Grand Paradise SamanŠ Reviews

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Grand Paradise SamanŠ  

Samana. Dominican Republic

"Strong 3 star - value for your dollar"
Posted by: Lynne  on Feb 21, 2016
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Grand Paradise SamanŠ Reviews
Grand Paradise SamanŠ Pictures and Information
Grand Paradise SamanŠ Las Galeras Dominican Republic

#1
of 10 Hotels in Las Galeras

User rating 3.2

Based on 26 reviews

Grand Paradise SamanŠ Information


Situated on the coast of Playa Las Galeras, Grand Paradise SamanŠ welcomes visitors to a tropical Resort where comfort is a priority and the natural beauty of the environment is everywhere.

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Grand Paradise SamanŠ Reviews

Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 3.2 of 5 26 reviews
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"Strong 3 star - value for your dollar"

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Lynne  on Feb 21, 2016  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2016 | Leisure | Family and Kids
78 people found this review helpful

This was our 5th time to this resort and this time we spent 2 weeks there.

Room Block:
5

Arrival:
In all the other years, check in was done on the bus but this year that did not happen. We were a small group on a small bus and so check in was very quick and efficient.

Rooms:
We requested rooms in block 5 for us and our friends and thanks to Norris, we were given the requested rooms. This made our 2 week stay more enjoyable for sure and the maids did a very good job every day.

Restaurants and Bars:
Our bar tender at the small pool was Cesar for the first week and he was an awesome bar tender, very friendly and most obliging. He was transferred to the sports bar during our second week and we quite enjoyed our evenings with him and the sweet young girl who was his helper. I forget her name but she always had a flower in her hair and had the biggest smile. The other half of our evening was spent with Evelin at the beach bar. She made the best drinks!! During the second half of our stay we had Luis Rodriguez at our quiet pool during the day and he was an awesome bar tender. Luis always made sure he had fresh bananas for my Banana Mama and he had a blender at that bar. Unfortunately, some of the other bars did not have a blender and I say unfortunately because we really missed spending time with Bonita at the main pool bar. In the past, Bonita was always our favourite bar tender. He was the only one who had fresh bananas in other years for my drinks and we always patronized his bar and enjoyed his professionalism. This year he had no blender and no cappuccino machine. This was really a big let down as we always enjoyed our after dinner cappuccino on the patio of the Van Burren bar. I have to say that the five bar tenders, Cesar and his female partner (whose name I forget), Luis, Evelin and Bonita were the main people who made this vacation enjoyable.

There were more severs in the buffet this year but 8 out of 10 times you had to hunt for a clean table and then get your own silverware. These are the small things that keep this resort at a 3 star. The food was always good (but not that warm) and there was always a variety. They have the best cakes for dessert every night! We did try the Seascape restaurant one night but did not find it as good as the buffet.

They have a dinner on the beach for certain people only. We flew West Jet and so were not entitled to this dinner but because our friends flew with Air Transat and they were invited, we were able to join them. The setting on the beach and dinner itself was lovely but I would think that if it were for everyone instead of a select few, there would less grumbling among the guests. I heard a lot of negative remarks from other guests about the fact that the hotel puts the dinner on only for certain airlines and, of course, no one knows of that fact until they get there and see that some people get the special dinner and some don't. If it were across the board, this would help to alleviate some of the other bothersome matters.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The towel game is played, as is usual in most resorts.

The resort is beautiful and the grounds are well kept.

They have a new addition this year - the "Select Club" We were fortunate enough to have been given a tour of that part of the resort and in my honest opinion, I think the money would have been far better spent on the resort as a whole rather than one section. This appears to have divided the guests in a not so positive manner.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
It is a 5 to 10 minute walk into Las Galeras, which is a small fishing village and we walked in many days. We also walked up to El Cabito, a restaurant/bar located on top of a cliff with a stunning view overlooking the bay. It was a good 30 minute walk but well worth it. Wear good shoes as there are a lot of stones along the way. You could take a cab if you wish.

Other Comments:
The biggest problem this time was the fact that the bars ran out of beer, rum, vodka or something every day. Not every bar was out of something at the same time but every bar was out of something at some time during the day. This is most unacceptable. This meant you had to go looking for a bar that had what you were looking for, including orange juice. The bar at the small pool served their vodka with Tang - yes Tang from a packet, so every day I had to go and round up fresh orange juice from one of the other bars for my vodka. We have never had this happen before at this resort but it certainly did cause a lot of grief amongst the guests. The bar beside the small pool served beer from a big plastic jug which they kept half cold in a cooler of ice. There was no beer dispenser. There is no way the bar tenders should have to apologize to the guests for not having beer or rum or vodka. We sure felt sorry for them.

I have to say that these situations have left us with a bad taste.

