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“Truly can't understand the negative reviews. Our stay was great!!”

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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Niwot, Colorado
Level Contributor
110 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Truly can't understand the negative reviews. Our stay was great!!”
Reviewed December 31, 2013

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!!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Marie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarvelisS, Social Media Coordinator at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this review, January 2, 2014
Dear Guest,

We would like to wish you a happy New Year.

To provide our guests an unforgettable vacation is our objective. That’s why we are delighted to know that you have had an enjoyable stay.

Thank you for taking the time to share your review and for vacationing with us; we will be more than happy to host you in your next trip to our Resort in Jamaica to provide you another wonderful experience.

Warm regards,

Marvelis Symister
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
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English first
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

Please keep in mind that we chose to stay with the Don Pablo Collection of the resort (absolutely worth the extra $...100%! Trust me!)

The Good:

- The exclusive pool area (never had to get up early to save our chairs, the canopies were gorgeous and allowed for better shading, no kids (bonus!), good liquor at our bar, nice staff)
- the exclusive breakfast & lunch buffets (no lineups, quiet, delicious, and could even order from a menu - omelettes, eggs benedict, etc. & quick and great service).
- the a la carte restaurants (they were all DELICIOUS, and the staff upon seeing our don pablo bracelets always offered premium wines and amazing service)
- the excursions (the dunn's river falls is a must and the bob marley excursion was educational and fun!)
- the beach (it's beautiful! they offer 3: a rocky/snorkelling beach, a sandy beach, and a nudist beach)
- the local jamaican food on the resort (jerk chicken/pork, patties, goat and oxtail : were all delicious and great to try!)
- the entertainment square (sports bar was where my boyfriend and father spent a lot of time! loved it! the nightly shows were entertaining and fun: especially the steel drum band! the disco was pretty loud and never really crowded, but people stuck around the area either outside the club for drinks, or at the karaoke bar, which was also a blast!)
- 24-hour room service (we loved ordering nachos & hamburgers, etc. during our afternoon naps or after our nights out! wicked service offered by the don pablo collection)
- the free safe (bonus and actually thankful for it! never had a problem)
- cleaning / mini bar (the room was cleaned every day, twice a day some times even! and our mini bar was always stocked perfectly.)
- butler service (a nice display and arrangement of rose petals, candles, balloons, bubble bath, champagne on ice & roses was prepared by our butler deon, as requested by my boyfriend....amazing! so beautiful :) !! )
- the staff (honestly, i don't understand some of the reviews....at the exception of maybe 2 people, the ENTIRE rest of the staff was always smiling, nice and asking us how we were enjoying our stay: including barstaff, donpablo staff, restaurant staff, cleaners, groundskeepers, etc.)
- don pablo lounge (free computer use and free premium drinks in the lounge! awesome fun before our dinners!)
- the grounds were clean & up-kept neatly every day!
- the bahia jamaica massage with ganja oil at the spa was exceptional!! relaxing, although not deep tissue, just FYI! but still great. and when booking with the don pablo collection, i received 20% off as a discount for my massage!

THE BAD:

- The mattresses are pretty hard/stiff in my opinion, and the pillows flat - but hey, i was able to overlook that! the resort is too great to complain about the bedding...I still slept like a baby.

- there was a staff member (grounds-keeper) that asked my pregnant sister for a cigarette and 5$ for him to carve her a coconut......really strange, she got confused because, well, she doesn't smoke, clearly, and was just lounging and said yes to his request of giving her coconut water! anyways, i gave him 2$, but he never came back with a coconut. Very weird.

