Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo

4.5 star rating

This hotel is rated between 4 and 5 stars. 4 star - Quality accommodation with a variety of facilities and services. 5 star - Exceptional accommodation with superior facilities and services.

    Average ratings from our guests:

    Cleanliness

    Rated5.0 out of 5

    Value

    Rated5.0 out of 5

    Service

    Rated5.0 out of 5

    Hotel Amenities

    Rated4.5 out of 5

    Food / Restaurants

    Rated4.5 out of 5

    Beach

    Rated4.5 out of 5

    Pool

    Rated4.0 out of 5

    T

    Great place to relax, recharge and revive yourself.

    Reviewed by TNT on May 31, 2016

    Our guests rated this hotel 5 out of

    Would recommend

    Travel date: May 2016

    Trip Type: Large group

    This is a fantastic location for that much need rest and relaxation, great food with a wide variety of selection for all your dietary concerns. Staff and management are amazing and make you feel like you're at home. Beaches are very clean and you're not bombarded by outside vendors selling goods all day. Worth every penny and definitely going back I highly recommend this location.

    This traveller's ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Rated5 out of 5

    Value

    Rated5 out of 5

    Service

    Rated5 out of 5

    Hotel Amenities

    Rated5 out of 5

    Food / Restaurants

    Rated5 out of 5

    Beach

    Rated5 out of 5

    Pool

    Rated5 out of 5

    4

    Paradise with a catch !

    Reviewed by 481sunset on Apr 28, 2015

    Our guests rated this hotel 4 out of

    Would recommend

    Travel date: April 2015

    Trip Type: Couple

    This resort is located on a great beach in a quiet area, great walking and swimming and okay snorkelling for beginners. We visited over Easter, it was a great price for 10 days PROS excellent service, lovely suite clean and quiet. Bars in evening had music and great service. Food in buffet very good. Al la cartes okay but preferred selection at buffet. Beach was great for relaxing. Short 40 mins from airport check in on bus with beautiful scenery. CONS They added extra rooms to this resort and at this time of year very crowded, not enough chairs and shade on the beach for everyone. Pool very small to accommodate all guests. Quiet pool even smaller. Restaurants , beach and buffet became very crowded as hotel was overbooked.! SUGGESTIONS add another pool expand seating at beach. Would be great if guests would not reserve chairs at 630 am and allow others to use. OPPORTUNITY This hotel overbooked at Easter which gave us the chance to spend 3 days at the Grand Bahia Cayo Levantado ithat hotel was phenomenal at true 5+ star !

    This traveller's ratings:

    Cleanliness

    Rated5 out of 5

    Value

    Rated5 out of 5

    Service

    Rated5 out of 5

    Hotel Amenities

    Rated4 out of 5

    Food / Restaurants

    Rated4 out of 5

    Beach

    Rated4 out of 5

    Pool

    Rated3 out of 5

    What to expect (based on 7013 reviews):

    Cleanliness

    Cleanliness-4.5

    Location

    Location-4.5

    Rooms

    Rooms-4.5

    Service

    Service-4.5

    Value

    Value-4.5

    5 most recent TripAdvisor reviews:

    Beautiful Samana

    Reviewed by deuceapam() on Apr 15, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    This resort has a beautiful beach, it's clean, the staff is great especially the entertainment staff. We had a blast, relaxed, ate well, drank well and enjoyed wonderful weather. Reason for 4 stars is closing time (11 pm is early).

    Great resort for the whole family

    Reviewed by sarahnose(Moncton, Canada) on Apr 14, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    We spent a week here in early April with friends. Together we had 5 kids with us ranging in age from 4 to 6. While this isn’t a kid-themed resort at all, it is very kid friendly. The kid’s water park is the perfect size for this age. It is a little far removed from the main resort area (5 min walk) but it has a bar and serves snacks. Besides the kid’s water park, some other great things were: 1) Food. The buffets have a huge variety of delicious food and you can find something to eat 24/7 (including room service). There are 4 a la carte restaurants. Our group sampled them all. Highest ratings go to the Italian and the French restaurants. The Brazilian and Mediterranean restaurants were good, but not spectacular. 2) Staff. Very friendly and easy to communicate with in English. From the entertainment crew to the servers and cleaning staff, they are (mostly) all very friendly and helpful. 3) Beach. The water is very calm and the slope is very gradual (great for kids). There is some beautiful coral reef close to shore where you can easily see lots of different fish while snorkeling. 4) Cleanliness. Very clean and well kept resort. Other good points: - only a 40 min bus drive from the airport. - many kid and adult activities each day. - nightly shows - self serve coffee station at the lobby bar and beach restaurant. - small arcade in lobby - free wifi in lobby (you can pay to have more) - carts available to drive you around. - wheelchair and stroller friendly. - self serve water and premixed drink stations at several locations around the resort. - they use plastic, reusable cups on the beach and no straws (win for the environment). - the main pool and restaurants are very close to the beach (like practically on the beach). Things to consider: - the beach, while beautiful, is on the smaller side. If you want a chair with shade, you’ll need to be up before the sun to reserve it. - there are a few dogs and cats that roam around the beach and the resort. They are very sweet and tame. - the main pool is small and can get crowded. There is a small wading pool sectioned off for kids that is about a foot deep. Other than that, there isn’t much of a shallow end for kids. This is only my 3rd trip down south ever, but I was very impressed. I found the resort to be a great size, and all of the important things were top notch. I would go back for sure.