We have spent 6 weeks in total at this resort and really like the location, the grounds and the bar tenders mentioned above who go above and beyond and all the guests we meet there. The food is always very tasty and we found the variety suitable. There was bacon 1 morning only but the fresh made omelettes kinda make up for it. If bacon is your thing, take packets of pre-cooked bacon and give it to the omelette fellow and he will cook it for you. We did! I would have to say that the people who are guests at this resort are very friendly and we have made many friends over the years. We were rather disappointed this year when we could not get a cappuccino or a fresh made Banana Mama in the blender from the Von Burren bar because we so enjoyed Bonito and the fact that this resort ran out of beer and alcohol is unacceptable.

This resort is a 3 star and if you pay a 3 star price, you will get value for your dollar. The fact that they ran out of beer and alcohol has kind of taken the wind out of our sails so we will see what happens next January. If we do not go back, we will miss all our favourite bar tenders. In my opinion, they make this resort!

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"Could Easily Be 4 Star But ..."

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Robert  on Feb 16, 2016  >  5 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2016 | Leisure | Family and Kids
80 people found this review helpful

This is a shortened review (to make text fit Debbieís review submission fields)

Photo Set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12759824@N02/sets/72157663908200750/

Video Slide Show with Sound: http://www.bobfromcanada.com

Full Review at: http://www.bobfromcanada.com or Ďthe other guysí.

The property is rated at 3 to 3.5 stars and thatís about right. It could easily be 4 stars. There are a LOT of things to like about this resort and some things that are not to like. Over-all, we were pretty happy and think we got great value for our money. With a little tweaking, it could be a whole lot better.

They were constantly running out of things. They would frequently run out of plates, or glasses. It took a Ďfewí minutes before replacements would appear. At least they did appear; it just took a while.

They also seemed to have supply issues. For example, one afternoon, they ran out of beer, rum and vodka (resort wide, all bars). This was for an extended period. I felt sorry for the bar tenders because they were taking the heat and it wasnít their fault. They ran out of beer briefly on three other occasions during the two weeks we were there. People tend to remember things like that and itís not the kind of thing the resort wants you to remember. Enough said.

As for the buffet, hereís where Iím coming from. I donít expect a whole lot of service. Itís a buffet; pretty much a do-it-yourself operation. You get your own food. But, what I do expect is to have my table properly bused. What happens seems to depend on the server you get. Some were really good, others werenít. Sometimes the table is bused, sometimes not. Once seated, we usually waited for a few minutes. If the table got bused within that time, then we were away. Otherwise we did it ourselves. No big deal! Other times someone was right there, bused the table, filled your water glass, and asked if you wanted coffee, beer or wine. Guess who got the tips Ö.

Fortunately the positives far out-weighed the negatives and we had a great vacation. That leads to the question ďWould we return?Ē The answer to that is YES.

The property is not exceptionally large, but it is very pretty and natural. Itís a pretty quiet resort. Thereís lots of trees, grass and shrubs and itís very scenic. The groundskeepers do a good job of keeping it nicely maintained. Thereís only about 400 rooms. It seemed to be pretty easy to meet, socialize and make friends here.

The age mix is tilted towards the early 50s. There werenít many younger people there, but there were enough for them to have a good time. Good thing too. The disco is pretty small. A large crowd would overload it. Speaking of the disco, they either need a bigger amplifier and speakers or turn it down a notch. The sound system was maxed out to the point that the speaker cones were rattling against the enclosure. Loud I can live with, distortion no

Room Number:
1139

Room Block:
1

Arrival:
After a longish but scenic bus ride we arrived at the hotel. We wanted to get beer at the airport before we departed, but the driver/guide suggested we stop en route because it would be cheaper ($5 for a Grande versus $8 at the airport). The bus did stop for beer just after we left the airport (twice actually - the beer wasnít cold enough at the first stop) but there were no bathroom breaks en route, even though we stopped at two other hotels to drop off passengers. The ride was about two hours including the stop-offs. To be fair, when one was in dire need, I suspect you could get off the bus to use the washroom in those hotel lobbies. That option was offered on the return trip to the airport while we were waiting for passengers.

When we arrived, check-in was pretty efficient and painless. We got a welcome drink while doing the paper work. Iíd requested a second key, and had been told I could get one despite the fact that it wasnít their normal policy, but it wasnít there and they told me to come back tomorrow. I did get it then with no issues.

Interestingly, on the second day the reservations manager (Noris Silverio) phoned the room as a follow up to my request and to make sure I had received it. Kudos to her. Nice lady; we stopped by her office to say thanks personally. Iíd also requested a second floor room, but got assigned a first floor room. It turns out I liked it better and I would request the exact same room on my next trip. And there will be one. Right after check-in we were whisked off to our room. It seems that the bellhop misread our room number (upside down on the paper he was trying to read) and initially took us to the wrong building. That was quickly rectified and we found our room.

