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Reviews (7,612)
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Reviewed January 10, 2011

Amazing , amazing place!!! I stayed here from Dec 21-28, 2010, there was a large group of us 23 to be exact. The flight going there was fine and from the airport to the hotel there were no problems. When we got to the main gran bahia princpe punta cana we had to get on a trolly with our luggage and go to elsmerlda. Checking in is where we had a problem. Being that we were a large group we booked to be on the same floor(2nd) and all together side by side. Clearly that didnt happen. My family being being 6 of us were suppose to have 3 rooms with 2 double beds another family of four got on room with a king bed. Another family also 6 were suppose to have 3 rooms 2 dbl beds and one king bed. In the end after 2 hours or so everyone was on different floors and still had some problems with rooms. We did eventually get everything sorted out even though we werent all together.The problem was with the travel agent we booked with, she promised us alot of things like also ocean front rooms, but they do not exisit. The hotel was very understanding and did everyting they could. We even got a note from the air transit rep there saying that the travel agent screwed us up.

But anyways back to the hotel, Its beauitful, very nice and CLEANNN! soo so soo CLEAN. People were always cleaning, the rooms, the main entehrance, the restaurant everything was clean. not one problem there.

The rooms are amazing. So beauitiful , big, new, and clean very clean. Cant complain about the rooms at all. The washrooms are very nice too. They have a mini bar, that they didnt sometimes stock every single item, but why would you need it anyways? You have the bars where can just order drinks.

When I first came here, all i wanted to do is go home I hated the food, and everyting bugged me. BUt day by day I began to love it. The food at the buffet was great, alothough I didnt eat much (picky eater) but there is something for everyone. Lots of selections. The last 3 nights we booked for A LA Carte Christmas Night we ate at the BBQ on the beach food was good, The next night we ate at the Italian restaurant at Elsmerdla called Bella Italia, they food was oretty great being italian you cant compare it to your nonnas pasta and sauce but food was good. The last night was probably the best food by far, the japanese restaurant which is at the main hotel. Although we booked for 6:30 pm we came very late and they cancelled our reservation, ( they cancel it after 10 mins of the time you booked) after argueing with managment and the waitresses they were able to fit us in, although we never got the room where they cook infront of us it was still great. From the first course to the last AMAZING, they even had fried ice cream which i never had before.

The staff here is what most of us arent used to. They are very friendly, very very friendly. Whenever you walk by someone who works there they greet you "Ola". Some servers though were a bit over friendly, being that we had teenage girls on the trip the servers tend to be nice and friendly to them a lot and sometimes it was abit to much.. BUt thats the way they are, and how they make there living its a third world country, the dont have much, so you gotta understand where they come from and being nice to the people equals more tips for them.

They pool was very very nice large and big with a swim up bar which was amazing and great. You must try a miami vice and a Bahia Princpe. Jose who works at the swim up bar was great, he was very nice and friendly!

Its true you have to be up early to get seats or by 9:00 am there all gone so i recommend getting up early and saving seats we did that each morning. Didnt have a problem.We mostly stayed at the pool the beach was very nice, but we always went to the pool, we would go for walks and take the young ones to swim at the beach but that was it. Although the beach area for the hotel guests is big! They have a bar, activities and shops too!!

For nightlife you do have to take a trolly to the main hotel. They have something every night at the stage. The MJ show was by far the best! The dancers are amazing. At the shopping square they had lots of shops, a casino, bar and disco. One thing I didnt like was that the disco was only open for 2 hours from 12-2 whhich was pretty stupid.

ANyways this trip was great, I would come back in a heartbeat and recommend this to anyone dont let the bad reviews get to you, they didnt for me. I would also recommend to book online or with a travel agent you know really well who wont screw things up.!

  • Stayed: December 2010
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3  Thank kriss16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2011

Good food, reserve restaurants when you arrive if you are a big group.
You need to lock everything in the safe. Blackberry, 2 ipods and camera were stolen from our drawers and bags on first day.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank renzip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2011

My Wife and I just returned from the Esmeralda on January 7th, 2011. We have been very fortunate to visit numerous All Incluives (AI's) , but this was our first visit to Punta Cana.

