I left my apt at 6am this morning and barely had time to catch breakfast at the airport. We reached the hotel at 3:30pm. The car service dropped us off at the main Grand Bahia entrance and we had to wait almost 30 MINUTES for the little carts to take to the Esmeralda.The front desk staff at the Esmeralda was dealing with a visibly upset gentleman who looked ready to blow a fuse. So we were asked to go and wait by the bar which most of us 1st did but since it was obvious no one was going to check us in from there, we all came back to the front desk. By now, it's past 4pm, i am hungry and exhausted. We were asked to provide our printed vouchers but I only had the email confirmation with all the relevant info. After some huffing and puffing, we are told to email it to the Helpdesk. I do just that thinking I'm finally going to get some food and lie down a bit. Well no, my confirmation email is actually a link to the booking agency and the front desk can't open up the Internet to see my reservation details, which by the way I had already shown them from my iphone. So back to 'I need a printed voucher'...really?!? In 2012 at a 5-star hotel?!?
By now I'm near tears from exhaustion and hunger. But luckily I am soon I'm given a room and a bracelet.
Next, we go to book a reservation for the a-la-carte restaurants. OMG! The girl behind the desk had the most nonchalant- I don't care- we're all booked- attitude. Thank God, someone who appears to be her supervisor comes in and saves the day. I wish I had remembered his name because he was really nice. To my defense, I was really hungry. (It's now 10pm and I'm still hungry...but more about that below).
Around 6:15pm, we are taken to the restaurant by the nice man who helped us get that reservation in the 1st place. We get seated and 1st thing I notice is that our table cloth has red wine stains. I'm so hungry, I decide to let it slide and just enjoy my food! We place our order (with a waiter who seems to be in a rush- he was actually tapping his feet) and start with the salad buffet - which was OK. And then we wait, and wait and wait for our appetizers. At 7:51pm, we finally get our appetizers (we sat down at 6:35pm). Tasteless. I discreetly flag down the manager and let him know about our situation, telling him I hope the main meal would be a better experience. He apologizes and takes note of all my issues. The main meal is served 10 minutes later but they had mixed up our order. My mom had ordered chicken, they gave her steak, I had ordered one type of beef, was given another. They quickly corrected my mom's order but by then we were beyond our tolerance limit for the day. We still tried to eat but the food was so bad, we just got up and left. I took the time to update the manager who looked very distraught at our situation and invited us to come back the next day as a courtesy. I actually feel bad writing about this because he seems like a really nice guy but his staff needs serious training! And they should get a new chef.
This is supposed to be a 5 star hotel. The level of service I experienced today was at best that of a 3 star (and that's by Caribbean standard). Last year I stayed at the NH Real which is less fancy but the staff there made me feel so welcome that after all this, I was tempted to see if they had a vacancy.
I REALLY hope the rest of my stay is better because I am super tired and desperately need some relaxation. Plus, the hotel looks really nice.
Will update my post again in a few days to let you know how it ended.
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Esmeralda Hotel Punta Cana