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.

    What to expect (based on 7235 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:

    Great place for family vacation

    Reviewed by leonorai903(Toronto, Canada) on Sep 07, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    Everything is perfect all through out our stay. Will come back for sure. I love the variety of foods and entertainment. Very clean.The only thing Im concern about was the air-condition. But over all is a thumbs up.

    AMAZING family vacation with kids!!

    Reviewed by travlgurl8(Toronto, Canada) on Aug 27, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    This resort is PERFECT for families. We traveled with two under 10 and one 16 year old without a complaint. THE HOTEL: We had a family master suite (building 26). This “suite” had two adjoining rooms; one with a king bed and a twin (couch that does not pull out) and one with two doubles and a twin (also a couch but made up like a bed). The kids LOVED the suite. It was HUGE and clean and you could easily have up two 8 people between the two rooms. The bathroom was also huge and clean. Note that the toilet paper cannot be flushed and the water is not potable. Drinking water bottles are provided daily in the mini bar as well as Pepsi and orange pop so you do not need to bring or buy. Milk and juice was also provided for the kids and beer for adults. The building is constructed with concrete and other than a few kids in the halls, you really don’t hear much. Our balcanies overlooked greenery with staff housing, or supplies behind that. Still very quiet. Golf cart rides are provided all over the resort (which is actually small enough to walk everywhere) They are on-call to preferred guests only but are generally easy to find. There is a small waterpark near building 26 as well as tennis courts. There is no elevator in the resort that I’m aware of so if you have strollers, or wheelchairs I would request the ground floor. We did not see ANY bugs or rodents. There was a few small lizards but no large ones. THE BEACH: Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!! PERFECT for snorkeling and young kids. Shallow and clear. You can walk out quite far, and the water is calm. The sand is soft and light brown, not white. Coral is everywhere. The beach is well kept and there are lots of chairs. You are provided with two “towel keys” that you can exchange daily for fresh beach towels. The beach goes on for miles. There are a few vendors on the beach, however they really do not bother you. The water was warm and calm and they keep the beach super clean. If you’re looking for beaches with white sand, stay at the other Bahia Principe on Bacardi Beach (also stunning!!). We brought lots of sand toys and inflatables. A lifeguard is on duty most of the time. THE POOLS: The resort has two pools. The main pool is large, but can get a little crowded and is located near the beach. The quiet pool is located closer to building 10 and is smaller but quite enjoyable. If you are not travelling with kids, this would be a great section of the resort to stay in. THE FOOD: Hands down the best I’ve encountered at an all inclusive. There is SO much food and variety! Great for kids! We ate at all of the restaurants, but the buffet most of the time. Note that it open from 7am to 10am, then 1-3, and then 7-10, so meals are late for kids. The other restaurants are only open for supper. The Brazilian is for the meat lover – it opens later, at 7PM and has a more romantic feel, right on the ocean. The Italian is located closer to the tennis courts and was quite nice. The seafood restaurant was delicious but if your kids don’t eat things like mussels or clams, it’s probably not the place for you. The French restaurant is “fancy” and you’ll need to follow the dress code for dinner. THE WEDDING: We had our wedding here. It was perfect. Barefoot on the beach. The location is beautiful, the flowers were exactly what I had requested and the cake was more than you could ask for- beautiful and delicious. I wrote our vows and they used them. I brought music on USB and it was perfect. We hired Tropic One for pictures and again, as promised!! Arlyne handled everything perfectly! All of my arrangements were done over back and forth emails and it all came together. My advice to a bride; this place is perfect and ask for Arlyne. Don’t sweat the small stuff, just enjoy! The spa did My hair and I brought all my own makeup. Things you should know: Make sure you land in Samana. It’s the closest airport by a few HOURS. The drive to the hotel is about 40 minutes, but VERY scenic. Try to arrive in daylight. We are Canadian and brought US dollars for tipping, but Canadian money is accepted. Note that you should bring lots of 1’s and 5’s. You should also bring paseos if you intend to go into town. Be prepared for extreme poverty in the mountains and villages. Very few people speak English, even at the resort. You can bring gifts for staff – Canadians I would suggest Blue Jays memorabilia. They do have access to most day to day things and probably prefer cash tips over items. (It’s not like Cuba in that way). I was told, they earn very little (less than $1.00 an hour) and the poverty is evident off the resort. The sun sets much earlier in the summer and later in the winter – we didn’t realize this and it was dark at our wedding reception dinner. You will encounter some salespeople throughout the resort -selling necklaces etc., there are three different gift shops but the ATM only gives paseos so bring cash if you want Souvenirs. The excisions are fun; but prices vary depending on how you book. My advice is to book with your airline rep. The trip Bacardi beach is really fun BUT a ton of boat time (3 hours not 30 minutes as they sell it)

