We had a quite nice 2-week stay in Gran Bahia Principe and mostly enjoyed it but the last day totally spoiled our entire impression from the vacation. We had a prepaid transfer (by "Best Day") from the hotel to Cancun airport. About 20 minutes before the pick up time we showed up at the lobby, left our luggage at the door guy and went slowly to the lobby to check out. We had about 15 minutes to check out until the transfer should arrive and there were only 5 people waiting in front of us, with two check-out receptionists. We thought we will still have some time after check out to relax or walk at the pool etc. But when we saw that it took about 10 minutes to check out ONE person, we started worrying... And we were right: there were still 3 people in front of us, when the transfer arrived. My girlfriend went to him and told him that we are waiting in the check-out line and it takes quite long and asked him to wait. Thereafter, she went to a check-in receptionist at the front desk and asked him to help us out, as the transfer is waiting and we just need to return the keys, as the whole vacation was prepaid. The receptionist showed zero interest and told us to wait. So, at the end it took 30 minutes to check out!! Thereafter we quickly went to restroom, as the ride to the airport can take up to 2 hours and when we returned we realized that our prepaid transfer LEFT!
We immediately went to a "Best Day" representative in the lobby. She made one phone call and told us: "The guy left and there is nothing I can do for you!". So we called the hotel manager, explained him the whole situation but his only respond to our complaints was: "It's your problem, you should have been here earlier!" We were quite shocked to hear this, as after spending 2 weeks at this resort I was expecting a different response. We have been traveling a lot but we have not seen such a reaction from a manager and disinterest to solve a situation, they indirectly caused. Furthermore, I don't think that we are that spoiled if we assume that it should take shorter than 15 minutes to check out 1 person... At the end, we had to call a taxi and pay it out of our pocket for the ride to the airport!
Here are some observations and tips from our 2 week stay:
1) Be prepared to wait. Example: to book an a-la-cart restaurant you have to go to "Public Relations" desk, which also books trips. Some people have no idea, what trips they want to do, so it may take 30-40 minutes till they are done. We were waiting in the line for over 1 hour and then it took us 2 minutes to do all our reservations. This is just one example, there were more cases we were losing our vacation time by waiting for some service...
2) Don't book "Best Day" transfer! They charge you $70 for a ride one way. Taxi from the Cancun airport to the hotel is 900 MXN ( = 69.60 USD, according to official exchange rate). The "Best Day" transfer may take up to 2 hours, if you are unlucky and they have to make several stops to drop off other people (which was our case). The taxi made it to the airport in ~1 hour.
3) If you are planning to do trips, exchange enough money in a bank in the US. The bank at the airport had rate 10.5 MXN for 1 USD, in the hotel 11.5 MXN. The official rate today is 12.96 MXN for 1 USD! If you plan paying with USD for services, eveybody will accept it but they will use rate 1:10.
4) Price in Mexico is a very variable term. Be sure you know the price BEFORE you use a service. If you don't know the price, they dare to ask for up to 100% more!
5) Don't book trips through the hotel. They are quite overpriced there. If you find some local dealer, you can save up to 50% (but consider point 4, as the price can change from one day to another :-) ).
6) For travelling along the coast (from Tulum to Cancun) the Collectivo buses are the best option, but again consider the point 4. :-)
7) The rooms in the resort are definitely not 5*, as the resort is claiming. We estimated it to 3.5* compared to other resorts we visited. The A/C in the room was very weak - in our room it was running the whole day on max and still was not able to cool down the room (that's NOT a 5* standard).
8) Food was very good, very high variety, options... Food was available the entire day.
9) The sea at the hotel: during our stay it was very windy with big waves the whole time, from sunrise till night. There are wave breakers along the whole beach, so that it's possible to "swim" in front of them (but there are still many rocks in the water, so you may bring your water shoes). Behind them the waves can be very high and powerful and except for me (I am a strong and experienced swimmer), nobody else dared to swim there. However, the seabed is very boring, with only some seaweed, but no corals or fish. Between hotels Tulum and Akumal there a nice and big coral reef with plenty of fish, however with a strong rip current (sideways). The life guard may kick you out of there (it happened to me once regardless I told him I can handle the current).
10) The beach is very long but definitely not enough for the three hotels (Coba, Akumal, Tulum). If you plan to get a chair on the beach, do it early in the morning, otherwise you can be out of luck.
11) Beach volleyball court was dangerous: a concrete plate with ~1-2" sand on the top. If you dive for a ball, you can injure badly your knees or elbows (there were several cases of bleeding knees).
12) There is free Wifi in only the lobby, with a good signal, however super slow and sometimes stopped working. Our impression was that the hotel wants you to upgrade to premium (paid) Wifi.
13) Minor issue: we were surprised there were no hot tubs in the resort. You may not need it during the day, but it would be nice to have one after sunset, when it cools down. We had a few days, when the temperature dropped after sunset to low 60s.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 3 pools (including 2 with Jacuzzi for relaxation) 1 Jacuzzi Large sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 5 tennis courts, bicycles Motorised sports (additional charge) Water activity and scuba diving centre Entertainment amphitheatres WiFi access in the lobby (1 h per day free of charge) and in rooms additional charge) 1 buffet restaurant 3 a la carte restaurants 6 Bars Snack-Bar Wedding gazebo Dolphinarium (additional charge) Riviera Maya Golf Club: 18 long holes and 9 executive holes with lakes, natural wells and Mayan forest Hacienda Dona Isabel: karaoke bars, shows, live music and disco. Rooms 978 rooms including 4 types: Superior, Superior Junior Suite, Superior Club Hacienda and Club Hacienda Junior Suite. The Junior Suites are larger than the Superior rooms. Room facilities: King size bed (Superior Junior Suites) or 2 full size beds Sitting area (Superior Junior Suites) Fully-equipped bathroom: shower, wash basin, magnifying mirror and hair dryer Hydromassage bath tub (Superior Junior Suites) Bathroom amenities Balcony or terrace Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Radio alarm clock Flat screen satellite TV Mini-bar (included) Coffee-making facilities Safe (additional charge) Ironing set WiFi (additional charge) Club Hacienda rooms (See page 18, Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts Children can enjoy a range of specially-tailored facilities: Children's pool Mini Club with activities for children aged 4 to 12 Evening Mini Disco Bahia Scouts Water Park Other services On-site miniature railway providing access to all facilities 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Personalised diet option for celiacs and diabetics Cash point Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries Casino ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bahia Principe Tulum
- Tulum Bahia Principe
- Gran Bahia Tulum
- Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Akumal
- Gran Bahia Principe Hotel
- Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya
- Gran Principe Tulum
- Gran Bahia Principe Mayan Riviera Resort
- Gran Bahia Principe Mexico
- Grand Bahia Principe Tulum Riviera Maya/Akumal, Mexico