More about Cotursa Santana Beach Resort
grand vacation at the gran bahia principe la romana
Gran Bahia Principe La Romana, Dominican Republic (GBPLR)
Dates: 2-9 February 2008
We just returned from a fabulous 7 day vacation at the GBPLR booked through CheapCaribbean.com. The entire trip went off without a hitch - planes left and arrived on time, airport transfers were waiting for us on arrival and departure, even the weather was cooperative! The GBPLR is a gorgeous property. The grounds are immaculate and well maintained. The rooms are large, well decorated and well appointed. The lobby area features marble floors, exquisite furnishings and an attentive and helpful staff. In fact, the service provided by all the resort staff was simply outstanding. We have vacationed in the spring in the caribbean and Mexico every year for the past 12 years, and this vacation ranks near the top when compared with the previous 11. The beach is fabulous, clean and sandy, beach bars at each end and an outdoor snack bar at one. The free-form pool is huge with a swim-up bar. There are plenty of lounge chairs at the pool and at the beach. There are kayaks, hobi-cat sailboats and paddle boats available, but thankfully no personal watercraft to disturb the ambiance! There are four restaurants, 3 reservation only and the main buffet restaurant. The reservation only venues are an Italian, a Seafood and a Gormet. Food is excellent, although none of them offers a beef or lobster entree. The buffet offers a different theme nightly, with a wide assortment of entrees, side dishes, salads, fruits and desserts. There is a demonstration cooking grill where the cooks will prepare 4 different entrees to order, typically small beef steaks, pork or lamb chops and fresh fish. There is a carving station where they carve a different entree depending on the night's theme. The roast pork was exceptional. This is an all-inclusive resort, and the tropical drinks, beer and wines are quite good. We arranged one off-site tour to old town Santo Domingo, which was excellent Tours can be arranged at an alcove just off the lobby. The resort also has a casino, but it is small, with a couple of dozen slots and board games only when there are sufficient players. One footnote: they do have a biting bug problem, and even though they do spray for them each evening at sunset, you would be well served to bring and use your own "off" of "cutter" repellent after dark. We really enjoyed the resort and the staff and had a wonderful time.
Just returned from the Gran Bahia Principe La Romana. Was reading mixed reviews and was a little concerned. All I can say is that it was wonderful. Had a great time. Food was good, always something to suit everyone. Bugs - well don't walk on the beach at night, we had no bug bites at all. The service was good, and resort was always spotless, loved those mirrored floors. Entertainment was well-entertaining !! we enjoyed it. The staff there works very hard and they have long hours. Beach was very nice, palm trees galore, so you could always find shade. As for the water...it wasn't the true blue caribbean, but it wasn't bad, just slightly murky....very swimable. My only complaint was that the 'little kiddies' were on the beach totally nude, and you know they didn't tell Mommy or Daddy that they had to go potty. But we really enjoyed our trip and are seriously thinking of returning next year. I'll continue this review with comments on our trip to Catalina Island.
if you are thinking of going to bahia principe la romana at bayahibe, please be prepared if you are flying from england you will fly into punta cana, most travel agents say it is 1hour 30 mins to get to the hotel, sorry its at least 3hrs on a good day we spoke to people who had taken 4 hours, that is not dropping people off thats the straight trip and after a long flight, its the last thing you want, the hotel is lovely, the gardens a delight, food ok, and the bar staff are great, thanks to daniel, and winkin,
the sea is poor due to the fact that there is a river leading directly into it and the sand fleas are rife,
for disabled people it was perfect, all on one level, if there were a few steps there was always a ramp for easier access, the pool maybe a problem
if you are looking for a get away from it all, stay by the pool, eat quite well, and drink, dont mind the transfer time, this is for you.
we wanted to go out and do things, if you are looking through travel books the list of things to do and prices are completly wrong and bear in mind you have that 3 hour journey to pick up the trips which make it a long day, as a family holiday it was poor,
if it is for lazy days you will enjoy it
Liked Not Loved It
Dec 30-Jan 6/08
Overall I liked the resort but last year’s trip took me to Punta Cana which I preferred.
BEACH: will give you a very pretty picture (beige sand not white) but don’t expect beautiful Caribbean water as the water is completely murky from a river up the way depositing its silt.
this was a disappointment. Catalina Island had the beautiful aquamarine water you expect to see.
INCLUDED: I did the aquagym, bike tour and took Spanish lessons – loved all !
EXCURSIONS: cost is extra as you know and I did the Cave/Catalina Island/ Buffet lunch/Horseback riding tour and loved loved loved (!) it all and highly recommend it – ESP. Catalina Island where you will snorkel and see the most beautiful coral reef & colourful array of fish.. !
SERVICE: the rooms were always clean but I had problems: bed not being completely made for 3 days, not bringing me water and/or not leaving it in the refrigerator located in your room, cricket flying on my room and collapsed shower rod. guest services told me someone would be there in 5min to fix everything 1½hrs alter I was still waiting. I finally made it to bed that night at 1:30am which angered me at the long wait involved.
