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“Great time at beautiful Esmeralda”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #33 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 15, 2010

We were at Esmeralda Dec 5th-12th, what a great time. Check-in was a breeze as they had 5 people (including the Manager) working the front desk. After filling out the registration we were given our envelope with room cards and a-la-carte reservations, it was about 1pm, our room was ready on the 3rd floor Villa 91 overlooking the pool (as requested by e-mail). We went to our room which was gorgeous (as described by many others here on Trip Advisor) and the mini-bar was fully stocked. About 15 minutes later the bellman brought up our luggage, we changed and went for lunch at the buffet then to the beautiful pool for some late afternoon sun.
We had dinner at 3 a-la-cartes, Bella Italia, good food (my wife still raves about the salmon lasagna) great service, El Olivo at the Ambar section, good food but very slow service and the Garden Grill in the Punta Cana section where we had great rib-eye steaks again with very good service.
The buffet had a wide range of choices for all meals along with theme nights where different dishes were presented. Many reviewers have mentioned that the buffet is repetitive, this is true when it comes to the salads, the cheeses, the fruits but there is so much variety that you could try something different at every meal.
It goes without saying that the grounds are absolutely beautiful and the whole resort is spotlessly clean.
There were a few short showers here and there and other than the huge storm on Thur Dec 9th the weather was fantastic.
The staff are very friendly and always singing, dancing and smiling. We got to know several of them, treated them with respect (unlike some other guests) called them by name and we were treated like gold. Thank you Juan Carlos, Bolivar, Alexander, Maria and Medeleine (J-Lo). Our butler Ramon was always around if we needed anything extra from scented pillows to ice.
We only saw the Michael Jackson show which was very good, never made it to the casino or disco but we had great drinks after dinner from the lobby bar, there was entertainment on several nights.
The resort is huge but they give you a map and there are trams running all the time. There may have been little things that to some people disqualify Esmeralda as a 5* resort but we were on vacation and didn't let any of that bother us, we went for the sun and to relax.
We would certainly recommend this resort and would return, great value, please e-mail us if you have any questions.
Joseph

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank jmd19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,222 - 4,228 of 7,215 reviews

Reviewed December 8, 2010

On first day we were given a room on the ground floor (ground floor = first floor in Punta Cana), room was opposite garbage room, had cocroaches in washroom. Next day we complained and maintenance wanted to spray DDT. We asked for another room and were given one close to beach (90 series), room was beautiful and had attached balcony. Housekeeping was good, greeters and staff in restaurants were friendly and helpful. Manager was very helpful and understanding, gave us option for late checkout on last day. Food was good at Jasmin, cooks were very cooperative and efficient. We tipped very often. Pool was open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Food at Don Pablo was good, tappanyaki at Mikado was good experience to watch the chef cook in front of 12 seated people. Tried other 5 restaurants but food was average. Another good restaurant - Le Gourmet at Bahia Punta Cana. Trip to and fro from airport was good. Took an hour at reception till we were picked up and transferred to Esmeralada. Overall good experience, beach is beautiful and the waves are amazing. Went snorkelling, was not too happy when all three people in charge started boozing early, was hoping they would be with us in the water but remained in the motorboat. Stores along beach are amazing, remember to bargain - for goods priced at $180 US I eventually paid $30 US. Visit to Manati Park was good - bus leaves every two hours from hotel and park starting at 10 a.m. - dolphin and sea lion show was beautiful - *****must see***** - beautiful and clean park, colorful birds - we could feed some with our bare hands, be careful when the seeds are over they can peck your hand. Tribal dance at park was not bad. Park also has sea turtles, bird show, horse show. On return our hotel is 3rd halt so be prepared to stay in bus for atleast 45 minutes. Some shows at Tropicana open theatre were good. Overall - we had a good time, will surely visit again.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank neilbhav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2010

My boyfriend and I stayed at the Esmeralda from Nov 27 to Dec 4/10.

The grounds are beautiful.

The rooms are amazing, spacious and immaculately clean. The service at the buffet was always good, we never sat for more than 2 minutes before being brought our drinks, I'm not sure if this was because my boyfriend speaks Spanish but I definitely know it wasn't because of tips because we very rarely tipped and only did near the end of our stay. The food was good, sometimes cold, but otherwise very good. The al la cartes were amazing as well, we enjoyed the Mediterranean and Japanese the most.

