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“Exactly as advertised”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #33 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 March 2012

My wife and I were at the Esmeralda between March 14th and 21st. We arrived at the resort just before midnight. Staff rushed out to help us with our luggage. When I identified myself as going to the Esmeralda, they called for transportation and it was there within 10 minutes. Check-in at the Esmeralda was quick and effortless. We were given a package containing a pocket map, key cards and a la carte reservations. We were escorted to our room and shown how to use the safe.
The room was everything we expected. No need to go into details that others have reported and can be seen in photos. However, I do wish to note that our bedding was changed daily and towels were delivered twice each day. The floor was mopped each day. We left a note requesting two extra pillows and they were there when we returned to the room. We heard no noise from the hallway, adjoining room or from the floors above or below.
We had requested a middle floor room in building 90 and this is exactly what we were given. The had room 90101, the end room closest to the beach with a view from our balcony of the beach and ocean.
We requested 5 a la cartes on specific evenings with early seatings. We got each on the night requested and all times were between 6:00 and 645. The a la cartes we attended were Dan Pablo, Esmeralda steak house, Mikado, El Olivo and Bella Italia. The first three were excellent and the other two very good. We could not understand the complaints we had read about these 5 restaurants. People compare them to restaurants in New York, London and Toronto. If people are looking for that type of dining, perhaps that is where they should go. For our part, we appreciated the efforts of the staff in making the a la carte dining experiences special. They obviously took pride in their work.
We found a good selection of quality, tasty food at the buffet. The staff were very attentive in refilling coffee or water and removing dirty dishes. They were friendly and spoke passable or good English.
The beach was nice and well used. There was a constant stream of people walking in both directions. We tended to walk to the right at the beach. The one day we went left, towards the Ambar section, we had to make our way through activities organized by the animation team. There were always free loungers in the Esmeralda section of the beach, no matter what the time of day. We did spend most of our time at the pool. The towel game was evident. All the loungers under the palapas or umbrellas were reserved by 7:30 each morning. This was not a surprise as it was well reported and something we have found at other resorts. The only thing that bothered me was the security staff removing belongings from loungers before 8:00 if they were unoccupied. There is no notice that this will happen and several people were annoyed to return and find their belongings moved. We knew about it so this didn't happen to us. We tried the adult pool one afternoon but found it too hot as it is further from the beach and doesn't get the ocean breeze.
We found the tram service to be excellent. All three lines ran roughly every 10 minutes. At busier times, such as when the pools close at 6:00 and people are returning to their rooms, we saw 4 trams within a 10 minute period.
We were approached only once about attending a time share meeting. After we said that we would rather be sitting by the pool than going to a meeting, the sales pitch ended.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Esmeralda. It was our best vacation of the four locations we have visited in the Carribbean. We would definitely go again.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank dborland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 March 2012

We went to the Esmeralda for two weeks and were ready to come home after the first week.

This is a HUGE resort....it is very, very confusing and has several hotels on one property. Here's what we found to be the pros and cons.

Pro: Right on the beach. Lovely setting. The beach/sand/weather/location is beautiful.

Pro: The staff are TOP NOTCH and very kind and helpful to the point of speaking your native language.

Pro: There are room safes in each room.

Pro:The rooms are large, airy and comfortable.

Pro: TV's are modern flat screen and have many channels (including English) to chose from.

Pro:Theres a coffee pot in the room. That is awesome.

Pro: There is a balcony off each room.

Pro:The fridge is restocked everyday with the little bottles of liquor...usually 2 rum, 2 vodka, and a couple cans of beer/soda and two bags of chips. If you tip the girls there will be more made available. In fact...if you tip your overall service goes WAY up.

Pro:The bathrooms are large with a seperate shower/toilet. There is a window from the bathroom that looks out into the bedroom. A little wierd.

Pro:The space for clothing and stuff was adequate and we were able to slip the suitcases under the bed so they were out of the way.

Pro:The room service was awesome....some people complain that it is too limited but hey any time you can pick up the phone and order a burger and fries...that is great in my book. The burgers were always good and the chicken fingers (I think they called them chicken dollars or something...) were very good. The service was prompt, courteous and always correct.
The food overall for the all-inclusive etc was excellent. Just ate too much of it! lol

Pro:The pool was lovely and lots of beach/pool towels available.

Pro: A/C worked very well.

Pro: The room was supplied with two robes and two sets of slippers. Nice to have.

Pro: There is laundry service available and each item is about 2 dollars. Adds up fast though.

