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“Lovely, safe get-away in Mexico” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Bay Hotel

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Grand Bay Hotel
Isla Navidad, Barra de Navidad, Mexico   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 15 hotels in Barra de Navidad
Santa Rosa, California
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Lovely, safe get-away in Mexico”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2013

Grand Bay Hotel is luxurious without being pretentious. Our room was large with a nice balcony with table and chairs looking out on the marina and lagoon beyond. The marble bathroom was large with a roomy separate shower and bath. The food in the restaurants was generally good, with the exception of one meal of overcooked fish. The staff seemed to go out of their way to be helpful and efficient. The golf courses were in good shape and I had a different caddie all 4 days I golfed and they were all delightful. (others in our group were not as fortunate) The only downer was that there were a lot of mosquitoes when we were there - bring bug spray!

Room Tip: The rooms on upper floors have wider views, but there are no bad views.
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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89 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (16)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2013

A great place to relax for up to a week, especially if you love to golf. Originally built in 1992 (according to the plaque in the foyer), the hotel is a charming design built on the hillside next to the entrance of a natural bay. The surrounding geography creates a beautiful setting that engages the eyes in every direction. Adjacent to the property is a 27 hole golf course that is sure to please most golfers except perhaps the scratch players that demand a challenge on every hole. The course is friendly, but not easy if played from the back tees.

Hotel
Although showing it's age in some places, this grand dame of a hotel is well kept by the owners who seem to be genuinely committed to its upkeep. I have read reviews critical of the maturing decor and fixtures, but I believe them to be missing the point. If you are examining the fabric of the curtains instead of brushing them aside to gaze at the bay, marina, mountains, soaring sea-birds, etc then you might as well save the trip and just book your vacation at the new Super 8 down the street from your home. Beds are firm but acceptable. Bathrooms are large with quality fixtures and plenty of hot water and pressure. Towels are plentiful and soft. Housekeeping scrubs and polishes the room every day.
Staff
Exceedingly helpful and friendly. Most speak English, many fluently. During our stay we made several special requests ranging from fixing the a/c in our room to spraying for ants to dining advice. Every request was attended to promptly and effectively.
Food and Bar
Four restaurants on site provided enough variety to keep us interested (we are foodies) for a week. The focus is on quality, not quantity. If your idea of good eating is mile-long buffets of mediorcre glop, then this ain't for you. But if you appreciate well-prepared and beautifully presented food, you will be pleased. One nice feature is a fresh seafood display from which you can choose your lobster, giant scallop, snapper, king prawns and order them cooked to your liking. The fanciest place is Antonio's with full table service by a well-trained staff. One thing that we fould lacking at Antonio;s was the wine presentation. For such a fine restaurant with wonderful dishes, there is no opportunity to pair wines. You simply get the choice of "red or white" as you might in the neighborhood pizzeria. A litte choice in vino would truly enhance the experience and food. For those who desire more variety, take the 2 minute water taxi ride to the little village of Barre de Navidad. There you will have several choices for quality food at very reasonable prices. Seafood = Bananas, German - Marlenas, Mexican = Ramone's. I am told there is even a decent French place though we did not try it.
Activities
Not the strong point of this hotel. It is laid back and relaxing. For those looking for oodles of water sports, long evenings of disco and 3 a.m. encounters with other partiers....don't come here.
Having said that, the pools are fine and there are tennis courts, a beach volleyball pit, and a decent gym. For runners, you can put in plenty of road miles without risk of being accosted as this location is rather remote and its just you and the local banana farmers. Golfers will LOVE the 27 hole course that is next to the hotel. Wide, forgiving fairways will make you feel good about nearly any drive. The tee boxes and greens are immaculate, as every mark gets repaired by your mandatory caddy (300 pesos per twosome, 400 per foresome). Most of the caddies are decent golfers themselves, so if you are not too proud you can get a free playing lesson along the way.
Safety
If there is any crime in this part of Mexico, it's not apparent. So far from the mainstream, it is surrounded by thousands of acres of farms and away from the drug business.
Summary
Rated as 4-star. Well, I guess that would be true for Mexico. Probably not quite 4-star if you are using American or European standards. If you are accustomed to and demand only the best and are willing to pay for it, then you should probably consider a more expensive resort. If you can put up with a few things that are less than perfect, then you will recognize this hotel as an solid value. We paid approximately $1,800 CAD pp for 7 nights in an upgraded room. Take out airfare from Calgary (800 incl fees and taxes), 3 rounds of golf (300), the transfers (50) and that leaves about $95 per night including all food and bar.
Caveat
The ONLY gripe I had was with the "sunset cruise" arranged for us by the Transat rep. I should say that I have been on several of these on charming sailing vessels manned by good mates and sailing past great coastlines. This dog of a trip started with a 45 minute ride in a van (why??....there is a marina right next door to the hotel) that took us all the way to Manzanillo. We were put onto a homely party barge that had seen better days and looked as it it was a reclaimed industrial vessel. The incessant and unrelenting screaming of the barely literate "captain" over the loudspeakers was all about shilling the restaurants and hotels of his cousins and friends. The port of Manzanillo is NOT particularly attractive and nowhere near the beauty of the bay of Barra de Navidid. Save your money and time, and hire one of the local fishing boats at Barra to take you for a spin about 6 pm and whatch the sunset from there.

