My wife and I actually visited this resort in early 2019. There was a lot to like: pretty resort, decent food, nice room.
And there was one reality that struck us as completely unfair — and drove us crazy.
The beach at Bahia Samana is VERY SMALL.
Spots for a few dozen lounge chairs at most.
Imagine the length of a basketball court, but half as wide. Again, not much room to lay beside the water.
For reasons that escape logic and common sense, the resort allows the small minority of smokers (including cigars) throughout the resort and particularly in the tiny, congested beach.
If you’re a non-smoking guest, there is NO WHERE on the beach to lay down, or even sit.
Oh, you’ll try.
You’ll scope out a chair or a spot to place a towel.
But inevitably, German and American cigar smokers will light up right next to you.
Don’t bother asking them to go somewhere else.
They’ll say it’s hotel policy to smoke.
And they’ll keep smoking. All day.
Unfortunately for you, there’s no where to go!
In the past few days, we reached out to Bahia to see if they had changed the “Beach Smoking” policy.
We were keen to consider a trip to the resort this coming fall/winter, but not if the unhealthy and inconsiderate BS policy remains unchanged.
This is the reply Bahia sent today:
“In relation to your inquiry, we inform you that as the beach is an open and public area, it is allow to smoke.
“Looking forward to welcoming you soon.”
There is NO CHANCE IN HELL we will stay at this resort again.
To be clear...
If smoking bothers you —
YOU WILL HATE THIS PLACE.
You’ve been warned!
Lots of excellent resorts (Barceló Bávaro Palace) and destinations (Jamaica) in the Caribbean have policies that are friendly and respectful to the majority of guests who happen to be non smokers.
Simply the best
Mar 08, 2021
After trying a number of Christmas getaways, my partner and found Bahia Principe Luxury Samana in 2019 and fell in with this resort: the right size (small), the right kind of guests (many polite Canadians), good food, a good gym and a nice private beach. Unfortunately 2020 hit and we weren't able to get back last year (Bahia Amber in Punta Cana is nice but not as small and intimate).
Looking forward to Christmas 2021!
Classic sun and sand with good food
Mar 23, 2020
The main buffet seating is down steps but amazing views. The meal time lengths are generous, Dining tables in main buffet are large, hard to chat with your partner without speaking loudly. Main buffet offers Personalized omelettes and pasta. Wide variety of main courses at all meals. Yoghurt - not really to write home about.
Hotel allows people to reserve beach chairs by putting a towel on it at 7:00 in the morning for the day. Same practice with swimming pool chairs. The beach is only a five minute walk end to end. If you are looking for exercise try around 5:00pm when the beach is empty. 10 laps will give you a refreshing run. Sit-ups, push-ups and planks in the sand works. Use the umbrellas as a stretching prop and a dip in the ocean for the perfect ending.
Entertainment on the pool deck is fun and join in as there is no going to bed until the 11:00pm cut off. Rooms are not assessable from gardens so we found it safe to leave our balcony doors open. We had no problem leaving wrapped items on the sand and going for a swim. All staff are helpful. The hotel advertises 3 restaurants. Only one is open each evening. Getting reservations is near to impossible. We saw dinner tickets being delivered to rooms at 6:30pm. I have since learned that if you buy the “butler” service, you will get dinner tickets. My rating is low because the hotel did not deliver on published amenities. Only 1 restaurant, not 3. The spa is not always open. The hair salon doesn’t seem to be ever open.
A gem of a place!
(St. Catharines, Canada)
Mar 13, 2020
Wow! What a delight it was to be in this adult only resort. We were there late last November and everything was simply lovely and enjoyable. The weather was warm and balmy, the sea so refreshing and the sun was at the rendezvous. The beaches were sandy and well protected. The staff were simply extraordinary; from the managers to the gardener. The accommodations and common areas were spotless. About the food and drinks; what can I say, it is a Five Stars and they lived up to it in everything they served! We met incredible people, both local and travelers. We took two excursions inland and the local people are so friendly and warm that it creates a desire to go back to this Beautiful Land of the Dominican Republic. If you enjoy taking photos or simply burning an image in your mind to recall later; the sunsets, the sunrises, the sea, the colors in the vegetation and skies will give something at any moment of the day or night to anyone who stops and admires this wonderful creation. We are presently planning another trip to a Bahia Principe Resort and look forward to it!
We loved this place
Mar 10, 2020
We are mid 40-50 age range , we stayed at this resort the first week of March. This is one of the few places that we would want to return to in the future and are very happy with our holiday and experiences here. For us this resort checked all the boxes, great service and staff, relaxing and quiet, nice pool and fantastic private beach, spacious clean rooms with ocean views. We were just below the average age and noticed some much older couples and several honey moon couples. Front desk and senior staff seem to know English but try to learn a few Spanish words yourself before going.
Arrived in the afternoon after approx 1 hr shuttle ride. The departing flight had us leaving at 11:20am to the airport for a 3pm flight the transfer took almost two hours and the shuttle was so full one guy had to sit on a fold down temporary seat. Our shuttle was full but he still went out of his way to stop at another resort-not sure if it was to tell them he was full, but if so can there be a way to call instead? therefore not adding time to the ride. I would strongly consider using a private transfer for the return to the airport next time.