- one night at the don pablo gourmet restaurant (we were looking forward to this one the most!), my physically disabled father was serving himself of a cheese platter in the entrance (that he could enjoy with his wine) and was essentially told that he could not serve himself and that it was an additional charge (which was also strange, since we received fine cheeses in the other a la carte restaurants)....my father was visibly upset, as he felt they had scolded him like a child....they came by 15 minutes or so later with a tray of cheese for free as an apology, to which my father refused as he was quite upset still...Regardless, we went on with our dinner, but we were surprised when we were handed two expensive bills immediately before desert, for which they were apparently for our wine!...it was upsetting and shocking to say the least, as we had not been advised prior to ordering the wine that there would be a fee...especially since we were given such exceptional wine service at every other a la carte restaurant that week....When we tried to discuss the situation and our disappointment in the service, the restaurant manager stephen simply laughed in our face and we then decided at that point that we needed to quietly leave the restaurant...we never even made it to desert or tea! So disappointing.


RECOMMENDATIONS:

- upgrade to the don pablo collection! the food is great, the service is exceptional, the perks are worth it! Your room view is also to die for when you book with don pablo! We were in building 23, and the 6th floor (there are 7 floors in the complex), and the oceanview could not have been lovelier!

- they should put an espresso machine at the don pablo collection poolbar...or at least in the don pablo collection breakfast buffet! My father had to walker over to the lobby bar to get his espresso every day, and with his with his physical disability, it was a bit of a pain!

- the should have michelle black (piano lounge singer) singer later! we were so looking forward to seeing her, but our dinner reservation was at 7:30, and she was singing from 7 until 9...Very disappointed!

- the piano lounge bar by the don pablo collection pool closed the lights on a dozen or so of us that were enjoying drinks an still seated at the tables...kind of rude, i thought! I would suggest that this bar is open later, and offer entertainment there too! (lounge singers, piano players, etc.)

Room Tip: don pablo collection - building 23 or 24, is superb! the higher the room, the better! (floors 5-7 wo...
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank VieveC89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarvelisS, Social Media Coordinator at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this review, December 31, 2013
Dear Guest,

Firstly, we would like to wish you a prosperous New Year.

We take pride in our reputation of providing our guests with the best in service and the best value for money. It is motivating to our entire team when we read reviews like yours letting us know that you have had a wonderful stay.

It was an honor to serve and we hope that you will not hesitate to return in the near future in our Grand Bahia Principe Jamiaca, a 5 star experience in the Caribbean.

Yours respectfully,

Marvelis Symister
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

Not sure what to say.....a lot of nice things about the Grand Bahia, but also some bad. The pros were the wonderful staff. Most of the food was very good - especially the lobster the first night and the omelettes at breakfast. We had booked the Golden Club upgrade. When we arrived we had a separate check-in which was nice. After receiving our room assignment, we were pointed out its location on a map of the resort and were told it was near the disco and nightly entertainment stage. I suggested a different room since we were usually not late night people and asked if it was noisy. We were told it probably would be and to give it a try for the night and come back the next day. The room was average. There were three of us in the room. Upon getting to the room, we noticed two bath towels in the bathroom. There were no washcloths or hand towels and no soap. There were two small tubes of shampoo and body wash. We were told we would have nightly turndown service so decided we would wait to request additional towels, etc. as they would possibly bring them then. No such luck. A call down to the Golden Club and the wonderful staff there said they would be sent up as soon as possible. Still nothing by the following day. Went to check on getting another room, as it had been noisy that night. We were told if we could wait until the following day they would move us to another room. We agreed to that and again asked for towels/soap, etc. Still nothing by that evening. On a third call, she sounded surprised we had not received them. I'm not sure what the problem was....not enough staff maybe?? Also, the beds had two sheets on them - no blankets. The other problem with our room was the shower. The water poured out around the bottom of the shower stall - once even went into the hallway of the room. What a mess. As we were leaving, the housekeeping staff was outside the door and we pointed it out to them. This must have been an ongoing problem, as the wooden door frame leading into the bathroom had rotted from the water.

After spending two nights in that room, we were finally switched to a new room. We were put in the adults only section, which was marvelous. The room was amazing! We also found the adults only buffet for breakfast, which was very nice.

