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BahiaPrincipe
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Reviewed 11 October 2021

I want to say that before booking this property I read the reviews and was a bit concerned. However, I was attracted to the online booking site that they offered, along with the ability to prebook my “Unlimited à la carte” dinners.
This was important, due to the fact I was in Cancun three weeks earlier at a competitor to BP and did not want to have the bother of not being able to secure dinner options during my short 3-night stay (Thu-Sun).
Of course, the online app, provided me with the option of reserving all restaurant bookings within the check-in process and up to one day before arrival. I was happy that this was possible and one less thing to worry about on a short trip. Or so I through, upon arrival at the hotel check-in done I checked “My Plan” and all the reserved restaurant bookings disappeared. Of course, no one on the property knew what to do and at best try to re-book – of course the bookings were no longer available and no one on location were able to provide solutions.
I want to say that nothing about this property should be considered a 5* experience. Possibly a 2* or 2 ½ * would be more in line with the offering.
The à la carte restaurants are all underwhelming and would probably be classified as serving a good cafeteria grade of food.
I have the impression that this European company invested in this hotel property in the Caribbean, and they are making minimum investments in the upkeep. Upkeep in the Caribbean in critical to prevent mole and just allow the rooms to be presentable. My room showed the presents of mole in ceiling areas and while they might have done some wall painting over the years – they have painted over the air conditioning vents (no – just imagine the dust that accumulates).
I also understand that over the past 20-months the travel industry has been brought to its keens, however, I would have expected that they should have used that time to really get the rooms, restaurants, and common area ready to welcome back travellers.
Pros:
Strong COVID-19 safety protocols/standards which were enforced by staff.
Pleasant staff who try to make the guests happy (I don’t suspect much guidance or oversight from management is present).
Housekeeping staff was also prompt to service rooms, and they did their best with what they had.
Great location where the Greek resultant is located – however the food again was disappointing.
COVID Travel Testing (PCR) on site – to which you must pay a premium for that convenience, but it is nothing out-of-the ordinary.
Did not have a division of the branding trying to sell a time-share, or any version of a timeshare concept.
Good cleaning of beach (given the current seaweed issues in the region)
Cons:
Wi-Fi – totally useless unless you just want to check your WhatsApp.
Rooms and common areas of the building all in need of major renovations (If the strategy is to just run the building into the ground and teardown and rebuild – well hey BP time to start closing these buildings and do just that).
Quality of food – breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus in need of major overhaul.
The adult pool is a joke – I think it is more of a hot tub than a pool (lets call it what it is).
The bar in the “adult” pool did not have a blender for cocktails requiring a blender.
Single bank machine located in the BP Punta Cana lobby and when that is broken don’t expect to be able to get cash from anywhere. So, make sure when it is working get all the cash you need or make sure you are travelling with Cash.
This is not my first trip to Punta Cana, in fact I was there in Jan 2020 and yes, I would return, but unfortunately not to any of the properties within this BP complex.

Date of stay: October 2021
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Anthony D
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Online Reputation Coordinator Bav, Otro at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, responded to this reviewResponded 14 October 2021

Dear Guest,

We apologize for any inconveniences you may have experienced. Even though you feel a bad breath with this unfortunate situation, we are seriously committed to the achievement of our guests' satisfaction, because your opinion is one of our top priorities and we do not want you to have a mistaken perception from us. For this reason, we really hope to consider coming back to this Caribbean paradise in the Dominican Republic and enjoy all our facilities and services.

Kindest regards,

Yubi Sandoval
Online Reputation
Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2021

We recently came back from a fantastic week at the Esmeralda! I wish I could rate a 4.5* as this would be more accurate… in my opinion, for its price point, this resort falls just a little short of five stars.
Context: we are a couple without children and usually we stay at the Ambar (adults-only) section of the Bahia Principe. Our last stay at the Ambar was in Nov 2019, but because I dislike the new layout of the remodeled rooms at Ambar (open concept with shower and bath tub fully exposed to the rest of the room, and water closet separated by only a frosted glass door), I decided I wanted to try the Esmeralda section – knowing that at the Esmeralda, the rooms are the “old fashioned” type with a closed-off bathroom, similar to the Ambar’s prior to the remodel, and that as adult guests of the Esmeralda, we would have access to the Ambar resort too.

As done for all my previous stays, I sent an email 2 weeks prior to arrival, requesting a room in building 92 with a top floor pool view, and ala carte restaurant reservations for the whole week. A few days before our trip I saw a post in one of the resort’s Facebook group informing that the resort would no longer take restaurant reservation in advance, “because of covid”. Erm, ok…

VIP BRACELET
If you have visited the Bahia Principe in Punta Cana 10 times or more (any of the sections, Ambar, Esmeralda, Fantasia, etc) you should receive a “VIP bracelet” which gives you access to all other buffets on site (non-VIPs are limited to the buffet of the section where they are staying), discounts in the gift shops and at the spa, and a couple of other little perks. This time around, after I sent in my room request the resort actually replied asking me to send proof of how many times I had stayed there previously! This was a first… fortunately I was able to dig out 10 years’ worth of boarding passes and confirm that indeed this was going to be my 14th stay with them (and I thought it was the 13th!).

