Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel

, Samana, Dominican Republic
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Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel

, Samana
Isla Cayo Levantado - Samana - Dominican Republic 809-538-3141
940 Traveller

Reviews - Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel

Historical Traveller Reviews of Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Hotel

The truth about GBP Cayo Levantado

from d_r_kranz
First the positive points:
1. The location/ the island ist outstanding
2. The rooms are fantastic
3. The beach area with the snack bar and the pool is very good
4. The food is really fantastic
5. The animation is very discret

The negative points:
1. The service is horrible (not at the restaurant). We only had 1 turn down service in 14 days. Only 2 towels a day. Usually the rooms are maked up at 300 PM, and only once a day !!!
2. We once booked the gourmet restaurant (Don Pablo) at 0700 PM. We arrived at 0705 PM. They sayed that they don't opened yet and we have to wait "outside" 15 minutes.
3. At the beach area there are two music sources, witch play different music types at the same time (erverytime salsa, merengue. If you like it O.K.)
4. The biggest problem in my opinion is the all inclusive system. We had some guests who put their food in the pool, while they get drunken.

Conclusion:
If you don't care about loud salsa music at the pool, the average service and the bad value/ money relationship you will love the GBP Cayo Levantado.

Not a five star - might be one day.

from BurlingtonOntario
We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado April 15 - 22/07. Agree with Jim and Jane in the previous review on many points. Boat ride to the resort on the island is a short journey. (10 minutes). Check in was quick before we boarded the boat. Luggage goes on one boat and guests on another. We had a suite near the main building, beautiful views. Suites are large, and well appointed. We had some problems with our room when we arrived. Our spa tub in our room would not fill with the faucet (if you used the shower head you could fill it), got an electrical shock from the bed side lamp, security lock on door would not work, fan on balcony did not work. We let Omar front desk know he promised us someone would look at it right away and nothing was done. Upper management was in the dining room the next morning and we approached them about the problems with our room. Everything was fixed within 2 hours. If you have a problem with your room, search down someone in management. Bring your own blow dryer. The blow dryers are the kind that you have to squeeze a button while drying your hair. They are on a short cord quite high on the wall. Frustrating. Plenty of bottled water provided. Mini bar in room is stocked some days and others not. Call room service and they will bring you more. Bottled water is also available at every bar etc. Food is okay. Went to all 3 ala carte restaurants. Very large portions. Not 5 star. House wine is so so. Additional good wines are available for a very reasonable charge. The menus are confusing. They were not translated into English very well. When we would question the wait staff what something was they would repeat what was written in the menu. eg. we figured out that Lambi is conch. We had to get creative when ordering. The lobster is good if you ask them not to put any sauce on it. The bacon sometimes was not fully cooked so we had it put on the grill with our eggs. The milk is almost cream we ate cheese and yogurt instead. Ketchup is available at breakfast if you ask for it. ( A cereal bowl full). The food for the gala night in the main restaurant was pretty good. You will not go hungry. Plenty of choices at buffet restaurants. The locals come to the hotel for the Dominican night and sell various items. (Also sold on the public beach). If you are coming from Europe bring an American adapter for your appliances. Air Transat vacations brochure is misleading, stated that we would get turn down service at night, never happened, alcohol in rooms was not to be found, something about aromatherapy again didn't happen, cigar bar not to be found, there is no disco. There is a volley ball net and basketball net by the pool. Games and books available in the towel hut. Bring sand toys etc. if bringing small children. Not much to do for any age children. Great place if you are looking for r & r. One computer for internet use in the lobby. Most people are considerate and use it quickly. Some people were not. If you bring your own wireless laptop, it will work in the lobby. Also comes in handy if you get stuck at the airport to contact people at home. At the airport there are no phones and cell phones did not work, but it is wireless (?) The dive shop on site at the hotel is a joke. Run by a Miami company. When we were there my husband did 3 dives close to the resort. One beach dive, and two dives he went in a small boat from the resort. He was charged what a high end dive shop would charge, plus the owner in Miami demanded payment after every dive even though my husband's equipment (worth far more than the dives) was stored in the dive shack every night. The dive master had not been paid in weeks, finally received approx. $50.00 U.S. two days before we were to leave (he is owed weeks of pay). He quit. As of Saturday April 21/07 there was no one left that is certified to take out divers. Rental equipment is of very poor quality. No safety equipment of any kind, no radio, or a telephone. No oxygen if needed. No diver down flags. Many of the tanks were not usable. My husband is an experienced diver, brought all of his own equipment. He chose dives that were close to the resort because of the lack of safety equipment etc. If anyone had a problem out in the water with any of the non-motorized equipment ( kayaks, catamarans,) the staff would have to run to the lunch restaurant to use a phone. There is no boat to go out and get you if you get into trouble. After one of the dives, one couple was stuck on a catamaran (no wind) and by luck the dive boat was just coming back and towed them back to the resort. The boat for scuba diving only came when the dive master called him to come. My husband did tell management about the dive centre problems and hopefully changes will be made. We do have the contact information for the dive master. He is planning on opening his own company on the main land. The staff is very friendly at the resort and try very hard. In time this could be a full 5 star resort.
Air Transat Vacations -We too were at the airport for 10 hours. This is the second time that this has happened to us with Air Transat vacations. The Occidental Alegro Puerto Plata dump that they put all the passengers in was horrible. Our room was filled with mold. The pillow cases and sheets were dirty. In the morning we pulled back the moldy drapes to find hundreds of bugs crawling around. Food in the buffet was horrible. One of the items for breakfast was grey overcooked broccoli. The Air Transat rep. in Puerto Plata should be fired for putting us there. It was kayos when everyone checked out. The hotel had one employee behind the desk, checking out a plane load of very tired, irrated passengers.

