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“Long transfer but worth it!”

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Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Ranked #2 of 35 Hotels in Las Terrenas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 August 2012

We stayed here during the first two weeks of July and were located in block 10. We had not originally booked into this hotel but due to a closure at our original resort we were moved here, resulting in a 4 hour transfer (!!!) from the airport in Puerto Plata.
The hotel is stunning and our Junior Suite was beautiful, lovely and spacious with the bathroom alone bigger than many UK hotel rooms!!!
Staying in block 10 meant we overlooked the second pool in the resort - this pool was virtually deserted during our first week so it was almost like having your own private pool!!! We also had a wonderful barman Alam at our pool who provided excellent service!
The buffet restaurant had a different theme each night and the staff were always friendly and attentive. Food was okay I thought...but then I am a fussy eater! We didn't eat in any a la carte restaurants during our stay although there is a fish, an Italian, an oriental and a gourmet restaurant on site.
The evening entertainment wasn't great - they tried hard but the shows were very amateurish. Not ideal when you can't leave your resort!!! Cheesy entertainment, the lobby bar or your room were your only options for the evening! The disco was deserted on the few nights we went - no more than 10 people!
I would recommend this hotel but it is a very long transfer from Puerto Plata - when you've just come off a 9 hour flight from the UK then a 4 hour coach trip is not much fun!!
Two holiday hints: 1) book into a Junior Suite, it's well worth it! 2) try a Coco Loco cocktail - they're lovely!!!

  • Stayed: July 2012
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8  Thank Cfm2605
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 reviewResponded 3 August 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 appreciating your positive comments about of our facilities and our beautiful beach. Comments like that you send us, are what motivate us as a team every day to improve the quality of service we offer.

Concerning the entertainment activities that are part of the program designed for our guests, we regret very much that have not been to his liking, we offer a diverse range of recreational and sports activities at the beach and in the pool, taking into consideration the different types of customers who visit us, and the different tastes according to age and nationality. We regret that this service has not lived up to your expectations.

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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2,225 - 2,231 of 6,091 reviews

Reviewed 2 August 2012

The 4 hour transfer from Puerto Plata Airport was long and gruelling, especially after a long flight. The last hour of the journey though the mountains was tough, three people on our coach were ill and most people feeling unwell when we arrived. We were checked in on the bus which meant when we arrived we could go straight to our room. The bedroom is large, spacious and clean. The bed was a good size although felt hard to sleep on. With daily power cuts, usually for a very short time, the alarm clock in the bedroom needed re-setting every day sometimes twice. After 5 days I gave up! The air con in the room kept the room reasonably cool (just).

We used the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner. Good selection of food, catering for most taste. On the whole the food was average to good. At lunch time we preferred the outside terrace restaurant, overlooking the beach and sea. Selection here limited (but good), with occasionally BBQ offering. We tried all the specialty restaurants; I personally thought the food was very ordinary. What we did like was having waiter service.

The hotel is in an idyllic location. Either side of the hotel you can walk for miles, very pretty scenery. We felt very safe although we did take the precaution of only taking a small camera and no bags etc.
We never had a problem finding sun loungers, although after 11am it could be a problem finding one with shade. On the left hand side of the hotel, this part of the beach was noisier and was where most of the beach activities took place (beach aerobics/games etc). The left hand side was quieter. Either side the beach was great with soft golden sand and warm calm sea and fantastic views. Traders were allowed on the beach, although they did seem regulated wearing shirts with numbers on them, a simple no would usually send them away.
In the evening we would sit in the lobby bar area until 11pm (could get very warm, no air con). We would then make our way up to the nightclub (or shack as we called it) where the bar would be open until 2pm. The night club was nothing special and sometimes the choice of music could be bizarre. With a mixed crowd of Americans, Canadians, South Americans and Europeans etc. I think the DJ was confused as to what music to play, so played a bit of everything. Some nights we caught the shows put on by the animations team, although cheesy, the animation team did work their socks off to keep everyone happy. There was a stage and seating area outside the night club area, which was only used occasionally. This was a shame as it was defiantly cooler and more adult entertainment could have been shown here with live bands etc, which was definitely lacking in the evening.
Overall we really liked this hotel it well maintained, the gardens are beautiful, and the service from all the hotel staff was exceptional. I have never stayed in a hotel before where everyone greeted you with a warm smile and hola. On every occasion staff would go out of their way to keep you happy whether it was at the reception, bar or restaurant. The animation team worked really hard throughout the day and evening to keep people entertained. The one thing we didn’t like, from our room we had to go through reception to get to the bar/restaurant or beach etc. We would have to run the gauntlet of sales people trying to persuade us to sit through a sales presentation. Every time you went pass they would approach you wanting to be your friend!! Sometimes we might have to do this 4/5 times a day, which did get frustrating constanly telling them we were not interested. These guys are paid commission only, $10 for every referral. Therefore, they try and get as many people as they can into these presentations.
The evenings were too quiet for our taste, it was ok for families with kids who were well catered for, but the evening entertainment was on the poor side for adults.
Tip;
1. We did a trip to el Limon water fall. Rather than go with the tour operator at $50 per person. I approached one of the taxi drivers outside the hotel. $50 for the taxi for up to 7 people return and $15 per person for the horse trek to the waterfall. For the five of us $125 instead of $250.
2. Bring US dollars. I took peso and every time I went to buy something, everything is priced in dollars. When they converted the price from Dollars to peso they tried to charge more, not less???