We had an early flight and arrived at the resort before noon on a Tuesday. We were quickly transported to the Esmeralda lobby for check-in… however I must say that the check-in process at the Ambar was much smoother – they sit you down and bring you a drink, etc. whereas at the Esmeralda, we had to line up and wait (about 10 min). Our room was not ready yet; however it was located in building 92, top floor, just as requested. I was easily able to make the ala carte reservations myself using the touch screen board located in the lobby which the staff showed us at checkin; there is also an app some people use, but I was never able to make it past the log in screen.

ROOM:
We waited about 30 min and our room was ready. It was very clean and similar to the old Ambar rooms. The king size bed was very firm but we like that, especially my Boyfriend who is still raving about it! The bathroom has a jacuzzi, which I used and worked very well, a separate shower and water closet and yes a DOOR, lol… I don’t understand the open concept room thing!!
We had great water pressure and never lacked hot water.
Everything in the room worked well from the safe to the AC, which we *really* needed this week! Note that at the moment, “because of covid” several items are missing from the room. There is no coffeemaker, no hard liquor in the mini bar, no pen & paper pad (useful to leave notes to the maid!). We are very early risers; and because my Boyfriend urgently needs his coffee upon waking up, we brought a small coffee maker with us which we left behind with the maid at the end of the week. However looking back I don’t think it was necessary; although we weren’t expecting much of room service on the Esmeralda side, they were surprisingly quick and efficient. I ordered coffee, juice & pastries for the room almost every morning and we always received it within 15-20 minutes. Since I am slightly more patient I got my coffee every morning from the Ambar coffee shop when it opened at 7am; it was a 10 minute easy walk from our room, and I walked back to Esmeralda by the beach path every morning… easily one of my favorite moments of the day.

***Bring a portable mug with lid if you want to get coffee to go from the coffee shop! They only have flimsy paper cups or real china, no in-between.

Wifi is free throughout the resort and works just fine for the usual emails, social media etc. We paid extra for premium wifi because my Boyfriend wanted to stream; however it was useless… he was unable to and we would have been fine with just the regular wifi. Don’t bother.

WEATHER:
We had great weather all week; but I think this was the most humidity and heat I’ve ever experienced in the Caribbean. We had one day of complete cloud cover, but I think it was still about 35 deg C anyway. The AC worked very well all through the resort, including the room.
I saw some seaweed issues prior to our arrival, but we got lucky as it was all gone when we arrived. There was no seaweed problem during our stay, and what little there was, the staff was very quick at raking it away. The ocean and the pools were as warm as bath water! The beach was perfect for long walks (my FAVORITE thing about this resort) and we walked almost every day all the way past the Majestic resort and back.

FOOD
We went to the Ambar buffet every morning for breakfast – breakfasts at the Ambar are the best! Love the mimosas, the eggs, the smoked salmon, tons of pastries choices …

For lunch, we went either to the Ambar buffet and also visited Las Olas (the new building which houses several new restaurants). Las Olas is located next to the Ambar pool but is actually part of the main Punta Cana/Bavaro resort, so anyone can eat there, including children. Everything was brand new and clean and service was great. The view is unbeatable from this new building. I tried taking some pictures, but they don’t do it justice.

For dinner, we did ala carte restaurants 6 nights and room service once.
PORTOFINO: we visited twice, and both times had the minestrone soup and the beef carpaccio for appetizers, and the penne arrabiata and the seafood risotto as main courses. Highly recommend this restaurant, we love it every time. The amaretto apple “welcome drink” is delicious!

IL CARPACCIO: Part of the main resort, now located in the Las Olas building. I had the red snapper which was amazing! Boyfriend was jealous of my choice, but also enjoyed his spaghetti Bolognese. Beautiful view of the ocean!

GARDEN GRILL: Again an oldie restaurant from the main resort, which was moved to the new building. Keep in mind that main resort = children are allowed in. This was kind of meh… I had the shrimp brochette and he had a strange combination of salmon smothered in bbq sauce. This was probably our least favorite meal of the week.

LIMBO: Beautiful art deco decor, great drinks. The veal, the steak and all appetizers… highly recommended!

TEQUILA: New Mexican restaurant in the new Las Olas building. Open to all sections of the resort. We were super impressed! Once again that gorgeous view, wicked margaritas and we loved the food… Boyfriend had the beef fajitas and this was by far his favorite meal of the week. I had the shrimp burrito which was amazing! We will definitely visit this one again.

