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“Surprised and good overall”

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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Montreal, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Surprised and good overall”
Reviewed May 22, 2008

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!

  • Liked — Food
  • Disliked — Rocky beach, the strong wind and the loud and drunk crowd
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank GGWS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2008

We visited the Gran Bahia Principe as part of a large group for a wedding, and splurged for the Golden Club package. The extra perks were great: free mini-bar, free internet, 4 a-la-carte restaurant reservations, and 24 hr room service, just to name a few. Well worth it if you can afford it.

Our room was great - both ocean and pool views, though I understand that every room at this resort has either one or the other. The water pressure in the shower was good, and the jacuzzi tub helped to soothe achy muscles after a day of water sports.

I can't say enough about the animation team at this resort. They were great. We had lots of fun participating in the daily activities at the pool and on the beach. As an added bonus, there are prizes (bottles of rum, etc) for the games and contests - definitely sweetens the deal. Our days were never boring, nor were the evenings. I read some complaints about the evening entertainment, but we really didn't have any. A healthy dose of laughter can improve any performance.

The beach was man-made, and quite rough in some areas in front of the hotel, but there were more umbrellas and chairs there as a result. For swimming, the beach on the other side of the hotel was good, with shallow waters and the snack bar nearby. We did most of our swimming in the pool, and sunbathing at the beach.

TIP: bring your own insulated mug to keep drinks cooler for longer. We didn't think to bring any, but it seemed like all the other guests did!

The wedding at the hotel was beautiful. The wedding gazebo offers some privacy for the ceremony, and they hired the steel drum band to play at the champaign cocktail reception. Unlike some resorts, this hotel only conducts one wedding per day, so the bride does not have to compete. The spa provided manicures and hairstyling (major hairspray is a must to combat tropical breezes) but was on the pricey side.

One dark spot amongst all the brightness: we had one person in our group lose some valuables from their room. Take advantage of the in-room safes (included with gold club package), and bring traveler's checks instead of cash. No matter where you go in the world, it's better to play it safe - no pun intended!

Over all, our stay at the Gran Bahia Principe was great. The food was excellent, both at the buffets and the restaurants, and we were endlessly entertained by the staff. I would recommend this hotel to friends and family. It's a large resort, so plenty of opportunity to meet new people, and lots to do.

  • Stayed May 2008
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
7 Thank kdd_muse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney Nova Scotia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 21, 2008

My husband and I just returned from the Gran Bahia Principle and I must say we had a fantastic time. Like everyone else we read the negative reviews but since we were able to get such a good deal on the travel package we decided to give it a try. I am glad that those negative reviews didn't deter us because we were thoroughly impressed with the resort. Everything from the quality of the food to the beautiful rooms with amazing views to the beautiful evenings spent on the terrace. We had a blast by the pool- enjoying the delicious drinks (try the Hummingbird). We lounged by the quiet beach- lots of chairs and shade. We ate at 3 a la carte restaurants- all of which were delicous. We went on the catermeran trip to Dunns falls (strongly recommended) and we went on a shopping trip into town (vendors can be aggressive but it is easy to say no). We met lots of great folks from Canada, Chile, England and Spain. You can spot the people who write the negative reviews. They are the ones who are disrespectful to staff, who like to hear their own voices and complain constantly, who generally don't appear happy. To me, we were on vacation and we didn't "sweat the small stuff".

  • Liked — Beautiful Room
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank CaperChick41
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pennsylvania, USA
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed May 20, 2008

We stayed here from May 12-19th and had a great time. We unlike most people don't stress over 5 stars, we go to Jamaica for the culture, relaxation and the locals. Just give us a place to sleep, food and "Sunshine" and we are happy. We loved the hotel itself, rooms were great and so was the service.
If you like to relax and quiet, definetly, go to the bar by the nude beach (it's next to, not on the nude beach). It's actually called the "Nude Bar", and it would be a mistake to miss it. We spent everyday there.
Sunshine, the bartender is the best and we also loved all the Locals, yes they do sell stuff, but if you give them the time of day and ya, buy alittle something(thats there way of making money), they'll be your best friends and not bug again, they are good people and alot of fun.
Basically if your a chill person, like to meet new people, like good jamican music and not into loud pool parties, go to the nude bar area and you'll find that's where the "real jamaica" is. And tell Sunshine, Slick, and John , Carole said Hi and IRIE MON!.

