Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Reviews

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Grand Paradise Playa Dorada  

Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata

"Terrible!!! Dirty resort, would not go back to again, even if free!!!"
Posted by: private on Feb 27, 2015
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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 4.0

Based on 36 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: 4.0 of 5 36 reviews
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"A-mazing!"

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

Posted by:  Victoria  on Jan 26, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | Family and Kids
399 people found this review helpful

Where do I begin!
For christmas my mom treated my sister and I on a vacation to Grand Paradise from December 19th to the 26th so we spent our holidays there, and we couldn't have had a better time! We jokingly say we'll never be able to go on vacation again because we've set the bar so high with this vacation. It was great everything from the food to the people. And considering it rained for 3 straight days out of the 7 we were there for, we still had an amazing time.

Your Arrival:
We arrived late, about 8 pm and were greeted with drinks and very friendly service! We were given a room key and our bags were brought to us in a matter of minutes. We got ready and went straight to the beach where there was a show on the beach with dancers and competitions. Afterwards we went to the disco located on the resort which was about a minute from our room, we ended up in a club only minutes from the resort and finished the night, or should I say early morning, off with a dip in the ocean! It was a great first night.

Rooms:
Our room was cleaned daily, water was always filled and we made sure to tip regularly considering our room was covered in sand almost every single night (poor cleaning lady:( !!). AC worked, beds were comfortable, tv worked, no complaints! Our view was terrible but we didnt ask for a fancy view or anything(we probably should have) but we figured we wouldn't be spending most of our time sitting in our room anyway.

Restaurants and Bars:
We ate at the buffet most of the time, but did make a reservation at Edens(Edans?) and the food was good. We spent christmas eve at the Italian restaurant and the holiday dinner was fab, the soup was to die for. The buffet was big and although the selection was pretty much the same most days, we got lucky being there during the holidays and enjoyed the festive feasts :)

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Before going we read a few reviews and didn't hear too many good things about the pool, we were skeptical but very please once we got there. The pool was decently big(with a pool bar!!) and the beach was huge! When we needed to recover in the mornings we would go for a walk down the beach passing other resorts and found grand paradis' beach was the biggest and cleanest of the few beaches we past! Unfortunatly, it rained for 3 days straight but due to the layout of the resort, it was easy to get around without getting soaked and we were able to get out of our room and enjoy everything, except the beach, on those horrible rainy days.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
You can book activites with the hotel, or from the people who approach you with trips on the beach-just make sure they're legit (sounds sketchy I know, but we did it and not only saved money, but had the time of out lives!!!!). We met a guy named Carlos who showed us pamphlets full of trips with everything from hourse back riding through cities to 4-wheelers, dolphin swims, snorkeling, anything you can imagin. We went on the jeep safari trip and payed $45 American each, it was unbelievable! We drove to a mountain where we walked through what looked like a jungle to these gorgeous waterfalls-which we then climbed! They took us through cities and to a cigar factory, it was an all day excursion and did I mention how friendly everyone was?! We also did the dolphin swim on christmas day, which was a little more expensive but 100% worth it!

Other Comments:
The resort was great, every single employee was friendly and hilarious. We met so many people, we came to the conlcusion that all of Montreal decided to go on vacation when we did-everyone was french! Not complaining though we had alot of fun and we happened to make some friends we actually still keep in touch with, it what such a friendly crowd. We didn't want to come home at all, I would definitely go again only this time for 2 weeks instead of just 1!

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"Rooms are beautiful and beds very comfortable, neat clean."

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

Posted by:  Ann II  on Jan 10, 2010  >  3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Dec, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
340 people found this review helpful

OVERALL; I feel overall you will be very satisfied with this hotel and staff. If your 1yr old or 100 yrs old they make it what you want it to be. If you want quiet and not to be bothered one side of the hotel at the beach is just this and if you want excitement, games, music and a little bit of craziness then join the other side of the hotel at the beach. So there is something for everyone.

Rooms::
Rooms are beautiful and beds very comfortable, neat clean. They have a blow dryer, iron and ironing board and well stocked in your needs.

Restaurants and Bars::
The buffet Hibbicus is great with a wide variety of foods don't like one there is much to choose from. The Eden a' la'carte is wonderful very nice evening for dinner. Service outstanding and food delicious. Micheal Angelo's a'la carte I do not care for, this is only my opinion some people do like it. Although service and atmosphere is wonderful food needs improvement. The eden and hibicus is right on the beach so your looking out over the water while eating, could not get any better. Even one evening all the tables were put right on the beach and enjoyed a BBQ with your feet in the sand and candlelight.

