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“Great Beach... Average All-Inclusive”

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Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo
Ranked #2 of 35 Hotels in Las Terrenas
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 July 2010

After traveling to the D.R.'s all-inclusive for over 10 years I can say this is a good 3-star all-inclusive sold with a 5-star rating. Surely the lobby is spectacular and the rooms (we stayed in a Jr Suite part of the Golden Club) were big and the bathroom was very nice, BUT the linens and towels were the kind you'd find at an average 3-star hotel anywhere. I mean the towels were all kinds of towels... ranging from grayish to whitish. Golden Club offers nothing extraordinary out of helping with specialty restaurant reservations and having free computers with Internet. It's not like the Club at Barcelo in Puerto Plata where you have an exclusive area for breakfast/lunch and a private jacuzzi.
Staff at El Portillo need better people-skills and realize that NOT all travelers are European. Food was good but repetitive... excellent Pastry Chef... though... 5-star Armando. Gym facilities were so-so, night show was below average, during the day activities were also below average. Spectacular beaches, great for families with children or just trying to relax. Spa was extremely overpriced so are the shops inside hotel.... I mean $25US for a small Coppertone suntan lotion.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled with family
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2  Thank magvel004
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 1 July 2010

My wife and I have stayed here 5 times over the past 3 years. Some of the visits were with friends and some just my wife and I. This last visit I noticed the room, though clean, needed painting. The door would not shut properly and we had to wegde a towel in it to keep bugs out. The hardware for the chain on the dorr side was missing, but the deadbolt worked. No clock or pad and pen in the room. The grill in the bathroom was on the floor, so I put it back in the wall. There were stains in the tub and the floor, but I coudln't get them up with just water.The remote control for the TV was missing the back, so the batteries kept falling out whenever it was handled. We had about 12 TV stations, with only 1 in English. I had a technician come by to reprogram the TV but he said it was a Cable/Sat problem. Our last day we had lots of TV Stations with a number of them in English. There were a couple of dogs on the beach and one was in the lobby and reception area. No one seemd to care. The food was the same as always, below average and mostly not warm side. The people were great and the service was good. Augustine at the pool bar is always very nice and helpful. I did notice that except for Augustine, we did not know any of the other folks and after 5 visits you get to know them a little. Oh the entertainment folks were seldom seen. Not sure there were any real activities during the day by the entertainers. I would go again only for the beach and views during the drive from POP. In general I think this resort is on the decline and my be under new managment.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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Thank drbutch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2010

My wife and I vacationed from March 22-29 in Dominican Republic, Samana, in Grand Bahia Principle el Partillo. We bought our packages through the NoliTour company. The place we visited was very nice, good food and hard working people. At the beginning, everything was going well, however it was small things which give us some inconvenience and discomfort. First night, the safe wasn’t closing, and we had the maintenance guy come fix it. On the second day, we noticed that the door to the balcony had broken lock (we were accommodated on the main floor), and instead of going to an evening show, we spent two hours waiting for the door to be fixed. Not mentioning the broken seat on the toilet, leaking hose in the shower and bathtub, and stray dogs roaring and pooping on the beach. I wouldn’t even mention this, and think that these are small things in comparison to what happened to us on the fourth day of our trip. We discovered a large brown cockroach in our bathroom. My wife tried to kill it without success. Next morning I went to the front desk and explained the situation. I was told that they will treat the room with chemicals, and let us know about the completion of the treatment. Next day we finally caught the cockroach. Another cockroach was lucky enough to escape. Next morning I went to a customer relations manager Benoit Lebrun, and showed him the killed cockroach. He told me that cockroaches are a common thing in Dominican Republic, and they will repeat the chemical treatment in our room. I was very surprised that they have done the fumigation the day before without informing us about time of this treatment, knowing that after this process it is not recommended to enter the room in the next 3-5 hours as recommended by Health and Safety Regulations, since the chemicals used are harmful for humans. I was very concerned about this and asked the manager to at least leave a note about the next treatment, so we don’t enter the room for 3-5 hours to avoid the chemicals. I have received no apologies from the manager, since he believed that the cockroaches are normal, and treatments are not harmful for health. In my opinion, cockroaches may be a common thing to Dominican Republic, but it is unacceptable for a 4.5 star hotel, which I mentioned to him. Cockroach we showed him, was the domesticated kind, not the one that lives in the wild. As is previous day, there was no warning note left after the chemical treatment. I went to see the manager again, and told him I will write a complaint to NoliTour representative. He told me that I have the right to complaint. After I realized that the manager was useless, I went to NoliTour representative Marie Paule Levac, and told her everything I said to the Benoit Lebrun. Marie listened to me very carefully and said she will write a report to the general manager of the hotel, and NoliTour.

On last day of my stay before departure, I approached Marie for a copy of the report. She told me that it is against the company policy to provide vacationers with the copy of the report. From my understanding, I believed that in that case NoliTour will contact me after the incident. It is already 25th of April, and nobody has gotten back to me. I believe that the NoliTour representative at the hotel either forgot to write up the report, or NoliTour does not care about customers and their feedback.



