Travel operator: FIRST CHOICE
Hotel - Absolutely brilliliant hotel, massive complex, however this wasn't a problem as there where regular shuttle 'trains' going from one end of the complex to the other. Definately enough room for all the guests!!
Staff - Very helpful, however the maid service do not speak English, not a problem though as we never had to complain. I was in a room with my Sister & Best Mate, and us teenage girls where very messy, bonus was that our maid so kindly tidied our room for us!! Never expected that and after she did it twice we made sure we left it tidy and tipped her well at the end of the two weeks!!
Food - Brilliant!! Not one complaint, was always plenty at the buffet and it was sooo nice and tasty!! Missed it when i came home!!
Entertainment - Was beyond brilliant!! The Michael Jackson show is a must see!!! I'm assuming it will be very busy now considering circumstances!! Make sure you get there early for the likes of Michael Jackson, Musical Legends and the Circus shows as it fills up extremely quickly! There is childrens entertainment on before main shows, but these are in Spanish. The Lion King was good though, would recommend it for children!!
Pools - One pool was only for gold banded guests ( i forget what they are called!!) but this wasn't a problem at all as the other two pools are more than enough! Pools were always boiling due to the hot hot hot sun, however i thought this was nice and soothing as getting into a cold pool can sometimes take your breath away!! The swim-up pool-bars were fabulous and always had lots of people sitting at them chatting with the bar tenders!!
Beach - White sands, blue seas. Couldnt ask for a nicer beach to be honest! The beach is always busy but not annoyingly so. Lo9ved the lazy days i spent all holiday doing nothing! I recomend sitting closer to the sea and definately get a bed with an umbrella as the sun gets too hot, breeze closer to the sea helps :).
Rooms - Gorgeous! Definately five star worthy. Always clean and very spacious. TV works aswell everyone, you just have to search the channels for the english ones. I spent one stormy day watching One Tree Hill and a number of films.
Excursions - BOOK THE CARRIBBEAN FESTIVAL!!! Best excursion i have ever been on. Swam with sharks and stingrays and had such an amazing party on the boat!! Loved it! I would also definately book Scuba Diving. Worth every penny. You do your training in the hotel pool at 8 am then go out on the boat. Such an amazing experience i cannot wait to do it again and get my PADI diving certifications. Safari - Do itt!!! Swam in a random lake, seen inside typical house in domini9can republic and had a laugh. Was so much fun!
Overall - Yes i have rambled on for so long so i will leave you with this. Wonderful holiday. Although there weren't many Engliush guests it wasn't a problem as there is so much to do you make your own fun!! I would definately go again and recommend it to you all!!
Travel operator: First Choice/Thompson
The pool on the beach was very busy and noisy however the pool by our room was really good, complex block 15.
However if your unlucky as we were you get put in block 32 (next to the building site-new complex for couples at gbp)we were lucky it was a changeover day and got moved
Not much for kids to do, no real entertainment team and no games rooms although crazy golf was good.
Bus takes you from one end of hotel to other which is a
good service although complex itself is too vast.
Didn't find the staff over friendly unlike the Cubans other than Elva on reception.
Maybe not a bad place for couples but still too busy and only really just about warrants being a 4 star at best.
Travel operator: 1st choice
Even that the hotel is huge we didn
Travel operator: First Choice
Flew out to Punta Cana mid February for two weeks.
On arrival at the airport we were pleasantly surprised by the speed we got thru' Immigration altho' we had quite a long wait for our suitcases. First moan, the usual problem with "porters" - we found a trolley but were prevented from taking it out of the airport to the car park by a group of porters with their own trolleys.
I refused to be blackmailed on principle and was proved right when we only had about 50m to walk to the coach.
Once on the coach we had a relatively painless journey to the GBP Punta Cana with check in being carried out on the bus (there was however a confusion over another party with the same surname which came back to haunt us later).
No issues on arrival, porter was ready and waiting to transport us and our suitcases straight to our room - 12301 - located conveniently near to the pool, with a balcony looking out over the wilderness area between GBP & the neighbouring RUI complex.
The following morning we had a pleasant walk back to the reception area for breakfast and our Reps meeting (the Rep for First Choice was really on the ball and the meeting was much snappier and entertaining than normal!)
