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“Week at the Esmaralda” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #29 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
North Bay, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Week at the Esmaralda”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Esmaralda from Jan 31st to Feb 7th 2012. Our flight to Punta Cana was delayed 3 hours and by the time we got to the Esmaralda we found that the resort was over-booked and our room was not available. They sent us over to the Ambar (Adults Only) where we spent one night. You may say this was a major inconvenience but since we were contemplated staying at the Ambar it was actually very nice. The service is top notch at the Ambar and the food at the buffet better than the Esmaralda. The next day we got the room we wanted at the Esmaralda along with VIP bracelets and a 100USD resort credit (which we used to buy most of our souvenirs). The room at the Esmaralda was perfect (91215) on the third floor. Perfect view of the pool and ocean and a king size bed.
We ate at the buffet on the second night and we both agreed that for the rest of our vacation we were going to eat Ala Cartes only. So we booked at the Bella Italia twice (Esmaralda), El Olivo Mediterranean (Ambar), Don Pablo (Ambar) and El Meson (Bravaro). Our favorite was the Bella Italia by far (Thanks Brody!!!). The El Olivo was very good as well. The El Meson was good but not great. The Don Pablo was good but definitely over rated.
Service in the rooms, bars and restaurants around the Esmaralda was for the most part excellent. We enjoyed having access to WIFI in the lobby and the pool area. At times we could even get it on our balcony.
The advertised waiter service at the pool and beach is really really hit and miss. The guy was great (can’t remember his name) but he seems to serve a few and then leaves for hours. Maybe he is serving both the pool and the beach or helping in the restaurants… who knows. Waiter service would really be nice at the adult’s only jacuzzi area. But really it doesn’t hurt to get off your butt every once in a while anyway.
Now I have to vent: The practice of leaving your towel out to reserve chairs. We tried really hard not to do this and only left them before breakfast and during lunch. But to see chairs taken all day and no one in them was extremely frustrating. I saw the staff pick up arm loads of towels from the pool area at the end of the day that no one had come back for. Some people have no consideration for others. There; now I feel much better.
Beautiful grounds, very friendly staff, great room, great food and drinks (I even liked the white wine). We will definitely recommend this place and maybe go back someday (for us it’s off to another island next time – been to DR twice).

Room Tip: We were in Building 91 on the third floor. We had an excellent view of the resort including the pool...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
6 Thank GW1155000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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 (1,408)
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ottawa
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 February 2012

Fabulous resort. Very clean and kid friendly. Special thanks to Djenny and Nicavior for making our visit even better thanks to their amazing customer service. Will definitely be back!!!

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank shoshawna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Orangeville, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2012

I hate to say this because everyone will discover our favorite resort but this was our second trip to Esmeralda and it was even better than last year.
First I want to address some of the negative comments in a few of the recent reviews.

Bugs etc. - We saw one small salamander on the beach. It was about 3 inches long and non threatening. No bugs in the room at all. Ever!! We were on the top floor so few crawling bugs could make it up the stairs. Last year our friends were on the ground floor and had no bugs in their room either. 2 mosquitoes forced us off the balcony one evening. (At home in the summer we see thousands of the critters.) We were bitten a few times while sitting on the beach. Since we didn’t see anything, we assume that it was “no-seeums” or I think they might be called sand flees.

Saving seats – I’m sure this goes on everywhere and I saw no effort by the staff to stop it. I am an early riser and I would go out on the balcony at around 7:30 to drink my coffee. By that time most of the seats in the shade around the pool were already saved with towels.

Time Share – Last year we got a note asking us to pick our free gift at the desk. We figured it was a sales gimmick and we didn’t want to waste any of our precious week so we never picked it up. Once we were approached and chatted up by a salesman in the lobby but were saved when our dinner companions arrived.
This year there was no offer of a free gift and we were never approached by a salesperson. We did see some tours going on but not as many as last year.

