More about Gran Bahia Principe Cayacoa
View from Cayacoa Beach Hotel in Santa Bárbara de Samaná. At the hotel I stayed a weekend during my stay on the island in 1995. For one week-end we went to Samana by car. The ride from Santo Domingo took a few hours. The country side was amazing. Arriving on the peninsula we went up a hill (sorry don't know any more were excatly) but from up there we had an outstanding view over the hills covered all over with palmtrees and the peninsula de Samana .... oh I want to be back right now!
Just spent a few days here at the Bahia Principe Cayacoa and just wanted to shre how good this hotel is with the rest of the world. Travelled with First Choice and we flew into Puerto Plata from Manchester as there is no longer a direct flight into Samana from Manchester, we were a little worried about the 4 hopur transfer down to Samana, but this had to be one of the best parts of the trip. Driving through local towns and countryside seeing how the Dominicans really live and what facilities etc they have avaialble to themselves and our guide on the mini bus fdown Joel was fab and explained loads about the Dominican and way of life to us really opening up our eyes to the 3rd world country and realisimng just what we all take for granted. On arrival the the hotel, the weather was a little dissapointing so did not do the view justice until the next morning however this did not put us off. Check-in was very quick and safety deposit boxes given FOC. Our room was on the 5th floor no 431, what a fab room, jacuzzi bath as standard!!! and a superb view of the bay and the beach one way and the other way over to Cayo Levantado )(Barcadi Island) and the Gourmet Restaurant. The way down to the main beach was superb (a big glass lift!!!!) with stunning views ouyt to sea, not for the faint hearted tho. The foof here was brilliant, with a huge choice in the buffet restaurant with fresh meats, fish and pasta dishes cooked for you every evening. Breakfasts were also great, with anything from French Toast and Churros, to fresh fruit, cereals, freshly cooked omelettes, and continental cheeses and meats. The staff went out of their way to ensure you had tea/coffee, water etc and all fruit juices were available to help yourself to.
In the eveing the lobby bar is open until 11pm serving drinks and cocktails - try the Blue Movies!!!! and then you move over to the disco, which plays music on a very small scale until the early hours. You can then take advantage of the 24 hour snack bar at the Italian A La Carte restaurant, although we found that by this time most people had sloped off to bed.
This hotel is fantastic and in a great location to relax and take in the scenery, there is little to do in Samana itself without seeing your live in rep Debbie - she has worked for First Choice for something like 17 years and really knows her stuff - she will advise on the best things to see and do and also how to do them. There are golf buggies avaialble to take you down into town all day long and you can arrange for them to collect you aswell later on. Francisco the Guest Sevices manager is a darling and will ensure your stay runs smoothly.
I could not find one thing to complain about about this hotel. Its absolutely perfect, although maybe not suitable for anyobne with walking difficulties due to its location and number of steps, although lifts are available throughout the main building.
Love the these hotels
My husband and I spent a couple of days in this hotel in March 2007 we were origionally staying at BP San Juan, where we have stayed 3 times before (every thing was always up to a good standard). We were so impressed by GBP Cayacoa, we have booked to go back again in September 2007.
very relaxing holiday
i have just returned from a lovely relaxing two weeks in principe cayacoa, the weather was lovely and hot for most of the time we were there. The first day we were there was overcast and rainy, however the rest of the time the sun was shining and plenty of sunscreen was needed!
The journey to the hotel from the airport was an experience, there was a lot of poverty in the town of samana and it really made me realise how lucky we were to be staying in such a lovely hotel.
The staff were very friendly, and helpful. When eating out they are quick to top up your drinks and are very efficient.
The food was quite nice, there is lots to cater for peoples tastes, however i did get slightly sick of it towards the end of the holiday!
And the seafood resturant did make me ill, so be careful what you choose to eat. We ended up eating at the buffet for most of the holiday as there is more choice, and i trusted it more!
There is plenty of entertainment at the hotel during the day and in the evening, and all of the staff have lots of energy!!
The hotels beach was slighly dissapointing, not a true caribbean style beach, however there are daily trips to Bacardi island, which is 10mins by boat. It was a true paradise beach with white sand and clear water, so if you are a beach lover its worth the $10, and you can buy the trip from the beach hut rather than the hotel as they will charge $25 for the same trip!!
overall this was a lovely place to visit, however if you are looking for a lively resort with lots of night life then this hotel is very limited. It is more suitable for familes and couples.
