Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo

4.254.254.254.254.25
Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo
#3 of 7 hotels The Monarc.ca popularity scale (#1/15) classifies all the hotels of a single destination according to the number of grades received on 5 and the total number of reviews. in Samana
4.25 based on 723 reviews
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Wonderful week

, Bowmanville, ON
2020-02-17
We enjoyed a wonderful week at the Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo. The grounds are lush and beautiful. The beach was great and we have been to some beautiful beaches in Cuba. The water was clear and the reefs kept it calm during our stay. It isn't as wide and white sand like Cuba but did not disappoint. Food was good and plentiful. We had to wait sometimes for drinks at meals...just take one in with you if you need to have one right away. Entertainment staff are wonderful. Would definitely return and recommend. [Details]
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The strong points
Beautiful beach, good food, fun atmosphere if you want it or quiet areas if you prefer. Beautiful area and nice walks on beach.
The weak points
Did not like building 27 as you have absolutely no view but room was nice.
Certified

Depends on your expectations

, Mississauga, ON
2020-02-15
Room air conditioning terrible , this is second year here and is still terrible. Husband diabetic , we requested light soda seven times over 4 days never got it. Service in Buffet was not so good young girl pregnant spent most of her time talking to other waiters, didn't care we were waiting( this happened more then once). Their memories in the Buffet seem to be very short ask for a drink they never come back. No entertainment like there was last year for the kids. We will not be back really for the number one reason AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!. [Details]
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The strong points
Food was excellent, beach beautiful. Outside staff pleasant. Very clean.
The weak points
Air conditioning poor,service to customers not great. telephone in room not working had to go to the desk for help.
Certified

8th trip to Domican Rep, first time In El Portillo

, Burlington, ON
2020-02-07
Our room was located on third floor, it was clean, with enough space and nice view

Food was awesome in all restaurants, buffet was great

My daugther enjoyed the kids club and mini disco every day. Kids has a waterpark specially for them

This place has the best beaches by far, clean, crystal clear, no waves, literaly a blue lagoon, the best for snorkeling. We walked early every morning and enjoyed a wonderful sunrise

The hotel has activities all day long every day, and night live entertainments till 11pm

the staff at this hotel works very hard, and in our case they were always helpful, in our case no communications problems since we are also spanish/english speakers [Details]
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The strong points
Beach, food, entertainments
The weak points
45-50 min ride from airport

Bahia principale el Portio

, St Andre, NB
2018-12-18
We enjoyed our stay, the service was great, a few little things with the room but it was not enough for us to change rooms.
The food was good except one of the restaurant (a la carte).
We met very nice people [Details]
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Certified

Samana El portillo

, Sarsfield, ON
2018-04-23
Exellent resort! Would and will go back for sure ! From the ride from airport to the whole experience at the resort ! All was awsome ! 5/5 [Details]
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Certified

A great family resort!

, Edmonton, AB
2018-02-05
The people are the true treasure of the DR and the hotel. A beautiful resort and beaches for miles. Staff are amazing. Grounds are clean and safe. We traveled with 9 total, adults and children we all enjoyed our choices and time. The tours offered off site were also amazing. [Details]
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The strong points
The hotel staff are all amazing and helpful. Connecting with the Animation team and joining in the fun is recommended!
The weak points
My only complain was the coil mattress bed was not my favorite, however, the staff added a mattress cover at my request.
Certified

Ottawa Friends go South

, Carp, ON
2018-02-04
The El Portillo property is lovely and kept pristine by multiple staff always. Our king suite was pretty much the furthest room from the main lobby so glad we enjoy exercise. (5 min walk & 2 flights of stairs) We had mixed weather including some tropical bursts of rain that came on quickly. There are covered areas to run to when that happens. Food in buffet restaurants was yummy with a great variety. Our two a la cartel restaurant experiences were also excellent (Brazilian & Italian) although getting reservations for these was frustrating. Our travel rep had to call for us and the booking system was slow. [Details]
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The strong points
Cleanliness Food Spanish lessons Variety of seating areas Lots a beach lounges
The weak points
Beach is beautiful but water murky for the whole week (snorkeling not good) Not enough bar staff both at pool bars and lobby bars No designated smoking areas so as non-smokers we frequently were breathing second hand smoke
Certified

Great resort

, New Westminster, BC
2017-05-01
Price was reasonable. Food was great. Staff are friendly. Snorkeling is great when the weather is good. [Details]
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Certified

Samana 2017

, Laval, QC
2017-04-01
2nd time going there, liked it better the first time. Food was amazing. Was not impressed with beach this time around [Details]
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Certified

Very good trip

, Pierrefonds, QC
2017-03-26
My husband and I went to this resort from Jan 29 to Feb 12 2017, for 2 weeks.