  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with family
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7  Thank thomas247
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 reviewResponded 3 August 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for your kind comment about your stay at the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo.

We work hard every day for you can enjoy your holidays and you feel comfortable with us.

We regret that entertainment was not entirely of your pleasure; we are taking your comments into account and improve the small problems that you exposed in your comment.

In the name of our staff, we would like to thank you for vacationing with us at the Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo. For any enquiry please contact us at our email address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Best wishes,

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
Reviewed 31 July 2012 via mobile

Our family went to this resort in May, 2012 and was the first time I have stayed at a five star resort.

The staff at this resort are wonderful, the staff we had dealt with were really friendly and took the time to make sure you were happy.

We had the pleasure of getting to know "The twins", and Roberto from entertainment, Josephina and Raphael, from.the main bar, and Winton from the main dining room. They were all really great fun people and we were sad to leave our new found friends behind when we had to go.

The resort itself is the lone one in the area so you have several kilometers of undisturbed beach if you want to walk into town. The food was good from what you would expect from a resort in a comparible area but there was always something good to eat.

There is open wifi at this resort in the lobby and at the bar for those who wish to stay connected...we took advantage of it to use skype and post our vacation pictures to facebook. The connection is fast enough to stream youtube and was a pleasant surprise to find they had wifi free on site.

Don't listen to the bad reviews about this place, this place is wonderful. Thanks for the great memories.

  • Stayed: May 2012
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7  Thank Ryan C
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 reviewResponded 31 July 2012

Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for taking the time out to communicate the impressions of your vacation with our Tripadvisor community. We would like to think we are not a smaller hotel, we are a family hotel and we do everything possible to make feel our guests like part of this great family. In the name of our staff , we would like to thank you for vacationing with us at the Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo and we hope see you very soon in our property.

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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2012

My husband and I just returned from a week long holiday at this hotel and we had the best time!

Beach:
Absolutely stunning, we have visited other carribean islands in the past but this beach was by far the most beautiful. The coral breaks the waves so the water is incredibly calm. At some points the coral is very shallow and you can see the fish without the use of snorkeling gear. Though you can use the snorkeling gear for free one hour a day, which is a lot of fun! There are many parts where the coral is farther out so you can find great places to swim as well! They set up a bar in the ocean one day which was fun. With tables and chairs as well. It was great! There were a lot of loungers and huts to chose from as well. It is true that there are a lot of locals trying to sell you things on the beach, it can be a bit annoying, but simply saying no gracias a few times will have them going on to the next.

Pool:
The pool is on the smaller side, which didn't bother us at all. The ocean is what we came for. But we still visited the pool each day, and never had a hard time finding a lounger!

Food:
Delicious! Some of the best rice dishes I have ever had! There were always different things to try and food for everyone! The main buffet was clean and service was good, a little slower during the rush times, so we always went a half hour or so before service was finished and never had a problem. Breakfast and dinner times the buffet temperature was comfortable, but a little hotter during lunch so we ate outside where we had a great breeze! We went to two of the a la cartes, oriental and Italian. They were both good and service was great!

Bars:
We spent most of our time in the lobby bar. We absolutely loved all of the staff there and became great friends with them all. Nidia, Josephina, Rosana, Starlin, Rafael, and Alberto were some of our favourites. All super sweet! They made great drinks, conversations and laughter. These six really helped to make our vacation that much better!! Also, be sure to try the cappucino here, fantastic!

Room:
Our room was a little on the smaller side, nothing to complain about, just a little cramped. We were on the first floor, building 15 which was directly to the left of the lobby. We had sent an email before we arrived, requesting a first floor room near the lobby, due to my husbands injured knee. They replied saying that they couldn't guarantee anything, so we were thrilled to see that they gave us exactly what we had requested!

Cleaning service:
As long as our do not disturb sign was not on the door, our room was cleaned. Our maid was very nice and we enjoyed her creative towel art and the flowers she left us in the bathroom. We had requested more water and toilet paper from the reception and three hours later we still didn't have any so we called again and they were at our door within 10 mins. So just be patient, you are on carribean time after all. So this is where we get to the only downside of our vacation... One night we had dinner and then a few drinks in the lobby. On our way back to our room at about 10pm, we saw that our door was open and there was a man in hotel clothing standing out front, he seemed to be on guard. We asked him what he was up to, and he asked if this was our room, we said yes and again asked him what he was doing, he said the maids were changing our towels. He went into the room and said something and then came out with two maids following him. We went inside and still had the same towels as before, not to mention the maids didn't walk out with any towels. We also found it weird that three people were required to change towels and also at 10 pm at night. Not to mention our room was already cleaned that day. Thankfully nothing was missing. We called the manager on duty that night to inform her, she seemed to think it was an innocent mistake. So word to the wise, always keep your valuables in your safe!