Rooms:
We requested and paid for a deluxe oceanview room. We think it was worth the slight additional cost. The room we got seemed recently renovated and in pretty good repair aside from some very minor issues which I didnít bother reporting. It had two double beds (weird dimensions 54 inches wide x 85 inches long), one bedside table between them, a set of drawers, closet, safe ($15US per week), flat screen TV (the remote was already in the room), refrigerator and a pretty nice bathroom with the usual amenities. It should be noted that they ask you not to put toilet paper down the toilet but in the waste receptacle instead. Dominican plumbing is somewhat on the anemic side. This is a minor inconvenience compared to an overflowing toilet. We heard of some people that didnít heed the sign and paid the price. There were washcloths when we arrived but they werenít always replaced, so we hid the ones we had. The shower head was one of those rainfall ones and it looked like the fixture and associated plumbing had been recently installed. I didnít think Iíd like the rainfall head but it turned out to be pretty nice. There was good water pressure and we always had hot water when we wanted it. The patio outside the room had a tremendous view. My wife thinks this one is the best rooms weíve had in the last 10 trips.

The only issues we had with the room were that you had to jiggle the toilet handle sometimes to stop it running and the bed side table was mounted to the wall on the headboard which had a slight warp. So, it had a small angle down and the drawer kept opening by itself. Not a big issue but just annoying. It wasnít about to fall off or anything like that. It was just off level.

We also lost the programming on the room key a Ďfewí times and had to make trips to reception to get them reprogrammed. Reception was always courteous and friendly.

It should be noted that the dim room lighting is as reported in previous reviews. The bedside light is not only dim, but located such that even with a bright bulb, reading in bed would be difficult. And kudos to them for putting an energy efficient LED fixture in the bathroom. It was quite bright, but it was clearly the wrong fixture for the job. It had bare LEDs rather than a frosted tube and cast horrible shadows around the room. That one has got to go.

We were offered the VIP/Select package. I feel the deluxe oceanview was worth the extra cost, but not so the VIP package. We did see a few that went for it.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was far better than we expected. No complaints here. It was plain but there was plenty of variety and they had a different theme each night (Mexican, American, International, Seafood, Dominican, BBQ, Italian, France, Asian, Chefís for example). Each night there was an excellent carving station. We got served baked chicken, some very nice roast beef (surprise, it was even tender), carved whole turkey, roast piglet, several varieties of fish, BBQ chicken. There were also a lot of interesting offerings in the chafing dishes as well. Sauces, where present, tasted like a light citrus base with a hint of cinnamon. I liked it.

The vegetables were consistently served slightly al dente and had a nice firm texture. Sure, sometimes they were slightly on the cool side but Iíd rather have that than hot, overcooked and mushy. We got potatoes, carrots, corn on the cob, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, pumpkin, and several varieties of beans.

The breads and buns were excellent, as were the sweet rolls. They also baked a killer banana bread. The French stick was excellent too. Yum.

Each night there was a good selection of salad fixings (two types of lettuce, shredded red cabbage, shredded cabbage, carrots, and two or three types of prepared salads). None had any dressing on them so you could pick your own dressings and amounts from a selection of three or four types. The lettuce was consistently crisp, but a few times some of it was frozen to the bottom of the chafing dish.

There was a good selection of desserts and several nights they served ice cream. And it was good ice cream.

There was pretty good variety in the buffet at lunch as well. The beach club was rather limited in choices but acceptable. It was pretty well sandwiches, burgers, fries, and something on the grill. We ate most of our lunches in the buffet because there was a much better selection.

Breakfast had a pretty good selection that didnít vary much from day to day. But bacon was a rare event. We got bacon once in the two week period. The omelette station was a pretty busy place. You could pick from ham, cheese, onion and tomato fixings, but there was nothing stopping you from chopping up other stuff (like potato or a different meat) from the chafing dishes. Surprisingly, we saw few bananas on the fruit tray but there was lots of pineapple, melon and mangoes. My wife loves mangoes.

The restaurant supervisor (Victor) seemed to be there for every meal. I heard that the guy started at 5:00 am every morning and was there until after 9:00 pm. I believe it from what I saw. Thatís pretty dedicated. He was always jovial and friendly and without exception greeted us with a smile and a handshake (at least after we introduced ourselves to him).

We didnít try the a la carte restaurants but it was reported that they werenít worth the effort.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is quite nice, but a little strange. Thereís a thin strip of sand (pretty thin at high tide and slightly wider other times) with a larger bordering grassy area. Most of the loungers were situated on the grassy area. A little strange, but you got used to it quickly.

The water was blue, but a little murky most days. The sand on the bottom seemed to be slightly finer than the sand on the beach (coarser) and stayed in suspension for a while after being stirred up. Overall, the bottom was sandy with a few coral patches and a few flat topped seaweed patches. There was a little, but not a lot of seaweed. The seaweed looked a lot like crabgrass leaves so it wasnít terribly nasty. Once washed ashore, they were pretty good about cleaning it up and hauling it away.

