Ok wow I just got back from the Majestic and am going to give an impartial review and compare it to Grand Bahian Principe next door from time to time just for comparison. Man.. i have like 3 hours of high def video, and over 300 pictures. Lets just get this out of the way: the Majestic is better. Way better in most things that are important to me that is. I went to GBH on my honeymoon and coulnd’t wait to leave because I was getting so tired of eating poor food – hard, improperly cooked pasta, tough burgers, meat chewy like rubber and had to be spit out. Various meats had to be spit out on a daily basis.. even chicken sometimes. Rice that was hard, dry uncooked. For breakfast, scrambled egg that was simply uncooked and more liquid than solid. And most of all, i’m famous for complaining of no bacon. And when it was served the 2 times, it was cold and simply unedible. I can’t have eggs, bacon, toast, etc. then what is the point of having breakfast? I dont want omlettes and last nights left over dinner foods. I decided to give the DR one more shot and get the best room and best hotel. I carefully researched and decided that the Majestic Colonial was the best of all that suited our needs. But we still didn’t know what to expect. So let’s talk about Majestic.
Ticket Prices/Arrival/Departure Time:
2 people exactly $2999 – Swimup room right outside main pool area where games where. Dates from Jan. 23-29 Booked last September. Arrival at hotel on Friday 1:30pm, left hotel at 6:30 pm on Friday so got to enjoy 2 partial days. Last day fealt like a full day. Used Sunwing departing from Toronto. Flight delayed 1 hour on way back.
The people were about: 85% Canadian 15% ‘Other’ (US, Russia, Spain, etc.)
The languages spoken around the resort where about 40% French believe it or not. The majority of the guests fealt at times they were all from Montreal (french Canadians). But it was probably about half of the Canadians. Then there’s the odd Brit, Spaniard, Russian, etc. At the pool games the animator would say how many here from US? And like 2 people would clap. Then he said.. how man from CANADA! And you heard this big cheer. This is a large contrast to GBP where days would go buy and you would here no English being spoken at all from guests or staff.
Languages (staff):: I realized this resort was under good management when I heard the impossible: staff… get this.. speaking FRENCH/ENGLISH to bend towards the common language around the resort. I instantly knew this was a very well managed resort. Contrary to your own opinions, current reviews of any resort in the carribean shows that language is a huge problem for guests and guests will always want staff to bend to speak English to them, NOT the other way around. Keep in mind many are being dragged out for destination weddings etc. or don’t like to travel. To think that resorts still have front desk people who speak no English at all is mind boggling. We are paying the money to be there so we expect the effort to be made on their part to speak some English, not ours. Instead, amazingly, there are still common complaints at the GBH about staff refusing to speak English. I can’t believe it’s still that bad. At GBP I asked for ‘towels’ once from a maid and she had no idea what I asked for. ‘t-o-w-e-l-s’ and just a blank stare. How could you not learn ONE simple word that you should know because it’s your only job? I was too busy with my wedding and craziness to start learning another language. Come on seriously guys. The Spanish word for towel is very close. There’s no excuses for that. I had to refer to my language book constantly for simple items they should already know how to say in English. Often the staff would lecture us on how to say somthing in Spanish when we used hand signals. I’m sorry. That is not the correct attitude to project onto guests spending a lot to be there for a very short time. At Majestic, the maids will call them ‘towels’ and then say ‘merci!!! Lol! I’m not kidding. Here is a common exchange: Waitor: "Bonjour/Hello, How are you tonight/would you like some wine" Guest: "Yes please" Waitor: "Ok…(pouring wine) Guest: "Thank you very much" Waitor: "Your welcome" Guest: gives tip for the effort and proffesionalism to make it a more comfortable experience for the guest I would always say ‘Gracias’ and they would say ‘Your welcome’ just by habit so we actually switched back to saying ‘thank you’. The animation team spoke very good English and French. Yes French which still amazes me. The games were done in English mainly and important openings and announcements were duplicated in French and sometimes he would translate to Spanish if there was a Spaniard around. The GBP staff was Spanish language only except some bar and front desk staff so we were lost the whole time and had no clue what was going on when onlooking games. Many would laugh and we wouldn’t. The 30% of people not laughing were the large group of guests from Canada/US/Russia/Australia/England/Ireland/Germany that could’t speak Spanish and probably won’t return. Understanding the games that are going on and hearing the announcements, jokes in English is now a must for me and I will not attend another resort if the animation team does not do its games in English. You really do lose all the entertainment factor. Chefs, cooks, bartenders, maids almost all spoke some English. I’ll get to the chef’s later actually. Another wise move with Majestic management.
