Essentia by Emotions
- What's Included
- All Inclusive Features
Our stay can be best summed up by my six-year-old, who burst into tears as soon as he woke up on our last day, wailing, "I don't want to leave!"We had never been to the Dominican Republic, so I didn't know one beach from another; I chose Emotions because it fit our budget and the reviews seemed generally pretty good, although I was worried about a few of the one-star ones.After spending six days there, I have no idea what the one-star reviewers were upset about; we found Emotions to be a lovely place to stay, and for what you get, it's an absolute bargain. The short description: Lovely resort, lovely staff, an absolute oasis from everyday life, you should go. Phenomenal vacation spot for families. We're already trying to figure out when we can go back!The very, very long description for obsessive folk like me who like lots of detail:Location: The resort is just off a small road; our driver had some trouble finding it, but the back end of the resort abuts the main boulevard through Juan Dolio (you can see the parking lot from the boulevard). The small road at the front of the resort (where you check in) separates the beach from the resort; it's no trouble at all to cross it, as parking attendants are always there to make sure you cross safely. It feels more like part of the resort than a separate road, in fact. I wouldn't have been afraid to cross it barefoot. The resort itself: Beautiful and sheltered. The architecture looks a little 1980s (that's not a criticism; just an observation); I think I read it was built awhile ago. Hodelpa does great work with it; the grounds are lush and immaculately kept, with little ponds and gorgeous trees everywhere. We adored the two flamingos that stand outside the building with one buffet and the Mexican restaurant, honking to visitors, and the ponds are filled with fish and tadpoles. The buildings surround a main path that runs from the front of the resort to the back; the whole effect is simply beautiful.The main pool is right next to the front office. It's enormous, and divided by a wood plank bridge. There's a bar, the entertainment stage, and shops around it- One, the coffee shop, is a great spot for (included) coffee and treats and Milwaukee, the beer bar, serves included Presidente beer and other options a la carte. No kids allowed inside Milwaukee, but you can bring beer and nachos outside and sit at the many tables around the pool. We spent most of our time at the pool because we couldn't get our son out of it. ;) It's very clean and has fun quirky little features like a gradual slide into the water at one point (abutting a kiddie pool area), and different levels so some areas are ankle deep, and some up to a depth of about 5 feet. There's a back pool section with a volleyball net, too. It can be a little tricky to get a lounge chair; people have a bad habit of claiming a chair with a towel and then leaving, but there are plenty of tables, too, so there's always somewhere to sit. The pool is not heated, but with the sun pouring down every day, it doesn't need to be. The pool closes at 8PM, and then is lit with many colored lights, so it's nice to sit by it in the evening and look at it.I could see the pool in the Adults Only section and beach-view pool in the Essential (VIP) area; they both look very nice, but are pretty much standard pools. I think both are probably great for adults traveling without kids, but wouldn't be as much fun for kids as the main pool. The pool itself never felt crowded.We stayed in Building 5, which is in the back, located near the kids' area, and our balcony faced out on the rear parking lot, which also is where the climbing wall and the batting cage and archery practice are. There is no shade back there, so wear sunscreen if you check them out. (Actually, wear sunscreen anyway. You're in the tropics.) Building 6 looked to be quiet, too. 2, 3 and 4 are closer to the pool and likely to be noisier (but also a lot livelier; there's always something going on at the pool!).The rooms are fine; perhaps a little bare for an American who doesn't travel a lot, but for those of us who have been off the continent and have some perspective, the rooms are very nice, and compared to a lot of European rooms, decently spacious, too. We stayed in a Superior (the least expensive option) and were very satisfied. We would have had a better balcony view had we been in one of the rooms facing into the estate and not out on the parking lot BUT our room was also very quiet, even on nights when the poolside entertainment was very loud. Our cabinet doors didn't close very well, but again, it's not a big deal; we didn't come to Juan Dolio to hide out in a hotel room all day. The TV worked fine, but we didn't turn it on after the first night; too much to do at the resort! A/C seems to have two settings- very cold, and off, but we only used it at night, and since we wanted it to keep any mosquitos at bay, very cold was ideal. ;) Beds were very comfortable; I slept very deeply. There's a room safe if you want to use it and the fridge is stocked with complementary drinks.The bathrooms are clean, the