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Reviewed 16 January 2011

My boyfriend and I went to Grand Paradise Playa Dorada from December 18-25. We've really only been to 1 other place so we didn't really know what to expect. Though, I did a lot of research we were still hoping all the bad reviews were wrong.
THEY WERE WRONG.
Honestly, everyone there was so nice and so helpful. What was so bad about the service? I have no idea. There was 1 family that complained because they had to wait for the bell boys to take their luggage to their rooms after check in... WELL, how many bell boys do you expect to be readily available when there's a mob of over 100 people trying to get to their rooms as fast as they can? Seriously, people complained about nothing. Other people on this site complained that the front desk was terrible. Asides from waiting a little bit, they were very helpful. No one was ever rude to us! Not once!
Let me break it down.

Room:
Our room was amazing! It wasn't any suite or presidential room but it was still a fairly nice room! 1 king sized bed with an OCEANVIEW! It was gorgeous, to wake up every morning and look out your balcony to see crystal blue water..amazing. Everything is very clean in our room, nicely renovated and up to date. Our maids came every single day to clean our room and make our beds. We asked for an extra blanket because the AC was THAT good and it was not a problem at all. Didn't have to wait long, it was almost instant. Washrooms were very clean, they changed our towels every day and they swept our balconys every day as well! The bed was very comfortable along with the pillows (unlike Cuba!). Overall, our room was great. No complaints whatsoever.

Pool/Bars:
Since it was an all inclusive resort, everyone is up at the bar waiting to get a drink! The cafe bar next to the pool was always packed but there's always alternate bars to go to! Our first night there, we made friends with one bartender by the beach and he took care of us ever since. Whether we were in the restaurant or just strolling by, he made sure we got what we wanted and fast! The pool was very nice and big. Unfortunately, we didn't go in the pool too much because the period that we went was a bit chilly. OBVIOUSLY, you can't go blaming to resort for the weather but you'd know as well as I do that SOME PEOPLE will blame everything on the resort. Regardless, whenever we did jump in the pool it was nice and clean! NO COMPLAINTS!

Restaurant:
There were 2 a la carte restaurants and 1 main buffet. The 2 a la cartes were alright. People say that DR food is a lot better than Cuba but it could go either way. The food was very much similar to Cuba but we didn't go into this expecting a Chef Ramsay experience. Once again, picky people would!
Michelangelo's was the italian restaurant. My boyfriend ordered the chicken whereas I ordered the fish. GET THE FISH. The set up was very nice, the waiters were very quick and nice as well. Overall, experience was great! The food was alright.
Eden's Grill was the other a la carte and it was very good! We got the beef skewers and the chicken. The chicken was delicious! If you're one that is picky about your beef, I'd say stick with the chicken. Both dishes were very flavourful and BIG portions!
Lastly is the buffet. I'd agree that the food gets repetitive but there would try and spice things up here and there. The breakfast was sooooo good! The "ham" was sooo yummy! The scrambled eggs were a bit runny so try and go to the grill to get them to do it for you. Lunch and dinner were fairly similar. The good wasn't spectacular but still edible! No complaints once again.
They like to celebrate christmas on the 24th so there was a big dinner gala. They jazzed up the place and the food was plentiful! It was VERY delicious that night!

Beach:
The beach was very clean! I would wake up in the mornings and see the workers coming by with a tractor raking up the seaweed. The water was very nice as well! Whenever the sun comes out, it was absolutely gorgeous and very relaxing. Do be careful of the people trying to sell excursions to you. I'd highly recommend you book with your travel providers. For example, we came with Nolitours. The beach vendors may be a little pushy BUT if any one every gets a chance to meet Angel (or Angelo), PLEASE TELL HIM HIS FRIENDS FROM TORONTO SAY HI!! He was the nicest vendor ever. He sells those lava stones or soft stone statues. He was very different from the rest. He would not sell you anything until you become his friend! He was honestly one of the nicest guys we've ever met. His views of life and his future goals were just heart warming. He dreams of getting a visa to come and work in Canada as we really hope the best for him. Remember guys, he calls himself Angel, the one that sells lava stone and soft stone statues and he likes to wear a black hat that says "CANADA". Moving on, be careful of the coconut guys! One time, the guy just cracked open a coconut and made our friend pay for it even though she didn't want it.