We enjoyed our trip but thought that we had over paid for what we got.

The resort was the right size for us. Everything was at a good walking distance. It was very clean, little candles burning in all the bathrooms. The cleaning staff were constantly cleaning EVERYTHING around the lobby and everywhere else. The staff was efficient and friendly. We had a problem with our air conditioning leaking; they came to fix it immediately. Our room was cleaned every day before noon which was great, great bed and pillows. We were in building 1, right in front of the buffet and beach. We really loved that but I wouldn't suggest it to anyone who goes to sleep before 10 pm as there is live music at the lobby and you can hear it loudly in the room. The thing we loved the best is the lunch buffet on the beach. It was such a beautiful view! I also loved that they let the cats roam around, they really were not a problem and it was nice to give them a little something to eat.

Beach:
The beach is beautiful, water nice and clear. Bring your snorkelling equipment; the fish are beautiful to see. The resort was overbooked unfortunately which led to not enough chairs. Though I have to say that too many couples were taking 4 chairs!! People, you AREN'T the only ones that want chairs! So selfish! They would put 2 under an umbrella and 2 in the sun and would go back and forth. Seriously??? Not right.

Pool:
Wayyyyyyyyy to small. We usually enjoy our mornings at the beach and after lunch at the pool. Unfortunately we hardly did that because the pool is too small and lots of people in it. Also, forget getting a chair after lunch, we had to sit on the side of the pool and enjoy our afternoon drink our feet dangling. They make great mojitos and they also have clamato juice for Bloody Ceasars, no celery salt on the rim though but no big deal.

Food was good at the buffet, the restaurants were very good.

Lots of mosquitoes! Bring your bug repellent and after bite!

What we disliked the most is having the bar at the lobby close at 11 pm. Way too early for people who like to socialize with a drink. We are not disco people so that was not a good option for us. They should consider keeping it opened until 1 am. The music at the lobby after supper was good, people had space to dance. It was nice to listen to and to watch for those who do not dance.

All in all a good trip but next time I'll make sure I get a damn good price for it. [Details]
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The strong points
The beach was the best thing about this resort.
The weak points
The pool way too small and also, because we were there 2 weeks, we saw the same 'shows' the 2nd week.

March break family trip

, Niagara On The Lake, ON
2017-03-21
Clean, beautiful, relaxing. But not a lot for bigger kids to do. Kids watermark is for little kids [Details]
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The strong points
Staff is amazing. Beaches are beautiful. Clean
The weak points
Not a lot for teens to do. Night life is non existent after 10 pm
Certified

Great Vacation

, Forest, ON
2017-01-19
This resort was perfect. The travel to the resort was breathtaking and the resort was well maintained. Food was always good with lots of variety. Pools and beach always had chairs available. [Details]
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Certified

El portillo

, Mississauga, ON
2016-12-23
third time back. great place. [Details]
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Certified

Recent Trip - March 24 - 31, 2016

, Ottawa, ON
2016-04-04
The hotel is clean, has all amenities and we would definitely return. The staff were friendly, helpful and always smiling - they truly seem to enjoy their jobs and their beautiful country. [Details]
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The strong points
The grounds were beautiful, the rooms were nice, the beach was awesome.
The weak points
The pool is quite small but the ocean and beach are so close so we did not end up using the pool too much.
Certified

Wonderful stay at the Grand Bahia Príncipe

, Etobicoke, QC
2016-03-29
I enjoyed the feel of a smaller resort. Easy to get around, well kept beautiful grounds and attractive hotel. Hotel located very near to the beach so very little walking distance from the lobby and our room. The beach was beautiful and the restaurant and bars are located on or near the beach. [Details]
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The strong points
Beautiful resort, beautiful grounds, beautiful country, friendly people.
The weak points
1hr of free wifi per day in the lobby, a la carte restaurants weren't very good. The buffet was actually better than the restaurants.
Certified

Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

, Kitchener, ON
2016-03-28
The hotel was a beautiful spot on the coast with miles of beach to walk along. Everything was kept neat and tidy around the grounds and all workers in every area were friendly and helpful.
The food was delicious, and we enjoyed some different fruits and vegetables during our stay. The wait staff were quick to bring your drinks and any other items that were ordered.
This is a wonderful family resort. [Details]
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Certified

Average Hotel

, Newcastle, ON
2016-03-24
Brief Summary:

Beach Great
Ocean Weeds/Rock and sand
Grounds Immaculate
Food Average
Service Average
Rooms Jr. suite okacceptable
Drinks Average

Who Travelled?
We were two couples aged 59-65
Air Canada Vacations

Our Review
We travelled the last week of February in March 2016

Flew down on the mid afternoon flight and didn't get into Samana until around 5:00pm. A 45 minute drive to the hotel from the airport. While on the bus filled out prebooking info which sped up booking in process. For some unknown reason the couple with us didn't receive their prebooking (supposed to as part of Air Canada Vacations). Took them an hour to get booked in at front desk. Into room 7:15pm

We were initially located in a set of rooms opposite the kids pool…no idea why because later spoke with another couple who had kids and they had been assigned a room by adult only pool. Got changed without too much hassle.

Finally into the room, a jr. suite superior. Nice large room with a seating area. Unfortunately the air conditioning unit didn't work. Called to the “concierge”. She send would send someone. Two hours later still no someone (now 11pm). Called again. Told again “someone” would be right there. An hour later still no one came. The people above us had a jaccuzi bath which overflowed or whatever and water leaked down into our bathroom (through the potlights) I called again to report this. Finally at 1230 a maintanence person arrived, reset the connections on the sliding door and air condition came on…low fan speed only….not acceptable. He was then showed the water dripping in the bathroom. He pushed on ceiling and water poured out flooding the floor. He used out towels to wipe up and left (now no towels)

Next morning went down to Reception, explained the situation re the water and air conditioning. Told initially they would fix but agreed to move us after I complained.

No further problems re room…(okay tv didn't work, but who really needs tv while on vacation?) Very happy with room location and view off patio.

The beach was great. Nice soft sand, lots of chairs and lots of choices as to locations…i.e. sun or shade. Staff kept any seaweed cleaned up constantly. Able to walk both directions off the property along the beach. Felt safe doing so.

The ocean was a combination of sand, weed and rock but there was enough sand area for swim/play

The main pool was large, but while we were there most people were on the beach. Very little activity in the pool. No swim up bar.

The adult pool was well back in the complex. Had its' own bar. Just an average normal pool. Nothing special.

The grounds were immaculate. Staff were constantly grooming and cleaning. Very beautiful.

There were 6 restaurants. I would describe the food at all of them as average…Nothing special, nothing that you would rave about.
The main buffet which did breakfast, lunch and dinner was always busy. Seating available inside or outside in a covered but open tent. Lots of choices at all 3 meals that should suit most tastes.
There was a “snack” buffet restaurant down by the ocean that was open for breakfast and lunch. Same food as main buffet, but nice view of ocean. Great service
There are 4 “specialty al la cart” restaurants. All require reservations. We arrived on a Tuesday, not able to get into the specialty restaurants until Friday as they were all booked….unless we were willing to eat at 10pm.
Our favorite was “Rodizio” which was based on a Brazilian grilled meat theme. If you enjoy meat this is the restaurant! The meat came out on skewers and was cut off the onto your plate…A constant flow of chicken, beef, pork, sausage along with rice and vegetables.
“Portofino” was standard Italian food. Only notable thing was a well stocked anti pasta bar. Certainly nothing special when it came to pasta or other dishes.
Orquida Gourmet Restaurant is French themed. Again nothing special. Service was very slow…there seemed to be a shortage of staff as even the Maitre‘d was cleaning tables.
El Pescador is seafood based. Why we ever went there I don't know. None of us like fish! Made do with a chicken dish. Might as well have gone to the buffet and gotten the same chicken we were served.