Pro: Downstairs off the main lobby you'll find your company Rep...ie ours was Transat. They speak all the languages and can book any tours for you without worrying about if it's legit or not.

Pro: power is 110 and so is the same as home. That's nice as don't need adaptors. Do Take a power surge bar tho. This makes it nice to be able to plug everything in at once and protects against possible surges.

Pro:walking along the beach is nice and a 45 min one way walk will get you to the open market. It's worth walking to at least once. Closes at six pm tho so make sure you leave yourself some time for browsing. They take either US dollar or DR peso.

Pro: you can be as casual as you like. At the a la carte dinners they want you to dress a little nicer but it was still casual. Some (many) wore shorts. and many dressed to the nines. Your choice.


CONS:
Yikes...this place is CROWDED!! Not only the immediate area but the beaches too.
There were peeps EVERYWHERE!! I was expecting a zen experience of being alone on a beach with the waves crashing....boy was I wrong.
It was difficult to get a lounger unless you went down to the beach at 8am. And the loungers have seen better days and are extremely uncomfortable after a while.
and the Pool crowd--Watch out cuz you'll get your head bit off!! This was one of our least favourite things about this place. People would run down at 7am and "reserve" their pool side lounger for the day (this is contrary to what all the signs say about not saving....) The loungers are limited in quanity and in high demand. People will go down and tie scraves around a pole of the umbrella and then come down at ten am and order you out of "their" spot! and Heaven Forbid if you try and share. One lady started yelling at us because we moved our lounge chairs into "her" shade. Unfortunately, this is not uncommon and people can be very rude and territorial. Left a real sour taste....

Con: pool closes at six.

Con: no internet in the rooms. Pro: Wi-fi in the lobby and around the pool worked well and was surprising fast.

Con: ashtrays supplied in all bedrooms....the rooms all smelled of stale smoke. The balloons they decorate with stay and also reek. People SMOKE EVERYWHERE!! in the halls, poolside, in the open dining, at the beach....everywhere....can't get away from it.

Con: Smoking....people smoke EVERYWHERE....including the dining rooms. This was awful as you're having a meal and smoke if wafting over from another table! No one cares.

Con: the walls are very thin. Lots of noise from the hallways and anyone above you.

Con: No hair conditioner supplied. Lots of shampoo and body wash but bring your own conditioner.

Con: there is a gran principe night market. The sellers are very, very agressive. Such a turn off.

Con: Casino...GROSS! very smokey, the dealers look totally disengaged and bored. All the players --even at the poker table--were showing their hands and speaking foreign languages. Any drinks have to be purchased.

Con: Beach toys very expensive to buy if you didn't bring your own. ie: $18 for a noodle that cost $2 at home. Just throw a couple in your bag.

Con: for some this may be a pro: topless sunbathers. Mostly European. They not only sunbathe but do all activities topless....often not a very pretty sight. My 10 year old couldn't believe it. Not a big deal but something to be aware of. The pool had a rule that "proper attire" had to be worn at all times.

BEFORE YOU LEAVE: WEIGH YOUR LUGGAGE AT THE HOTEL LOBBY! We were overweight by one pound and it cost us $75 US!! They wouldn't let us move things from one bag to another and told us we had to pay. Should have paid the $3 at the hotel lobby and made sure before we left!

Room Tip: If you are in Bldg 90 and facing the pool then you'll probably be able to get wi-fi on your balc...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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8  Thank CanuckMama
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 March 2012

We were there from 13 to 20 March 2012.

Pros
The resort is extremely beautiful. The buildings were built just a few years ago so it is all very new and very modern.
The food and service were very good.
The resort is extremely clean.

Cons
Very high number of children.
The beach at Grand Bahia Principe is very beautiful (Bavaro beach), but extremely overcrowded.
There is no animation through the day and no entertainment at night at Esmeralda.
No tropical vibe.

I would highly recommend this resort to a family with children as it is a very luxurious family resort.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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2  Thank OttawaKristie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

