Debbie's Dominican Old Reviews - Viva Wyndham Samana
Viva Wyndham Samana
Bozena & Victor 

January 2008
Excellent resort , very nice beach. Nice people, good food . We came back 1 week agon .
This is 4 star resort.
Viva Wyndham Samana
March 2007
We were a group of 7, at the Viva Wyndham Samana for March Break. We were a group with 2 adults and five 17 year old boys. We live in Ontario, Canada and we are experienced travelers.

Getting There
We flew with Signature, Skyservice. We did not pre-book seats, but this is one flight where you probably should pre-book if you want to be assured of sitting together. There were only a small number of seats on the plane that were available for passengers to Samana. Most seats were designated for Puerto Plata passengers, and the Samana seats were not all together. There were only 38 passengers on our plane who were continuing to Samana. The flight was fine, and had more leg room than some of the other charters we’ve been on. We arrived in Puerto Plata and had to get off the plane with our carry-on, so they could clean the plane. We were aware of this stop before we left Canada. It was a bit disorganized at Puerto Plata and we weren’t really sure which way to go, or what to do. We had our carry-on bags re-checked by security, and we waited in the departure lounge with the passengers leaving to return to Canada from Puerto Plata. We were on the ground for about an hour. Once we re-boarded, the flight to Samana was only 15 minutes.

The Samana airport was big, new and empty. We were the only flight at arrivals, and with only 38 passengers, it was a very quick process. Our rep was right there to meet us. We were put on a small bus, with our luggage in the rear seats. ( If the luggage has to go in the cart behind the bus, you have to take a longer, less steep route around the mountain). We were told that they used to have one large bus to all the Samana hotels, and it took a long time to drop everyone off. The trip to the hotel was great! We went from one side to the other side of the Samana peninsula, crossed through the mountains, and saw the most amazing scenery. It was like having a free excursion. The road was narrow, and full of trucks and motorcycles, but our driver was careful.

Check in was good. We were greeted with nice smiles and rum punch. Our rooms were not ready yet when we arrived, so they sent us to the buffet for lunch. When we returned, our rooms were ready. Without our asking, they upgraded us to two family rooms. The rooms were gigantic! There were two double beds downstairs, with a set of stairs up to another room with a king (or two twin) upstairs. We were given two of these family rooms. We had booked 2 regular rooms for 7 people, and ended up with enough beds for each of us to have our own, plus an extra. Unfortunately, there was only one key per room, which was a real pain for us. Each room had a free safe.

There are two 3 story buildings, with regular hotel rooms. There are twelve family rooms, in another block. There were also some nice one story villas facing the beach. We didn’t go in any of the other rooms, but the villas looked very nice, with big porches facing the ocean.

Our rooms were “tired”. They were very clean, but were in need of an update. The family rooms used to be self catering, and have a counter, sink and small fridge…but these are all in poor repair. The sheets were changed daily and the linens were clean. Our maid was very friendly and did lots of little extras for us. The water took a long time to get hot, but it did eventually. The water would cycle between hot and cold so showers were interesting! We had no other plumbing problems. The shower was large and clean. There were little ants if you left anything sweet around, and we saw a couple bugs….but that’s part of being in the tropics.

The resort itself is older, with many things replaced and updated, but not everything. The grounds were beautiful. There were lots of landscapers working constantly to maintain the flower beds and grass. There was a nice new pool with lots of chairs.

The buffet was not great. There was plenty of food, but the overall presentation and quality was not the best. Having said this, we could always find something to eat, and no one went hungry. The pasta bar was especially good. It was best to go early to the meals. The food was hot, and looked nicer than later on, when it tended to be “warm” and a bit dried out. The a la carte restaurants were good. You were allowed one meal in each restaurant per week. The service in both restaurants was excellent. We were very happy with the service at the bars as well. We did not have to wait long, and they made lots of different mixed drinks. We found there was excellent service with or without a tip. There was a coffee area at pool bar where they made excellent cappuccino. Each afternoon (in between meals) there were cookies and muffins available, and they came around with fresh fruit.