As a side to the food, both of the women in our group had food intolerance to gluten. They attempted to speak with staff about the food but none understood. Eventually we were directed to customer services and were given a letter in Spanish to produce to staff. This made no difference as they kept being told could eat dishes because they contained egg, or dairy…seemed to equate gluten intolerance to celiac. But that aside, it was my fault for not having checked this out before booking the hotel.

The alcohol drinks at the pool, beach are all made with house bar liquor. Their idea of a pina colada was using a slushy mixture and pouring 1oz of rum over the slush. This went for all drinks. They had premade slushy for each of the major drinks and would then pour 1oz of alcohol over it. Not even stirred. The beer was El President draft only.

The lobby of this resort is the main gathering point. Everyone comes here for their free 1 hour of internet. Packages available to buy time, staff also seem to have their own side businesses renting you a MIFI for the week. The lobby is large and leads to the night bar as well as 3 sitting areas off the bar. Filled at night with people. One of our favorite parts of this resort as we would sit in the lobby and play cards until the lights went out at 11pm.

The nightly entertainment is what one would expect….We went for several nights, stayed 15 minutes and left…….

Overall and nice resort if your purpose is beach and sun. Definitely several steps up from Cuba Resorts, but several steps down from Luxury resorts. Middle of the road, acceptable. I would rate it a 6/10, wife a 7-8/10 [Details]
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The strong points
The beach
The weak points
Food
Certified

Paradise Vacay

, Kirkland, QC
2016-03-01
Loved everything about EL PORTILLO: Excellent customer service, great team spirit amongst animators and servers which spills over to create a fun and happy atmosphere at this very special resort. [Details]
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The strong points
Staff, Beach, Buffet, Cleanliness, Animation, General Atmosphere
The weak points
None
Certified

The Best Resort Overall For the Price

, Thunder Bay, ON
2016-02-22
Just came back from the Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo. We really enjoyed our stay at this resort. We've stayed at eight other Caribbean resorts in the past five years in Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. This was our third stay at a Grand Bahia Principe property. This review is based on a comparison of the El Portillo to these other resorts. Keep in mind that the price paid, the time of year, the weather, and other intangible qualities can all factor into the overall appraisal of a resort experience and that this review is based on only a one week snapshot – a one week window – reflecting the time we stayed here and may not be generalizable to experiences at this resort during other times of the year. While I concede that the previous line sounds very much like it came from a legal document, I Just thought that I'd include it as a way to at least partly address why some reviews of the same resort can appear remarkably discrepant across multiple reviewers. Also, keep in mind that the features we find most appealing at a resort may differ from what others consider most important. If in your perusal of this review you find your wants, needs, desires, and expectations of the resort experience to be similar to ours – you may find this review more useful and beneficial than others might. So let's begin…..

First impressions? Of course no resort is perfect, but here are some factors that really impressed us during our visit to the El Portillo and the Samana region in general. The first is that the airport (El Catey, Juan Bosch) was virtually empty when we arrived. Getting through customs was quick and efficient. There were no line-ups. I get the sense that there aren't many weekly flights to the Samana area and that appears to be a good thing. Our departure was similarly painless. The airport was once again virtually empty. Nice. Very nice. So if the lack of congestion at this airport is a common occurrence – we have definitely taken notice. In addition, we were given our resort wrist bands and our room number and other information on the bus leaving the airport. Yes, on the bus. This is the single best solution to long line-ups-at-lobby-front-desks all around the Caribbean that we've seen. What a thoroughly excellent idea. The 45 minute ride to the El Portillo resort also consisted of some of the best scenery we've experienced on a ride to any resort so far. The roadway meanders and climbs up over 220m into the mountains overlooking the ocean and remote countryside throughout much of the trip, offering really impressive views of the surrounding land and ocean from above. We've had our share of two hour bus rides from airports to resorts so we highly value the reasonable bus transfer time to the El Portillo. If you are getting the notion that our first impressions were very favourable so far – you'd be absolutely correct. Once we arrived at the resort we just needed to pick up our room key cards and that was it. Once again – very nice. However, we did have some problems finding our room. When we approached resort staff on a path, they were also unclear where our room was located based on our room number. Eventually, they asked other staff members and with the proper clarification, we were led to our room. It would have been useful if the lobby staff issuing our keys quickly showed us where our room was located (e.g., which block) on a map before we left the lobby. Still, this was a minor issue.

