We were at the Bahia Principe from Feb 21 to Feb 28, 2011. Overall, it was a fantastic experiece. The resort is well kept, grounds are stunning, the beach is unbeatable, the food was great, rooms were clean and safe, bars were good, althought here was sometimes a language issue when ordering drinks… but staff were super friendly and helpful. Specific comments are below, but I have to say the most annoying issue we had on this vacation were the French Canadian tourists. I’ve heard all sorts of bad things about ‘them’ but never seen any evidence, until this trip. I guess because we flew out of Ottawa, we had a large number of Quebecers on the flight. They were rude in boarding (pushing, shoving and then taking their time to pull stuff out of their carry-on when the plane was boarding – and similarly stupidly slow when de-planing). On the bus at the resort, they were pushing and shoving to get off, would bud in line at check in, bud in line at the buffet in the resort, we had a chair ‘stolen’ one day when we left the beach for lunch, despite leaving a towel and clothes on the chair. I’ve never seen such rudeness and general selfishness from any one group of people. I don’t want to tar all French Canadians as rude, but holy cow it seemed everyone who was FC at our resort was seriously short of the ‘respect and politeness’ gene. Anyway, the resort offered wifi in the lobby only, and I saw lots of people with their laptops surfing. They offer free internet access to Royal Golden guests and I went online twice. First time was a waste of time… unbelievably slow connection. Second time was way better.
All in all, the Bahai Principe Punta Cana was a great experiece for us. Any negative comments below are mostly picking nits. I would recommend this resort to anyone as we all had an awesome time. I wouldn’t return to it however, only because there are so many other places to see/stay… but I would return to Punta Cana for sure. The Riu next door looked amazing and we’re intrigued to see what it would be like.
Arrival: We departed from Ottawa via a 6 a.m. flight. Our travel agent told us to be there three hours in advance, as the operator (transat vacation) closes their desk one hour before take off time, regardless of who’s in the line. No one likes to get up at 2:15 a.m. but we did and much to our surprise, the airport was open, but we had to wait 2+ hours after we got through security. oh well THe flight was via Canjet. Seats were cramped and service not the greatest on the flight. Arrived on time and was struck by how beautiful the Punta Cana airport is. Thatched roof and waaay nicer than the airports in Puerta Plata and Veradero (my only other two caribbean airports I’ve been to). The airport itself was clean, well lit and easy to navigate. Operators were easy to find once through customs and the bus was pretty quick in getting us to the resort (about a 20 min ride). The Transat ‘host’ was kind of annoying as we found him over the top with his ‘rah-rah you’re in punta Canada, no stress’ crap… That stresed me out. LOL Check in was via the Royal Golden check in. Rooms were not ready but they gave us a place to change and to watch our bags. We went back to the bags a couple of times, and the bellman asked each time if we were the owners.
Once we got to the rooms, they were great and in the building over looking the seafood resto, next to the beach. 🙂 There was a minor mix up in room prep (previous guests left the ‘do not disturb’ sign on their door and then checked out… idiots… but management was awesome about it.
Rooms: Rooms were spacious and clean, albeit a bit dark. The bathroom was particularly dark with not enough lighting. We had an adjoining room with the kids (20 and 17) and had some issues getting the safe to work, but it eventualy decided to co-operate. We paid for Royal Golden service which included an evening bed turn down. We only got this service twice in a week. Also a few times we returned to our room at 5 p.m. to find it still not cleaned, despite the kid’s room being cleaned. NOT impressed with that and found we had to put out the ‘please clean our room’ sign to ensure it was cleaned in the morning.
Also part of the Royal Golden service was a promised ‘club house’ exclusive to RG guests, that featured a private pool and news papers, etc. The place doesn’t exist. Resort people were counfounded by this when I asked where the private pool and louge were. There is a private pool, but only for ‘Diamond’ guests. Transat will be hearing about this, but it didn’t detract from our enjoyment. The only real benefit of Royal Golden serivce is the 24 hour room service (although a VERY limited menu) and being right next to the beach. The resort is HUGE and it would suck to be almost 1km walk from the beach. They do have a shuttle service but stumbling out of your room to the beach (or vice versa) is very handy.
Restaurants and Bars: We found the food generally very good. Lots of beef too, and all well cooked and prepared. The buffet was great, but as mentioned it’s a long distance from the beach. The a-la-carte restaurants didn’t seem to offer anything different than what was available at the buffet other than a different location. We found the buildings freezing cold via the A/C and in one, the A/C was dripping water on my better half. We asked that that unit be shut off, or we be moved… neither happened.
There are three beach front restos and we discovered the food at the two western most ones much better than the one beside the pool. Hours for accessing the buffet and these restos was odd and sometimes you find yourself hungry and nothing was open. Not a BIG deal, but still.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach was awesome! The resort was over-capacity which meant for a very busy beach. The bad was that in order to guarantee you having the chairs and real estate you want, you have to get out there to stake your claim before 8 a.m. or you’re SOL. The beach was, as I said, awesome. Sand was uber soft and the water was great. There is an under-tow on this beach, so little ones must be closely supervised. Crews were on the beach each morning cleaning up seaweed, and vendors were there selling stuff, but not annoying people at all.
Pools were great. Big and clean and no issues. Grounds are gorgeous and having the shuttle buses to get your around the resort was fantastic.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn’t participate, so can’t really comment. Our goal was sun and sand and that’s all we did.