Animation Team
The animation team worked long hours and they tried very hard. There were activities on the beach every day, and the “usual” Spanish lessons, Bingo, etc. The team worked hard to get everyone involved. They were even at the disco at night. The same team put on the shows at night. The dancing shows were great…some of the others were not so great. There was a covered theater with a large stage and lighting. The theater did have a musty odour, but nothing that was unbearable.

There were very few Canadians (and no Americans) at the resort. The vast majority of people were European. All announcements were made in French, English, German, Italian and Spanish….although sometimes it was hard to distinguish which language was being spoken! Many of the hotel staff spoke at least a little of each of these languages. We did not find this to be a barrier, but saw it as an opportunity. We managed to make ourselves understood, and so did they. There was definitely a European flair on the beach where there were a number of topless bathers. There were groups arriving and leaving every day. At the beginning of the week, it was an “older” crowd, with a lot of seniors. Later in the week, more people in their 20’s and 30’s came…mostly couples. There were not many teens or children, although there is a kids club available. It was generally a quiet place, with no music playing at the pool, and some music at the beach in the afternoons. There was a disco at night, but overall it wasn’t really a “party” place. Having said this, our five 17 year olds had a great time.

The beach is definitely the star of this resort. It is the most amazing beach we’ve ever seen. There is beautiful light sand on the beach, with palms right up to the water’s edge. There were plenty of lounge chairs, even if you went mid-day. There were a few vendors on the beach but they left immediately if you said “no thank you”. You could walk for many kilometers in either direction from the hotel, and it was beach, beach and more beach. Once you walked off the hotel property, the beaches were almost deserted. It was a true tropical paradise.

The resort is a bit isolated. (…which has its advantages) Las Terrenas is the nearest town, but you can’t walk there by road. It’s not just the distance, it’s really unsafe to walk on the road. The road is narrow, winding, and in some places unpaved…and there are lots of trucks, ATVs and motorcycles going as fast as they can. Apparently you can walk to Las Terrenas via the beach but it would be a long walk. There is a shuttle to Las Terranas twice per day that costs $7US per person. Some people took motoconchos (motorcycle taxis) that were quite inexpensive, but risky. We found the town was very noisy and smelled of exhaust fumes, with lots of motorcycles whipping through the streets. The people were very nice, and there were a surprising number of people speaking French.

Some of our group took the half day trip to El Limon and loved it. They take you on horses through a mountain path leading to a beautiful waterfall. Our teenagers loved the “extreme” horseback riding, including steep mountain paths, riding on the edge of cliffs, mud and riding through water. There are not a lot of excursions to choose from, since tourism is quite new in this area.

Other Things
While we were there, my son got sick ( No one else in our group became ill, nor did we meet anyone else who was sick) The Doctor on site was great. He came right to the room several times, and was very thorough. We were expecting a large bill with visits, medications, etc. but we were pleasantly surprised by the cost. Even this set-back didn’t ruin our holiday.

Overall we REALLY enjoyed our time at Viva Windham Samana. It was not a top quality 4 star hotel, but for the price we paid, it was a good, clean, friendly place to stay. I think it would be best suited for beach lovers, and couples.
Viva Wyndham Samana
February 2007
We don't normally write a review of the resorts we visit but this time we felt we must. Our vacation was somewhat ruined by our choice of location so we wanted to share it with others who may intend to travel to Samana.

We have been to Dominican Republic six times now. We love it and we really enjoy interacting with the Dominican people.

We recently returned from a week's vacation at thie Viva Wnydham Samana Resort. If you want a good resort for your vacation avoid this one. We usually stay at the Iberostar. Rui or Barcelo resorts but we thought we'd try something new. What a mistake!

The resort is noted in the travel brochure as a four star but we gave it a two star and we are being generous in doing so. The ride from the airport to the resort was awful. The driver drove like he was in the Indy 500 and although we are very aware of the reputation of the drivers in the Dominican this one was a maniac. He almost hit a bull, a horse, two people on a motorcycle and a truck.

The resort is in the middle of nowhere which would be okay if the accommodations were nice.

The resort is older than the brochure indicates and badly in need of repair. The plumbing system is awful and stinks to high heaven. Three days out of seven the toilets in our room didn't flush. Four days out of seven the shower didn't work. If it did the water was boiling hot or freezing cold.

