I was there during the week of May 4th 2008 with my girlfriend.
After reading many many reviews, I would be lying if I said I was totally comfortable with our choice at first - so to be fair, I decided to write a review and show the real colors of our trip.
Flying in was without any problems. Once at the airport, quick check in with customs and then, someone was waiting with a sign of our tour operator. Hop on the A/C bus and had a 1h15 ride to the resort. Once we got there, pleasantly surprised by the beauty of the lobby... we had booked the golden package so they directed us towards a smaller room where we had to check in. Since our whole bus was golden, the waiting time was a bit longer than expected, but no big deal, they worked fairly fast. Included in the upgraded package was the safe, otherwise, it's about 5$ per day.
The bell man was not available so we took our luggage ourselves... a bit far, but once again, nothing bad, did some exercise...
Our room had nothing to complain about at our arrival. Everything was in order. Obviously, it was a bit hot because the A/C only runs when you are in the room (electricity ran by door card), but in a matter of minutes, the room temperature was quite good. We had an ocean view, as promised, so we were quite happy about that. Don't be surprised to see some ants running around though, so do not leave any food or drink open in the room (especially the bed).
The food is, in my opinion, the highlight of the resort. The buffet was very good, especially the pasta and their special chicken. The sea food also was quite delicious. With the golden package, you get 4 "a-la-carte" dinner, all 4 were very good.
The drinks were ok. We are not big drinkers, but the alcohol we took was fairly acceptable.
The beach was ok. A bit disappointing because it is quite rocky at the entrance. There is 2 beaches, one mainly for snorkeling (which was nice) and another that is more for swimming. After you pass the rocky sand section, the water is nice. We were in a "down season" so a lot of chairs were available and there was no need at all to reserve. There is also a nude beach section that is isolated (next to the beach bar). Overall, the beach was ok, not as nice as expected or wished.
The sports and entertainment were not their highlight. There is some activities near the pool, but nothing amazing. Same old games such as bingo, dancing lessons and pool volleyball. The shows at night were ok. A dance crew is there 2-3 times a week, and their show was well done... the entertainment was funny sometimes, but have to give them credit for being up beat day in day out. The sports near the beach (aquatic) were so so. The guys working there are really relax, so you just grab what you want to do and hop on the water and there you go. They do not care that much, which can be nice or bad depending on your needs. Catamaran, kayaks and windsurfs are available.
The staff is very nice. You have to adapt your mindset to a more relax and slow beat. People in Jamaica are very easy going so do not bring your North American fast-paced mind there. Tips are always welcomed. We would leave a 1$ or 2$ at our dinner table and a couple more for our maid.
The pool was huge. A big pool bar was in the middle. A LOT of drunk people around the pool, and the chairs were a bit harder to find since everyone seemed to be hanging there.
We did the excursion in the Ochio Rios city. Honestly, it was a waste of time since the tour has a planned route in some shopping markets. We would rather visit the city and see the real culture of Ocho Rios.
Good points: Food and the room. The Staff was also very nice.
Bad points: People. A lot of people on vacation there just did not know what the word "classy" meant. It was quite a turn off to see a group of loud, low class, people drinking in huge beer coolers around the pool. I understand that it is vacation, but there is a way to have fun without making a huge scene.
In order to get away from that crowd, the beach is the place. It was calm and a more respectful place.
My suggestion: Good place, but have an easy going mindset before heading to that place. Do not waste time looking for every little details otherwise you will be missing the bigger and better picture the resort can offer.
Have a great vacation!
- 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