Usually when you stay somewhere it is sometimes hit and miss but this place most workers seems happy and work so hard to make your visit memorable. If they are not helping or serving you they seem to be hard at work maintaining the grounds or buildings. When you need something they go out of their way to make sure you are satisfied. We liked that the entertainment staff didn’t bug you to join activities and left you alone if you wanted. Every night they were scrubbing down the pool sides and mopping up the pool marble surrounding.
We had booked the Junior Suite ocean view and was slightly disappointed that it was a room on the first floor but once we looked out the balcony we realized there are no bad rooms in this section. The room was outside of the elevator and house cleaning closet but never heard any noise from either. The noise that really was ridiculous was other guests dragging their chairs in their rooms or balconies early in the morning (sounded like they were rearranging the furniture daily). If we did return we would request a higher up room to have a different view.
The room was good and had everything we needed; safe, iron, closet space, tv, mini bar, coffee, 110v outlets, king size bed, nice bath/shower, big patio with table and chairs. There is a door between front door and bathroom area and sleeping area which silences everything from outside. The mini-bar was restocked everyday with beer, liquor and chips and the maid did a fantastic job of cleaning the room every day. A bonus I guess of being on the first floor was the quick access to/from everything.
We rarely had any issues with getting chairs in the shade or sun unlike every single other resort we have been to. We liked the fact the one vendor on the beach never bugged you. Beach bar staff was great and the staff would clean the beach every morning and do a great job. There is no seaweed as is the issue in some other places in the Caribbean.
The week we were there the waves were kind of big and threw us a couple times unexpectedly. The water is so clear and there are many fish to see which is fun as you don’t even need to snorkel and I guess they stick around because the guests will fed them occasionally with corn and stuff. Not knowing better I fed them one day to only realize there is a sign by the beach bar asking you not to fed them, oops. No washroom is provided at the beach so you need to walk up a few stairs to the pool washroom.
Colder than the ocean which was surprising so we only went to the pool after lunch when the sun heated it a bit (still cold). The pool area was quiet and relaxing and there is a shallow and deep end. The bar is close to the pool and is well stocked and the towel area is right behind the bar. We never had any issues ever getting a chair, however it might not be in the shade during peak times. There are daily activities like basket weaving, aqua fitness, Zumba and bingo which gives a break to all the relaxing. There is a side area that is below the pool which has a dart board and ping pong table and washrooms for the pool and beach.
Never felt sick and never heard of anyone complaining about getting sick. Our travel nurse told us to only drink bottled water, no ice cubes...but they are careful at this resort and we drank what they served us and ice cubes. We ordered breakfast room service from the app one day and it arrived in 20 minutes, otherwise I would drop over and get coffee and pick up some food to bring back to our room as we are not big on breakfast. The breakfast had a make your own bloody Mary station. The bars all had name brand liquors. They are always quick to full your wine at meal times. We didn't mind the house wine, and purchased two bottles of wine during two dinners - you sign for them and pay your bill upon checkout. We ate lunch at the buffets and had settled on the one under the pool for most of our lunches, as it seemed more casual and less busy and seemed to keep the food hotter as it was built in electric heaters mostly and cooling tables but less selection.
All the dinners were great, we had 3 buffets, 1 Don Pablo, 2 Rodizio (Brazilian), one Bella Italia . We booked either through the kiosk at the front desk or using the app. Sometimes the only choices were 9pm. As soon as you check in go to the kiosk beside the check in desk and book some dinners you just need your room number.
Missing was somewhere to get a quick snack (like a burger or something in your swimsuit) as everything was sit down type (no sport shorts, not swimsuits) . There were some of fruit flies on the cold food part of the buffets (maybe a fan would help) and sometimes some of the food wasn’t kept hot enough in the main buffet even though we arrived upon opening time so not sure how it would be hours later. The ventilation needs to be improved or fixed in the cooking area of the buffet, sometimes the smoke was filling the whole room. They were careful about having everyone use hand sanitizer before entering the buffet.
The lobby bar that had great coffee and drinks. Yes stairs and lots of stairs but they are split up and there are board games for rainy days and a small library. Two small stores which seemed to have the usual tourist stuff and some necessities. The place is well secured so you always feel safe walking between buildings and places. The staff are respectful of the women in their swimsuits. I got to see a humpback whale jump out of the water from the lobby which was an added touch. I used the gym one morning and was impressed with the amount and quality of the equipment. There is even a cross fit room beside the gym. We brought lots of bug spray and never used it once as I saw a total of one mosquito the whole time. In talking with other guests they mentioned the same thing and said they didn’t even see any on the inland excursions.
There is a sunset bar where people go and watch the sunset so we did that the last 2 nights we were there. Eventually we found the hot tub which seemed to be almost the same temperature as the pool and down by the spa so we never used that. We made it to the night time entertainment one night and watched a few from a distance on the balcony and the show was really good. If you were in the main building trying to sleep it might be too loud.
We tipped in Dominican off site and American onsite.