Room Tip: If you don't like your room, or if there is a problem with it....just let the front desk know an...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
calgary
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013

We just loved this resort, 6 of us went down on jan 4. It was very quiet for a a few days then some more visitors came they were mostly gray hairs , I in bed by 10 pm so mostly had the place to ourselves. The food was good in all the restaurants and there was no problem getting reservations at the nice places. Rooms were clean and quiet. Service was excellent. I would not recommend doing the Colima tour as it is 12 hours of boredom. All the good places like the museums were closed , the volcano is a joke and so is the magic hill..lol.. If you want to go fishing ,snorkeling, sunset cruise and whale watching do not book with the tour people. Best to go down to the marina area where they have the sea doos, and ask for Jose ,they call him Window, phone # is 044 315 100 3432. They have 2 boats we booked the 28 ft for 2 days. It was awesome, we caught saifish mahi mahi and tuna. Saw whales alligators and snorkeling was great to. If you want to to Barra you have to pay for a water taxi 20 pesos return ,still a good deal. Great little town to do some shop lifting. If you want a good tequila get a ground taxi to Malaquie.
another plus is there are no time share people or people bugging you on the beach.
and for the golfers it looks like a good challenge 27 holes.

book it and enjoy..

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

Early December of 2012 four of friends had a great golf experience staying at this hotel. We got a very good all inclusive deal with airtransat from Calgary. INCLUDING UNLIMITED GOLF AT THE RESORT GOLF COURSE.

AIRPORT TRANSPORT - We landed at Manzillio airport and the bus took us to the resort. vwry comfy 30 mins bus ride.

CHECK IN - WE WERE CHECKED IN RIGHT AWAY. handed welcome drink. golf bags were stored safely in the storage room at the entrance.

ROOM - excellent room with a view of the harbour. we did not even ask for a good room they just gave it to us. beds were comfy, old tv but who cares. the fridge was not stocked up as i would have thought. but we use to take away extra beer cans from the bar for later so our fridge was stockd up alays by us.

FOOD - was very good. not much choice in the evening. pasta every night. but if you go to the antonio restaurant there was enough food choce. i liked the 250 varieties of trquilas. tased only 3 varieties. could have done better.

GOLF - this was the best part. shuttle to golf course. we use to play 27 to 36 holes evry day. take a break to drink coconut water after 9 holes. very refreshing. golf course was in good condition. the lagoon course was the hardest. ocean course is the best. Mountain is also good. as we had unlimited golf deal we use to get a note from the hotel each morning and we played all day. use to come in to the resort for lunch and back to the golf course. very hot but cold water and coconuts gave the energy. CADDY IS MANDATORY. WE HAD A CADDY NAMED PANCHITTO. PANCITTO IS 6 HANDICAP AND HE GAVE US LOT OF ADVISE. GETTING OUT FROM ROUGH IS A TRICK AS THEY ARE VERY THICK. CAUSE OF HUMIDITY TAKE 1 CLUB EXTRA THEN FROM THE DRY CLIMATE OF CALGARY. CADDY CHARGED 400 PESOS FOR 18 HOLES (FOR ALL FOUR OF US) BUT IT IS THE BEST SERVICE. GAME IMPROVES A LOT. I SAVED 6 TO 8 SHOTS EACH ROUND BECAUSE OF PANCHITTO.@@@ ALAYS ASK FOR CADDY PANCHITTI@@@