The fact that the management make staff go through the simple task of speaking English and French common frases speaks volumes (no pun) about the management at the resort and the deep understanding of the hospitality business.
Resort/Lobby/Colonial vs. Elegance:: We got off our bus and got a bad fist impression. The building is showing some age and looking a bit tired. We were like ‘oh no what did we get ourselves into’. There was staining parts of the drywall ceilings and a lousy looking coffee station compared to GBP. The front bar daytime staff, unfortunately, should be replaced as much as I hate to say it. They have long faces, drag their feet, and their service is poor. They act like they don’t want to be there. It’s a very bad impression for the guests to get when first arriving and not representative of the rest of the resort. Again, this is only the morning/daytime staff at the upstairs lobby bar. Music was often not played, coffee/milk left unfilled, they were very forgetful, very slow, long faces. They need to be replaced by energetic people enthusiastic to be there even if they have to poach them from another resort and pay them more. Honestly it was a bad first imporession on the service. I whitnessed some guests arriving from Russia and being told ‘no coffee, only water’. He then saw me drinking coffee and asked me where I got it from and I told him down at the outside terrace bar. She should have told him that. He had a bad first impression. GBP outshines Majestic by leaps and bounds when it comes to non-resturaunt table service and lobby bar. Majestic throughout its resort decided to cut costs on table service it seems which is a wise move becuase they put those rescources into food services.. more on that later. The Colonial portion of the resort is larger than the Elegance. Just look at any helecopter picture of both resorts and it’s easy to see. The beach is also much larger and ‘deeper’ so there’s more sand and palapas. The gap between buildings is much larger in the Colonial. The Elegance lobby actually looks very similar to the Colonial. Even the same chairs and sofa’s. The Elegance seemed more ‘dead’ and unlively.
Our room was a swim up room and all we had to do was look out the window for action or other happenings. We did get red ants when leaving food out over night. This did not happen at GBP when we left food out. No cocroaches wandering in either. No spiders. We did put a towel under our door this time though after we had that horrid cochroach experience at GBP where it was in the bathtub while my wife was getting out of the shower. It was so large we didn’t know how to kill it.
Overall ‘Vibe’:: Basically laid back with some fun ‘here and there’. The pool is not crazy and music is not super loud all day. The animators come once at 10am, then again at 4pm to do a game and then arobics. The animators also have to reherse for the night shows in between and will be working 14 hour days. The arrobics are pretty advanced and intense. They should ease it down a bit for people who are sedentary and want to join in. Also there should be some more dancing lessons as in latin style ‘line dancing’. Less intrusive and easy. The beach has some fun with the animators doing arobics and dancing lessons on the beach but no games. The music is also not played throught the day on the beach which is a shame. The people are a mix betweened laid back and light fun.
Lots of wedding party groups so they had more fun. GBP was completely laid back and you would rarely here people talking on the beach. Majestic at night the crowd was.. well.. just converstaing and sticking to their wedding parties. No craziness or anything like that. Not the vibe at this resort altough there were people having ‘fun’. The GBP was even more calm with everyone speaking softly and not drawing attention to themselves. I never saw a wedding there the whole week. The Majestic there was like 2 weddings a day and bride walking on beach taking pics. Great entertainment.