staff leaves plenty of towels (AND facecloths; I brought some of my own having read reviews about that, but I didn't need them) and the hot water worked great. The shower stall door DOES leak, so put a towel down at the edge (the excellent housekeeping staff will replace it every day, so it's not a big deal). They provide shampoo and soap; you'll want to bring your own conditioner if you use it. Toilet flushes fine (some reviews have complained, but we had no trouble).Food: Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included- breakfast and lunch are buffet, and dinner can be either buffet or you can make reservations one day in advance for a Dominican, Mexican or Italian restaurant. The buffet is nice; there are plenty of options and I didn't think it was repetitive; there were some different choices every day. The food is a mix of things Americans are comfortable with and some more Caribbean options; we ate very well. One buffet is located midway through the resort and the other is on the beach. The beach is (obviously) the better view; wi-fi is better at the one located in the middle of the resort (if you like to read the news while eating breakfast, like I do). My picky eater of a son had no trouble finding things he liked and I think my husband tried his best to eat the resort out of passion fruit. ;)We ate one night at the Dominican restaurant and two nights at the Mexican; I thought they were both good. Neither knocked my socks off, but for a meal included in the resort price, I can't complain. The Mexican restaurant does a great mole sauce. We didn't try the Italian (we live in NYC and you can't go three blocks without bumping into an Italian restaurant), but another tourist we met did and said he loved it.Drinks: as at every all-inclusive I've ever been to, the drinks are generally pretty weak, but that makes it easier to drink them all day long (and, in our case, not get completely sloshed- we were traveling with a child, after all). The daiquiris and pina coladas are pre-mixed though still good, but I really, really liked the coco locos. There was also some passion fruit thing my husband came back with after one trip to the bar- really, really good. Be sure, if you're a drinker, to ask for Mama Juana, the Dominican Republic's special mix of rum and wine with honey and spices. Not only is it delicious, but the bartenders were always delighted when we ordered it. I've drunk Presidente before in Argentina and in NYC, but after this week, I think it is a beer really best enjoyed ice cold in the heat of the Dominican sun. A perfect complement to the climate. On a non-alcoholic beverage note- they provide bottled water, but we had no trouble drinking the water served at every meal. Lots of juice and soda options, too.Kids' Club: I have to give big, big thanks to Perla and Yuleisy (I hope I spelled those names right) for being so wonderful with our little chico. The Club's hours are listed 9-5, but it's a bit moveable, so don't count on that exactly. The Club is a cute little building (with excellent AC) with a few video games and board games and a small playground and other things for kids to do. Our son asked to go play there for at least an hour every day. The Club will ask you to write down where you'll be when you sign your child in, so don't plan on dropping them off and then going off-resort (not that you should do that anyway).Entertainment/Resort activities: At check-in you are given a schedule with the daytime activities- nighttime activities weren't listed, but they were different every night. We didn't do a ton of it, because we spent a half day at Boca Chica on a snorkeling trip and a full day in Santo Domingo. But we did do karaoke, I tried the water aerobics, and my husband joined in on the merengue competition on the Dominican Show night. We had a lot of fun. The entertainment is almost all day long, but not in your face; you can participate or not. Next time I'd like to try a few more things, especially the Spanish lessons. The Dominican show was GREAT; I loved watching the dancers. The staff are fun and friendly and funny. And the emcee does his intro in FIVE languages.The Beach: This is the one area where I was initially going to post some negative things, BUT- well, see ahead. Reviews noted that Juan Dolio's beach isn't on the level of Punta Cana or Boca Chica, and "seaweed" was mentioned a few times. And yes, on our first two days, the seaweed right in front of the resort was really, really heavy. I was a bit disappointed, but I did find if you walked a few hundred feet in either direction (and you can walk for miles on the beach; it's very beautiful) you could find areas to swim that weren't seaweedy, and where there was more sand and fewer rocks. But it was a bit of a bummer that the private area had so much seaweed. In fact, after our half day trip to Boca Chica, we discussed staying there next time. THAT SAID- our fourth day we had breakfast at the beach, and the water in front of the resort was totally different- very little seaweed and crystal clear. Same the next day. So it just depends on the tides, I think. We had a great swim every morning after that. And the Juan