My wife and I stayed at the Cayo Levantado from January 1, 2012 – January 8, 2012. I feel after reading some rather negative reviews, I owed it to the great people at the Cayo Levantado to write my own review which I feel is a little more positive.
Although many different carriers service the Cayo Levantado, I wanted to mention a few things about our flight aboard Air Canada. Firstly, the check-in and boarding were the most organized we had ever experienced. Most flights call passengers to board and it becomes a free-for-all. Air Canada called row numbers so that there was no bottle-necking in the aisle inside the plane. The flight was just over 4 hours from Toronto to Samana.
A negative of the flight was the food service. We have NEVER been on a flight exceeding 4 hours in which we had to purchase our meal. If you did not purchase a meal in-flight, you did not eat. Another word of caution - learning from this experience, I made an egg sandwich at the resort to take with me on the plane, as did many other guests at the resort, however where the Toronto airport cared little about bring food on the plane, the Samana airport had a strict no food policy within the secure areas of the hotel. You can buy food after you enter the secure area but the prices are out of this world and you might as well just buy the food on the plane. Also, if you plan to buy food on the plane, buy vouchers before hand on the Air Canada website so you can save some money. If you buy on-board, they do not take cash/debit…only credit cards.
Once arriving at the airport our luggage was quickly retrieved and we boarded our busses right away. While on the bus, a rep from the hotel was handing out our all-inclusive wristbands and welcome packages which included our room numbers, luggage tags and a map of the resort. After a fairly smooth ride through the Samana area, we arrived at the Bahia dock. Inside the little welcome centre you can buy large bottles of beer for $2 US. There are also washrooms if you need them before boarding the ferry to the island. The ferry ride was about 10-15 minutes and then you arrive at the resorts dock. After a walk up the hill toward the resort we were greeted in the lobby of the resort we were greeted by one of the managers. Again, this was very organized. He called all the rooms which were in the main building first to get them underway and handed them each their room key. Then he called the room numbers for those in the villas. Once we got our key we boarded a cart with our luggage and we driven to our villa.
Our room was stunning. Our room was number 4201 which was in villa 4 on the second floor. The room was huge. It had a king sized four poster bed, double sinks in the washroom, a tub and shower. The room was also very nicely decorated. The safe was easy to use and can hold quite a bit. I suggest taking advantage of this included feature to avoid any thing going missing. We always lock up our passports, credit cards, cash, cameras and watches. After about an hour of our arrival a man came to the door with a plate of fresh fruit. Through the week we spent many hours on the balcony which over looked the rough beach and the ocean. The sound of the waves crashing was hypnotic. I did notice that the handle on the sliding door was coming loose but did not mention it to anyone. It still worked. Two days later however, I noticed that it was repaired. The maid must have reported it and had it fixed. Our maid was great and I suggest leaving the cleaning staff a dollar or so a day. We did and received a few extras every day such as extra water, coffee, shampoos, etc. I will say the coffee in the room is not the best. We usually ran water through two or three times to make it drinkable. It was just very strong. I also suggest emailing the resort before your arrival. We did and received all of our requests (villa 3 or 4, top floor, king bed). The resort email is: email@example.com
The grounds of the resort are impeccable. There is ALWAYS staff, washing, racking, trimming, cutting the outdoor areas. There is little wildlife on the island. Many large snails and geckos but nothing to be worried about. It does take some time to get use to where everything is at the resort but the little map helps and hopefully what I tell you here will help as well. There is also some construction going on between the quite pool and the Jacuzzi pool but there was no work being done when we were there.
The Spa is located just behind the main building. If you are in the main lobby of the resort, take the elevator to the 3rd floor and walk all the way down the hall, through the glass door at the end of the hall and walk up the steps. Guests commented that the service was amazing. We are not spa people so we did not take advantage of this service.
The Gym is located right next to the quiet pool. They have some equipment in there but not a lot. Next to the gym is the tennis court.
The Entertainment stage is located outside the main buffet restaurant to the east of the outside eating area. You can get there by going through the buffet restaurant or through the double glass doors in the lobby of the main building.
The Children’s area is located next to the beach bar. Not a lot for them to do but the staff try to keep the children entertained.
Gift Shop is located in the main lobby and is very expensive. There are vendors on your way to the public beach if you want to pick up some souvenirs at a more decent price.
We found the food to be more than adequate. I usually get sick at least once on a trip and I was not ill one bit.
Main Buffet - was very good although the morning and lunch menu were very repetitious. At dinner they had different theme nights. The themes are posted at the main doors of the buffet. Like any resort, use common sense when choosing what to eat. If it is something that you usually don’t eat at home, your body may not like you for the change. I did find the food a little cool on occasion but there is a microwave which can easily solve that problem. The soups were great and the rice pudding was the best I have had in a long time. There is a dress code for the buffet, especially dinner, but many do not follow this and the staff is usually to nice to say anything. Only once did I hear of a person being told they had to change into pants to enter the buffet for dinner.
Beach Buffet – This is basically fries, hot dogs and hamburgers. There are salads but remember what I said about using your head. These have been out for a while in an open air environment. I never touched any salad. The fried chicken was good and the stir-fry and rice was excellent.