Outstanding beautiful location
This review is based on comparisons with other Gran Bahia Principe hotels we have stayed at, GBP Punta Cana and GBP Bavaro. You can follow the link to my previous reviews.
We arrived on 10th. May on the first direct flight from the U.K. Upon arrival at Samana airport the aircraft was greeted by fire tenders spraying water in an arch over the aircraft. What a shame the captain of this First Choice Airways flight hadn't warned some nervous passengers of this, some were alarmed and thought that the aircraft was on fire.
Immigration was swift, but for some peculiar reason all luggage had to be manually lifted and x-ray scanned before entering the country.
We were shortly on our way and envelopes containing room keys, AI bracelets, and luggage tags were distributed on the coach. A very nice touch, no lengthy check in. The transfer took around 50 minutes, and we were greeted at the hotel with dancers dressed in traditional dress dancing to the Bahia Principe song. All we had to do was attach our luggage tags to our bags and head for our rooms. A fruit punch was handed to us in the lobby.
Being previous clients of GBP hotels we had e-mailed and requested rooms on the top floor. We were given 504 and 509.
504 had a king bed as requested, but 509 which was for my mother-in-law who is a very young 80 years old and her disabled son also had a king bed instead of the requested twin. This was soon sorted with apologies all round but they could not be moved next to us in a twin bedded room for three days. Not very satisfactory. Both the hotel and First Choice holidays new of the bedding requirements. After 3 days they were moved next to us in room 503 - perfect.
The staff at this hotel are wonderful, always smiling and working extremely hard. This is more than can be said of the enormous number of managers who roamed the property and did very little.
The bars continually ran out of drinks. After a meeting with the guest services manager and assurances that no repeat of the problem would occur, the next morning at 10.30 am we ordered a beer at the pool bar, only to be told, no beer. By lunchtime, no rum, no tequila, no vodka.
By this time my wife had become a little agitated and I despatched her to attend to matters. Within 15 minutes two managers appeared carrying a barrel of beer and a trolley with bottles of spirits.! They were greeted around the pool with a round of applause. Woman power!
This is a beauitiful hotel set in a stunning location, but would not suit the less mobile. The main beach is very small and man made. It has a bar but no snack bar. At lunch time you had two choices (a) Get dressed, take the panoramic lift up to the pool level then climb a flight of steps (or take a second elevator up a floor) and go into the buffet restaurant. or (b) Take the panoramic lift to the pool level, walk around the pool, climb down 124 steps, (yes,124) and visit the snack bar at the secluded beach. You can also get there by going all the way through the hotel to the lobby and getting a little golf cart down to the beach. Either way, it's a lot of hassle for food. Why no snack bar at the main beach?
For the first few days we were extremely concerned at the temperature of the buffet food, it was only luke warm, it was in fact coming out of the kitchen at this temperature and then being re-heated in the service areas. This would not be tolerated in the UK or US. After complaints to our tour rep and the guest services manager by myself and many other British guests a new head chef was brought in from Punta Cana. Within days we saw a vast improvement, however the quality of the meat that is supplied to the hotel appears to be very poor.
Breakfast was very good, a vast array of items. Lunch was also good either in the buffet or the snack bar. However dinner was a bit of a hit or miss. Spanish evening had a superb paellia, and many other dishes, Americano night was a disaster. We were expecting steaks, burgers, chicken etc. We got none of these, but instead got some peculiar meat in a black bean stew, and grossly overcooked dry, tough chicken. One evening they had lobsters, but these were coming from the kitchen part cooked then re-heated on the chefs hot plate. The result : tough ,rubbery inedible burnt lobster.
Our experience at the speciality restaurants wasn't much better.
The Gourmet: I ordered the surf and turf, at the other GBP hotels this consists of a lobster and a piece of succulent Fillet Mignon steak, this time I got a piece of medium rare ( cooked as requested) shoe leather and four prawns. The rest of the party ordered the lamb which was tough and stringy. The service was good and the presentation excellent, but the quality of the meat was dreadful.
The Italian: Things started off badly on entering,as the air conditioning wasn't working very well and it was hot and sticky inside. My starter of Medley of Seafood, was beyond description. The food is pre-prepared in the main kitchen then kept in chillers.
