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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Reviewed March 2, 2013

My wife and I just got back from our first time to Jamaica, and we were looking for a mega-resort to just sit back and relax on the beach. The Bahia did not disappoint!

The resort was apparently over-capacity during our stay (they offered $100 to anyone willing to relocate to resorts in Montego Bay for a night), but we never felt crowded; it is that big. The only "busy" spot was the prime pool area with the entertainment, but we were there for the beach so that didn't matter to us.

The beach is really long and narrow, which means it was easy to get a spot right at the water. If you were out by 8:30 to set down a towel, you could get a great spot. We were usually there by 7:30 and had our pick. There was a good breeze all week, and the water was great. Lots of fish for snorkeling just off shore.

We booked through Apple vacations, and our entire group was upgraded to their Don Pablo collection. We don't think the rooms were any different, but it gave us access to a lounge with a couple of laptops and wifi (none in the room), as well as a bar with premium liquor (Jack Daniels, Johnnie Walker Red & Black, Bailey's) that are not available in the rest of the resort. There was also a roped off area around the pool that had it's own bar with the same liquor, and the drinks they made there fresh made (Pina Colada not from a slush machine, delicious). There was also a roped off area on the beach. Both of these areas had waiters to bring drinks, but they weren't 'prime' areas, more like the quiet areas at the end of the pool and beach. Lastly, the smaller breakfast buffet had an area exclusive to Don Pablo, the best part of which was the fresh made juice that you could order from waiters.

We had a room on the top floor of the East building. It was a long walk to the beach which is on the West side of the resort, but it was nice and quiet. The elevator was terrible, but we are stairs people so we didn't mind. The nice thing about the upper levels were tile flooring throughout. We walked through other sections of the hotel and the hallways had dated, dark carpets that you could easily imagine being full of mildew. I'd definitely recommend trying to get a room in the tiled sections.

Our room was great, quite clean, and we had a straight-on view of the ocean from the balcony. The bathroom did have some mold in the shower, and the "whirlpool" tub was older, we didn't bother using it. We did have a small flat panel TV, the channels that worked were in the 60's-80's, which was odd. There was no channel guide either, but we weren't there to watch TV.

Another thing that may have been Don Pablo related was unlimited a-la cartes. They even booked 5 for us in advance, one at each restaurant. We booked a second meal at the Japanese restaurant in their interactive section (there is a regular section, and they have different names when you reserve) on our last night, so it was almost like six restaurants. Quality varied dramatically between them. Can't miss the gourmet or Japanese, Spanish was good, steak house was buffet quality, and Italian was worse than the buffet.

The food was good overall, omelet stations every morning for breakfast but you are out of luck if prefer fresh crepes or waffles. Wait for the fresh food to come out to the heat lamps, they generally left food out too long. We loved the cantaloupe, melon, & water melon, which was a good thing because they were pretty much the only fresh fruit available. A couple of days there was also pineapple and Jamaican apples. Lunch at the Jerk chicken shack was amazing, we had this almost every day. You won't find many vegetables that aren't soaked in oil.

As I mentioned, we were here for the beach, but we also did one tour in Ocho Rios through Peat Taylor tours. Will post a separate review for them, but in short, they were amazing, highly recommended. This resort is isolated, so if you are looking to do a lot of excursions or to explore Jamaica, it may not be right for you. If you want to relax on a beach with plenty of booze and food, and don't mind a bit of walking, it is perfect.

Room Tip: Upper floors in the East building if you don't mind extra walking
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank bkdeluxe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this reviewResponded March 4, 2013

Dear guest,

Thank you for letting us know that you had a great time with us and we sincerely hope you come back soon in your next visit to Jamaica.

Yours faithfully,

Helena Gomez
Customer Service Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6,776 - 6,782 of 11,219 reviews

Reviewed March 2, 2013

Nothing but great things to stay about our return stay. It was better than the first time which was hard to beat!@! Great food, phenomenal staff and beautiful location close to Dunn's River and Ocho Rios! 5 star service!! Everyone can have a bad maid, server or room experience so take kind of negative reviews with a grain of salt. It is as 5 star as you can get without being a sandals resort.

Room Tip: The east side is quieter than the west side. When spring break activities are going on you cannot he...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Kit S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this reviewResponded March 4, 2013

Dear guest,

It is truly a pleasure for us tolearn that once again we reached our guests expectations and we provided you a pleasant stay.

Please get in touch with us for next visits to our Resort or others from our Bahia Principe Hotels and Resorts.

Yours sincerely,

Helena Gomez
Customer Service Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013

Very large. Lots of room to spread out. Easy to find a lounge chair whenever you want one. Food was very good. Overall generally good.

