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“Fantastic time from 10th May/24th May 2012”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #33 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 30, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Ambar (Adult only, same resort and excellent) the same time last year and we joined the Bahia Principe Privilege Club (BPPC) and this was our 1st trip going it alone, we have always used a Tour operator prior to this. With a couple of emails and on-line flight to Punta Cana the holiday was booked. I am disabled with walking disabilities but not wheel chair bound and have other medical problems.

We arrived at Punta Cana at 4.30pm, after a 9hr flight, and we were immediately greeted by Victoria from the BPPC. During the private journey to the resort we were told all the details required about the hotel and concierge service. No need to check in so straight to our room which was just perfect, so bright and airy compared to the darker style of the Ambar.

What can I say? our 2 weeks were fantastic. We ate in every resturant and found the food and service to be excellent in all aspects. With the BPPC you have full use of a private buggy service which was perfect for me and my medical problems and the size of the resort is huge. All our reservations were made by BPPC staff ( we had 7 days of reservations pre planned by staff on arrival) all over the resort and if not for the buggy I could not have gone to a lot of them.

Our room was spotless every day and decorated with balloons (wife's birthday) and returning to our room one night found flower petals from doorway into bathroom and a bubble filled spa bath, and to top it off a bottle of champaign on Ice. So romantic even for a couple who have been married for 39 years.

Would I recommend the hotel ........... yes, and I will be returning in May 2014 with my son and daughter and partners, off to Cayo Levantardo next year and already booked.

All the staff were excellent and could not do enough for us, how they remain smiling for 14hrs day in day out baffles me.

A massive thank you to Isadora and all her staff (especially Victoria/Lisa/Jean) at the BPPC who made our holiday special.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Derek P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3,822 - 3,828 of 7,222 reviews

Reviewed May 29, 2012

This was the 2nd time I stayed a Bahia resort and it was a great vacation! I usually have a difficult time finding food I enjoy while away and this resort blew me away with selection and quality of food! I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of my vacation at this resort and will definitely return. I would recommend this resort to anyone traveling to Punta Cana.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Kris_LaLa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2012

My husband & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary at Esmeralda (May20-27, 2012). We had a wonderful time. We emailed a room & a la carte restaurants request 10 days prior to our arrival and received reply immediately. Upon arrival, we were given room #90211, which in my opinion, the best room on the resort. We were on the top floor facing both pool and ocean. We have travelled to a few places in Caribbean, and the best place we stayed so far was Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso. Unfortunately the experience at Esmeralda did not surpass IGP, but it was well worth the money we paid for. We were never bothered by timeshare sales people. Never had to fight for Pool/Beach benches. Truly loved Dan Pablo-excellent service and high quality food. Garden Grill was really good. A little disappointed with Bella Italia and El Olivo. Buffet was great. Friendly staff. Adult only Jacuzzi is a must. We highly recommend this hotel!

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank fwincanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 26, 2012

This was our 6th trip to Dom Rep, stayed at GBP San Juan, Casa del Mar (now Dreams La Romana), GBP Bavaro, GBP Ambar, Catalonia Bavaro. The Esmeralda was the best of all of these. How anyone can complain about the food, rooms etc. etc?? You must remember this is 5* by their standard. It annoys me when people moan on here and try and compare it to lets say the Iberostar Grand. A holiday there is over twice as much money, so yes it damn well should be good! Anyway, pet hate done with.

We stayed from 7th - 21st May and had a great time. For the first time for us there were lots of Brits, and we made lots of new friends. Our room was lovely, a slight smell but nothing too offensive so we stayed put - bring a smelly candle or air freshener if you are concerned about it. The room numbers were in this order if you want to request a specific room - villa number i.e.90 then rooms from the beach inwards were, 90010 - 90020 pool facing ground floor / 90110 - 90120 pool facing 1st floor / 90210 - 90220 pool facing 2nd floor. Rooms facing the service road were 90001 - 90009 etc. Hope that helps! We were in room 90016 middle of villa 90, ground floor.

The room was cleaned very well each day, and we had clean towels and chocolates in the evening. The mini bar was filled with 3 miniatures of vodka/bacardi/dewars (1 each), 2 cans of beer, bottles of pepsi, diet pepsi, red rock (like fanta), tonic water, 7 up, water and some lays crisps (same as Walkers) every day! Stick a note in there with requests and they will usually put in whatever you ask for. We had face cloths every day, and plenty of towels. You can request various pillows daily, just call express service and request. We liked the feather with camomile best. We also had room service a few times. The club sandwich is delicious and arrived quickly each time.

The food was mostly fantastic. Go to Don Pablo and request the Chatteaubriand, it's delicious, we had it 4 times! The steak at Bella Italia is one of the nicest fillets I've had, just a shame it comes with risotto which is more like rice pudding. The steakhouse was a bit disappointing, as was the El Pescador, no good steak in either. It seems that if you stick to the Esmeralda or Ambar restaurants, you get much better steaks/food in general. The buffet was very good, but we really weren't that impressed with the Gala night, just our opinion. All in all the food is to a very high standard.

