Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Reviews

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Grand Paradise Playa Dorada  

Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata

"Good Value for your cost."
Posted by: Bob on Feb 6, 2014
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Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Reviews
Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Pictures and Information
Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Playa Dorada Dominican Republic

#1
of 17 Hotels in Playa Dorada

User rating 4.1

Based on 35 reviews

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Information


The Grand Paradise Playa Dorada has everything you could want in a tropical vacation. The resort lies on a beautiful beach on the Dominican Republic's scenic northern coast.

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Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Reviews

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 4.1 of 5 35 reviews
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"It is a terrific place to visit"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Ann  on Jan 1, 2009  >  8 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
239 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Past 7 years recently Dec 18
Dec 18 and going again Feb 3 We have been to 3 other hotels in Puerto Plata and this one is by far one of the best especially in the food department. What is a vacation without good food.

Rooms:
The rooms are beautiful and comfortable, very clean and relaxing with the new furniture. It is nice to have balconies in every room as it's nice to sit out at night or in the morning, watching the sunset or sunrise if this is the side your on of the resort.

Restaurants and Bars:
The food is acceptional, the variety is endless if you don't like something there is something else to chose from. If you want it simple they have that also. They have it so your eating right on the beach you can just look around and see the beautiful surroundings. The servers are very friendly and efficient.The food is kept hot and fresh along with good presentation.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
This resort the beach is one of the nicest beaches I have seen in Puerto Plata very clean and well kept. Very close to everything so if your there to just relax then you can do that without having to go very far for snacks, drinks or if wanting to take part in the daily activities they are right there as well along with the water sports again not having to go far it's all right there. Everything is very convienently right at hand.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The daily activities are great fun there are activities for all ages. If you want something simple as darts or very physical they have it. The staff presenting these games are a hoot, they make is so fun having so much laughter. The shows at night were very good a variety of shows with having the audience involved. Again laugh and laugh at what they come up with. At that time they were just getting some acts together so there were many nights of the dancing got to be a bit much but was told new shows were to come.
Pool tables, Ping pong tables to many things to mention. Can't wait until the gym is open, don't know when that will be.

We always go on the tour Jeep Safari this is the best for your money. Climbing the falls in the mountain is an experience of a life time. No need to worry about purchasing your tours on the beach it is safe we always do as it is cheaper.

Other Comments::
This resort is very close to the plaza and not far from Puerto Plata it is safe even to walk to the local highway and hop on a local bus for 20 peso's and go to Puerto Plata. Just down the beach a nice walk there is a mini flea market. When you shop always go at least half of what they are asking as they bargain and will try to get as much as you will give. Half of what they are asking is plenty and sometimes still to much. When you shop at any of the markets it will be a pain in the butt as each one will say come to see mine (when you go you will understand what I mean). Just make it clear when shopping that you will let them know if you want something not to bug you.

The resort has been recently renovated so as was mentiioned still some little gliches but they are right there to fix anything your not happy with. It is a terrific place to visit and meet great people or just stay to yourself. There is not just one word that can discribe the feeling you get while vacationing at this resort. Hope to see you there some time.

6647anita@rogers.com

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"The whole hotel has really been improved appearance"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Bob  on Jan 1, 2009  >  10 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
251 people found this review helpful

The whole hotel has really been improved appearance wise and the rooms have all been gutted and redone and really look nice with all new furniture and a brand new wide screen TV in each room.

Buildings 1 through 11 on the west half as well as 12, 13 & 15 on the east half are open for occupancy and they expect to have Buildings 14 & 16 facing on the east beach open next week with Buildings 17 through 20 being opened as they are completed.

Staff wise there a many new faces, but also some of the old staff has returned with more returning as they open more rooms and need more staff.

They have added features the will make it better for children especially teenagers, like pool tables, game tables and such, which are located in the building where the old casino was located.

Also in the building where the old casino was located is the disco, a new gym/spa and a large room for the shows so that they can be preformed no matter what the weather.

The casino is now located off the lobby where the Crazy Moon Disco was but at present it is not open as they are waiting for new slot machines, also the gym is not open as the equipment for it has not been delivered yet.

Like any resort that has been re-opened after major renovations, there are a few minor teething pains which are being quickly resolved.

They have added many new features and you can see some of them on a Facebook web page my son created and you do not have to be a Facebook member to view them as he made it open to the public. At this time there are 173 pictures with more being added from time to time. The Facebook URL is:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=37745&id=599977804&l=c80ad0dc3c
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=75489&id=599977804&l=6ce504820e
The food as always is as good if not better than has always been.

