No free in-room Wi-Fi (free Wi-Fi in the lobby is on a daily time limit)
With plenty of on-site activities, above-average all-inclusive food, and extremely reasonable rates, the Bahia Principe offers a good value for budget-conscious travelers. Rooms are bland, there’s no free Wi-Fi, and the remote location takes an hour to reach from the airport; most guests, however, feel that the large, private beach, the four pools, and the unlimited bottom-shelf liquor make overlooking the negatives easy enough.
Though collegiate partiers flock to the resort during peak season (particularly spring break), the Bahia Principe attracts plenty of families and couples as well. The young crowd can get a bit rowdy at times, but generally the resort is relatively calm, with plenty of space on the beach and at the pools.
Overall, the facilities are in need of an update; common areas show some wear and tear, and dated rooms -- with tube TVs and no Wi-Fi -- are certainly in need of renovations. The grounds, however, are lush and well-maintained, and the property size is manageable. Nonetheless, a free resort shuttle is available.
In a remote area between Puerto Plata and the Samana Peninsula
The Bahia Principe is located in a remote area on the D.R.'s north coast, between Puerto Plata and the Samana Peninsula; it is the only resort for miles. It sits off a two-lane highway and is surrounded by countryside; reaching any town of significance can take nearly an hour, and almost all guests choose to simply remain on the resort’s grounds throughout their stays.
The Puerto Plata airport is a pricey one-hour cab ride away.
Rooms at the Bahia Principe have not been updated for some time and it shows; decor features typical (read: cheesy) tropical accents such palm tree emblazoned light fixtures, floral curtains, and wicker furniture. There’s no free Wi-Fi and tube TVs are tiny. The upside is that rooms are spacious -- and all feature private patios or balconies. Mini-fridges are stocked daily with bottled water, sodas, and beer, and each room has a coffeemaker, a safe, and robes in the closet.
The large, white-sand beach is private and therefore rarely crowded.
The long list of on-site features makes the Bahia Principe a solid value for budget travelers. The private, white-sand beach is the highlight. Spring breakers, couples, and families can be found on the sand -- either relaxing on one of the many lounge chairs, playing beach volleyball, or enjoying activities such as snorkeling and kayaking. While these non-motorized water sports are free, guests are limited to one hour of use daily.
The resort also features several pools, including one main pool with a swim-up bar and ocean views, and two children’s pools. Families may also appreciate the large kids’ club, complete with daily activities and a playground, and activities such as tennis and dancing lessons. Evening entertainment includes family-friendly shows, as well as a lively nightclub and casino.
The on-site fitness center is simple, with several weight-training and cardio machines, and the spa is also relatively minimal, but nonetheless relaxing. Facilities include tranquil treatment rooms and a thatched-roof hut with whirlpools.
Another noticeable perk is the resort’s all-inclusive food. While the Lifestyle Holidays and Riu properties are more expensive, the food at their restaurants is subpar; food at the Bahia Principe, on the other hand, is above average. Snacks are served all day, and the buffet restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The three a la carte restaurants require reservations and have a more upscale vibe for dinner; there is a Tex-Mex option, as well as an Italian restaurant and a Mediterranean restaurant. Several on-site bars serve bottom-shelf liquor.
The resort is not particularly large, but it offers a free shuttle for guests. Wi-Fi access requires an additional fee, unless you choose to simply rely on the free hour of Wi-Fi provided daily in the lobby.
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