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All reviews main pool snack bar main building a la carte restaurants animation team buffet restaurant jacuzzi pool bacardi island seafood every hour two weeks dominican republic samana town spaghetti first choice per week grand bahia
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Reviewed 7 March 2010

Gran Bahia Principe Cayocoa

Room
Large with cathedral ceiling and a beautiful view down Samana Bay. Large en-suite bathroom with shower and whirlpool bath.
Tip: the shower is only partially enclosed by a glass panel that extends about half-way along the edge of the tub. If you don’t want puddles on the floor, use a folded face cloth to block the water from draining outside the tub.

Service
No complaints, staff worked hard to keep everything clean.

Food and Drink
Buffet was generally good with a wide selection of hot and cold dishes, including vegetarian foods. Fish was plentiful and fresh, and there was a high standard of baked goods and an abundance of fresh tropical fruits. Tip: seek out the freshly squeezed juices, rather than the coloured water in the dispensers.
The Italian restaurant and the Pescador restaurant both serve tasty dishes.
Tip: order a pizza to share; it’s too much for one person. Seafood chowder at the Pescador is worth a try.
Suggestion: we failed to get a booking before 9 pm in the Orchid restaurant. We think it would be better to make it more available by opening it at lunch, as well as at dinner.

Staff
All the staff members we met were very pleasant, helpful and polite.

Minor Hiccups
We had a few
In-room safe would not close and lock. Took about 6 phone calls and several hours wait before a staff member arrived to investigate and finally replace the batteries. Solved the problem, and for our trouble we were not charged for the rental.

Suggestions
It wasn’t always easy to find milk to add to your tea: they should make sure milk is always available.
If you don’t want to walk back from the Pescador restaurant you need to ask the staff to phone for a shuttle to come and collect you. The shuttle takes a while to arrive (20 minutes). We think a simple buzzer you could press to summon the shuttle might reduce the waiting time.

Trips to Town
Tip: If you don’t want to wait for a hotel shuttle to bring you back to the hotel, you can walk along the dirt road to the end of the beach. Perfectly safe, and there are vendors selling handicrafts at reasonable prices.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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7  Thank 2freespiritsToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 March 2010

It's not 5 star, more like 3...
We had a junior suite and got stuck underneath the buffet restaurant. If they give you a room 101-107, refuse to take it. You will not be able to get any rest or sleep in the room due to constant disturbing noises from the restaurant.
Many of the other rooms face the pool (especially floor 1 & 2) where there is constant noise during the day or the bar area which can be quite noisy at nigh.
Restaurants are too crowded. Food is average. A la carte is good but heavily booked.
Beach is very crowded.
Not at all worth the money. Go to Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado instead.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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4  Thank Tozca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2010

Stayed at the hotel from February 15-22 2010. First visit to Dominican Republic. It's one of the best places I have been to. The view from our room ( 502, Golden Club) was spectacular! Overlooking the Samana Bay, we could admire the sunrise every morning. The place was spotless, even the public bathrooms were clean.
We were a little disappointed at first when we saw that we were in the main hotel, most of the people on Transat's Golden Club had a junior suite in a villa in the lower section of the hotel. But when we saw all the stairs between the hotel and the villas, and the view from our room, we decided we had a better spot.
The food was good at the buffet and excellent in the à la carte restaurants. We preferred the Gourmet Restaurant, try the Surf & Turf.
The Golden Club included free internet ( it worked 5 out of 7 days), free in-room safe (only in main hotel rooms), bathrobes and slippers, and beach towels in our room at arrival. Check-in was done on the bus from the airport.
The beach was small but clean, lots of chairs available. Main pool was a busy place, we preferred the beach.
The animators tried very hard to entertain, shows were cute...
Had a great massage at the spa on the only rainy day of our stay.
Only negative thing I can come up with: no water pressure or hot water in the morning for showers or bath ( had a Jacuzzi tub in bathroom, but took forever to fill the tub, and lukewarm water at best). Took to showering at night. Also, when we arrived, we were told to go to the buffet for supper and that our luggage would be put in our room. When we got to our room, our suitcases were left outside our door, for everyone to get into...Nothing was taken though.
I hope to return to this hotel soon!