Note – Just thought I would warn those who like strawberry jam. The strawberry jam at the resort tastes nothing like what we are use to in North America/Europe. I am not sure what it is but don’t eat it. This also includes anything that has strawberry jam in it like a lot of the desserts. Stay clear. If you are brave, try a little bit…you will see what I mean.
Al a Carte
The place to book the al a carte is in the main lobby. If facing the elevator, the bar is on your left and there are three desks to the right at the other side of the room. The desk at the right (which is by itself) is where you book the al a carte and also where you can get the binder for you trip departure times and other information.
Don Pablo – Gourmet – We ate here twice during our stay. The atmosphere is very nice but a little dark. The food was excellent. We ordered the same thing both times (except for dessert) because it was so good. First we were served a pre-appetizer which was a phyllo pastry stuffed with a mushroom filling which was excellent. Then the food we ordered – pumpkin and asparagus soup, fried camembert cheese and salad, beef fillet and lobster and dessert we had the apple tart (not so good) and chocolate fantasy (amazing). The meats were perfectly cooked however the second time we went the portions were bigger and they served a flaming banana dish after the main course. Two different chefs I would imagine.
Mediterranean – Food was good and the atmosphere was nice and light. Lots of seafood as you would imagine which is not usually my thing but my wife had lobster which was huge and she loved every minute of it. I had chicken stuffed with dates and mushrooms which was very good.
Italian – Since my wife is Italian we did not go to this restaurant however after talking to other guests this is the least favourite of the three by far.
There are three bars at the resort. The main lobby bar, the bar at the quiet pool and the beach bar. The main lobby bar has premium liquors if this is more your taste but besides that all the bars make their drinks and are not some powdered concoction which some resorts try to pass off as a drink. They also have a good selection of specialty drinks you can order which my wife enjoyed. The local beer is also very good. There is also a bar on the public beach at the western tip of the island. After a certain time at night the drinks become free for all inclusive guests. This bar is open till 1am. The other bars close rather early 6pm for the quiet pool bar and 10 pm for the lobby bar but usually after a long day the booze in the mini fridge does just fine.
The staffs at all the bars were very nice but I want to thank David at the Quiet Bar Pool. He was great, also cheerful and always coming around to ask if we wanted a drink. I know some reviewers said that the pool side service was not good but we had no problems.
Noisy Pool – This pool is located in front of the beach buffet/Mediterranean/Italian restaurants. The beach bar lies between the noisy pool and the beach. This pool is very nice and does tend to be a little noisy as the children’s area is near by and families tend to gather at this pool.
Quiet Pool – Very quiet pool. Very rarely busy. There are more than enough chairs to go around but if you want the daybeds under the draped shelters you have to get there a little earlier. We have been to several resorts and this is the first resort that I did not have to run down at 6am to get chairs.
Jacuzzi Pool – This is not hot as the name may make some think. The water is the same temperature as it is at the other two pools but has sunk-in seating with powerful water jets. Nice for a soak and it is also a very quiet area as there is only a little self serve bar in this area.
There are little carts what will take you where you want to go. You can catch them in front of the lobby or call to the front desk and get picked up at your villa. We usually walked for the exercise but when we did take the cart we had no problems. I do suggest you hang on tight however as they drive quickly.
This was as easy as check-in. We simply called the front desk to come and get us with our luggage which they did within ten minutes. We handed in our room key and then waited to board the ferry. The staff does check the room to see if anything is missing before you check out. Some things you can take, some you can not. There is a list in the welcome package you get at the start of the trip. My wife was happy to be able to bring the slippers the Bahia provided home.
Sorry for the long review. I just felt I had a lot to share. If there is something that I missed I will be more than happy to help. Just message me.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 pools 3 Jacuzzis with bar Large sun terrace and gardens with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 1 tennis court Motorised water sports (additional charge) Store Heliport WiFi access in the lobby and in rooms (free of charge) Main buffet-style restaurant and 3 speciality restaurants 4 Bars Cocktail Lounge Snack-bar Wedding gazebo Rooms 268 rooms including 5 types Superior, Junior Suite, Superior Junior Suite, Deluxe Junior Suite and Beach Villas. Superior Junior Suites, Deluxe Junior Suites and Beach Villas are larger than the Junior Suite and Superior. Room facilities: King size four poster bed Air conditioning Ceiling fan Sitting area with desk Balcony or terrace Fully-equipped marble bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, separate shower, bidet, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Telephone in bathroom Don Pablo Collection amenities Bathrobe and slippers Radio alarm clock with iPod docking station Direct phone line (additional charge for external calls) Flat screen satellite TV Safe Mini-bar with alcoholic drinks Wifi Coffee-making facilities Ironing set 24 hour room service Evening downturn service Outdoor Jacuzzi (Deluxe Junior Suites) Butler service Pillow menu Aroma menu Beach Villas: Seafront location with outdoor Jacuzzi, pillow menu available on request, baggage unpacking and ironing service, laundry service (optional) Other services Medical and pharmacy service (additional charge for both) Stores in the hotel Heliport and private boat (available on request for an additional charge) Mainland reception and transfer by boat (included in the booking fee) Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel
- Cayo Levantado Samana
- Cayo Levantado Dominican Republic
- Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado
- Cayo Levantado Hotel Samana
- Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection Dominican Republic/Samana