Accommodations? Our room was very similar in style and décor to other Grand Bahia properties we've visited. We find them very cozy, modern, attractive, and clean. There were some signs of wear and tear here and there – but generally compared to other resorts we've visited in the same price range, the impression was very favourable. Imagine a four year old Lexus compared to a four year old Kia. Both would show some wear and tear, but one would be much more conspicuous in terms of quality and attention to detail. Our impression of the El Portillo is one of a resort that is showing some wear and tear, but still exudes high quality underneath.

The beach? One stand out feature of this resort is the beach. This is probably the best beach we've been to overall in the Caribbean. Why? Because the sand is of a high quality, the water is mostly crystal clear and reasonably calm and swimmable even on windier days, and there is excellent snorkeling within 20m of the shoreline. Granted – if you are just swimming and not snorkeling, you need to pay attention so you don't inadvertently bump into any coral. We've been to beaches with better sand. We've been to beaches with clearer water. And we've been to beaches with better snorkeling. However, we have simply never been to a resort beach that combined them all into one like this one does. Bravo El Portillo. We also had no issue finding a chair (blue polyester variety) on the beach at any time of day. That is important for us too.

Pools? We never spent any time at the large main pool at this resort. Why? Because the beach was so spectacular and as a couple we prefer to either spend time at the beach or at a quiet pool away from the noise and bustling activities. With that said – the main pool looked very clean and not overly crowded – and friends we made on the resort spent virtually every day there and raved about it. We enjoyed a few days at the quiet pool (adults only) located some ways from the beach and lobby. It generally lived up to its moniker – being very quiet and peaceful. It even has its own bar with restrooms attached conveniently on either side. We loved relaxing here. This small area made us feel like we were at an “adults only” resort. Nice touch El Portillo. While the selection of chairs is more limited in this section – we found that if we arrived before 10AM we had no problems securing two.

Food? Consistent with other Grand Bahia Principe properties, we found the buffet to be excellent. There was just so much variety of high quality, delectable and exquisitely presented food items. My better-half can be picky about food and she felt that this was at the top of any buffet we had experienced up to this point. Our only reservation was the quality of the red and white wines. We felt that they could have been a little better at the buffet and across the resort in general. We sampled all four a la cartes - the Italian, Gourmet, Brazilian, and Mediterranean (we received an extra al a carte due to this being our third stay at a Grand Bahia Principe property). We've read elsewhere that the a la cartes at this resort could be inconsistent in their ability to deliver excellent food from one evening to the next. Yet – even armed with this expectation and a desire to be discerning and critical – we were both exceptionally pleased with our experiences at all of them. If we could only pick three however, we would probably choose the Italian, Gourmet, and the Mediterranean, as we found the extended length of the meal experience at the Brazilian to be less to our liking even though we recognize that this is more due to the nature and culture of this dining experience and likely little to do with the quality of service at this a la carte.

Other observations? This is a relatively small property. We were told by our airline rep that the resort was full during our stay. However, at no time did it ever appear crowded. We found this very appealing. In addition, the average age for visitors to this resort appeared to hover around the 35-50 yrs (we are in our 40s) of age range. So this resort seemed to cater best to older adults and families. It was very quiet in the evenings too, as the bars shut down at 11PM and those interested in celebrating further had the option of visiting the disco in the small pueblo (shopping centre area) further away from the rooms and nearer to the main entrance gate of the resort. This kept things quiet in the evenings. We were never woken in the middle of the night by drunken revelers at any time like we have experienced at some other resorts.

