We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Stayed at GBP El Portillo Dec. 27/06 - Jan 3/ 07 with my wife & 3 teenagers had a fabulous time. But let's get a few negatives out of the way first. The Bus ride from the airport which Nolitours quotes as being 30 mins. and Transat ( the tour company we booked with ) quotes as being 60 mins was actually 95 mins. This was fine on the way home as it was day light with spectacular scenery but on arrival at night it made for a very long trip after being on the plane for close to 10 hours. On arrival we were at the back of the check in line of about 15 groups. This process took over 90 mins. What held this up was that we were all booked with Transat and were all promised Junior Suites closest to the beach. Out of the 15 ( or so ) groups only 4 got Junior suites. The rest were put in regular rooms far from the beach and we had to listen to each one complain about the room being inferior to what they had been promised by Transat. I would be livid if we had been put in one of these rooms after paying extra for a Junior suite but by some stroke of good luck we were given two Junior Suites ( even though we were at the back of the line).One with a spectacular ocean view just steps to the beach and the other in the building next to it .We finally got to our rooms just before midnight ( 8:00 pm Vancouver time), so for those of you that have booked from Vancouver with 7:00 am flight, expect about 13 hours of travel and waiting in line before getting to your room.The other promises given by Transat which didn't come true were a private lounge with internet access and newspapers, bathrobes in the rooms ( one of our room had the robes and the other one didn't ).

Transat's on site rep Robert was just great at trying to sort out all of the bugs for us but there was very little he could do in some instances.

Please realize you are in a tropical country that has people who move at a more relaxed pace and speak very little English. I've never met anyone visiting Vancouver expecting me to speak Spanish so knowing a bit of their language would be helpful. The people were very friendly and for the most part will go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable.

We took advantage of 3 out of the 4 al la carte restaurant meals. All of them had great food but slow service. The Buffet had a wonderful assortment of food. Being a seafood lover I was in heaven.

If you like a nice wine you won't be pleased with the red or white wine included with the all inclusive but you can order better quality wines for an extra charge.

One of my favorite spots in the entire resort was the snack bar on the beach. Yes, the service can be painfully slow, tables and chairs are plastic, drinks served in plastic cups, but with a view overlooking the beach, palm trees and the Caribbean who cares!!

The entertainment at night was both good and bad. There live bands ( 2 out of the 6 nights we were able to be see the shows) were marvelous with great dancing, however the other shows ( Cher impersonator, raunchy skits etc ) were not so good.

There are guards on both ends of the beach controlling the number of vendors allowed in the area at any one time. the vendors are quite nice, are very willing to negotiate and will leave you alone if you don't want to buy anything.

The whole reason for the trip for us was to get some sunshine and frolic on the beach.......... we were not disappointed. The beautiful beach was spectacular. The water was the perfect temperature,great snorkeling right in front of you with several small reefs that have lots of fish, the weather was great ( expect a few very short showers each day). lots of water sports to keep us busy. I was one of the 1st ones on the beach each morning ( day light starts at about 6:40 ) and usually the last one to leave ( sun is gone by about 5:45).

With 3 teenagers we were always doing something, beach volleyball, archery, learning to dance the merengue, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing. Walking on the beach to the town of las Torrenes takes about 75 mins and a short cab ride back. I brought 2 books and only had time to read them during my morning solitude on the beach while waiting for the breakfast buffet to open at 8:00 am.

As I shoveled the snow off my walk this morning ( Jan 5th/ 07 ) I was wishing I was still there. You'll Love it too !!!!

Ontario
3 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Thanks for the great post! Sounds like you had an overall fine experience....a couple of questions for you if you don't mind: I recall reading a post that mentioned there was no equipment for snorkelling or other water sports - can you comment? Also, you were lucky to get a Junior Suite - did you hear of any one who had difficulties with their room (i.e. plumbing problems, etc.)?

Leaving for El Portillo on Jan. 30 (from Ottawa) and looking forward to it - WHOOOOO WHOOOOOO!

Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Hello picklepower5

I read something about the lack of water sports equipment also but I think that was at the GBP Samana. They have you sign out the different water sports which are only supposed to be for 1 hour each day, this rule didn't seem to be enforced much.The people at the water sports hut are very friendly but speak mainly Spanish.The clock they go by is also a little more elastic than ours..... if you have a 2:00 booking ( for instance )for a catamaran and you get there both the catamarans may be out but will return shortly or your captain may be on a break.... don't sweat the small stuff like this, the beach bar is right next door just go have another pina colada until the boat or captain comes back. At the GBP el Portillo there were these non- motorizes water sports:

Catamarans- These were fabulous.A guide takes you out which is a good thing as there are many reefs just under the surface which you could easily damage the boat on. They will let you take them out yourself but warn you that any damage to the boat you will have to pay for. Not being a sailor I went out with the guides.

Windsurf boards- I've windsurfed many times before, but with the old Bic Dufour boards. These were much easier to stand up on and control. The newer boards ( which is what they have there) are much more difficult to get up on and control. This is my excuse for doing so poorly, my teenage daughters says its cause i'm such a dork

Kayaks- Both 1 person and 2 person Kayaks, lots of fun and very easy to paddle.

Snorkeling-There seemed to be enough snorkels and masks for everyone however they didn't seem to have enough flippers and no flippers for anyone with bigger than size 9 feet. We brought our own snorkels, masks and flippers which is what I would recommend as you can come and go as you please ( also for health reasons ). I never even used our flippers as there are enough fish you can see without swimming too far.

For an additional charge you can also rent motor boats, get a ride on an inflatable banana boat being towed by a motor boat, or go out on a large boat for a deep sea scuba

Langley City, Canada
Level Contributor
782 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Hi,

We are heading there tomorrow morning. Really looking forward to it but I just checked the forecast and they are calling for rain every day! Just wondering if while you were there, the forecast also said rain, but you actually got periods of sun as well. This wouldn't bother me, but just trying to figure out if we should actually prepare to be clouded in and in the rain for the majority of the trip like the forecast is saying!

Thanks!

Janine (in the rain in Vancouver too... hoping to escape it!)

Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Hi J9ie

The forecast that I was looking at before we left Dec .27 was weather.com/outlook/…DRXX0006. at that time the 10 day forecast was 30%- 50% scattered showers for most of the days. I don't think there was a day without any showers while we were there but the showers were mainly 15- 30 minuite sprinkles just enough to cool things down. I just checked this web site and it appears to be more like 50- 60% showers for the 10 day forecast. My guess is that you'll still have more sun than showers. Our Vancouver forecast is snow and below zero temperatures for the next 5 days. As you are laying on the beach with a tropical shower cooling you down you'll be far better off than your friends in Vancouver freezing their buns off.

Enjoy

Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Hi again picklepower5

To answer the second part of your question. Yes, there were some problems with some of the rooms. One lady with a cane who was put on the top of one of the villas had asked for a main floor room. As it turned out the first night had a bit of a shower. her roof leaked conveniently on to her bed. Although we were quite content with our 2 junior suites our shower drained very slowly. Once we notified the front desk they sent a maintenance man over within minutes with a plunger and plumbing snake and all was well there after. Our other room ( in villa 3 ) had a pungent oder from time to time, we never did report this.......... it could have been from the airconditioning, sewer gases or just the fact that it was occupied by our 2 teenage boys.

Hamilton, Canada
Level Contributor
1,751 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Did you happen to take any pictures. Would love to see them!

Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Hi Panabrite

We took many picture of our family. Most of which are us acting rather silly ( a family specialty ). The best sites i've seen which gives a good overview of the resort are:

sunquest.ca/destinations/hotelListings.asp…

and

www.holidaycheck.de/detail.php…

Langley City, Canada
Level Contributor
782 posts
68 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Thanks Outoftherain, that gives me some hope... and yes it's got to be better than here where we just finally got our power back in time for me to check trip advisor one more time before going to bed early and off to the airport at 3am.

Thanks also for your detailed review. We also booked the junior suite with Transat so here's hoping we are as lucky as you were and get that suite we've been banking on!

Vancouver, B.C.
Level Contributor
8 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Hello again j9

We got to the airport about 5:00am, 2 hours before the departure time of 7:00 am even though the tickets said to get there 3 hours ahead. We were one of the 1st ones there with plenty of time to spare.

Have a Great Time !

Ontario
3 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: A wonderful time at the GBP el Portillo

Thanks for all the helpful information. Much appreciated!!