Beach/Pools/Grounds::
The beach well no words to discribe it, this is I feel the most beautiful beach in Puerto Plata. Very clean sandy sparkling clean water. With a variety things to do watersports right on hand with outstanding service. cayaking, windsurfing, catamaran, snorkeling all right there not having to go far away. Pool with swim up bar everything is right at hand, even a beach bar. Grounds well kept beautiful.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
I have been several times to Puerto Plata and this time did not go on tours this time. The tours are available though and well worth it especially the falls one (Jeep Safari) this is the most bang for your buck to see country side, way of living and the beauty of the mountain and climb the water falls in the cave of the mountain. If you plan to go on a tour like this it is most times people do not know that children run after the vehicles expecting candy because people have not brought other items. If you plan ahead bring school supplies, pen, pencils, crayons, coloring books, hair clips, toothpaste etc instead of candy since it is difficult to go to dentist and these items are needed more.
The activities in the day were improving but was lacking this year. I have to mention again about the Pro Diver shop the water sports events this was so much fun this year as previous years did not have much of a selection to do but now it has improved 100%. They also have the banana boat for only $10 so much fun. Nightly entertainment was good had many different shows the only thing is that it is difficult at times to see as people go in front of you while watching as it is in different places of the resort and not always on a stage so you need to find a seat that others not going to be in front of you. This is a challenge. There is a disco on premises but it was more suited to the young group not middle to older age group. Yet had made a suggestion regarding this in our comment paper.

Other Comments::
I have been to this hotel before and after the renovations and they have done a terrific job. Sure there are still a few bugs to iron out as in any reno's. I have to say people are friendly and most welcoming. Oh almost forgot to mention they now have a photo shop right on premises and they are very professional, friendly and the work they do is outstanding. We got a package done and they bring the beauty out of anything and anyone. They are amazing and glad to see this there. I don't use the kids club but can see the kids having a blast and then in the evening the kids put a show on before the adult entertainment starts. Will one day bring my grand kids here to enjoy.

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"Was a great vacation at Grand Paradise Pto. Pta."

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

Posted by:  Janel  on Dec 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
249 people found this review helpful

Arrival:
arrival from new jersey was just a little late but good flight

Rooms
oceanview building 9 rm 9206

Restaurants and Bars
hibiscus buffet, edens for snacks, michaelangelo reservations edens at night reservations only, 4 bars

Beach/Pools/Grounds
best beach location, big pool

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
the staff has activities during the day, shows at night. we went on the jungle safari, and by taxi to the town of puerto plata to the amber museum and the brugal rum factory, and shopping around the town.

Other Comments
it rained quite a bit during the week of 3-18 thru 3-25, but it did not stop us from doing what we wanted to do. there were some mosquitos, due to the wetness. we had some nice sunny days and got good color. the resort is all brand new, very nice compared to what it was. staff very friendly, always willing to help. we met up with darlene gunther, we had a suitcase full of toothbrushes,paste,soccer ball baseball,crayons,books,pencils, for the kids there.was a great vacation.

redroses27@aol.com

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"In my opinion this resort is not a 4 star at all. More like a 2.5 or 3"

Grand Paradise Playa Dorada
User Rating:  Grand Paradise Playa Dorada Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Ricardo  on Oct 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Oct, 2009
346 people found this review helpful

Arrival: September 23rd to September 30th

We were not part of a tour and when we arrived at the Puerto Plata airport we found that the only way to get to the hotel was to take a taxi. $33 US dollars. for a 20 minute ride. We arrived at the hotel at 02:50 PM and were told by the reception that we had to wait until 3 to check in. We went to get some and food and returned at 03:45. At that time we were told that it would be a few minutes until the room was ready. Nothing happened for about 15 minutes, when I went back to talk to the same lady, she was on the phone and passed the paperwork to someone else. This person looked at it and then picked up the phone and stayed on it for ten minutes. By this time I asked for a manager and was told that the manager was not there. Finally around 4:30 PM they managed to get a room.
The reception people get about a negative 5 star rating from me.