And the staff old and new are as pleasant and helpful as possible.

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"I still think it is the best resort in the Playa Dorada complex"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Gina and Rick  on Feb 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
256 people found this review helpful

Arrival:
Jan 29th with sky service. A group of ten of us went on Holiday. Flight was late but nothing you can do about weather. Flight home was even later and our luggage was in Toronto long before us.

Rooms:
The rooms are clean and well kept. The only problem was we were on the ground floor and the patio door didn't lock. After a few complaints to the front desk they screwed it shut and we couldn't open it for the rest of the holiday.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet and Italian was very good. Edens was very poor service and never did get dinner rolls or dessert. The waiters were not busy but didn't seem to want to wait on us. After 2 hours left and never did get offered coffee or dessert or wine. The salad bar lacked the main ingredient Lettuce. The Buffet is the greatest always something to eat and lots of choices. When I go back I wouldn't waste my time on the ala carte restraunts.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was beautiful and the ocean was great for swimming. The pool was to cool for us and it didn't seem to get much use.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
DO NOT BOOK AN EXCURSION WITH CARLOS...He is a rip off. We booked the jeep safari and didn't get to see anything we were promised. Picked us half and hour late had to stop for gas,pop and ice. A very disappointing day...John is the guy on the beach to book tours with. Don't forget to go down the beach to the left to the orange market great prices and alot of fun bargaining.

Other Comments:
A great resort but still has a few growing pains from the major renovations... I still think it is the best resort in the Playa Dorada complex.. Would I go back.........in a heart beat

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"Will make many return trips to Paradise!!!!"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Kim  on Feb 1, 2009  >  11 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
280 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Feb 8 - 15
Arrival was great. Left Toronto at 0610 am and was at the hotel just after lunch time. The staff had a great refreshing welcome drink as soon as we walked in. This was my 4th trip to Paradise so was excited to see the new renovations. We also took along some newbie's with us. A group of 13 in total. Some of our rooms were not ready yet but it did not matter. We just dropped our luggage and started showing the crew around. Hit the swim up bar right away.

Rooms
We had a total of 5 rooms, 4 of which were called Junior Suites. (The old attic rooms.) Wow....these rooms sure are the place to be now. Very roomie and comfortable. But if you can't climb stairs then not the place to be. Our 14 year old twins had their own room and just loved it. We had rooms in buildings 6, 12, 13 and 15. The renovations are very beautiful and still ongoing. During the week, the work continued on our room which would bother some I'm sure. At the start of the week we had no kitchenette and by the end of the week, we did. Yeah sure, there are lots of little glitches still to be worked out but hey....be patient. The rooms are always kept clean and we loved the complimentary bottled water and pop left in the fridge daily. The electronic keys were a bit of a pain but not a huge deal. Our air conditioning worked great, just left one of the keys in all the time. Our problem that kept repeating was no cold water.....just hot....too hot to shower in.

Restaurants and Bars
Enjoyed the buffet......lots of food all of the time. My brother and nephew loved the omelette fella. If you can't find something to eat, then there is something wrong.

Went to both ala carte restaurants. What an improvement to the italian. Looked like a funeral parlour before. Now much brighter and updated. The food was very good. A bit disappointed with Eden's. They have changed their menu and it was OK but not outstanding. However, we celebrated my nieces birthday there and the staff were very good. Candles in a cake and sang for her. She was tickled.

The bars are all good......service is excellent. Glad to see Allan and Juan again. The kids loved Allan. Go Wiarton Wild !!!! The kids gave Allan a pin from our local hockey team and he wore it all week. The kids were very pleased.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Paradise has the best beach!!!!! We visited the Barcelo beach when we went on our fishing trip and got eaten alive by sand fleas. None on Paradise beach. We swam in the ocean only with the exception of the first day when we got there and got in to go to the swim up bar. The pool was too cool and the ocean was warm. We have loved the hot tub in the past but they are having problems with it and it was not hot. Hopefully they get this fixed.
The grounds as always are beautiful and they work very hard keeping them tidy.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The activities staff were all very friendly and get you involved if you are willing. We did some of the crazy games and played volleyball. Thanks to Beauty, Rambo, Bon Bon, Ronaldino, Lucas and others for all of their energy and friendship. We also enjoyed the boys at the water activities shack. "Johnny Bravo" I'll never forget ya.....you are a great dancer. We loved the banana boat ride that we did on Saturday. A total blast !!!! We loved the magician that visited on Tuesday night and the beach party on the Saturday evening. In the past, the staff have done the majority of the shows and we really enjoyed them. The entertainment is being hired out at present....bands etc. Would love to see the staff get back to doing some of the shows again. They were always very entertaining.

