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“Canadian couple's relaxing holiday - mid 20's. AL28-MA06 2012”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #32 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 May 2012

I will explain all of my ratings, followed by a comparison of the other sections of the complex, and I will end with a comparison of other resorts I have stayed at in Punta Cana. I know it will be long but I will have it in sections in case you want to skip, but I wanted to be thorough.

Service: Excellent - while the rooms we had requested were not provided the first day, they were very quick to accommodate to exactly what we had asked for the second day. People are extremely friendly, and the only people who complain about the Spanish or unfriendliness are those who are unfriendly themselves and don't try to even say thank you or hello in Spanish. A little goes a long way and is appreciated.

Value: Very good - we didn't get a steal, nor did we pay an arm and a leg. I said average at first, though in comparison to other hotels in this price range this one seemed to be the clear winner.

Sleep Quality: Average - This ranged from very poor to very good depending on the night and how tired we were. I slept well as I like a firm mattress, however my boyfriend had a hard time with the mattresses. Noise wasn't much of an issue except for a couple of occasions, but we can't get angry as we went to bed quite early a few nights.

Cleanliness: Excellent - I'm not sure if I've ever seen a cleaner resort. I did notice a difference in cleanliness compared to other sections of the resort. Impeccable cleaning service.

Location: Excellent- no complaints.

Rooms: Excellent - absolutely beautiful. Stunning, bright rooms. Far nicer than any other area of the Gran Bahia Principe complex. The buildings felt nicer and much more open.

Food: Average - the buffet was quite tiresome. It was strange to see cold cuts, hot dogs, cauliflower and broccoli every morning at breakfast. However, at night they did have a different theme every night. We tried several À la cartes. Our favourite was Maiko, the Japanese, though as all the other restaurants, nothing had very much flavour. The sushi was delicious though, and everything was quite tasty. The Don Pablo had the best dessert with the chocolate volcano.

Spa: Can't speak to it, heard it was nice though.


Entertainment: Can't speak to it. Never heard anything good though, except that the disco was busy every night. If you are looking for a lively resort, this section is not for you. You are better off staying in the middle where there is more of a party crowd. We chose this section as we had access to every part of the resort, and could thus have a relaxing atmosphere or a party atmosphere if we wanted.

Note: As far as the complaint about getting a chair, we never had an issue with this. Now if you want it in a specific spot with specific shade, you may have more problems, but we are very flexible people and not hard to please!

OTHER SECTIONS OF THE COMPLEX:
While they are still nice, they do not really compare to the Esmerelda. We heard various complaints about the service in the middle sections (not the Ambar). The Punta Cana/Bavaró section was still nice, however it is worth the extra few dollars to stay at Esmerelda if cleanliness and quality is important to you. Not that the others weren't clean, or low quality, just not AS high of a standard it seemed.


OTHER RESORTS WE'VE STAYED AT:
Grand Palladium Palace (2009, 2011): Food was much better (especially breakfast, much more variety and the à la cartes were great). The Japanese was much better here (so good!!), and the Brazilian food was to die for. The beach front at this property is undeniably the best. It is huge. However, not enough chairs. 2009 was in Feb and extremely busy, 2011 was in May and was very dead.
Occidental Grand (2010) : Honestly doesn't even compare to any other place we stayed. The only good thing I can really say is the night club Mangu is right off the property, still in it on their driveway. A great time. Food, not good.
Ocean Blue & Sand (2011) : Beautiful. Food not AS good as the Palladium, however the buffet was still great with lots of variety and the à la cartes were better than Occidental or GBP.
Gran Bahia Principe Esmerelda (2012): The only complaint we have is about the food. That is it. It was beautiful.





If I didn't cover something, feel free to message me with any questions.

