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“ESMERALDA WAS EXCELLENT”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #35 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 July 2011

This was our 7th time in the Dominican Republic and our second time, at the Gran Bahia. This was our first time in the Esmeralda section of the resort. We were two active couples late 40's/early 50's and have traveled a fair bit. We stayed June 24th to July 1st.

The Esmeralda section of the resort is about 18 months old, and is very clean and impeccably maintained. The rooms are spacious with all the latest amenities. The grounds are as you see in the photos, like a garden show. The Bahia resort is huge, but the Esmeralda has its own pool and buffet and it is right next to the beach. Try to stay in section 90 or 91 as we did and the pool and beach, are right next to you. It was hot and the tropical breeze was refreshing from the ocean.

The Esmeralda section had a steady crowd around the pool daily, but it was never crowded. If you wanted a busier pool with more entertainment you, can always go to the main pool, which is about a 3 minute walk from section 91. Chairs around the pool and the beach were never a real issue. Yes, people were up by 6.00 daily to put their towels on the same chairs next to palapas. These people need to get a life.

The food in the Esmeralda buffet, was the best we have had in the Dominican and we have been 7 times. The variety and preparation was excellent. Galla seafood night is Thursday and they had an endless supply of lobster, mussels, shrimp, clams, plus the usual chicken and steak etc. The seafood was excellent. The lunch buffet also had great selections and also included many varieties of tapas etc etc. We went into the main buffet at the Punta Cana Section at the front of the hotel, just because we were near there one day and there was no comparison.

For entertainment you can take the trolley to the theater, the Michael Jackson Show and the Circus Acrobats are the best, get there early for a good seat, the main show starts at 9.45 P.M. The trolley runs constantly and there was never too long to wait.

At the front of the complex is the area called Peublo Principe, it has shops, open air vendors and nightly house bands. The karaoke bar gets rockin around 10.00 P.M., It was hopping with the early 20's crowd. At midnight, the disco opens up and it rolls pretty good too. All this including the casino, is in the front area of the grounds.

The a la carte Don Pablo was excellent, withe the Bella Italia and Japanese being good.

Do stay at the Esmeralda and request section 90 or 91. The Bavaro section and the Punta section of the resort , are to far away from the beach area. Plus the rooms and the food does not compare to the Esmeralda Section. The Esmeralda is the top section of the resort and it gives you unlimited a la cartes Being at the Esmeralda section, we had use of all the other facilities. We occasionally ate at the Ambar buffet for lunch and used the gym in Ambar section daily. There is also free Wifi in all the lobbies.

Just remember some people complain wherever they go, just relax and have a great time. Would I go back ABSOLUTELY.

Room Tip: Request section 90 or 91, on the pool side, in the Esmeralda.
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  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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25  Thank MURF069
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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4,081 - 4,085 of 7,170 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2011

Great wonderful place. Before we left we read all the reviews and had some concerns but not reason. This place is perfect. Clean, great staff and a ton of stuff to do or not to do. We were in the 93000 building, which was awesome. Right outside was 2 beautiful pools, one adult only, and one for everyone. The beach was 30 seconds away. We had a great outdoor buffet right at the pool, which was very good. We only had breakfast there and it was very good. Next to the outdoor buffet was an indoor buffet. Nice. (I'll talk about the food later). The room is huge, comfortable and very, very clean. Excellent room with awesome accomidations.

The beach: is awesome. We loved it. We never had a problem getting chairs and we were not the ones putting towels on the chairs early, but we never had a problem. There were plenty of chairs. I think the chair issue is for some under the huts in the shade.

The service: With the exception of customer service, the service is awesome. The wait staff, cleaning people, bag service personell all are there to get you whatever you need. Now, customer service is a bit different. They seem to say no to everything. Just don't go to customer service and you will get what you need.

Plenty of towels: no issues there at all.

Food: good variety but terrible food. I am not picky but resulted in eating only bread for a few days. They have everything you can imagine and appeal to every culture but it does not taste very good. The service is great which makes up for the poor quality food.