ROOM SERVICE is one of the weaknesses of this resort IMO - on both the Ambar and the Esmeralda sides. It’s very limited, especially for breakfast. We ordered coffee most mornings as mentioned, and a burger and a ham sandwich one night. It was good and arrived quickly, but they need more menu options.

We didn’t do much as far as entertainment… although we thought we would hang out at the Ambar all the time, we actually preferred the Esmeralda lobby at night for drinks, as it was less crowded. They had shows every evening and some pretty good live singers.
The Esmeralda has 3 pools – the “activity pool”, the “quiet pool” and a adults-only jacuzzi, and a water park for kids. We actually ended up really liking the “quiet pool”, which was indeed quiet, and the jacuzzi and usually ended up in either one at the end of the afternoon, after spending the day at the beach on the Ambar side. We would usually go to the Ambar beach after breakfast, never reserved chairs and we didn’t have any trouble finding a spot where we wanted every day (Boyfriend doesn’t like sand (I know ??!!???) so he prefers the chairs placed up on the white wooden platforms at the Ambar). They do have beach chair service but we only saw ONE waitress for the whole Ambar beach all week. Like everywhere, there is staff shortages… be patient. Or, the beach bar is literally a 1-min walk away.

Regarding the government-imposed measures. Masks were worn by everyone at the buffet, walking in and out of restaurants, like at home. I saw some people wearing masks outside, I even saw a couple wearing masks while swimming in the ocean………………. Overall though, you are not forced to wear a mask “outdoors”, including the open-air lobbies and around the pool, etc. I never wore one unless I was really “indoors”.
We brought two boxes of masks with us but we could have left them at home; the staff will give you a mask anytime you ask (you don’t really need to carry one with you; just ask for one when entering the buffet, etc the hostesses always have plenty of boxes).
The hostesses will give you plastics gloves to use at the buffets as well.

We did our covid test about 2 days prior to departure. They say you have to “book” your covid test when you check in using a QR code that is literally posted everywhere around the lobby; but that step was completely useless.
We got to the Esmeralda lobby at the time we had “booked”…. They sent us to the concierge, who had no record of any covid tests – he just give you a number on a scrap of paper (like at the butcher) and sends you to a room next to the Kids’ club downstairs. There is a nurse there who does the test; takes 10 min and you’re done. You pay her directly, cash or by card. Basically we could have skipped the QR code booking and be tested anyway.
We got our results by email within a few hours. We never received a paper confirmation; if you have no phone and need a paper copy, perhaps mention it to the staff when getting your test done.

Overall we really enjoyed our stay, but probably wouldn’t return to the Esmeralda – we would go back to Ambar next time. Although it was great to have an actual bathroom in the room, we both just prefer the adults-only atmosphere of the Ambar beach, and having a room close to the beach is important to us. My Boyfriend also just LOVES the swimup rooms, and I like having the coffee shop close by, especially if the coffee makers are still a no-show.

See you in Spring 2022 Ambar… fingers crossed!

Date of stay: October 2021
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank 999amelieb
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Online Reputation Coordinator Bav, Otro at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, responded to this reviewResponded 9 October 2021

Dear Guest,

We greatly appreciate that you have chosen one of our Resorts for your 14 visit to Punta Cana. It is a real pleasure to read that you enjoyed a fantastic holiday.

Posts such as yours delight us and gives us confidence to keep working hard to satisfy our customers and improve our service. It is wonderful to know that you and your husband enjoyed an absolutely delightful week with exceptional and outstanding treatment.

Looking forward to seeing you in 2022 and make you feel as in home!

Always at your disposal,

Yubi Sandoval
Online Reputation
Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 September 2021

We just returned from a week's vacation at this great resort. Room was large with comfortable bed , very clean. Bathroom was nice size, however there was no shelf in the shower to put your body wash, shampoo etc on!
The grounds are beautifully maintained , pools are huge and the beach is close by. Lots of lounge chairs and palapas available . Everything is cleaned and desinfected constanyly, blue cards on each table in the lobby, dining room or on lounge chairs indicating that it was done. Guests had to wear a face mask entering the dining room and getting a drink at the bar. The swim up bars are not opened due to covid restrictions.
Food at the buffet was OK, nothing special. I have to agree with other travellers that the service in the buffet restaurant wasn't the best : quite often we had to wait for somebody to take our drink order or ask if we needed a refill. I still don't understand why it takes 3 people to serve water and coffee at breakfast!
The a la cart restaurants were good.
Great evening shows! Bring mosquito repellent if traveling soon.
Lots of sea weed on the beach but they were doing a really good job trying to keep it clean.
You can get your covid -19 test done right at the resort ,72 hours before return flight to Canada, cost is $82 US per person.

