Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators.
Quiet, 400-room resort for couples and low-key families in a remote location with a gardens, and rules like “no loud noises.”,
Located off an empty strip of highway between San Pedro de Macoris and La Romana, this genteel family escape trades in raucous late-night discos for serene, manicured lawns framed by gleaming white trellises, and bushes of tropical flowers. The lobby bar offers afternoon tea service, with silver urns of coffee followed by nightly serenades by the lobby's own piano player.
With a little more than 400 rooms, this is actually one of the smaller Bahia Principe properties -- many of them weigh in at a staggering 700-plus. Some guests are disappointed by the less-impressive entertainment and fewer amenities. But the small size does have its advantages -- it’s quieter.
Couples here enjoy the 2,800-meter-long beach with room for privacy; families benefit from the sizable suites, kid-friendly menus, and early-to-bed hours. For those who believe "resort vacation" shouldn't equal Speedos in the marble lobby in their swim trunks or showing up to white-tablecloth dinners in shorts. At times the rules can seem a little oppressive: "No loud noises" and "don't mess up the cushions in the lobby." Fortunately, the staff members all seem to follow a live-and-let-live policy.at 10 a.m., this hotel is also ideal. A list of rules (mostly observed, occasionally not) prohibit guests from cruising around the
A quiet, isolated location off a quiet strip of highway, a 45-minute, expensive taxi ride from the Santo Domingo airport.
Just off a quiet strip of highway between La Romana and San Pedro de Macoris, Gran Bahia Principe La Romana has nothing around it for miles except for Playa Nueva Romana's construction site and the Cueva de las Maravillas (Cave of Miracles), a cave-rock formation 25 feet under the ground (and a major tourist draw).
Privacy is key at Gran Bahia Principe, and it starts with the beach. The coastline is long -- 2,800 meters -- giving guests an opportunity to stretch out to more secluded areas if they wish.
But there’s a reason the beach here is less developed than the beaches in Punta Cana, or even at other hotels in La Romana. The water is a light green color, and the farther out I ventured I hit more algae and the occasional rock. At the farthest end of the beach, even the shallower water is algae-laden. But the resort does maintain the sands, and I found no trash or litter nearby (or floating in the water, for that matter).
Sizable junior suites (the only room that Gran Bahia Principe offers) give families enough room to spread out on the single king-size or two queen-size beds, or in the separate living-room area, which has a sofa bed. Two adults and two children, or three adults, can be accommodated in each room. Sunny porches separated by white picket fences look out onto the pool or the flowered lawns.
Though the rooms are all the same, for a little more per night, guests can upgrade to "Club Golden Principe" status, which means you can check-in inside a separate, air-conditioned reception area that comes with free Internet access. Club members also get slippers, a bathrobe, and a pool towel in their suites. Room service is also included throughout the day, but the menu only includes snacks like chips and soda; not full entrées.
Gran Bahia has one major pool that branches off into three sections: one section has the swim-up bar, one part overlooks the nearby kiddie pool, and the third (and loudest) part is where water aerobics classes take place every day in the afternoon. Islands of greenery and flowers add a pretty focal point and help separate the sections.
Disney-theme cocktails and children's menus put the focus on the kids.
Most guests retire early, so attendance is pretty low at most evening events. A sizable number of guests do show up for the evening Gran Bahia Principe resorts. For example, the set at Tropicana Theater looks like something you might see at a high school play., which alternates between the usual celebrity impersonations (Michael Jackson, Madonna, etc.) and variety shows with singing and dancing numbers. In general, performances are not up to the same standards as other
After the theater performance, a few couples might walk across the street for outside dancing at the pastel-painted Puebla Principe, Gran Bahia Principe's mini Epcot-like village of shops. The staff attempts to lure guests over with free cocktails and late-night pizzas from Burger Principe (the only snack bar open late night), but most guests by this hour are back to their rooms.
Modern rooms and one of the most mosquito-free resorts in the region.
Housekeeping does an outstanding job. Toilets and tubs are gleaming white, and there isn’t a speck of dust or dirt anywhere. Moldy grout can be a problem at tropical resorts -- but not this one.
Grounds are constantly groomed, and there’re ample staff members to repaint lamps or water bushes. A bug sprayer comes around every night to give all the grounds a good dousing. It's unfortunate when you run into him and his cloud of noxious fumes, but he does keep the mosquitoes away.
Orquidea, the buffet, offers some great extras: imported New Zealand butter cooled over trays of ice; fresh donuts and churros fried in front of guests with sugar-cinnamon and chocolate dipping sauces. I added a side of the buffet's savory eggplant ragout to my plate at every meal. The , however, is less exciting. The romaine lettuce and iceberg looked a bit wilted. Oddly enough, the romaine at was fresh and clean, leading me to wonder if they saved the better quality produce for the à la cartes.
It wasn’t difficult to get reservations at Gran Bahia Principe’s three à la cartes -- although I made sure to book as soon as I arrived. (This is another bonus to Club Golden Principe status -- all à la cartes are booked for members ahead of time.) At El Pescador, the seafood restaurant, they don’t skimp on the buffet -- plenty of crab and ceviche. For entrées, my gratin with flaky red snapper was excellent.
Quality, name-brand liquors like Tanqueray and Bacardi, but only for those who request them.
Tropical cocktails are a little on the sweet side. While I watched bartenders in the morning cut up and blend fresh fruit for the cocktails, it seems like there’s some heavy-handed sugar syrup pouring later in the process. Guests are better off sticking to simple drinks, beer, or the cava and sangria.
One of the only quiet Dominican food, an incredibly long shoreline, and sizable suites with marble bathrooms. The only real downside: Its beach, though large, isn't quite as nice as those in Punta Cana., this remote family and couples escape has 400 rooms, quality