Rooms:
We had a room overlooking the tennis courts, overall very nice, furnishings were nice and in good condition. Very nice tiled bathroom. Small Dorm type refrigerator with a gallon of water and two small bottles of soda. Water was replenished daily. Soda was not. Maid cleaned room daily but always seemed to forget to replenish something like tissues, toilet paper, floor mat and we had to chase after her to get these things.

Restaurants and Bars:
We ate at the Buffet and Edens restaurant. Buffet was not what a 4 star resort should have (more like a 2 star). Food was lukewarm at best. Seemed like what was leftover from the previous day would keep on coming back. I think the Chef just followed the recipes and did not taste the food. They had a seafood dish with squid, clams and something else (octopus or conch) which was like trying to chew your car's tires.
The omelet station was good preparing omelets and fried eggs. If you like bacon with your eggs, bring your own. They had it only one day and it was wrapped around a piece of banana. Only daily meats for breakfast were small sausages and what they call fried salami (more like bologna).

Service at the Buffet was spotty, you would get your initial drinks (wine, beer) but if you wanted another glass, you had to walk over to the bar and get it yourself. We ate at Edens restaurant one night only. I had a steak that was covered with melted cheese and sauce so that you really could not taste the meat.
My wife ordered their "Salmon Steak" I guess it was our fault to assume that it would be grilled. The alleged salmon was steamed and then some pepper sauce was put on top. (I tried and it was almost as good as the food they serve in most hospitals)

Beach/Pools/Grounds::
Beach was nice and clean, lots of reclining chairs but other than the few coconut palms no other shade. They need to put some umbrellas or something so that people that want to enjoy the beach can get shade if they want it.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel::
We went to the town of Puerto Plata for a day. Taxi to the town is $17 US per person from the Hotel. But if you walk for about 15 minutes to the main road you can get a taxi for $5 US for both of us. You can also take one of the very small guaguas (small minivans) for 50 cents each to the center of town. Not that much to see in town, rum factory and Cathedral were OK. The Malecon (Waterfront road) would be nice if the beach was not covered with trash.

Other Comments::
In my opinion this resort is not a 4 star at all. More like a 2.5 or 3. There are many other 4 star resorts that are much much better than this one.

Email Ricardo: RichardsRicardo@rocketmail.com

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"Our days consisted of relaxing on the beach."

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

Posted by:  Angie  on Aug 1, 2009  >  2 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Aug, 2009
279 people found this review helpful

Arrival July 31, 2009 - August 7, 2009:
Just back from Grand Paradise, Puerto Plata July 31-Aug 7, 2009. We are Americans in our 40's. We were looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation and that is exactly what we got. Our days consisted of relaxing on the beach till about 2pm then making our way to the pool bar. We hung around the pool until about 6pm then we would make our way to our room for showers. We ate dinner around 8:30pm then would sit near the pool, have a few drinks and enjoy the entertainment. Normally we were in bed by 11pm. There was a disco onsite but it didn't have a "club" atmosphere. There may have been "party places" nearby but we weren't interested so we didn't even bother to look for them. We did go to the mall that was a 3 minute walk from the resort but we didn't appreciate being "hunted" by the shop keepers. There is a little Italian restaurant next to the mall that has wonderful food and bottled beer at a reasonable price.

Rooms:
We had a 3rd floor balcony room overlooking the pool area with 2 dbl beds, tv, big closet, iron w/ironing board, frig, safe & hair-dryer.The A/C requires you have a room key in the thermastat for it to operate. No elevators. Ask for a room away from the pool if you turn in early or don't want the noise of the pool area. We enjoyed sitting on the balcony and watching the activities. We tipped the housekeeper daily & received extra towels & 16oz bottles of Sprite/Coke. The toiletries were not replenished during our entire visit but there was plenty hot water. Refrigerator had 1gal water but no alcohol. Rent the safe ($20/wk). Overall, our room was modern, large enough for two people and relatively clean (bring slippers).

