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“"Fantastic" First Class Luxury”

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Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Ranked #36 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
central michigan
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“"Fantastic" First Class Luxury”
Reviewed 21 April 2012

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.
Note:
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.

Room Tip: Buildings 90, 91 or 92 walking distance to main lobby, restaurants and beach. Pool side rooms can a...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
11 Thank John R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Berwick
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2012

This was our first trip to a resort and we went with friends that had been there twice previously. From the moment we arrived until the day we left the customer service, friendly staff and beautiful, clean rooms, grounds, restaurants, etc were of very high caliber. Staff at this resort were very friendly, helpful, funny and made our stay enjoyable to say the least. It was our 25th anniversary and the butler service went out of their way to create a special night for us. Special thanks to Ramoin, Jenny and Rosa. Food was excellent and the buffets offered a choice for everyone, regardless of nationality. Sandy beaches and beautiful clear blue/green water. I would highly recommend this resort.

Room Tip: Ask for a view facing the pool as it is a beautiful scene along with the gardens and they will accom...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
6 Thank Diane B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
NEW GALSGOW
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2012

This was our second trip to the Esmeralda. We went for two weeks and it was just a perfect amount of time. This resort is absolutely beautiful. The food is delicious with a great variety. Our room overlooked the pool, one floor up. Because this was our second time at the resort, we saw workers we had met the year before. They were happy to see us and pleased that we returned. We must thank Ramon Diaz, the head of the butler service, as well as his assistances, Jenny, Marilennis, and, Milfi. They worked hard to make our stay most enjoyable. The little extras they did for us made our stay so enjoyable. Ramon delivers his service on a very professional level,
The steak house was a great place to eat. The maitre'd, Elsie, works so hard to deliver high quality service. We eat there three times and always enjoyed a great steak.
The lobby bar is always a nice place to enjoy a drink. Sandra Rondrekiz sp.? was our favourite waitress. On one ocassion, we sat for a drink at the outdoor section, and we couldn't get waited on, but watched to waitresses standing around talking and even texting on their phones. My husband decided to wak to the bar to order our drinks, as he approached the bar, Sandra, who was working inside, saw him and told him she would take his order and deliver it to him. Not all the employees have the greatest work ethic, but many of them are hard conscientious workers.
Our only concern with this resort, is that it was more crowded on the beach as compared to last year. We did notice that many people from other areas of the Bahia Principe, would come into the Esmeralda section and reserve the huts. They were also being served at the beach bar which we understood was to be exclusive to the Esmealda section.
We truly wish this resort was adult only!!! There are too many kids, ages babies and up. Parents over indulge and over stimulate their kids and think that everyone enjoys the fact that their kids run around everywhere and seldom exercise manners. For this reason alone we may not return to the Esmealda. And... if we do return, we will not go the first week of April as this is a spring break time for many kids.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank TRAVELFAN116
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cornwall, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2012

My mom and I spent April 12- 19th in Esmeralda. This is the first time we've been in the Dominican Republic. I'll start off by saying it is very beautiful. The landscaping is breathtaking. All of the resorts are connected, so it's a very big confusing place at first. I prefer a MUCH smaller resort. There were too many people, and everything was far enough away. The nightlife was great, but bring bug spray, the mosquitoes are really bad. I hated the pushy vendors in the little market place in the Punta Cana resort. You know they're ripping you off, and they'll yell at you to come see what they have and shove things in your face for you to look at. Stay away from it.

Food: I loved the food! The buffets were amazing, one of the largest selection of food I've seen. I have to say the vegetables and meats were exceptional. We tried a different a-la-cart restaurant every night. The Bella Italia, Maiko Japanese(minus the chewy beef), El Meson(best service) and El Olivio restaurant were good. the Steakhouse was AMAZING! Steaks were cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth. I would not recommend the Don Pablo Gourmet restaurant. It wasn't good at all.

Staff: I would say for the most part the staff were not exceptionally friendly. Most of the time when we would ask questions it was apparent you were bothering them. I didn't like that you were meant to feel you had to tip everyone for everything they did for you. This is an all inclusive resort. The staff would stand around and wait until you would pull out some cash, and in a handful of instances would ask for money. This is an ALL-INCLUSIVE resort(which means tips are already included), you shouldn't have to tip for everything, because it's included. Tipping should be because you want to, not because you feel you have to.

Rooms: Certainly not 5 star. We stayed in room 93301 on the top floor. The bathtub was scratched up and almost impossible to not get water all over the floor after showering. The products given were garbage. The body wash and shampoo didn't even lather if you used a whole bottle, and no conditioner was available/given. The mirror in the room had brown stains all over it, and there were patches on the ceiling where the roof was leaking. When it would rain you could hear it hitting these patches where it wasn't fixed properly.