We called this our adrenaline holiday. On Tuesday we went fishing with "Gone Fishing." and had a blast. The weather was not good, very high seas and no fish but hey. We chartered the boat before we left for 13 of us and had a blast. We had wild dolphins come rig

ht up to our boat which was a thrill and my nephew saw a whale. Thanks to Chappa, Alex and Herman for a great day. Then on Thursday we went on a country tour that I had prebooked with Linda at Mels Tours out of Sousa. She was great. We did the Tropical Sun Jeep Safari. Linda came right to our hotel for the deposit on Monday morning. She promised us a great tour and that it was. Our tour guides name was Elvis and he was outstanding. The highlight of this tour was jumping off the Damajaua Waterfall. We were only allowed to go up 2 of the levels due to the recent heavy rainfall. Still had a blast though. The guides here were also wonderful and looked after us all very well. What a great day.

Then on Friday, my brother took his family to Ocean World where they did the dolphin encounter and snorkelled with the fish. They enjoyed this and had a great day.

Meanwhile, my kids and I went zip lining. It was an amazing experience. Zip Lining was with Yasika Adventures. Thanks to Cesar for a great day. It ended up that he is the manager and picked us up at the resort because the bus was running late d/t a flat tire. He was very informative and friendly. Yasika Adventures is very new, only just over a year. The staff area all excellent and our instructor Franklin was very good. The safety precautions were always taken and there was no fear of falling at all. The line is out the tourist road to Santiago and the scenery is just beautiful. The drive out there was just amazing. You look back over the city and the Atlantic Ocean. I am definatley recommending this adventure to all !!!!!!

We booked the zip lining and Ocean World from CARLOS off the beach and had no problem at all......just buyer beware when you buy off the beach. We loved Carlos.

Other Comments:
We were hoping that they had not changed the atmosphere of Paradise with all the renos and we were glad to find that it still feels like home. Will make many return trips to Paradise!!!! We had rain for the first 3 days but hey....didn't let us stop our fun. By mid week it was typical beautiful weather.
The only complaint I have was that we were constantly being bugged by the time share guys. Felt like having a t-shirt made that said "NO to time share....leave me alone!!" They are all over the resort...did not like being bugged constantly.
Did some souvenir shopping at the plaza, the orange market and off the beach. The girls got their hair braided from Nancy on the beach. (#8) She is wonderful. She even changed my nieces beads at the end of the week and fixed up their braids that needed it. Thanks Nancy !!!

k.srydall@bmts.com

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"It rained all week but we really made the best of it."

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Linda  on Feb 1, 2009  >  15 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
277 people found this review helpful

Arrival: February 2- 10
When we arrived the staff was excellant . They Welcomed us with a tropical drink waited a few minutes for check in. We arrived at around 5 Pm. We had reserved a 2 bedroom suite. Our friends room was ready but Ours ajoining was not going to be ready till about 7. We were not happy due to flying all day and wanting to change our clothes but we put our suitcases in our friends room to proceed to check out the property.

Rooms:
This was our night mare for three days. The rooms operate off of your room key for electricity to your room. We put our key in and it blew a few fuses. When we went to reset we were zap by the electricity. No power could not reset called the front desk at 9 they stated that they would send someone to our room. Midnight went to sleep with noone coming to our room. We sat in the dark with no aircondioning for 2 hours.

This situation happened again the next day when they claimed they fixed it in the morning. Once again waited for it ot be fixed. On Wednesday we went on Our excursion after this happened again called the front desk was told that it would be fixed. Come back to the room nothing was fixed. Went to the Front desk asked for manager not there. Directed us to Guest Service and this woman had me sit there for 30 minutes. Missed lunch. Went she went to the room when she got Zapped then it was important. At this time very frustrated with the whole thing of getting zapped not feeling safe in the room (just thinking electrical fire) so we even went to the RCI rep on property . No concerns. I called RCI directly then things stared to happen. On Thursday they finally put us in two very nice rooms. Mind you the decor was beautiful in the other room looked out at the Ocean but just was frustrated about the whole electrical thing.

Restaurants and Bars:
Buffet was wonderful at each meal. Did not know about hte hamburger & Pizza that is at the Edens resturaunt until Friday.

Do not reccomend Michangelo. The sauce is nothing like you get here in Chicago. Edens was wonderful everything that we tried but the service was poor.

If you go here look for Allen. He is the funniest Bartender. They switch bars everyday. But he will remember your drinks and make you laugh. Swim up bar was cold but I had to try it.

