BAHIA PRINCIPE GRAND CAYACOA
We travel to Caribbean every chance we get and we chose BAHIA PRINCIPE GRAND CAYACOA hotel because of the great reviews and the fabulous site. Our stay was pleasant with minor unforeseen circumstances.
My Wife and I (along with our 2 kids aged 11 & 8) initially booked Junior Suite with preferred 2 twins or Queen beds. On arrival we were issued a junior suite with king size bed. Not ideal for family of 4 so hotel staff offered to bring in extra single bed. Upon entering the room, there was a distinctive damp and moldy smell. We turned on the ceiling fan to air out the room and decided to tour the hotel, pool and beach before settling in. It did not take long to find out why the room had damp and moldy smell. Upon arrival back to room approx. 1 hr later. We encountered an issue with either over-head air-conditioning or plumbing in the room. As we entered the room, we found a very large puddle of water on floor leaking from ceiling close to the King sized bed, and the moldy smell became worse lingering everywhere because the area on ceiling appeared to be completely damp. We immediately phoned front desk and the manager quickly made arrangements to change room. In fact he graciously upgraded us to 5th floor Sea View room (at no extra cost incurred to us). It was much appreciated, because our 8 yr old is asthmatic and the moldy smell would not go well with his asthma. The new room had no moldy smell and had 2 twin beds and a great Sea View! During our 7-day stay, the Sea View room was clean, and comfortable. Kids were also happy with high speed Wi-Fi.
We arrived on a Thursday and hotel occupancy appeared to be 50%-60%. The only negative was on the Saturday. We realized that the hotel quickly doubles in volume during week-end because of locals that come to stay for Saturday and/or Sunday. This meant the pool, beach and buffet area was quickly filled to capacity. Particularly the pool. Especially during week-end, the swim-up bar was always filled with people seeking alcoholic beverages. Saturday and Sunday did feel over crowded and noisy. There were no pool lounge chairs available due to influx of people at pool, but mainly because other guests pre-claimed the lounge chairs by placing their towels or personal effects in advance. We experienced the same on the beach mainly because the beach is particularly small in size (as compared to other resorts). The main beach with the elevator was always quite busy on week-end. The locals stayed to the left side of the beach. Big plus is that CLEAN beach towels were always available as opposed to other resorts where they ran out.
The pool had occasional bird poop droppings floating on the water surface. Pool staff tried to skim it a few times a day but it didn't change much. The small local (sparrow like) birds seem to be nesting in the roof of the swim up bar hut. Because the swim up bar hut eaves hangs over the pool, the bird droppings are inevitable to fall into the pool.
Overall, we really enjoyed the food during our week, at the buffet and a-la-carte restaurants (we received a friendly tip from other guests from Europe to book a-la-carte as soon as possible). Even our extremely fussy kids enjoyed the food. Overall the food was very good and there was always plenty of variety. The entire hotel staff we encountered was excellent. Always polite and helpful.
The beach was nice but seaweed appeared on the fourth day but wasn't so bad because the beach staff did a great job to remove it and carted off by wheel barrow.
The only issue we experienced was in the Sea, we didn't expect jellyfish but kids got stung. Even though we were extremely careful when entering the water, both my kids were stung by small jellyfish. There was no warning, it started with pain and itching on my son's arm and daughter's hand. They were quickly treated with sea water and vinegar sprayed on affected area by the Hotel on-site Life Guard. As a pre-caution, we were directed to the hotel on-site medical center that also applied hydrocortisone cream (as pre-caution).
We LOVE Samana and would stay again in this hotel primarily because of the friendly staff, amazing views, great food, clean & secure hotel.