An honest review here....
The Esmeralda is truly wonderful. We travelled as a couple and this was our first time to Dom Rep. I e-mailed the hotel a week before travelling to request Block 90 after reading previous reviews on here - there was really no need as any of the blocks are within 5 mins of all the facilities. It was my birthday on the 2nd day, so my e-mail included reserving the Italian al a carte which was arranged for us and our ticket included in our welcome pack. Once there, they produced a wonderful chocolate birthday cake!
The rooms are very spacious with a lovely jacuzzi bath. Bed sheets are changed daily and plenty of towels. The mini bar is good but we found it was a bit hit or miss with re-stocking. We had chocolates delivered every day. We had a problem with the safety deposit box but one phone call to reception and 10 minutes later it had been fixed. The only downside was that we were ground floor and had clothing stolen off the balcony.
The food is FABULOUS - after experiencing all-inclusive deals all over the world, this is right up there with being the best. The al a carte restaurants are particular of a high standard and I would compare 'Don Pablo' with top restaurants in London. We both had the best cooked steaks we'd ever eaten. There is so much choice at all of them. You can have as much lobster and caviar as you can eat! The japanese was very good too. The drinks are also great. From the beer 'presidente' to the quality of the red wine and champagne is also of a very high standard.
The pool is great with the swim up pool bar offering shade as well as sunshine. The esmeralda is the exclusive part of the complex, so it keeps everything quiet and so the service is first class with the staff being brilliant - especially Jose, Joel, Emmanuel and Marilyn.
**There is a private area of the beach just for Esmeralda, but remember that this is still a public beach. We had our bag gone through and a mobile phone stolen while we were swimming in the sea. Another family had their bag taken on the same day containing everything......so be aware and cover your belongings up if leaving them**
Thomas Cook - We were bitterly disappointed with them - we paid extra to be in the exclusive part of the resort and the TC rep was a 15 min walk away in the main complex and didn't work weekends, so when we had our mobile phone stolen, we needed advice and none was available. When we did speak to the rep, they told us to report it to the hotel - we did this and the hotel told us that the TC rep should have taken us to the Police Station to report it for our insurance. He just wasn't interested. When we went to the welcome meeting - he didn't provide us with a full list of the trips - he just gave us info on the trips that earnt him more commission.
When we did book a trip (zip wiring) he didn't ring it through and so they didn't turn up to collect us. We were left waiting for an hour. We wasted time having to re-book and re-arrange other things. He had very limited knowledge and info on the Esmeralda part of the complex and didn't tell us that we had 30 mins of free internet use in the privelege club every day.
TRIPS: When we eventually did the zip-wiring, it was brilliant!! We would really recommend it. It is tiring and hard work walking up to the platforms but exhilerating and good to see the mountains. We recommend you book the afternoon session when it isn't as hot.
We did the dune buggy driving which was fun too. They stop a couple of times so you can swap drivers if you wish. You need a bandana and sunglasses due to the dust. If you haven't got one, they sell them for $5 dollars when you get there......oh and there are no toilet facilities once you leave the base!
We also went snuber diving and speed boat driving which was awsome and our favourite trip. You can buy the underwater photo disc for $10 dollars and this includes everyones photos on the same disc - you must do this trip!! We paid for them using a credit card. We took american dollars for tips.
We only went to one show as it was too hot to sit out at night and there are around 2000 people all sat together. From listening to others, the shows were really good. We had dinner and normally went up to the karaoke/sports bar which was extremely amusing and a great place to people watch - such a laugh was had in there.
We also went to the nightclub - next door to the sports bar and this was really entertaining too. The drinks are all included til 2am when it closes.
All in all, this was a brilliant place and we would definately go back and recommend it to others. We miss it!!
- 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 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