    Just perfect as fas as I'm concerned

    Reviewed by Valter L() on Aug 23, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			5
			 out of 5

    The hotel is very clean, organized, everything works as intended, the beach is very clean as well (no cigarette butts or anything else; the staff cleans it all the time), the service is prompt, no soliciting for tips AT ALL... The food is excellent, with no waiting either. We had a really good time there. I was so worried before going, so it turned out to be a very nice surprise. Oh yes, and no mosquitoes & no flies. Not sure how they do it, but it clearly works. I would go back there in a heartbeat, and will definitely check out Grand Bahia chain first if going elsewhere. I don't know if it's just this hotel, but someone there clearly knows what they are doing.

    Just ok at best !

    Reviewed by SeaSunFamily(Toronto, Canada) on Aug 19, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			3
			 out of 5

    Visited hotel August 12th to 19th. Travelled with Air Canada vacations (Air Canada Rouge) they got us there and back thats about all. Rouge is like flying Jet Blue, very basic, no frills. Airline attendant wasn't clear on customs procedure in the Dominican had me fill out one form for each person, it was actually one per family. Going through customs we were told to fill out additional forms for kids. Upon arrival nice to get bracelets at the airport, 45 minute bus ride to the hotel (big air conditioned bus, comfy). Rooms were ready upon arrival nice touch. Rooms basic dated and yes lots of bugs in the room throughout the week. I think each little block of rooms has a septic system so you do get very unpleasant odours walking to and from the room, if unlucky could get room right in front of sewage. I'm not a big fan of massive chain hotels so I do have a bias. This was booked because of the price point, it was a very good rate. I wasn't expecting much, Bahia has a lot of quantity but lacking in the quality department. I find people who haven't travelled a great deal tend to like Bahia Rui type resorts. The resort is at best a 3 star for many reasons. Getting a hut at the beach is very difficult, the system or lack there of causes issues between guests. On more than one occasion I saw vacationers arguing over beach chairs/huts. The chairs are bunched together so even when you get a beach chair in a decent spot you have people hovering all over you with beach chairs, often an obstacle course to the water. Pool is a disgusting cesspool pool, think of 100 people sharing a very warm bath together in a very small pool. It seems like all the amenities not properly equipped for the amount of people at the resort. The gym is a small room with 2 treadmills and one elliptical, a few weights. So if you want to start your day with a workout you need to get up really early of wait for a machine to become available. The buffet (breakfast, lunch and dinner) was a very chaotic and often disturbing experience. The ambiance reminds me of a rowdy high school cafeteria, overcrowded, tough to get a drink, water was served then you might get a waiter you might not. Lineups for food, not pleasant at all, by the last day we were disgusted, we compared the guests to a herd of cows, herded along the buffet. Not a good vibe what so ever. The cafeteria or main buffet is 2 star, very erratic service, one day you get a server who provides with drinks is pleasant and working hard to provide a high level of customer service, spoiled on the next day when you have a server sleeping on their feet. If you are picky about the details this is not the place for you, if you can go with the flow and ignore potentially irritating (ie. not be served a drink while having dinner, being told they ran out of something ie. soda water, milk,) if you like a liquor with your dessert this is not a place for you. They don't get it or ignore request play dumb? At a place so big likely difficult to get good staff for all areas. Most employees speak very little english could be an issue, sometimes they conveniently didn't speak the language wink wink, like when you ask for some spice for your rice no can do. Guest services is a waste of time, if you need something or need an issue resolved ask for a manager, I had 2 very unpleasant exchanges with guest services (wasted time no results). Juan and Yipssi Abrev no help at all, very frustrating. Food is ok, if you've travelled you will understand better food on other islands. Al la carte were enjoyable solely because it allowed us to avoid horrible buffet (school cafeteria) atmosphere. Italian restaurant, staff worked hard nice ambiance food was an insult to all the Italian chefs out there, pizza was like cardboard, pasta overcooked and the sauce failed miserably. Staff did nice job serving. Oh wine throughout resort is horrible if you want good wine got to pay extra for it. Also disappointed with the beer only one beer offered and it was a light beer, tasted like a non alcoholic spritzer. Guests were from all over the world, a lot of smokers and people who insisted on looking down at the staff (not a nice thing). Not sure but seemed to be a lot of demanding people, I guess that could get to the staff overtime. I travelled with my kids and got a great deal, if you are travelling as a couple and hope for some romance avoid this place, no romantic hideouts, place is just overflowing with people. Some quick points kids club - D not welcoming we went in midday and Mary told us about an event that will take place the following day? We were hoping to drop off our youngest but not welcoming and the room had a terrible stench. Rooms - good beds comfy tv mostly spanish free wi fi not too bad in lobby and beach area, we were close to lobby so picked up wi fi from the room Staff - hit and miss but by end of week was annoyed to many negative experiences its that quantity over quality, staff all over the place but poor productivity ( I know we are in the Caribbean gotta chill a bit) Nightly entertainment - cheesy, not great Worst experience We arrived on a Monday and tried to book Seafood restaurant, told it was booked for the week? I wanted clarification, told to go to guest services on the Friday asking how it is possible a restaurant could be booked for the entire week??? Juan from guest services gave me the impression he would find us a spot and place the reservation under our door in the room (never arrived) should have insisted on speaking to someone who would have clarified how a hotel can be booked for an entire week?? It was more about avoiding the dreaded buffet than getting a reservation at the seafood restaurant. My most upsetting moment was on our last night, we had reservations at French restaurant (no buffet/high school cafeteria on the last night). We arrive and my 14 year old has a dress shirt and nice pair of shorts. Aramis says he can't get in, "go eat at the buffet". Calmly I point out he is a big boy but is only 14, again in a cocky arrogant tone says no "go to buffet". We were at 2 other Al La Carte's and had no issues, I noticed kids with shorts in the French restaurant so I politely ask if we can be seated, again Aramis (guy looks like a Walmart greater) says no. I ask to speak to the manager he says he is the manager. After a very unpleasant 20 minutes(Yipssi very poor customer service). I spoke to a real manager who promptly sat us down for dinner. Not a pleasant experience and luckily it was our last night, it highlighted the fact that in large resorts you will likely encounter staff that can ruin an evening or day or week. I digress, if you are not concerned about the finer details and get a good deal this is a place to consider. Thanks