TIPPING: I always tipped and left behind stuff for the staff’s children which I bought at the dollar store before I left. was told the girls always love pretty stuff for their hair and all children need socks (they often share their socks within the family when short of socks). remember this is an island and the people who work there are really trying their very best and are unfortunately being paid extremely low wages so anything you give them – gifts for their children or currency in US dollars or Dominican pesos is greatly, greatly appreciated by al of them – including guest services (a lot of stress in that job when the people speak minimum 3 languages) and those at front desk.
FOOD: the food at the three restaurants was beautifully presented, served by super nice restaurant staff but close your eyes and it will all taste like rubber. the best food by far was the one buffet restaurant located in the Gran Bahia resort itself. Always fresh, the selection is varied and delicious. I also tried new fish and fruit (like tayata) which was a kick.
NIGHTLY SHOWS/CASINO : checked out 2 and both were lame so I left early and I am not a casino person.
SHOPS: the Canadian dollar was taken at par and are located at the end of the hotel road (very short walk) were wonderful. Carlos ran a beautiful jewelry shop with a wonderful choice of larimar, black coral, pink shell and amber – lots to choose from. I wheeled and dealed him along the way as he was very accommodating so I bought alot from this very nice man whose mother does teh buying - remember his name: Carlos and a Toronto girl highly recommended him ~ !
Not a 5 stars
Resort is fine and clean. Food and wine are basic.
The cocktails and drinks are EXTREMELY sweet. Utterly undrinkable. It looks like they dont want you to order another one.
Lots of chairs and palm trees at the beach. The water is murky with a lot of pebbles. It takes about 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other side of the beach. There are a LOT of sand wasps and black flies, so bring some repellent.
Dont expect much from the front desk staff (at least the Golden Club) they are incompetent.
The pool is nice & clean but nothing fancy. Rooms are nice & clean also. Expect to pay 5$ per day for the in-room safety box.
Lots of American TV channels.
Very quite resort in the middle of nowhere, the entertainment is very limited and amaturish.
Just returned to Toronto on Jan. 28th. This was above average for a Carribean Resort.....probably a true four and a half star. Beautiful rooms...extremely clean...a nice balcony overlooking the beach (look at the resort map before you book as there are only a few buildings that overlook the beach...ours was building # 37. The food was average...service excellent. The nightly shows were very amateurish but then we don't go expecting an Ed Mirvish production. We didn't leave the resort...why would I want to see poverty when I'm spending money on a vacation. The pool area was great but a lot of loud music and shouting into the microphone by the activity leaders doing aerobics, dancing lessons, bingo etc....someone needs to tell them that they don't have to shout into a microphone to be heard. The beach was much quieter but not terrirbly attractive...very clean but dark sand and muddy water. if you just want to relax by the pool and have a nice clean room and decent food this is a good choice...depending on how much you end up paying...ours cost just under $1000 each and that made it very acceptable.
Good Value, So-So service
If you book this hotel, keep the following in mind:
-Don't expect everyone to speak English- it will certainly help to know a couple of Spanish phrases
-In terms of alcohol, unless you want to drink pina coladas and mai tais all week,, expect to have a choice between presidente beer and cheap wine.
-the level of service is pretty indifferent; few of the workers will ask to get you a drink, even if you are sitting down at the buffet restaurant
-the customer service level will not be at the level of a western hotel. I spent over 3 hours of my own time trying to get someone to fix my safe and it still did not work properly. The manager, Mr. Quintana reused to offer me a full refund, only offering me a partial refund.
However, in spite of these minor concerns, the Grand Bahia Principe Hotel in La Romana is a great place to spend a week. The food at the sit-down restaurants and buffets is a step above other resorts that I have been to in the Dominican Republic. They even had good quality sushi at the buffet nearly every night. The seafood restaurant has an outstanding salad bar where you can get seafood lasagne, mussels, clams, and hot and cold seafood salads. The rooms are spacious, clean, with modern amenities such as a multiple shower head shower, a free minibar with bottled water and beer restocked every day, and about 40 multiple language television stations. The entire hotel is kept immaculately clean and the bartenders are friendly although they may not know how to make a non-caribbean type drink. The night shows are of average quality, but are a good way to spend some time after dinner. The best thing about the Grand Bahia Principe was that you could find a quiet place to lay down and enjoy the waves crashing on the shore no matter what time of day it was.There were ample benches and shaded areas to lay under, which is not always the case at a lot of resorts. If you book through Cheapcaribbean.com, you can arrange a shuttle back and forth from the Santo Domingo airport, which takes between 60 and 90 minutes. All in all, this is a great place to recharge your batteries and escape the cold weather. I think in a few years as the area develops more, the customer service will improve and this will be an even better palce to stay. Right now, it is an exceptional value.