The shuttles to get you around the resorts were great. Never a wait. The best one is the one that goes through the middle of the resorts, they run very quickly but we really did not have to wail longer than one minute for a shuttle and that was the exception.

Shows were fun, but they do allow smoking inside the theater (which is actually an open air theater. I did not like that.

We met so many people from all over the world. Belgium, Greece, Italy, England, Russia, and people from all over South America. We are American and loved the culture.

So clean, great resort.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank cabca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2011

it was our first trip south..we chose Esmeralda based on traveller's reviews..
The resort was very clean and this was something very important to us as we have a 15 month baby..also the resort is very stroller friendly..
Everything is close by at the Esmeralda, the pool, the beach and the Jazmin buffet.
Whereas the other resorts (Bavaro and Punta cana) you would have to take the Schulte trains for every time you go to the beach.

Room: Very clean and spacious, we asked for a crib and they gave us a Graco playpen, which was fine for my baby.
Tip: ask for rooms in villas 90 and 91

Food: was ok I would say, they had a great variety at the buffet, not all the a la carte were that great. I would recommend the steakhouse (it was the best) and the Gourmet. We didn’t really like the a la carte restaurants at the Bavro resort.

Beach and Pool: with the beach I guess we were not that lucky, there was lots of sea weeds (not sure if it is this time of the year or it is something the resort should have done to clean). My husband would go by 8am to reserve a spot for us which was not that bad.
The pool was so nice for young families, if you are looking for all the action then go to the pools at Punta cana where they would have all of this competitions and games.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank snyou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 July 2011

This place was perfect. The staff is very friendly. The food is great. The pool and the beach is wonderful. We stayed at building 92, the beach was at the most 4 min walking distance from our room door. There is free WIFI in the lobby area 24hrs. The Jazmin Buffet is small but has great food and variety IMO. You can access many of the pools in the resort with few exceptions. Make sure you book all "A La Carte Resturants" the first day you arrive. You can pay evreything in US dollars including taxis to and from the airport. If prices are shown in Dominican Pesos, the rule of thumb is usually 35 dominican pesos = 1 US$. (Ask the front the front desk as they will have exchange rate value for your specific dates). Some places have set prices, others you are able to haggle prices back and forth. Don't be afraid to ask for a lower prices when buying souveniers, that's just part of the game. Have fun and enjoy.

Room Tip: Bldg 90-92, rooms ending in 11-20 face the pool.
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  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
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11  Thank Frank0583
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2011

Our family (Mom, Dad, our girls - 22 months and 5 years old) stayed at the Esmeralda from June 9th - 14th. The purpose of this trip was to get away from the not so great New England weather and to have some fun in the sun. This was our second stay at the Gran Bahia Resorts, with the first being in Jamaica. Having stayed at the Gran Bahia resort, we had an idea of what to expect.

After scouring this sight for a couple of months and reading the reviews, we chose the Esmeralda for our stay. Our primary concern was the size of the resort, freedom to dine at various restaurants/buffets and having a tranquil environment to retreat to when necessary.

Arrival / Check-in
Arrived at the resort at 2PM and told the bellman we were staying at the Esmeralda, soon after a trolley was there to pick us up and to drop us off at our desired location. Since the room was not ready, we were guided to the Jazmine restaurant for lunch. At three went back to check the status of the room, our room was still not ready. Enjoyed some drinks in the lobby and our room was ready by 3:30. We requested ahead of time to be located in building 90 or 91 on a higher floor, and we got building 92, room 217 (top floor), and the room and location was just fine.

Room
We were pleased with our room. The maid did a fantastic job at keeping our room clean and tidy. The bathroom had dual sinks, jacuzzi tub, and separate rain shower stall. The water pressure was really good and the hot water was "hot". We enjoyed the bathrobes and slippers offered in the room. We particular liked that an umbrella was also included, however, did not need to use it since we did not get any rain. One feature that could be improved upon is the glass partition between the room and the bathroom. So, there is a curtain over the partition for privacy, but instead of having the curtain in the bathroom, it was in the bedroom. So if you're in the bathroom, if someone wants to slide the curtain to see what you're doing, they can.

