Me and my husband traveled to the DR Monday, May 28th - June 1st for a 5 year anniversary trip. The resort did not disappoint for the most part.
The resort is very large and actually contains several other properties (the Punta Cana, Bavaro, Ambar) besides the Esmerelda, where we stayed. The rooms were pretty clean though not decorated in my taste. The shower door was a little ajar and wouldn't shut all the way. Also, there was a lot of dirt in the tile grout lines, which was a little off putting. The resort grounds were beautiful and well maintained. We stayed in building 90, and there was definitely a musty odor in the corridors of the building, but not the actual rooms.
The pool and swim up bar are very large and also clean. The bartenders were very friendly and made very good drinks. As with most all inclusives, if you want the top shelf liquour, ask for it, because although they display it on the bar, they will put the cheap stuff in your drink unless you say "smirnoff& OJ". The beach was terrific. We have stayed at Sandals Grande Ocho Rios & Royal Playa del Carmen (Mexico) and of the three, this resort had the most wonderful beach. We played beach volleyball and enjoyed laying out by the ocean. Plenty of nice lounge chairs, not too crowded. Loved the beach!
Restaraunts -- Food was as good at this resort as anywhere. I have traveled throughout the Carribbean and never been sick from resort food, but always pack Immodium just in case. Happy to say we didn't need it. Garden Grill was great, Jazmin buffet was where we ate breakfast. I really enjoyed Le Gourmet too, make sure you get the banans foster if you go there!
The gym was disappointing. I am an active girl, so I opted for beach runs and tennis to stay fit during our stay. I am a rather spoiled gym goer, so maybe my standards are too high, but the "gym" was a small 20x20 room with a 1992 TV set, 2 treadmills and some free weights. Most people don't care about going to the gym on vacay, so I know I am in the minority, but this was a disappointment for me.
WARNING - avoid Pueblo Principe, the "shopping area" of the resort. Unless you want hasseled for a dollar to buy complete junk, don't even bother. Typical tourist trap where you are pressured into buying jewelry, souveniers, etc from the locals. Touted as a "safe" way to experience true DR shopping for arts,crafts etc, since it is within the resort confines and not in a village somewhere, but not enjoyable. If you need to walk around their during the shopping hours, just ignore ignore ignore the people asking you to stop and look around.
Lobby bars were very clean, open air, great drinks. All in all, we had a good time. We don't make a habit of staying at the same place twice in the Carribbean, what with all the AI's to choose from, but I would recommend the Esmerelda to anyone that wants a quality AI on a budget.
- 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 (additional charge) Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Mini Club for children aged 4 to 12 (at the Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana) Evening Mini Disco Babysitting service (additional charge) Bahia Scouts Water park Fun Area and Adventure Park (additional charge) Teen's club (11 - 16 years) 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