My wife and I stayed at the grand Bahia Esmerelda from May 5 - 20 for our honeymoon. It was the first time we stayed at a Bahia hotel and overall we were quite pleased with our Bahia is a large complex with multiple hotels located within. We booked at the Esmerelda given we knew it was the most recently constructed and asked to be as close to the beach thus we were placed in building 90. Below are the specifics on our stay and overall opinions.
Esmerelda vs. Others- the Esmerelda is the newest hotel within the complex, and closest to the beach. There are a few families that stay here but overall it is tranquil. The atmosphere borders relaxing as there are no activities that take place here, it's more about the sun, pool & food/drink. Right next door, there is the punta Cana hotel pool by the beach where all the action takes place... And it's only a 2 minute walk if you want to party. The Anbar is the other hotel which is close to the beach yet even more quiet given it's adults only. Slightly older than the Esm, but basically the same room layouts and decor. Note: the buildings are cement so sound resonates! We stayed on first floor so the child in the family above us had a tendency to drop things so you would hear stuff bouncing around which was only annoying if you tried to sleep in after 8 or take a nap. Overall, not a deal breaker but Anbar may be a solution. Then again..you may have other noises later at night.
Room- we stayed in building 90 which is closest to the beach in our hotel. It was a 1 minute walk to have your feet in the sand. We were on the first floor which was nice not to have to climb stairs in the high humidity! We were in room 90020 which faced the pool. Very nice decor, very nice bathroom amenities. No bugs, no musty smell..great room overall. A perk to being on the side facing the pool, you have a chance at catching the free wifi signal from the lobby and pool right in your room...so we had the comfort of sitting in our rooms while checking emails.
Beach- the beach is long and sand is beautiful. At the dive shop, the worker said the hotels face the Atlantic so water less calm, less underwater visibility,water a little colder and run the risk of seaweed storms. (then again a map on the internet says differently- Caribbean sea) Most of the first week we had lots of seaweed washing up on shore due to a storm out at sea. The cleanup was slow..so we adjusted to having to move in the water to avoid masses of the stuff. Other hotels like the riu right next door had clean ups done regularly where as the Bahia just had crews pile it up to pick up at the end of the week...kinda stunk..literally!
Food- the food bordered excellent! The buffet was good but we found the Palladium chain of hotels had one up on the Bahia. The a la cartes that made the grade were the Don Pablo, Bella Italia, Maiko, and Le Gourmet. The others were ok...but not as good.
Fitness centre- this was a HUGE disappointment. One would think that in this day and age where lifestyle is a huge focus point...with wellness spas, and healthy meal choices..that a fitness room is not the last thing you plan for when designing a hotel. There are two disappointing "rooms" that they call gyms. One is in the basement of a buffet that stinks of mold and the other is a room with no windows and poor neon lighting. Both have very old equipment...all with some type of damage and rust. I tried on several occasions to psyche myself up....with no success. The last time I tried, the supervisor was not helpful and when I left, he had fallen asleep on his desk and didn't even know I left. Good thing no one dropped from a heart attack. Very disappointing!
Dive centre- the dive centre at the Bahia seemed mediocre at best. They do not have a real dive boat for scuba trips but small aluminum/fiberglass out board engine crafts that would seem to be difficult to reboard when fully geared out when out at sea. Just next door at the Riu, there is a well known company called ScubaCaribe which have locations all throughout the caribbean. They have a proper dive boat and prices are in line with the company at Bahia. We took the package with them which included Catalina island excursion. Worth the money. One bright spot is a dive shop worker who works by the pool by the name of "Domingo" . Nice guy.
Overall we would recommend this hotel giving it an 8.5/10. My wife is not a gym goer on vacation like most but I like to kill some time and burn some calories taken in from the good food. I would venture to say that we would try the Riu next time just to try something different but would not hesitate to book here again!
- 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 (additional 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 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