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“Felt I was in The Dominican not Jamaica!”

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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
ottawa
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Felt I was in The Dominican not Jamaica!”
Reviewed January 4, 2009

When arriving at the Hotel it is Grand and Gorgeous...but we went to Jamaica to experience Jamaica and it's culture and it's food. But got instead Spanish/Dominican Flavor. The animation team is Hispanic felt like I was back in Dominican if I wanted that feeling I would of gone back to Dominican. We were in Jamaica to hear the sounds of Jamaica. The food was not Jamaican..couldn't get a Jamaican Patti for lunch or dinner, or snack! Plantin they had it a couple of morning and it was not cooked right...they cooked a green plantin instead of riped. If not riped it's not sweet and soft. The chef is Spanish so he has no idea how Jamaican's cook! The food was like eating at a hospital. The Best Night was when the Jamaican's entertained. Now that was Jamaican!
Stairs and long distance walks to get anywhere. The sand what sand it was rocks! Hurt the feet!
The best food there that was authentic Jamaican was the BBQ at lunch JERK CHICKEN, PORK that was to die for! But the Hotel is run by Hispanics and the Jamaicans just work there and they work so many hours some work for 15 hours a day! For $10 a day...that is sad. We then stayed for one night at the Sandals Royalle and it WAS JAMAICAN HOSPITALITY, FOOD, EVERYTHING!!!

  • Liked — JERK CHICKEN AT LUNCH
  • Disliked — The Animation Team was all hispanic!
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
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5 Thank aslsottawa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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new york
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2009

Beautiful property ! Some nice staff. SOME WITH BAD ATTITUDES !!! Stacey at the golden check in was not welcoming or helpful at any time. Our grand children slept on the floor and not until 11:30 pm the first night because the cots promised in writing with our reservation were not available . Broken coffee makers in the rooms and no room service coffee available. Not a good way to wake up. The mini bar was a joke .... 2 small cans of pringles were the only snack and 2 cans of beer , and soda and water restocked every 2 days. No wine although what we had at the rest. was awful as was all the liquor. I have never had such swill ! The first dinner and breakfast at the buffet were bad. The line for eggs made to order was long as was the line at lunch at the beach shack for the really great jerk pork and chicken (the best food on property) The hamburgers were awful as were the hotdogs. Restocking at all buffets was very slow. Some of the cold cuts looked sooooo bad!The restaurants were ok. The gourmet Don Pablo was mediocre at best. Xmas eve dinner was chaotic and we were put at 2 tables. This was our biggest problem We went away as a family of 10 and had to fight for 4 days to be able to sit together . Management was not managing !! VERonica at the kids club was WONDERFUL!!!! Also Theron a bellman was so very helpful! There was too much time spent trying to sort things out and that is not how a vacation should be. I think that the travel rep. either was never on property or was getting a kickback or just plain dumb!

  • Liked — rooms and view
  • Disliked — lack of management
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank lv2trvlNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa Ontario
Level 4 Contributor
11 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2009

We spent the week before Christmas at the beautiful Bahia Principe. It is as beautiful as the 2 other Bahia Principe’s we stayed at. The drive from the airport is about 1.5 hours and you quickly realize that there are no good beaches at any of the resorts you pass. The beach at the Bahia principe is as good as any in Jamaica. The rooms are beautiful with a great ocean view from every room which is rare. Anyone who complained about the food must have ate at the wrong time of day. We ate at the buffet early because we were with our kids and we never ate better. I could of lived on the sushi alone. All the a la carte restaurants we great and jerk chicken lunches we more then we needed.
We left the resort twice we visited Negril’s 7 mile beach spent the day on the lawn chairs at Margaritaville and then to Rick’s cafe for the sunset. A long drive but well worth it. Another day we left at noon, climbed Dunnes river falls, drove up Fern Gully, sat at Margarittaville in Ocho Rios and were back by 5pm. Excellent half day. We hired a taxi both times. There is a taxi stand in the front of the lobby and they can arrange it. Gordon works for JUTA and lives very close, we enjoyed him. The half day cost $80 US, very reasonable.
Snorkeling from the beach is good but very shallow. It is best at the far end close to the nude beach. We saw 2 scorpion fish, a grand barracuda and a small stingray. I am a certified diver and I dove twice. The dive master takes you in the boat very close to the resort and the reef is good. The dive master took me to the entrance of a gave where I saw sharks sleeping. Then after that we saw 5 eagle rays. It was a very exciting dive so close to the resort.
We did not have the golden club this trip and we never missed it. We had an in room safe, slippers and robe and the service was the same. We quite enjoyed the pool comfy pool chairs but you better get your towel on one of them by 8am. The shopping at the plaza principe was as good as any we did around Jamaica, it was the only place that sold $10 oakleys and that is all my kids wanted. My young teen agers found it hard around the pool, they were not old enough to be allowed to play polo, volleyball ect. They could never get enough adults to play yet would not let them play. They went to the kids disco and were the only ones there. Not much for that age group.
I liked Jamaica because there is no language barrier but the people that work at the resort are not as friendly as many of the other island. When we stayed there the resort was full of Canadiens which is similar to anytime we travel to an all inclusive. This resort is as good as any 5 star we have been to. If you want more luxury you have to go to Sandals and if you want more Jamaican culture don’t book an all inclusive.

