My husband and I just returned from our second two week visit to Gran Bahia Principe Esmeralda. We were there almost exactly one year ago and a lot has changed since then. We had requested about 5 months in advance to stay in building 90 (where we had stayed the previous year) or failing that, we would like building 91. We arrived there with all of our information stating that we were in building 91 but it had been whited out and we were moved to building 94. At first we were very disappointed and asked if there was anything else available. The best they could do was building 93 so we accepted that. They also offered for us to return in the morning to see if there was anything available in 90 or 91 if we wanted to move at that time. Overall they were accommodating within their limitations. When we got to our room in building 93 there was a gift of t-shirts and a bottle of rum waiting for us. And once we saw the changes they had made from the year before, there was no need to change rooms as they had added another pool and buffet restaurant down by our building as well. With the changes, there really isn't a bad building to be in. The resort is still fairly small and there isn't anywhere that is "out of the way"
The rooms a large and clean. The beds are very firm but still fairly comfortable. Our tv needed to warm up for about 15 minutes before you could see the picture but we only watched it at night anyway so it wasn't a big deal. The maid service wasn't as good as last year but everything was still clean. Sometimes it took 5 hours before the maid came to clean even though we marked on the card that they left us that we preferred it to be done in the morning. We still tipped pretty well though because when it did get done, everything was very clean.
We booked our a la cartes at the first available opportunity. We booked an A La Carte for every second night. We were hoping to get Don Pablo for my birthday but they were booked solid. We did get in to Don Pablo another night & it was as fantastic as we remembered. I had the filet mignon and my husband had the duck - both were amazing! Also, the chocolate volcano for dessert is worth the trip on its own! We ended up going to Takara (Asian food) for my birthday and it was good as well. I also got a really tasty birthday cake with the whole staff singing Happy Birthday in Spanish and it made my day very special! Also Alex, Juan and a couple of other pool bar tenders sang Happy Birthday to me as well. It was a great Birthday.
We also went to the Garden Grill restaurant and had the rib eye steaks and it was great as well! The Sante Fe (Mexican food) was my husbands choice. He really enjoyed it and I thought it was ok but not my favorite. The steak buffet was good as well. The quality of food was comparable to the regular buffet. Our least favorite was the Bella Italia but even that wasn't a bad meal it just wasn't as good as the others. The buffets are good as well. There is always a lot of choices so even if you are picky, you will find something you like. We really enjoyed the breakfast buffet! We went to the beach snack bar almost everyday for lunch and it was good as well.
Drinks are very free flowing and very strong. I actually had to ask for less alcohol in my drinks because they normally fill half to three quarters of the glass with alcohol. Most people probably love that but I'm not a big drinker so I just asked for less and they were very accommodating. I really like that they had drink menus this year. Last year I saw lots of great drinks but never knew what to order. The menus help a lot and give you ideas for things to try. We were a little disappointed that Manolo was no longer there. but Alex is still great and a few of the new guys were good as well!
The pools are great! The main one (closest to the beach) isn't as quiet as last year as they now have entertainment by the pool (Music and dancing and they do an aqua aerobics session as well). If you want quiet, the other pool is much more relaxing. And if you want complete silence the adult pool is where you want to hang out but go early as it fills up fast.
We found it best for us to spend the mornings on the beach as we enjoyed the little breeze to keep cool (the pools are REALLY hot during the day, especially if you don't get in the shade). Then we would head to the pool for late afternoon when the sun wasn't quite as hot. I love the improvements they made to the beach. The Esmeralda sections has gotten larger and is closer to the water. The beach and water is clean and beautiful. There are always people on the beach cleaning up garbage and raking any weeds.
Night entertainment is good but we found that we would be done supper by 8 or earlier and then there is nothing until at least 9 but we would go to the bar or to Pueblo Principe and look at the shops. We went to the casino one night and it was small but fun. The Karaoke was entertaining at the sports bar as well. The shows at Pueblo Principe don't start until 11 pm but they are fun to watch. The shows at the main theater are great as well but get there early for good spots because tall people like to come late and sit right in front of you...lol.
Butler Service was great! Milfie was wonderful with bringing us anything we could want or need. We got lavender pillows and one evening we returned to rose peddles, candles, and a bubble bath! She was GREAT!
The privilege club is very pushy and got a bit annoying. They want you to go to their session to sell you some special privileges at their resorts for some outrageous price. We went last year and found it pretty uncomfortable but we managed to avoid it this year.
If you don't like being pressured by salesmen, don't go to the flea market or into the middle portion of pueblo principe. They will do almost anything to get you in there..lol...a "No Gracias" usually works. But the stores around the edge of Pueblo Principe are fine and fun to look at.
Overall, another great vacation! We would highly recommend staying at Esmeralda!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Receive cordial greetings from all the team working at Grand Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort, especially from our Quality & Customer Service Department.
Thank you for your recent review on Trip Advisor and for highlighting the good aspects such as large & clean rooms, great food, pools, beach, night entertainment, casino, karaoke and shoes. It is a pleasure for all of us to hear that we were able to fulfill your expectations and Birthday Celebrations.
Please be assured we will forward you nice comments to Alex, Juan & Milfie.
We you like to give our thanks for recommending us.
We would like to have the opportunity to welcome you once again at our Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda and continue providing the most memorable vacations.
Social Media Coordinator
Grand Bahía Príncipe Bávaro Resort
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.