  • Liked — "Nude Bar" and Sunshine
  • Disliked — bigger then were used to
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank mxmom70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Burlington
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2008

My husband and I stayed at the GBP from April 12-19th, 2008 and had a great time. I was a little nervous going after reading all the negative reviews since it was a surprise for my husband's 30th birthday. I realized afterwards that people just like to complain and not take the time to really enjoy themselves. The hotel property is very large and there is alot of walking but its a good way to keep the calories off after feasting on their great food. Our room was very clean and very spacious with a great view. It is owned by a spanish company so there is alot of spanish influence but we still felt like we were in Jamaica. The staff are very nice, polite and fun. The private beach to the left of the hotel is beautiful and there is a bar right at the end by the nude beach so you are able to enjoy your drinks. The water is beautiful and great for snokeling too. The beach infront of the hotel is manmade and the sand is rough so its a good idea to have water shoes but the snokeling around the rocks is good too. The pool is very large and very clean. There is plenty of lounge chairs on the pool side and the beach area. Trying to find shade is not a problem. The only thing that we were a little disappointed was with the night entertainment. Its not located in the common lobby area but in a seperate building so we kept missing the night shows and the disco was empty on most nights. The food was very good and make sure you check out he Jerk Hut at lunch time at the patio restaurant near the private beach. We did the Dunns Falls tour which included two local visits at shopping markets, the botanical gardens and a tour at the local pottery shop. If you have the opportunnity the falls are a must and the best part of the tour, the experience was great fun. The shopping part you only had an hour at each place and its not enjoyable. The vendors were a little aggresive so you feel pressured in buying their crafts. A simple no thank you and carry on will help. If you want to see the island and can split a private cab with some people so its less expensive, its a great way to experience some of the culture. Our cab driver was very nice, drove safely and stayed with us the whole time when we went to Montego Bay for the day. We felt very safe with him but always be cautious of your surroundings since you are in another country. Overall, we had a wonderful experience at this hotel and in Jamaica. We are looking foward to returning to Jamaica next year for another fun filled vacation. Remember, you are in Jamaica and its a very relaxed ambience so enjoy your surroundings of great cuisine, beautiful waters and scenery.

  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Stella56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed May 17, 2008

Well we're back at home and are starting to plan our return to Jamaica next year!!!! Let me sum up the review right now.....the Gran Bahia has all the potential to be the 5* it claims to be but falls a little short on what I call "fit & finish". For a hotel that was recently built, the sticky doors, unwiped grout from the tile installations, the need for more sand on the man made beach and the other little oddities (bathtubs that need a facecloth to plug up and fill because the real plug doesn't work) are the reasons I don't give it a 5*.
The people, food and atmosphere are what make this hotel what it is. We had a wonderful time and would gladly return. The food was plentiful and tasty (jerk chicken for lunch a must). We never had a problem with anything we needed (you learn quickly how the system works.....grease the wheel and it spins quickly, above and beyond). We travelled with our three children and had requested connecting rooms, which we didn't have upon booking into the hotel. By the next night we were in an ocean view, top floor connecting suite (Thanks Taneesha)!!! We also managed a late checkout on our departure! We booked our Al-A-Carte restaurants and were informed half hour later they needed to change the time for the Don Pablo via a letter of apology and care package of T-shirts and other goodies!!!
The pool is endless and 4 foot deep all along. Great for our kids. We never had a problem getting chairs. The ocean by the nude beach section was also great. You could go anytime and find chairs and umbrellas! The kids could walk out forever and were only about 3-4 feet deep.
The bars were quick with drinks and had no problem making them to your specs.
The rooms were very spacious and clean. The bar fridge stocked and ready!
Housekeeping was excellent! Clover went above and beyond for us and our children!
All the staff worked to helpout and were always asking if we were OK or needed something.
We ate to our hearts content and relaxed to a laid back Jamaican attitude that was welcomed and refreshing! The Al-a-Carte restaurants were fabulous. All were a notch above and fun to eat at. Make sure you book Don Pablo and the Mikado!
At the end of the day, if you can get a good enough deal, book this vacation. We did and we don't regret one second of it!!!

Father of three

  • Liked — Food, drink and relaxation!!
  • Disliked — My nasty sunburn!
  • Stayed May 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Father_Of_Three
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal,Quebec
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 14, 2008

I was there from April 26,2008 to May 5,2008 and my husband and I loved everything about this magnificent place. The staff were amazing, the food was out of this world and the Hotel was just gorgous. Please don't read the negative things that people write about this place, it's just probably cause they just don't really appreiciate great food and service with style !! They're just people that have to "[-]" about something. I will be returning to this beautiful resort hopefully soon. The pool is huge and very clean. The staff are fantastic and very friendly. I must say though that the shows at night at the shopping area are not that great, the girl that hosts the evening shows is very annoying,she just didn't HAVE IT, but the Wednesday night show was Jamaican night and that was a show to remember! I personnally loved goin' to the part of the beach that everyone says that is rocky cause there was never anyone there. And the time that we went it was low season and there was not that many people and it just made it all that MORE perfect, there was always place around the pools, we didn't have to wait for drinks, etc... I miss it already !! Please go to this place called Paradise and I'm sure you will not regret it.

  • Liked — very clean and very friendly staff
  • Disliked — should have had more effort in nightly events or shows
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank Dianep14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica

Property: 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 Spa Hotel in Runaway Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Runaway Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Runaway Bay
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Runaway Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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