Beach/Pools/Grounds::
We could only lay out for two days due to rain most of our trip.

They really take care of their beach and of the grounds and pool.

Just beware you will be bugged by every beach vendor just Say no if you do not want to be bother. The funniest thing we saw when we were asking about the bartering they started with a price say it was $10 we would say $7 then they would come back and say $15. Never ever saw this before . We all had a great laugh about this all week.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
Activities were never posted until Saturday at the front desk and the towel desk. So we never knew what was going on. Just watched the crowd.

We took a private tour from a Taxi driver who introduced himself at the hotel on our second day in the morning at the entrance. Felix was wonderful. Showed us the best places to shop. Took us in the mountains and was very reasonable. If you ask anyone of the Taxi or people at stores or airpoert they know him.

Other Comments::
All in all in rained all week but we really made the best of it. The hotel really needs to get people skills and managers need to stop hiding. We had no idea about tours because the RCI rep was not there at the hotel until Wednesday so we would ask questions and poeple would look at us stupid.

We met two gentleman from Austria on the first day who had their winter parka's and hats on who jumped into the pool were these coats on. They helped to make our trip wonderful and enjoyed talking to them each day.

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"I would recommend this resort to almost anyone"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Margaret  on Feb 1, 2009  >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
264 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Feb 9 - 16
Booked last minute so was very happy with the price and definitely got my money's worth. Flew with Skyservice and I will not fly with them again. I'm 5'4" and had no legroom at all; I don't know how anyone taller coped. I've flown many times and have never had this little room.

Check in was very smooth, probably helped by the fact that only a dozen people from the flight were at this hotel. I was very happy to get the key to the safe and the TV remote at check in; usually you have to go back to the desk later for these. Also pleased to be given 2 room keys [again unusual in my experience].

Rooms
Had a superior garden view room, 3rd floor in building 2. I had asked for a quiet building and this is what I got. The ocean view would have been very nice. The pool view rooms would have been nosy until after 11pm as evening activities are right at the pool.The view wasn't the best, looking out onto the roof of the lobby/reception building, but it was still very pleasant to sit out on the balcony. The 3rd floor room had a vaulted ceiling which made the room look even bigger. Very nice room, very clean and obviously new. Didn't have any problems with hot water at any time.

Our phone wasn't connected but we didn't realize this for the first few days. Hadn't been fixed by the time we left. There was a phone in the lobby that we were able to use.

Had a chance to visit one of the junior suites on the 4th floor. A much larger room with 2 rooms. Very nice but none of these rooms have a balcony

Restaurants and Bars
The buffet was very good at each meal. We didn't visit any of the A-la-carte restaurants, but that was out choice. The pizza and snacks at Edens were nice as well. The bars close at midnight. This was one of the reasons we booked here, as it usually makes for a quieter resort. There were a fair number of people who were annoyed by this though, obviously expecting more nightlife; they were quite vocal about this affecting their alcohol consumption. The drinks were not watered down and service was excellent at all of the bars.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Rained for the first 3 days, but sometimes that happens. Spent the rest of the time at both the pool and the beach. More shade available at the pool though. The beach and grounds were well taken care of. If you are particular about where you sit, you may have to get out earlier and 'save' chairs with a towel. I was able to get the chairs I wanted at 8am. There wasn't too much abuse of this, which was good. I've been to other eresorts where it was a real problem. Nothing is more annoying than people who save chairs and then don't actually sit in them. No problem at all with the beach vendors, if you said no thank you, they left you alone.

Other Comments:
I would recommend this resort to almost anyone [maybe not if it's important that you drink your body weight in alcohol]. Please please remember that this is not Canada/US. Don't hold them to your usual standards. Everything is not going to be like it is at home so you're just setting yourself up to be disappointed.

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"Will not hesitate to return to the Grand Paradise"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Margaret  on Feb 1, 2009  >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
260 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Feb. 5 to Feb 19
Our flight was really smooth - Air Transat - customs went fast and out to our resort 45 min from time of arrival. I say a record. Although it was raining when we arrived we were hopeful that the sun would be out the next day. Was I dreaming in techni-color. It rained for the next 7 days straight. That is why I never take a one week holiday. Check-in was also smooth. Reception was ready with a cool drink, we were given our room and towel cards and tv remote. The fastest check-in ever.

