I will start by saying we booked through Apple Vacations and upgraded to the Club Golden, so all our experiences are based on Club Golden level services. I don't know if some of the issues I read about in prior reviews are based on Diamond level, or just flukes, but we had no problems. Our check-in on arrival was prompt and handled in the air conditioned Club Golden lounge. Our room was ready and we went straight there.
Rooms: We were in room 18503 and had an incredible view of the swimming beach/lagoon. I loved our location!! It was an easy walk to the lagoon, the lunch/snack bar, the buffet restaurant, and the pool. It was further to the lobby, but really not an issue. I spent every morning and every evening sitting on our patio enjoying the view of the lagoon and the music from the Snack Bar (which was just to the right of us. It was never loud or intrusive, just excellent background music). Upon arrival in our room, I noticed that the little daybed was not made up for sleeping. I searched the room for extra sheets. Finding none, I called down and requested some, then we left for dinner. When we got back, the sheets were there! First happy surprise given the prior reviews about super slow service. I made the daybed, and we never called for anything again. Every day I left our housekeeper a note and a tip asking for what we wanted (extra water, more diet coke, more beer, whatever). Every day, the things we asked for arrived like magic! No waiting, no worries. The room was clean, well maintained, and quite large as resort rooms go. We have stayed in some very small resort rooms and this one was heaven by comparison!! One downside, we are used to a King bed, so sleeping on a double is less than ideal. I would be thrilled if resorts offered rooms with one King, one double, and one daybed. We would be guests for life!! In the scheme of things, a minor detail and one that I can easily live with for the right to be on vacation in paradise!
Restaurants: We mainly ate in the buffet restaurant, as we really prefer to eat when we want and my boys don't like to have to dress up for dinner. So, we only ate at the Mikado Japanese restaurant one night, all others were in the Buffet. The very first night we were there we had the terrific luck in being put in Jody's section. ( I believe her true name is Jodaine, but we called her Jody). She took such excellent care of us that we asked for her every single night. Our drinks were always full, our table was kept cleared of dishes, she made excellent conversation, and my youngest son adored her!! We were greeted with hugs and excellent care every single time. One night we arrived and her section was full, so we were seated elsewhere. When she spotted us, she immediately took over our care from the assigned server. Obviously, that meant an extra table for her, but we belonged to her by then, and she to us!! As I said earlier, the only specialty restaurant we bothered to eat in was the Mikado Japanese. We had other assigned reservations that we were entitled to, but we were happy in the buffet and cancelled them all. The Mikado was excellent. The service was attentive, although not as good as Jody. Our at-table chef did an excellent job and the food was delicious. Even my super picky 11 year old asked for seconds of the fried rice and hibachi steak. A true compliment!! Two minor downsides to our Mikado experience. First, our hibachi chef was the one and only server the entire time we were on vacation to actually "ask" for a tip. To be fair, he very politely informed our table that his portion of the evening was complete, and it was the time to give him a "gift" if that was our intention. Maybe too many people were waiting to the very end and all the tips were going to the server instead of being shared, so he started hinting in order to get his share. I would suspect that is the case, but I would think a system could be implemented to be sure the tips get properly shared. Either way, we took the hint and gave him our intended tip, it was just earlier than I expected. The other surprise of the night came next. As soon as our chef left, we were promptly escorted from the hibachi table and moved to a regular table for dessert. Since there are only 6 hibachi tables in the restaurant, I can see they probably needed to move us out quickly, but it felt odd to be moved to a different table for dessert. Neither were major issues, just strange. We did enjoy the evening a great deal, and the food was terrific. Can't say enough about the food served at the Snack bar/Beach Lunch buffet. The Jerk was terrific and the service was prompt. The food was typical Beach Bar fare, not so different from every other resort, except for the Jerk. We ate it every day. The breakfast buffet was also very good, and had a large variety. No matter where we ate, every single day at every meal we all found items we enjoyed and enough variety to please every member of the family.
Pool/Bar: Gorgeous, lagoon style pool. There is a kid section, a quiet section, and an activity section. Chairs very hard to find, with shade nearly impossible. That could be because we refuse to play the "towel on chair in the early hours of morning" game and just grab what we can find when we need it. No matter, we spent most of our time at the beach, and only an hour or so a day at the pool. Service at the pool bar was always prompt. Actually, every bar on the property was prompt. I don't think I ever waited more than 30 seconds to a minute to be helped. Very impressive given the size of the property and that we were there in a busy time. I usually asked for them to make me the drink of the day, or their specialty. That way I got to try lots of fun drinks. Saw lots of people using their own insulated mugs, and can see why that would be a good idea. Helps the drinks last longer before melting away.
Beach: Directly in front of the pool is the rocky beach. I heard it was good snorkeling, but didn't try it. Walk to the left past the Beach/Snack Bar, and you will find the amazing swimming beach/lagoon. LOVED the lagoon. Calm, not deep, incredible blue water. The perfect place to float the day away. Chairs much more available here than at the pool. PERFECTION!! (except for the super rough sand. Felt more like gravel and was hard to walk on) I suspect it was man-made and not natural. Either way, loved the lagoon!!
General: Yes, the timeshare people (oops...I mean "vacation club") people are around trying to rope you in. Mostly they hang out in the lobby, but once I saw one near the pool. A simple "no, thank you" is all that is required. Then, walk away. Worked every time. The lobby wifi was a joke. We did pay the $40 to get in-room wifi. The plus, it was unlimited in time. The negative, the signal was weak and sporadic. It's a 3rd world country, roll with it. Do I think it should be included and available everywhere? Yes. Maybe they will change that soon...
All in all, we were thrilled with our stay and will definitely consider returning. The service was top notch, the food was excellent, and the resort was just right. I don't understand the prior negative reviews. I never felt like our service was based on an expectation of tips. Each person we tipped seemed grateful and appreciative, not like it was expected. The people of Jamaica are essentially a happy, playful group. No matter where you stay, go check out the country. I know we will be back!!
- 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
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, BookIt.com, BP USA TRAVEL INC, Hotwire, Travelocity, TravelUp, Hotels.com, Orbitz, TripOnline SA, Cancelon, Evoline ltd, Cheap Tickets, getaroom.com and HotelQuickly so you can book your Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- 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