We last visited this resort in April 2010. I am writing this review at the same time as I complete the Bahia Principe's on-line post visit survey. So I will address each feature as they present it. We were there from November 17 to 24.
Check-In. It is rather quick but lacks the "welcome" you'd like to see. Everyone gets huddled into a dreary meeting room and asked to all check in at the same time. It would have been nice to arrive and have a cocktail (or water for that matter). It's efficient but lacks the "I'm on vacation" feeling. Once you complete the required documentation, off you go until 3PM when you can return to pick up your key.
Housekeeping. The staff is friendly and the rooms were always immaculate. I mean really clean. It was never consistent when they did the room and hanging a "Make Up Room" sign on the door does not make a difference. We played golf 5 days in the morning and left the sign every day. No matter.... you spend the day outside anyways.
Rooms. They are a good size and quite comfortable. The bathroom is a good size as well. There is little to no English on the TV so bring along your favourite Blu-Ray or DVD (and the player) if you are so-inclined. On the downside, we had no control on the temperature. It was set to low the entire week and did not change. They do offer a pillow menu which we took advantage of as the standard pillows were "durable". We got taken by surprise when they removed our soft pillows the next day when they cleaned the room. We found them again and make sure they stuck around. The refrigerator in our room was not working very well, however, there is no shortage of cold drinks if you need to find one. In terms of location, I have attached a photo with a map of the hotel and the building numbers. It's up to readers to decide where they would like to be located. It's quite simple actually. Rooms are 5 digits. First 2 digits are building number, third digit is floor number (1 through 3) and then the room (2 though 17 I think). I know 8 and 17 are corners. It all depends on how far you want to walk and what you enjoy to do. I found some people were not very courteous as the floors are ceramic and the sound travels easily. Not the fault of the hotel.
Beach. It is very nice and they do offer lots of water sports. During our week, although nice and sunny, it was too windy with the exception of one day. I would suggest that the water sports are an exception and not the rule. I say that as I went scuba diving one day and the surge of the coastline is strong. If you do scuba dive, have your sea legs. 2 of the 5 divers on our trip did not. The beach boys do a great job of sweeping the sand off your chairs and cleaning around. I felt the beach had expanded but seemed more crowed than I had remembered. One thing that did change was the addition of a "Club" They had a zoned off area for seats and access to a close hut bar. I thought we were already at the top end of the Bahia Principe part of the hotel, but apparently not.
Food. There are lots of possibilities to eat. People have different tastes and I would be hard pressed to say this was great food. It was good food and served quickly and with a smile. The buffets are complete with something for everyone. If I had a favourite, like others, the Don Pablo is good. Booking your restaurants is an arduous task. I think there should be an app for that.
Staff. Very polite and I personally like that they do not all speak English. When in Rome.....Very efficient and caring people. I did not have too many empty glasses on my table. And hard workers. Some work split shifts so you see them at breakfast sweeping floors at 7AM and serving drinks at 6PM. Make sure to tip them well.
Spa. My back was in pain so I head off to the spa for a deep tissue massage. Awesome. Nice ambiance and real pleasant surroundings.
Pool. It seems like a ritual there to have everyone migrate to the pool at the end of the day. Far less wind and the water temp was good. The pool side activities are a little outdated, however, I doubt most of the crowd noticed. I did not find the constant use of small through-away plastic glasses to be an eco-practice. If you are a pool lover and want a good seat, get there early. Despite the warnings placed on the lounge chairs, it is not enforced so it has little bite.
Scuba. If you dive, the trips are better however, they cost and cut into your day. The local diving (located on site) is challenging and should be for experienced divers only.
Lobby. What a nice place. Great decor, fun drinks and friendly atmosphere. You'll see everyone there as it is the only place to get free wi-fi so sometimes this detracts from the social gathering it should serve. As far as the internet goes, it's very basic and the idea is to up-sell you to buy a package. It's $49 for the week so if you need it, splurge. Kinda nickel and dime though.
Overall. I liked the place. Lots of variety of people from US to Russia to Canada to Germany. I would say that it has become a little more crowded sine I was last there and you can see that an efficiency expert has been involved. But hey, where has this not happened. Happy trails!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 pool Sun terrace with sun umbrellas and loungers Relaxation zone with Bali beds Outdoor Jacuzzi BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 3 tennis courts, multi-sports court Water activity centre Motorised water sports (additionalcharge) WiFi access in the lobby (free) and in rooms (free) Entertainment amphitheatre Wedding gazebo 1 buffetrestaurant 3 speciality restaurants 4 bars 1 snack- bar Gazebo de bodas Smokers' lounge with bar service (cigar menu with additional charge) Punta Blanca Golf Club: 18 hole 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 528 Deluxe Junior Suites Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Ceiling fan Air conditioning Sitting area with sofa Terrace Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub and separate shower, hair dryer Bathrobe and slippers Don Pablo Collection amenities Direct phone line (additional charge for external calls) Alarm clock with iPod docking station Flat screen TV Coffee-making machine Minibar Safe Butler service 24 hour room service Evening turndown service Pillow menu 2 disabled rooms for a maximum of 3 adults Prime location right on the sea front Exclusive lake-style pool Aroma menu WiFi (free) Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Ambar Hotel Punta Cana