The presentation is excellent but the taste, absolutely foul. The seafood was glazed with a balsamic vinegar and fruit glaze. All you could taste was the vinegar. The tomato soup was good, but once again the steak was inedible.
We have been going to the Caribbean for over twenty years and have experienced regular power cuts, however this is the first time in the D.R. that we have ever had power cuts. This hotel suffers from power cuts more than most as it sits on the top of a cliff. Water has to be pumped up to it. When the power goes off so does the water . One evening the power went off at around 5.30, just when everyone is heading to their rooms to shower. Dozens of people were in the lobby protesting, I just used a little lateral thinking and took my shampoo and towel to the pool, much to the amusement of the animation staff.
Why do people get themselves so upset when something like this happens? This is a third world country. Don't let it ruin your holiday just chill out and relax.
The only other problems we experienced were (a) Our room key wouldn't let us in on three seperate occassions, which meant a trip to reception then back to the room with the bell-boy (who would check that we knew how to open the door!) then wait a few minutes for the maintenance guy to come. (b) On three evenings it was raining heavily so we couldn't sit out on the wonderful courtyard, but had to sit inside. No fans and the air conditioning doesn't work in the lobby bar. We attempted to find the Piano Bar which is open until 3.00am. No luck it is presently used as offices. (c) The advertised 24 hour All inclusive doesn't exist. The snack bar closes at 6.00pm and the buffet at 10.00pm. We were told we could order room service, so we asked for a menu. They don't have one. If you want room service you have to walk to reception and ask to see the only copy that exists, then return to your room and phone for room service! You couldn't write a script like this!
Did we enjoy our trip, YES, only because of the outstanding staff , beautiful hotel, and the excellent First Choice rep Debbie.
To sum up this is a beautiful spotless hotel with outstanding staff and dreadful management, ideal for romantics because of the beautiful views and secluded walkways and gazebos. For the young set looking for a lively break, look elsewhere.
When we arrived it was pouring with rain, and it continued to do so for 4/5 days but once 1 june arrived it stopped and the sun shone. Our room was great room 403 with amazing views of the sea and the harbour. large bathroom which did leek a few times but nothing major, nice big balcony.
Pool lovley nice not to have to race for a sunbed, nice wooden quality sunbeds.
FOOD great selection in all the resturants maybe a little bit cold in the buffet but it did get sorted, tables were laid really nice and nice to get waitress service with your drinks.
Waitress service in the lobby bar too and lots of different cocktails and bottles of cava. Nicholas was great.
24 hr all inc did require you to go to the italian for any food after 11pm.
The first choice trips were great esecially the jeep safari and do take liitle sweets/pens/old clothes for the locals if you can as they have nothing and the kids were so appreciative.
debbie the rep was great. The hotel on the bacardi island was out of this world.
Very quiet for teenagers and young ones but great for couples.
A free golf buggy would take you to the local shops if you required there are some nice shops there but not much else. I did visist the local disco called naomis with (mr & mrs Scotty aka bagpipes)
Met some gr8 people there especially mike&kerries, mr & mrs plymouth, and all the essex crew....
Was great will def go to anothe r gran bahia hotel.
Don't go to this hotel... Choose other one.
I went to this hotel with great expectations. Two week vacation all inclusive in a 5 star Hotel in a nice location and warm weather and nice beaches… Seemed paradise altogether.
I was informed by my travel agent that the Hotel:
- Was new
- Had a beautiful location
- Besides the buffet it had 3 other restaurants
- The Hotel had a private beach served by a panoramic elevator from the Hotel
- Animation included: dance lessons, contests, games like mini-golf, ping-pong and sports motorized and un-motorized.
- There were three small islands connected by a bridge with a nice restaurant in the end.
- 10 minute bus ride from the airport.
Soon after arriving I came to the conclusion that:
- 10 minute bus ride from the airport was in fact a 50 minute trip.
- Dance lessons and other similar activities are a laugh because the staff does not know how to do it properly, and the mini-golf turns out to be a 6 feet long (2 meters) paddle with 2 holes in each end… I am sure the hotel guys that added mini-golf in the hotel description should mean micro-golf instead. It sure makes one take a few laughs but it also makes one feel deceived.
