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“Amazing Vacation”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #29 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
High River, Canada
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Amazing Vacation”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 February 2012

We had a marvellous vacation at the Esmeralda. We particularly enjoyed the smaller size and quieter ambiance of the Esmeralda versus staying next door at the Punta Cana. The staff were eager to please, the food was good in all the restaurants and buffets and one could always find something to please the palate. I have to say the breads were outstanding! We particularly enjoyed the Japanese a la carte restaurant "Maiko" and I must say the Steakhouse was surprisingly good even though I had read bad reviews about it. We enjoyed the availability of premium liquors for the drinks although at the beach it was run of the mill local brands. Not much in the way of shopping though, as most of the stores in the little shopping area sold the same thing! The entertainment was generally enjoyable, albeit somewhat on an amateur level, with the exception of the Michael Jackson Show and the Cirque du Soleil, which were both outstanding. The shuttle bus system between the resorts worked quite well. Only negative I would have would be the staff needs to have a better fluency of English, especially at the front desk. It wasn't a problem for us, but sometimes it was a bit of a guessing game when you ordered a drink, as to what you would actually get. The beach area was outstanding and we spent most of our time there rather than at the pool area. Of course everyone seems to play the "beach towel on the lounge chair" game to reserve, and that was frustrating. We did have some seaweed appear for a couple of days near the end of our holiday, and although we saw staff raking it up, they never actually cleaned it up so then it started to smell. But one could always sit further back from the beach and then it wasn't a problem. We would definitely go back to the Esmeralda again.

Room Tip: Rooms in Block 92 are quiet but handy to all everything, only a five minute walk to the beach. We...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Joan V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,520 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,499)
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Slovak first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Turkish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto
Level Contributor
191 reviews
117 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 181 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 February 2012

This is a great hotel on a wonderful stretch of beach.

Accommodations are bright, new ,large, clean and comfortable. No musty smell so common in the Caribbean. Rooms are also very quiet. Large bathrooms with separate toilet and separate bath and shower. Quiet air conditioner that works well.
Stocked fridge in room and also snacks and coffee machine.....all included in room rate.
Lots of area to lounge around and read a book or just have a drink and relax.

Friendly helpful staff.

Great beach with comfortable chairs reserved for Esmarelda guests.Great pool.

Downside: Food is OK. Plenty of it and lots to choose from but not great.

Only 2 Hoby Cats to sail in a hotel with hundreds of guests. Had to reesrve boats a day in advance and only one hour available daily. The Iberostar next door has 10 Hoby Cats to sail.

All in all this is a great hotel and I would return

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Tokalosh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
St. John's, Canada
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 February 2012

My husband and I (both in our 30’s) travelled to the Esmeralda Feb 2012. I read many reviews before we travel, so I felt it was only fair for me to post my thoughts!!

We have been to many all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, including Mexico, Cuba, Bahamas, DR etc. This was our second time at the GPB in Punta Cana, we stayed at the Punta Cana resort last time. Overall it was a great vacation, VERY relaxing! I would definitely recommend upgrading to the Esmeralda, or the Ambar - the other GBP resorts are just too big and busy and really starting to age!

CHECK-IN: We arrived late at night, around 12:00am. The guy at the front desk stayed on the phone for 10 minutes before he acknowledged us, but then he quickly gave us our room keys and sent us on our way. Our keys stopped working 3 times during our stay and we had to go back to the reception desk to have them re-programmed. Not a big deal, as everything is so close.

ROOMS: Beautiful and very CLEAN! The rooms are spacious with a sitting area, balcony, Jacuzzi, stand-up shower, iron, small table-top ironing board (which I left out the whole trip on the desk – worked well for us!), bathrobes, slippers, hair-dryer and a safe (free and easy, “safe” to use!) We emailed the resort ahead of time and requested a room on the 3rd floor in building 90 - they wrote back to say they could not guarantee a room but when we arrived, that’s what we got! Tip: bring some colored face cloths. For some reason this resort lacks face cloths, we only got 2 the whole stay. The fridge was stocked daily, even with some munchies! We had a garden, partial ocean view - really enjoyed relaxing on our balcony in the evenings with a beverage before getting ready for dinner and a show! And for the record, we didn’t see any bugs! :)

FOOD: I find buffets at all-inclusive resorts to be pretty much the same everywhere. You are in the Caribbean, so don't expect the same as you would in Canada or the US. You won't go hungry, there is something for everyone! We found the food at the indoor buffet to be better than the open air buffet and there was a better selection. You really should email the resort ahead of time to book the La Carte restaurants or you may find yourself eating late at night. We ate at the Japanese 9:45 one night because that’s all that was available. Also, we ordered room service one night, but unfortunately it never showed up. We feel asleep, so we didn’t bother to complain - just didn’t try to order it anymore.

DRINKS: The drinks I usually enjoy are Pinacoladas and Miami Vice’s, I found them way too sweet here or they always add too much alcohol which makes it even worse. My advice if you want alcohol - just ask for ‘little’, instead of just saying ‘yes’ – makes for a better drink! I’d also suggest bringing a small travel mug; helps keep beverages cold on hot days, unlike the small plastic cups they use. I liked to keep mine filled with ice water, they would fill my mug with ice at the bar, and I took the water bottles from the room.