I then organised a room safe - bit surprised that I had to pay up front (GBP Mayan only wanted paying at the end of the holiday) - but well worth having.
Whilst at Reception noticed loads of offers to upgrade to another hotel for free for periods of up to 5 days - we decided to investigate further with a view to maybe looking at another part of the DR but (unfortunately) we decided to sleep on it!
The following day we went back to try to arrange an upgrade with Guest Services but unfortunately the only offers still available were for 1 night only - however as the upgrade to GBP Cayo Levantado included a free whale watching trip we decided to go for it!
We actually had to check out and put any luggage that we didn't want to take into a "secure" storage area, which wasn't as anyone could walk in when the porters had it open!I will review this trip under the GBP Cayo Levantado review section.
On our return to Punta Cana we were given a complimentary upgrade to the Amber section - again the porter was on the ball getting us and our luggage across to our new room - 62201, nicely positioned between the beach and the main bar/buffet areas.
The room was a little musty due to a problem they had obviously had with water leaking from the balcony above which had resulted in some of the ceiling paint peeling off but we decided we could live with it.
I went to use the "complimentary" room safe but couldn't get it to work. Now, my second moan, it apparently needed a small key to activate the touch pad electronics which we should have been given on our second check in but hadn't.
I spent about 3 hours and several journeys on the site trams travelling between the Amber reception and the main reception at Punta Cana trying to get this key, both sets of Reception staff denying responsibility and fobbing me off. They even wanted a second lot of money! Finally got it sorted when a "manager" got involved.
At the end of the first week we got back from the beach to find that our room keys weren't working - the maid had to let us in. Went to reception who looked puzzled but just reactivated the keys for our actual leaving date.
The following morning we found a note pushed under our door asking me to contact the Reception manager urgently about our departure arrangements - again a couple of tram rides ensued before I saw the Main Reception manager who explained that the confusion over surnames on the original bus ride from the airport, had led to us only being booked in for a WEEK! but he quickly resolved the issue.
At the end of the two weeks departure was painless - porters were well organised and got us back to the pick up point and the coach journey and check in were smooth prior to a good flight back to the UK; Only issue was a non working toilet on our side of the aircraft which meant a long detour from our seats.
Now to specifics:
FOOD - Buffet at Punta Cana was OK but the buffet at the Amber was distinctly better particularly the freshly cooked fish and meats area and the sweets were to die for!
A LA CARTE - We visited 5 a la cartes over the 2 weeks.
Best we tried was the fish restaurant,El Pescador, my wife really enjoyed that one. Excellent food and service.
El Charro (Mexican) was also very good with some excellent fajitas, and entertaining staff.
The Italian, Porto Fino, was also very good although we felt that we were rushed thru a bit.
The worst of the a la cartes we visited was the Garden Grill, simply because the steak I had was very tough, although the service was excellent and my wife was happy with her "Shrimp kebab".
SNACK BARS - Generally OK for breakfast/lunch - very crowded before 1:30pm but much better after 2:00pm
BARS - We found generally excellent service at all the bars, whether you waved a $$ bill or not; the main bar at the Punta Cana was our favourite. You sometimes had to wait at the pool bars particularly the second week when it was extremely busy.
Definitely worth taking insulated mugs as it reduced the number or trips needed to the bar!
POOLS - Clean but extremely crowded - the second week people were "reserving " sunbeds with shades before it was even light - we didn't spend much time by the pools usually only after 4:00pm.
BEACH - Beautiful golden sand BUT very crowded - all sun loungers with shade gone by 10:00am and very difficult to get beds after 11:00am.
SEA - Clean - some weed made worse by the wind we experienced most of the 2 weeks; lovely to swim in, shelving quite rapidly; snorkeling from the beach non-existent - apparently anything of a decent size is taken by the spear fishermen.
WEATHER - Rained quite heavily the first two days in the morning but otherwise not much rain. Wind was blowing quite strongly some days which kept you cool on the beach but made the danger of sunburn very real. Also had some cloudy days, particularly a couple of afternoons.
In conclusion, had a good holiday but wouldn't go back to this hotel/region because of the sheer number of people.
Travel operator: Eclipse Direct(First Choice)
We went A/I and despite the food scare at another Bahia resort in the news when we returned, i can say this is the best A/I food we have had. the standard was first class and the choice was excellent.
