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“Fantastic Vacay!”

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Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Ranked #2 of 34 Hotels in Las Terrenas
Certificate of Excellence
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Fantastic Vacay!”
Reviewed 30 May 2012

I just got back from a group trip for a wedding and I had such an amazing time on this vacation!

We came from the airport at night so we couldn't see much, however, on the way back to the airport at the end of the week, it was a lot of fun to look out the window and see a mixture of both beautiful countryside and small towns.

The resort was small but beautiful and the rooms were nice and cleaned well. The cleaning staff do not speak much English, but are very patient if you need anything.

The staff in the buffet and the a la cartes were very friendly. They are very good at remembering people (not names, but they will acknowledge you if they know you). Winston was my favourite staff. They take extra time to be very friendly.

The entertainment staff was so much fun. I don't know his real name, but he called himself Tony Montana, Sexy Black Banana - he was the highlight. SO funny!

The Oriental restaurant was the best. Try the duck.

The pool is small, but not over crowded. And the beach is beautiful with tons of places to swim, or snorkel and look at fish and coral. The beach was very clean and well maintained.
There are a lot of organized activities throughout the day, or excursions, or you can just lay about and have a good time (if that's your thing). Good for family as well as couples. There were a few topless people on the beach. It made our group a little uncomfortable but if you talk loudly about how inappropriate they are, they move. ;)

Las Terrenas is nearby and for $10 each way we got taken there and back by taxi. There's a touristy corner of the town, but the rest is very local which is great for experiencing culture.
The taxis will also take you to El Limon or Samana city but I'm not sure of the cost.

The only complaint I have would be that the consisteny of drinks between bars and bartenders varied a lot... they were never bad, but they were never the same.

If you're thinking of having a wedding there, they set up a beautiful beach wedding with a reception in one of the a la carte restaurants.

If you go to Samana, I suggest leaving the resort as much as possible to experience the place. If you're a beach bum, go to Punta Cana or Puerta Plata. Samana is for those with an adventurous spirit and those willing to learn about the places they visit. One thing I noticed was that the locals are very proud to live where they do, and so I think it is a good idea to learn why. :)

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank Vera G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, 2 June 2012
Dear Guest,

It is truly a pleasure for us to learn that you enjoyed your stay at our resort, especially the services from our front desk department and that you appreciated the professionalism of our staff, we are aware that it is only because of them that we are able to achieve our goal- the continuous improvement of our services. We are very proud to have received your excellent comments regarding our employees.

Please do not hesitate on contacting us in our e-mail address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Yours respectfully,

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Jefe Calidad & Customer Service
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo
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English first
Wilmington, Delaware
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2012

My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon on May 25, 2012. We stayed for almost a week. The resort was beautiful and very, very clean. The staff was very friendly and we actually formed friendships with many of them. The resort provided a perfect balance of calm, peaceful, paradise and party, hardy fun. If you are looking to just relax, this resort is for you. You can always find a peaceful spot along the beautiful beach or by the pool near the front gate (which it seems not many people knew about). If you like the party, the other main pool, by the lobby is the place the be. They had water games, volleyball tournaments, and other activities for all ages. The food was ok. They did their best by trying to satisfy all tastebuds, and there was a pleathra of different things to eat. If you didn't like something, you could always go and try something else, and if you want to stick to the safe side, there is always fruit and french fries. LOL! The rice was always good and so was the chicken and fish. Drinks were endless...beer, wine, soda, water... whatever you wish. Beware of the little lizards running around. We actually had one in our room for 2 nights, but my husband finally caught the little thing and kicked it out on the patio. Apparently, they are harmless. There are also tree frogs, and tiny tiny frogs the size of a penny (or smaller) hopping around. The water is crystal clear and the reef is not far from the beach where you can see a variety of tropical fish. Beware of the pirates trying to push and sell you things while you are on the beach. If you don't want to be bothered, just state "No dinero" and they will keep moving. Be midful, it does take a 2 to 3 hour ride to get the resort from the Santo Domingo airport. The ride didn't bother us because we at least got to see the surrounding towns and a lot of the DR side of the island. It was very interesting. This place is near perfect. We definitly didn't want to leave when it was our time to depart. We do plan on going back in the future.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Chimere B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, 2 June 2012
Dear Guest,

