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“Are you kidding me?”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #34 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Calgary, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
17 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
“Are you kidding me?”
Reviewed 7 April 2012

Not sure where all the complaints are coming from.

We just returned from a great time at GBP Esmeralda. The rooms were lovely, the people were friendly and singing all the time. The food was good with plenty of variety.

The Esmeralda was a great choice out of the many sections mostly because it was MUCH quieter than anywhere else we went on the resort property. The pool was quieter, the beach area was quieter, we didn't have to deal with blaring music or beach / party / drinking games.

We sent room requests and A la carte restaurant requests ahead of time and they were all done when we arrived.

Our only disappointment was that our children (15 and 16) weren't able to attend the adult only "Don Pablo" and "El Olivio" restaurants. I didn't want a big fight so we just changed our reservations for those, but it was an unexpected issue since we already had the reservation cards in hand.

Would I go back? Definitely. Would I recommend this resort? Yes, especially if you speak Spanish. That helps alot around here.

Other stuff...

The security people remove towels that people put on lounges before 8am. Good for them. This eliminates most of the silly getting up at 6 to reserve all the best spots and then never showing up to use them. I wish they would publicize this more because there was some confusion when people showed up at their "reserved spots" and their towels were gone and someone else was sitting there.

Golden Club - I just ignored this part of the experience. When the front desk called to tell me there was a present waiting for me, I politely thanked them and then never went to get it.

Tram system works great, no towel shortage, great beds, lots of pillows, double espresso every morning - the machines always seemed to be working which is the exception on my travels.

Stayed in room 90112 - once in a blue moon we could hear furniture above being moved, so top floor would be awesome. No bugs, no loud noises.

DO NOT MISS the seafood buffet on Thursdays at the Jasmin buffet. Reservations required. Unlimited lobster, crab legs, mussels, shrimp, crab, scallops, every type of fish. YUM!

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Plokik
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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london
Level 5 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 April 2012

Travelled with a party of eight March 29 - April 5th. This was our 3rd stay at the Esmeralda and are already planning our 4th. The service amazing... a big thanks to Sandra at the lobby bar. Clean rooms stayed in building 90 ocean and pool view.
Ramon the butler went out of his way to make our stay enjoyable scented pillows , bubble baths.We had a minor accident a badly bruised toe , he got us ice and continually checked to see if we were ok and if could if could do anything more for us.
Every year it gets harder to leave as we have made so many friends amongst the staff a special hello to our friend Nicanor, ...they are fantastic people!!
Also a special thanks to Anthony for assistance with our a la carte reservations.
we are eargerly awaiting our next visit :)

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank holidayyea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stellarton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 April 2012

We have been to two resorts in cuba and two in DR . This was the best by far. The service was so great and the food was even better. The grounds were lush with vegitation and very clean and well maintained. Even the people on the beach picking up garbage were so gracious. We couldn't find anything bad to say about anything. We can not single out one server as the best as they were all so very nice. We would give this resort 5 star plus and anyone looking for a fantastic time you should look very hard at the Esmeralda . We went with two other couples and had the time of our lives.

Room Tip: Building 90 or 91 are very close to everything you could want.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
7 Thank Bob M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Burlington, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 April 2012

My husband and myself just returned from Gran Bahia Esmerelda....stayed March 24-to March 31....Had a Fantastic holiday.....Very Beautiful place...Excellent Service, Beautiful clean room....The Best food....Only complaint but not a problem....they need a Frozen Oasis machine at the pool bar...blender....We will definately be back....Best meal was the Seafood buffet on thurs night....wow....We stayed in the 92 Building...balcony facing the Adult pool....Beautiful Beach.....Beautiful Resort.....See you next year..!!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in the 92 Building facing the Adult pool.....was very good.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
7 Thank sue c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stellarton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2012

Went with two other couples Mar 25 - April 1: We briefly explored the entire Bahia resort, but found no reason to go beyond the Esmeralda very often. Food was excellent, room was beautiful and clean (we stayed in building 91) and the service was incredible. We enjoyed the beach everyday, then the pool toward the end of the afternoon. Evenings were so fun (definitely check out the circus show!!) and of course the bars were always fun. Special thank you to Ramone and Milfi our butlers, Francois, our waiter in several places and all the wonderful people who work at the beach/bars/restaurants/gardens and front desk. We met so many nice people, and had amazing time. Going back next year for sure!!!!!!

