We have booked togo to the gb samana in Jan/07 and have found little reviews although some stunning pictures. We’re abit leary about the security(travelling with a small child) on the resort since it looks like such a secluded area. We know it doesn’t open officially until Nov/06 but has anyone been in the area, and do they have guards at these small resorts ???
I hope that you post a review when you get back, as we’re heading that way in Feb/07, and like yourself have alot of questons ie. security, food, beach, service, rooms…(I could go on…)
Sue and I are off there next week (20 December) - so stand by for a review soon!
Thx. I look forward to your review.
Looking for a review --we leave this weekend and have seen some vary mixed reviews. We have 16 year olds and expect the watersports and things to do.
I guess you may know by now that the GBP Samana has discontinued all water sports, including tennis. After that little tidbit got out, I contacted my travel agent and was moved to El Portillo and given a junior suite/Royal Golden inclusion.
So far I have seen pictures of El Portillo, and a rough German to English translation of a recent review, and I believe I that I made a good decision for myself
Happy Holidays everyone!
Well, we just got back yesterday from a week at the GBP Samana. You can read my review at:
If you have questions, just ask!
We went past GBP, on our way to Casa Marina Bay. We had been looking at Gbp as our choice. Honestly from what I saw, I,m glad we went to casa Marina Bay. GBP had beautiful online photo’s but I didn’t think it suited our 11 travelers. A walled property right between the road and ocean with a small community right there. They appeared to be still cleaning up some construction, pruining trees etc. Guards at the gated entrance, so you should be secure. The rancharo is across the road as are the tennis courts, which didn’t appeal to us. The property didn’t seem that spacious, but has a beautiful view.Buildings appeared well kept! Hope you have agreat trip, look forward to your review. Smarty
We are travelling to Gran Bahia on the 7th, and really appreciate Gordy’s review !!
Just a few questions:
Trip to the island - is this still included ? If not, how do you get there ?
Was the facility fairly full ? In other words, if the room we are provided is not up to grade, is there a possibility to get another soon ?
Are there some umbrellas or other shades for around the pool ?
Is the club house up and running (the one up the hill) ?
Was the airport departure fairly smooth … and the tour operators there to meet you on time ?
Was the beach fairly sandy (some resorts have outcropping of coral on the beach floor which makes walking out or navigating the waves problematic)
Any additional information would be appreciated… we’ll be sure to post our trip results upon our return !
Hi Ovl, we just returned last night from the GBP Samana. In response to your questions:
- Trip to the island - is this still included ? If not, how do you get there ?
No it is not included, or rather, there is nothing organized. We spent the week trying to find out how to get there without paying too much. Of course the only advice our Transat rep had for us was to sign up for one of the excursions that would take us there along with other places - for about $100USD each. No thanks. When I saw a boat unload some of the hotel’s clients, I asked the guy on the boat about it - it was a private boat, and he would take us there and back for $50USD. No thanks. At the front desk, we got conflicting info. You can take a cab into Samana for $10USD and take the ferry from there - I heard anywhere from $4 to $12. Then another person at the front desk said that with a letter from the hotel, we could take it to the reception for the GBP Levantado down the street ($3 cab ride, or you can walk, just turn left at the gate and walk down the street), and the shuttle from the GBP Levantado will take you there for free. Then we talked to a couple who actually did this twice, but without the letter, they just went there and were allowed on to the shuttle. Oh, and we also talked to a couple who was charged $12USD by the cab driver, to do this! Once there, they realized they probably could have walked there.
So that is definitely not organized, but possible. We didn’t end up going because we only found out about the free shuttle the night before our last day there. We were going to go, but that morning we noticed 2 cruise ships in the bay, which meant the beach was going to be crowded, so we opted to stay on our quiet little beach.
- Was the facility fairly full ? In other words, if the room we are provided is not up to grade, is there a possibility to get another soon ?
It was at full capacity, because of the holidays, and honestly I think this is why they had so many glitches. Some people were able to switch rooms fairly easily, but some people were switched over to either the GBP Cayacoa and GBP Portillo. These seemed to be mainly families - the GBP Samana has a very limited number of rooms with 2 beds. It would really do better to market itself as a couples or adults only resort, because of this and also the limited activities and watersports available.
- Are there some umbrellas or other shades for around the pool ?
Around the pool are a few umbrellas and also trees. We spent very little time at the pool because we liked the beach, and I always find the pools at resorts too hot, you get more of a breeze on the beach.
- Is the club house up and running (the one up the hill) ?
No, it is actually pretty much in ruins. The website is totally misleading on this, there is not way it can be functional. We did walk up, and with my limited Spanish was able to gather that it might once again be part of the GBP but not for the moment. There was definitely some construction going on up there, but we weren’t able to go into the clubhouse, there was actually an armed guard there!
- Was the airport departure fairly smooth … and the tour operators there to meet you on time ?