    Amazing beach, beautiful resort, just a few tweaks away from 5 stars

    Reviewed by Avid_travelling_duo(Montreal) on Apr 13, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    We spent a week at El Portillo at the beginning of April. Overall, we had a great week and enjoyed the resort, but I can’t give it 5 stars because it fell short on a few points I will share below. THE GOOD POINTS - Beach is spectacular, water crystal clear, different shades of turquoise and blue, shallow, calm, no seaweed, and soft golden sand. You can walk for about 20 minutes to the right and all the way up to Las Terrenas on the left (90 minutes). Great walking beach. - Snorkelling was great right off the beach, we brought our own snorkelling gear and loved the convenience of walking right up to the reef, so many beautiful variety of fish to see! - Hotel grounds are beautiful, so many beautiful varieties of trees, shrubs, plants and palms, all mature and perfectly manicured. Gardeners to an outstanding job. - Junior Suite Superior Royal Golden in building 7 was large and comfortable, well located, mini bar replenished daily, and housekeeping did a great job. We had an issue with the air conditioning which I will address further down. - Staff was very polite, friendly and accommodating. - Buffets are very well managed, the tables are cleaned and reset as soon as guests leave, we never waited for water, coffee or wine, they always came to refill. It’s impressive to see how they manage to accommodate so many people, the resort was full. They had a large variety of food to choose from, plates are refilled constantly, food is tasty and well prepared. It was nice to have the option to sit outside under the big tent at Las Dalias (main buffet) even though the beach restaurant Las Olas offered seaside breakfast and lunch with a smaller buffet offering (still pretty good). The entire buffet staff was extremely busy and they were very efficient and courteous. - A La Carte restaurants: we went to all of them and our preferred was Orquidea (French), followed by Portofino (Italian), then Rodizio (Brazilian) and last was Pescador (Seafood, my Red Snapper was overcooked and rubbery). Service was excellent in all 4 of them, we appreciated the fact they served wine from a bottle instead of the big carafes they use at the buffet, and wine was good. The pace of dinner was generally quite fast though, we had to ask them to slow it down to have enough time to enjoy all the food and keep it coming! Their soups were excellent. Our favourite main was the duck confit at Orquidea. Favourite dessert was the crème brulée at Pescador. - Live performers (singer, sax player, band) were usually featured near the lobby between 7 and 9 p.m. We throroughly enjoyed them all, it would have been great if they stayed until 10 for those who don’t want to move down to the other evening program at the other end of the resort at the Pueblo. - Check in and checkout was quick and simple. THE NOT SO GOOD POINTS - Palapa and chairs “reservations” at the beach: although there are signs on each palapa saying that it is forbidden to reserve them, it was clearly not being observed and enforced. When we arrived at 7 a.m. on our first morning to get a palapa on the beach, none were available! Chairs were available but without a palapa for shade. There were either towels, sandals, clothing items, bags or magazines left under the palapas but nobody physically there under most of them. They were just “reserved”. The next morning we arrived at 6:30 and managed to get a palapa but only on the third row deep. We spoke to a few guests who had the palapas on the first row (facing the ocean), and they said some people came to put their things to reserve them at night, and some came at 4 a.m. and then went back to bed. Seems like many guests complained to management about the no reservation policy not being observed, so one morning we arrived at 5:30 to find out the staff had removed all the things left by guests to reserve their palapas, and brought it to guest services for them to retrieve. Some people were told that if anyone left things to reserve palapas and chairs before 6 a.m. and did not remain there with their things, they would be removed. After 6 a.m. though, they would not remove the items left, meaning that it’s OK to reserve them AFTER 6 a.m. Although this was a well needed step in the right direction, they didn’t have the staff to enforce this rule though, so some people got away with it, they didn’t consistently come back to remove items left unattended before 6. What is worse is that they did NOT announce this change, so guests ended up arguing on the beach, accusing other guests of removing their things to “rob” the spot! This is just nasty on a vacation. It would have been easy and appropriate for management to put a sign at the towel hut explaining their new process to address the situation, or to simply give guests a sheet upon their arrival, with their key, stating that “Please note that chairs and palapas cannot be reserved on the beach, so any items left unattended before 6 a.m. will be removed by management and brought to Guest Services, where they can be retrieved after 8 a.m.”. Many guests expressed their frustration with this issue. - Air conditioning was not working in our room, and although we reported it right away and a technician came to check it out, it never got repaired. He insisted air was coming out and it was working, but the air coming out was NOT cold, the temperature never dropped below 24 in our room. We told them again that the situation was not resolved, but they said the only option would be to change rooms. We declined because of the hassle and waste of time it represented, kept our ceiling fan on high, it was bearable but not comfortable. - The main pool by the beach was closed for a full day because a kid pooped in the pool! The lifeguard asked everybody to evacuate the pool because of the feces in it, they put yellow “crime scene” tape all around it, and they had to disinfect it. It was reopened the next day. This is a family resort, I understand, but at least they should forbid access to the pool to kids who haven’t been toilet trained. They have a “quiet” pool near buildings 10-11-12 but they still let kids in it – and it wasn’t quiet. There should be a pool designated for adults ONLY. SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT (TO BE A TRUE 5 STARS) - There were no waiters on the beach, you had to go get your own drinks at the pool bar or beach bar, and both were busy all the time, it sometimes took quite long to get a drink. True 5-star resorts come to your chair all day to offer drinks and bring them over. Bring your Bubba Mugs, the glasses are quite small. - At the buffet, the wine served for lunch and dinner was in a carafe, and it was clearly watered down. That is not acceptable. - We’ve been to many Gran Bahia Principe Resorts, and all of them offered beef tenderloin (filet mignon or Chateaubriand) at least in one (sometimes many) of their A La Carte restaurants. None of the restaurants at El Portillo featured beef tenderloin on their menu. - The large open air lobby in front of the reception had many sofas and chairs, but never had anyone at night offering drinks, you had to move over to where the lobby bar was, a smaller space with a much lower ceiling, or to the area next to which the live singers were. It would be nice to make use of that beautiful area at night, for guests who just want to sit there and chat or play cards quietly. - All guests should easily have access to a palapa for shade, whether at the pool or at the beach, and this resort didn’t have enough. People are more and more cautious about sun exposure and the risks of skin cancers, we need to be able to retreat to the shade without the hassle of getting up at 6 a.m. on vacation to reserve a palapa. So overall a very pleasant vacation, the beach was a big “wow!” for us, the resort was beautiful, service was great and the food was good.

