We just returned from celebrating our anniversary in the GBP Esmeralda, from May 19 to May 26, and we had a wonderful time. I would first like to thank Brooklin and the other experts on this forum for their very helpful advice and information. As suggested, we emailed our room requests (five rooms as close together as possible, etc.) ten days prior to our arrival and we received all five rooms clustered together on the third floor of the beach end of Building 90 (the best seats in the house). We also emailed our ala carte requests for ten of us to dine together and we received all of the dates and times requested. I just emailed our appreciation for both the rooms and the restaurant reservations to the appropriate staff at the Esmeralda and received kind responses from each.
While most of the recent reviews have been very positive, I had been slightly concerned about some of the previous comments. First, we found the staff to be extremely gracious and helpful, with no indications of poor or less-than-average service. All of our rooms were made up before noon each day, each had fresh towels and turn down service each evening, and each of the mini-bars were restocked daily. The wait staff in all of the restaurants, buffett and ala carte, provided very attentive service and many recognized us by name from the first day on. But, I think that friendly is as friendly does in that a greeting from us always brought a friendly response from the staff members.
Second, the guest rooms, the lobby, the bars, restaurants and all of the public spaces were spotless, with no indications of deferred maintenance (a term that we appraisers use) obvious anywhere. The pools were crystal clear at all times and provided an excellent place to spend the day or to gather for happy hour after a day at the beach. And I have read some complaints that the private Esmeralda beach was not directly on the ocean. Like some of the other members of our family group, walking the extra 15 or 20 steps to the water's edge was not nearly enough exercise to compensate for all of the food (and drink) that we had been consuming on a day to day basis.
Third, we found no evidence of bugs in or around the complex, nor did we notice ANY unpleasant odors or mildew smells. We have stayed at a number of other AI properties in the DR and elsewhere and this is the first time that we didn't use the room fresheners we brought with us.
Fourth, the food in all of the facilities was at a par with, or better than, any other AI resort we have visited. Of course, it is not at a par with some of the higher end restaurants in the US or Europe, but for properties turning out that amount of food, we were not disappointed. Nor were we paying the kind of prices that these other food outlets required.
Fifth, the staff speaks Spanish so adapt. Alternatively, download one of the translation apps to your i-phone and try to function.
It has been noted in the past that almost all of my reviews are four or five stars. Well, we try to pick places, with the help of our friends here on TripAdvisor, that will likely result in positive reactions. In addition, we try to have a positive attitude and have always found reciprocation.
I don't really have any negative factors to report, but there are a couple of less positive reactions. One is that the wifi is not available in all rooms. We were able to access it from our balcony overlooking the main pool, but the service in the lobby appeared to be somewhat faster. Second, while the third floor rooms were very quiet and well located, an elevator would have been welcome for my almost 70 year old legs. However, we were aware of both of these factors before we chose the GBPE, so we have no complaints.
Finally, a couple of hints. As has been suggested on this forum over and over again, email the resort in advance with room and restaurant requests. Second, the bellman can be your best friend. A simple request to the bellman can take you directly from the Esmeralda to the Ambar by cart without having to use the tram, although the trams are certainly convenient. Third, always tip the maid and the wait staff. They work very hard and are certainly worth a few dollars. This applies to the waiters in the dining and bar areas. And fourth, bubba mugs are the greatest invention since sliced bread.
- 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