Rooms
We were located in block 13 on the 4th floor- which I think they call it the attic rooms. We were really impressed with the rooms 2 closed bedrooms a kitchen and fridge and a bathroom bigger than mine, everything was perfect except we had no balcony. My husband could live with this and wanted to stay but I needed my balcony so I requested a room change and the next day we were given second floor in building 11 overlooking the kiddy pool. The room was really nice but the bathroom very small. But I had my balcony that I never used. The other 2 couples with us stayed in the attic rooms as they loved the idea of 2 closed bedrooms which was fine for snoring husbands.

Restaurants and Bars
There are 3 restaurants - the Italian - Michel Angelo- we ate there twice and celebrated my girlfriends birthday with Champagne and cake and singing waiters. The food was good but being Italian not what we are used to, but it was still good. The EDEN- grill restaurant doubles us for a la carte at night- ate there once- and during the day is grill where you can have hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, pork chops or just make your own grilled sandwich and salads. We ate there evey second day. There is also pizza which was good but again not what we are used to. The food at the main buffet was good and we always found something good to eat. Although service was slow due that they were understaffed, and not quite professional yet- you must understand that they are all new and just learning so a bit of patience was needed. We just got up and set our own tables,no big deal. But if you signaled to them they came over. We did get great service the last 2 days we were there, so it is always improving. There are several bars throughout the resorts and the drinks were flowing and everyday there was a special of the day. Allan as always - a professional.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is the best in the Playa Dorada, very wide and clean any seaweeds that washed up during the night was promptly removed. Which I cannot say for the neighbouring resorts - 4 Star Blue Bay, Barcelo and Allegro. There was only one day that the sea was bringing in seaweeds during the day. The other days the water was clean on one side. On the windy side, as we referred to it,which was a bit breezier, the water was crystal clear. The pools were a bit cool but nevertheless clean and big. They really did a nice job in renovating this resort. I was impressed.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The animators- all of them new - did a good job, and were fun and entertaining. There were beach games, step classes, water aerobics, stretch classes, pool and beach volleyball, pool tables and fooze ball. When it rained they played BINGO. and had pool an fooze ball tournaments. The shows are a bit lacking. We saw three - The Dominican Folklore dancing, another dance review which was good and a The Magician - really really good. Other night it was audience participation. But my favourite thing was that they always had live music from 7 to 9:30 every night by the pool bar where you danced under the stars. We did not take any excursions but one couple whent to Samana to see the whales and they said that it was worth it.

Other Comments:
From reading the reviews before we left, I was a bit scared but once again one can stay at the same resort and it will be a place from hell for some and paradise for others. I think it all depends on your attitude. I go on vacation to relax and de-stress so even if things go wrong, which in this case did not, I do not let it bother me. In our case it was deffinetly paradise and will not hesitate to return to the Grand Paradise. P.S. the Gym, Spa and Casino are not open yet and there are still no hairdryer in the rooms so bring your own.

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"In Playa Dorada there are other better choices."

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 2.0 of 5

Posted by:  Jane  on Mar 1, 2009  >  6 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
276 people found this review helpful

Arrival
We stayed at nearby resort but had enjoyed Paradise several times over the years. Knowing they had had reno's done we were eager to check it out with the possibility of going back. We asked at the Front desk to wander through and were asked to wait for personal to be available to show us. There were 5 of us wearing bracelets from a nearby 5*resort. Unfortunately, we were not greeted warmly and after waiting patiently for 10 minutes, asked again how long we would need to wait. I was rudely told "they were busy" and did I not see the people that had just registered. (They had already left the front desk area and there were only 3 people at the desk, 3-4 employees in attendance) We decided not to stay and as I left I told them we were doing so and that they had just lost the opportunity of our repeat business as their attitude was unwelcoming. As we turned to leave the Bell captain, recognizing us from previous visits, offered to take us on a walk through the resort. We agreed to do so.

Rooms
Unfortunately we were unable to see inside any room but the outside has been greatly improved-glass railings, new patio doors, fresh paint, nice patio table/chairs etc look grea. Apparently new beds/furniture,linens, baths etc too. Attic rooms are 2 old improved into 1 large room?

Restaurants and Bars
We just walked through but things seem very similar. We always really liked the patio/buffet restaurant area. The view of the mountain/ocean is absolutely great and it was one of the things we most liked about Paradise.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Beach is great/pool looks the same and grounds have been cleaned up. there was lots of overgrowth of bushes/trees etc but the plantings are much neater, fresher and it gives the illusion of more space , wider walkways and cleanliness.

