After taking a month off to recover after from some long trips, Peter and I decided to vacation to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I had been in touch with a few resorts over the past year and had always been interested in visiting so that I could document it all for my readers. However, this particular trip was a bit more of a low key one in terms of documenting the experience, (save for a few live stream videos and snaps to keep everyone following up to date) sharing or making recommendations since we were vacationing in part for a close friend’s wedding. We decided to get there early and experience all that the Grand Bahia Principe of Punta Cana had to offer.
Before moving through the photos below, I’ll leave very casual thoughts for those of you who are interested in visiting Punta Cana or, more specifically, the Bahia Principe resort.
The Grand Bahia Principe has a lovely lobby with a great deal of natural light and an open concept which allows for the evening breeze to pass through. I particularly appreciate the choice of going with an open concept lobby since it was still luxurious in terms of appointments and decor but the ability to smell the ocean air while feeling the breeze touch you anytime we moved through lent itself well to our ability to feel immersed in the Caribbean. After all, you don’t fly to Punta Cana so that you can feel like you’re in an office place with closed doors. So thumbs up for the natural light, luxurious decor, high ceilings (air circulation) and open concept.
The hotel grounds themselves were well kept and we were presented with a lot of variety. Unfortunately, this is where I take some issue with the layout. The resort is extremely de-centralized, in plain in English this means that its huge and you need to do a lot of traveling to get from one place to another. I’m not talking about the type of traveling that you would want to do by foot either. There are multiple golf cart type shuttles zipping around the resort but catching one requires that you remember exactly how to get to where you’re going and that you time it well so that you’ll be in the right place to catch the right cart. In fact, I took a few carts that confused me and took me away from where I wanted to be. Without a cart, you were looking at a 10-15 minute walk to get back to your hotel room depending on how far out you went. Now, that may not sound like a lot but I’m talking about a real 10-15 minutes of fast paced walking. A girl’s feet get tired enough as it is so this wasn’t welcomed.
In terms of the rooms, our room was spacious but rather basic in terms of its appointments. One of the things many people fail to discuss when staying at a hotel is how nice the linens and beds are. It goes a very long way in terms of making you feel relaxed and comfortable to have nice linens and a nice bed. While we were at a 5 star resort, that unfortunately didn’t land us the nicest bed, sheets or towels. Don’t get me wrong, we were in a King sized bed, but there were some weak springs in it and the linens felt like they were sub standard. I’ll make sure to focus on this in the future when I discuss other resorts or hotels as I plan to make hotel and resort reviews a larger piece of my blog due to all of the requests for information and recommendations – which I don’t give out easily. The room was also rather dim and didn’t allow for a lot of natural light while the bathroom was basic. Overall, the room was OK and certainly something anyone could easily spend time in. I mean, I’ve been to places in the world where running water is a luxury so this review like all of my other ones is meant to be read on a relative scale. However, the relative scale here is for a 5 star resort and this room fell far short of what I have experienced elsewhere.
The food was also somewhat of an issue. Dinners were fine by Caribbean standards but breakfast and lunch options were sorely lacking with only all day buffet styles offered. An outdoor buffet in an extremely hot and humid climate is NOT a good idea. I won’t get into all the graphic details here but suffice to say I’m very lucky to have someone as diligent as Peter as my husband. He literally brought an entire (30 lbs worth) suit case of healthy snacks, low sugar protein bars, protein powder, veggie supplements. He’s like a mad scientist working away and putting things together sometimes but we could have made a commercial for how to survive off of supplements, bars, powders and shakes as we only ate dinner while there. I give credit to Peter for not going crazy since he’s a lean 200lb man with a healthy appetite. With that said, the wedding dinner we attended was lovely.
So what about the beach? The beach was fantastic! The sands were well kept, very clean and there were a lot of chairs, cabanas and the like scattered throughout. This time around, I actually put my cameras down and spent the majority of my time sitting on the plain sands or in the water…with a guilty hour or so in a cabana on one of the really hot days.
A quick update: I’ve had a lot of people ask me if this is on my recommended list of resorts, which I frequently discuss via snapchat or through e-mail. While I did enjoy myself and loved the wedding, I cannot recommend this hotel for what it is – a “5 star” resort. If you’re looking for a 5 star resort and all of the comforts that one would provide, this is not the place for you. This is a 5 star resort that I would rate 3 stars.