RESPONSE FROM NOLITOURS

This being said, we were concerned to learn that you and ***** were not entirely satisfied with their stay at the Grand Bahia Principe EL Portillo due to the elements described in your correspondence. Our goal is to provide clients with the best possible service in every aspect of their journey. For this reason, our products are selected with extreme care and the suppliers with whom we collaborate are amongst the most reputable in the travel industry. Regrettably, although we do out utmost to avoid any unnecessary mishaps and to foresee and prevent any possible complications with our holiday products, this is not always possible as the suppliers we feature are independantly owned and operated.

Allow us to mention that the resort has consistently proven to be in accordance with its category and description and is well appreciated by our clientele. We would like to mention that insects are commonly found in tropical destinations and can understandably be an annoying situation for visitors. However, insect life virtually thrives in tropical climates and makes no distinction between budget or higher priced hotel accommodations. The hotel management maintains a vigorous program of maintenance and they fumigate on a regular basis. However, we must inform you it may be difficult to completely eliminate the proliferation of insects. Please accept our appologies once again for any discontent you experienced. Your concerns are very important to us and we rely on your feedback as an important means to help us improve our products and services.

I wouldnt recommend this hotel because of poor management and inability of nolitours to address all above mentioned issues.

Stayed: March 2010, travelled as a couple
1  Thank nestormahno
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2010

Been at the Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo between the 1st and 8th of June, although it's a nice hotel it has a few points that should be improved ASAP.

The Location:
El Portillo is at about 30-45 minutes (by bus) of Samana city centre, and it's in a very isolated area. Besides the hotel and eventual trips that you decide to take (all quite expensive) you don't have any chance for outside entertainment. Even if you just want to take a walk, you can only do it on the hotel grounds or on the beach.

The rooms:
The rooms are large and spacious, with AC and ceiling fan. There's a minibar available with beer, water and sodas. The room is cleaned and it's towels and sheets changed everyday.

The food:
The food isn't that bad at the buffet restaurant though it tends to be a bit repetitive after a few days. The breakfast is good, the lunch and dinner OK. The "à la carte" restaurants on the other hand are just plain bad. In the Oriental restaurant, I've ordered duck and what really was served was chicken. I would also like to warn you about the beach snack-bar. It's basically a thatched hut where food is left hours outdoors in temperatures above 35 º C. We only tried it once and it was more than enough.

The beach:
What's the Caribbeans without the beach? The best feature of "El Portillo" is it's wonderful beach, with golden sand and turquoise sea. Definitely a plus. If you came early it's easy to find empty sunbeds and parasols.

The pool:
Very small. Not up to the traditional Caribbean standard.

The entertainment:
Hardly any. The daytime activities are dull and pretty much the same trough the entire week, and they take place in the high hours of heat. You may however ask for 1 hour of snorkeling or kayaking equipment. The night entertainment is even worse, very bad shows, and a depressing "piano" in the bar. The entertainment clearly wasn't thought for anyone below 60.

The staff:
In general very helpful, especially Augustin and Alberto at the pool bar.

Conclusion:
I have mixed feelings about this hotel/location. If you're a young couple or a group of young friends it's probably better to find something in the Punta Cana/Bavaro area. That being said I understand that Samana, and specially El Portillo might be appealing to a older crowd, or someone looking for a week of total relaxation. If you have very deep pockets you might also spend a big part of your stay on the trips offered witch might make you trip less boring.

  • Stayed: June 2010, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Diltiazem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 June 2010

Food - 8/10 Buffets were great, ala cartes OK
Room - 7/10 Standard room, clean and fairly modern. A/C not that cold
Beach - 9/10 Nice sand, snorkeling right off beach was excellent

Air Canada vacation. 20 minutes max to get through airport to van.Interesting van ride to resort (over large rolling hills) approx 1 hr.. Very good value. 4 star resort for 3 star price.
Horseback Trip to El Limon (waterfalls deep in the jungle) very cool, but only for the adventurous.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank Doug L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

Address: Crta. las Terrenas - El Limon, km 4, Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic (Formerly El Portillo Beach Resort)
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > Samana Province > Las Terrenas
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Las Terrenas
#2 Spa Hotel in Las Terrenas
#3 Family Hotel in Las Terrenas
#6 Romantic Hotel in Las Terrenas
Price Range: $159 - $496 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo 3.5*
Number of rooms: 606
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services: 2 pools Jacuzzi Sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas Pool and beach towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, tennis court, basketball court, volleyball net on the beach Water activity and scuba diving centre WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Entertainment theatre Main buffet restaurant and 4 a la carte restaurants 8 Bars Snack-bar Pueblo Principe: local craft stores, live music, shows, bars and disco. Rooms 582 rooms including 4 types: Standard, Club Golden Junior Suite, Junior Suite and Family Suite. Junior Suites are larger than Standard rooms. Room facilities: King size bed or 2 full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub, shower, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Air conditioning Ceiling fan Terrace or balcony Telephone Radio alarm clock Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (with additional charge) WiFi (additional charge) Ironing set (available on request) Superior Junior Suite: balcony or terrace, sitting area with sofa-bed, ironing set, coffee-making facilities, private guest service phone line, umbrella, VIP amenities. Club Golden and Club Hacienda Junior suites (See page 18 Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Children's pool Mini Club with daytime activities Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scout Water park Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Bus stop opposite the hotel Personalised diets on request and subject to circumstances Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe El Portillo Hotel Las Terrenas
El Portillo Beach Resort
Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic - Samana

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