Other Comments
Grand Paradise looks good from our walk around the resort. However as my friend commented as we left" it takes more than a coat of paint to fix it." We had concerns about attitude of some staff, impatience of Front desk staff and poor response of wedding planner a few years ago. It appears that "customer service" has not changed. We are saddened that many employees of long service were fired last April when renovations began and most have not been brought back. We asked about some folks by name; were told they still worked there when in fact we know for sure they don't! too bad Grand Paradise--you will not see us again. If looking for quality , friendly, welcoming staff best look somewhere else; with the number of resorts in Playa Dorada there are other better choices.

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"We did have a very good time"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Leslie  on Mar 1, 2009  >  4 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
244 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Mar 3 - Mar 17
Arrival went fine, a bit of wait at the airport for people to board the bus, but that was ok as it gave us a chance to drink our first Presidente...lol. The trip to the resort was quick, and we only had one stop, before we reached the Paradise. Greated with a fruit slushie, while we waited to check in. We arrived around 11:30 a.m. and were pleasantly surprised that we were able to get our room right away. We have been used to having to wait untill 3 p.m. to get it.

Rooms:
This is where we had some issues. The first room that they wanted to give us was facing the field/helicopter landing pad. We were not to thrilled about that, so asked to be moved. So they moved us to another building facing the pool on the second floor. Everything looked good, so we un-packed. That was when hubby noticed that the balcony door didn't lock. Shouldn't be too big of a problem, as we were on the second floor. But then we discovered that when they replace the old door during the renovations, the new door was smaller. But instead of filling in the larger opening, they just put in the new door. So above our door was a two inch gap. We weren't afraid of rain coming in, but we didn't want to be feeding the mosquitoes all night. That is also when we discovered that the bathroom door would not close, as it was about one inch too big for the frame. So we packed up our luggage, and headed back to the front desk. Room number three on the ground floor in the 800 block seems to be the ticket. Balcony door locks, bathroom door closes, no gaping holes in the wall, so we un-pack again. Now we are going to head to the bar, but need a tinkle first.......toilet won't flush.....arrrrrr!!! This time one of the managers comes to our room to check it out. He brings a maintance man with him. Maintance man takes a plunger and and has a go at it. But that is not the problem, the toilet isn't plugged, it just doesen't have enough water to flush. So Maintance guy grabs the garbage can, fills it with water, and pours it in, presto, the toilet flushes. The manager decides to show us another room. The next one that he takes us to is right near the Pool bar. We look at it, and decided that we have had enough moving for one day, so we told him that we would stay in the other room for the night, and move in the morning. The next morning we decided that we didn't want to move again, everything else in the room worked well, and we could pour water in the toilet to flush it. So that is what we did for the next 2 weeks. No problem. Now I did say that our balcony door locked. It did for about the first 8 days, then all of the sudden, it wouldn't lock any more. Not quite sure what happened there. We decided it wasen't a huge issue, as someone would be seen, if they tried to climb over the railing to get in. On our last full day at the resort, we came back to our room to find that maintance had been in and installed one of those pin locks that goes through the frame.

Restaurants and Bars:
We found the buffet to be very good. Hubby isn't a big fan of buffets, but he enjoyed this one. Good selection of food, and quite tastie. We always had a good breakfast, but would have liked to see bacon on the menu more often. They had it maybe 3 times a week. For lunch, we usually went to the pizza station. First time I have ever seen tuna on a pizza.....lol.

We went to Michelangelo's on the second night that we were there. Our reservation was at 8:30, and that might have been a mistake. The anti-pasto bar had nothing left on it, and that is one of the things that hubby really likes. We had no sooner sat back down after getting our salad, and the main course showed up. We both had a chicken dish, and we were not impressed with it. A dried out chicken breast, on tomato sauce, with a baby potato, and one carrot, cut in half. With the chicken being as dry as it was, we can only guess that they nuked it. We decided that we would leave, and go to the buffet.

We went to Edens twice and really enjoyed it both times. We had the beef tenderloin, and it was wonderful. Not regular dominican beef, you could actually chew it...lol We didn't go to the bars too much at night, as we are not really night people. They pool bar is where the entertainment was. We did listen to the music one night, and it was good. They also had kereoke that night, but we didn't stay for it. The beach bar is where Allan works, and he is alot of fun. All of the other bartenders did a great job too.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is great, perfect for long walks. We usually stay in Cofresi, and as much as we like it there, you can't compare the two beaches.

