We are in the home stretch of our vacation here at the Grand Bahia Principe in Jamaica. I feel compelled to write about our experience this past week.
The facilities are beautiful, the staff is very courteous and engaging. However, I feel very badly for them. This week has been nothing short of a disappointment in terms of experience; and if it weren't for the beautiful setting and personnel, we would not still be here on this 7th day of our vacation. The workers here have been overworked this week and it shows.
I found out yesterday that the hotel has been overbooked this week; they are offering current guests a transfer and stay at the Riu in Montego Bay with a paid for excursion. This explains what I am about to describe below. I still do not understand why a hotel can book its rooms for more guests than it can accommodate, and have its paying customers suffer from poor service and a lessened experience. We work hard for our money and have limited time with our families as a result. Vacations are important and I feel that we have been taken advantage of.
When we arrived with our two young girls (7 and 4 years of age) on Friday, February the 28th 2014, we were assigned to a room directly facing the discotheque. Needless to say that our two first nights were not restful at all. Our kids had trouble sleeping until about 2AM; their bedtime was 9PM. As a result, they were tired the following two days and irritable. Also, this room had no towels and the shower and sink drains were clogged. My spouse enjoyed a foot bath in the walk-in shower.
Complaint #1 to the front desk: Why are families with young children assigned to rooms facing the discotheque?
Answer: Rooms are booked based on availability.
In my opinion, disco rooms should NOT be available to young families. I conveyed this opinion to the supervisor.
If rooms are booked based on availability and you have more guests than you have rooms, how can this work?
I requested a new room after the first night and was told that the hotel was booked at 98% capacity and that it might be difficult to switch us. We enjoyed another night of noise until 2AM.
On the third day we were informed that we were changing rooms but could not be told which room it would be (this is hotel policy because the new room is currently occupied). Our luggage had to be packed by 11AM or we would not be given a new room. We would only be told at 3PM that day which was our new room. And so that morning, while my daughters and spouse were at the pool, I spent over an hour packing up our room and taking 8 pieces of luggage back to the lobby for it to be stored for the day until our new room was assigned. No help from the hotel with this by the way. Instead, my spouse left the kids with friends and came to help.
Complaint #2 to the front desk: Can anything be done about the wasted time and effort; complimentary Internet access perhaps? Also, I am paying for the room safe every day; will I have to pay for the day that I move rooms since I have no choice but to keep all of my valuables on me?
Answer: We will send up a "special attention" package to your room. Safes are charged per night.
The safe may be charged per night, but I am in the room at night; I need the safe during the day. If I cannot make use of my safe for an entire day, I should not be charged for that day.
We received our special attention package two days later. It consisted of a plate with 8 uncut fruit and a 200mL bottle of Appleton Jamaica rum. There is a full buffet only steps away serving these fruit, prepared each day. And the rum is free-flowing at the bars. My spouse doesn't drink currently although I think I might open the bottle soon as I write this.
Speaking of the buffet and restaurants, we attempted to schedule our à la carte restaurants the day after we arrived and they were all booked except for a few that had availability at late evening hours. Not the best dinner time for children under 8. We worked around this by showing up the night of and asking if they had reservation cancellations. This worked for us once.
The buffet was overcrowded every day with long lineups and items missing and not being replenished fast enough.
Service was under par a couple of days. For example we waited 30 minutes after sitting down to get water and coffee one morning. I ordered from three different waiters and ended up walking over to the Maitre D' to get our beverages.
Some more random thoughts:
On arrival, Air Transat left us at the airport. We had to find another operator to take us to the hotel.
We had to keep our pool towels every day because they ran out within the first hour after the pool staff started their day.
Our second room had no blankets and not enough towels.
Our friends paid for the "Golden Upgrade" which guaranteed them an ocean view room. They were given a room facing the opposite side.
Chocolate bars at the convenience shop are $2.50 and chips are $8.50 a bag.
Finally, be very mindful of what you pay for and what to expect from this establishment. It is an absolutely stunning resort and the people are delightful. However we have travelled to 5-star resorts in the past and I would not rate this one in the same category simply because of the lack of attention paid to their guests. Overbooking is unacceptable given the amount of money we paid for our stay. We will not be coming back to a Grand Bahia Principe for this reason.
Make sure that you are not assigned a room facing the Pueblo Principe. This is where the discothequ...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.