Not a 5 star Grand Luxury,nice but...c

from jimandjane
We are just back from Cayo Levantado. We stayed from April 15 to 22.
We will try to be brief but there are some items you should be aware of.
To start, this is an absolutely beautiful resort in a stunning setting. To have seen this resort being built would have been very interesting. It is cut into a lush hilly terrain and all the materials would have had to be shipped from the mainland. Pretty amazing.
Our flight to Samana from Toronto airport went smoothly and we were picked up promptly by bus and taken to the private dock at Samana and taken away to paradise.
We had a junior suite which was located very close to the courtyard and the main building. Rooms are breath taking. Large, lots of cupboards etc.
We found the food just average. We were only able to book 1 a la carte while we were there as there is only 1 restaurant open each night. We would guess this resort was barely one third full. We chose the Gourmet restaurant with a seating at 7 as this was the only time available. When we arrived there were only 4 couples here. Our guess is that this restaurant would seat 100 people. At no point did anyone else ever enter the restaurant but we did talk to a couple who could not get reservations for their whole duration of their honeymoon trip. The meal was very artfully arranged on a beautiful plate. We chose the filet mignon. It was 2 inches around and surrounded by a tablespoon of mashed potatoes and a piece of broccoli.
If you are a vegetarian you will have trouble here. There is tons of meat (mainly in various sauces) but very little vegetables.
There is NO 24 hour all inclusive. There is NO liquor in your rooms. There are NO motorized water sports. We had 2 turn down service nights and then it stopped. The entertainment is lame. We attempted to go to two shows and there were maybe a dozen people in attendance.
We found everything is adequate but not exceptional as we expected. We had NO hot water for three days. You are provided with two bath towels a day which is fine but more would have been better. Soap is replaced but be careful. Our jacuzzi didn't work.
We were contacted by hospitality services (Alex) twice to see if things were ok and when we suggested more hot water and a jacuzzi etc would be nice. There was no response.
Snorkelling is excellent on the beach, but no long walks on the beach, way too small.
Our biggest problem was getting home. We were scheduled to come home Sunday at 4 with a stop over in Puerto Plata to pick up people and continue on to Toronto.
We ended up stuck in El Catey airport with NO Air Transat representative until 11 o'clock that night. Apparently, plane had issues which required a mechanic from Punta Cana and then we could not fly home because of the crew being over allotted hours. We ended up in the most horrible hotel you can ever imagine in Puerto Plata overnight. (Allegro Occidental) There are no phones in El Catey airport and the stress was terrible. Any information would have been better than what we got.
It has totally ruined our whole vacation. Such a shame. It was our first trip to the Dominican Republic.
We have certainly learned that we will never travel Air Transat and be careful what you believe in the brochures!!
GBP Cayo Levantado still has a way to go before it can call itself a 5 star grand luxury in our opinion.