Service and hotel ..stuff?
Like I said before, the service was not bad! I don't understand what people complained about. There was a gift shop within the resort but it was rather pricey...try and take a 2 minute walk outside the resort and go to the plaza! Everything is SO much cheaper there! SO MUCH CHEAPER!!! There's also a casino in the resort and it really wasn't too bad. My boyfriend and I would just sit at the 3 card poker table or black jack. The waitress in there was very nice and would come up almost instantly to ask if you'd like a drink. There's always a show during the day and at night time. They were okay...I think Cuba's was a bit better..but that's just my opinion! Maybe because Cuba's entertainment staff consisted of a lot more people.
When my boyfriend would be walking around the resort, the staff there was so friendly. They'd actually ask how you're doing, where you're from, how you're like it...etc. Yes, they actually take the time to get to know you!
There was a pool table above the cafe bar/pool and a jitz table. It was pretty packed but not intimidating to the point where you wouldn't want to go.
My boyfriend and I never went to the club/disco. We actually heard that it wasn't very fun but everyone's description of fun may be different. You could go to the club at the plaza but don't forget that you'd have to pay for your own drinks then.
Sadly, we didn't notice the Pizza Hut in the plaza until the day we were leaving...so for those picky individuals who find the food in the resort disgusting, go to pizza hut!

Excursions:
IF YOU HAVE THE CHANCE, GO TO MONKEY JUNGLE (ziplining) AND OCEAN WORLD! We did the dolphin swim at ocean world and it was worth every penny! Along with monkey jungle, view and experience left us speechless. We heard "Paradise Island" was also breath taking so if you have the extra cash, we'd highly recommend to do excursions!!!

Overall, we were very pleased with the resort and everything they had to offer. From the staff to the beach, we found it simply delightful. Keep in mind that there really are people that like to complain about everything. We personally found this resort really pleasing. If you're looking for extravagance, go book a 5 star resort.

I've said my peace, I hope whoever is planning on going has a blast like we did!
(SUPER thumbs up)

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank crinski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2011

Can I just say anyone on this website who thinks this is a good hotel, must never have been at any other tropical resort before, I have stayed at 3*, 4*, 5*, and let me tell you never have ever had any experiences at any other hotel like I did at this one, I would have to say, this one beats out the Fun Royal, Fun Tropical for the worst one I have ever been to. Here are the only good things in my opinion at this hotel, the beach,and the nightly entertainment, thats it!
Well here goes my review... We go to check in and we payed for ocean view, and they tell us that there is no oceanview rooms that have 2 beds, none in the whole resort, so of course,I had to, accept a gardenview room, 75$ cheaper than what I payed for. It wasen't ready so we grabbed a bite to eat, went back and they gave me the room key, went to the room, well it was the oceanview with 1 bed, had to go back, and tell them I needed 2 beds, finally after doing this 3 times, got our room, not too bad, not too great, the beds were ok . Later, come to find out there is no remote for the tv, had to go to the office to get one, ok. Go to dinner, I'm thinking where is the silverwear, glasses, napkins? Well, what you have to do is go to other tables and grab them, because you will not ever have any silverwear if you don't! Everyday, we had to do this, and everyday, I had to go to the bathroom and grab papertowels so we could have a napkin! No one comes around to take drink orders, or anything, always had to steal a glass from another table and go to the water cooler (big orange coolers like the kind you had as a kid on the stands when you played baseball), and fill it. Coffee, well lets just say if you tip the cannister you can at least get the bottom of the barrel! Saturday night was the only day when the buffet was pretty good, first time ever at any resort, that I went to a resort and actually found myself hungry after I ate because there really wasen't much to eat, and their really was no service in the dining room at all, I came prepared to tip, as I always do, but no one ever helped me or took my drink order. We had hot water, twice, didn't matter what time of the day. Our toilet basically sounded like it was screaming at you when you flushed it, and the air would make a loud pop sound evertime it turned on! lol, OMG! They never put wet floor signs when they washed the floors in the halls and stairs. Anyway, when it came time to check out, they said that I had to bring the remote control back, and I said ok, (strange rule, by the way), but I said why didn't anyone tell me this? She said "we did". I'm pretty sure I would remember something, strange like that! Another thing I have to say is those guys that sell the timeshares or whatever, in the yellow shirts, it would be nice if they would't spit constantly in the sand, it's kind of gross to see them doing that, all the time!! Anyway that is my story, and I can tell you it was a different experience that ihave ever had at any resort, this place better shape up, or it will be one of those other resorts in the playa dorada complex that closes down, who would have thought, that would think Fun Royal, would be better than this place? Very dissapointed, with Grand Paradise, and I'm pretty sure after 4 times to Puerto Plata, I'm done with it too. The best resort that I went to in Puerto Plata, is still the Riu Merengue, even though the beach isen't good there, they treat you right, and it is rated a 4*, like Grand Paradise, what a joke! If you go to Grand Paradise, and you actually like it, then you have never been to a real resort, sorry just my opinion!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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1  Thank shilee3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2011