POOLS: Very clean, quiet atmosphere. People with children tended to stay to one side of the pool and adults at the other. We found the water to be a little cool, but then again the weather wasn't the greatest while we were there. If it was a hot day, the pool was very refreshing! This is where we spent most of our time. There isn't any entertainment staff at this resort, if you want loud music and pool activities you'll have to go to the Punta Cana/Party pool which is literally only a 3 min walk from the Esmeralda pool. Like I said this is a very quiet area but there is an adult-only Jacuzzi area which is even quieter - we didn't spend any time there. Unfortunately, the towel game is played at this resort, so rise by 7am if you want an area with shade. Towels are easy to exchange and as often as you want!

BEACH: You’re in Punta Cana so the beach is beautiful, and very busy! We found it too windy during our stay to hang out at the beach, so we opted for the pool most days. The beach is beautiful to walk, you could walk for hours, and we did! Again, rise early if you want a good hut. There are a lot of huts so finding a spot isn’t that hard.
All in all, this was resort is beautiful and very relaxing! If you like to read, stay here! If you like a more up-beat atmosphere I’d suggest the Ambar- It’s not too busy, but at least they have music! I don’t think I’ll stay here again, only because there are other places I’d like to visit!
Have a great trip!!

Room Tip: Ask for above ground room, building 90 or 91... however everything is close so the builing wouldn...
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  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Beach_Bum1578
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
quebec
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 February 2012

We arrived around 11 pm on December 30 th to find out that the hotel was overooked and that we had to go to the Amber section. We had booked that hotel specifically so we were very disapointed. As well I had e-mailed the reception manager Luis Escano,a week before to request rooms near the beach. He replied that they would do everything to help us have an enjoyable stay. His e-mail was sent the same day that we arrived so it was surprising that he could not advise us before our arrival. We stayed 3 days in the Amber section before returning to the Esmeralda. If we pay for a specific hotel then we should'nt have to face this problem only because the hotel cannot administer it's business correctly.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank pierrepQuebec
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 February 2012

We (2 couples mid 30's - late 40's) travelled from Edmonton Feb 1 -9, 2012. We have all been at several 5 star AI's in the Caribbean.

Check in was ok, nothing special, would have been nice if they gave us some information on where we could get something to eat as we arrived at about 10:30 am and nothing seemed to be open. Rooms were ready by about 2 - 3 pm but when we got to our room they were still in there cleaning it. Our fridge and telephone didn't work but we called the desk and they were both fixed quickly.

Rooms were nice enough and clean, beds were firm but fairly comfortable. Mini Bar was stocked daily. Our patio door didn't lock, we were on the 2nd floor so not a huge deal but would have been nice to be able to lock it. We didn't call to get it fixed because we could tell that it wasn't going to be a small job. Room were both 2nd floor in buildings 90 and 91 but they were both in the same hall as buildings are adjoined.

Food was for the most part nothing special. Meat was often under or overcooked and most of it was pre cooked and kept under a heat lamp. There was lots of food but alot of it was just mediocre. Hours for buffets were not good for early morning departures or early excursions, they could have had at least muffins and cold stuff for a quick early breakfast. Room service was so basic and limited that we didn't even bother ordering it.

-Breakfast was probably the best meal, the omellette stations were ok, and the line up went quickly. Fruit and yogurts, toast, oatmeal were good, bacon was deepfried and tasteless. Juices were good and fresh. You were not allowed to take any food out of the buffet. Coffee was ok and they were good about serving it.
-Lunch buffet in the outdoor buffet was not 5 star, the hamburgers and hot dogs were precooked and sitting under a heat lamp and looked gross. We basically ate tacos and chili cheese fries most days. The pizza wasn't bad but over all the food was tasteless.
-Dinners at the buffet were similiar to lunch but a bit better. The al a cartes were nice settings and food was hit and miss, we went to the Don Pablo, the Italian at Esmeraldas and to one of the Japanese show cooking - I think it was called Makaido? The Japanese was surprising good with the exception of the fried ice cream dessert which was totally undercooked. The Don Pablo was pretty good but don't ask me how I want my meat cooked if your not going to make an effort to make it that way. Everyone at the table ordered medium rare and no two were alike. The buffet hours (at the Esmeralda) had significant gaps between breakfast and lunch and then again from later afternoon until dinner. You could go to the snack bar at the Punta Cana, but it was extremely crowded and you had to wait, no clean tables, the soft drinks were gross. You definately wouldn't starve, but the food was not 5 star either.

The layout of the Esmeralda was great, very nice landscaping and everything was nice and close by. The beach towels were easy to exchange, but the towel game at the pool and the beach was ridiculous. It was so hard to get beach chairs in the Esmeralda reserved area of the beach. Every day there was literally 2/3rds of the chair with towels on them and no one using them for hours. That was one of the main reasons I would not go back to this resort. The beach area was beautiful though and having the bar and washrooms conveniently located was nice.

All the rules about where you could eat and drink on this very large property were ridiculous, we paid the Esmeralda rate, had the Esmeralda bracelet, but could only get basic drinks at the other area's, which was frustrating because you had to come and go from the punta cana lobby for excursions or if you want to go to the common areas. Overall the drinks were not great, lots were way to much alcohol to make them drinkable, although we really enjoyed the marguaritas.

Overall we enjoyed our stay, the weather was great, but there was nothing that made us want to come back to this particular resort.

Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
11 Thank Devon987
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

Property: 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
#25 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#26 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#28 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price range (per night): ₹ 11,733 - ₹ 29,236
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 (additional 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 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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