As far as the restaurants, we were disappointed by the Italian restaurant. On our way in, another diner was coming out and told us to avoid the seafood pasta. She said the rest was okay. Not sure what that was about, but we took her advice. The service was very slow and our food was warm at most. Very disappointed. The Japanese restaurant was amazing.

We were there for Christmas Eve and had to book our dinner at one of two restaurants. There were two seatings so we chose the early seating. We had a specific table assigned so that was nice. However, at 6:30 when the doors opened, there was a mad rush into the restaurant. There were just too many people to try to serve everyone at once. It was buffet style, but they couldn't keep up with filling the dishes. We had to wait for the lobster to be cooked as it was gone by the time we got to it - no big deal, but when it was done, we got mostly the shell. We had also ordered a bottle of wine ahead of time. They couldn't seem to find it and by the time they did, we were eating dessert. Again, it wasn't the staff's fault - they were great and I could tell our waiter felt bad about the situation.

The beach area for swimming was very nice - crowded, but it was Christmas so expected. The pool was busy also. We avoided the restrooms near the busy area of the pool if possible. Ick. Water aerobics was fun. We also used the gym......wasn't overly busy but the equipment was not well maintained - only 2 treadmills, one or two ellipticals, some free weighs and weight machines. Also had a separate room with some exercise balls and spin bikes.

My daughter and I each had a massage. Mine was wonderful. We hired a taxi driver one day and went to Dunns River Falls. It was a blast.

If I had small children, this would probably be a great place to go. We would not go back....I just think the cons outweighed the pros.

Room Tip: Avoid room 15403. After our switch, we ended up in 24302 which was amazing
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Schufly
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarvelisS, Social Media Coordinator at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this review, January 3, 2014
Dear Guest,

We appreciate your feedback regarding your recent stay. It is good to know that our friendly and accommodating staffs, the quality of our food, our entertainment by the swimming pool and our beach were of your choice.
On the other hand, it is with regret that we learn about the aspects you have disliked. We hope you accept our sincerest apologies for all the inconveniences; we are taking note of your observations and rests assure you that we are going to take it into consideration.

Thank you for vacationing in our Hotel we hope you could give us the opportunity to host you again to recover your trust in us.

Yours respectfully,

Marvelis Symister
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

This is the third time I have stayed at a five-star resort in Jamaica having been to the Riu Ocho Rios and the Iberostar Rose Hall in Montego Bay. This was by far the worst of the three resorts I've stayed at. This hotel compares to my stay at a 4 star resort in Caya Coco, Cuba which was a fraction of the cost.

The Pro's:

The food was generally good with a variety of Jamaican and internationally-themed foods available. The a la cartes were also very good. The service in general was adequate - the staff generally friendly and funny. They held a Christmas Eve Gala which was a really nice idea and I think was generally well received by those in attendance.

The Con's:

There is nothing to do on this resort. There was no entertainment on the beach. There was a soccer field and a volleyball off to the side of the beach but the ground consisted of hard sand and rock. Not ideal for either of those two sports. The pool entertainment consisted of American music being dubbed over by the Entertainment Staff to announce games which consisted of catching tennis balls in the tennis ball canister, and trying to catch a stick before it drops and hits the ground. You could not rent any equipment whether it be footballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, etc. You either had to have brought your own or buy them at the stores. There were two kayaks, two paddle boats, and a catamaran available to use however you could not take the boats outside of the water sports cove which gets boring after about 5 minutes.

We also booked as regular vacationers and did not upgrade to the Don Pablo Exclusive package. Having not done this, we only had access to one buffet, could not use their private pool, the private rooms in the lobby, and the private areas around the resort reserved for the Don Pablo vacationers. What makes this worse is the fact that all the Don Pablo vacationers could use our amenities which resulted in their pools and amenities being completely empty, while the general amenities being overcrowded. I can't blame the Don Pablo vacationers as there was even less for them to do around the resort.