The reception staff are lovely, very accomodating and very friendly. Most staff were very attentive, very happy and couldn't seem to do enough for you. Try and speak a little bit of Spanish, and they really appreciate it. You don't need to learn the language, but a few phrases can go a long way. We didn't really have a problem with communicating, most speak very good English. If they do not understand you, it's easy enough to find someone who can. I think they do an amazing job speaking lots of languages and working very long hours.

The beach was very nice, not as nice as by the Catalonia, but still the light sand and turquoise sea you expect. It was not peak time when we were there, so we had no problem getting beds by the beach or pool. The beach was a bit crowded and I would imagine at peak time it would be way too crowded, but not a problem when we were there.

The drinks were nice, sometimes way too strong - but I am a bit of a wuss so prefer my drinks a bit weaker. My hubby sank a few cocktails every night, and tried lots of different ones, but I preferred the Banana Mama and strawberry daiquiri, yum!

All in all this place was a little slice of heaven. Was it perfect, no of course not, but it was excellent value for money and we would return in a heartbeat.

FYI - there is construction going on, but we did not hear a thing as it was all behind villa 94. As long as you request a room in villas 90-93, it will not affect you at all. Hope that helps!

Drop me a line if you need any info.

Room Tip: villa 90-93 to avoid the construction
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank MrsWoody8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012

First off, if you're offended by Spanish speaking staff only speaking Spanish then you should holiday in England ... just saying!! Maybe you should learn a little Spanish?!? The staff spoke more than enough English to get by and always tried their best. If you required English speaking staff, all reception and lobby staff spoke English!! Just because you're miserable and always looking to find fault, I think you may be clutching at straws when it comes to the language barrier as you are in a FOREIGN country.
And as for people moaning it was too hot, take my advice - go to Skegness!

The hotel
Beautiful resort, and absolutely pristeen rooms. The grounds and hotel were maintained every single day. The selection of pools was amazing though we rarely left the Edmerelda pool due to the staff and general atmosphere. I can't believe I have actually read that the lobby was too hot??! It's literally part of the outdoors, and I'm not really sure what people expect the staff to do about the sun! Naughty Esmerelda staff, making it too sunny - must try harder!!!!
Any time it rained the lobby was manned with a member of staff armed with a mop at each lobby entrance. We even actually saw, on more than one occasion a member of staff on his hands and knees scrubbing the hallways with a towel.


The service
Fantastic, before I'd even finished my drink there was a new one waiting in its place. Always welcomed with a smile starting with check in. The staff were funny, welcoming and charming. The pool bar staff were amazing remembering drinks orders from previous days and played a massive part in out holiday - Hola Wandys, Rafael, Manolo, Lucas, Jorje, Alexis. At meal times water was poured into your glass before you had time to sit, constantly being refilled even after only having taken a few sips, same with wine and other beverages. Room service says to allow 45 mins but we never had to wait more than 15. Being English we weren't too good with the tipping and often forgot to tip our maid yet still received outstanding service, having fresh bedding, towels, extras in the mini bar and a new model made from towels, often with petals in the bed.

The Buffet and restaurants
We didn't visit all the restaurants but the ones we did were really really good including El Olivio - outstanding, we went 3 times. Bella Italia - didn't really like my meal, but it was my own fault as it was a creamy dish, and I don't like creamy dishes - however it was my husbands birthday on this night and they must have checked our details because somehow they knew and towards the end of our meal about 6 staff came out, alll singing, dancing and clapping with a huge fresh baked chocolate birthday cake complete with candles. Don Pablo - by far my favourite, tiny pretentious portions yet somehow so filling, beautifully presented and out of this world food. The restraunt itself was gorgeous and the staff were so professional.

Nightlife
This is the only down side to the resort, but I shouldn't really say too much as again the blame lies on my shoulders. There was no real nightlife to speak of - a little casino, karaoke bar and one small night club, but we were on honeymoon and it wasnt really what we had in mind when booking. If nightlife had been what we were looking for then we would have booked Ibiza. It just so happened that we made a few friends so would have been nice to have something else to do at night, but don't get me wrong, we were never bored.

Speaking on behalf of myself and my husband, I can't really say if this was a 5* resort as I really have nothing to compare it too as it seems many of the moaners on here do (you're just spoilt if you ask
me). But for us, it was a 5*+ experience and would definitely go again. The best value for money, the best resort and the best service, if being treated like a king and queen is beneath you then bogoff! your holiday is what you make of it, ourselves and EVERYONE we spoke to had such an amazing time. If you go expecting your bum wiped for you then the Esmerelda isnt for you and you'll only end up on here moaning that the pool was too wet.