Misc:
Be wary of the time share guys in the front lobby, they are all very pushy. After hearing from others that it costs thousands of dollars to buy into it, we decided we didn't want to waste our time going to the meeting, we finally told him no and he was pretty upset with us, oh well, but Miguel, another time share guy was still friendly towards us!
The bus ride from the Santana airport was just under an hour and it was a beautiful ride. We even got out at one point for photos. We didn't take the toll route, nor did we find it too bumpy or scary or whatever other people on here have said.
Overall we really enjoyed our stay here. We really couldn't understand where all of the negative reviews come from. You are visiting a different country so expect that things might be done differently. Treat people with kindness and respect and they will do the same! my guess is that those negative reviewers are simply negative people or that their expectations are through the roof! You are not going to get the same amenities or luxuries that you would find at a five star hotel on the las Vegas strip, so enjoy it for what it is: a beautiful, slower pace of life with beautiful people and great culture! We will find time in the future to return and will recommend this hotel to our friends and family!

  • Stayed: July 2012
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7  Thank ashleydee
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 reviewResponded 31 July 2012

Dear Guest,

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to post a review of your stay in our hotel. We appreciate your comment and value your opinion for the overall betterment of our hospitality.

We work every day to satisfy our guest needs and we are really happy to see that you have enjoyed our food, our service and our housekeeping team.

Concerning the inconveniences you have in your room, we already reported to our security manager, he has taken note about this situation. It is important to remark that the security, integrity and well-being of our guests are our priorities, as well as maintaining a safe environment, which requires constant work of all our employees in order to achieve our main objective. We would like to extend our sincere apologies for the inconvenient and let you know that there is nothing that could make us feel better than to have the opportunity to receive in the future again.

In the name of our staff, we would like to thank you for vacationing with us at the Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo. For any enquiry please contact us at our email address info.elportillo@bahia-principe.com.

Best wishes,

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
Reviewed 30 July 2012

This was an amazing vacation, there is so much to do, its my second time already and i would love to come back again very soon. I really recommend this hotel because the service was excellent, and the staff were all very friendly.

Room Tip: Jr Suits are the best.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
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4  Thank Sabrina P
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 reviewResponded 31 July 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 appreciating 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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2012

Portillo was simply amazing. It was my second time there and I will definately go back again. The animation and reception team are amazing. They are very welcoming and try to satisfy your every vacation needs. I was treated like a queen both times I was at Portillo. If you have any problems or concerns about anything, the reception boss, Carlos Rosario will definately try his utmost best to resolve the situation. I can't wait to go back!!

Room Tip: Second floor rooms are the best. Junior Suites are great rooms, very spacious and worth the extra...
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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1  Thank Sabrina A
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 reviewResponded 2 August 2012

Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking your time and write this comment about our hotel!

We really appreciate your nice comments regarding our hotel, rooms and services and even more the ones regarding our staff! Carlos will be so happy to hear the nice words that you have for his!

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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2012

A very beautiful hotel with a relaxing atmosphere.The warm water and beach is protected by extensive reef. Located a few Kilometers outside of town gives this hotel a very tranquil setting. The buffet was very good. A bountiful wide variety of foods, you can still get some dominican flavorful foods as well. The skits put on by the staff in the evenings was very family orientated and funny. This entertainment is a great getaway from the usual, as well as a concert,a bonfire and disco. The Dominican culture is ever so present. The staff are very nice and polite. You should brush up on your spanish. The scuba diving is good. The Turtle Dive Center in town is a very good group. A 4 wheel adventure can take you through the mountains and to a secluded beach. A very enjoyable Great time!

Room Tip: Remembering building numbers was essential. My room was very good.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
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11  Thank bradyjo
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 reviewResponded 25 July 2012

Dear Guest,

It is a great pleasure to read your wonderful review, for which the entire team at Gran Bahía Príncipe El Portillo would like to thank you. Guests sharing with us and our TripAdvisor community their experiences in our hotel helps us to stay focused on what we do best, while working harder on our strengths to ultimately exceed expectations.

We have passed on your compliments onto our various departments for the staff to keep up with their hard-working in the pursuit of satisfying each and every one of our guests. We are happy to read that you have enjoyed the setting here where one can find both relaxation and entertainment, as well as our bountiful buffet which every night offers cuisine from different parts of the world. Indeed, while the Dominican culture is omnipresent, our hotel also embraces multiculturalism as we welcome international guests.

It would be an immense pleasure to welcome you back for an even more relaxing and fun stay with us. Please do not hesitate to contact us at info.elportillo@bahiaprincipe.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
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Additional Information about 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: £97 - £312 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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