Cost Cutting:: All resorts need to cost cut somewhere. Imagine a pie chart that you have to work with and if you incraese one portion, you have to take away another. This is the reality of business and mangement has to decide it’s priorities and strategies to work with the pie chart. GBP put it’s eggs into more ‘bodies’ serving and doing room service. Majestic put its eggs into food prep. GBP, you would leave a door card to clean room, goto the beach, come back, room cleaned. Maids *everywhere*. You would be in the lobby area, put down your drink, and get visited by a server asking if you liked more… since the option was there, the guests often said yes to drinks they didn’t want. And I’m not always talking about alchohol.. could be tea, expresso, anything. The server would fetch it, and we would finish half, and then the rest was wasted. Costly to the resort to hire her and us having drinks we didn’t really want. I know it sounds bad but you have to draw the line somewhere. If I put a hot slice of pizza in your face and ask you if you want it, you’ll probably say yes. But do you really want it? Probably not or you would be ordering one right now. It’s too costly to the resort to serve drinks that aren’t ‘wanted’ or to clean rooms that aren’t ‘needed’ to be cleaned. At Majestic, it was obvious that wait staff is instructed to come out once an hour. They (meaning 1 person per area) would dissapear for an hour, do a round, fetch the drinks, then dissapear for another hour. Very bad move from management. I see the logic, but it’s not a good idea. People who want drinks can get them themselves and will not be bitter about it. I whitnessed a server who works by the pool come over to us (about 15 steps from the bar) and ask poeople in our area if we would like a drink. We all said.. ..umm.. yeah sure. And I got a diet coke, dude beside me got a rum and coke. We only said yes becuase we were amazed that she finally came around. Each drink was lost revenue for the resort. We got drinks that we weren’t craving or really needed. Same thing with the lobby area. The server comes out once an hour and does not ask you if you would like more when they clean your table. Very wise management cost saving move. If I want a drink, I’ll want it enough to walk over 10 meters. As guests, we all feel where the cost cutting is coming from. At the Majestic, it was definatly ‘bodies’ as far as room service and non resturaunt table service. At GBP it was hands down the food where they were cutting costs.. using every trick in the book to cheap out on low quality food prep and meats. Seeming to purposely make bad scrambled eggs to people wouldn’t eat them. Creating long lines for the omlettes so people would give up and just have dinner left overs. Trying every trick to illogically place or even hide the expensive foods. Hiring chefs that seem to be street pesants looking similar to the people manacuring the gardens. This was GBP’s game.
We never got towel art once at Majestic and that was more than fine with us. We got really odd hours of room cleaning but if that means keeping my ticket price low than so be it. The room got clean when it needed to be. The staff was stretched thin, but worked longer hours.
A resort cannot hire loads and loads of staff and managers to fix all the problems. That would result in higer ticket prices for all of us. You can’t have that amount of staff then expect trained chefs and sushi platters nightly. You can’t have both without the ticket prices running them out of business. With the amount of competition, ticket prices need to stay as low as possible or bookings will slow down and they will get in the red.
(I understand this happenning in Jamaica at one Sandles where they actually had to lay off many staff due to decreased bookings. I suggest Sandles rethink their $6200 CAN for 7 night. per couple ticket pricing if they want to survive and take up some cost cutting practices like they do in the DR. People don’t need a conceirge to book a dinner or reserve a palapa for them! Lol.. even the reviews said they weren’t needed and people didn’t really use them)
Food:: The Majestic seemed to place their money on food services which is the right thing to do. The meats the resorts purchased are of a high grade (unlike GBP). Everything is cooked properly including the bacon and scrambled eggs. Bacon was nice and soft as it should be. Steak was very good. Hamburgers grilled and meat soft and nice: not rubber and hard with a gamie flavor. Just read any review and you’ll see. At GBP we whitnessed a couple send back their steak, leave, and my wife simply could not chew hers so it went in the garbage. Low quality meats and lack of cooking skills were the issue at GBP. No care went into food prep. Also tap water seemed to have been used in their cooking as I’m still reading reviews of people complaining about travellers diahreah. At Majestic my wife didn’t even take immodium once. Me only 3 times and had diareah only once (because of my over eating I think.. not the same thing we had at GBP). The tap water creates water born diahreah pretty much. It seems the food prep staff really took care not to make their guests sick and used filtered water. The buffet at Majestic simply blew away GBP and so did the a la carts. The a la carts were never full. Simply walk in, sit down, and you will be served within 10 mintues. The staff is not streatched thin when it comes to the a-la carts. I read on another review that the hotel manager (a Spaniard) tasted a wine and ordered it to be thrown out and not served. He’s obviously a foodie. The food was really good. Not amazing, but just good to really good. We are at home right now wishing we could eat the food at Majestic. This is a HUGE contrast to our last days at GBP wanting to go home so we can eat some real food. The main buffet had food there that was so good almost everything was yummy and worth eating. No having to search for the 1 or two good items. The japanese resturaunt had a sushi platter where you can just walk in, get the sushi, eat it, then leave for the buffet. No reservations needed. Chicken was tender, beef was too. Potatoes were cooked properly. Fries were good. Rice was soft and cooked properly. Lasagnia tasted good. Stuff was deep fried properly. Pizza tasted good. Pasta was soft and boiled properly. Egg plant was good. I can go on and on. No cost cutting in this department. Then I realized why so many people book their weddings here – the food services, catoring, and chefs. There’s not much point going into reviewing a la cartes because they were all no reservation and food was on your table in 10 min. All the food was ‘good’ or better. Just go elsewhere if you dont like it. At GBP it was a joke and the dinners were honestly for laughs and something to do. Much of the time leaving 2/3rds the plate for the garbage and heading to the buffet.