Room Tip: Although we followed recommendations and chose building 91 - they are all very close to everything...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
8 Thank Derek S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2012

This was our 8th time in the Dominican Republic and our third time, at the Gran Bahia. This was our second time in the Esmeralda section of the resort. We emailed Albania Batista and she really looked after us for our room request. This review is very similar to my review when we stayed in June to July 1st 2011 and it was posted on July 12th,

The Esmeralda section of the resort is about 2 1/2 years 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 2 minute walk from section 90.. 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. We usually went to the beach in the mid morning and moved our chairs to the sun or shade as required. We usually went to the pool area in the late afternoon and had no trouble getting chairs.

The food in the Esmeralda buffet, was the best we have had in the Dominican and we have been 8 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. We had to pre book a time for the Gala Buffet, this started about 3 weeks ago. 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 Steak House being good.

Wandys was very friendly at the pool bar and I found the majority of the staff in the Jazmin buffet to be friendly.

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. The gym is small but adequate and is about a 4 to 5 minute walk through the Ambar section or 2 to 3 minute jog.There is also free Wifi in all the lobbies and most balconies facing the pool in section 90 to 92 will still get service.

Just remember some people complain wherever they go, just relax and have a great time. Is the resort perfect, no but is any? I don't let the little things bother me. Would I go back for the price, ABSOLUTELY.
Room Tip: Request section 90 or 91, on the pool side, in the Esmeralda.
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
7 Thank MURF069
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Évora
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 April 2012

We travelled to GBP Esmeralda from 26th March - 1st April 2012.

Arrived in Punta Cana after an 8 1/2 hour flight from Lisbon with Orbest. A good flight, can't complain but the flight was completely full and therefore very noisy but apart from that not a problem. After paying our 10$ each to enter the country - don't forget it's also 20$ to leave - and through passport control we got our luggage and off to find the Soltour rep. This was easy enough and she directed us to the number of our bus. On board most people were given their check in envelopes but we and two other couples weren't as everyone else was staying in the Bavaro hotel and we were in Esmeralda. Our rep accompanied us to the hotel which is only a 20 minute drive away which is great. We arrived in Bavaro reception and within minutes were boarded onto one of the shuttles with our luggage and down to the Esmeralda complex. Check in went quickly and off to our room - 94102. I had emailed before arriving to ask for building 90 or 91 and first or second floor but we were in building 94 first floor which is the building on the side of the lobby and restaurants. But really none of the villas are far away - it's only a minute walk from anywhere on the complex to get to the lobby. We also got a front facing room which was good. The room was fantastic - just like the pictures on the website and we had two queen beds and the sofa made up for our 11 year old. He never slept in it though as complained it was very hard (and he was right!) and slept every night with one of us. Bathroom great size with jacuzzi, double wash basins, separate shower and toilet. Lots of toiletries in bathroom so you don't really need to take your own shower gel or soap. Towels were changed twice a day - this is one of the great things about the Don Pablo Collection hotels - butler service came in every night and turned down the beds and took away the wet towels and left fresh ones. On the second to last night we arrived back and there were petals all over with candles lit and towel art and the jacuzzi was filled!! and a little note to enjoy!! Nice touch.