Would have been rated 4 stars or higher but:

(1) Found nose boogers from some previous "patrons" stuck to wall in our bathroom. (a) people that do this are idiots and need to be removed from society and (b) the cleaning staff missed this.

(2) Almost electrocuted myself on live bare wires hanging out of electrical receptacle next to night table. Issue was fixed promptly when discussed with hotel staff but still, in this day and age of health and safety, was very concerning. If we had kids it could have been life threatening (see attached picture).

(3) Toilets in the more public areas (snack bar) were plugged often. Found myself walking through an inch of "waste" one night when making a #2 run for the bathroom. Needless to say, my sandals went in a plastic bag for the flight home, lol.

I would have rated the property higher except for these three points. Normally things I generally let slide, but the electrical issue was just plain dangerous. The others just plain gross.

Our travelling partners had broken light bulbs in their room that were never fixed and their coffee maker didn't work.

We never found the noise from the disco to be irritating as others have mentioned, our room was quiet, but our travelling partners had a noisy area, even at night.

A point to remember: The card slot in the room that runs the lights and air-conditioning also runs the outlets for the clock radio and the fridge. The power saving idea is great, but the clock radio is useless and the beer is warm if you remove your card out of the slot when you head out for the day.

Interestingly, we left a tip in the fridge...when we returned at the end of the day, the tip and the remaining beer had both disappeared...oh well.

One of our travelling partners was accused of breaking a necklace by a staff member in one of the stores below the lobby in the hotel, a necklace that none of us had touched or were in the vicinity of. This surprised us, as we had never had anyone try to scam us like that before, in all our travels to Jamaica. Needless to say we had words with the guy (not a Jamaican), and never returned to that store to buy anything. Their loss.

Besides these 2 issues, the staff were quite pleasant and accommodating.

My wife indicated to me that their was no shelf or any place in the shower to leave anything like shampoo or conditioner. She had to leave her stuff on the floor of the shower. More of an annoyance, not a deal breaker, just inconvenient.

We were on the fourth floor and had a great view of the resort and the beach. Some people have mentioned the beach was quite limited, but there is a large section to the west of the resort near the nude beach that was quite nice.

Don't get me wrong, we had a great 7 days, but would probably select a different hotel next time.

Room Tip: Do not pick a room on the ground floor unless you like the noise of people outside your room at all...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Ricketts223
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this reviewResponded March 5, 2013

Dear Guest,

We would like to acknowledge that we have received your comments concerning your recent stay at our property, the Gran Bahia Principe Resort here in Jamaica. We also would like to thank you for taking the time out to communicate the impressions of your vacation with us.

The management and staff we would like to extend our sincerest apologies for the inconveniences which you may have experienced as a result of these situations that you have brought to our attention, and please rest assure that your comments have been taken seriously into consideration and correctives measures have been already taken to avoid this situations in the future.

We hope to have the opportunity to restore your confidence and host you again in our hotel, or at any other of our Gran Bahia Principe Resorts.

Yours respectfully,

Helena Gomez
Customer Services Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013

Feb 22 - March 1, 2013 - Just back from Gran Bahia, it was a fantastic vacation experience, and we wished we were there for 10 days instead of 7. We were a group of 10 and we all enjoyed the resort. Of course nothing is perfect but the "complaints" are so minor there is no need to elaborate. All the buffets and a la carte's were excellent and the Jerk Centre for lunch was borderline addictive. All the staff were very attentive and always asking if they could do anything for you. The beaches and pools were beautiful and the snorkelling was incredible. The water at the west beach (by the beach bar) was the best area for snorkelling - if you snorkel along the buoy line you will see an amazing variety of schools of fish. A few in our group were lucky enough to swim along with a mantaray. WOW!! We stayed in a lovely suite in the Don Pablo section. Our ocean view was breathtaking at all times of the day and night. Seeing the cruise ships sail by every day was very enjoyable - especially the Oasis of the Sea. The on-site shops and boutiques offered any and all souveniers (at fair prices). If you don't want to leave the resort there is no need to do so. The service at the bars was always efficient and the staff were always willing to fill up our "Bubba's" with anything that we requested (water, Red Stripe, drink of choice, etc.). We were fortunate enough to meet Ricardo, Lorraine, Marlon, Vanessa, Sheneca, Peta-Gay, and too many more of the staff to mention who went above and beyond to ensure our vacation was Top Shelf. We would not hesitate to recommend the resort to our friends and family and we would definitely return.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank DougBev_13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this reviewResponded March 4, 2013

Dear Guest,

Your honest opinion is very valuable to other guests who are thinking of staying with us, which we greatly appreciate and look forward to welcoming you soon.