Personally, we found that waiters at the a la carte restaurants seem to be subdued and very formal. If that’s what you like, that’s great, but we preferred the buffet. We found the waiters much friendlier and the atmosphere more relaxed. In fact, we loved the buffet so much that we cancelled two of our dinner reservations. The buffet always had a wide variety of foods from authentic Dominican to roast beef and turkey. If you like fish, you won’t be disappointed. The stone bass was amazing. On some nights sushi was available. Other nights had lobster and caviar.

There are so many other things we love about this resort. It is very quiet which is a plus for us. The beach is great and the adult pool is a nice addition. The staff were all friendly and helpful. There is even a waiter on the beach this year to get drinks for you. I could go on and on.

We are already looking forward to going back again next year.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
18 Thank Pattio63
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grimsby, Canada
Level Contributor
81 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 February 2012

Will knock this into several sections so its somewhat organized in approach. We stayed at the Esmarelda but this resort (or small city) is made up of the Bavaro, Punta Cana, Ambar and Esmeralda resorts, depending where you stay you get various levels of access to the other resorts, staying at the Esmeralda allows you access to everywhere but the Ambar buffet. It is 5 kilometers to walk a circle around this place.

1) Pretrip, booked again thru itravel2000, consistently best or equal to best prices, easily can compare flights, hotels, arrival times etc on their website, as mentioned last year, call the 800 number to book, you'll get a capable person willing to help and answer your questions.

2) Went with AirTransat, no problems, no suprizes, good service etc.

3) Food, Buffets were decent, lots of food choices and types, beef was so tough you couldn't chew it but this isn't Alberta, overall well done. A la cartes in general were pretty average with the exception of the Don Pablo which was outstanding, best lobster I've ever had in my life and this is saying something where I've eaten fresh lobster right off the boats on the east coast. Email them ahead of time and book your a la cartes, otherwise you could find out its not available or you eat at 9 at night.

4) Beverages/Drinks, being our second time in PC it seems that the low end drinks are Normandy brand, this is what they will give you if you don't ask for the better selections, some sections of the resort limit whats available as part of the all inclusive, we were able to get much better brandies etc in the Esmeralda to go with our coffee's end of day than you could elsewhere. Beer is Presidente on tap, not bad but its draft non the less.

5) Facilities were excellent, well kept, clean, Esmeralda section is isolated/stand alone from the rest of the resort, you can go anywhere, the rest of the resort can not come to the Esmeralda, everything is very close, Steak House, Bella Italia, Buffet, bar(s), lobby, pool(s) all located within Esmeralda, just a few steps from the sand, beach and ocean.

6) Beach/Pool, beach is excellent, was pretty rough a few days but this is unusual. Pool is great, swim up bar and not over crowded since its for Esmeralda guests only. We went over to the main pool one day just for the change, way to many people, no room to sit, noisy as all get out, left after a while and went back to the Esmeralda, main beach is the same, common areas are too crowded to be comfortable. Esmeralda has its own area where you usually had no problem getting beach lounges etc.

7) Entertainment, show(s) in the large theatre (open air) at night, short which I like, you can sit for 1 1/2 hours, enjoy a couple drinks, take in a show and then move on, best of the week was Michael Jackson, we had heard of this in the other resort we stayed at last year so were eager to see, well worth the effort.

8) Golf course on site, if you rent clubs on top of green fee they want 220$ US for a round, I play at least once a week in Southern Ontario/Niagara Region so am an avid golfer, but no way was I going to pay this ridiculous rate for a round.

9) Staff are on the most part pleasant and willing to please, learn some basic spanish and it will go along way, these people work for somewhere around 300$ a month, and they put in huge hours, they are making their money on tips, we always take down about 100 singles, leave a couple for the maid every day, drop a single on the people you deal with daily every now and again, your service level goes up, they can make a slightly better living, everyone wins.