Room Tip: We had building 90, room 115. This room had an ocean view and a pool view, however it did have an ad...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank MiloMiaReview
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,795 - 3,801 of 7,111 reviews

Reviewed 6 May 2012

First time down south and all our expectations were surpassed by the luxury, the beauty and the friendlyness of the staff. Really good food, the staff always ready to make our stay more enjoyable by granting our smallest request, or special demands for a special night. Special thanks to Marilennisa Novas who had made a very special romantic evening even more special by all the little things she did without beeing asked. Marilennisa took very care of us and made us feel like king and queen in her domaine. It was hard to believe that there was other people in the Hotel because our every need and comfort was taking care of. Also special mention to the bartender Alexis D. for his special drinks called "Alexis's special" which were amazing! We have made really good friends over ther. We have travelled in Europe and USA but never been received which such friendlyness, quality of service and overall perfection that we've received at this resort. We have just came back and already planning a family vacations for next year.

Room Tip: Rooms on second floor opposite site of the pool really quiet and seclueded and peacefull.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Cynthia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2012

nice place, have been to this resort 4 times in 6 years, decided to try the esmeralda this year, up two flights of stairs to a room over looking the bahia rooms. Went to make plans for dinner, oh you can have 9 at nite, well no thankyou, that is like 10 on my time. Finally got some earlier in the nite, went to my gourmet restaurant one at 630, oh wait it is not open, so i waited till just after 7 and still locked up. \ok i will walk back and have the buffet. raining a bit tonight, i will go over to the buffet, wait, you need a reservation to get into the buffet. never did before but today you do. great, now what. Go for a walk on the beach everyday, leave my sandals instead of carrying them, oh guess they went for a walk too. They are doing some renos to the front area, and guess the workers liked my sandals. cause they both were gone when i got back. If you have people in working that do now work here, could you have someone watch them to make sure things like this dont happen again. Other than that, staff seem fairly nice for the most part, good food, if you can get fed. will not be returning. I wonder what would have happened if i had been here in a busy time of the year. As i am here in May, it is slower, and they cant handle it, what would have happened if in march or february. boggles the mind.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled solo
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7  Thank Lawrence M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 May 2012

Once again we thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Esmeralda. Service is top notch at this resort and all the staff are very friendly. No one walks by you without saying Hola and giving you a smile. Ramon Diaz checked in with us daily to see if there was anything we needed. He is very courteous and professional with all of the guests. We travelled with our mother this year and the staff went out of their way to make her feel special. All of our meals were amazing, our favourite restaurants were the Japanese, the Don Pablo and the Gourmet. A special mention to Augusto who took good care of us in the buffet every day! The outdoor massage was wonderful as well. Will definitely be going back and have recommended this resort to many friends who have visited and feel the same way. The Esmeralda is a definite winner!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Mustang-Bebe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2012

We had stayed at the Club Golden 4 years ago & liked it well enough to return the following year as well....the next year (last year) we stayed at the Ambar & loved it! This year we went on our first trip as "Privilege Club" Members & we had a lovely three weeks at the Esmeralda. Sonia & the staff at the Club were more than accommodating....We had a private check in & then taken to our room with ease, we were in 91211 & had a lovely room with a view of the pool area, main lobby & restaurants.The night we arrived the view of the moonlit night from our balcony was spectacular! We were booked into all the a la carte dinners by Sonia & she gave us all reservations for 7pm or 7:15 as we requested....we found them to be very satisfactory.
We can not understand why anyone would not have a great vacation on this property. The Resort is very large but everything you need is right there & really no need to venture beyond it if you don't want to!
The private area for us on the beach was great! We had our own bartenters, Isaac & Nacco, whom were just great! Very friendly people & the staff recognized us from past years...they do want you to feel like their "Dominican family' !!
We had ice brought up to our room each evening for pre dinner drinks with great service & golf cart access at our disposal. I can't say enough great things about this property & we will return!!

Room Tip: Higher floor with view of pool/beach
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank 0403Donna1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2012

Esmeralda is a perfect vacation resort.
Pros:
Arrival is fast. Ramón Diaz met us at the Esmeralda(Head Butler)and took us to our room.3rd floor,bld.90,ocean and pool view. The best room in the hotel,in my opinion.