Issues? If we could offer a few suggestions for improvements, one would be to improve the speed of service in the lobby bar (Daiquiri section with the piano and saxophone players) after dinner. The servers appeared to be busy and dedicated, but we often had to wait more than 15 minutes to have a drink order taken, or to receive our drink once ordered. Perhaps more staff in this area in the evening would be beneficial. We have also read that many resort staff could speak very little or no English at all. We found this to be our experience as well. However, we have both been formally learning Spanish over the past year and so we actually embraced the opportunity to practice and we had very few difficulties. For us – this was a good experience. With that said – we could see how others might find it a struggle to communicate their needs occasionally on this resort and how this might slightly tarnish their overall experience. I also paid for a high-speed Internet connection in our room. The connection was reliable and fast, but we felt that $69 (U.S.) was a very steep price for only 7 days of access. Also, on one day a huge deluge of rain fell on the resort continuously overnight and our roof dripped a bit in one area. We reported it to reception in the morning and they had someone stop by to investigate it within the hour. It really wasn't much of an inconvenience for us, though apparently other visitors experienced bigger issues associated with the heavy rains. However, without asking, the resort was very apologetic and compensated us with a small bottle of rum – a gesture that we thought was fair and considerate. Also, for some reason we didn't have any beer in our room fridge for the first three days, only bottled water and various bottled soft drinks. We just assumed that this resort was unique and did not supply “fridge beer”. However, on the fourth day beer suddenly appeared in our fridge like ambrosia from the Gods and was replenished for the remainder of our stay. Aside from these minor issues – none of which really adversely affected our enjoyment of the resort during our stay in any way - we were very content. This resort is an excellent value.

Overall? This resort may be a little more expensive (though not the most expensive we've been to) than some other resorts we've frequented over the past few years. And part of what we most enjoy about traveling is visiting new areas and new resorts each time we venture away from the frozen wasteland that is Thunder Bay in the middle of winter. Yet – after visiting this resort, we both looked at each other and agreed that we could probably be happy if we just kept coming back to this resort. And we have never returned to the same resort twice. Why the sudden change of heart? The combination of a beautiful beach, with clear, calm water, that offers good snorkeling, and very few vendors (who were among the most respectful we've encountered), the small, intimate property that never felt crowded, the short distances (even though we love walking) across the resort, the simply outstanding food in both the buffet and a la cartes, the nice accommodations, the mostly excellent service and attention to detail of resort staff, the excellent peace and quiet of the adult pool and resort grounds in general, and close access to some really interesting and captivating excursions (we went humpback whale watching and visited some caves at Las Haitises National Park). All that mixed with an acceptable bus ride duration to the resort from the airport, and the quietest and most uncrowded airport experience we've seen, coupled with the most efficient check-in set up (on the bus!) we've encountered – this resort really checks off on a lot of our most cherished boxes. On paper, and in reality – this resort just seems to do most everything right for us. With that said – if anyone knows of a Caribbean resort that checks off more boxes that this one for the price (or for slightly more money) I'd really be interested. And I mean that. I'm not being facetious here and that isn't a rhetorical question. I would want to know. We met a young Canadian couple in their 20s who had just arrived at this resort earlier in the day for their first Caribbean experience and asked us how this resort compared to others in the same price range we've visited. My response (unlike this review) was quick and to the point. I stated that they had picked a great first resort and to “be prepared for possible disappointment” if they expected to find anything better than this resort at or near this price in the Caribbean based on our experiences. They both stated that this was exactly what their friend from back home said when he recommended this resort to them. [Details]
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The strong points
Checks off so many boxes for the price. A beautiful clear and calm beach with great snorkeling. Outstanding buffet and a la cartes. Uncrowded airport. Very quiet place to relax. Best check-in service on the bus to the resort. Adults only pool.
The weak points
Slow service in lobby bar. Wifi in room very expensive at $69 (U.S.) for 7 days. Red and white house wines could be higher in quality. That's about it.

Grand Bahia Principe EL Portilla January 2016

, Vineland, ON
2016-01-19
I would highly recommend this resort, we loved it and are planning on returning. Buffet was really good, ala cartes were the best we have had. The snack bar on the beach was awesome. [Details]
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The strong points
Great food, good service, indoor and outdoor dining rooms. Lots of shade/sunny areas for thos that want either. Very clean resort. The gardens were beautiful with lots of trees throughout the resort.
The weak points
Staff not able to speak much english. Free internet needs explaining to new clients. Main pool could have been a little larger.
Certified

Good food in the buffet

, New Westminster, BC
2015-04-24
Some good some bad. Good food in the buffet , and sometimes in the other restaurants, but the A La Carte ones can't produce consistently good food two nights in a row. Rooms are dated and dimly lit.

Valentin Liriano checked us in, he was rude and didn't tell us how to get to our room.

We didn't like the transport and front end staff collusion of the time share presentation, they wouldn't tell us our pick up time for the departure unless we attend the time share presentation with German.