Yours respectfully,

Helena Gomez
Customer Service Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013

This is diffinetely a beautiful resort and location. The food was excellent and the beach was beautiful in the bay. The staff is more than friendly. Yes I would go back in a heart beat. I would recommend this resort to friends and families. The only service that wasn't up to snuff was the bartendar at the Sports Bar. He liked the women more than the men. He should have served everyone equally.

Room Tip: Take the upgrade and have the view of the ocean facing the plaza. You didn't hear the Disco at n...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Helen G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this reviewResponded March 4, 2013

Dear guest,

Your satisfaction is our best award...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience with us and we hope to host you again very soon.

Yours respectfully,

Helena Gomez
Customer Service Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2013

First time visit to Jamaica... A beautiful resort... Extremely friendly staff and amenities...
Sergio the Head Chef has to be commended... The food was excellent.
The Rooms where excellent...
Only negative was not accustomed to the small beach... But it was beautiful non the less...
The Check in procedure was slow at best after experiencing a 2 hour wait to get into the country we had to wait to get our rooms where in other resorts they had you cued in and ready to enjoy.
They couldn't close the lobby bar fast enough at 11pm... Not alot of people want to go disco'ing but would rather sit and chat...
Main Lobby is so bright during the evening - no quiet spots to gather and chat with friends...
The Drivers to and from the hotel where excellent... Full of knowledge and love of their country.
The weather was fantastic...
Will be back

Room Tip: The Rooms on the Disco side were loud...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank OhLaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this reviewResponded March 5, 2013

Dear Guest,
Thank you very much for your feedback. We really appreciate your opinion and suggestions about our operation. We would like to inform that our standards procedures establish the closure of the lobby bar at 11 pm; however our guest can enjoy our shows and entertainment program in our Caribbean Town and our Disco Ska until 2 am in the morning.

As well, we truly appreciate all your positive comments about the wonderful staff and the beauty of our beach and your wishes to return to our hotel.

Yours sincerelly,

Helena Gomez
Customer Service Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

Feb /22 to march 1st 2013
I' m just leaving this beautiful resort. We have been here for a very short week, my wife, an other couple and my self.
Food is excellent anywhere, just pick what you like, there is a lot to choose for and take your time, relax, because you are on vacation, but for the staff is a regular working day.
There are two beaches. East side is quitter to read a book, but with rocks, great if you like snorkelling, west side sandy beach is better if you have kids
The swimming pools are excellent and for everyone. The night entertainment would need more diversity. Over all I would recommend to every one

Room Tip: Any room from the 4th floor up gives a great view. East side quitter and west if you like to hear th...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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8  Thank tony s
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Customer Servic... B, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this reviewResponded March 4, 2013

Dear guest,

In the name of our General Manager and all our Team Members thank you so much for sharing with us your expereince posting your review in Trip Advisor and we hope to have the pleasure of welcoming you again in the near fututre.

Yours faithfully,
Helena Gomez
Customer Service Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica

Address: | Salt Coopers, Runaway Bay, Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Runaway Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Runaway Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Runaway Bay
#5 Spa Hotel in Runaway Bay
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Runaway Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Runaway Bay
Price Range: $153 - $467 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica 3.5*
Number of rooms: 850
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services 3 lake-style connecting pools with 2 areas for children 3 Jacuzzis Large sun terrace with gardens, sun umbrellas and loungers BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 2 tennis courts, volleyball court, football pitch Water activity centre Pool and beach towel service WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Wedding gazebo 2 buffet-style main restaurants and 5 speciality restaurants 4 Bars Snack bar Entertainment amphitheatre Meeting and convention room The 18 hole Breezes Runaway golf course is just 5 minutes from the hotel. Pueblo Principe: local craft stores, live music, shows, sports bar and disco Rooms 848 rooms including 4 types: Superior Junior Suite, Sea View Junior Suite, Club Golden and Club Hacienda Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Pillowtop mattresses Fully-equipped bathroom with separate shower and hydromassage bath tub, wash basin, magnifying mirror and hair dryer Bathroom amenities Air conditioning Ventilador de techo Sitting area with sofa Balcony or terrace Telephone Radio alarm clock Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (additional charge) Ironing set WiFi (additional charge) Club Golden and Club Hacienda Junior Suites Children Bahia Scouts Children (aged 4 to 12) will have the time of their lives with these facilities: Children's pool Special shows and activities Entertainment team Mini Club (4 - 12 years) Other services 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Nudist area on the beach Bahia 'au Naturel' (over 18s only) The hotel has a nudist bathing area apart from the other areas ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bahia Principe Jamaica
Gran Bahia Jamaica
Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Hotel
Grand Bahia Jamaica
Bahia Jamaica
Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Jamaica
Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Resort
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica Runaway Bay

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