Amazing Resort

from RidgeTravellers
We were a little wary about booking here with some of the other reviews we read, but are so glad we did stay here. This resort, although brand new, is fantastic. Sure they have some quirks to work out but it is on a gorgeous island and the beaches were fantastic. We had no complaints with the food, service, cleanliness. It was romantic, peaceful - very refreshing. If you are not able to get around well, you might have some problems. There is alot of walking in this resort but they do porvide shuttles. There isn't much to do on the island ( a small market on the public beach when cruise ships are in) and the nightclub isn't open yet, but you can take the boat to the mainland. If you want peace and quiet then this is the place to be. The swimming was great in the ocean as well as there are 3 levels of pools. We stayed in the hotel itself as opposed to a villa. This would be better if you have walking issues. We really enjoyed our stay here and are glad we had the chance. I am sure once everything is completed it will be well out of our price range. One drawback is the travel time. I wouldn't come here unless I could come for two weeks. The extra flight from Peurto Plata, bus from airport (1 hours 20 mins) and then boat to the island does take up your entire day.

s OK, but not the best

from palmer1547
Let me start off by saying I am somewhat discriminating, but not overly so. I love nice resorts with good food and great service. Cayo Levantado was close, but no cigar. This hotel is still experiencing some growing pains.

We had a beach villa room. I STRONGLY suggest you get one of these...they are excellent. I was in Room 30102 and those are the best 3 of the 8 beach villas (Romms 30101-30103 are the best 3 in the entire resort). We moved there after checking in to out original room (also a beach villa on the other side of the pool) which had no hot water and smelled quite bad. Calls to Domingo, the manager, however had this problem quickly rectified. He was very good and moved us to Room 30102.

Next complaint: NO internet access in the hotel rooms. Only 1 computer at the main hotel was designated for public internet use and there were usually lines to use it.

The property and grounds were fabulous (pools and beach were A+).

The food and overall service was not up to our standards. Admittedly, I'm a little picky here because coming from NY, I'm used to top notch hotels and food and service. The service here was just "OK.

The exception to this was the entertainment crew ("Animacion Crew"). Billy (a/k/a "Billy Blue Eyes") and all the people that worked with him (including Carolina "La Bonita from Nagua") were GREAT!!! They made the stay worthwhile. They seemed to work 24 hours a day and they kept everyone entertained from sports, fishing trips, bicycle rides, bingo, dance lessons, tennis, etc....Even the nighttime shows were pretty darn good, mostly due to Billy's efforts.

Finally, the majority of the guests were Canadian, Spaniards, Germans, etc....not too many Yanks. That could be a plus or a minus to different people.

Overall, as other people have said, it's a 4 star hotel. Not quite yet a 5 or 6 star hotel.

Hope this helps.

s way

from o_yah
Unfortunately, we only stayed 3 days/2 nights at GBP Cayo Levantado, so my insight is limited.

Check-In
Domingo was quick to help us check in and told us if we had any problems at all to call him directly. During the first day he personally checked in on us to see how we liked our room when we mentioned we were there to celebrate our anniversary he sent up a bottle of wine.

Staff
Smiles were abundant, the staff were friendly but not overly.
I often had to catch the staff before they left to give them their tip.
Their English, for the most part, was better than my Spanish.

Rooms
Our room was stunning with its four poster bed and wicker living room furniture in a suite on the main floor in villa 6. The bathroom was almost as large as the bedroom with a Jacuzzi tub looking through the bedroom and out over the terrace into the ocean. The terrace was partially covered which gave shelter to a table and two chairs, another outdoor sofa and chair. The bar fridge was restocked with each visit. The maids came in twice a day, once in the morning to pick up our towels, make our bed…and in the evening while we were out for dinner, two maids would arrive to pick up our towels, turn down our bed, leave some chocolates and a rose on our bed.