We just got back from the Grand Paradise, and you get what you pay for. I traveled there with my husband and two teenage boys. The flight times were terrible arriving to the hotel after 11pm!

Check in - fast and courteous. We booked adjoing rooms on the first floor of building 9 and we got what we requested. However, I had to call the hotel twice to confirm that the rooms were on the first floor in building 9. If you have a handicap and stairs are not your thing, then book in advace your room selection.

Rooms - overlooking the beach with amazing views. The main room was a suite with a kitchenett with a mini bar fridge. The fridge with two cokes, sprite and a gallon of water. The fridge was restocked each day. There was a beautiful spacious living room, balcony, and a king size bed in the bedroom. The bathroom was very spacious also. The adjoing room had just a bedroom kitchenett with a mini bar fridge and a small bathroom. Both the rooms were furnished beautifully and were clean. Remember to tip the housekeeping everyday, to make sure you get all your towels. We never saw a bug in our room. The beds were comfortable but the walls are thin you can hear people in the hall ways at night.

Cold showers - yes you will have a cold shower if you shower first thing in the morning as everyone else, and then around 5pm when everyone gets off the beach. I got around cold showers by leaving at 4pm. Remember this is a large resort and they have small hot water tanks.

Food - I am a very picky eater and a vegetarian. Breakfasts are the best with good selection and fresh fruits. Lunch and dinners we went to the buffet resturant and by mid week the meals actually got better. There is always a good selection. The al la carte resturants only tried the grill and the food was really bad. Worst comes to worst there is a Pizza hut in the plaza and Hemingways a pub/bar. The last night was apparently gala night at the buffet, where they had sushi, grilled shrimps, steaks etc. The food was really good!

Beach - beautiful. My only wish was that the water was warmer! The vendors will leave you alone if you say no.

Pool - didn't use it, heard that the water was also cold.

Entertainment - they really try! Disco was good in the beginning then the DJ changes the music, time to leave! Shows only went to one and it was ok.

Staff - if you are nice to them they will be nice back as anywhere in the world. Alan the bartender at Sinners bar is just amazing, go and watch his clip on youtube. The hotel was at capacity, and durning peak season just remember that you will have to wait around for tables to be cleared and for drinks. Be patient you are only on holiday!

Overall, this is a 3 star so don't go expecting 5 star. You are going for the beach and sun, so enjoy that. It was cool at night so ladies and gents try and bring some warm clothing if it is cool the week you go. No one got sick even from eating salads. Just dont drink the water from the taps.

Nolitours reps were really helpful, especially Alexandria. Thank you to her for helping me out.

Relax and enjoy that is what you are there for!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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Thank taxqueen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 January 2011

Food okay...service terrible. Not enough staff for amount of people staying at resort. Cockroaches in the room...cold showers. Beautiful beach. Don't pay big bucks...okay for a 3 star!

  • Stayed: January 2011, travelled with family
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Thank MacDonald6family
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 January 2011

I've been there the last week of December with my wife and another couple.
Our room was on the third floor facing the tennis court and another resort, pretty quiet. Our friends' room was on the first floor facing the central area where at night there was show, not quiet at all!
They don't have an appropiate place for the shows.
The facilities were renovated in 2008, they are nice and clean.

We had very bad experience with the buffet and restaurant services. We aren't picky people, I don't care if I have to go for beverage, coffee, water, etc. Almost every day we have to go and get glasses, napkins and the most valuable tool "dessert spoon." I don't remember how many times we had to share the spoon with my wife.
Several times we have to go and ask the service guys to refill the coffee and hot water containers.
The service people weren't friendly at all aswering questions.
The shows ................ very poor!
In my opinion, the company Ahmsa Marina should review all this stuff and improve if they want to keep on giving the service at Grand Paradise Playa Dorada.

  • Stayed: December 2010
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2  Thank FlaccoCourtice_ON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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