The hotel was about full up. Loungers seemed to be at a premium around midday. Unfortunately the towel game was in full play. We were never around midday anyway. Getting loungers early morning or late afternoon didnít seem to be an issue.

The better (newer) loungers were in the pool area. The ones on the beach were older and getting near the end of their service life. The sun is slowly doing them in.

There are 3 pools. None of them are large, but otherwise they are pretty nice. Two are located in the same general area and the third is out by building 5. It seemed almost like a private pool leading one to wonder if there were two separate properties at one time. They seemed well cared for and the water had a nice blue colour.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
They had the standard beach volleyball net, bocce ball, shuffleboard, archery, a hobie cat and sea kayaks. They also had a mini-golf course (sort of), but no golf equipment (???). Thereís a booth on the beach selling snorkeling tours to what they refer to as a natural aquarium, a roped off enclosed area a bit off-shore. Youíre not likely to wander in by accident, but they get pretty vocal if you do.

We didnít associate with the activities staff much but it appeared that they were working their butts off to keep people happy. They seemed to be enjoying themselves. We also noticed that on many occasions the activities staff joined guests for meals.

We only went to one or two shows. The best one was the fire and water one staged in the pool. The rest were pretty standard fare that weíd seen before and we decided weíd rather socialize at the beach bar. Our loss (maybe).

Off resort, itís an easy and safe walk along the beach into town (Las Galeras). The walk along the beach path is an easy 5-10 minutes at a Dominican pace. Itís pretty scenic. Take your camera. Oh, if you use the road instead of the path itís a lot longer walk and not very scenic.

I was a little disappointed. The so called supermercado (we found two) had limited booze offerings on the shelf and the prices were not marked. I suspect the price varies depending on the colour of your skin. Thereís probably more supermercados but we didnít find them.

Oh, and in town and along the path thereís a few watering holes where you can get a large Presidente (called a Grande) for about 150 pesos (and free wifi). Along the way, the first guy youíll meet is Juan (who sells tours). Heís pretty personable. The next guy is Joseph, who has a small bar and the first free wifi off the resort. He seemed pretty nice too. I chatted both of them up a few times.

Going the other way along the beach, thereís a few blow holes where the ocean waves surge through an underground passage and surge up through a hole in the ground. Thatís a pretty easy 15 minute walk too. The road is pretty rocky so you might want sturdy sandals instead of flip-flops.

If you go a little further along a narrow path, beyond the blow holes, you can see a cliff face that looks like a dragonís jaw, that appears to open/close as you walk along the path. Thereís also a set of small caves in there. Itís worth the walk in my opinion.

Special Thanks:
I donít normally do this, but several staff made our vacation memorable.
I know Iím going to miss some and misspell others. Some names were heard verbally and others were read off name tags with pretty tiny lettering. Those I do leave out, my apologies. You know who you are, but here goes.

Noris Silverio - Reservations Manager (great follow-up service, before and after our trip)
Joelissa - Waitress (breakfast/lunch buffet, great service)
Benito - Bar Tender (pool bar, excellent)
Evylyn - Bar Tender (beach club evenings, super, great gal)
Fausto - Waiter (buffet dining room evenings, attentive and good service)
Maribell - Our Maid (kept our room clean and supplied. Always a friendly smile, even across the resort)
Caesar - Bar Tender (sports bar evenings)
Victor - Restaurant Supervisor (man, this guy seemed to be around, smiling, every meal, Iím impressed)

Pros and Cons:
PROS:
Nice location / nice property
Great food, lots of variety
No one got sick except for self-inflicted (at least in the group we hung with)
View from oceanview room is very nice, gardenview rooms seemed good too
No time share / vacation club
Nice beach

CONS
They seem to have supply issues
Service could be better (with exceptions as noted)

Comments (part 1):
There are lots of little spots to sit out, socialize and have a drink. Very convenient.

There was live entertainment (OK, one guy with a band-box) outside the dining room two or three times a week. He was pretty good. By the way, that was at one of the little spots.

I advise taking an extension cord with multiple outlets. The wiring in the rooms was designed and installed long before the need to charge our modern electronics. In our room there were three ac outlets. None of them were conveniently located. One was fully used up for the refrigerator and the TV. The second was inconveniently located under the bedside table and the bedside lamp was connected. Note that that one was switched on/off by a switch at the door, so you could control the bedside lamp. The third outlet was in the bathroom and one outlet was dedicated to the hair dryer. I ended up using the bathroom ac outlet because it was the least inconvenient. Note that the ac outlets were North American style type B sockets but I seriously doubt that the ground is connected and the wiring is polarized. I wouldnít depend on any appliance that requires a ground.