Stayed December 2008, traveled with family
Helpful?
3 Thank HockeyMom3275
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed January 2, 2009

This resort is rated as a 5 star (but I would really like to know how it got this initial rating). I will try to be brief and rate in sections.

Grounds / buildings:
Definitely 5 star! Visually stunning and gorgeous grounds! The entrance to the front desk is grand and looks like you are arriving at the The Parthenon! Huge columns adorn the entrance to the hotel. There are a variety of different marble tiles throughout, gorgeous solid wood doors, large suites with balconies, large jet soaker tubs, shower stalls with opaque glass, etc. There are lush palm trees throughout the site. There's a large beach to the left of the hotel that's great; not all sand while walking to the beach though - there's some rough pebble areas between the beach and the path but all things considered, it is a beautiful beach.

Location:
If you like a place that is a bit out of the way, then this is a good place. You need a taxi or vehicle to get to any of the area's attractions like Bob Marly's home, the dolphin cove to swim with the dolphins, Glistening Waters at night where the water lights up when it's disturbed or even to sample authentic jamaican jerk chicken. Be prepared to pay big bucks for a taxi - $80 US for a round-trip to the neighboring parish (aka state or province). If you want to be closer to people and places within walking distance, consider another resort (ie. Sunset Jamaica Grande).

Food / Service:
Ok, I'm not gonna lie - this was a sore spot for me. The food was like eating hospital food. I think I could cook better than what I was served. It was bland for the most part. Yes there were a couple of decent places but overall, the food was not 5 star. Maybe I'm spoiled with great food where I live, but I've had 5 star food before and this is definitely NOT 5 star food. I went to the Sunset Jamaica Grande for New Years with family and the food was incredible and amazing; maybe it was just cuz it was for New Years, not sure but it certainly made me realize that food can be great down in Jamaica, just not at my resort. Don Pablo restaurant was the best out of the lot. I have Mikado to try tonite but coming from Vancouver where the some of the Japanese food is outstanding, I'm not holding my breath.
The staff are friendly and try to help out where they can though they could do better to be a 5 star, IMHO (isn't 5 star supposed to be the best?). Tipping definitely helps.

I think I would recommend this place because of it's gorgeous site but it should be rated a 4 star at MOST. Have no doubt though, this is a touristy destination so be prepared to spend a few bucks.

  • Liked — the grounds and hotel - visually outstanding
  • Disliked — 1)the food / wine, 2)the cost for extras and taxi, and 3)distance from any local shopping or eating
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank vantravelguy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
manitoba
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed January 1, 2009

After reading some of the negative reviews we were very leery of our holiday here -- had a wonderful time met some wonderful people both guests and workers great housekeeping staff
Tadisha looked after us with great care did not care for some of the a la carte restauarants but found the buffet offered a great variety every nite for all appetites have booked another holdiday for this year wonderful staff

  • Liked — absolutely loved the rooms and the staff
  • Disliked — too many stairs
  • Stayed January 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank oldhippieflower
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sussex
Level 5 Contributor
43 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
Reviewed December 31, 2008

Firstly our travel arrangements through Cosmos using a Thomas Cook Airlines flight TCX16K from Gatwick were less than satisfactory. The flying time given in the brochure was given as 11 hrs but the scheduled duration of our outgoing flight was 13 hours 15 minutes. For the return flight the scheduled duration was 11hrs 15 minutes. The extended travelling time, confused by time differences between UK and Jamaica, resulting from a scheduled pick up at Manchester were not clearly explained or set out by our travel agent.

Unfortunately I suffered a bad throat followed by a hacking cough and chest infection starting on the third day of our holiday. This prevented snorkelling or taking active part in any watersports in fact I spent two days mostly sleeping in the room.. Whether or not the prolonged incarcaration on the aircraft was linked to this illness is impossible to say but certainly several other guests we spoke to at the Gran Bahia were affected by quite bad hacking coughs and chest conditions that prevented their full enjoyment of their holiday.

Our stay was over the Christmas period and whilst the weather was warm the wind and frequent showers minimised sunbathing time and the days watersports were available.

Obviously the Bahia group do have a large client base that enjoy an urban environment by the sea. It gave us no pleasure to wander through vast swimming pools and artificial beaches filled by sun loungers and deck chairs. Our preference is for smaller hotels more in accord with the environment and surrounded by natural vegetationand wildlife. We believe hotel architecture should capture the spirit of the particular Country rather than recreating the Costa Brava abroad. (Mrs Worldlife said don't mention Colditz but the seven storey structure did to me seem somewhat forbidding and dwarfed it's surroundings!)

The first thing to strike you about the Bahia Principe is that it is a huge complex The grounds and pools are enclosed on three sides by high buildings which provide an amplifying arena for the electronic shouting of the animators by the poolside that even penetrates the closed windows of the accommodation some considerable distance away.

