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“Honest review of Esmeralda” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Crta. Arena Gorda - Macao, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Hotel amenities
Special Offer
Special Summer Sales
Ranked #13 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence 2014
North Carolina
Top Contributor
116 reviews 116 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
“Honest review of Esmeralda”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 5, 2011

This was our first visit to D.R. and I did alot of research online prior. I chose the Esmeralda because we were travelling with our teenage daughter (age 16) and this was our first spring break without her older brother with us. I was concerned about some previous comments about the Dominican men being too friendly and flirtaceous with teen girls so I wanted a resort which was small enough to allow me to monitor this. We had no problems.
The Emeralda is a resort inside the HUGE Gran Bahia Principe Resort. I was very pleased with the layout, proximity to the beach, quietness of the pool, etc. Many families were staying here. The rowdy "Spring Breakers" were all in the Punta Cana/Barcelo part of the Resort.
The room was nice, but we had 2 double beds instead of queens. The bathroom was modern with 2 vessel sinks, a separate shower and toilet room and a jacuzzi. The bathroom floor was marble and got VERY slick with ANY water on it. It was a virtual skating rink so you had to lay towels as well as the bath mat on the floor to prevent wiping out!
The pool was never crowded. Getting chairs under shade was another story. People would "reserve" beach and pool chairs really early and then show up much later. I found myself getting up at 7am to stake out a spot otherwise you would be stuck in sun all day.The Esmeralda has a special section of beach reserved which was so much quieter than the adjacent main beach. It was easier to get chairs at the beach than the pool.
We did some water sports...used the sailboats (Catamarans) 3 days and did the water Kayaks once.

Beware of sand fleas. We did not wear insect repellent and were bit on our legs quite a bit.
The restaurants were great. The buffet was extensive and we went to 4 Ala-carte dinners. The Dominican (Los Corales) wasn't the best. The Japanese was fabulous. The Italian and Steakhouse (both in Esmeralda) were terrific. Make your dinner reservations for ALL evenings on the first day you get there!
We only went to one show...the circus, and we enjoyed it.
I give this resort 4 stars. In general very nice and I would recommend.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,066 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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montreal
1 review
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2011

As we arrived, we where taken care of right away. The people over there are extremely nice Nicanor employe of the Esmeralda made sure we had everything we needed from the moment we got there until the very last minute. The hotel is extremely clean, big variaty of food to please everyone. The beach and the pool is very well maintained, very clean and with lots of activitys. Thank you for all the people at the Esmeralda for your hospitality and especially Nicanor!

Room Tip: Best room would be near the pool and near the beah
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Stayed March 2011, traveled with friends
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 31, 2011

We just returned from The Gran Bahia PrincipeEsmerelda and wanted to share our experience. It was the best resort that we have ever stayed at. It was like a resort within a resort and was not crowded. The food was great and there is a choice of several buffets and 6 a la carte restaurants. We liked the Japanese and Mexican the best. The staff were knowledgeable, courteous and friendly. We spoke to several people who have either stayed last year and or would return next year. We highly recoomend thsi resort!

Don & Debbie Totten

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
beaches, toronto
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2011

This hotel is speactacular in terms of its location, cleanliness and being kid friendly. The food as well was fantastic, the restaurants, so-so.

We travelled with two small children ages 1 and 5 and everything about this hotel was meant for families. The fact that no matter what villa you stay in you're right around the pool, the lobby, the restaurants etc. is great. It's sister hotel the Bahia Punta Cana is another story altogether. Way more rowdy, and very Cancun like. Beach is great as well, with the rooms being spacious, nice flat panels, stocked minibar every day (assorted pops, beers, water, lays chips and little bottles of booze; vodka, rum, scotch).

Housekeeping does a great job as well. Don't count on room service menu for anything great, typical fries and hot dog. But the room does have a coffee maker with the provided coffee and its a mean brew! There's also coffee and cookies available throughout the day available by the lobby bar.

If you're into gyms don't bother walking up to the Punta Cana one as its horrendous; the gym in the Ambar is closer and far better (it's the one down the stairs). Great weights although no real cardio machines.

In all, definite repeat, great value, location and not swamped with crowds like its sister hotels (staff at the Esmeralda do a great job of not allowing people from the other resorts onto the pool and private beach area).

