Our pick of Grand Bahia Principe Samana Roulette were based on the price (we only paid C$99+C$427 taxes for a seven day all inclusive stay) and the reviews. The main differences between roulette and regular booking are: we had to pay for the safe, which was US$4.00 per day, no slippers in the room and we had to pick up beach towels at the swimming pool. We could save about C$30.00 for both of us if we were assigned to Grand Principe Cayacoa and even more for El Portillo. Upon arrival, we were told our resort would be Cayacoa. When we loaded our baggage to the bus at the airport, the helper asked for tips. We went to Cuba many times and Dominican Republic once and this was the first time a baggage handler asked for tips at the terminal.
We had no problem booking the a la carte restaurants, but only three bookings were allowed, no matter how hard we tried, except bribery! The resort is seven years old but well maintained no peeling paint or broken tiles etc. The exterior and interior of all buildings look new and fresh. The hotel room is small but has a very nice balcony, ours is facing the bay and the town, and the scenery is beautiful. The bathroom is also small when compare with other 4 star resorts in Cuba or Dominican Republic. However, the quality is there, such as marble counter and marble tiles around the bath tub. The room is decorated with local paintings.
The buffet restaurant Las Dalias is small but not lacks of varieties. People like fish will enjoy their Groupers, Snappers, Mackerels and Doradoes. Only Tuesday (Italian) and Friday (Gala) nights they have shrimps and only Friday night has lobsters. We had leg of pork one night and the meat was so tender, juicy and tasty, perfectly cooked. I never had such perfectly cooked leg of pork before. Just these two slices of pork are worth this trip, my salute to the chef at the Las Dalias. Our first impression for this resort was good for a 4 to 4 ½ star, definitely better than those similar rating resorts in Cuba. Foods were well prepared, tasty and not over cooked; meats are juicy and not dry. Foods were always kept warm at the counter. Generally speaking, staffs were polite but many lack of smile. After some PR they became friendlier, but don’t you think PR should be their job and not the guests?
We only carried a small amount of US currency, and the exchange rate at the airport was C$1.00 to 33.7 pesos, 36 pesos at the hotel, 37.3 pesos at downtown local currency exchange shop. We went to Scotia Bank, yes, they have one branch there, what a surprise, and their exchange rate was 38.95, the best! Please be aware that Scotia Bank only opens on weekdays. Everything is priced in US $ in the resort, but converted to pesos when we paid for our safety box.
We went to Samana by resort’s shuttle bus, and were greeted by a local tour guide called Richard. He was self employed and his income was based on tips from tourists and commissions from local merchants. We tipped him C$20.00 for a two hour tour around downtown, and purchased one stone and one wooden sculptures from his cousin’s little store(Rich could be the real owner!) The wheeling and dealing was really bizarre! My wife didn’t like the way the owner’s screaming when I made a very low offer. I told her it was his game plan. He just pretended my low ball offer insulted him, and if I thought the same way, then he would get an upper hand. So we walked away and pretended there won’t be any deal. This went on back and forth for a few times and finally it was settled at C$35.00, way down from the original asking price of C$120.00. I didn’t have the exact change, so I gave him C$40.00 and got two bags of 8 oz coffee. We were not sure if we got a reasonable deal, so I showed my purchases to my Air Canada rep, and he also consulted a local staff at the hotel. They thought I got a very good deal. Anyone wants to buy liquor should go to the local supermarket; the name is Supermercado Y Almacen Chito. Prices are not negotiable there. If you go to the local food market, you could get honey and cinnamon at a very low price, however, you still have to negotiate. I paid 100 pesos for 375 ml. of honey, asking price was 150 pesos. Cinnamon was non-negotiable for 80 pesos per kg. If you enjoy hard bargaining, Samana downtown is the place for you to go!
We booked a horse ride tour to the El Lemon Waterfall through Air Canada, the cost was C$75 + US$10 tips for the horse handler. The local tour guide offered C $50.00 but no lunch. The horse ride to the falls is not for the faint of heart. It involved some steep up and down rocky paths. My wife’s horse fell at downhill and she sustained external injury to her knee, fortunately, nothing broken. From the top of the falls, we had to walk over 200 steps to the foot of the falls. People with heart or knee problems should not attempt this climb.
I almost forget to mention, we did not find one single mosquito in this resort, in town or even to the El Lemon Falls. The main reason for the absent of mosquitoes could be the present of many swallows around the property. The snack bar La Casita closes to Restaurante El Pescador has many square tables suitable for bridge or Mahjong games. Table tennis is outdoor at the main swimming pool.
- 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
- Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa Dominican Republic/Samana