We want to thank you to have been chosen as the destination for your vacation, as well as taking the time to write and tell us your views on the pleasant experience you had during your stay in our hotel.Please do not hesitate on contacting us in our e-mail address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Regard,

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Jefe Calidad & Customer Service
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2012

Paid for upgrade to Sun Club which only guaranteed a room closer to the beach and main activities however sleep was uncomfortable (hard beds), food looked delicious at Buffet restaurant (made us sick to our stomachs), a-la-carte restaurants booked through our entire four day stay (no seats held for customers coming in for an extended weekend) and Jack Daniel’s considered top shelf for cash bar only REALLY?? The staff were borderline unprofessional (barely spoke English and entertainment team members were drunk). There’s only one small pool on the property (no swim-up bar) and a separate outdoor Jacuzzi is advertised as a second pool. However the beach itself is phenomenal, beautiful and clean white sand throughout with clear blue water. By the second day we wanted out, so we signed up for the free tour of a second property named Cayacoa (definitely a five-star hotel) and enjoyed the 25 minute ride through the local town of Las Terrenas. Although we had no intention of buying into timeshare were treated to lunch at the second property (did not get sick), enjoyed their pools (three in total, visited the public beach and received gifts. We did try to inquire about transferring hotels and were lied to by the manager at our hotel who stated that all hotels are privately owned and transfers are not possible even threatened to hit us with an early departure fee (never mind that we were sick for three days in a row). Overall this hotel caters to the European visitors whom are just interested in getting some sun and not so much interested in the amenities. This hotel needs major upgrades (requested replacement bulbs for bathroom took two days for a response) and training in customer service is a necessity.

Room Tip: Upgrade to Golden Club for Junior Suite, closer to beach with partial view (mostly lower numbered bu...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank IggyLove4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Subdirector at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, 2 June 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to express your concerns regarding your recent stay at our Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo.

I deeply regret to learn that we did not fully exceed your expectations. In Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts we believe that only by listening carefully to the comments and suggestions of our guests we are able to immediately detect areas for improvement and can therefore take actions instantly. I assure you that your observations were taken with the utmost consideration.

I am very sorry you did not feel well for three days during your vacation. For us our guest’ Health and Safety is a major concern. In that buffet we provide food to around 800 guests on a daily basis coming in the majority from North America, more accurate from Canada. To warranty a proper food chain manipulation and food condition we have several internal and external audits on monthly basis as Crystal (worldwide recognized), local authorities and representants from the major tour operators.

In our hotel we have two pools and a Jacuzzi. In the check in package we provide a map of the property but I apologies we did not achieve to provide a proper explanation during your registration.

Once more thank you for your constructive criticism and we hope to have the pleasure to welcome you again at Gran Bahia Principe or at any other property of Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts worldwide. Please do not hesitate on contacting us in our e-mail address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Sincerely,


Felix Sanchez
Subdirector
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Richmond Hill, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 May 2012

My wife and I stayed in this resort for a week in May. What can I say? It was GREAT and we definitely will come back to this resort.

Room: The check-in was very fast and smooth. Room was big (we had superior room) and always kept clean. Room service was very good.

Food: We used only main buffet. Food was ok, nothing special, but we always could find something to eat.

Beach: Beautiful and long (around 11 miles), was nice to walk. The water was calm and shallow. The coral is steps from the beach and fishes everywhere. We fed them using bread from the restaurant. It was fun. We snorkeled all around the coral and saw lots of beautiful fishes.

We experienced a little problem with language. The most staff does not speak English or speaks very poor. Sometimes it’s very difficult to explain what you need, especially in buffet, lobby and in a beach bar.