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank Annie-sur-la-Rouge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 February 2010

Meeting and Convention Planner’s Observations on Caycoa.

As with any property, Cayacoa has many good features and some that could be improved. Hopefully the following will be of help in making your vacation destination decision.

The property is spread over a fairly large area. There is a main building that is very attractive in appearance and is fairly consistent in room types. The style is more traditional. Away from the main building are several smaller sections, some very acceptable and some less so. You may wish to avoid accommodations referred to as Villa Playa (Beach Villages). This area is not up to the standard of the rest of the property. As well you must be part Gazelle to walk from the area to the main building. Rooms that start with 2000 (ie 2011) are not Grand Bahia standard. On the other hand if you are with a group of several families with children this area offers it’s own pool, hot tub, and near by snack bar. Supervision of children would be easier in this area.

In booking this property I would strongly recommend that you book Transat and their Royal Golden Accommodation. The Royal Golden Rooms are away from the main building but are newer and not far away. Royal has several advantages over other Tour Operators. They have a full time rep on property (Genevieve Leclerc) who is very professional and takes care of the needs of the Royal Golden Transat guests. This is not as true with some of the other Tour Operator Reps. In one case the Rep left a binder on a table and told the group that everything they needed to know was in the book. The Rep was never seen again until at the airport where he was meeting an inbound group. It is very clear that Transat have been able to negotiate more benefits for their customers than their competitors.

The beach is not great at this property. It is small and the quality of sand is not great. We experienced a sold out situation and even so we were always able to get chairs and shade. At times it tended to be very loud with but that is a matter of personal taste.

Cayacoa’s strength is the attitude and great service provided by their staff. They are all wonderful and a pleasure to be around. I would compare the level of customer service with almost any other property regardless of price. There is, however, one huge problem with staff. The knowledge of the English language is almost non existent, even for the basics. This makes communication very difficult for all parties. I do not blame the staff for this. This is a Gran Bahia Management problem that should be addressed. If the Management is serious about addressing this problem I would suggest that one hour a week staff training sessions be held, on company time. Staff would progress through several proficiency levels (and have to write an exam to progress to the next level). When an acceptable level is reached the employee is given a certificate and a cash bonus. Currently there appears to be no incentive for the staff to learn English.

Food and beverage is good, that is, not fantastic but very acceptable. Food presentation at the Al La Carte Restaurants is excellent. The main Buffet Restaurant has lots of variety and the Executive Chef is usually visible to ensure things are going well. I have seen some reviews on this property that say that the writer could find nothing good to eat. I find this hard to understand.

Guest services rep, Mr Marcos Ludwin and his assistant do an excellent job is dealing with guest requests and problems. As well their command of the English language is sufficient. Front desk staff are well trained and always pleasant. Property Senior Management is very experienced and professional.

There are some other areas that could be improved. The policy of having to “Rent” the security safe in the room is an aggravation. This should be built into the Tour Operator’s Net pricing. If you are going to charge for internet (for those of us that could not get Royal Golden) then beef it up so wireless can be used from the bedrooms. Having to go to the lobby every time is an aggravation. Room contents seem inconsistent. I was in a Jr. Suite (Rm 126) however there was no radio or clock. Not a big deal but disappointing. Housekeeping is excellent and the rooms are spotless.

Overall Cayacoa is a good property and good value. It may be hard pressed to say it is a 5 or even 4 ½ star property but a good solid 3 1/2. It has the potential but not there currently.

We enjoyed our two weeks here and will return to Toronto well rested, tanned, and ready to face the rest of the winter.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank Duffs66
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2010

Went from the 14th to the 21st of February, with my brother, my mother and a friend, and we had a lovely stay! This is my detailed opinion.