You need your room key to keep the ac power powered up. That includes the air conditioning.

They request that you not put toilet paper in the toilet but in the waste basket beside it. This, at worst, is a minor inconvenience. Dominican plumbing is a bit anemic and paper tends to plug up the system. If and when that happens, itís more than a minor inconvenience.

The room fridges are stocked with water, Coke and Sprite. Interestingly, the hotel also has diet Coke, but wouldnít stock the refrigerators with it. Diet Coke is only available in the bars.

What appears to be the main entrance to the buffet dining room is blocked off. It appears they want you to enter via the covered archway from the lobby/reception area. Iím not sure why.

At dinner, if you spot a nice chocolaty dessert, best grab it because that selection will likely be gone by the time you finish dinner and are ready for the sweet stuff. The chocolate items disappeared quickly.

The better entries at dinner also disappeared within the first hour or two. The dinner period is about four hours, but the better selections got snapped up quickly. Hint: Be early.

I canít believe how many people treat the buffet like a cafeteria. Man, theyíd go stock up their plates with hot food, and THEN start looking for a table (really awkward when the table hasnít been set). Itís pretty easy: Get your table, all set up with utensils and condiments, and then go get your food. No doubt these are the same people that complain that the food is cold. And it is surprising how fast the food cools down. Iíve found serving spoons that are quite hot to handle, but found the food on the cool side when I got to the table (quickly I might add).

Comments (part 2):
We met a lot of nice people from all over the world. Actually, before we even arrived, I matched up with a couple that we had met years ago at another resort. Then, lightning struck twice. I met another couple that recognized me from another resort, also years ago. What are the odds?

They seem to have the bug situation under control. We didnít see many at all. My wife reacts to insect bites and she reported getting only a few. Normally she goes home with a lot more welts. There were a few centipedes on our patio, but they were all a lot smaller than my sandals. I donít know if they bite or not. They never got close enough.

If you do decide to walk into town, and your return will be after dark, take a flashlight. The path is pitch black at night, but appears to be safe enough. We talked to several people that did it with no issues. One guy did it with the flashlight app on his cell phone. Oh, and thereís a nice pizza place with a wood fired oven that serves up great pizza. There were a lot of other nice looking restaurants as well. I heard they were pretty good.

It seems to be one of the places that actually follows the sign about leaving your towels in the tub if you want them replaced and hanging them on the rack if you donít. No issue there. I donít need new towels every day. If you dirty the towel drying off from your shower, you likely didnít shower properly. To be fair, once our maid got to know us, she replaced the towels daily, regardless of where they were left.

The red wine at dinner is not great, but potable. The white wine is not. I made the mistake of trying it and instantly regretted it. I think I may have killed an aloa vera plant in the nearby planter.

I pointed out that bacon was a rare event at breakfast. So much so that the day they did serve it, just about everyone commented on it. Interesting at lunch; the sandwich bar lists a club sandwich and the ingredients that included bacon (natch), but there was no bacon there. Sorry, but you canít make a club sandwich without bacon.

The coffee station in the buffet is very awkward, unless you are 4 ft. tall. Itís very low and you have to bend down to fill your cup. I know why though. You fill your cup from the bottom of the urn; they have to fill it from the top. And itís a big urn.

For what itís worth, the air conditioning in our room was quieter than the bathroom fan.

We had a number of 5-10 second power bumps the first week. There were none that I noticed in week two.

Watch the paths at night. The lighting is somewhat lacking in spots and the path edge is uneven. Some of the interlocking stone / flagstones are also uneven in spots. Just be aware.

Comments (part 3):
Beware of the edges on the patio areas in the restaurants and bars. Some have pretty sharp drop-offs at the edge and itís pretty easy to back up your chair just a little too far if youíre not paying attention. I saw one go over (fortunately the gentleman wasnít injured) and warned two or three others that were within ĹĒ of doing the same. Language barrier or not, they got the message when I pointed to the chair leg.

We had to have our room keys recoded several times. That seems to be a common problem. Other people were at the front desk with the same issue. My best guess is that their key writer recording heads are clogged up from writing a gazillion keys and need cleaning.

The beach is quite accessible at night. This is very pleasant for watching the moon and the surf.

There seems to be a wide variety of room types. Some have minor issues like fiddly plumbing controls, doors that are hard to lock, late or no towel delivery, TV not working (or missing), refrigerator thatís kaput or Ö.

On site wifi is expensive and I hear it doesnít work all that well. I went without internet (gasp) for the whole two weeks and lived to tell about it.

The resort is very European. Surprisingly there was very little topless. When it was there, no one paid any particular attention. But I did hear reports about people changing into and out of their bathing suits on the beach. Come on! Thereís a washroom only a few steps away.

The guests seemed pretty good at queuing at the bars. Things seemed to go in spurts. Things would move along at a good pace and then suddenly there would be a log jam. This seemed to happen a lot in all the bars and even at the food stations in the buffet.