(Note that Majestic had lettuce. Yes.. simple iceberg lettuce to make a salad with. GBP had no lettuce, yet strangly, all the bowls of toppings for a salad on display making it look like ther was a lot of food and a big salad section. And suprise suprise, no one ate it! What am I going to do with olives, green pepper, crutons, and all these other salad topings when there is NO LETTUCE? Ah yes.. it’s done on purpose to you wont eat that food and use the dressings. All those topings are for filler display and then used the next day for dinner dishes. This is just one of the many, many tricks they used at GBP and man they don’t realize that you should never cost cut in food services. Big, big mistake on their part. Majestic has their priorities straight and understand between where to cost cut and where not to)
Beach: The beach at GBP was better. More deeper water, no rock, more palapas, more deep, more sand, better looking guests, easier to find a palapa, more nudity. Just an overall better experience in probably every way. The Majestic Colonial beach was better when compared to the Elegance and the other neighbouring resorts. Palapa’s were usually full and should be reserved before 9am. 7:30am and you will be one of the first ones there. Colonial did have a beach waitress and the GBP did not. Great for impulse drinks I really didn’t need . Maria came so seldom that when I wanted a drink I got one myself. When she did come and ask, well.. I used her services because it was right there. I gave her a tip to see if she would come more and she didn’t. Oh well.. I’d much rather they do away with beach service if it isn’t going to be done properly and put those recources into something else (like someone in the kitchen who manicures and peels the prawns and clams: they mostly end up in the garbage so I dont know why they continuasely put that in their seafood dishes. People end up not eating or trying the best tasting dishes. Such a waste of money and good meat. Poeple don’t want hard shells, eyeballs and wiskers in their food. It always ended up in the trash or left over on peoples plate. The staff must notice this and should remidy that one problem becuase it’s money down the drain and also gives people something to complain about when the pool/beach service is very slow and the food doesn’t look appetising.
We had the swim up room looking out to the main pool area. I didn’t like how cramped the toilet was when closing the door. We had the red ants if food was left out over night and a weird misquito problem. I only got 5-6 bites the whole time so I wouldn’t consider that even a problem. Twice at GBP I got bites. Go read about Cuba and people being eaten alive with the strongest misquito repelant and you’ll be glad they spray for bugs in the DR. Air conditioning stayed on all the time unless there was a brown out. The air worked faily well.
During our week we saw a lot of differnet things break down: -An ice machine -2 elevators -Electricity in the beach bathrooms -Keycards malfunctioning -Other small things.
Naturally things are slow to get fixed and I feel sorry for the cost and management burden this must have on the hotel manager. A light in my shower was dangling down from a bare wire but I wasn’t about to bother anyone with it because it wasn’t a big issue for me. Keycards seem to need to be reprogramed. Ours twice and another guy came up having the same problem on a seperate day. These constant repairs are going to be costly on the resort. Plus all the money they owe the bank for the Elegance.
In closing:: I would return to this resort. If the prices are too high (as they are right now) then I will try Mexico or Jamaica. They really need to focus on being the #1 rated resort and keeping prices LOWER than they currently are if they want to have more bookings and stay in the green. They have set the bar so high and are doing everything right. It’s hard to cost cut already but there is room for improvement: -Replace the morning/daytime lobby staff immediately. -Keep the main loby bar open 24 hours serving coffee/snacks 24 hours. Very cheap, yet goes a long, long way in reviews and customer satisfaction. Better first impression for guests that arrive all times of the night/morning and would like a coffee or softdrink or sandwich. -Stop the waited service by pool and beach becuase it’s not being done properly and re-allocate those recources to the new 24 hour lobby bar. You’re only giving people ammunition to say the service was really slow and you’ll save money with less drinks being served that people weren’t going to order anyway. -Start an environmentally friendly cleaning selection service so people can choose ‘bed only’/towels only/ etc. etc.. They are starting to do this in major hotel chains and it’s working. You can turn down your room being cleaned. Many people don’t want anyone in their room and will let their towels dry natrually. Give them that option and your maid staff will be cleaning less rooms so there isn’t a partial job being done (as was the case with me never getting my towel art and 2 days not getting the room cleaned at all). It didn’t bother me, but your just giving other people ammo to complain about poor service. I was never given the option not to have my room cleaned. I was at GBP and we got our room cleaned once only and just asked for towels when we needed them changed.
Well that’s my review and opinion. Please feel free to ask me any questions about the resort or anything else – mikedavid00 on the Dominican forum..