Dolio beach has lots of seashells and coral, which for little kids, is more important than how far out they can swim. My son loved playing at the sea's edge. I do recommend water shoes if you're a little finicky about what you feel under your toes, as I am.There are vendors and stray dogs on the beach (typical of beaches anywhere that's not in the US, in my experience) but it's not a big deal. Ignore the dogs (they're very shy anyway) and repeat "No, gracias" and you're fine. Unless of course you want to get a massage, or your hair braided or a trinket, in which case, you'll have lots of options. :) Be sure to haggle over the price!Ocean Diving (I think that's the name runs a kiosk out on the beach); Robert did an wonderful job selling us on a half-day snorkeling trip, which we loved. I know the resort has an office for another third-party excursion company onsite, too, but we didn't check it out.Staff: They're all amazing (shout out to the wonderful Llioel, which I am sure I am misspelling) and were incredibly kind in letting me practice my limited Spanish with them. We didn't have a lot of trouble communicating; most speak at least some English, and a little Spanish goes a long way.My only negative, and it's not a big deal, is that the resort sells time shares, and you are frequently approached about it. I get it; time shares are money makers for resorts, and I wan't particularly annoyed, but some of the salespeople are more aggressive than others. But we made it through the whole visit without going to a seminar on a timeshare, so it's all good. Again, "No, gracias" is a useful phrase to drum into your brain. :) The timeshares may be a good deal; they just aren't our thing so I can't speak to it.So that's the long-winded "here's what to expect" review. We really did have a wonderful, wonderful time and are already planning when we can return. I am inspired to continue learning Spanish for our next trip. My husband's only complaint was that he wished we had booked 8 days instead of 6. :)
I write this as I sit by the pool waiting for the hours to pass before we leave. I travel to an all inclusive yearly and haven't felt the need to write a review until now. The resort has potential, but lacks in service! It seems like the staff are not happy to be here; maybe they don't treat them well or even pay them well but whatever the reason they are not happy....we've probably encountered 5 workers who actually smile and seem to want to help you. We even had a girl in the morning buffet roll her eyes at us when we asked to sit at an unmade table. God forbid she has to work. They aren't quick to clean and make up the tables, it's help yourself mentality I guess? We tipped generously but it didn't seem to make a difference.We arrived at 11:15 pm and there was only one person at the desk, about 20 minutes later another came to assist. Got to our rooms in building 6, rooms are basic. In the week we were here my room got cleaned only 3 times, never have I encountered that before, the cleaning lady was more interested in speaking to the young guy that was following her around then cleaning the rooms I guess. She also leaves the cleaning cart with dirty towels and dishes wherever, one time in from of my neighbours room the next time between my room and the stairs (see picture). I guess when their shift is done it's done. On Sunday I asked for water in the room and for them to fix the main light; it's now 5 days later and I'm still waiting, maybe they will bring it for the next guest. The buffets are the same thing everyday not good nor a large selection. The al a cartes were good and nice for the change. We were a large party and a few of us had bathroom issues throughout the week. Night shows are lacking. Coffee house is a plus however I don't understand why it closes at 10 when the night show is going on, you would think it would stay open until 11 at least. The table game area is another plus.Be prepared for the constant membership/timesharing selling, the constant promise of a VIP breakfast and gift they are seriously annoying, I'm on vacation LEAVE ME ALONE! And the vendors on the beach another annoying experience. The resort should block them off as other resorts do or not allow them on. The same people constantly come up to you and when I say come up they are right in your face in your conversation! There's not enough beach chairs by the pool nor enough umbrellas. You never see anyone cleaning up around the resort, one day there was a banana or something squished on the ground and about 7 works passed right over it, finally about an hour later someone finally picked it up. There was a pile of dirty dishes on the walkway ledge for 2 days.We booked the Catalina snorkelling with the Sunwing rep, what a disappointment! Over an hour bus ride then a boat ride both ways, we were told we would be able to snorkel for 40 mins we only got 20 mins. None of the staff on the boat spoke English and no one showed you how to use the equipment. Not enough food at lunch; one piece of chicken each because they ran out. The beach was nice but definitely not worth the money! I would not recommend this place. Don't waste your money!