- There were three small islands connected by a bridge with a nice restaurant in the end. It turns out the bridge connecting the three small islands do not belong to the Hotel and there even is a sign saying the Hotel takes no responsibility from the start of the bridge onward. The restaurant does not exist anymore and the bridge is in a poor condition (it never belonged to the hotel and was not restored)
- I had to do myself the mini-disco several times… Animation staff was not present or as everything else it seems no one obeyed any timetable (since you could also not find a watch in the hotel this seems to be a way of self-preserving this chaotic way of organization).
- There was no mini-club.
- The hotel had many problems with the air-conditioning. The main building had no air-conditioning working, so for example in the reception they put a small ventilation device. Only place with air-conditioning in the hotel were: bedrooms, buffet restaurant and a small shop.
- Mini-Bar had only drinks… If you’d want to eat something you had to go outside your bedroom and also out of the main Hotel building and go ask for a snack in the place the “Italian restaurant” worked. This was to say the least very impractical…
- If you went to pueblo prince, a place with stores managed by the Hotel you had to pay for any beverage or food you may need. I paid 50 pesos for a small bottle of water that went directly to the employee’s pocket.
My personal 2 weeks experience also revealed that this 5 star hotel looks more like a 3 and a half to 4 star hotel maximum. My reasons for not recommending this hotel are:
- It is notorious the state of shortness of staff in all areas
- The service is poor and very far from being a 5 star
- I had to complain 6 times to get my air-conditioning functioning properly. First it made so much noise no one could sleep in the bedroom and then it made no cold (only ventilation). So you may expect not a very good technical assistance
- I heard clearly water from the room on top of my own, hitting my false ceiling above my shower in the bathroom. Although I did not see were the water went, I did feel a little insecure about the possibility of having a short-circuit in the ceiling of my bathroom.
- The food of the 3 thematic restaurants was poor; although I can assure that it was artistically elaborated.
- You probably may find difficult to go to the thematic restaurants because they do not have the capacity needed for the Hotel (believe me that this is not as bad as attending them). I believe the reason is the lack of human resources.
- You could not find properly translated menus in all languages that were used the Hotel restaurants (I can speak for the Italian and Portuguese language only). The menus did not describe the courses nor had any picture of it making it more difficult for the clients to choose.
-The Italian restaurant although had Pizza in the Menu did not have it and they started by stating there was no Pizza available. It was also understaffed and the employees did not know how the courses looked like.
- The Pescador Restaurant did not have the air conditioning working and the food was not very good, out of the 4 purported dishes only one seemed to be well accepted by the clients (“Mar y Tierra”)
- Paying customers could see that travel agents that go there for a “free tour” had a different and much better treatment than they did
- The buffet staff treats local Dominican Clients better in comparison to foreign clients. I saw this on other clients and also experienced it myself.
- In a tropical country I expected the hotel buffet to include more tropical fruits and more fresh fish and other sea food, including shrimps and lobster in the daily menu. That was not so. Mangos for example were not always available and when they were they were very small.
- Twice I found water leaking from the ceiling to the buffet floor. Those leaks were not very small.
- Hotel beach is not private. Local people also go there (I have found a syringe with needle in the beach sand).
- Hotel Beach is near to Samaná Bay (~100 meters), so you also have to deal with all pollution that comes from there (oils from boats and the local sour that is dumped in the bay).
- Hotel beach was made by sand extracted from the bottom of the sea. Since it was not filtered you find in the beach peaces of shell and other sea creatures. The edges can punctuate or cut your feet.
- Hotel Beach does not have a shower to take the sand and salt out of your feet or body.
- The Jacuzzis pool only had 1 out of 3 jacuzzi functioning in the first week, and by the end of my vacation only 2 out of the 3 were working.
- The main pool also had a Jacuzzi, but it also experienced some problems: shortness of water supply, Jacuzzi jets not working and a cutting edge on one of the underwater steps of this Jacuzzi.
- The showers by the pool stopped supplying water. I had to complain about this two days in row in order to get it fixed
- You will not find a watch in the hotel. Neither in the reception, nor restaurants or pool, and you will find out that several places don’t say their working hours. So you have to memorize all working hours of everything which is handed to you in a sheet of paper when you check-in
- You have to pay to use the bedroom safe, but the hotel is not responsible for anything that you may have that is not guarded in the safe (~90 Euro per 14 days)
There is always a exception and this is no different. I have to say that the food and service was great on the day they do the weekly questionnaire to evaluate the several services of the Hotel (I believe it is on every Thursday). I also found the questionnaire misleading because it had only three choices per service (excellent, good and bad). A good questionnaire should have an even number of choices, not odd.
