For the most part we did enjoy this hotel. The staff were helpful, the rooms were nice and the pool and beach were great. We spent a lot of time walking the beach and the beach in front of the ambar is one of the best. We were always able to find chairs on the beach. Not always at the pool which was very crowded. The bed was a little harder but still comfortable, you could tell it was a good quality mattress. The gardens were kept nice and clean and we enjoyed walking around all of the complexes. The shows were good especially the circus show!
What was not great.
The drinks. A strawberry margaritta was lemonade, grenadine and tequilla. And so were other drinks.. The hotel relied on the slush machines to make all drinks simply adding a shot. And although they had more machines than some other hotels it did not make for great drinks. Only the lobby bar would make drinks fresh. Frequently the slush was melted and made for a really sweet water slush drink.
The food. The freshly cooked food was really good. They had a station with fresh cooked meat and seafood which was done well. Better than some other resorts we have tried in the Dominican and more seafood options that others as well. But overall the food was not great. They used a lot of left overs. For example meat from the previous night was made into stir-fry the next day and you could tell the difference. I will do the same at home with my left overs but you could really taste the difference in the food that was left over here. Food such as burgers and fries from the snack bar were moved over to the dinner buffet after the snack bar closed, so the food was left out all day and all night and just kept warm. You could tell the difference in the food quality again. The buffet was pretty small. The buffet at the other three resorts on the complex were bigger and had a bigger selection. Although we were advised once we got to the resort that we could not eat at the buffets on the esmeralda property (we could use all other facilities on their property).