There is a natural aquarium (extra cost) just outside the beach area. I donít see how you would wander into it by accident, but if you did enter without paying, the proprietor got quite vocal about it. I heard him once from my spot, beachfront and he was quite some distance away. Actually, I donít understand how he can legally do this. The Ďaquariumí is out in the ocean, off the public beach. But there he is Ö.

Donít miss the walk to the blow hole / caves. Itís very pretty walk and you may encounter a horse, a bull or other livestock along the way. At the beach, facing the water, you go to the right and take the two left forks in the horse path. Going to town is the other way. Head off to your left and follow your nose. You canít miss it.

There seems to be a lot of repeaters at this resort. That speaks volumes. I think weíll be joining them.

Photos: https://www.flickr.com/photos/12759824@N02/sets/72157663908200750/

Videos: http://www.bobfromcanada.com

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"2 for 2!"

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tabatha and Patrick  on Aug 28, 2013  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2013 | Leisure | With Group
437 people found this review helpful

During February 28-March 7,2013, my family and some friends had the pleasure of enjoying this resort for the second time. My husband and I went there in 2012 and loved it so much that we took four more people with us this year! It's relaxed, friendly atmosphere is comparable to none!
Greeted by familiar faces upon arrival, We also had complimentary gifts in our rooms waiting for us all, even though the other four had never been there before, they were treated as VIP also. Benito at the pool bar is so kind and went out of his way to make sure we were happy and taken care of every time he saw us, Thank you Benito!

Room Block:
500's

Arrival:
Upon arrival and during our entire stay, Alvero (I think it's spelled right) went out of his way everyday to seek us out and make sure we were being taken care of. Even on his day off, we saw him shopping in the little village and he chatted us up an was helpful with directions as we were looking for an old friend we had made the year before. Thank you for being so kind and patient with us Alvero! He has a sincerity that cannot be faked.

Rooms:
Rooms are clean and towels stocked daily so no issues there.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food is very good and you will certainly not go hungry.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Louis Martinez Is your towel guy! He'll make sure you have fresh towels every day and is also so very kind and pleasant!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We made use of all the equipment daily plus enjoyed the activities and stayed involved with the entertainment, It was always fun.

Other Comments:
We fully intend to visit again in 2014 with even more family and friends next time! Our group will probably be about 10 or more next year, see you all in the spring!!! And thanks again for the excellent treatment and beautiful resort!!

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"Most terrible resort I ever went too"

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  Anna  on Sep 19, 2012  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Sep, 2012 | Leisure | With friend
684 people found this review helpful

This is a choke rating this hotel a 4 star. The food is terrible. The beach What beach ? 2 feet of sand, full of sea weeds. Bugs in the room, water dripping (Bring ear plugs). Food was horrible. You will never see me again. No Wi Fi need to pay for it and when you use it you are in a dark area not your room. Entertainment was OK but not the greatest.

Arrival:
September 9, 2012

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Beach sucks
Pools are OK
Grounds poor

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
No activities on resort. Shows at night.

Other Comments:
If it wasn't for Frank A. who entertained us the week it would of dragged on. He was so friendly and very helpful. He made sure we were comfortable.He steals the show every night. He was very funny and he is a great guy to meet. Well done Frank

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"Amazing!! The whole Family is going next year!!"

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tabatha and Patrick  on Mar 18, 2012  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2012 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
885 people found this review helpful

My husband and I just returned from this resort a few days ago and even before we left to come home, we were making plans to visit again next year! We fully intend to take all of our children and our grand child as well.
This is an amazingly friendly, family of all ages, oriented resort. The young people who run this beautiful place are so caring, and eager to please and talented. The resort itself is beyond words beautiful! The service providers are more than helpful. everything worked in our room without any problems. We had ocean view, which was simply breath taking! The beach was beyond words as well. Never any problems getting loungers. Towels were fresh every day. everything was so very clean.
These people work so very hard and such long hours. The daily activities were such fun and getting to know the friendly staff was a treat. The nightly shows were epic! The talent these young people have is amazing and trust me you wont want to miss a single one!

Room Number:
1137

Room Block:
1

Arrival:
We arrived around 2pm on Thursday afternoon. The front desk staff were so cheerful and helpful, you couldn't help but feel their good spirits rub off. We were greeted with cold drinks of juice and escorted to the restaurant for lunch which was very much appreciated after travelling nearly 7 hours.Then, so there was no confusion, a young bell hop escorted and carried our luggage to our room for us and showed us around a bit. He answered any questions we had and was so pleasant.

