Dominican Republic Bahia Principe

Pros

  • Among the best all-inclusive food in the Caribbean

Cons

  • Less stunning beach than in Punta Cana
  • Guards armed with shotguns don't inspire confidence

Bottom Line

A clean cliffside resort in the D.R.’s up-and-coming (and less developed) Samana Peninsula, the laid-back Gran Bahia Cayacoa attracts international families with its solid service, its beautiful rooms, and some of the best all-inclusive food in the Caribbean. The beach, however, is less remarkable. Most guests hang out near the pool.

Categories

All-Inclusive, Beachfront, Resort

Oyster Hotel Photos

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Scene

The resort is built on a steep hill

A relaxing, family resort set high on a cliff overlooking the town of Samana and the Samana Bay, the Cayacoa attracts European, Dominican, and Canadian couples and families seeking the pristine, less-developed Samana Peninsula. The resort itself is fairly small, but because it's built on a steep hill, walking around the resort (and to the beach) takes a great deal of time and energy.

Location

A narrow peninsula on the east end of the Dominican Republic, Samana is less developed and more serene than heavily congested tourist areas like Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, or Punta Cana. Some of the country’s best beaches are on the Samana Peninsula. As such, the main town of Samana is popular among cruise ship passengers, who come hunting souvenirs and local fare.A view of Samana Bay However, safety outside the resorts is less reliable here than in some of the gated complexes on the north coast, like Playa Dorada. Unlike elsewhere in the D.R., it’s common to see armed guards at the hotels. Visitors are advised to travel in groups and use common sense, especially at night.

Beach

A view of Samana Bay

The beach at the Gran Bahia Princie Cayacoa is pretty average. To get to it, guests take an elevator down about four stories, and it opens directly on the sand. The beach is pretty small and lacks an exotic feel, but does offer plenty of lounge chairs and a restaurant. There are also close-up views of the Bridge to Nowhere.

The Standard RoomThere have been some reports of sewage on the beach, but Oyster did not see any signs of discharge in the water during our 2010 stay. It is certainly a possibility, however. A still developing city, Samana doesn’t have a modern sewage system.

Rooms

The Standard Room

The rooms are very clean and comfortable. Beds are large and come with a heavy comforter – a nice touch, given the hotel's high-powered A.C.

The marble bathrooms are handsome, clean, and comfortable. However, they lack luxe features like a Jacuzzi or bidet (both found at the more expensive Gran Bahia Cayo Levantado).

The balcony is a winner. Standard rooms are down the hill, near the villas. They have an amazing view of the ocean, but they lack the grand, cliff-top view that many guests flock to the Cayacoa to see. To get this view, guests should request ocean-view rooms in the main hotel complex on top of the hill. These rooms are in the busier part of the hotel but are closer to the restaurants and main pool.

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