My husband and I just returned from a week (March 18 - 25, 2012) at the ESMERALDA section of Bahia Principe resort in Punta Cana. The Esmeralda is part of the HUGE (almost as big as a city!!) Bahia complex of three resorts side by side; a nice resort if you like HUGE. The Esmeralda is much smaller, quieter, relaxed, and for this reason we loved it. No loud music or activities at the pool, fewer people in fewer buildings, much more sedate and very beautiful. We've been to many all inclusives in Mexico and elsewhere, but this was our first trip to Punta Cana and we're coming back rather than returning to Mexico's Mayan Riviera or Puerto Vallarta etc. because Dominican Republic just feels much safer yet just as beautiful. The food was very good for an all inclusive (remember, a buffet is not gourmet by its very nature), and the a-la-carte restaurants are very good with the wonderful private atmosphere of a fancy restaurant. You can email your choices for the restaurants before you arrive to ensure that you'll get them. Rooms are beautiful and large and the advice to try to get building 90 or 91 is really exaggerated. ALL four buildings are close to everything, and there are no ocean views from any building; we stayed in building 94 with a garden view on the first floor (after requesting building 90, top floor from reading the reviews) and not only loved our room, but were so happy they didn't give us what we'd asked for. The only downside to our holiday was that the beach is so-o-o-o crowded (granted it was March, the busiest time) that you had to weave through the masses of people walking on the beach. Still, Esmeralda's beach is a wee bit less crowded because it's at the end of the Bahia complex. You can walk for miles on the beach, and the crowds thin out further away. Staff is very friendly and eager to please. You can take the shuttle to the other sections of the Bahia, but it's nice to get back to the quieter Esmeralda. Easy to get drinks at the various bars (can't speak for the liquor content because we don't like it). Mostly adults, but several families too; no kids' club. All in all, we greatly enjoyed our stay at Esmeralda and rate it one of the best of at least 7 other all inclusives we've been to over the past 8 years. Next trip we may try a less dense beach location.

Room Tip: Request a garden view, but all rooms are large with the same layout, and any building is well locate...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MEWMontreal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

As much as we enjoyed the hotel and the kind employees, we would never again choose (by error) a time during Spring Break. Although it was mainly young children at the Esmeralda, not teens as it was at the Punta Cana and Bavaro sections, they were pretty noisy. Hey, we had kids and we know kids like to make a lot of noise when they play. It was our own fault for going at the wrong time of year. I must say the beach area was much, much quieter.
We did have a bothersome run-in with a fellow (somewhat eastern) Canadian who accused us of stealing his chairs. Sort of ruined the morning for me, but he did come back and apologize later as it was their mistake. I wish people could chill out a little more - for heaven's sake, you are on holiday.
I only tried the pool once and then I had to go wash off in the ocean. There was a visible oil slick on the pool (from sun screen) and who knows what in the water - but I was imagining yuck. Not a place for me - unh-unh.
We tried quite a few different a-la-cartes, and personally I thought the Ariciffe was the best tasting meat - but skimpiest buffet.
The Don Pablo had the 2nd best meat but the service was a bit snooty - get over it guys, it's just a restaurant.
The Bella Ital. had such gluey pasta I could not eat it, but the buffet was good.
The El Pescador did not have what I ordered, and the chicken that replaced it was cooked within an inch of being jerky.
The Santa Fe was really bad. The service was very slow and uninterested. None of the food was even slightly spicy and the bathrooms were very dirty. That is always a good indicator to me of what the kitchen looks like.
I quite liked the Japanese retaurant. The food was cooked well and the chef was entertaining. It was the first time we tried sushi and could not understand what people get enthused about. Perhaps we might try it again sometime, but likely not.
The Buffet - the Jasmine, was good. We found food we liked each day and discovered the best times to go. Thursdays were a bit crazy. I think they might need to improve on that day because no one mentioned getting a ticket and it was a bit embarrassing to be asked if we had one and have to say no, we did not know we needed one. They let us in anyway which was nice.
We mostly ate lunch at the Ariciffe, which is the snack bar during the day. Good chicken, fish and rice.
Bars, and internet service were good. I'm not much of a drinker but the margaritas were great.
Rooms were very clean, good service and happy people - makes your day go better when they all smile at you and say hola. We got a room in the building we requested and we were happy with it.
I did get some bug bites on the beach - guess they were mosquitoes, but I did not see them. Very itchy, but not serious.

We would definitely go back to this hotel, but not in March - nope, never.

Room Tip: There are no elevators so if you have problems with stairs choose a lower floor.
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank GalenaBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

Please note I am french so you will find lots of spelling mistake

Plane ride Air Transat: On time from halifax able to reserve seats 24 hrs in advance not much help as they keep the good seat for the customer who pays extra

Punta cana airport no problem bus there to take us to the Hotel 100 am

Hotel arrival was good four of us traveling together to the esmeralda got to the lobby of the punta cana a bit confuse but bell boy to care of us right away to the esmeralda lobby enveloppe at the desk for us got to our room reserve building 90 got 92 to be expected.