Rooms:
The rooms were impressively clean and views were to die for! Even had a little Gecko living in the tree behind our patio LOL

Restaurants and Bars:
The bars were equally friendly and very knowledgeable of their positions. They made drinks of all kinds and let me recommend the beer, if you aren't a rum drinker, this is really good beer. The restaurants were all very nice and the staff were on top of things at all times. Always with a smile as well.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
This beach is so beautiful! Pictures just do not do this place any justice. We took full advantage of the activities offered and the water sports. Also did a bit of snorkelling in the local aquarium, My husband even bought an underwater camera at the little gift shop right on sight! How can you beat that?

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We walked to the local village on our 3rd day there for a couple of hours and it was quite an experience. The culture shock will humble you and the people earning their living in this little village were also more than friendly and helpful. There is an on site photography booth which take random pictures during the day. You'll need to check this out. My husband and I had a sunset sitting and the pictures were gorgeous! A perfect piece of remembrance for us for many years to come.

Other Comments:
I believe my time is equally as valuable as anyone else's, that's why I took the time to write this review. I truly want people to realize how great and beautiful this resort is. From the natural beauty of the land to the inner beauty of the people who make your stay memorable :O) We truly cannot wait to take ourselves and our entire family back next year!!

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"Four star? what a joke."

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tanyss  on Mar 8, 2012  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2012 | Leisure | With friend
855 people found this review helpful

The grounds,buildings and room were very nice, but the food, service was the worst. My husband and I have well over 20 all inclusives around the world under our belts and this is one that I would never visit again.

Room Number:
3032

Arrival:
arrived around 10.00 p.m. and other than having trouble finding our bungalow the check in went smoothly

Rooms:
The rooms were nice and spacious, but we had ants and it took the cleaning staff almost all day to clean. One person came in the morning to remove the used towels and then returned sometime later in the day. Then someone else came in and cleaned the bathroom and made the bed, Then someone else came in when ever and washed the floors. It seemed that someone was in your room all day. We could not get our safe to work and were not given a refund.

Restaurants and Bars:
TThe food was over cooked, the meat was tough, the vegetables were over cooked and cold. They ran out of wine two night and the staff were not very helpful.
The bars were not too bad except most of the staff made you feel like they were doing you a favour, Most of the staff could not give you the time of day until they saw the colour of your money.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pools were small but clean. We had real trouble getting beach towels. Unless you went to the towel stand very early in the morning you were always showen a sign that said that the towels were in the laundry. We had to share our towel with another couple.
The grounds were well maintained and clean.
The beach was alright. Nothing to write home about.
The entire place seemed to have a shortage of lounge chairs both on the beach and around the pool.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The activities once again were nothing to write home about except the ATV ride off the resort was very nice and interesting.

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"Off my List"

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Tanyss  on Mar 2, 2012  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2012 | Leisure | With friend
859 people found this review helpful

I will never go back. I find the staff not to be very honest.

Room Number:
3231

Arrival:
Went very smoothly

Rooms:
Bungalows were very roomy and clean. All staff wanted to see the colour of your money before they granted you almost anything

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was tasteless, meat dry, tough, vegetables were over cooked and cold.
Restaurants ran out of wine a few time at the dinner hour. Ran out of coffee one morning.
Drinks flowed nicely, but staff made you feel like the were doing you a favour.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
These area's were nicely kept, well groomed and clean

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Nice places to visit and enough activities on the resort to keep one occupied

Other Comments:
Beach towel were hard to get, they seemed to be in the wash all the time.

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"Poor santition and food safety"

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 1.0 of 5

Posted by:  aaron  on Dec 24, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
858 people found this review helpful

Stayed at this resort December 5-19th, 2011 and was appalled that this is sold as a 4 star resort. This hotel is located in a very rural area of the DR. The local employees have very little training and understanding of customer service. Guile, arrogance and aggressiveness were the norm.

Poor food handling, many guests reported diarrhea with one guest evacuated for IV drip. Very disappointing. We ate all our meals in the village for the second week, which was expensive, although we felt much better within a day of doing so.

Poor food selection with a ten-item buffet plus salad for 1000 people. The same food every day, cooked very poorly, sometimes burnt black, always overcooked, never tasty and sometimes spoiled. Green lunch meat, rotting fish, canned sauces, decomposing salad, etc.

Poor sanitation with guests expected to use wastebaskets for used toilet paper. Poor housekeeping with no cleaning unless supervised. Poor sanitary conditions for laundry, etc. with poop-stained towels left in bathroom as "clean". Restaurant and bar dishes are washed by hand in tap water (which you cannot drink) which means they sometimes have food on them or they are greasy.

Misc. stuff: Asked front desk to change rooms because ours was too near restaurant and show stage. We were told that we have a room and the hotel doesn't change rooms for guests (even though the resort was 50% occupied). Maid banged on door in the morning until someone opened it and then reprimanded us for not using the DND sign. Boys at front desk are arrogant and aggressive; we were told that wearing the ID bracelet on our watches was not allowed and WE WERE TOLD TO CHECK OUT IMMEDIATELY but then they changed their minds when we said OK. lol

Sunwing.ca rep offered us another hotel in Puerto Plata for an additional $500 for travel or to leave the island would cost $700 pp.