Just got back a week ago - spent 2 weeks here.First room, flooded when having a shower. Couldn't call front desk, as phone didn't work either. Walked there, they sent someone to clean it up and said come back in morning to move rooms. So we did. Thought this room may be better, didn't flood, but we noticed later that the bathroom ceiling was dripping in 5 places, gross when you're standing in there and you feel a drop on your head. Went to the office in the morning, they said they'd send someone. We returned late that day to discover nothing had been done. Very frustrated by this point. Put this info on a tripadvisor review, and low and behold, the next day we received a call and a letter under our door to meet with the Guest Services Manager. She was very nice, and we moved once again to Building 4, which is the VIP, Adult Only building. It was better. Nice to walk out of room to the pool. The food was pretty good at the resort, meat often overdone, but fruit and vegetables were always excellent, and pizza at beach was great. Entertainment - Michael Jackson Show - best resort show I've EVER seen! About 1/2 the days we were there entertainment was great, the dancers were really good. The days they had karaoke and just audience participation things, not great. We had read about snorkeling here, but didn't once see anyone snorkeling along the reef area to the left of the beach, a little rough maybe..The beach wasn't quite what we were expecting, there was a little floating seaweed constantly. There are plenty of lounge chairs, and we had no trouble finding a spot in the shade. Beach vendors didn't bother you if you said no thanks. The time share group was very annoying. Seems like they're at every corner of the resort, one of them even asked us to get him a beer...NEXUS TOURS - Affiliated with Sunwing. We met with our rep "Elvis". Told him we want to see a waterfall. He showed us a video on his phone, we said sure lets do that. He booked us for LOS HAITITES. No waterfall. Terrible excursion. Cost $129 USD. Waited on the side of the road for an hour in a crappy cab/van while missed participants were picked up and brought to us. Changed to a better vehicle. Long drive, about 2 hours, which we didn't realize (our fault for this I guess, as we didn't ask). The tour guide continued to hit on my friend the entire time. Went into a cave, nothing great. Hardly any bathroom breaks.Lousy beach we were taken to, not one person went in to swim. Lunch was so so. Mangroves were nice, but very little of them, maybe 5 minute boat ride through them. Worst boat ride back, drove so fast we couldn't move from our seat, and we were absolutely drenched from the waves. Completely dripping wet (we had the worst seats obviously). 5 minutes before we got back to the dock, we were given raincoats, a little late....Then we had a 3 hour ride back in an air conditioned van, as they look a different road back. Oh, and we stopped on the road once again for 20 minutes or so, as the tires were smoking, and the smell inside of horrid. We really aren't complainers, but holy %$?! this was awful. We should have arrived back at 5 or 6 and got back at 8. Next day we asked for a refund, we argued about this for about a week, and ended up with a 40% refund... We did still enjoy our vacation, as it is what you make it, but these are the issues we came across. I would not return. Our next excursion we booked through Transat rep -Speddy - he was awesome - gave us plenty of info on the excursion, and it was exactly as said
FIRST OBSERVATIONS:Caribbean resorts that we have stayed at (many) normally have big beautiful impressive resorts all lined up one after the other. However, Juan Dolio is not like this and our first impression of Juan Doilo and Emotions was negative. It is a mostly unimpressive area and somewhat desolate. When we checked in, the resort seemed pretty small and meh. That impression was soon to change!!!!STAYING AT EMOTIONS:Once we settled in and got adjusted to the resort we fell in love with it!WHY?- the workers are great, they want to please you and they're not looking for tips like most places (we did tip).- the food and drinks are very good and the specialty restaurants are fantastic! (especially Italian)- the resort grounds are beautiful and well maintained.- We got a free upgrade to Building #4 (Adult Only). It was great! Updated rooms, comfortable beds, huge 2 person shower (note: the shower floor is fine, the issue is there is only 1 small drain for 2 shower heads. So the drain may at times have trouble draining quickly). Also, building #4 is close to all the action but is still quiet to sleep in.- the beach is great and safe to walk in both directions.BIGGEST PLUS:The resort has an awesome "common area" at the main pools where there are a bunch of cafe table and chairs in front of shops(coffee shop, wine and cheese shop, brewery/sports bar, gift shop). This is where everyone comes together and hangs out and the ambiance is exceptional.