I could say some more things about the Hotel and Samaná Village but I think I can now make my point. My advice is for you to choose another Hotel. I don’t think it will improve any time sooner (definitely not in 2007 and I even doubt it will be any better in 2008 unless something is done to solve many of the problems I pointed out). This is my opinion and of several more people I was acquainted with during my staying in this Hotel.
Well I hope you can do now an educated decision, and wish you all a nice vacation.
five out of five does not do this wonderful resort justice as it is so beautiful . staff are wonderful,food is more al a carte quality than normal all inclusivestandards riu please take note .weather gorgeous every day .right ,back to the beach
Not a 5* Hotel
We arrived at the Cacoa on the 21st June, transfer was 50 mins, first impressions were very impressive. We had already booked in on the coach from the airport, we had labels for our luggage with our room number on to put on so all we had to do was have a well earned drink and go straight to our room.
First impressions were very good, lobby very spacious and inviting. Our room was on the 5th floor, it was beautiful, the views over the bay could not be topped.
Here comes the but:
The beaches were not private beaches and the water was very cloudy. The smaller beach was constantly being cleaned of seaweed.
Beware at week-ends, wealthy Dominicans and there families (all ages) are sold week-end passes and are given preferential treatment by the staff, this was witness by the First Choice rep who went to see the manager. The buffet was a shambles as there was not enough staff at the week-end to clear the tables and re-set them.
The Buffet - during the week
Food was ok, plenty of choices. Not a problem getting seated.
Al a carte's
We found the fish one the best, this was down near the beach.
The entertainement was the guests, very much audience participation.
Take a pack of cards with you or get prepared for a lot of early nights as the bar shuts at 11pm prompt and they turn the lights off.
It is very small but very clean, including the toilets, they have a good selection of duty free at very reasonable prices.
We did have a nice two weeks, the weather was beautiful, the staff were very friendly and the hotel and its surroundings were very very clean but compaired to other hotels in the Caribean we have stayed it was a bit of a disappointment.
Great all-inclusive hotel
My girlfriend and I flew to Santo Domingo from Ft. Lauderdale for a four day mini vacation with only a National/Alamo car rental reservation. The idea (more hers than mine) was to drive across the island towards Samana, a sleepy peninsula on the North side of the island and find a hotel room wherever we liked. Since it was low season and Samana only gets hopping when the whales come to their waters in Jan-March, we figured we'd have no problems finding a room.
Sure enough. We drove across the DR without getting too lost, drove into Samana, saw this hotel on the top of a hill, and got a room facing the port. As I later found out, I should have gotten a room facing the other side, towards the bay or towards the island Cayo Levantado since it’s a prettier view and probably quieter.
The hotel is pretty new I think and was in great shape. There is a nice pool right outside and you have a choice of two beaches on different sides of the hill. The side with the strange catwalk and elevator to the beach (see pic) is more active and you can arrange a dive trip (for money) or just take kayaks out on the bay. The other side, which you walk down to, is quieter with its own pool and dock but not much of a beach.
The food (at least the buffets) is pretty good with lots of choices. You have a choice of a buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner or can make reservations for a couple of restaurants they have on the property. Since you have to make reservations for the restaurants at least one day in advance we never made it past the buffets.
For a quick day trip we went to El Limon waterfalls where you usually go on horseback. As you get near guys on mopeds start buzzing by you telling you where to go. We wanted to walk so we stopped at Parada La Manzana [--] and talked to the owner, Antonia, who sent us with a young girl as our guide. Everybody else there went on horses and I think the price includes a meal afterwards.
Overall it was a great trip. The hotel, which is all-inclusive, is a good deal and in very good shape. If you want to skip the adventurous car ride across the DR there is an airport near the city of Samana called Arroyo Barril Airport or Samana airport (airport code EPS I think), but I'm not sure if you can fly there directly from other countries. This chain also has a fancier all-inclusive resort on the island Cayo Levantado, which is about a mile out on the bay.
Whale skull with guide
From the waterfront
Trip through the mangrove forest with cayaks