The food in the Orquídea Gourmet Restaurant was very good on the first visit and horribly over cooked the second night. There was a lack of consistency in the restaurant in terms of the food and the first night we never received the cheese tray offering.

When dining at Las Olas - Rodizio Restaurant ribs were being sliced of the skewer and was thrown toward me and stained my shirt with oil.

When we arrived we weren't welcomed with the music and dance presentation other visitors received.

Staff at the Scubaquatic water sport and dive center kept telling us to come back tomorrow for the pool dive lesson and saying that the person wasn't in and on one occasion the person who was going to meet me the next day asked when we checked out and then didn't show up on the day of the meeting and we were told by other staff that this is his day off! The staff don't help with the equipment and it was actually the security guard who helped us move the paddle boards from the beach to the water. [Details]
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The strong points
Good variety in the buffet and well prepared. Restaurant staff were very welcoming. Clean and beautiful beach.
The weak points
Rude check in staff. We didn't like the transport and front end staff collusion of the time share presentation, they wouldn't tell us our pick up time for the departure unless attend timeshare. Staff gets less welcoming at the end of their work week and..
Certified

Fabulous vacation!

, Algonquin Highlands, ON
2015-02-15
We traveled as a group of four to this wonderful resort. We purchased Royal Golden AI having stayed at Bahia Principe Runaway Bay, Jamaica last year Don Pablo. After a small hiccup with our friends room we were easily settled and began a fantastic week! I can honestly say there is very little to be critical of here at El Portillo. The staff were so friendly and helpful, from the front desk to the gardeners, they couldn't do enough for you. The food here is spectacular. The a la cartes are extremely good. Great food and perfect service every time. We spent one day only at the main pool, preferring the beach. The "quiet" pool was outside our room 12302, we didn't go but it was always full and on the quieter side. The beach is amazing. Lots of coral to snorkel and see lots of sea life. Wonderful beach to walk, can go for a long way feeling completely safe. Our room was always cleaned each day, although we only received our turn down service one night. Not a big deal for us. Loved the beach/snack bar, had breakfast and lunch by the ocean each day. There were some sellers on the beach, but were never pushy or rude and a quick "no thank you" was all that was needed. Absolutely loved this resort! [Details]
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The strong points
Food, staff and beach amazing!
The weak points
Nothing

Awesome

, Mississauga, ON
2014-12-15
Hotel is great, incredibly clean and very well maintained, with a large variety of food and wonderful staff. Fastest check in. Big, clean rooms with everything working properly. Late check out allowed. No fuss over beach towels.
Beach is nice, very long, a bit crowded at times in front of the hotel though.
The only downside was the ocean, although warm, it was never crystal clear during our stay, early december so the season might have been at fault. There was some coral in the water and it was hard to avoid it, not knowing where it is, with the water always dirty looking so if plan on swiming in the ocean, bring beach shoes. [Details]
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The strong points
Lots, great great resort.
The weak points
Ocean was not crystal clear and with some coral in it. And it would have been nice to have internet included in the package but not a big deal, at extra 50$ per week.
Certified

Standout Bahia for service

, Edson, AB
2014-11-10
Great holiday. Really nice room and location. Service was outstanding. Good beach for walking, swimming, and novice snorkelers, but need to be wary of coral. Checkin and checkout was seamless and quick. Would consider returning. [Details]
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The strong points
Service, cleanliness, upkeep, beach, privacy, access to culture.
The weak points
Internet access, redundancy in buffets, overly rich food in restaurants, no town shuttle, gym equipment and AC poor.
Certified

40th wedding anniversary

, St-Jean Sur Richelieu, QC
2014-09-15
From the moment we arrived til we left we were well taken care of, we enjoyed the fact that the hotel isn't a massif resort. We were never too far from the lobby, beach and entertainment. There are no neighbouring hotels, so the beaches are not crowed and ideal for long walks. We enjoyed the shallow spots were we could lay in the ocean for hours on end. The seas are flat and warm especially in the shallow spots. The food was excellent with a large variety. The chef works very hard to please an international clientele. This was our second time there and would return. There is some construction going on but sept through nov is the usual time that many hotels do their maintence, we were not bothered by it. I just love the beach, there are some areas of coral but plenty of swimming area, love this resort [Details]
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The strong points
Beach, staff, location, meals,water sports,
The weak points
Internet
Certified

