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Blue Bay Getaway: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

My wife and I just got back from a weekend getaway at BBG. Here is the lowdown. You draw your own conclusions.

THE GOOD:

1. Beautiful beaches a bus ride away! For less than a dollar you can go to Playa Ballenas or Playa Delfines. Anywhere south of km 14 the beach is as good as it gets, with turquoise blue water and lots of clean white powdery sand. Ask the bus driver to drop you off at the next stop after the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Go early in the morning, though; the afternoon waves are too strong to bear. On a sunny day, I saw beach flags switched from yellow to red at 4:30 p.m.

2. The Sexy Pool! There are lots of topless women and silly games that will make you laugh without offending you, unless you are a prude. Do it in the morning and early afternoon.

3. The Quiet Pool! It is very pretty, really romantic, and completely secluded from the rowdiness of its sexy counterpart. I strongly recommend it for couples in the late afternoon and the evening.

4. Nude bathing! I saw it happen at the Sexy Pool the two nights we were there. It is so dimly lit after sunset no one will notice, unless they are a few feet away from you. Make sure your bottom is on shortly before 9:00 p.m., when the security guards come asking everyone to leave the pools. You could probably go naked at the Quiet Pool too; it is dark at night and few people go by.

5. Gold and Blue! Not the infamous bracelets; I mean channels 12 and 14 on TV.

6. Il Piacere! The Italian restaurant, right by the Quiet Pool, is so classy and romantic that it makes you forget you are at a three-star resort. Their food is excellent and their staff very polite.

7. Free Front Desk safe! If your room does not have a safe, do not complain! Accept the free one they will offer you by the Front Desk instead. Use it for your passports, ID and credit cards, extra cash, and any other small belongings that are valuable or hard to replace.

8. Superior Ocean View rooms! When you book, pay the extra money for one. It’s worth it. We got a beautiful view of the sexy pool and the sea without buying into the timeshare scheme.

9. Cleanliness! Everywhere you look you will see staff working hard to keep the facilities neat. Maids leave the rooms impeccable and $1.00 will get you a cute towel animal on your bed.

10. Breakfast at the buffet restaurant! Their menu was excellent, with a great variety of pastries.

THE BAD:

1. The drunkenness! We arrived at the Sexy Pool at about 6:30 p.m. on our first day and were greeted by drunken people yelling obscenities at each other from one end of the pool to the other. When my wife took off her top, one of them broke into shouts of “More beer!” We were so scared that we fled the scene to the Quiet Pool, where we had a great romantic time.

2. The lobby! It is dark and gloomy, with a totally unwelcoming feeling. The “Front” Desk cannot be seen from the entrance. You have to walk past the gift shop and turn left to spot it.

3. Lunch and dinner at the buffet restaurant! The food is actually varied and good enough that you will be nourished and full. The fish and chicken were even tasty. However, stay away from their sliced fruits! They looked as old and dry as if they had been on those trays for days.

4. The wine, the beer, and the water! Mexican wine is terrible. Even the waiter at the Italian restaurant grimaced when my wife asked about it. She ordered it anyway and found out why. The tap Corona I ordered tasted like plastic. Their so-called “purified” water tastes like dirt. Bring bottled water with you for the first day and then buy it at Plaza Nautilus, across the street.

5. No transfers to Desire Resort! Having read horror stories about BBG, I called them two days before our arrival to confirm my reservation and inquired about switching to Desire, since they are both owned by the same company. A lady at the Front Desk told me it could easily be arranged if I paid the difference (about $120 a day). However, upon arrival, Lucy told us we would have to pay the full price of a room at Desire and waive the money already given to BBG.

THE UGLY:

1. The beach! It is so narrow that beach chairs are crammed into a couple of rows close to the shore. The sand is dark, grainy, and dirty. The shoreline has so much seaweed it looks like a long disgusting green stripe. The water is dark and dirty, full of floating seaweed, and probably polluted by the motorboats that dock at both ends of the hotel area. It smells bad too. We did not see anybody venturing into the murky water, and I would not do it, even if they paid me.

2. The Front Desk staff! With few exceptions, they are rude and they lie to you without blinking. When we arrived I asked Lucy to transfer us to a room in section D. She said she could not promise anything, but she told me to inquire the next day to see what she could do. When I did so, she angrily raised her voice and rudely scolded me, “Sir, I told you that section D is only for Premier Club members! You must join the program if you want a room there!” Liar!

3. The delay in getting my room! We arrived at the BBG at 3:00 p.m. sharp, the official check-in time, but our room was not ready until 4:30 p.m. They still owe me an hour and a half worth of my money that we wasted sitting in a lobby couch (I had read about people who left their luggage in the lobby only to get it stolen, without the Front Desk staff taking any responsibility for it). To add insult to injury, I had booked a room with a king-size bed for a romantic getaway, but we were offered a room with two double beds as if my wife and I were just friends.

4. Omar! This member of the entertainment staff shouts all the time and thinks that yelling obscenities every other minute is funny. His voice is so irritating that it gets on your nerves.

5. The room phone! Ours rang at 4:00 a.m. and then twice again until at 6:00 I got mad and unplugged it. We plugged it back in after we got up at 9:00 and it still rang a couple more times with no one answering at the other end when we picked it up. Unless you are really expecting a call, keep it unplugged all the time so you can also avoid the timeshare sales pitch.