The Hotel is very well kept with the staff working really hard to please, they really do apprecaite the odd coke when they are doing the gardens etc. they are not pushy for tips which we found very refreshing you only give if or when you want to.
the hotel is situated on a massive complex which you share with the Grand Bahia Principe "bavaro"...both sides of the complex mirror each other in everything even buffett resturant lay out ..so if you stop "one side" or the other its exactly the same.
A small train takes you around the complex which is very easy to catch. A couple of things to bear in mind...
The English are the minority...ie a lot of mexicans canadians etc and the complex is therefore more geared around the spanish speaking, which if you apprecaite before you go is no problem what so ever -I just wish that i had learnt spanish at school!
The rooms as detailed before are large and spacious with an "american size " bed..ie a very large double and the minibar is stocked with coke fanta beer etc (no spirits) a dollar tip will see your fridge stocked with more diet pepsi that fanata , more beer etc.
Everyone wears the obligatory wrist band...here is the only "criticism" i would make ...the Silver/Gold people ..ie upgrade get the inclusive use of particular pools...and security strictly monitor this (much to my wifes annoyance) but those guests can use anyones pool on the site ...no one told us this before we arrived and it was never made clear by First choice ...however sunbeds at the "standard" pool were never an issue (albeit drop your towel-hotel supplied- on your sunbed as you stroll to breakfast...if you try to find a bed about 11am having not done this then you struggle -as we found before following suit )
there are x2 pools the standard guest can use...these are plenty big enough with excellent small "safe "pools for small children (guard railed off)
the beach is at the bottom of the resort very clean loads of sunbeds available, white sand ,very warm sea, and you look out over a shipwrecked tanker (go and see what i mean!!) Palm trees etc and no hassle from the local beach traders, they just plonk themselves on a lounger and you go to them if you want to !
another tip is if you turn RIGHT at the beach(having come off the complex) visit the RUI groups shop complex which offers a bit more choice than the Punta cana "square" eg chemists supermarket type shops etc
My other major tip is that you can book the "alacarte" resturanst when you land as a standard guest ..you can go x6 times...book these with the hotel "guest services" within your first few days they are very busy and get booked up quickly but well worth the visit and make a break from the buffett resturant...by the way Gents...x3 quarter trousers + t shirts are perfectly acceptable in the buffet resturant in the evening ...despite what the brochure etc may say
Entertainment is what you would expect a reasonable standard that is repeated second week but never the less worth the effort to watch ..the team out there really do try v v hard and it shows by the standard of the shows.
in terms of the "rep" on site at the hotel, Helen (first choice) now has her home in the Dominican, speaks spanish and is very switched on..i would recommend going to her with any concerns ASAP and they are soon sorted
i do read holiday reports before i book on this site (much to my wifes frustration) so i have been objective as possible for you, so would i go again -yes
Would i recommend the Hotel to you - Yes,
Do i think it was worth it ie monetary value - yes !
In summary well worth a visit, has the edge on the RUI group in bavaro and offers great value for money...just be aware that it is very very hot...i still burnt with factor 50 and im used to the sun !
Travel operator: first Choice
Travel operator: first choice
Travel operator: Sunwing
The guest rooms are in low rise blocks no more than three stories high which helps with the feel of space. Also the rooms themselves are massive and you get a whirlpool bath in each.
The pools are modern and all have swim up bars - 4 in total. Also you are able to lay in the shallows as they gently slope. You will need to as the sun is very hot. We were burning with factor 25 on.
The food was the best I've had on an AI holiday in terms of freshness and choice. The resort was clean and the staff were always pleased to help.
Friends of ours were staying at the Riu Palace Macau so I am able to make a direct comparison between the two hotels.
Thomson were charging around
Travel operator: Direct Holidays
The cleanliness of the whole site was outstanding,even the beach always had someone walking up and down checking for rubbish.
The food in the buffet restaurants was always brilliant, the restaurant was always clean.
The location of the hotel was abit out of the way but you needn't worry because there is plenty to do on the resort especially if you like sun bathing.
The staff hardly speak English but they try very hard to make you feel welcome.
The entertainment was very impressive because most of it is done by the staff that work during the day at the pool bars and restaurants, don't know how they find the time to do it.
All in all we would definately go back to the Gran Bahia principe.
Travel operator: airtours
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