We did not find any other problems. Resort is great.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank igneko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, 2 June 2012
Dear Guest,

First let me inform you that your opinion is valuable to us, therefore we are extremely proud and happy for having left a pleasant memory. We are especially appreciate your positive comments about the quality of our service and our staff. Comments like that you send us, are what motivate us as a team every day to improve the quality of service we offer.

We hope to welcome you again to the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo and to thank them in person. Contact us at our email address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Regard,


Kisha Rodríguez Then
Jefe Calidad & Customer Service
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo
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Terrebonne, Canada
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 May 2012

This resort was overall one of the best we've been to... Standard regular rooms if small are very clean with a nice little private balcony, food is very good in all restaurant unless you dont like anything... lets say we didnt loose weight !! Everyone's friendly again unless you're an unpleasant person your self. The beach is just the best and you'll be able to take long walks, do snorkling or just swim.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
12 Thank Trinity1715
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, 28 May 2012
Dear Guest,

We are greatly appreciate your comments. Our goal it is achieve maximum satisfaction of our guests. We hope to welcome you again to the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo and to thank them in person. Contact us at our email address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Greetings from El Portillo.

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Jefe Calidad & Customer Service
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ontario
Level Contributor
13 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 May 2012

My husband and I just got back May 19,2012. We had a great vacation. The resort was beautiful. The staff was amazing, everyone was so friendly. If there was a problem, we just called front desk and they came within minutes to help us. The trip from plane to hotel was very exciting. Just as we were loading the bus a thunder storm started so we were all willing to take the toll road which they charge $1.00 US per person to go on, it could cost more if the bus is not full. It is much shorter so I recommend this. It is a new paved road cut through the mountains, very high mountains too. Our driver was very careful and we arrived at hotel without any problem. Check in was very easy, we were in our room within 25 minutes after arriving. Rooms are big and spacious, very clean, we were in room 2201 on the second floor. It was very close to beach, pool, reception area. Loved it, king size bed, jacuzzi, fridge, balcony. It was both our birthdays, so they delivered fruit basket to room and a t shirt for both of us which was nice.

The beach was beautiful, always easy to get a chair, but you have to remember it was not busy season. The vendors were a little bit of a pain but were easy to get rid of by saying no gracias. The staff in the restaurants were great. We didn't have any problems with the food. Buffet changed variety every night. We were able to book the 4 a la cartes. If you don't like fish like me it was a little hard to find things off the menu's but I managed! We found the trips off site a little pricy so we just beached it a lot, but the people we spoke to said they loved the zip lining most. All in all we would recommend this hotel to everyone.

Room Tip: Deluxe room had jacuzzi,king bed. Rooms in block 2 close to the beach and rest of facilities, would...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank sugar379
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, 22 May 2012
Dear Guest,

Firstly we hope you had a good trip back home and we are very grateful you have taken the time to express your views in our Tripadvisor community. The reviews help us to improve and raise our service.


We hope to have you back in the near future at the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo and I take the opportunity to send a very warm greeting.

Please do not hesitate on contacting us in our e-mail address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Jefe Calidad & Customer Service
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 May 2012

I stayed here with my boyfriend from April 19 - 26, 2012.

Throughout the week we kept commenting on how surprised we were that some people left such negative feedback (we both read plenty of reviews here before going). What a beautiful resort... very unspoiled surroundings. Before I get carried away, I'll rewind a bit.

The airport arrival and bus trip was stress free unless you're afraid of heights (but, what a view!). Our guide, Emile (Air Canada Vacations) was friendly and we had a quick departure on a small shuttle back to the hotel. The drive to the resort is quite scenic and yes, quite mountainous. I often get carsick here on our Canadian roads but had no issue with that on this drive whatsoever. It was a fun drive actually, and you get a taste of small-town DR right away as you pass through a number of villages.

Upon check-in, we had a slight wait. However, we checked back before the time they "estimated" our room would be ready and... a room was made available (we asked for the top floor and they were easily able to accommodate this). The room was nice and spacious, and the air conditioning was not at the level of freezing cold but we didn't want that anyway. No beach view but I believe most of the rooms don't have this. Still, a lovely balcony with a tropical garden view... I can't complain.

