by Whitney Rife
Families come to Gran Bahia for its location near the town of Samana and the beautiful beachfront bay views. Rooms and suites at the resort are decorated with brightly-colored Caribbean prints, dark wood furnishings and tile floors. Sunny balconies are furnished and most rooms contain sitting or dining areas. Guests enjoy soothing hydromassage bathtubs and satellite television. Suites are more spacious with upgraded amenities and more space for everyone in the family. Four restaurants are at Gran Bahia, offering International, Italian and locally-inspired specialties. Three dinners at one of the three a la carte restaurants are included in the rates. All-inclusive rates also cover many activities and entertainment programs for adults and children. Kids between the ages of 4 and 12 can enjoy the Mini-club planned activities. Babysitting is also available. With the beach on the resort, there are plenty of opportunities for water sports, like boogie boarding, snorkeling or kayaking. Two pools and a Jacuzzi are surrounded by chaise lounges and umbrellas. Introductory scuba diving lessons take place in the outdoor pool. The surrounding area has golf courses, and Gran Bahia runs many excursions to explore the destination. Families can go horseback riding on Ricon Beach, sail to Cayo Levantado or view the ancient city of Santo Domingo. Gran Bahia makes it easy.
Our Editor Loves
- Two pools
- Children's mini-club
- Area excursions
by Dan C
Our vacation was through West Jet. We took a three and a half hour drive from Puerta Plata to the hotel. We were the only ones on a bus built for six, it was low season. The driver, Adam, was very kind, great driver, which is important. The motorists are crazy. Lots of motorcycles, cars criss-crossing in a very non-Canadian fashion, lol. Got a five dollar beer midway, (220 ml), had a great time taking in the scenery and colorful towns. We were warmly greeted at the hotel, our luggage was efficiently dispatched, and the room was classy and comfortable. The food was as good or better than most Caribbean destinations, good variety. The a la Carte restaurants were a notch higher, and superior to most Caribbean experiences. A shuttle will go directly to Bahia Village, where you can buy a fair variety of items. I ran into one of the shops where they were more than willing to search the strip if an item was not present. There is a proviso, regarding "the strip" adjacent to the Bahia Village. You will likely be greeted by aggressive, but not dangerous people posing as "friendly local folks." When they start leading you to places on the strip, you have, in effect, entered into a contract with them, and they will insist on a charge for services. It would be best that you ask first if there is a "fee for services" and then negotiate the fee. The shops, as is typical, will overcharge tourists, more so if you travel in pairs. Make sure that you are very firm in your offers, walk away if necessary. A shop near the rotary sold me a defective phone charger. I returned it, and a "runner" (calls himself Hose with an accent at the end), found me a replacement that was far superior to the original piece. He tried to charge me an extra 150 pesos for the upgrade. I told him to take it from the "service" of finding the shop. He eventually relented. In short, you can't show any sign of softness. When regarding the practice of over-charging at local shops, I see it this way. I see a third of my cost as the cost of the item. I see a third of my cost as the convenience of finding an item in an area without a diversity of supplies. I see the last third of my payment as a zero sum game, karmic payment, as wages are low in this relatively poor country. In summary, the hotel exceeded my expectations, the food was just fine, the staff, though not multi-lingual, were very polite, the location was dramatic, and I will definitely come back. If you go in town, trust that it will be a favorable experience, but don't forget to mind your wallet, and know the conversion rates of currencies very well before you embark on your adventure.
by Pamela S
First off let me start by saying that I always provide honest and balanced reviews. I CANNOT for the life of me understand how this hotel has such high ratings on TripAdvisor.
I was supposed to stay here with my husband and our 2 year old son for a week end of October. After 2 days we were so unhappy that we transferred to Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo on the other side of the island, and it was the best decision we could have made- the quality of these 2 hotels is night and day.
Firstly, I do not recommend this hotel for families. There is only one pool (the other pool was closed for low season while we were there), there are stairs and steep hills everywhere, and not much entertainment or facilities catering to young children.
I thought that this hotel would be better for us as it is known to be smaller and quieter, however, this just meant a smaller buffet with much less food options and less things to do, and a smaller place to walk around. Also important to note that the elevator waits were abnormally long and you need an elevator to go anywhere.
Yes, the views are beautiful and the views from the balcony are incredible, however, because you’re so close to Samana city it does not truly feel like a getaway.
My main complaint is the beach- it is TINY, rocky
sand, murky water that seems polluted by the local town/boats, and accessible to the public which means locals walking their dogs, cigarettes on the ground- we wouldn’t even let my son sit in the sand to play. I found the beach to be extremely disappointing and one of the main reasons we switched hotels- there are such lovely beaches in Samana it is truly a shame to visit this one.
The facilities (room, lobby, restaurant) are clean but nothing special and outdated. The terrace which seemed so nice in photos was run down and depressing in real life. This hotel has not received the same upkeep as El Portillo.
The main positive was the professionalism of the staff, and the wonderful views of the sea.
The pool is very nice with a great view on the ocean, but always very busy with people drinking and making fools of themselves since the beach isn’t great and there is no other place to hang out.
I would not recommend this hotel for families. For couples looking to relax, get away, and enjoy the Caribbean, there are other hotels in the same price range that would offer a better experience, in my opinion.
Hope this review helps someone from making the same mistake that we did.