The room were moldy and musty. The towels old, scratchy and in need of replacement. There were ants all over our sink in the bathroom even after they sprayed the rooms. The mattresses on the bed were firm but smelled bad. The sheets weren't fitted so they came off in the middle of the night and you were left with a scratchy, smelly mattress.

There was only one light that worked in our room so we couldn't read before bed because it was too dark. The television did work though and so did the air conditioning. We asked for an extra pillow and finally got one after three days.

The administration desk staff were not helpful. The reservation desk staff for the specialty restaurants were unable to understand us and had a bad attitude problem. We asked for reservation to the Mediterranean restaurant for four and for the next night. She made a reservation for eight and the restaurant was closed the night she booked for us. When we tried to explain everything to her she said we made the mistake, not her. The specialty restaurants when we finally got a reservation - Mediterranean was good with good service. The Oriental was awful and we ate rice, rice and more rice and that was it.

We wanted to see the shows at night but the smell from the toilets was too overwhelming and we couldn't stay.

The main bar had good service but was understaffed at times and there were lineups.

The resort needs to put more money into the plumbing system. Everything leaks, stinks or doesn't work.

The beach was beautiful but watch out for coconuts falling from the palm trees. People were sitting under them because there were no umbrellas for shade and you needed shade. The weather was perfect. The pool area was clean and the pool was nice with plenty of chairs for everyone. There was a disc jockey playing good music at one corner of the pool area. At night they had candles on the tables and it was a nice place to sit and listen to music. The problem was the stink from the toilets seeped into the area.

The games on the beach were few and far between and again the language barrier caused a problem. The bar on the beach is well run and the staff is polite and helpful. There is a little snack bar close to the beach that has hot dogs, hamburgers, fresh fruit and french fries. The food there was reasonably good and so was the service.

The main buffet was clean and the service was good but slow. The food was mediocre and not varied. Anyone who was fussy about food was in trouble. My husband is one those people and he ate spaghetti for five nights. He said it was very good. One night the rest of us couldn't tell if the piece of meat we were eating was turkey, pork or tuna.

Some of the items were marked and some were not. Anyone who has an allergy to fish would have a problem. The desserts were good. They had some nice pastries and cookies. Most of the desserts were custard based so if you like custards you were fine but there was usually one or two cakes. The lemon and strawberry sherberts when they weren't melted into liquid were excellent. We only got to try these on two nights. The rest of the time they were a liquid mess.

The fresh and stale buns and the fresh and stale muffins were mixed together so some days you got fresh and some days you got stuck with stale ones. One of the muffins was so hard I could bang it on the table and it didn't break.

The morning cook making omelets and eggs didn't understand English. Five days out of seven my eggs were runny and I just couldn't eat them. I finally just gave up and ate fruit and a stale muffin the last two days.

They make the best cappacinos we have ever had and we had lots of them. The wine is good but taste as if it was watered down. We didn't know if it was just the kind of wine they had or if it was altered. There are no diet drinks anywhere so if you are diabetic you are out of luck. The language barrier is a huge problem as you can't get anything across to the staff. Some of the staff was nice but most had a bad attitude problem and couldn't care less about the guests or their needs.

The snorkeling was good but we had to fight with them. We paid them the day before for an hour of snorkeling. When it came time to go snorkeling they wanted more money. We refused and finally won the argument but it was a hassle.

There were people selling things on the beach. They went away when you said no but they were back every half hour on the hour to ask you again.

The shops in the hotel were expensive. We saw one t-shirt for $54.00 U.S. The coffee was $7.00 U.S. and the rum was reasonable. We don't know about the cigars as we don't smoke.

The only shopping there is for those who like to shop is a little area with a bunch of little buildings. It wasn't anywhere close to the resort. We asked one of the other guests who had taken a taxi and gone. We were told us it wasn't worth going and there wasn't much to buy.

We didn't go on any trips this time because we just couldn't wait to leave and come home. That is how much we disliked this resort. Usually we want to stay for another week.

All of our clothes and items stink of mold and mildew and we had to get everything dry cleaned as even washing them didn't completely take out the smell. We have the luggage airing outside in the cold with hopes we can get rid of the moldy smell.

We would not recommend this resort to anyone we like. We were very disappointed.