just so I am prepared and don't waste any time there.

Edited: 22 September 2010, 13:06
Saskatoon, Canada
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1. Re: Gran Bahia Principe La Romana - a few questions please

There will be a number of dry food things, but that's because they're supposed to be that way and it's too bad if you can't enjoy them for that. But all of the resorts offer dressings at the salad bar and oils, often flavoured, and balsamic vinegar so you can soften and sauce things like rice which might be served too dry for you. You may also want to see how you can fashion a tasty sauce to your liking at home with a couple of tablespoons of wine and a spoonful of olive oil and a dash of pepper or some garlic or lemon. If you know what you like in that vein, you can see what the hotel can do to help. They also usually offer a sauce of the day, like if they're serving a carved roast at the buffet, they may have a peppercorn sauce beside it, or with the fish, a lemon butter sauce. You can use it on anything you have on your plate (I do that all the time!). Burnt food isn't really the way of the hotel. They may have something with some char or may have had a bad day, but there will always be an alternative.

The water in the country isn't potable, but whatever the hotel serves you will be. Fear not over the ice cubes or poured water in the restaurants. Do you drink water from the tap in your room and even brush your teeth with bottled water. Watch that excessive amounts of water aren't "drunk" in the shower.

The hygiene at the hotels isn't taken lightly. They have strictly enforced rules and know that should a bunch of people take ill at the hotel, it won't look good for them which effects the bottom line. As with restaurants the world over, people can be sloppy and you may find yourself in a compromised situation. Make sure you have travel medical insurance and if you feel concerned, visit the hotel doctor as soon as you feel that you've been infected.

There is lots of shade at the hotel at the beach and poolside. You may have to walk a distance to get a great chair, or may have to rise earlier for the best spots.

The ocean water does look blue from a distance, but closer up you may see the cloudiness. It doesn't smell, but though the beach was clean and the water is beautiful to look at, it wasn't as clear as the water at the other La Romana hotel beaches 40 minutes away. The problem is one of water exchange.

I've never heard of or seen a major problem with cockroaches. Bring the DEET and see whether the breezes can keep the mosquitoes at bay.

I recommend a couple of snorkeling trips if staying at this hotel so that you can get a "taste" of the beauty of the nearby waters since you won't have them at your doorstep. If you only do one trip, I recommend the Seavis Bayahibe "Saona Crusoe VIP". You can see pictures here: travel.webshots.com/album/577077144nIIgGY and can ask about booking or availability at www.seavisbayahibe.com/ Before allowing the hotel vendors to sell you their trip, ensure that they stop at Canto de la Playa on Saona Island. The other beaches are too busy and don't have a reef to support the sealife.

You will find some shopping on the hotel property but this hotel is remote and it's hard to walk to something off the resort. If you can get to the Jumbo department store, you will find a lot of interesting things in the grocery store aisles, including coffee and vanilla and rum. Other local souvenirs include larimar (a lovely light blue and white marbled stone, rather like turquoise) and amber. Larimar is usually inexpensive and is usually real. Amber is easily faked and you have to be cautious about where you're buying it. You will not be able to buy a piece of larimar with a bug in it for $10. I can offer some tips on discerning the difference between real and fake if you want to send me a note.

Kaki

kaki.ulan@sasktel.net

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2. Re: Gran Bahia Principe La Romana - a few questions please

thanks Kaki. Very informative. We came across the fake Larimar and amber last time we were in DM. I recall the fake amber either floats or sinks in water - cant remember which is which and you need to argue for best prices. My wife loves her Larimar necklace.

I got a bit edgy re some of the positive reports on tripadviser for the GBP as there were a few repeated phrases which could have been co-ordinated. As there was a whiff of companies offering to get their people to post "good " reports for a price in a recent press article, we decided to go for the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus instead and will be there on 22/10. Its a little more pricy but looks an overall better hotel and the beach looks miles better.

If you have any tips for the Iberostar then please let me know. I will post a full report after my visit as I did after visiting the RIU Merengue. Although the beach in Varedero, Cuba took some beating a couple of years ago, the variety and quality of food was not as good as the RIU so I am at a loss as to why so many people complain. When in a different country, expect different foods etc and adjust accordingly. In Morocco, the cockroaches were so big they kept the rats away!!

Saskatoon, Canada
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3. Re: Gran Bahia Principe La Romana - a few questions please

It's so hard for me to generally just give out tips since I never know what people want for ideas, what they already know, what they'd never consider eating or seeing... If you have questions, please feel free to ask.

I prefer the Iberostar for its location and lots of its amenities, but found the food to be better at the Bahia Principe as well as the room itself. I'm sure you'll have no trouble enjoying yourself at the IHD.

Kaki

4. Re: Gran Bahia Principe La Romana - a few questions please

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