    Individual ratings:

    Location

    Location-3

    Service

    Service-3

    Excellent value for money!

    Reviewed by 172RicardoZamora(Toronto, Canada) on Aug 18, 2019

    		
			TripAdvisor users rated this property 
			4
			 out of 5

    We had a great time at the GB, there were many good things about it and I can say that was my Caribean trip with the best value for the money. Best:beach is nice,you can walk for miles on it. There is coral reef to snorkel. The food at the buffet is good, plenty of good quality and taste options. Staff is great maintaining the place spotless and most seem very engaged (I'll talk about exceptions later). The ok:rooms clean and well maintained, it'd be nice to have a double & a king in rooms & efficient extraction system in toilets. A la carte restaurants, except for the brazilian restaurant, not impressive, similar food to buffet w better presentation. The bad:main pool is crowded, in our 14 days there,they closed it 3 because of kids pooing in it. Hotel allows smoking anywhere except rooms n restaurants,anytime you can get second hand smoke anywhere. With some exceptions, restaurant service was slow, often we had to remind the waiters of drinks we had ordered at the restaurants. The majority of staff had a smile on their face, but few ones seemed stressed when talking to them. Many kids at this resort, a few of them very noisy so if you are not patient, this place may not be for you. Suggestions for Mgmt:Limit smoking areas,smokers should go to a place distant from nonsmokers. Hire staff w passion for service, willing to smile. Force parents to put swimmer diapers to babies&toddlers/make another pool for people over 10. Gym needs expansion,heavier weights & couple of benches.