Room is perfect,4 poster,cream white furniture,balloons around bed,stocked fridge,plasma tv,lots of stations. Sitting area,table,couch. Bathroom is large,tub,double sinks,private toilet,walk in shower stall. Lots of shampoo,etc.Bottle of Rum with balloons,beds made up twice a day with nothing ever missed except a facecloth once. Last night flower petals,bubble bath,large bottle of champagne on ice,candles.
Checkout was 12 noon,but Ramon managed to let us use the room next door until 4.30 pm.Perfect.We then could swim all day,take a late shower,have a sleep in air conditioning and go to main hotel for supper before we left for the airport.

Grounds are beautiful. Almost looks plastic,they are so well manicured.

Staff is perfect and friendly. All of them! Only issue is it is frustrating for me as well as them that we cannot communicate as well as we would all like to.
Pool is amazing. Bartenders are great.
Food is so good. In 15 days,i gained,believe it or not 15 pounds. I ate big breakfasts(anything you liked and more)Lunch had a big variety.Since i was at a beach resort,i ate Hamburgers,fries, Chicken(like KFC,but better!)Nachos(so good) and waiters kept bringing on the beer for me. Brought my 32 oz.Bubba mug and probably drank 10 to 20 beers a day or more,plus a lot of mixed drinks.
Shows were good at main resort. Michael Jackson and circus show is fun.

All a la carte restaurants are very good. Don Pablo (steak/lobster)gourmet.El olivo,Jap.Restaurant,Bella Italia...All different,all very good and service is just about perfect in all of them. Everything cooked as you like and never want for anything.

I was up every morning at 5.50 am,went down to pool and got same cabana every day.A few other men did also.Would put down towels,books,lotions,mug,chips and read as sun came up,then snooze a bit until rest of friends came down around 7.30-8 am,then go for breakfast. By 9.30 am all of the cabanas and umbrellas were taken for the day.

Trolleys take you around resort,but if u want to go from eg;Ambar to Esmeralda,go to lobby and ask the porter and they drive you wherever you want to go to eat.(tip)

ocean is beautiful to walk on in the early morning.

Cons:
I have been to most popular caribbean islands and this was the worst. If you have not travelled a lot,you may not even know the difference. Water was warm and good to swim in,beautiful palm trees. Out of 15 days,only 2 mornings there was not a ton of seaweed floating everywhere. Wavy on most all days. Some Caribbean islands the water is so calm and relaxing to swim and snorkel in. Not here. So,not my favourite swimming beach by far.

Drinks are much ,much better at Ambar,in that the glasses are ice cold,drinks are more home made rather than out of a machine and mixed more like home.

Main resort,i would never stay in. It is so HUGE and not what i consider a vacation. Like being at Disney World.

Small kids at Esmeralda were a bit annoying,running,jumping in pool. I am not a kid person. Ambar is Adults only,but the 18 to 30 year old KIDS are to loud too.
One of the nicest vacations ever.
Probably would look for a much smaller resort next time. More private,no more than 3-500 people.
Behind the Esmeralda ,they are getting ready to start a huge construction project(condos or apartments)so i would say it will become very,very noisy in the future.

If you are over 5'2'' and over 100 pounds,never ever fly Air Transat!!You are sitting like sardine in a tin can. Everyone was not happy. Lucky for us we had 220.00 cash on the way home and bought 2 first class seats. Like day and night,the difference was amazing.

All in all, a great 15 day vacation from April 16 to May 01/2012.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank CanadaEastcoast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 May 2012

My wife and I booked the hotel via Thomas Cook, and we asked for a nice location, with things to do.

We were delighted with the how the hotel and entire site looked. It had plenty of swimming pools, and buffet and find dining restaurants.

The rooms were spotless, and were cleaned daily. The maids even made the bed covers into little animals shapes, with chocolates on the end of the bed.

We went for 2 weeks, and as honeymooners do, we spent most of this in the room. However when we did decide to find things to do around the resort, we were disappointed. There was no entertainment for adults. You were advised not to leave the resort. We did book a few trips thou, one of which was the mega trucks, this I defiantly recommend.

The food was 10/10!

The beach was constantly packed, so you couldn't have many quite strolls without ducking from balls being thrown.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank olearaa
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
#7 Family 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: $196 - $613 (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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