Shopping: You can take the shuttle into town and they drop you off in front of the tourist shops (owned by the hotel) where they have some nice stuff. If you're more adventurous you can go into the local shops, but beware! STAY AWAY FROM THE CIGAR AND LIQUOR SHOP CALLED ALEXANDER!! We got ripped off, charged 25$ US for a bottle of rum that cost 8.75$ US in the hotel-owned tourist shop. He also sold my brother fake cigars. The other local stores we visited were alright, but you have to haggle.
Beware of the guy selling cigars in the hotel as well. My brother bought a box of Monte Cristo No.2 and they were also fake, which was a huge disappointment. The hotel said they would not allow him to sell cigars there anymore, but who knows.

Rooms: They were really nice, with the maids doing a fantastic job of cleaning up! They are very thorough and work very hard. Both rooms had absolutely stunning views and got lots of natural light. There is a safe in every room but you have to pay for it. I think it was 28$ US for the week. Mini bar was stocked daily with 2 big bottles of water, 2 beers, 2 Pepsi, 1 Diet Pepsi, 1 Sprite and 1 Orange Soda.

Food: I was very impressed. Much better than in Cuba. Always lots to choose from in the buffet, with new themes every night. We did the Italian and the Gourmet a-la-carte and I was very impressed. The Italian has the greatest selection and good lamb, but the pepper beef at the gourmet was the best!
The snack bar was convenient and open all day long if you got hungry in between meals and it also has a fully stocked bar.

Bars: A shout out to our favourite bar man, Angel from the lobby bar. This guy loves his job and it shows. He took great care of us all week, always greeting us with a smile and making the most amazing drinks. Ask for the "Angel's special", I'm not sure what is in it but it's very good! The other bartenders were good too, but Angel is the man.

Beach: Yes it is small and sure the sand is not white like in Cuba, but who cares? I had no issues with it. Workers were up early to comb the beach every morning and they did a pretty good job. There was never a lack of sun chairs, even with people going down at 7 or 8 am to claim them with towels. The animation team runs games of archery, darts and beach volleyball, so there's stuff to do if you're into that kind of thing.

Pools: Main pool was great! There is a swim up bar where you can get almost anything and has a good bar staff. The animation team runs games there during the day and do a fabulous job. The water was always lovely, just the right temperature and it was so clean! Lots of shade and sun, depending on what you want. Chairs tend to get claimed fairly early. There is also the smaller pool by the snack bar with 3 whirlpools, which was nice. More chairs there and it was very quiet and clean.

Animation Team: Fantastic! Absolutely amazing! We had a great time with these guys!! They really do work very hard for us. Their days can be as long as 14.5 hours, with some being there until 2am so they definitely deserve a lot of credit for still having the energy to out dance us in the disco at night.
My favourite was Leiny! He's my Dominican husband haha. If you see him, tell him his wife and mother from Canada say hi! He has the most adorable and memorable laugh and you always know where he is because of it. Julio, the new supervisor of animation, is also a riot. Most of them speak pretty good english and a few also speak french which was nice.
The guys are very flirty, so just make sure you let them know if you're not interested in that kind of attention.

Night life: It's not really a party place, but we made our own fun at night in the disco and back in our rooms with our beer from the mini bars. If you are looking for a relaxing vacation, then you will love this place. There is a lovely terrace just outside where the lobby bar is and there are lots of tables to sit and drink and have a smoke. They play music at night before the disco opens and you can dance if you so choose.

Disco: They put on really good shows, starting at 10. Open until 2am all drinks included. Not a very busy/lively place but if you go with a few friends you can have a good time. There are always a few members of the animation team that stick around until 2am if you want to dance. There are also tables outside if you don't want to stay in there but want drinks because it's the only bar open past 11.

They have a casino in town for those who like to gamble.

All in all, I don't really have any complaints about this hotel other than the cigar troubles. I had one of the most amazing weeks of my life here and I would love to go back again some day. It's the staff that really makes this place amazing!

The walking bridge was lovely, although I wouldn't necessarily recommend going at night; I'm not sure how safe it is then.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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7  Thank SkytzoGem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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