What I found strange as well is the Wi-Fi on the resort. You could pay for wi-fi or you could have one hour free per device per day if you use it in the lobby. The one-hour timer does not work and you could only connect once a day without resetting your cache and hoping you had beaten the system.

The Main Issue:

Upon check-in (which was three hours late) the people we traveled with noticed that the phone in their room did not work, their mini-fridge (which sucked) did not work, and most importantly their door did not lock. We had gone to the lobby as a group several times over the course of the week to make sure their door got fixed.Over the course of the week it got progressively worse - from the keycards not working to the door not locking whatsoever. My wife and I were woken up early our second last day at the resort (Dec 27, 2013) by a knock on the door from our friends asking to check our safe to see if their tablet had somehow made it into their over the course of the night. We searched our room and their room and the tablet was nowhere to be found. They had set it up on the night stand in their room the night before to use as an alarm clock since they could not order a wake-up call (phone did not work) and the alarm clock in the room did not work. When they awoke the tablet was missing. Someone (more than likely a staff member who knew the door had not been working all week) had broken into the room while they were sleeping and stole the tablet right off their night stand. We decided to follow-up with our Sunquest representative who arranged a meeting with the hotel manager (Daniela Lewis), the head of security, and a plethora of other hotel personnel. This turned into a witch hunt with all of the hotel staff accusing us of lying - asking us questions not related to the incident at all, disregarding everything we had to say in the process. Everything we had said they refuted and said we are 'assuming' things and have no proof. They asked us the exact dates and times we had made complaints about the door and printed off a report showing that we had made complaints about the mini-fridge and phone, but ironically never about the door (though several staff members had come to work on the door over the course of the week - yet we apparently never complained about it....?) The head of security also came to investigate their door earlier in the morning and saw first-hand that the door did not lock at all. He remained quiet the rest of the investigation probably in fear of losing his job for speaking out against the hotel. This whole endeavor turned into an absolute nightmare and waste of time with the only resolution being that they move rooms for their last night. Even when they moved rooms their key cards did not work and we had to get the keys reset by the hotel manager. What makes things even worse is they asked if we wanted to contact the police. After wasting the entire morning of our final day at the resort and taking a ton of verbal abuse from management along the way, we attempted to salvage what we had left of the day and said no. Didn't matter. They called the police anyway and a detective came to 'investigate'. The detective clearly wasn't there to help us, rather he called us liars and reminded us several times that fraud in Jamaica leads to jail time. He grilled the person whose tablet got stolen so much to the point where she cried. They completely disregarded the fact that someone had entered their room while they were sleeping - let alone stole something from right next to them - not caring whatsoever about the safety of their guests. The detective ended up searching mine and my wife's room (we're not sure why) and I showed him and the Head of Security that our double lock did not work to prove to them that the doors in the hotel did not work. They completely disregarded the fact that the door did not work, and again brought up that we could serve jail time for fraud. I tried explaining to them that the four of us wasting our day worked out to over 2.5 times the cost of the tablet, and that we clearly weren't lying. Apparently logic isn't enough for this hotel.

Overall our trip was okay leading up to the room break in. The weather was great, we were relaxed and enjoyed a nice, quiet Christmas. However, the last day on the resort dealing with management completely sullied our experience undoing all of the R&R that we went to Jamaica for. I would not recommend this resort as your money is better spent elsewhere and it is evident that the staff care more about proving you wrong than the healthy and safety of its guests.

Room Tip: Do not book in room 16520. This was the room that got broken into.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
6 Thank Josh D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarvelisS, Social Media Coordinator at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this review, January 3, 2014
Dear Josh,

Thank you for sharing with us your comments letting us know that you have enjoyed our Christmas Eve Gala, our gastronomy at a la carte restaurants, and the good service offered by our friendly and accommodating staff.

However we are very concerned about the situation you brought to our attention. Regarding this particular case investigation showed that there was no sign of breaking into your friend’s room during that night.

We wish you all the best on your future travels but at the same time we sincerely hope that you will afford us, with another opportunity to host you and regain your confidence in us.