Restaurants and Bars:
3 restaurants--1 buffet & 2 a la carte. Food is comparable to a cruise ship. The grill in the buffet restaurant was very tasty. Being an open-air restaurant, it was pretty hot even for our 8:30pm seating time. Make reservations for the a la carte restaurants in a.m. There is 1 beach bar, 1 pool bar & 1 swim up bar. NO bottled beer-only Presidente served in plastic cup. No beach service. Drinks are weak but if you patronize (tip) the same bar and bartender daily, he will take care of you by stiffening your drinks and finding a cold mug for your beer.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
There were plenty beach chairs all though you have to drag them out to the beach yourself. The sand was course, the water was beautiful and overall the beach was very nice. There was a lot of seaweed in areas but it is pretty is to avoid. There are trinket vendors & timeshare sharks from the LifeStyle Resort on the beach but if you stop them before they start giving you their speech, they will eventually leave you alone. The beach was never crowded. The pool & jacuzzi close at 7pm which is disappointing. The pool area is very clean & there are 3 showers to rinse off sand. There were plenty chairs although those closest to the pool are gone by 10am. The pool was never crowded.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
You can book tours/excursions thorugh the hotel I wouldn't do it again. We went on the Puerto Plata City Tour and Cable Car. The tours of the Amber Museum and Rum Factory were very short (15 minutes)& very boring. We didn't reach the cable car until after noon and it was too late in the day because the clouds had already moved in and we couldn't see down the moutain. You can take a cab into the city and walk to some interesting spots and enjoy yourself more than the tour of Puerto Plata. We did speak to other couples who booked the Paradise Island excursion at the mall and they said they really enjoyed it and it was worth the money. I can not recommend this but over the week, we befriended a staff member who acted as a taxi/tour guide for a day.We gave him $40 and in his personal car he took us to a local restaurants for some fantastic fish, local bars for some ice cold bottled beer and to the neighborhood he grew up in and the one he currently lives in. We met some of his ! school friends as well as his family. He also took us to Sasua which turned out to be nothing more than tourist trinket shops and brothels. Yes, brothels. Apparently, prostitution is legal and monitored by the government. We really enjoyed meeting locals & eating local food. Consider booking your excursions at the mall.

Other Comments:
The Animation Team hosted pool games, aerobics, dance lessons and other activities during the day. There nightly activities such as Karaoke, Movie Trivia, Merengue band, WII games depended heavily on crowd participation. Bring all your essentials because you will pay rediculous prices for sunscreen, razors, candy, bandaids, aspirin, etc. Use the same bartender and tip him daily-stiffer drinks & cold mugs for the beer. Book excursions at the mall or with the beach vendors. They are the same excursions but cheaper. Be aware of the restaurant operating times. Attend your welcome meeting with the hotel rep. She will confirm your airport shuttle service (if you booked it)and return flights.If the purpose of your vacation is to "party" then consider another resort.

gotalaf@aol.comn

Photos: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=96006&id=617849800&l=e220366326

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"I would never go back to this resort every again"

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

Posted by:  Kris  on Aug 1, 2009  >  3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2009
267 people found this review helpful

Arrival Aug 13-20:
We had a great flight down. When we checked in everything was great. We were a group of 7. It was my son's birthday. My husband and i travel alot to the dominican and this resort was the worst.When it came to the rooms that a different story. We tried not to let it get to us and ruin our vacation. Our flight back was the worst we had to stop at punta cana. we couldn't get off the plane and the plane was very hot we sat for 1 1/2 hours like that then they over booked the seats so that was other 1/2 hour to see if someone wanted to take a flight the next day. So we were there for 2hours hotter then you know what we try to get air at the doors and the flight attendant yelled at us to get back to our seat. not very good customer service. Never had problem flying with Air Transat but this flight home was bad in a airplane for almost 9 hours and the flight is only 4hours

Rooms:
Superior gardenview ya right looking at the tennis court whats that?? We were suppose to have 3 room attached they were beside my parents and we were in the next buliding.Our 2 girls had to have there own. there floors were always wet because the A/C wasn't working right then the bathroom the toilet leak so they put the towels around the floor so they didn't slip. Then the resort had to nerve to try and get us to pay for 3 towels that got dirty from them putting them on the floor. Make sure if you go always catch the maids to make sure the put water and pop in your room if not you won't get it.That is just a few. Every other rooms had chairs on there balcony but not us???

Restaurants and Bars:
We eat that the buffet alot do to being picky eater. great food not very hot but we could eat.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
the beach is great. not very busy which was even better. pools were good and the bar too.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
they had some activities that were good. they have a disco up stairs that starts at 11pm and goes till 1am we have 2 girls and 1 boy that like to dance. even those we were there they weren't aloud to dance not very busy inside so i can't see why there should have been a problem they are my responsible.the entertainers were great.

Other Comments:
I would never go back to this resort every again. I you want a good resort stay at Grand Venta which is right beside this resort.

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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
294 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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"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
306 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
269 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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"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
281 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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