Pool/Beach: This is the first time I've ever enjoyed the pool over the beach. The pool was much quieter. The beach had a lot of seaweed that the staff did try to keep up with. There was also a lot of debris in the sand. It was crazy windy and you would have sand slapped in your face if you were close enough to the ocean, and the ocean was very rough. If you wanted a seat in the shade in any area, you needed to get up early.

Entertainment: The entertainment was very good. The two best shows were the Micheal Jackson and the Circus one. Get there at least 45 minutes early to get a good seat for these two shows. I also really enjoyed the Karaoke bar very much. The Disco would have been better if we would have traveled with men because you get mauled if you're only 2 women.

Overall, I certainly wouldn't come back to the Dominican Republic in general because I was so turned off of the begging and hassling.

Room Tip: Do not stay in room 93301. It's outdated, needs repair and the only flight of stairs is right ne...
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  • Stayed April 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank luvthetropics7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2012

First time to DR, first time in a family resort, stayed 7 nights in April 2012.

We were hoping for a fun, relaxing vacation but it ended up being a DISAPPOINTING experience. Should’ve listened to the reviewers who said this resort DOESN’T LIVE UP TO THE HYPE. Definitely NOT A 5-STAR RESORT (more like a 3-star). If you want the OPPOSITE of a relaxing beach vacation, go to this resort.

- Arrival in Punta Cana airport – what a MESS, so disorganized, huge lines of confused people, no clear signs/direction for the tour operator/tour bus (Air Transat from TO).

- Bus ride to resort – DISORGANIZED, they just did a head count, didn’t even bother take down names to ensure all the right people were on the bus! Tour operator wasn’t friendly, literally didn’t say a word – no welcome or commentary. Only positive what that is was a short 35 min ride.

- Check-in – no warm welcome, totally awkward, front desk staff was checking us in and then had the audacity to answer a phone call (even though there were other staff around to answer the phone) and he just left us hanging, waiting there without an explanation or apology. POOR FIRST IMPRESSION…

- Grounds – so-so, nothing special, NOT lush and glamorous as other 5-star Caribbean resorts we’ve been to, free Wifi in lobby, also free Internet on public computer in lobby

- Room – blahh, looked better in the photos, décor was outdated, room was DIRTY (stains on sofa, stains on bed linens, dirt marks/spots all over floor, dried up spills on glass tops), poorly maintained (especially in Bathroom) so GROSS and UNCOMFORTABLE, desperately needed a deep clean! YUCK – carpets in the hallways (A no-no in the Caribbean b/c of the humidity and mold) and no elevator but we didn’t mind the stairs. Stayed on the 3rd floor of Bungalow 90 (closest to the beach).

- Housekeeping – we tipped them daily and they still didn’t do a proper clean of the room!

- Mini-fridge – stocked with mini liquor, pop, Presidente beer, bottled water and chips. Ask for extra water (small and large bottles). CHECK to ensure the water bottle seals have not been BROKEN. One incident with a bottle that was already opened and looked like a few sips were taken.

- Customer service – SUB-PAR, at times got a snobby and lazy vibe, staff did not go out of their way, many seemed as though they didn’t really give a crap - chatting with each other and playing on their phones…

- Beach – IF YOU’RE A BEACH PERSON AVOID THIS RESORT AND ANY RESORT ON THE BAVARO BEACH!! PAINFULLY OVERCROWDED (only able to get chairs at the back of the beach with no ocean view and we “claimed” our spots at 8-8:30am) and DIRTY (Kleenex, baby wipes, cigarette butts strewn all over), tons of OBNOXIOUS and LOUD people (crying babies, screaming kids running around naked and middle-aged men changing from their underwear into speedos on the beach – DISGUSTING), only positive was the wonderful server who was attentive, friendly and always brought us favorite drinks throughout the day

- Restaurants – make your reservations in advance via email about a week before you depart, enjoyed El Olivio and the Jazmin (Seafood dinner – delish lobsters - on Thursday *don’t forget to make reservations), food was over-salted and didn’t like that most A la Cartes had only serve yourself/buffet apps and dessert, food was so-so (positive is that we both lost weight since we weren’t eating as much! LOL)

- Overall – CROWDED and UNCOMFORTABLE, will never book in DR again AND will never book a family Mega-resort ever again.

  • Stayed April 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank Markedtraveler10
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

Property: Luxury Bahia Principe Esmeralda Don Pablo Collection
Address: Crta. Arena Gorda - Macao, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre 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
#32 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#32 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#34 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price range (per night): $217 - $596
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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