Outstanding vacation

, Toronto, ON
2014-05-19
We will be back. The food and the grounds and the staff was just amazing. The beach is breathtaking and we can't wait to return. [Details]
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The strong points
Food,beach and staff.
The weak points
None
Certified

Beautiful Resort with some disappointment

, St Catharines, ON
2014-04-16
A beautiful resort with a nice unspoiled beach. A very close reef where you can spend hours just looking at the ocean life. Housekeeping was good and the food at the buffet was the best I've had in the dominican Republic so Far (three different resorts in Punta Cana, One in Puerta Plata and now this resort in Samana). I had exceptional service at the buffet on my last night at this resort and absolutely limited or no service at all other meals - just getting a glass of water with my meal was an adventure never mind anyone coming back to refill that glass. I'm not fussy and wouldn't even have mentioned it now except that last meals service went above and beyond and deserved the tip I gave him.
My only real disappointment came with the bartenders. If you drink wine or beer or even a mixed drink like a rum and coke you were good to go. I'm a cocktail person who thoroughly enjoys a fancy drink like coco loco, dirty monkey, banana mama etc. These drinks require a blender and an ounce of effort. What I got was a glass with rum and a liquid form of banana mama mix from the slushy machine that couldn't keep up with the amount being consumed so it was pure liquid. I'm use to bartenders who pull out the blender, add ice, booze and banana's to the banana mama mix. While these drinks are being blended they sugar the edge of the glass and add the fancy accessories like fruit and umbrella's etc. There was only one bartender who was worthy and who actually knew what he was doing - thank you Agustin for making one hell of a banana daiquiri - you made my daytime drinks amazing. To the bartender at the lobby bar on my last night - I said pina colada not Mai Tai. The El Portillo needs to send their bartenders to school to learn how to make cocktails.
I would like to commend the resort for allowing the stray dogs to entertain us for the week. I'm a huge animal lover and these strays eased my heart from missing my own dog back at home. If I could have I would have brought that three legged dog and the one eared dog home with me. It was so funny to watch the three legged dog outsmart the guards by hiding under loungers on the beach and behind people in the lobby. I miss them already.
I enjoyed the Circus show and the Variety show and was sad that I was unable to see the Michael Jackson show - perhaps another time.
The El Portillo is a relaxing resort with the top 80% being guests over 40. Not loud or rowdy - On a final note I would return to this resort but only on a sell off basis. [Details]
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The strong points
Great food at the buffet, beautiful unspoiled beach and an amazing reef
The weak points
Bartenders
Certified

Good resort, great people!

, Edmonton, AB
2014-03-17
The resort is laid out well and is very clean. It was too remote for our tastes and we didn't like the food. The buffet was too small for the size of the resort and there was little change in the buffet offerings from day to day. Our favorite was the Italian restaurant, Portifino - great tomato soup, pizza, chicken and salmon.

The staff are fantastic! The lobby bartenders- Carlos, Alberto, Josefina, Edison and especially Toni were great. Alberto makes great piña coladas and Toni makes great mojitos. Buffet and gourmet restaurant hostess Ysabel is adorable. The entertainment crew were goofy and fun to be around. Not really impressed with the nighttime shows but they were typical for Dominican shows.

The beach was fantastic, very clean and soft sand. The weather was fabulous too!

Will we return there? Unlikely because of the location and food. [Details]
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The strong points
Definitely the people.
The weak points
Food and location.
Certified

FANTASTIC HOLIDAY

, Morpeth, ON
2014-03-09
The resort is awesome,good food,service,we had a great holiday and will return.The zip lining & whale watching excursions were fantastic.We would recommend this resort to all. [Details]
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The strong points
Geat location,beautiful grounds,great food,nice room no complaints.If you are looking for a resort book this one now!!!!
The weak points
the internet access was for an hour a day and could only be used once a day but no big deal
Certified

Attention to service

, Fonte Hill, ON
2014-02-22
excellent overall [Details]
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The strong points
Many excellent service people. Romon and michelle from gourmet. pedro- luis melvyn, augustin, francesco, bar service Yosemi in buffet
The weak points
none worth mentioning
Certified
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