Yours respectfully,

Marvelis symister
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
25 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

The resort is beautiful in its infrastructure and is well maintained. I would not say its the best place that I have stayed at but it does have very nice scenic views and beaches. We stayed in room 18520 which was right at the corner of the 5th floor in block A. The room faced the pools in the resort on one end and the other end faced the ocean so we got really nice views. If you would like a really nice sea view, ask for rooms between 18521-18526. These rooms face the sea and are on the 5th floor so you won't have any tall trees blocking your view.
Food: If you have stayed at any hotels in Las Vegas, then the buffet at the Orchid restaurant (main restaurant) is quite similar to that-but with a more tropical twist- tropical fruit juices and fish dishes for breakfast and that sort. We chose not to opt for the Don Pablo services simply because we felt that we could use that money for excursions offered by the tour operators located within the resort. Our package was an all inclusive so there were unlimited drinks all the time. The fridge, however, was not well stocked and had just beers and soda.

Room service is decent: We had new towels every day. I had read reviews about face towels and bath towels not being replaced so I got a couple of bath towels from home just in case. Cards to get new beach towels are provided at check-in; don't lose these otherwise there is a fee when you check out.

Restaurants: Dolce Vita, the Italian restaurant wasn't as good as expected. Choose Don Pablo; the French gourmet, Mikado; the Japanese restaurant or Garden Grill. Dolce vita has only it's entrees as Al a carte, it's appetizers and desserts are buffet style. We went to Don Pablo - Red seared tuna was delicious, banana flambe was an absolute hit and salmon and shrimp rouleaux for the appetizer was a also good. Try the wild mushroom soup with Serrano ham as well -smooth and delightful! I made the reservations at least a week in advance before I traveled through email -simply because if you get there and reserve you would end up having to wait till late-after 9 pm to be seated. We used to eat at the Jerk Chicken center everyday for lunch. They are known for their delicious jerk chicken with people queuing up for about 15 minutes to get some. Hot sauces to go with it so make sure you have an ice-cold drink or Red Stripe beer (Jamaican beer-traditional accompaniment) to wash down it down.

Non-motorized sports: For about an hour or so everyday, you can go snorkeling, kayaking and catamaran sailing. Other activities like scuba diving and jet skiing (comes with instructors and instructions) are chargeable but nothing atrociously expensive.

Annoying things to be aware of: smell of pot on an everyday basis offered either by employees or employees of the tour operators. Time shares, but was expected in the Caribbean.
Not a kid friendly place-They would probably hear a lot of explicit language on tours and will be passively smoking pot.

Tours to go for:Luminous lagoon, Cool Runnings Dunns river falls, chukka river tubing along the white river valley. We booked with Apple Vacations.
Luminous lagoon: there are 4 other places to see this kind of bio-luminescent water bodies in the world but Jamaica has the largest and the brightest. You can literally jump into this lagoon and see the water glow as you swim through it! Absolutely beautiful! The only bad part is that the bed of this lagoon has soft mud which can cover your water shoes or legs so your feet is going to remain dirty till you get back on the shore.
Chukka river tubing : this is along 3 miles of the 27 mile long white river valley. The river is used to generate hydroelectric power and has bumpy rapids which are fun to bounce through in a tube that's provided. It is safe and also fun.
Cool Runnings Dunns water falls excursion- the tour starts with a catamaran sail to the ocean side of Ocho Rios where there are several coral reefs. You can go snorkeling if you choose to (you don't have to know how to swim, they will get you into a life jacket if u don't). It is a fun experience so make sure you go down under- you will find several tropical fishes inhabiting the coral reef. Once that is done, the next place they take you to is the Dunns river falls. It is a 960 feet water fall and you are climbing upwards, so you will get drenched and the rocks which are to be used to support your climb upwards will be slippery if you don't wear water shoes.There are several pools of water within the water fall that you can jump into. Fun experience! It is quite a work out so make sure you are physically ready for it. Also, on the way back on the catamaran, drinks are served and its a fun party!