Overall this has been the best resort I have ever stayed at and the best vacation I have ever had, from day one we never ever had a problem with anything. I would recommend this hotel to anyone who's looking forward to a relaxing holiday.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Beaches416
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 7, 2010

We booked this resort on the recommedation of my sister as she had stayed twice at the GBP Ambar. We couldn't book there so we stayed at the Esmeralda. We have 3 children of our own but this was the first trip away and I didn't want to hear kids to remind me of mine. Even though this was a family friendly resort the time we booked there were not very many children mostly young ones with their families. If this a concern of yours, it was not a problem at all very quiet. The rooms are amazing, beautiful,clean extremely large and well kept. There is butler service that we did not use much. One night they ran a bath with bubbles and rose petals with a candle. It was waiting for us when we got back to the room. We tipped the maid on arrival, not needed, and when we left. We had excellent services but would even if we didn't. The beds were huge bigger than king because we have a king at home. Bar fridge and safe in room was included free. We stayed on the 3rd floor which had a great view of the pool area but if you wanted to see the ocean then you will have to request building 90 which is closest. The hotel was right on a beautiful beach. Our section was very quiet. Lots of chairs and shade to be found. A small bar quiet bar available.This is one of four hotels on the property, we were allowed to everywhere except Ambar section. Not all of the other hotels are allowed on our section which kept it quiet. If you want to go for a walk on the beach it is a long stretch to walk and look at other resorts along the way. There was a local tourist market on the beach where you can buy keepsakes to bring home. Cheaper than on the hotel if you are willing to bargin with locals. They start prices very high so start really low until you can agree on a price. If you want action there is a big pool at the beach that is part of the other hotels but you are welcome to use. This is a very busy area and probably harder to find a seat but if you want music, activities, and action this is the place to be. There is a volleyball net and there were plenty of people willing to play a game or too. Actually the people that we met there were quiet competitive! There are many different restaurants to choose from. Booking is done at guest services. Do a little research prior to going so you know what you want as I think that the employees sort of trying to get you to choose only certain restaurants. We went to the Don Pablo, Bella Italia, Portifino(italian), Mikado(Japanese) BBQ at the beach. The first 3 were amazing! Very gourmet, when they do something well they do it extremely well! All the restuarants were beautifully decorated, staff was friendly and helpful. Take your time and enjoy the meal and conversation because like all fine dining the aren't fast. Where are you going anyway? You're on vacation! The food at the BBQ was ok and it was just an outdoor area at the beach so it wasn't very formal. Would not recommend it. Mikado was a beautiful restaurant. We had a tepanyaki cook for us so request this seating or they will seat you at a regular table. The food was ok, a little over cooked and salty but the experience was good and desert was simple but delicious. Most of the time the restaurants were half full. I don't know if this was the time of year or if this is a regular thing. We wanted to book early 6:30pm it was always booked fast FYI, but we did show up really late one time and they seated us no problem. One night we showed up late and with 2 other people and they didn't say anything. So try it to see if it works as long as you have a reservation slip that you receive from guest services. They buffets are beautiful and there is lots of variety. The staff is friendly and helpful. Try and sit in the same sections to get the same staff and you will see even more friendliness. Tipping is not necessary but recommended. I never felt I had to tip but when you realize how much these people make and how hard they work what is a buck here and there (1 US goes a long way) Night life is at the other hotels areas. If you want a quiet night the lobby bar is open until 11:30pm. There are shows we didn't really see them. We recommend show up early to get a good seat. Just remember that the smoking bylaws that we are use to do not apply there. The disco opens at 12:00am and closes at 2:00am drinks are free. It is very lively and fun for all ages! The cappuccinos are amazing ask for hot milk on the side to add to them! There is lots of walking if you want to, about 10 min to the disco, or there are trolleys running all the time. I recommend take the map that they give you at check in and explore! They grounds are beautiful and well maintained throughout the resort. The staff is constantly working hard but will always say Hola! It is an amazing place with amazing staff who are friendly and helpful. It is such a beautiful resort and we would not hestitate to return. In fact when we left were planning when we were going to go back. Take the time to make the most of your vacation. Explore the resort, talk to everyone, staff and other guests. We met people from all over the world and also met people that we knew from home and other people that lived a few blocks away from us! It is was an amazing experience! I know this is a very long review but I wanted to cover everything!

