We just completed our first trip to Mexico and overall it was a fantastic experiance. The culture, the food, and the scenery is about the best in the world. During this trip, upon the recommendations of firends', we decided to stay at the Grand Bahia Principe Coba (GBPC). We weren't disappointed, however there is always room for improvement
Upon arriving, we were checked in quickly and efficiently, and even given our first margarita. The only issues were the fact that the in-room safe was an additional charge whereas (in my opinion) should always be standard in any resorts. The other thing was we were placed near the "active" (and sometimes loud) pool. We shared a wall with a family with a small child who cried quite often. GBPC tried to cater to both the couples and the families, and while this certainly increases the revenue, the management at GBPC should try to keep seperate couples and families as the needs are quite different. Spending a holiday listening to small children crying isn't conducive to a couples getaway. We didn't bring this up to the manager, so GBPC wasn't aware of this issue, but it should be best practice to seperate the two. As much as I enjoyed GBPC, this may be the issue that does make me think of another resort.
The rooms are beautiful, but like other reviews say, they do smell musty (because of the enviroment), and the beds are hard (but still surprisingly comfortable).
The amenities in the room are nice, especially the jacuzzi-type bathtub. The minibar service was only adequate (despite daily tips), but at the same time, who spends that much time in the room?
The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, and immaculately maintained. The scenery is enhanced by the abundance of the livestock that call GBPC home. Iguanas and Coatis are abundant and very friendly, and add to the overall experiance. The pools are clean, and excellent if you have children as there was plenty of activities for them.
The food was decent, with the buffet actually a little better than the ala cartes or the snack bar. The buffet is basically set up much like the buffets in Las Vegas. There is plenty to eat, but that being said, the first couple of days our plates were filled to capacity, multiple times. Near the end of our vacation, you could see our plates only containing a few items. The buffet is good, but tiring after a while.
We had tried the Japanese ala carte (Mikado Restaurant) as well as the Mediterranean ala carte (Mediterráneo Restaurant). We had high expectations with all the reviews we read about Mikado, but as someone who has done this style of restaurant in the past (multiple times) the expectations were simply not met. It wasn't bad, but it didn't blow my mind like it had some reviewers in the past.
The Mediterráneo Restaurant was simply not good period. The service was decent, but the food wasn't very Mediterranean at all. It was an oppourtunity missed. I had the pleasure of eating at both Greek and Turkish restaurants and I think the Coba could do well in retooling their Mediterranean fare on the menu. BTW...Mediterranean appetizers aren't conducive to a visit to the salad bar...thats just plain lazy.
We had a third reservation at the Brazillian Restauran (La Gran Tortuga), but because of both my wife getting ill, as well as our past two ala carte experiances, we decided to give it a pass.
The beach at the Coba was absolutely gorgeous. The water was clear and packed with many colourful fish, and reefs that ensconce the entire Mexican Riveria experiance. We were able to find a couple of deck chairs under a thatched shade and sipped mojitos while enjoying the heat and the azure blue Carribean Sea.
We also tried the beach at GBPT (Tulum) but it wasn't as nice. It had a little smell to it, and not as calm as Coba was, so the wildlife stayed away. But if you like bodysurfing (which I do) it was a little adventurous between the wave breakers.
Getting around was easy (except for later at night when almost EVERY cart was only going to GBPT and not Coba). The carts are a neccessity to really enjoy the resort(s) and made it possible to visit the other buffets and bars, as well as the Hacienda.
The Hacienda Doña Isabel was awesome. The stores were very comparable to the stores in both small villages in the surrounding areas, as well as the 5th Avenue market in Playa Del Carmen. We went almost every night, but our favorite night was the night they had the Mexican Fiesta night. Mariachi Bands, singing and dancing, a small buffet of some of the most tastiest of dishes, as well as games, and a mechanical bull (which was epic). Definately one of the highlights to our vacation.
The lobby bar was our favorite bar as it was the only place to get wi-fi (without paying-but more on that later) so we could post our pics on Facebook to our insanely jealous friends. Every night they prepared Mexican Coffees which was the perfect cap to a perfect evening, and being with my beautiful wife in one of the most beautiful areas of the world was indeed perfect.
Now for those reading this who haven't been to Mexico before, and for those that work for GBP that would like a few tips and tricks to improve the resort, please read a little more.
1) Make sure you bring at least $150 US in small bills in order to reward the great service. The staff work very hard to ensure everyone has a great experiance. The little acknowledgements go far...trust me.
2) Make sure you bring as much cash as you feel comfortable bringing BEFORE you reach the resort. The ATM in the lobby is criminal in the charges it wants from you to use it. If you were to add it up, it was almost 25 bucks on every hundred in additional charges. There was an ATM at the Hacienda Doña Isabel that was fair, but only gave out pesos. But try and go with US dollars as they are almost MORE readily accepted than the Peso.
3)This is more of a tip for the hotel. In these days of word of mouth advertising, especially ONLINE word of mouth (Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor...etc) you would think you would want to give your guests plenty of oppourtunity to grow your business FOR YOU. You already have wifi in each villa, but make them free to use. People can boast about your establishment in real time, to all their insanely jealous friends. Don't rely on your guests to get home, and for several weeks later, hope they write something positive about their stay...if they remember. Be proactive. It would be a small loss in revenue that you may even get back in spades from future business. Look into it.
4)If you are travelling as a couple, try to see if you are in an area of the resort that doesn't have a hundred children just meters away. Try to see if your reservation can place you with like minded couples. Children are awesome (I have three grown children) but when you are on vacation, being woken up early by children laughing/crying can get old...very fast.
5)See my amigo, Jaime at Best Day for all your excursions. (seperate review pending). Not only does he get you the best prices, but can also help first timers with any situation that they might find themselves in. he was absolutely priceless in his knowledge and helpfulness.
I hope you find what you need to know about the Grand Bahia Principe Coba
If you have kids....stay near the activity pool. If you are a couple who want a little quieter local...
See more room tips
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.