Food
As we were only at this resort for 3 days/2 nights we only managed to eat at the buffets. There is a large buffet in the main building and a smaller one at the beach. Both were very good, with excellent service. Along with the normal buffet selections, for lunch they included shrimp, lobster, chicken, pastas…. Drinks were delivered to you on the beach, by the pool..... The house wines were acceptable, their liquors and beers were of the premium brands.

Room Service
Hmmm, we ordered room service at Cayo Levantado and the service varied immensely. It was so messed up it was laughable and we did laugh. My attitude was give ‘em time they are learning…don’t sweat the small stuff.

The resort’s beach was small with soft coral sand and the water was warm. The public beach was a much larger beach, with firmer sand and the water warmer. (The public beach is busy during the day; we went later in the afternoon when the beach was almost empty.)

Worth the money? Absolutely, we would go back in a heart beat! On the whole we were very satisfied with our holiday, we enjoyed the property, our only regret…it wasn’t long enough, unlike this review.

Conclusion
IMHO, if you are looking for a complete and organized resort GBP Levantado was not quite there yet in January. However, since our stay I have read that many of the unfinished areas at this resort have been completed.

If you had a complaint/concern, a call to the front desk and it was quickly rectified. The hotel asks for your comments/suggestions, be honest and give it to them. They are moving quickly to get everything smoothed out. I feel GBP Levantado will truly be a 5+ star in the fall/winter of 2007. For now, I would give it a 4+ star.

Best Vacation and Resort Ever!

from Jaymars1
I'd like to start by saying that we are seasoned travellers. We have been to Cuba 10 times and this was our 6th visit to the DR. We always stay in 4 - 5 star resorts and we are very particular about food, accommodations and service.

Saying that, we are also a very easy going couple that always make the best of things and we never let anything get us down. We love the local people and we try to speak their language and get to know them as well. When service is good we let them know. In one instance we were having dinner and the food and presentation was so good, my wife asked to meet the chef. When he emerged from the kitchen we were greeted by a fairly young man from Spain who had just been the chef there for 2 weeks. We thanked him for one of the best meals we had ever had and when the rest of the patrons noticed him they all started to clap. Imagine that! He then brought out his 2 assistants so that they too could feel the appreciation of their work. From then on everytime we ate dinner he would come out to say hello. It was very specail.

Getting back on track regarding the review...it was by far the best vacation we had ever been on. It was a trip my wife had arranged for my 50th birthday which we celebrated while there.

The trip from the airport takes 1 hour. We checked in at the private boat docks in a beautiful lounge. We were greeted with drinks and snacks while we waited. While all this was going on our bagage was being loaded onto a separate boat.

Once checked in we boarded a very nice boat and were ferried over to the island. As we approached and we could begin to see the beauty of the resort, I half expected to see a small man perched up on a pedestal screaming, The plane. The plane. It was truly as if we were approaching a fantasy island. The Samana peninsula has so many palm trees it is unbelievable. The scenery is breathtaking.


As we made a short walk up the path to the entrance of the main lobby we could hear festive music and singing. We were greeted by dancers in colourful costumes as we entered the lobby. Once inside we were given another refreshment and we were immediately taken to our rooms after a very warm greeting from the staff.

My wife was up to something and I knew something was up everytime she started talking to the staff. I shortly found out that she had managed to upgrade our room to a beach villa. Talk about a slice of heaven!!!! We were literally 30 feet from the water and 6 feet from the beach. The room was fantastic! It had a huge terrace with lounge chairs and a jacuzzi over looking the ocean. Talk about romantic!

The Food: It was the best we have ever had at a resort. I can honestly say that even the snack bar buffet at lunch down at the beach was better than most main buffets we have experienced anywhere. We ate lobster pretty well everyday whether it be at the buffet or a la cartes.