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank sandski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2010

Rooms spacious and modern. Beautifully decorated and all new. You receive a nice welcome gift when you arrive at your room. Bathrooms are modern with high quality amenities. Nice separate shower and spa bath.
Small, 5 star hotel. Easy to get to beach, restaurants and pool area.
Does cater to families, but this hotel would be perfect as an adults only property and I think better suited as such. If you want somewhere quiet, small and 5star, this is a good choice.
Restaurants are beautiful. Buffet offers very good food and very nice decor. The Italian restaurant offered very good food. Snack bar is perfect at lunch time and offers plenty of choice. You also have availability to use the other Bahia properties restaurants by making a reservation. The all inclusive wine quality is poor. You can purchase better quality wines if you wish in the restaurants.
Butler service is offered. This is a great service where you can get a customised pillow of your choice and assistance with almost anything., I would like to compliment Ramon and his team for taking care of me during my stay. Ramon went out of his way to make me feel comfortable in going to the restaurants by myself and ensuring the staff took care of me. He is very professional in his work. Even during the day, the butlers are around the lobby talking to people and asking if they need anything.
The beach is lovely, pristine white sand. The Esmeralda has nice new sunbeds and plenty of palapas for shade. Due to the size of the Bahia Principe complex,which comprises 5 hotels , it is a busy, large complex. If you want the loud, party scene, the Esmeralda would not be for you, but the other Bahias (Bavaro and Punta Cana) offer this.
The service of the Dominican staff is always friendly wherever you go. You are always greeted with a big smile and warm greeting. They are a fun-loving, generally happy people. The staff work very hard and long hours, but they still remain warm and friendly. It is nice to be able to speak a little Spanish if you go. I think it shows respect to their culture and is appreciated. Most of the wait staff speak limited english and they are very interested in learning about the lifestyles of people coming to their island from all over the world.
I would definitely go back without hesitation, perhaps not alone, as you would be better in an adults only resort in this case.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled solo
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1  Thank Globaltraveller77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 28, 2010

We traveled to the GBP Esmeralda from November 18-25 from Toronto with Air Transat Holidays. In one word I can put the vacation like this..."fantastic".

Let me tell you the negative up front. I'd like to say there are none, but the only one I could find was this...there are enough lights in the bathroom above the sinks. That's it! I know other reviewers have said the service is sometimes slow at lunch, but hey...you're on vacation...what's the rush? As far as "having" to give $400 in tips? We made sure we sat in the same section of the restaurant for each meal...and tip the same person each time. By the end of the week, when we got back to our table with our meal...wine and beer was waiting for us before we sat down.

The good...everything else. We traveled with a 3 year old, and our entire family had a fantastic time. Everything was spotless, the pool was great, as was the pool bar (Manolo and Jose the bartenders!), the buffet restaurant (Tomas the Captain!), and the rest of the resort.

Yes, it is quiet...just what we were looking for. You want loud and noisy? Walk 30 seconds next door to the GBP Bavaro and party it up.

So, thanks to the GBP Esmeralda for a fantastic vacation for the 7 of us. We will definitely be back.

Cheers...

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled with family
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9  Thank hsr28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2010

My wife and I recently spent two wonderful weeks at the Esmeralda and thoroughly recommend it as a vacation resort.
Over the past 10 years we have stayed at mostly 4.5 and 5 star Iberostars in D.R. and Cuba and one disappointing stay at the GBP Tulum.
So we went prepared to be disappointed but in fact the GBP Esmeralda exceeded our expectations and we are already planning a return.
Air Transat out of Toronto was good although on the return while we arrived back 30 minutes early, it took Toronto airport workers an hour to get our baggage to the carousel.
The Esmeralda is really a compact and QUIET resort attached to the much larger and noisier GBP Punta Cana and Bavaro.
There are no games, skits, animation team or Kids Club, all of which are available a few steps away.
The food is simply the most varied and satisfying that we have had anywhere.
The rooms are spacious suites with large 5 piece bathrooms.
The service is attentive and timely especially if you sit in the same area each day and become known to the very friendly staff. Tipping is appreciated but many Europeans don't which is a little unfair to the poorly paid and hard working staff.
We only visited the on-site Bella Italia a la carte which was great.
Overall, outstanding value-for-money at a great new resort.

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Yorkist1
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
#7 Family 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: $181 - $524 (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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