Buffets/Restaurants
We ate breakfasts and lunch in the buffet's and had dinners in the restaurants. The only night that we did not eat dinner in the restaurant was our first night as it was Seafood gala night. Being from New England, we know seafood, and we thought it was just o.k. However, we did have the lobster dish at the Gourmet restaurant and that meal was fantastic. It was so good, we changed one of our reservations and went back again another night. Having been to numerous all inclusives (Sandals, Beaches, other Bahia resorts, Royal Carribean cruises), the food here varies, but it's not awful. We thought the buffet food at the Esmeralda was really good, enjoyed their selections, althoug the menu is not extensive. We went to the buffett at both the Punta Cana and the Bavaro side and I felt like it was a rush to get to the breakfast options. If things were out, they would replace it sometimes or they would put something else entirely in it's place. Granted we were at breakfast around 9:30 AM, prime breakfast time, but it felt hectic. We thought the buffets at the Bavaro and Punta Cana side was o.k., you won't go hungry that's for sure. One big notable difference between the buffets at the Bavaro and Punta Cana versus the Esmeralda, is that the servers at the Esmeralda were more attentive and the atmosphere was more relaxed.

Drinks
We thought the drinks by the pool and the beach were weak. The best drinks were at the Punta Cana Lobby bar and the service there was good as well.

Beach/Pool
When in Rome...That's what I did. Yes, I was up by 7 to reserve chairs at the beach. And yes, I was able to grab prime seats most morning. Mind you, I was not alone in my mission, the towel saving game was in full effect. We enjoy the beach in the morning until after lunch and the pool in the afternoon. Typically, the chairs with the umbrellas by the main pool are always taken. Also, it's difficult to find chairs in the shade. Plus with the humidity and the heat, it's just unbearable if you're not in the shade. However, at the Esmeralda, there are plenty of chairs in the shade available. I do have the admit, there's a nice party atmosphere at the main pool.

Staff
Most of the hotel staff we came across were nice. We had Ramon as our personal butler, however, we didn't require anything during our stay, so we didn't request his services for anything. He did come across as very attentive, knowledgeable and helpful. One staff that we thought was extremely rude was Walqueda (SP???) at the main pool. She was located at the cart with the blow up rafts/sun block, across from the towel desk. Note - If you are coming here and you have small kids and you have rafts that needs to be blown up for your kids, don't go to her because she will not do it no matter how nice you ask or how persistent you are. Even if you offer to tip her, she will not do it. Go to the cart at the Esmeralda or the cart near the Ambar and they will do it for you with no questions asked.

Overall, we came to the DR for some fun in the sun and to relax with the family and we felt our objectives were met. Although this resort was clean, the rooms nice, and the majority of the staff pleasant, but nothing about this place "wowed" me. I don't know what it is, and I can't quite put my finger on it but this place felt too generic for me.

Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
14  Thank Luv2GoGG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection

Address: Crta. Arena Gorda - Macao, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#7 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#30 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#31 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#33 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: ₹ 11,185 - ₹ 37,938 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 570
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services 2 Pools Sun terrace 4 Jacuzzis Sun umbrellas and loungers Beach and pool towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 3 tennis courts, 1 padel tennis court (additional charge), multi-sports court Water activity centre Motorised water sports (additional charge) WiFi access in the lobby (free) and in rooms (free of charge) Entertainment amphitheatre 2 buffet restaurants 3 speciality restaurants 3 Bars 1 Snack- bar Wedding gazebo Punta Blanca Golf Club: 18 hole Punta Blanca Golf Club, designed by Nick Price (additional charge) Pueblo Principe: Shopping and Leisure Mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars, karaoke, disco and casino. Rooms, 570 Deluxe Junior Suite Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Air conditioning Ceiling fan Sitting area with sofa Terrace Fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bath tub and separate shower, hair dryer and magnifying mirror Bathrobe and slippers VIP amenities Radio-alarm clock Flat screen satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Ironing set Pillow menu Umbrella 24 hour room service Minibar WiFi (free of charge) Other services Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Esmeralda Hotel Punta Cana

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