The service was incredible but is amazing how important it is to smile and be happy and not treat people like third world servants. We tipped occasionally and especially at dinner in the a la cartes which were all incredible!

The animation team are fun and put on very entertaing shows down on the beach at night. Take them for what they are. Have fun! Don't expect vegas. They are still working on the venue.

The beach is small and beautiful. Lots of shade and trees. Not a place if you like long walks on the beach. We are walkers but we didn't miss it.

We enjoyed the resort so much that we did not take any excursions......however, we did go whale watching two times. The most amazing experience ever. There are many different people to choose from to take you out to see them. You can choose from small to large boats...we took the small boat and you could really appreciate the size of these amazing animals. We saw a mom and baby on one trip. The baby jumped out of the water numerous times and loved showing off......the mother stood by and not wanting to be outdone waved her huge tail backwards and forwards out of the water. Amazing!

All in all it was fantastic and we never encountered one person complaing about anything. Within weeks all the construction will be complete and even at full capacity the resort will be perfect! Please note that the construction never bothered us during our stay.

We are already planning our return and would like to thank all the staff at GBPCL for making this trip a highlight in our lives.

Asta la vista. We'll be back!

Mark and Jayne

Bring your hard hat and loads of patience

from RobandKris
This review is based on a stay from Jan 7 - Jan 14. While I'm sure there have been improvements since, this resort was in no condition to be accepting guests when we were there, and I'm not convinced that it will be completely ready for many months.

Construction Issues

1. We lived in a construction site for one week and had to survive constant, stressful and aggravating noise. Only 70 of the 200 rooms were open, and there were few amenities. We spent a lot of time in our room.
2. Hundreds of workers roamed the property.
3. We experienced consistent water shut-off to the rooms
4. This is a small resort, and unlike mega-resorts, you are virtually swallowed up by construction.

We are pursuing action with our tour operator as we believe they deliberately misled us (and others) as to the state of this resort.
Had we known there was an ounce of construction going on, we would have switched resorts.

In addition to the construction issues, there were many others that were indicative of problems with Bahia Principe itself and I'm not convinced that this will ever be a "Grand Luxury" experience.

1. The beach advertised in Transat Holiday brochures is in fact a public beach, not property of Bahia Principe. This was an enormous disappointment and an outright false advertisement.
2. Service was not as advertised. No beach bar, no pool service and staff was completely untrained. Both my husband and myself were not once offered a drink at the pool or on the beach in an entire week. Not one drink!
3. The recreation staff, which are usually available but discreet at a 5 star resort, constantly disturbed us to join in aerobics or bingo or whatever inane activity they were planning. It was cheesy and on top of it, they blasted music (and we're talking Salt & Peppa here) constantly throughout the pool and the beach. Workers cleaning the beach had no idea what respecting personal space means; they practically stepped on top of you. It was litterally an invasion. There was no peace and quiet to be had anywhere at the resort and the staff are receiving no direction on how to conduct themselves around guests. Not their fault, but still.
4. The food. It was ok, the buffets were fine, but the dinner experiences were quite underwhelming. The gourmet restaurant was a joke - I think we were being served leftovers from the adjoining buffet.
5. The rooms were nice, but the beds as hard as a rock. And I love a firm mattress. However, the fact that we paid for an upgrade in accomodation when the main building that housed standard accomadation WASN'T EVEN BUILT really irked us. Given this, it logically follows that we should have received a further upgrade. Needless to say we didn't.
6. And this was one was perhaps the most perturbing - there were many unidentifiable groups of people at the resort. Staff and their families, and guests of other resorts who were being shipped in to use what we thought were "exclusive"facilities. Given that the resort was mostly closed, the facitlites were few and far between and we felt distinctly overcrowded and under-served in favour of the management's families who were given the upmost attention.

Bottom line - this is Bahia Principe's first foray into the luxe resort model, and they have no idea who their audience is. We are seasoned travellers, and understand the difference between European 5 stars and Caribbean all-inclusive 5 star resorts. We have received better treatment at 4 stars in Cuba, and have a real problem with the way Bahia Principe and tour operators are advertising the Cayo Levantado as an intimate, luxe getaway.