Yes. For now there is absolutely nothing in the airport in the way of snackbar, shops, duty free, etc. But I hear the official opening is in January and they might have something up by then. I also found it very cold in there, a little too enthusiastic about their air conditioning, same as the bus to the hotel! We joked that maybe they think Canadians actually like it that cold!
- Was the beach fairly sandy (some resorts have outcropping of coral on the beach floor which makes walking out or navigating the waves problematic)
We thought the beach was very nice. Fine sand, no pebbles or rocks or seashells to hurt your feet, either on the beach or in the water. No need for watershoes. The beach isn’t very big, no miles of beach to walk along, but adequate enough for the hotel and it was at full capacity. There weren’t enough loungers but by the end of the week they had doubled the number. We were usually able to get one just by watching and waiting for someone to leave.
So that’s about it for now. For more info you can look up our review either on this forum or on Tripadvisor.
There were glitches, but if what you’re looking for is a quiet, intimate setting, and are willing to put up with them still ironing out the hiccups of a new place and inexperienced staff, it’s a great place. If you’re looking for a 5-star with numerous activities and top-notch service, you will be disappointed.
Hope this helps - we still wish we were there!!
Many thanks Nataliem !
Your answers helped alot …
Hi all, Happy New Year
I just wanted to thank gordy for his positive outlook on this resort and natalie & Tim for their great information. I have been following all the posts with great interest as we are booked to leave Jan 21/07. I have to admit I am still a little nervous. But with the information that has been provided it helps us to know what is up and what to expect or not to expect. we are really hoping that alot of the glitches will be worked out by then :-/
one question I did have is we must have 2 rooms with 2 beds as 4 people in our group are single freinds (2 dont even know each other) any suggestions on how we can make sure to get this.
Again thanks for all the helpful info at least know I am not losing sleep over our decision to go to GBP Samana.
wife and I leave on Sunday from TO…love the reviews and we are looking forward greatly to the R&R as this seems what this spot is best for…anyone take the whale watching tour?
oh yeah and the internet access??? can I use my laptop or do they have a computor set up in the GOlden Club?? as they called it??
Lucky you - hubby and I just returned on Sunday and are still fantasizing about being there! Wish we could go back right now…
The whale-watching tour operators start January 15th, so unless you`re there for 2 weeks, you will miss it. The bahia-principe website advertises that the whales are in the bay starting in December, but this isn’t true. We spent many hours gazing out at the water, and didn’t see anything! Even asked one of the staff, he said they usually appear closer to February. See http://www.whalesamana.com/home.html - Kim Beddall is the tour operator, she is a Canadian and her company is well-reputed.
As for INternet access, there is a room to the right of the front desk with 3 computers, so you don’t need to bring your laptop. As for the “Golden Room”, or VIP room or whatever, we never did find out where or what that was. What with them ironing out all the wrinkles of a new place and all, we didn’t really get the “Royal Golden” treatment - except for the robe and slippers! THe computers are available to all guests. Never did get the turn-down service, either. But no matter, we still enjoyed the place and look forward to going back!
wow…quick reply. we are very excited about the trip…any town nearby? dining as in local dining or shopping?
The place is rather remote, and I don’t think there are as many places to go as if you were at the Portillo, which is close to Las Terrenas. That didn’t matter to us, we were only going 1 week and wanted not much more to do than lie on the beach. We did take a cab in to Samana just to check the place out. We did a bit of walking around but not too much, so I can’t say too much about it. We did have a drink at the Café de Paris on the main strip, which apparently has good food. We also walked up to the GBP Cayacoa where we had lunch and explored the grounds “for future reference”. THis is right in Samana, you see it at the top of the hill as you come in to town. Your GBP bracelet allows you in there.
Otherwise, we ventured off on foot to the town of Los Cacaos. Just turn right on your way out of the resort and keep walking, about 15 min. You will come to a fork in the road - if you go left, it takes you along the street with all the little shops. We bought coffee there for 70 pesos - about 3us dollars. If you go right, you walk along the waterfront and see the fishing boats come in. It is quite an interesting experience. We did stick out like a sore thumb and feel sort of like intruders, everyone looking at the Gringos walking down the street. But a smile and an amiable “Hola” will go a long way!
darn… I wanna leave now even though the weather nice here…but 80F sounds better
anything we need to bring? any suggestions to make the week better?
Couple of quick questions. Natalie mentioned accessing the other resort with her BGP bracelet. Is that their official policy or did you just try it out to see if you could get in? We will be down there for two weeks (Feb 18) so visiting the GBP Cayacoa for a meal/drink while visiting the town, sounds like a great idea. For those of you who are going to the GBP Samana this month, would appreciate your updates when you return. I suspect that the owners will make substantial progress in ironing out their December glitches, but wonder how long it will take before they have the full “Royal Golden” package in place and solve their plumbing problems. Would also appreciate any thoughts on what room to request. Regardless, we are counting down the days and appreciate all of the information shared so far. Heatseeker
leaving this weekend and back on 14th, will leave our report as soon as we can