Room Tip: Rooms on the harbour are quieter nd have a nice sunrise view
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pacific Northwest
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

Just returned from a week at The Grand Bay Hotel. The only redeeming features were its proximity to my nephews wedding on the beach, @ Playa de Coco and the little town of Barra, and the wide brick streets that beautifully wind through the property. It looks pretty majestic perched into the hillside. The interior was a major disappointment: could be Anywhere, USA. Why not make use of the incredibly lovely fabrics, bright colors and artifacts of Mexico in the decor? Instead, our bedspread was an old muted, dated floral. Nothing Mexico about it. The mattress pad was lumpy and even the down pillow was uncomfortable.
Our parlour suite on the 2nd floor smelled like a musty basement as soon as we walked in, and continued to smell the entire time. (nearly impossible to dry our bathing suits)
The layout of the hotel was so confusing, even the bellboy that showed us to our room, had to ask directions when he got lost (he had worked there a month). The elevators are all limited to which floors they access. My poor mother (87 yrs old) was on the 8th floor and finally learned her way by the end of our stay - barely.
Oh, one bonus: the yoga/pilates was free, but everything else was a charge. The use of their tired kayaks was $10/half hour. Should be complimentary.
The bellmen and concierges were friendly and helpful. Sometimes they would give you free water (bottles) and sometimes charge you $2 each. huh?
The food was ok. Huge buffet breakfast. Good for those that like to stuff themselves, but not great for healthy choices.
I believe they rate themselves with 4 stars, but sadly, this is inflated. We stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites at SeaTac airport the night before we left and the rooms and service were much cleaner and crisper than the Grand Bay!
If you are looking for a place to stay in the Barra area, check out some of the house rentals, as some in our group found these to be the way to go. Grand Bay charges an arm and a leg for their rooms. We got the 'wedding rate' and it was still inflated for what you get. Can't imagine paying full rate prices. Simply not worth it.
If you don't mind simple and funky, with great food, try the rooms (and meals) at Coco Cabanas. Definitely shop around.
Oh, and the pool blasts music ALL day and evening and kids are pretty noisy, so don't plan on hangin out poolside, unless this is your cup of tea.

Room Tip: If it is within your budget, my brother had a 4th floor executive suite and it had a gorgeous domed...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wauna,Wa.
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013 via mobile

The grand bay has a beautiful site and woefully tired furnishings. Expect a room that smells of mildew and faded mint green decor. My hair dryer was circa 1970 by us standards and had been inoperable for some time. I waited 45 minutes before a man with a tool belt arrived to agree with me that it was truly broken. Ten minutes later a new dryer arrived, all fine except I had to be at a rehearsal dinner well before it arrived. The food was edible and if you are visiting Mexico to eat fettuccine or over cooked beef then you have found your place. At 500+ per night this was a very poor deal. Try the condos at playa grande instead.

Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HongKong
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
72 helpful votes 72 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

Grand Bay Hotel is a very special property indeed. It is located omits own island (well isthmus) and offers spectacular views across the small sound that separates it from the little town of Barra de Navidad.

This is truly a grand dame of hotels he like of which are not found much these days. Everything about Grand Bay Hotel says elegance and charm of a bygone era. The hotel was conceived and completed 15 years ago to cater to top end guests from the US and Canada as well as nationals looking for a luxury retreat as there is golf and a marina on hand to make the stay special.

The design is far more Mexican than anything one can imagine and definitely caters to their style and needs but the sheer scale of the resort and its beauty is what impresses.

Pros - fantastic location, luxury and facilities.
Cons - needs some updating in places and some service is patchy.

There is a boat to take you to Barrra and back if you want to explore this quint little town but for a couple of days you will find all you need in this fabulous experience of a hotel.

Tip: the location is less known than others like Puerto Vallarta or Acapulco but Barra de Navidad and the surrounding area is a hidden gem with fantastic beaches, friendly people and lower prices so treat yourself to a different vacation a little off the beaten track.

Room Tip: Ask for a marina view room...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Grand Bay Hotel

Address: Isla Navidad, Barra de Navidad, Mexico
Location: Mexico > Jalisco > Costalegre > Barra de Navidad
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 15 hotels in Barra de Navidad
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Also Known As:
Grand Bay Resort
Hotel Grand Bay

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