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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
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5  Thank tottendv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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5  Thank vatoman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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5  Thank charzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank dscvmc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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3  Thank noname021
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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