Wife and I (33 & 41 years old) from UK stayed 17th - 24th May.
Airport - Queue to pay entrance fee of $10 then passport then queue again to fill another form. Travelled with Thomas cook and you need to come out and turn left (we went right and ended up outside) to find the desks where they tell you what coach. Return went OK after paying $10 each for the exit fee.
Arrival - 25 mins to main hotel and then get off and get transferred down to Esmeralda as coach can not get down to hotel where luggage was waiting for us. They sat us down and give a welcome drink and checked us in within 5 mins and bellboy took luggage to room.
Rooms - We were in block 96 which didn't have a pool view but was still 200m from the 2 pools and 300m from beach and 50m from main bar. Rooms are as per the photos in that they are excellent and huge. We had 2 double beds. Bathroom had Jacuzzi bath/Walk in shower/Toilet with door and 2 sinks. Room had free safe/iron/bathrobes/slippers and even an umbrella (it was needed!) Rooms cleaned every day and mini bar filled up daily with Water/Beer/Coke etc and mini spirits. Chocolates put on pillow at night which was a nice touch.
Pools/Beach - Pools are lovely with swim up bars. Hotel seemed to get busier as the week went on however never had a problem getting a sun bed. Beach as nice as photos however due to the number of sun umbrellas you have to keep moving to stay in the sun! If you look right on the beach you will see some brightly painted buildings in the distance which are gift shops and are about 1 mile away but a nice walk along the beach.
Food/Drink - Very good. Buffets were nice and always lots of choice. We sent email to hotel a week before arriving regarding a la cartes and they were booked for our arrival. You need to get a booking slip for each a la carte from Guest services, which is next to the Esmeralda reception. We went to French/Italian/Mexican/Grill/Chinese. Couple of them men need to wear long trousers whilst the others short pants are OK however this is explained on booking slips. Waiters top up water all the time and ask for drink orders etc. Couple of them still have a buffet part for starters etc but they bring main meal out.
Weather - Hit and miss. Rained heavy 2 nights and 1 morning for hour at most. Cloudy a couple of other days cloudy but still hot enough to burn (lots of people including us!) Other days were hot.
Staff/Tipping - As from UK and not used to tipping culture we were a little confused with this as due to the size of the resort and the number of staff you will come into contact with for one reason or another if you tipped everyone every time you would tip a lot. We tipped Bell boy $2 for luggage, bar staff when they brought drinks to us ($1 a time or we tipped $5 at the end of the night as didn't have many $1) A la Carte tip left of $10 each time. Maid $15 at the end. Staff always very happy regardless of if you tipped or not.
Overall - Excellent time and well worth 5 star. We usually don't go back to same place for holidays but would make an exception for this hotel.
- 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