The beach is absolutely beautiful. Having stayed there in late April, there was no trouble to find a lounge chair and even leave your belongings there all day as you come and go as you please. Turn left along the beach and you'll soon feel like you're on a desert island with nobody around but you and a few of the friendly stray dogs that roam the beach. The water is beautiful to swim in... whether right in front of the resort or a bit further down the beach if you want more privacy. The reefs in front of the resort are teeming with tropical fish, which can be seen with or without a snorkel (one-hour daily rental is included free at the resort.)

The vendors on the beach can get annoying but only show interest if you are actually interested. We bought lots of nice wood carvings from Santiago which made great gifts. However, if you're not interested, simply say "no gracias" with a smile (you may need to say it again if they don't take the hint) and they walk away without problem.

The resort staff is great. Tip them well on the first day if you want top notch service throughout the week... they'll even remember your drink if you have a regular favorite. The lobby bar is the popular evening spot and the disco can be touch-and-go - one night we were there, there was a group who all decided to go... other than that it wasn't very busy. The nightly shows are definitely worth checking out, entertaining and funny - don't go in with the expectation of a broadway performance... it's for fun. Many of the staff don't have top notch English so it's a good idea to learn some basic spanish before you go.

The buffet is quite good, and we enjoyed eating at the beachside buffet every day. The japanese restaurant was "ok", the mediterranian/fish restaurant pretty good, and the gourmet/french restaurant was amazing! The buffet did not ever dissappoint - the food was always fresh, lots of selection, and it was all at the temperature it should be.

The one excursion we went on was to the El Limon waterfall. Absolutely beautiful.... a half hour scenic horseback ride there and you can swim in the waterfall and everything. Be prepared for a bit of a hilly walk down to the waterfall though, the horse will only take you so far.

Go to Las Terrenas - I'd reccommend walking there and hailing a cab back because you'll probably be tired and may have bought a few things. The walk there is about an hour, but there are oceanside cafes/bars where you can get a tall, ice-cold Presidente to cool off.

Overall... amazing resort, met lots of great people from Europe to Halifax, NS. Would definitely return!

Room Tip: Request top floor when you get there
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
17 Thank ns04967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Customer Servic... B, Jefe Calidad & Customer Service at Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo, responded to this review, 17 May 2012
Dear Guest,

It is truly a pleasure for us to learn that you enjoyed your stay at our resort, especially the services from our front desk department and that you appreciated the professionalism of our staff, we are aware that it is only because of them that we are able to achieve our goal- the continuous improvement of our services. We are very proud to have received your excellent comments regarding our employees.

Please do not hesitate on contacting us in our e-mail address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Yours respectfully,

Kisha Rodríguez Then
Jefe Calidad & Customer Service
Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

Property: Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Address: Crta. las Terrenas - El Limon, km 4, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic (Formerly El Portillo Beach Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Terrenas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 Spa Hotel in Las Terrenas
#3 Family Hotel in Las Terrenas
#6 Romantic Hotel in Las Terrenas
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 606
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services: 2 pools Jacuzzi Sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball net on the beach Water activity and scuba diving centre WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment theatre Main buffet restaurant and 4 a la carte restaurants 8 Bars Snack-bar Pueblo Principe: local craft stores, live music, shows, bars and disco. Rooms 582 rooms including 4 types: Standard, Club Golden Junior Suite, Junior Suite and Family 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, shower, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Air conditioning Ceiling fan Terrace or balcony Telephone Radio alarm clock Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (with additional charge) WiFi (additional charge) Ironing set (available on request) Superior Junior Suite: balcony or terrace, sitting area with sofa-bed, ironing set, coffee-making facilities, private guest service phone line, umbrella, VIP amenities. Club Golden and Club Hacienda 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: Children's pool Mini Club with daytime activities Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scout Water park Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Personalised diets on request and subject to circumstances Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo Hotel Las Terrenas
El Portillo Beach Resort
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo Dominican Republic/Samana - Las Terrenas

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