from Montreal, Quebec
Submitted on 01-31-2017
Having stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Resort 3 times before (2 times at the Esmeralda and 1 time at Bavaro), we were excited to go back and try their newest hotel with our 2 children, ages 2 and 4. Firstly, the property was very nice - big pool, the new water park is fantastic for the kids (well done) and the castles really add a mystical feel for the kids. The rooms resemble the Esmeralda exactly. Food was mediocre. I know it is all the same food at all the hotels across the resort, but I mu...
Having stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Resort 3 times before (2 times at the Esmeralda and 1 time at Bavaro), we were excited to go back and try their newest hotel with our 2 children, ages 2 and 4. Firstly, the property was very nice - big pool, the new water park is fantastic for the kids (well done) and the castles really add a mystical feel for the kids. The rooms resemble the Esmeralda exactly. Food was mediocre. I know it is all the same food at all the hotels across the resort, but I much preferred the buffet at the Esmeralda. Le Gourmet was not good at all. The Garden Circus was good. I don't know if it is because this is a new hotel but it seemed as though they didn't have everything available (food-wise) - it was better to go and eat at other buffets as they had more selection.
As far as the entertainment is concerned, I am quite disappointed. I would have expected more geared towards children around the pool area and in the evenings in the lobby area. Yes, they have activities at the Kids' Club, but a lot of the kids' and parents want to be around the pool so why not bring the activities outside in that area. For example, have face painting one afternoon, inflatable games, balloons, ice cream, cotton candy - everything that kids love. Instead, we had to go to other hotels which are not as geared towards families which does not make sense to me. Also, the shows at night were not very kid friendly. Other than the Circus show and Michael Jackson shows (which were both excellent, by the way), the shows were not for kids (example: 3 tenor show, the forest show which my son was scared of, etc...). A lot of the times they were advertise a show @ 8am (like the pinata party) and when we showed up there would just be dancing for the kids. I was very disappointed with this. The Castle Show is OK - the kids liked it, but it is very late (10pm) for the young kids and it is the same thing every night. It is also very loud so be aware if you have a room with a pool view and your kids go to bed early!
Be careful around the hotel. There are some questionable safety concernts (example, metal bars lying in the grass in the kids' park, sharp cement edges, rusty plane propellor).
The staff on site were not very helpful. No one really knew what to be doing. For example, I asked when the Air Canada shuttle would come to pick us up for the airport, they said "I don't know" and didn't really offer suggestions other than "there will be a guy somewhere around tomorrow morning. Ask him". Luckily, I knew the resort well enough to know where to find a book that had all the shuttle times listed. Also, when trying to exchange money at the front desk, they said they didn't have any change, but didn't bother to refer us to the exchange bureau at the Punta Cana lobby. I just felt having been a return customer that I knew more about the resort than they did. I would have also like some kind of recognition having been to the resort several times before (example, a different colored bracelet, an extra bottle of rhum in the room).
Finally, the maid service / mini bar service (which are two seperate people) were only good when we tipped. We didn't have kleenex in our room for 3 days until I left a tip (even though we out the empty box in an obvious place so she couldn't miss it). They only brought us drinks for the kids in the mini bar when we left a tip.. etc.
We got better service at all the other hotels. At the BBQ place one waitress was even so kind as to give both my kids balloons (would it be too much to ask for to get this service at the Fantasia?). Don't get me wrong, some of them were very good, but the majority looked exhausted and were hardly smiling. They didn't make us feel as welcome as at the Esmeralda where the hospitality is fantastic.
OVerall, I am disappointed that the Esmeralda has become adults only because I would rather stay there again that at the Fantasia. I hope they make improvements and they they get better as the years go on.