10) Shopping, there is a market square on the front end of the resort, a square of shops around a football size area, in the middle are carts, if you like to haggle go to the carts, be prepared to get pressured, everyone is suddenly your friend, they have learned to play on the decent behaviour of others, best to tell them give me your best price, then you tell them you will check the shops around the square and if its the best price you'll come back, they don't like this and the price comes down significantly, its all a game, have fun with it. There is a Canadian gal outside the resort who runs a store, crafts, rum, cigars, jewelry, prices are better than anywhere I've seen, silver won't change colour over time since its truly sterling, cigars are hand rolled on site with excellent tobacco, you can get a free shuttle off the resort to and from, maybe 15 minutes away, arrange with your trip provider at the tour office. Drop a couple singles on the driver.

In closing, this is a huge resort, 3 shuttle lines run from front to back to get you around, once you get the lay out its not a big deal to navigate the place, if you don't use google earth start now, you can zoom in on the resort, see the building layout, shuttle lines etc (compare to map on their site) you'll know the lay of the land before you arrive and will be more comfortable getting around.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
14 Thank dgm999
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ontario
Level Contributor
109 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 February 2012

2 couples feb8-15th . First about Air Canada Vacations...they can do better, ran out of food on the flight, AC did not disclose that the first 18 rows are for elite points travelers, the “privilege” program you get with this package in my (as advertised) is worth zero, just smoke and mirrors. Never saw the AC on this resort...and We did not want to take away 2 hours for the intro at the front of the resort from my vacation. If we pay for a 5 star from AC THEY should service on the 5 star resort.
The Esmeralda was great. We read negatives but could not find any that one should be upset about, nasty people deserve what they get LOL. Food- buffet service was very good always. The al a cartes need work we went to need work. We went to 2 of 4 booked decided buffets were better.
Staff People - Bar tenders, servers, EVERYONE where fantastic!
I made request and I believe they did everything they could to meet them as best as they could. A+.. We read about the 90&91 block, I would say it does not matter, what’s wrong with a 2 minute stroll to your room from the beach? I say there are really are no bad views.
Rooms themselves are great. Maid service great. All the butler talk in the reviews ...never asked nor offered. But I am sure if we asked they would do whatever it takes.
That privileges club thing, approached many times, stopped chatted a few seconds and left with a no. No idea what they are selling.
The vendors in the town square are very aggressive. Best way is to acknowledge them or ignore them, a friendly chant and a strong NO works good too. And saying I spend all my money works too. Use 20% as a starting point, and 25 to 30% of whatever number they give you, as a deal closer. Keep an eye on what you buy, open the envelopes, be sure they do not switch out things, just a suspicion I had.
The Esmeralda is a 5 star, or very close to it, and you can see and experience the efforts of the staff to make sure you enjoy your stay. We would definitely return!

Room Tip: any facing the "pool side"
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
7 Thank pokher_ace
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sault Ste. Marie, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 14 February 2012

spent two weeks jan 24-feb 7 20122 at the esmerelda.Thought the food and srvice was excellent at the esmerelda.WE had a few buffets at the main dining room at the gran bahia and it was very noisy and crowded.Milfa lorenzo was our butler and she gave us excellent service and she was added several touches to our room candles etc that made us feel special.Luis at the Jasmin buffet was fun and entertaining.The staff really tried hard to make you feel special.The only complaint i had was on check in our room wasnt ready until the next day so they had us stay at the ambar part for the first night.This was a hassle as we had to re check in the next day at 1pm kind of ruining our first beach day

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank dino f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Montreal
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 February 2012

We spent one week at Gran Bahia Principe resort - Esmeralda at the begining of Nov. 2011. We had a great time at the hotel. The Esmeralda resort is small and quiet. The pool and the beach were near the lobby and the restaurants. We had wireless acces even at the beach. The food and the service were excellent. We had a great time.

  • Stayed November 2011, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
9 Thank SchatziQc
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
#24 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#25 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#29 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
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 (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

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