The Pool, what can I say, it was cold. Very seldom did you see any one in it, even the spring breakers avoided going in. When we finally discovered where the "hot tub" was, we spent a fair bit of time there, as it was a couple of degrees warmer than the pool. The ground are kept very clean. Can't really call it beautiful, as it mostly consists of walkways between the buildings.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We didn't get involved with any of the activites on the resort, as we spent most of our time off of the resort. We did watch a few pool games though, and I guess people were having fun. Hard to tell though, through all of the shivering. We went on the Freestyle Catamaran. We go every year, and it is always alot of fun, for us any way. It was very rough that day, and there were alot of people who got sick. Four people got off in Sosua, they weren't going back on the boat. I offered people my motion sickness pills, but by the time you are feeling sick, it is already too late. All I can say about that is, if you are going out in a boat, take a pill 30 mins before you go, even if you think you won't get sick. A rolling ocean in a small boat, is alot different than going fishing out on the lake.
We did spend alot of time off of the resort, as we have friends that we like to go and visit. We did make it to Cofresi a couple of times to visit Chris and Mady's. One of our favorite stops is at our friend Rafi's bar. She is on the Malacon, near Long Beach Park. We would just hop on one of the "buses" at the front gate, and get let off at the stadium, and walk down to the malacon. Only cost 15 paseos each.
We lucked out, the Independance Day parade, that is usually on Feb 27th, was on Mar 15th this year. Not quite sure why. So we sat at Rafi's and watched it. Front row seats.

Other Comments:
This was our first trip to the Grand Paradise, or Playa Dorada for that matter. We did have a very good time, and would probably go back, if we don't go back to Cofresi that is...

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" Highly recommend it"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Kerry & Family  on May 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2009
271 people found this review helpful

Arrival: April 23-30, 2009:
A few days prior to leaving for our family vacation (myself 43, my mother 67, two daughters 17 and 19 and their two friends 19 and 20), Conquest went under which affected many vacationers - those already on vacation and those soon to depart. I did not book my vacation with Conquest, but this unfortunate event left many agents scrambling to get their customers back home, which resulted in our in-and-out-bound flights being changed - but lucky for us, it was for the better. We booked our vacation through Travel Last Minute and flew with Air Transat. While at the airport in Toronto Air Transat announced there were seats available in first class at an addition cost, which we took advantage of and we were happy we did. It started our vacation off fantastic - Jen in first class made the best mojitos! We arrived in Puerto Plata just before 11:00AM, it was sunny and hot. Luggage was brought out quickly, boarded our air conditioned tour bus and arrived at the Grand Paradise by noon. Check-in time is 3:00, so our rooms were not yet available. We grabbed a drink and headed to the beach to wait. After an hour or so, two of the three rooms were available and an hour after that mom and I got our rooms. The people at check-in are not as pleasant as the rest of the staff - not rude just so-so.

Rooms::
Well! These rooms were the most beautiful rooms I have stayed in. All rooms have been fully renovated and are mucho modern. The beds and pillows were very comfortable and clean. No smell of dampness that is normally experienced in the Carribean resorts. The maids ensured fresh water each day in the mini-fridge and the rooms were equipped with 4-cup coffee makers, coffee and tea. There are nice flat screen TV's in each room - which made my mom happy because she was able to catch Dancing with the Stars while there. Very impressed. All of our rooms had ocean views - mom and I on the second floor, king size bed and balcony with wicker patio furnature. Both of my daughters rooms were just above us on the third floor, once similar to our room but with a double bed and the other was a two-storey loft style room with two separate bedrooms and kitchenette. Water pressure was not the best in the loft-style room, but great in the other two rooms and air conditioning was perfect in all three. The other thing I was happy to see is their care to incorporate energy efficient features - all bulbs were compact flourescent, programmable thermostats in every room and the resort encouraged re-using towels. Nothing bad can be said about the rooms.

Restaurants and Bars::
We were at the resort at the beginning of low season, therefore, it may have been at 2/3 capacity which resulted in not all restaurants being available each day. Normally I lose weight on these Carribean vacations because the food is not the greatest - this trip I gained weight! The buffet at the Hysbiscus serves breakfast and lunch each day and is opened most days for dinner - it is a covered open-air, Ocean-side eating area - vaiety for even the most picky eaters - very good. Be sure to sit in Victoriano's section - he treats you like royalty. You never have to wait for water or drinks and when he see's you coming, you are greated with a smile and a hug - he deserves every cent and works hard for his tips. There was one day where only Edens and Michael Angelo a-la-carts were the only two choices for dinner - both were not good and I'm not a picky person. The atmosphere of the two a-la-carts was great but the food less than so-so. Again, buffet is the way to go and if there is not something there for everyone to enjoy - well they are probably too hard to please even in North America! All bars were great - one major disappoinment was the swim-up bar was closed. I would have rather seen one of the other bars close during the day and have the swim-up bar open. From mid-might to 1:30ish, the sandwich bar was open. A huge selection of meats, cheeses, breads, trimmings and a panini press. I only made it one night, but the kids made it most nights. Very nice.