Enjoyed a great week Mar 10-17th at Emotions Hodelpa. Stayed in the VIP area on the beach side of the road. From our room we could walk right out to the VIP pool.Three a la carte restaurants to chose from and two buffet style plus beach snack bar.Service was excellent Genesis was of great assistance any time we had questions or needed help.
Vacations packages include round-trip flights, accommodations, round-trip transfers (unless outlined below) to and from the hotel, and tourist cards (if required, unless outlined below).
If selecting an all-inclusive resort option, the package will also include the all-inclusive features as outlined by each resort.
Items not included:
- Travel insurance (mandatory if traveling to Cuba)
- Tourist cards ($10USD)if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing Airlines
- Departure taxes ($20USD) if traveling to Dominican Republic with Sunwing or Signarture Vacations
- Hotel transfers for packages with WestJet to USA (with exception to Honolulu)
- Hotel transfers for packages to Europe
- Items of a personal nature
- Daily buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner
- Unlimited a la carte lunch and dinner (preferred reservations)
- Room service (light menu breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Unlimited domestic and premium brand drinks (house wine included)
- Personalized mini-bar restocked daily
- Daily sports and activities program
- Select non-motorized watersports
- Nightly entertainment
- Free shuttle service to golf course, disco and casino nearby (2-minute drive away)
- Free WiFi
- Private check-in at the ESSENTIA private lounge
- Welcome VIP cocktail
- Private pool
- Exclusive bar/lounge
- Bathrobes, slippers and beach towels in room upon arrival
- Turndown service
- Anti-allergy pillows and blankets
- iPod dock in room
- Colonial City Tour of Santo Domingo
- Free 30-minute massage
- 300 rooms
- Restaurants including 2 a la carte (Dominican Fusion & Italian)
- Snack bar
- Coffee house
- 3 Swimming Pools
- Tennis Courts
- Kids Club
- Climbing Wall
- Serenity Spa (fee)
- Bicycle Rental (fee)
- Scuba dive centre (fee)
- Club & Casino
- Business Centre
- Laundry Services
- Free WiFi throughout property
- 1 king-size or 2 double beds with anti-allergy bedding
- full bathroom
- flat screen TV
- personalized mini-bar
- pool towels
- turn-down service
- in-room safe
- steam iron
- balcony or terrace
- maximum occupancy 4 persons
Resort Location Map
Essentia by EmotionsSanto Domingo,Dominican Republic
- Hotel Contacts
- Extra Info
Boulevard Juan Dolio, Juan Dolio Dominican Republic
Some restaurants may be open for certain meals only and limited visits may apply. Reservations required and dress code in effect for a la carte restaurants. Time restrictions may apply for water sports.
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Photo identification and/or credit card or cash deposit may be required at check-in for incidental charges.
Extra-person charges may apply and vary depending on hotel policy. Rollaway beds and cribs (infant beds) may be available and should be requested at the time of booking; fees may apply.
Special requests are subject to availability upon check-in. Special requests cannot be guaranteed and may incur additional charges upon check-in to fulfil.
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