It was a fun and enjoyable trip, did not relax much as there were so many things to do! A good place to stay for a 4-day vacation!
.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank jocelinjoseph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarvelisS, Social Media Coordinator at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this review, December 31, 2013
Dear guest,

We are delighted reading your comments letting us know that you have had a fun and enjoyable trip which means that we have been up to par of your expectations.

Thank you for your feedback. It was a great pleasure to host you and we hope to see you soon in our Grand Bahia Principe, your best Hotel in the Carribean.

Warmest regards,

Marvelis Symister
Grand Habia Principe Jamaica
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kings lynn
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

Visited in October 2013 for 14 nights, was never bored. Very swift check in, room was ready straight away. Loved our room, very spacious, huge bed and huge bathroom with jacuzzi bubble bath and seperate shower! Asked for a pool view room and was given this straight away. Plenty of food to chose from, 6 different restaurants. Pool entertainment was very fun, kept us entertained in the day although were quieter areas if this isnt for you. Loved the activities on the beach, ie kayaking and snorkling.

MUST DO TRIPS =
DUNNS RIVER FALLS - We booked onto the Cool Runnings booze cruise trip - with other young like minded people, visited the falls then had authentic jamaican booze cruise sailing home.

BOB MARLEY MAUSOLEUM - fantastic trip visiting the birth and burial site of Bob Marley (booked through Paradise Vacations - fantastic guys!)

LUMINOUS LAGOON - Booked through PV again, fantastic evening trip visiting a glow in the dark lagoon!

DOLPHIN COVE - Visit to swim with dolphins, sharks or sting rays. We swam with sharks, amazing experience!!

This is such a happy and vibrant county, we didn't meet 1 single person (except customs official) who wasn't happy. Make you feel so welcome and part of their culture.

MUST TRY - JERK CHICKEN! I was a little nervous at first, however, its delicious! Bought several bottles of Jerk Sauce home with us!
We were very sad to leave Jamaica, but were excited to show our friends and families our fantastic photos and videos!!!

We can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Hope you like Rum or Red Stripe!
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank travelagent456
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarvelisS, Social Media Coordinator at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this review, December 31, 2013
Dear Guest,

Firstly, we would like to wish you a prosperous New Year.

Your satisfaction is our best award. We are very happy to learn that once again we achieved our goal. Thank you very much for your comments and for your kind words about all our staff.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for any assistance or requirements for you next visit to our Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica always your home in Jamaica.

Yours faithfully,

Marvelis Symister
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
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Blackpool
Level Contributor
25 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed December 30, 2013

Fab, fab, fab. Everything about it. No need to worry about this hotel. Rooms large and spacious. Plenty of storage. Premier league football in your room and the sports bar " Heaven". Mini bar kept continualy stopped. Room service kept the place really clean and tidy. Coffee machine with fresh coffee every day in our room. Our sea view balcony was a dream so large and spacious. Beware the frogs and crickets at night i have bever heard anything so load at night, you won't believe the noise but when you close the doors it's fine just funny. The restaurants are amazing so much choice and amazing quality. I have been to many all inclusives and this has to be one if the best. Never got to see the shows in 2 weeks as we were always on the veranda bar listening to the various bands live. Great cocktails. The staff are really friendly and are always dancing and singing.We would not hesitate to go back here. 5*

Room Tip: All good what we saw
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank PaulD61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MarvelisS, Social Media Coordinator at Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica, responded to this review, December 31, 2013
Dear Guest,

We would like to wish you a prosperous New Year.

We thank you for your generous comments. Our team takes pride in offering the best vacation ever to our guests; your words become the best incentive to continue our work.

Thank you for letting us know that you have enjoyed and for choosing our Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts, a 5 star experience in Jamaica. Hope to see you again.

Best regards,

Marvelis Symister
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
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

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: 848
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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