Travelled as a couple to go to a friends wedding and we stayed for a 7 nights.
The resort was quite large. We had a junior seaview suite on the side overlooking the Exclusive pool. The rooms were nice and they were large, with a nice little sitting area and a large washroom. The king size bed was reasonably comfortable, and the linens were well used but clean. The washroom had a Jacuzzi tub which we never used and a shower stall. It appeared cleaned but it was hard to tell because the tiles are dark and patterned hide stains and dirt well. The room was very sound proof. The air condition vent needed a cleaning as the room smelled musty. It was hard to decide whether to keep the door open and let in the fresh air or put up with the smell. I also smelled cigarette smoke coming in the vent at some point. Hopefully you won't spend too much time in the room, but I had a bit of a hangover a few days and needed the extra sleep! Anyways all in all the room was nice and the mini fridge was stocked daily with fresh beer and water!
The resort had its glitches and felt a little bit controlled. Some complaints are that you are supposed to book the snorkel gear 24hrs in advance - which I only heard about after going down to the snorkel hut and read the sign. They also want a $50 USD deposit on each set of snorkel gear, which was problematic as I didn't bring that much cash to an all-inclusive!
The buffet times were sometimes awkward .Breakfast ended promptly at 1030 and then you had no close by food option until lunch at 1230 at the main buffet. I think the seaside buffet had food starting earlier but it was very far from my room so I didn't bother to check until lunch. Once lunch ended at 3, you were out of luck until dinner at 630. The American style snack bar was pretty brutal. It was open all night but only had processed hamburgers sitting in tinfoil.
The food itself was really good! The ocean snack bar had really delicious Jerk Chicken. Try all of the hot jerk sauces, but I warn you they are hot! They tasted great, but my stomach payed later because I used too much hot sauce! All of the Buffet's had really good food and great choices. We only did the Don Pablo a-la-carte, which was really tasty, and was a nice evening. I recommend doing at least one sit down meal. It is hard to plan meals out and make reservations so far in advance on vacation, and what ends up happening is that when you go to make a reservation, options are limited. but if you look in the dining rooms, they are not close to full because so many people miss their times!
The beach was not the sandiest or private beach that I've been too. It is actually quite small and rocky for the most part and you're likely to have someone sitting very close to you. The beach bars are cool, and convenient. It really isn't the best resort to go to for beach time. On the upside, the snorkeling is really good! There are a lot of reefs, and the colourful ocean sea-life is abundant! But watch out for the urchins!
Nightlife was really good! The shows were cool, the singers were good, the disco was lively, and the karaoke is a real blast! A hidden gem and a must is to go and sit by the pool and listen to the piano man playing. It was romantic, private and a cool little spot to enjoy a drink at night.
One major complaint is how the hotel is constantly trying to market their time share program to you. When you get there they encourage you to sign up for a tour and a time share session for the prestige club. If you do it you get a gift bag full of tourist trap crap. We also received a telemarketing call from the hotel prestige club to our room when we were sleeping to try and tell us we had won a free prize. This was somewhat harassing as I wasn't looking to be telemarketed to in my room. They also knocked once to try and sell us this prestige club time share stuff.
Towels were also constantly running out. The beach towel hut ran out early, so make sure you get up early and get your towels! Our room also constantly had a towel shortage, and they would have to come and knock on your room almost daily to give you towels (the house keepers take them but aren't able to immediately to replace them).
All in all, we had a really good time! The weather was great and it felt like a privilege to be on vacation enjoying the amenities of the resort.
Note: Tipping isn't expected but many staff will encourage it. If you tip for everything you're looking to add an extra $200 on to your trip. Canadians and Americans appear to be big tippers (tipping for every drink), I didn't do this nor did I bring the cash to do so.
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- Also Known As:
- Bahia Principe Jamaica
- Gran Bahia Jamaica
- Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Hotel
- Grand Bahia Jamaica
- Bahia Jamaica
- Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Jamaica
- Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Resort
- Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica Runaway Bay