First off, we are world travelers having stayed in many resorts and hotels. This is our first review since the information given by others on this site was so helpful in choosing our trip. Our family of five (ages 11 yrs old to 76 years) first vacation in Punta Cana traveling April 6, 2012 -April 13, 2012 during Spring Break. The second week of January, 2012, I went to a travel agent with all the info I had printed off from this site. The agent booked us with Apple Vacations flying with Sun Country Airlines a 4 1/2 direct flight from Lansing, Michigan International Airport. (Updated small airport, easy check in and boarding). Good Flight.
Arriving @ 11:30 am in Punta Cana, we paid our $10.00 entry fee and were escorted by an Apple Vacations Rep. with a bellman with our luggage to a private 5 passenger air-conditioned van. Our driver took us directly to our hotel, a 20 minute ride since we didn't have to drop off any other travelers at other hotels. What a pleasant surprise and a great beginning to our beach vacation.
Hotel: My travel agent sent an E-mail with our request. I had picked Gran Bahia Principe Esmeralda, building 90 with adjoining rooms on the 2nd floor facing the pool with ocean view. I king and 1 with 2 queens. Upon arrival, we were processed quickly, since the other travelers being sent by buses had not arrived yet. Rooms in Building 91 were reserved for us, 2nd floor, pool side with adjoining rooms as requested. The bellman quickly took our luggage from lobby to our bldg. up the stairs to our rooms. Our rooms were in excellent condition, very large, spotlessly clean, stocked frig. every day. large safe, large bathroom, shower and jetted tub. Water pressure great. Toilet was enclosed with frosted glass door, making it great for anyone using the vanity. Our rooms were furnished with very comfortable beds along with a nice size clean sleeping sofa, nice table w/chairs, desk, TV and large dresser. No carpet, marble floors, what a plus. We received guest basket of goodies. Fresh fruit, chocolates and a bottle of Dominican Republic Rum.
Our room service was above most. Every part of our rooms were spotlessly cleaned every day, and furnish with lots of towels, nice terry robes, and slippers. Hair dryer and Ironing board in room. We did tip the cleaning women each day. Free Room Service everyday.
Restaurants: When we arrived at the lobby of the Esmeralda, we were given a envelope containing pre-made dinner reservations at a different restaurant each night of our stay. What a nice treat that was. We didn't have to go Guest Services in lobby each morning to make reservations. The variety of food for breakfast and lunch buffets were very good. The quality of the prepared food and the presentation of the food was excellent. Always plenty even though the hotel was full of guests and the all dining areas had white table cloths and cloth napkins, nice china, and silverware. Free wine and beer served each meal. Best of all was their home made chocolate goodies garnished on all desert areas. Since cocoa beans are grown there. "The chocolate was to die for."
Note: We did wait until 7:00 am for the air conditioned restaurants to open for breakfast and 1:00 pm for lunch. The open air pool side restaurant had very good selection of food where you could enjoy breakfast, lunch in your beach attire.
Male waiters at the Esmeralda: Above average service. always right there, never had to ask for anything and when I asked for banana's and apples to take back to my room, they went in search and promptly returned with them with a smile. Always in very good mood, singing, humming, and smiling. Hand shakes, high fives, and hugs. We tipped for each meal, even though not required.
Pool: Large main pool with swim up bar, along with a kids pool. Very clean, nice chairs and towels. No loud noise or drunks. We found the pool at the Esmeralda was for very nice and considerate families. One of the other Principe Hotels had the drinking loud party pool.
Beach: Short walk from our Bldg. down a beautiful garden stone paved walk. A beautiful long white sand beach with lots of chairs, cabana's, palm trees for shade. It was necessary to get up and down to the beach @ 6:00 am with your towels and beach bag to save chairs if you wanted to sit in view of the ocean. A drink bar with sodas, juices and beer free for the asking. Some days a waiter would come around and take drink orders. Also a snack bar with BBQ's and Hot Dogs for lunches on the beach. There is a building with water sports equipment. The kayak's and the surf boards were free to use. There were boat rides out to the partly sunken ship "The Esmeralda" Para-sailing for a price, also bungy jumping on the beach. Lots of water sport and fun things for our 11 year old Grandson to do while there.
1). Each morning at 6:00 am there was a blue and white Ford tractor and trailer on the beach with 4 or 5 workers raking up the sea weed that came in during the night.
2). There were security guards on the beach walking along keeping a watchful eye on a fully packed area. Thus, making it a very safe place to enjoy.
Travelers: We found the majority of the travelers were from Northeastern Canada, others from Russia and a very few American's. We would not have asked for a more respectful, courteous
fun group of people to enjoy our vacation with. Our Grandson meet a 10 year old boy from a Canadian family. His mom and dad even let us take their son with us to supper the last night we were there.
The Esmeralda exceeded all of our exceptions and we would highly recommend this lovely safe and highly maintained resort to everyone. There is also nightly entertainment and gift shops located on the resort property.
- 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