Room: overalll room clean and big large king bed with sitting area and balcony washroom also large tud with jets seperate shower double sink lots of towels and hot water made service was spot on every day turn down service with fresh towels and chocolate.

Bar service: Pool bar service was excellent no wait at all once they know you and see you coming your drink is waiting for you at the bar premium liquor available at the pool bar You can bring your own cup but their plastic cup are a good size.
lobby bar all premium liquor available even johnny walker black and blue label smirnoff. Service exellent 3 or 4 waitress on at all time plus the bartenders. all drinks at the lobby are served in fancy glasses. With the esmeralda bracelet you can drink at other lobbys around the resort.

Pool nice and clean security will remove towel and personnal items if place before 750 and left unatended we got to the pool around 0800 everyday always got four chairs together the esmeralda pool is quiet some kids around but they usually stay in their kiddy pool. If you want lound music and games all day you can go to the middle pool verry large lound and lots of games and dances. Only complaint is that the pool closed at 1800 would of love to go swimming at night.

Train ride they have little train ride up and down running all day and until 0100 that goes to all the other lobbys that is part of the Grand Bahia 5,000 + guest.

food: Made my reservation a week in advance by emails got cofirmation of all 7 a la carte dinners prior to departure. Got to the hotel at check in all of our reservations slip was in the enveloppe.
Buffet we use the buffet for breakfast and lunch every day the selection was outstanding fresh omellette for breakfast lots of fresh bread and fruit plus the usual sausages and bacon yougurt cereal and of course bloody mary or champagne. Lunch was also good cook fresh was chicken fish and beef also a pasta station cook fresh with the ingreedient you chooses next to the pasta station is a carving station always a whole fish a beef and chicken or turkey lots of fruit breads and others hot items to choose from. Note on thursday night is the gala night reservations is required for that night. Lots of seafood rock lobster and shrimp filet mignon wellington and usual fruit breads and dessert lots of everything. Server are the same one from breakfast usually sit in the same section with the same waiter always remember what you like to drink.

A la carte restaurant did 6 of them plus the gala buffet. all of them the food was always hot and to a high standard service second to none especially in the french restaurant was late few time for dinner got in with no problem we even increase our numbers by two at the steak house and change the time at last minute again no problem. Here are the restaurant we picked
olivio (great seafood platter and best shrimp appetizer)
Don Pablo french cuisine filet mignon and banana flambee at your table Best food and service my opignon only
maiko sit a the grill good food cook in front of you starter shusi follow by an asortment of tempura and soup. cook on the grill was chicken beef shrimp and salmon all of it tasty
gala buffet all you can eat rock lobster and beef wellington no need to say more
bella italia nice restaurant food was good but not tipical italian
steak house grill very nice apetizers filet mignon or other cuts of steak available served with baked potatoes food was verry good
bbq grill located on the beach outdoor large salad bar and lots of hot choices seperate grill where you got your steak filet or rib eye chicken,shrimp,baked ham and pork chop available. Rib eye steak by far the best choice at the BBQ. Over all food was great and lots of it.

Entertainment well first night slept the entire performance was told it was good the pina colada cought up to me by 2100. Second night was a Michel Jackson routine did not stay but the other couple said it was good. Did not bother going back for the rest of the shows.

in the lobby and by the pool you can get wi fi with no problem some sais they get it in their room also available is 2 computer with 10 free minutes each day no body keeps track of how long you have been on.

Beach Windy most days so a bit of sea weeds in the water beach area kept clean all day bar service is available for the esmerlada guest also a waiter comes around one in a while few vendors on the beach one call cheapy foud out he ad the best prices. You can walk for hours and not run out of beach. Avoid para sailing of fell of their harnest during that week.

Check out not a problem bellboy watched our luggage all day check out at 1200 flight at 0105 am

Over all verry satisfied with the resort for the ones writing bad revue my thoughts is that no matter what resort they go to they will not be happy.

Hopes this helps

Room Tip: building 90 facing the pool
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank randy76randy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 March 2012

Our family of 8 absolutely loved our recent trip back to this hotel/resort March 3-10, 2012. Everything was wonderful...food, rooms, service and atmosphere are still outstanding. We'll definitely go back.
Be sure to take advantage of e-mail and make dining reservations in the ala carte restaurants about a week before you arrive. We got every restaurant we asked for by doing this. If you wait, you might not get the place and/or time you want. We particularly enjoyed El Pescador (Mediterranian)...food and service were 'over and above" our expectations the two times we ate there! Enjoy.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank eleviv
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
#28 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#29 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#31 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $242 - $652 (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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