We visited the Royal Hideaway in Cuba when it was relatively new, and had the most amazing experience. You always expect hiccups at new places, but not dumptrucks and jackhammers.

The Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado was the pits. Literally.

I knew when they strapped that godforsaken wristband on me that we were going to be in trouble...

Beautiful hotel on gorgeous island!

from wldtravelr
I just wrote a long post in the cayo thread outlining our Pros and Cons so let me briefly say here that we really enjoyed our 4 nights here. The grounds are beautiful and we loved our oceanfront villa. The staff is so nice and they bend over backwords to make sure your visit is wonderful. This place is not for singles looking for a partying atmosphere. Its mellow, relaxing, perfect for a romantic holiday. There were a few families there with younger kids (under 5) and they seemed to do fine but there didn't appear (at least at this point) to be many children-focused activities.

Our biggest cons were the bad drinks and the average food. We expected the food but my husband was really disapointed by the frozen and other mixed drinks. You should stick with beer, wine or liquor on the rocks! If these had been better, I would give this an "Excellent" rating!

We would certainly stay here again in a heartbeat with the knowledge that even when the hotel is completely up and running (maybe another 3-6 months), it probably won't be the 5 stars advertised. We would give it about 4 stars now with the potential to be 4 1/2 stars.

Will be a luxury paradise island in a few months

from travelmaniacfreack
Just got back from a week at the new Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado and I can`t wait to go back next december! The resort opened a few weeks ago, so we knew what to except when a resort just opened and is not ready and finished at 100%. Only 1 restaurant was open( on 4), 1 pool was open( on 2) and not all the services and what was supose to be included was available, but the place is so peacefull and beautifull that it didn`t affect our vacation at all. Staff was still learning and on training so we collaborate with them a lot and expected "amateur" service but it was just fine, everybody was nice to us and we could see that they wanted to learn fast and be perfect.
The transfer from the aiport is at least 1 hour, but it goes fast, we can see the nice counrty on our way, then we aboard a boat that brings us to the private island where the resort is. The bellmans helps us with our bags from the moment we get off the bus, then to take the boat and then to take us to our room, very good service.
The rooms are realy nice and big. Exacly like the picture on the Sunquest.ca website. We only had problem with the a/c but it was fixed quickly. The bathroom was huge , 2 sinks,jacuzzi,separate shower and a large window(view in the room).The balcony had a nice comfy sofa and chairs/table, really nice place to relax!
The pool was nice,near the beach and you have acces to that area from the main lobby by taking a glass-enclosed elevator, that was so cool!! Great service at the pool bar and snack. Not much water activities available yet.
Food; since only 1 restaurant was open the food at the resort was limited but really good and changed every day. We had the chance to go to the Gran bahia Principe Samana for other restaurants(I think it's also part of the all-inclusive to go eat to the others Gran Bahia in samana).
In a few months when everything will be ready, I know it will become a real luxury resort and I can`t wait to go back!
*Note to families*They do accept children, but it's NOT a resort for families , they won't have a kids club or kids pool or kids activities, so please don`t bring your kids or teens to this resort they will be bord as hell! We saw one families with 2 kids about 8 and 12 years old and they looked so unhappy, we could see in their faces that they hated the place.The resort is only for relaxation, I have nothing against kids/teens, but it shoud had been an adult only resort cause it's so peacfull and a quite place, not a place to bring kids...well will see!

Top Local Tips for Samana

Be Patient This is a fabulous resort. Appreciate and commend those that give you great service and respect their language. Its up to us as travelers to learn their language, not up to them to know ours!

Painless Super efficient, remember its up to us to learn the language not up to them to learn all of ours, be patient and respect their culture.

Cash take Dollars to this island as your travil money and not Pasco's, make sure you take alot of $1 bills as this is very usefull for tips. Also be prepared for the entry fee of $10 dollars per person upon entry to the airport.

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  • cayo levantado samana
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  • Address: Isla Cayo Levantado - Samana - Dominican Republic
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