Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado Don Pablo Collection Adults Only (Samana, Dominican Republic)

All opinions on this page are our own. We are not affiliated with the hotel.

Travel Dates: August 22 – 29, 2015

Weather: Rained a few times but no more than an hour at a time. Very windy (it’s on an island!), but still hot (approximately 28°C, 82°F). Hurricane warning on the last two days, but it wasn’t bad.

Room: Main building, Floor 5

Our overall rating: 9/10

Okay, so yes, we go to resorts a lot. And yes, we went to a resort for our wedding (but that most definitely does NOT count as a honeymoon). So when it was time for us to decide on a honeymoon resort, we knew we wanted it to be something special. When we came across Luxury Bahia Principe Samaná Don Pablo Collection, we knew this would be beyond special. Because what is better than honeymooning on a private island?! We also had to go with an adults only because we were about to start a new school year (’nuff said).

We left from Toronto and we paid just over $1600 per person for this trip.

We arrived at the dock via bus from the airport, then we checked in and waited for the ferry to take us to the resort. There were 5 other couples with us. When the ferry arrived (20 minute wait, but we were given cold beverages and a nice patio to sit on), there were some employees and other people who were going back from excursions on the ferry with us. Just a short 3 minute ride later, we were able to see the majestic resort on the private island.

Our room was in the main building, on the 5th floor. There was an elevator that took us to the 4th floor, but then we had to walk through the 4th floor and go up the stairs to the 5th floor. We had let them know ahead of time that we were on our honeymoon and they were nice to put some extra touches to our room. There was also a fruit platter on our bed.

The room was spacious. There was a flat-screen TV, a big bed, a good sized bathroom, and a nice balcony. We were very happy with the view from our balcony.

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The only problems we had with the room were:

  • It was so dark! They should put in a few more lights around the room. It was practically impossible to do my makeup.
  • The metal roof made so much noise whenever it would rain. It felt like we were in a tin house.
  • The lengthy walk to get to the room – we didn’t mind, but this may be problematic for someone with limited/compromised mobility.  However, the front desk takes guest concerns seriously and  would, we think, provide timely assistance and/or adjust accommodations.

The property was very large and beautiful. The resort seemed really really big to us and we kept getting lost. There was a shuttle service that you could catch in front of the lobby but we preferred to walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

There were 3 separate pools. The biggest one was down (literally) by the beach. You had to take an elevator down. Hard to imagine? Here are some photos.

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Go in here…
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Going down the elevator
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That’s the elevator shaft

We spent a lot of time at this pool. We loved that this pool was actually deep (my feet didn’t touch at the deepest parts), which is very rare for resorts. If you like to float and gaze skyward, read by the edge, and have an outdoor buffet plus a friendly drink bar just steps away, you’ll love it!  Caribbean music permeates the air as you do your thing, and if you like to spice it up by taking part in poolside dance lessons or other fun guest activities, there’s some of that, too.  Only complaint was that we sometimes had to wait for fresh towels.

If you prefer something more quiet, the quiet pool is the perfect one for you! Serene and perfect for laying about, it was never busy and seating was ample.  There is a drink bar that is always willing to accommodate your special order! On any given day, we never saw more than 10 people there.

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There was also a jacuzzi pool. This one was very private and relaxing, with lush surroundings and a little bar.

We’ll be honest here – the resort itself does not have the best beach. It’s small, windy and shallow. There was also quite a bit of seaweed when we were there.

However! As a guest at the resort, you have access to the Bacardi beach. People come here for excursions from mainland resorts, but you have access to it all day long. You just have to sign out and sign back in at the security post.

This beach is quite famous for the palm trees. They look just like the trees on Bacardi rum. We went here every morning before the excursion boats arrived and got the best beach chairs. The only downside is that since it’s technically off the resort property, the restaurants and bars there are not free to use. At night, the resort runs a disco here and drinks are included then. This was one of the most beautiful beaches we have seen in our travels.

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Restaurants

The breakfast buffet was conveniently (for us, anyways) in the main building. It was busy but had efficient service. We opted to eat outside on the patio whenever possible. The food was fresh with a lot of options. Each night at dinner, the buffet had a different theme (Asian, Italian…).

For lunch, we usually went to the poolside buffet. Like most poolside buffets, the food was mediocre with limited options.

There were 4 a la carte restaurants on site, which required reservation.

Rodizio (Brazillian)

Excellent selection of tender cuts of meat with a fast-paced keep-on-eating vibe!  Here, they make several rounds to your table with a very large knife and a lot of meat for you to enjoy.  If you are a vegetarian, this is your worst nightmare, but if you love meat you are in for an unforgettable treat! Dinner guests receive a double-sided card: place RED face-up if you’ve had enough, place GREEN face-up if you’d like to keep going.  We should have thrown the green card in way sooner than we did, but it was worth it!

Don Pablo Gourmet 

Best restaurant at the resort.  We tried the tasting menu the first night and absolutely loved it. A really nice romantic atmosphere.  We ate there twice and enjoyed the food and overall experience both times.

Bella Italia (Italian)

Just your regular Italian food. We didn’t think it was anything special.

There was also a Mediterranean a la carte, but our reservation got cancelled due to an incoming hurricane.

There were daily shows at 9 PM by the main building. They were pretty small but entertaining. We liked the ones where they involved the guests.

On our last night, we got a nice honeymoon basket delivered to our room (they forgot and we actually had to ask at guest services).

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All in all, we had a great honeymoon. The private island aspect of it made it so much more romantic. You also have the option of renting one of the private villas instead of staying in the main building for an extra cost.

A few months later, we decided that we needed to do a honeymoon part 2, something different than resorts, and we headed off to the Bahamas. The review is coming soon! Please join our mailing list if you’d like to be notified when we have the Bahamas review up (menu bar -> Follow us!). Available now!

Until then!

 

 Important to note:

The ferry from the island is subject to last-minute departure times when weather takes a turn for the worse.  We found this out the hard way when our ferry left an hour earlier than scheduled following a government directive to do so (due to an approaching hurricane).  We felt that the front desk/management could have done a much better job tracking us down in advance (we were actually in our room at the time), however they responded efficiently and admirably by getting us on a secondary boat AND providing us with a private shuttle all the way to the airport free of charge.  Long story short, you’re on an island, so watch the weather and be ready for the unexpected.

 

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