Beach/Pools/Grounds::
The grounds are immaculate, green, lush. The pool is the cleanest pool I have ever experienced in the Carribean! Could have had something to do with the fact that the swim-up bar was closed - you know as well as I do that some of the "regulars" at the swim-up bars sit there and drink all day and very seldom leave the pool to empty their bladder - but I would rather like to think it is because they keep it so clean. It was quite large and cool. Plenty of chairs and umbrellas each day. Watch your towels as one family we met there had one of their towels stolen from their chair while in the pool - it will cost you $25 US if you lose your towels. No reflection on the resort - was most likely a guest. The beach is absolutely gorgeous - plenty of chairs and very clean. BUT, be prepared to be swarmed by people selling things. It get a bit annoying after a while because they are very, very pushy. I am not a rude person, but at times have to be firm to get some of them to stop pestering. So the beach is beautiful, but because of the annoyance of sellers, not very relaxing. But from what I understand, this is the norm for Dominican.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
Being an avid Cuba vacationner, the nightly entertainment is not the best in DR - or perhaps I have been spoiled with Cuba entertainment. Although they try their best, the Cuban's are spectaular in comparison. They did their best and it was okay. We saw a great magician show, poker-night was a blast (not for money - just for fun) a so-so dancing show and two live bands. The entertainment/animation staff were the best - Lucas with the crazy Eddie Murphy laugh always got every up and playing something - morning to night. La Bamba, Rambo and Dennis made sure that every feamle danced and BonBon and Bubbles made sure the men got on the dance floor - even if the guests were hesitant at first, by the end of the night the vacationers couldn't wait to get up there. We had a lot of fun with this group. Only went to the disco once, but never many people there so I can't comment much on that. Beautiful disco if people would go. Thanks Lucas, LaBamba, Rambo, BonBon and Bubbles for the fun times!

My family booked the Safari tour with Playa Runners - it was $78 US per person but after experiencing it, I know it is the best money I spent. There are people on the beach that try to sell you the trip for less but what people don't know, and it is not promoted as such, that a portion of the money goes to help the schools and children of Puerta Plata. Everything they sell, proceeds go toward school supplies, desks and keeping the school grounds safe. This year, Playa Runners installed plumbing at the school for the kids. They had a boy and girl shack with a concrete block with a hole in it as a toilet. When the kids went on Easter break, Playa Runners installed new bathrooms with flusing toilets and a place to wash their hands - the kids couldn't believe it! They do wonderful things - so please book through them. What your excursion consists of is a beautiful country drive, a tour of a typlical Dominican family house, how they produce, prepare and cook their own foods, explanation of their plants and trees and lifestyle. A stop at the top of the most beatiful mountain where you can purchase rum, coffee, arts and jewelry. A stop at the most beautiful beach with huge waves to boogie board (boards supplied) and horseback riding, a stop at an outdoor restaurant for an amazing typical Dominical lunch and rest time on the beach full of hammocks. Then to a hut where the make cigars right in front of you, let you sample before you purchase, then another stop where you are given a fresh coconut to drink from (rum optional if you haven't yet had enough because all ice cold drinks - non-alcohol and alcohol are all included in the tour), you can eat the coconut after, you can buy rum, honey, chocolate, coffee there too). I am sure I am missing something - but if there is one thing you plan on doing, make sure it is this one. When you visit the school, the tour guide makes a note of any donations you bring (I brought some school supplies to leave there) so that they know where the school is lacking and can concentrate on those things. Just amazing! Bravo Playa Runners!

We also went snorkeling and fed banana's to the fish. That was different, but because the ocean scares me a bit, it wasn't my favorite thing - so I wouldn't be the best person to rate this activity.

Other Comments::
The one sad part of this trip was that it rained about 2/3 of our vacation. Toward the end it was getting frustrating. But the few days of intense sun was wonderful. That would have been the only thing I would have changed.

Would I go back there? In a heart beat. The Dominican people are wonderful, happy, kind-hearted and fun. Is it perfect - no - but pretty darn close. Again, Carribean resorts cannot be compared to North American standards, but this is for sure a 4+ star in the Carribean and highly recommend it. We have many beautful memories from this trip. Not only the wonderful staff they have there, but the wonderful family we met and spent much of our days with - Crazy Liz, Joce, Doug and Nick - from our family to yours - thanks for the fun times!

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