    Individual ratings:

    Location

    Location-5

    Service

    Service-4

    Value

    Value-4

    Almost excellent

    Reviewed by RickU9(Toronto, Canada) on Apr 13, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    The hotel premises and rooms were kept spotless; everything worked including the hot water supply. Pillows were ok but could have been better. The buffet food was very good and also the a la carte restaurants. The Italian restaurant (Portofino) was ok, the seafood restaurant (El Pescador) was very good, and the gourmet restaurant (Orquidea) was exquisite. A huge bonus was their beach restaurant which was by the water, a beautiful way to start the day. This restaurant served a complete breakfast and also had many lunch options. At night it served as an a la carte restaurant (Brazilian). The buffet had theme nights with the best being Asian, with so many Asian food options. The resort had much outdoor seating to eat or just enjoy, with live music in one corner of their outdoor spaces. To note that outdoor mosquitoes were practically non existent. The night shows were not at par with many Cuban resorts, the dancers were mediocre in their skills and enthusiasm. The beach had a lot of coral but was great nonetheless. Snorkelling at the resort beach was not bad but note that not comparable to paid excursions. The reason why this resort did not get an excellent rating? There was a wedding happening during our stay and not sure if that was the reason, but on two nights the lobby bar ran out of liquor for very many drink options. That was a huge disappointment and should not have happened, demonstrating very poor planning. In addition, we won a competition for one of the poolside activities and were offered t-shirts. When it came time to deliver, it seems they had no t-shirts available. Again, very poor planning. We do plan to return one day.

    Individual ratings:

    Service

    Service-4

    Value

    Value-5

    A true warmth from the staff

    Reviewed by abj_1983(Ottawa, Canada) on Apr 13, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    Before leaving I read all of the reviews on how the food was (which is great!) the drinks were (they were okay-bought “premium” a couple times just to mix it up) and the beach (stunning). This resort will not disappoint. What stands out at this resort is the staff. I travelled with three children and all three had the time of their lives. One staff played soccer out of a makeshift net for a half hour at the water park with my son just because he was a bit burnt and was pretty spent with the water. The children’s staff were sincere, warm and caring and even though I am sure they didn’t want to do the evening kids show every night, always did so with a genuine smile. I am pretty sure I will hear chi chi wah in my head for the next month! If you have children you will truly enjoy this resort. I never felt unsafe and my children will have memories to look back on for a very long time. My middle child actually cried most of the to the airport because she missed the staff. Everyone from the cart drivers, to the maintenance staff, cleaning staff, management spend every moment trying to make your stay amazing- I don’t think I saw someone not smiling the whole time. I hope the management team realizes what a group they have and hopefully really gives them the breaks they need to keep this positive energy.

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