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Gran Bahia Principe Esmeralda 2013 Brides

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http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/06/14/hamilton-dominican-republic-jail.html

 

Crazy stuff!

 

This poor groom and his cousin might do exactly the same thing if they had a do-over  - his bride was getting caught up in the fight, after all - and it was other tourists that were involved in the fight, not Dominicans. As KatyaNova would probably agree (and your wedding photos are gorgeous, by the way!), this kind of thing definitely doesn't happen every day! Still, I'd be extra careful when travelling to any country that doesn't have the same transparency and opennes that North American legal systems do. One of the risks we take in return for a beautiful destination wedding!

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I'm getting married at the esmeralda in April 2014. Just booking the restaurant now at either il capricio, piscis, or garden grill. Having trouble as they say if you want drinks you need to have an open bar. I have trouble believing this. What have you guys done? I'm also having dj mannia. Any advice regarding restaurants? I'm expecting 30 to 40 people.

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Hello Brides,

I am writing this review of our wedding at Gran Bahia Principe Esmeralda, now to help inform your decision making for such an important event. We had our wedding July 2012, some background , I researched and read every blog, website etc. as I did not have the option to visit all hotels we were considering. My first choice , from personal experience and attending my friends wedding was Paradisus Punta Cana, Palma Real , but could not due to budget concerns w. family members. 

As a vacation hotel, Esmeralda it is fine, good food, great beach, the hotel service itself was great.  As a wedding venue, I would not go with this hotel after our experience with the wedding planning department.

1. Horrible communication- I spent months emailing with wedding planners(they seem to change by the week w. no warning), I am Dominican American and am fluent in spanish, this did not seem to facilitate planing. I got the sense they just want you to decide most things upon arrival.

2. Wedding venue options, FEES, rules for options, using outside vendors,  etc are ridiculous, They have rules and fees for almost any option you would need or like at a small private event. To use any off resort vendors you will be charged a fee ( aprox 200$ or more), to have guests from outside resort attend your wedding you or they will have to pay a fee per guest. I can go on and on.

3. The wedding planning department itself is very disorganized, has poor communication and coordination; my flowers were incorrect and I had to argue w. planner to have florist return to fix my bouquet, She failed to coordinate a rain plan ( it rains often and i had an outdoor location for the ceremony)  a second location had to be organized at time of ceremony, delaying our event 1 hour, my guests had to help the few staff members at the indoor location set up chairs and dry off chairs because they were poorly staffed and organized. \ To reserve restaurant for your group , you need to make these arrangements before arriving at the hotel w. your planner, I was not told this and was told at hotel I could not make any restaurant group reservations for my group. 

I had a few off resort guests attending, we decided to pay the resorts fees for them ahead of time, They were forced to pay upon entering the resort and my husband had to after much back and forth have the planner correct this and return the money to our guests (all during our reception)

They double charged us for many items , this came to light at our check out when we were told we had over 1,000$ balance.

We had to go to wedding planning department ourselves to have this oversight corrected and almost missed our flight home.

4. Venue for ceremony are poor, they look ok in pictures, but on the resort the gazebos are all in very public overcrowded areas of the resort, one gazebo is basically on the side of the road were the trolley drives by every 15 minutes.

the beach venue is also old and on an overcrowded beach, they tell you they can not section the area off.

We made the best of these obstacles to be able to enjoy our wedding. We had 70 guests and paid for a private dinner and reception, and did not feel the wedding planning department was efficient or professional.

I hope this helps those trying to decide on a venue. I could not find much on Gran Bahia or Esmeralda myself when I was looking. 

I wrote a formal complaint outlining these and more issues but never even got a response from the hotel.

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Hello,
I am so happy that I found this blog because I was going crazy not finding info anywhere. I am getting married at the Esmeralda on June 23, 2014. I was wondering if any of the brides that have had their weddings there already are available to answer some questions. For example:
1) Did you bring your own centerpieces?
2) If you had a private reception, where did you do it? It looks like we'll be having between 40 and 60 people.

3) Did you use the salon and if so did you like it?

4) For beach ceremony: Did you bring your own decorations for the chairs or did the hotel do something for you as part of your package?

 

And something I found extremely helpful in the last 30 minutes I spent in this site... pictures! Do you have pictures of the reception area, ceremony area (I chose the beach wedding)?

 

ANY help would be greatly appreciated as I've been stressing a lot about details...

 

Thanks!

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