I have stayed at other all-inclusive resorts in the DR and they were okay. This one has serious problems. I was just looking for a quiet 4 star resort so I could rest quietly for two weeks, not to have problems with a sub-standard resort.

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"What an amazing vacation...."

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Anita  on May 4, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2011 | Leisure | Family and Kids
1167 people found this review helpful

Everyone needs to get a visitor pass including the baby form your flight attendant. If not it will cost you US$10 for it at the air port when you arrive. We were not given one for our baby and did not asked for it; we did not now the baby needed one so we end up having to pay for it at the air port. I was not too happy with that.

We loved how everyone always greeted you with a smile and ĎHula!í
The staff were all wonderful.... $1 US goes a long way. The trick is to tipÖ.

Room Number:
1136

Room Block:
1

Arrival:
Other than that, it was fast getting out and onto the bus. The ride was an hour and 20 minis to the resort. Donít worry the bus have AC. Be prepared to have a long day. When we arrived we got throw reception fast and were in time for the buffet, which we were defiantly in need of.

Rooms:
Our room was on the 1st floor room 1136. Great location close to the buffet, bar, reception, pool and beachÖ Very quiet and cool. The AC was ok. It was comfortable. No mosquitoes or bugs. We found the room very good. It was very clean and spacious. They mop and clean the rooms daily. The only concern we had with the room was the mini bar, they did not full it daily...Only 2 pop and a big bottle of water is in thereÖ Everything else was perfect.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food was good.....they had a small variety but it was tasty.... I quite enjoyed the food at lunch and dinner, we never went hungry. The breakfast was just about the same every morning. You must try the hot chocolate milk; it is out of this world delishÖ There is NO 24hr snack, only a 1hr midnight sandwich that ends at 1am.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach and pool was fabulous we thoroughly enjoyed both every day. The water was warm and the sand soft and wonderful. There were plenty of lounge chairs to go around and lots of shady spot. We especially loved the closeness of the beach to the hotel...it was a very short walk to the beach.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The night entertainment show was great. We truly enjoyed it. A must seeÖ.
Lots of stuff to do but we did not take part in....

Other Comments:
We went out to the towns, once to the little one near the hotel. You can take a cab for US$12 both ways as we did or walk along the beach, it is about a 5 or 10 minute walk. I would not recommend to go to this little town it is not worth it, but if you do you should go to the little supermarket there to buy your alcohols and cigars you will get the best prices and they wonít over charge you. You donít have to barging. But if you shop at any of the other stores you MUST barging with them. We also went to the main town of Samana. It cost US$60 both ways. It is expansive, so what we did is split the cost with 2 other families and payee US$20 for each family. The cab was a mini bus that seats 12 persons. So we were all comfeeÖ It is worth it, we were all happy we went to the town of Samana the prices are better and it was a wonderful experience. If you go you must buy your rum there it is less than 1/2 of the price. You will pay a lot more at the gift shop and air port. You must go to the town of Samana, just split the cost with others. Ask around in no time you will get a bus full. On our trip to Samana we bought mangoes US$1 for about 6 mangoes and fresh coconut water with jelly for only US$1 each. Never buy coconut off the beach it is not good. The gift shop at the hotel price is ok but you must be a wear that some of the prices are wrong and it is twice the amount when it is time to pay. It is best to bring US$ with you. You get a better rate when you exchange it. Take along a lot of US$1 with.

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"Boring, boring, and no bacon"

Grand Paradise SamanŠ
User Rating:  Grand Paradise SamanŠ Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Larry  on Apr 15, 2011  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Apr, 2011 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
1034 people found this review helpful

We have at least 35 all inclusive vacations under our belt so we know what to expect. This hotel is one of the most beautiful we have seen. But everything stops there. The food was average at best and we never seen bacon once. The rooms are nice and clean and the staff are great. The nearby town was so small that we seen everything in less than 30 minutes and the grocery store that we bought our rum at stunk so bad I thought I was going to vomit. There were at least 2 tourists robbed at knife point on the path that goes to the town so if you plan to us this path go in large groups. A young man we met was robbed at knife point right in front of reception at 4 am. There is not much to do at this resort and we found it very boring. The young people there told us that the disco was a joke and they too found the resort boring. We have stayed at the Paridise in Puerto Plata at least 9 times and it was great so we thought this hotel owned by the same company would be the same but we were wrong. Never again !!!!

Room Number:
7108

Room Block:
7

Arrival:
April 7/11 at 1:35 pm

Rooms:
nice and clean

Restaurants and Bars:
below average

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
the most beautful we have ever seen

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
average or below

Other Comments:
Not a resort for young people. More like a retirement home.

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