Overall - a good place for a relaxing vacation. Would go back!

Room tip: Pool side has great view!
Date of stay: September 2021
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
3  Thank jolantar43
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Online Reputation Coordinator Bav, Otro at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, responded to this reviewResponded 29 September 2021

Dear Guest,

We would like to thank you for bringing to our attention your comments about your stay in our Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda. At Bahia Principe our goal is to make your vacation become an unforgettable experience.

Thanks for your comments and looking forward to seeing you soon at our Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda!

Greetings from Punta Cana,

Yubi Sandoval
Online Reputation
Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 September 2021 via mobile

Overall, this is a nice resort. The rooms are a nice size, they have two huge pools, and the grounds are well maintained. The food is not extraordinary but not terrible, and the a la carte was amazing. Front desk staff are very helpful and friendly, they have golf carts that take you to the other Bahia Principe resorts nearby, and they’ve taken appropriate COVID measures without making you feel oppressed.

The entertainment team was great. There weren’t poolside activities every day but almost. The shows in the evening were good too. They have a company who sells excursions to guests by the pool and on the beach. They’re not too pushy and leave you alone if you say you’re not interested. We bought an excursion to Catalina island from them and it was amazing. They negotiated price with us and delivered with a truly wonderful day trip.

This was my husband and I’s first time in Punta Cana and my second time at a Bahia Principe resort. While the resort itself is great, we will never return for one main reason. We quickly realized that the service staff is quite racist if they think you’re Haitian. In the dining room, we were often ignored, not brought water or asked our drink orders even when we were sometimes seated right in front of the service station. On more than one occasion a supervisor working the floor had to get someone to serve us. Cleaning and maintenance staff would not respond when we would pass them and say hello (in Spanish or English). Many times at the pool bar my husband was ignored, treated rudely, and on one occasion the bartender served white people who arrived after him first. The woman in charge of cleaning our room was also not very nice. She cleaned well until the second day when my husband forgot something in the room and went back while she happened to be there and she saw who was staying in the room. It went downhill from there. Took our tips and never said thank you so we stopped tipping her. She didn’t come clean one day, never gave us soap, and would often leave garbage in the room despite having supposedly cleaned. This put a huge damper on our vacation because we’ve never experienced this anywhere we’ve travelled. No one wants to pay money to be treated poorly.

The phone and the safe in our room were not working so we called to report it. It was fixed the same day and we were promised a bottle of champagne for the inconvenience by Wendy the customer experience rep. We never received it. We ran into him by the pool two days later and reminded him he said he would take care of it right away and nothing ever happened. The beach is unfortunately overrun with algae and jt smells quite awful. A couple of people we talked to said they got a rash after swimming in the ocean so we stuck to the pool.

Overall the experience we had was very disappointing and could have ruined our trip had we not decided to make the best of it.

Room tip: Make all your dinner reservations for a la carte restaurants on your first day.
Date of stay: September 2021
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank Anika R
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Online Reputation Coordinator Bav, Otro at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, responded to this reviewResponded 18 September 2021

Dear Guest,

We are really sorry for not being able to fulfill your expectations with our services during your second visit all-inclusive Bahia Principe.

Concerning the lack of service you mentioned, please allow us to inform you that your point of view has quite surprised us, since it is not normal that we receive those kinds of remarks from our clients, but on the contrary, we usually receive excellent feedback about their friendliness and attentiveness that characterize the Dominican people.

Because your opinion is one of our top priorities and we do not want you to have a mistaken perception from us, we really hope to consider coming back to this Caribbean paradise in the Dominican Republic and enjoy all our facilities and services.

Kind regards,

Yubi Sandoval
Online Reputation
Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort


Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 September 2021 via mobile

Really bad service. We had to wait a long time just to get water and the buffet nothing special this resort supposed to be a 5 star but to me maybe a 2 star. And the wifi terrible could not get it on my tablet. So far a bad experience also the beach is terrible.

Date of stay: September 2021
Trip type: Travelled with family
3  Thank Q2760ZLalexl
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Online Reputation Coordinator Bav, Otro at Bahia Principe Luxury Esmeralda, responded to this reviewResponded 5 September 2021

Dear Guest,

We cannot tell you how sorry we are for any inconvenience you may have experienced during your recent stay with us. Please rest assured that your observations have been taken in the highest consideration and shared with the General Management of our Resort in order to analyze the points you mentioned.

It is our sincere hope to have the opportunity to welcome you again in the near future in any of our Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, and demonstrate that our commitment is towards our beloved guests as our main goal is to achieve their complete satisfaction.

Looking forward to hearing from you before your next visit so that we can take care of all the details prior your arrival…

Best regards,

Yubi Sandoval
Online Reputation
Bahia Principe Bavaro Resort

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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