As far as the beach and pool are concerned, we didn't use the pool as we are beach lovers but you had to be down early (7.00 on) to reserve your beds and shades. Don't think we have ever had to do this so early anywhere - I know the hotel says you're not allowed to reserve shades either on the beach or around the pool, this is really only enforced at the pool area. If you leave anything unattended before 8.00am the security guard will remove it. They aren't as strict on the beach. We preferred the palhotas and beds a little further back from the 'front row' as this got really crowded and the Esmeralda does have a private part with different beds - the difference here is that there is more space and you're not as crowded. We divided our days between further back on the main beach and the Esmeralda private part. Beach is lovely, water fantastic though quite a lot of seaweed but who cares?!! Beach is constantly being cleaned by two or three employees who are always emptying the bins at the palhotas and picking up any rubbish. You won't see any rubbish lying around on the beach. There are two bars - one main one situated on beach near the Bavaro/Punta Cana side and a smaller one down near the Scuba Diving Centre which serves mainly Esmeralda guests. Give the guys that clean on the beach a small tip per day as they are only on a small wage - we were told maybe only 100/150$ a month.

As far as food is concerned we ate most meals in the Jazmin buffet - a really good selection and again, as it's DP Collection fillet steak, prime rib, sea bass most nights and lunch times too. Gala night is Thursday night - lobster and fillet steak - but YOU MUST BOOK!!! Noone told us and we found out by chance because we wanted to change one of our A la Carte bookings as it was on Thursday night and Customer Relations told us that on the night of the Gala you must book it. Lots of people don't know this as it's the main buffet restaurant so there were a few disgruntled guests - however I don't think they'd refuse you entry - you may have to wait a while. They make you book it so that they control the number of guests at each sitting as they are grilling lobster constantly. This night's meal was fantastic I think my hubbie had three lobsters!!! We also ate at the Bella Italia which was good and had reservations for the BBQ but ended up not going. Never any problems with any of the food and happily I brought home all the medication I took with me.

After dinner each night we caught the shuttle bus up to the main Bavaro lobby and the Tropicana theatre. Best shows are definitely Michael Jackson (Monday) and Circus (Thursday). Shows start at 9.00pm prompt and they repeat again at 10.15pm. However if you want a good seat you've got to get there early at around 8.15/8.30. A little gripe coming on - why is it that REEEEALLLLLLY tall men insist in sitting in the front row at these shows blocking the view for children behind. Honestly I know people have a right to sit where they want, but show some consideration for the kids. On our last night we moved three or four times as people kept sitting themselves down in front of us and they must have been 6' plus tall.

Our weather was decent enough the whole week. We had one day where it poured torentially and there was no beach to be had, but apart from some showers on other days the weather was fab and when the sun comes out it's hot. Take plenty of sunscreen with you as it's really expensive in the lobby shops.

As we have come to expect from Bahia Principe we had a great time - staff were on the whole very friendly - can only think of one guy who was in the pool hut giving out towels who wasn't. He was a bit nasty and thought that he could tell you how many towels you could have or not. As the weather was quite changeable and people would leave their towels in the rain they were changing them probably more often than usual. One day he told me 'no more' which I wasn't happy about as I was only asking for my one towel of the day... maybe he confused me with someone else or maybe I wasn't giving him a tip(!!) Anyway, apart from him, no other problems with any staff. The Priviledge Club vendors are a pain - they rang our room and cornered my husband with promises of free T-shirts etc., but we managed to avoid them as we're not interested in a timeshare in Punta Cana.

On the whole I have nothing but good to say - stay at the Esmeralda if you can get it as it's definitely worth the small amount of difference you pay at the Bavaro or Punta Cana. This is a huge resort but we never felt overwhelmed by the number of people there and it was full during our week. We were in GBP Coba in Mexico last year and I felt it was much more crowded with the Akumal and the Tulum resorts than this one and definitely didn't enjoy it as much.

Go and have a great time - you won't be disappointed!!!

Room Tip: Ask for front facing, first or second floor and buildings 90 or 91, but don't be disppointed as...
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  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
8 Thank Gill C
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
#30 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#30 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#33 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 (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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