Mucho love to Esmeralda. xxx

  • Stayed: April 2012
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26  Thank Trobbers11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 24, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the grand Bahia Esmerelda from May 5 - 20 for our honeymoon. It was the first time we stayed at a Bahia hotel and overall we were quite pleased with our Bahia is a large complex with multiple hotels located within. We booked at the Esmerelda given we knew it was the most recently constructed and asked to be as close to the beach thus we were placed in building 90. Below are the specifics on our stay and overall opinions.

Esmerelda vs. Others- the Esmerelda is the newest hotel within the complex, and closest to the beach. There are a few families that stay here but overall it is tranquil. The atmosphere borders relaxing as there are no activities that take place here, it's more about the sun, pool & food/drink. Right next door, there is the punta Cana hotel pool by the beach where all the action takes place... And it's only a 2 minute walk if you want to party. The Anbar is the other hotel which is close to the beach yet even more quiet given it's adults only. Slightly older than the Esm, but basically the same room layouts and decor. Note: the buildings are cement so sound resonates! We stayed on first floor so the child in the family above us had a tendency to drop things so you would hear stuff bouncing around which was only annoying if you tried to sleep in after 8 or take a nap. Overall, not a deal breaker but Anbar may be a solution. Then again..you may have other noises later at night.
Room- we stayed in building 90 which is closest to the beach in our hotel. It was a 1 minute walk to have your feet in the sand. We were on the first floor which was nice not to have to climb stairs in the high humidity! We were in room 90020 which faced the pool. Very nice decor, very nice bathroom amenities. No bugs, no musty smell..great room overall. A perk to being on the side facing the pool, you have a chance at catching the free wifi signal from the lobby and pool right in your room...so we had the comfort of sitting in our rooms while checking emails.
Beach- the beach is long and sand is beautiful. At the dive shop, the worker said the hotels face the Atlantic so water less calm, less underwater visibility,water a little colder and run the risk of seaweed storms. (then again a map on the internet says differently- Caribbean sea) Most of the first week we had lots of seaweed washing up on shore due to a storm out at sea. The cleanup was slow..so we adjusted to having to move in the water to avoid masses of the stuff. Other hotels like the riu right next door had clean ups done regularly where as the Bahia just had crews pile it up to pick up at the end of the week...kinda stunk..literally!
Food- the food bordered excellent! The buffet was good but we found the Palladium chain of hotels had one up on the Bahia. The a la cartes that made the grade were the Don Pablo, Bella Italia, Maiko, and Le Gourmet. The others were ok...but not as good.
Fitness centre- this was a HUGE disappointment. One would think that in this day and age where lifestyle is a huge focus point...with wellness spas, and healthy meal choices..that a fitness room is not the last thing you plan for when designing a hotel. There are two disappointing "rooms" that they call gyms. One is in the basement of a buffet that stinks of mold and the other is a room with no windows and poor neon lighting. Both have very old equipment...all with some type of damage and rust. I tried on several occasions to psyche myself up....with no success. The last time I tried, the supervisor was not helpful and when I left, he had fallen asleep on his desk and didn't even know I left. Good thing no one dropped from a heart attack. Very disappointing!
Dive centre- the dive centre at the Bahia seemed mediocre at best. They do not have a real dive boat for scuba trips but small aluminum/fiberglass out board engine crafts that would seem to be difficult to reboard when fully geared out when out at sea. Just next door at the Riu, there is a well known company called ScubaCaribe which have locations all throughout the caribbean. They have a proper dive boat and prices are in line with the company at Bahia. We took the package with them which included Catalina island excursion. Worth the money. One bright spot is a dive shop worker who works by the pool by the name of "Domingo" . Nice guy.


Overall we would recommend this hotel giving it an 8.5/10. My wife is not a gym goer on vacation like most but I like to kill some time and burn some calories taken in from the good food. I would venture to say that we would try the Riu next time just to try something different but would not hesitate to book here again!

Room Tip: Building 90- we had 90020. Ask for pool side...you may catch free pool wifi
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Montreal2125
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 21, 2012

me and my wife have been in esmeralda for 1 wonderful week in April 2012, and we only can say that we loved it. food in the buffet is great, and many variety to be chosen.
The room was on the ground floor and was right next to the pool, in our opinion it was great and we had wifi internet in the balcony.
the beach is so beautiful, with a clear, blue and warm water.

about the staff we only have good things to say, always great and available to help in any occasion, very very friendly people
and no need to give any tips (i didn't give any during my staying there) for them to be friendly and serve us well.

overall...we are looking for to go back there again! we simply loved our honeymoon there.

ps: on our room there were european plugs no need to use convertors.

Room Tip: the rooms near the pool can get wifi internet in the balcony, others a bit more far from it can'...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Sam_Honey
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
#28 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#29 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#31 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $189 - $511 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 (free of 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 (free of charge) 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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