Review of Bahia Principe El Portillo, Samana – with video

by GO GlobeHopper

Bahia Principe resorts are widespread throughout the Caribbean, with a mixture of grand, luxury, and adults-only properties that cater to all-inclusive experiences — grand being the more affordable and lower-end option, luxury as the upscale choice with more amenities, and adults-only as an upscale selection but only for guests aged 18+. When it comes to the Dominican Republic, Bahia Principe Resorts offers a wide array of grand, luxury, and adults-only options spread across Punta Cana, La Romana, Rio San Juan, and 3 properties located on the Samana Peninsula.  And that’s where travelers will find Bahia Principe Grand El Portillo, on a tranquil stretch of beach near the village of Las Terrenas, and approximately 90 minutes from the closest airport.

⦿ To watch our resort tour of the property, visit our YouTube video HERE and be sure you are using the highest quality playback settings. Or, keep reading for valuable information, our review opinions, and photos.

The Samana region has only recently begun development, so travelers expecting the kind of nearby attractions and activities that can be found in Punta Cana, might be disappointed. However, those that seek a fun but relatively quiet vacation will appreciate this relaxing setting. It’s worthwhile noting that although this is not an adults-only resort, guests lean toward North American and European couples. And given the European factor, topless sunbathing might be present on the beach and sometimes by the pool.  Although this is not encouraged or condoned by management, it happens regardless.

Junior Suite Superior

For the most part, Bahia Principe resorts are all laid out the same way, with accommodations found in several low-rise buildings of two and three floors, often referred to as villas. Rooms tend to look very similar from resort to resort, with yellow or cream-colored walls, a bold red or gold pop of color, and canopy-styles beds. El Portillo is no different with layout options that include a Standard Room featuring 2 full-size beds or 1 king-size bed or a Junior Suite Superior also featuring 2 full-size beds or 1 king-size bed with an additional living area and sofa bed. Junior Suites are also available as connecting rooms for larger families or groups.

Additional features in all rooms include air conditioning and a ceiling fan, flat-screen satellite TV, free wi-fi, a mini-bar, a safe, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, Hydromassage bathtub with shower, and a small balcony or terrace. The suites are very clean and quite spacious. Guests with mobility issues should request accommodations on the first floor as there are no elevators in the villas.

The Greek – a la carte restaurant

There are 6 onsite restaurants and 8 bars. El Limon is the main restaurant and is an international buffet. This is followed by The Greek for Mediterranean cuisine, The Fish Market for seafood and Mediterranean cuisine, Bonavista for Brazilian-inspired dishes, La Terrrienne for French gourmet, Portofino for Italian cuisine, and the Beach Restaurant for international foods.

All-inclusive packages allow for 3 a la carte dinners with the remainder of meals to be eaten at the buffet.  This seems extremely limited for a week-long stay.  Formal dress and reservations are required for all a la carte restaurants.

The beach is lovely and clean with soft sand, clear waters, and an abundance of lounges. And the massive T-shaped pool of 9,000 square feet is warm and beautiful for swimmers and sunbathers. Guests will also find a convenient wet bar here for a variety of drinks, and a small area for toddlers. There is also a colorful children’s water park on the premises, though to be fair it is more like a small splash park with a few different slides.

Main Pool with Wet Bar

Other onsite amenities include a fitness center and a spa, a teen’s club, and live entertainment and dancing. For sports fans, head to the sports bar for a few large-screen TVs displaying major tournaments and games.

PROS: Overall, the resort is very clean and well kept.  Rooms are clean, comfortable, and spacious. The beach is beautiful. The food is varied and extremely good. And the staff are friendly.

CONS: Due to a limit of 3 a la carte dinners during a week-long stay, or 1 a la carte dinner for every 2 nights stay, the buffet can feel crowded and overwhelming. There isn’t much to do in the immediate area, and on-site entertainment is limited.

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