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
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Comox, Canada
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2011

Having planned this trip for months - we regularly checked TripAdvisor for reviews on the G.B.P. 'Esmerelda'. Most reviews were very positive and we were super excited to read those...some were not, so we had some concerns...going with a open mind...and prepared to expect anything...we were blown away!!! We had an amazing time...food, beaches, sand, drinks,SUN,and more SUN...it was all wonderful....I will try not repeat what many of the others said. But yes, the beach is busy...and lounge chairs are a challenge ( to get the ones you want!!) We just made it a part of the experience and came down early to get chairs and chill / relax during the early hours....the staff works hard and the efforts to communicate and cater to our every 'whim' was over the top.....the kids had an amazing time - take advantage of scuba and snorkeling opportunities...go on some of the offered excursions...always check with your tour people first ( Transat for example ) to see if they are legit...they were worth the money as far as we were concerned..We enjoyed the a-la-cartes.. we tried the BBQ on the Beach, Italian, Steak House, Mexican, and then enjoyed the buffet at other times...all had something different to offer...the variety is endless..We liked the "feel" of the pool--- we checked out other pools and they always had something stupid going on...too many people too...Esmerelda has its own pool area and we appreciated that. It was our first time here, but we chatted with others who have been to other places in the D.R. but this was the only place they said they had been too more then once...they loved it...so that says alot. We also went to the Michael Jackson show...it was worth making the effort to go..We wondered about how the tip thing worked but basically left a few dollars whenever we felt the need to. From what I understand they make about 180 to 200 dollars a month so the tips can go a long way for the local people and they do take pride in their work...if you see that they basically work 14 hour shifts for 3 weeks straight and then have to endure a 4 hour bus ride home for a few days and then back at it again..it makes us appreciate the service they provide because they live in a poverty situation at home. It was a good experience for our kids so they can see how many in the world live today and are happy to cater to a few of those of us that have saved or splurged to live a life a luxury for a week or two.
We would definately go back again and recommend the Esmeralda for any families who want a great vacation in the sun...

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 27, 2011

I can not say enough about the quality of service,cleanliness,convenience and location of this little resort. I say little resort but it is part of the huge Bahia Grand complex.We travel twice a year and often say we will not go back to the same resort twice but this definitely may change our mind. Book now and don't give it a second thought.Building 90 or 91 second floor would be my choice.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2011

First the good - then the watchouts. The good - beautiful grounds, clean and attractive rooms that are spacious and comfortable. Beach and pool areas are very lovely, and we rarely had trouble finding chairs. Restaurants were good for the most part. The buffet was large, with lots of selection. Japanese restaurant at the Punta Cana was excellent! The Stake House and the Italian restaurant (both at the Esmerelda) were also very good. Shows were good, but the Legends show was a little too adult for everyone in our group. We really enjoyed the circus show. The train service to get around the "mega complex" (of which the Esmerelda is just one part) was fast and easy to use. Free wireless in the lobby was a real bonus for the teens in our group!

Now the watchouts - our check in did not go very smoothly, as we needed 3 rooms, with 2 of them adjoining. It seemed that any request that did not fit the standard was very difficult to accomodate. A host (?) took us to our rooms. I noticed that once we tipped our host he offered up much more information than prior to be being tipped. Honestly, if we had not tipped him, then he probably would not have explained even the most basic things, like how to turn the lights on using your room key! In general, the service was only okay, and I felt like a tip was necessary to get even the most basic things, like a cup of coffee at breakfast. I don't mind tipping, but if I have to pay a dollar for every cup of coffee and I have to tip just to get utensils to eat my meal with, then it really is not an 'all inclusive" deal at all! On our second day by the pool I attempted to change our wet towels (for the first time), and was told by the attendant that there were no fresh towels available. When I insisted on new towels (since I could see them in the back room) he grudgingly got me some new towels, after lecturing me on not changing the towels too often - I changed them only once in the week! i think the staff must get tired of dealing with tourists and the service levels suffer at times. Given that everything else at the resort was so incredibly nice, unpleasant and resentful service really takes away from the experience.

Lastly, the food. Both my daughter and I were sick for 3 days. I think that some things sit on the buffet table a little too long. Also, I would NOT recommend the Tex Mex restaurant. Fake cheese sauce poured over everything was very unappetizing!

Overall, we would all go back since the beach was gorgeous, and the section near the Esmerelda is better than some other parts. The pool was never over crowded and we were there over March break week. You'll have a great time if you are lucky enough to go!

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
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:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center 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
#6 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#7 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#11 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#12 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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