Accomadations:
The accomadations here were great! Our room was quite large, very clean and full of all the neccesary amenities you come to expect in an AI.The bed was quite confortable with ample pillows and blankets at your request. The only negagtive we would have is that it smelt a little musty when we first arrived, but I think its mostly due to the hunidity, but also probably because they do allow smoking in the rooms so I'm sure there was a little residual odor from that.

Food:
The food was "average". The best restaurents are the Don Pablo and the Japanese (of which there are 2). The buffets were always stocked and had lots of choices. We definately didn't go hungry, but we've had better.

Entertainment:
The typical shows as you would see in most AI resorts. It makes us laugh that they lip sync to the songs, but clearly don't know the english translations so it's like you are wathcing an old kung fu movie, but they were entertaining and we liked them.

Facility:
This is a huge complex, but it didn't feel that way because of the Esmeralda was pretty well self sufficient. It felt like a small resort but we were able to enjoy most of the facilities from the other resorts...which were a short walk or short tram ride away. As others has said, the grounds are very nice the only bugs we encountered were some sand fleas, and one Gecko....

Staff:
This was a little disapointing. In our other AI visits in Mexico, the staff were all extremely happy and polite, but not so much here.....and here's why ( I think). The Europeans. There were so many French, German, Russian and others....and I found them mostly to be very disrespectful and almost mean to the staff...and in turn, thats why I think the staff were the way they were. Treat people with respect and in turn they will treat you with respect....and we had no issues once they saw that from us. Oh ....and the tipping? Not neccesary...tip for good service as you always would. I saw no increase or decrease in service based on tipping.

New Years Eve:
We juts happened to be here for New Years eve and I must say they did it up right. From Champange and hats, to an awesome fireworks display. It really felt special!

In summary it was a very nice holiday and if this was closer to Vancouver we would probably go back again. The flights back and forth from Vancouver are very long and with the time difference (4 hours) it was a little tiring.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank PetlIsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2011

We spent one week in Esmeralda form 27th December 2010 to 3th January 2011.The hotel is quite nice for Punta Cana and I really recommend it.Altought it is all incluse you have two cosy restaurants for breakfast,lunch and dinner (Jasmin and Arrecife).The food is good and with variety.There are several restaurants a la carte - which need previous reservation- with very quick service because the soup and deserts are served in a buffet. There is 24hour room-service includes in the all inclusive package which is good but unusual in most of other hotels.The swiming pool is quite, a little cold, but you need to wake up early or get beds at the beach. Do not expect a beach like in Maldives were the whole beach is reserved for you! The hotel is in front of the nice but higly crowded beach where you can do nice beach walkings for hours.The weather is a little bit unstable In December.Our party - myself, my wife and my 11 years old daughter spent - spent the new years eve there and the firework was excellent. The spa is not nice in the Ambar location because the rooms are realy caustrofobic.We recommend this hotel of you want to have a relaxing time with our partners and no worries.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled with family
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1  Thank MJP2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2011

This hotel had many problems for myself and the group I travelled with. When we first got there (travelled with 5 different families) they had messed up almost all our room arrangements and gave myself and my family a room with a king bed instead of two doubles. We had this fixed the next day but had to sleep uncomfortably in the king bed room the first night. There was a couch in the room as well but it was very hard and extremely uncomfortable to sleep (even sit) on. The next day we recieved the room with double beds but we were excluded from our group which we planned to stay at least within the same building. The next problem was the staff, although some were nice, many of the male staff were a bit too friendly with some of the younger girls in the group. They were very touchy and sometimes would not leave them alone. The one night we were asked to fill out a comment card they came around the tables basically checking to see what we wrote. The waiters/staff told us not to write anything "bad" or else they would lose their job. What I dont understand about this situation is why they were giving us comment cards if they didnt want our real opinion, this is why I am warning anyone who is reading this!!! The only good thing for this hotel was that it was kept clean, the rooms overall had a great look and one benefit when staying at this hotel was how close the beach was, no trolley was needed to get there. Other then this the pool was average, bar was okay and the food was not the best at times. I recommend going to the bigger resort at night time for more entertainment as well as better resteraunts!

  • Stayed: December 2010
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4  Thank Alexandria T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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