It is impossible with these noise levels to enjoy a quiet drink or read a book on the balcony of the superb junior suites that have excellent bathrooms with separate shower and WC compartments. All this shouting and noise from the animation team was being created in the interests of very few participants giving this five star hotel the atmosphere of an old fashioned holiday camp.

Fortunately the nightly pianist in the terrace bar below our room finished at a reasonable hour but I see another reviewer requested that a live band should follow the pianist. Obviously that reviewer did not have in mind the consequences of loud amplified music on the suites in the region of the terrace bar.

However unlike some previous reviewers we found the staff in general were very friendly.

We disliked wasting much of the first morning of our holiday in a long slowly processed queue waiting to select the specialist restaurants of our choice

Our holiday brochure from Cosmos stated that security safes were provided in the room - it did not state that a deposit of $50 USD would be needed for the key and a daily charge of $6 USD imposed for the use of this facility which is complimentary at many resorts.

Similarly the charge of $15 USD a day for wireless connection is somewhat outrageous. This may be fine for those with business accounts and on line for lengthy periods but extravagent for those only needing short periods each day.

We would commend the diligence of the shoreside lifeguards and safety boat team. There are clearly buoyed safe swimming areas and very visible warning signs advising of dangerous currents and reefs outside these zones. We saw the rescue of one swimmer who thought he knew better than the hotel safety team! The rescue boat itself was being pitched and tossed at quite alarming angles by the brreakers coming off the reef and helping this swimmer to safer water was an absolutely outstanding demonstration of boat handling skills. The response to anyone on canoe, pedallo, windsurfer or catamaran getting into trouble was very fast and lookout standards were equalled those of specialist water sport holiday hotels.

We found the Orchid buffet restaurant one of the best buffets of any hotel we have stayed at. For example the Italian and Mexican evenings provided tasters of ethnic foods rather than token gestures of the same buffet foods with just flags and decor to mark the difference! Congratulations to the chefs! Your minestrone soup rivalled the best in Naples! We were disappointed with the Don Pablo - as with other reviewers here we found the lobster posted on the menu was not available and they were out of stock of bananas to do the banana flambe! The Fisherman's Rest was the worst of the speciality restaurants opting to provide fish dishes coated in soggy batter rather than elegantly cooked fresh fish. Although we were one of the first bookings we found it necessary to make representations to the hotel concerning the condition of the ice cream scoops that did not seem to be adequately cleaned. Furthermore the partially used ice cream containers each had substantial deposits of the content from other adjoining flavours.

We were delighted to find that the hotel had a naturist beach but unfortunately this was not family orientated as we have come to expect from the Spanish Playa or Occidental Group of hotels. The naturist beach is in one of the windiest positions and it is not easy to enter the sea safely. New naturists, particularly women, would be disturbed by the constant procession of clothed men through the beach area some of whom seemed to have goods stored in the staff only section at the end of the naturist beach. Although we mentioned this to both the Cosmos representative and the hotel Customer Services section no effective action seemed to have been taken. In fact by the furtive nature of some package handovers and exchange of money we suspect that the clothed visitors to the naturist beach were not selling simple souvenirs!

  • Liked — Superb junior suites and good room maintenance
  • Disliked — Huge size and charges for room safe and expensive wireless connection.
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
11 Thank Worldlife
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver Island, BC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 31, 2008

First trip to Jamaica with two other couples.The resort and room was beautiful, just like the pictures. The lobby and grounds lovely and the service good and staff friendly. Tipping is encouraged, even a buck or two, the average jamaican makes $10 a day so they are very appreciative if tipped. The weather was best in the morning as between 3 and 5 it would typically cloud over. No complaints about the beach for me although we had water shoes. Our room overlooked the beach and I liked the grass umbrellas. The water has warm and cool zones. Was surprised at the far end of the beach there is a fenced off nudist's beach. They don't mention that in the advertising. Tried to use the kyaks and paddle boats but 3 days in a row the water was too rough so they wouldn't let them out. The buffet was tasty although did get a bit tiring with the same selections offered at lunch and at dinner. If you're a dessert person, you'll be very happy. Lot's of tasty cakes here. The pool bar was nice and they are very liberal with there rum. Ask the bartender or waitress for some drink suggestions. Try the Jamaican Smile, some Jamaican Rum Cream similar to Baileys, or the Miami Vice; red, white, blue layers of strawberry daquiri, pina colada and blue curacao. They did run out of fresh pool towels which was disappointing and the maid for our room changed on different days so some days we had lots of towels and little shampoo samples, etc. and other days minimal. One evening I turned down the bed to find stained sheets, very disgusting looking so called and waited for room service to change the bedding. Freaked me out that we may have slept on dirty sheets had I not noticed. After that, I checked daily and all was clean. The bed was a beautiful 4 poster canopy king, just like the advertising. We took a day trip to Dunns River Falls, worth it with a stop at a street market. Look at everyone's stalls, then go back and buy. They all try to compete for your attention. Be strong and compare. Also did the swim with the dolphin. Not that expensive for a truly wonderful experience. I would recommend it and they have a shuttle from the hotel. The entertainment was fairly good, the comedy night was probably the weakest. We enjoyed the karaoke bar a few nights, the disco was a disappointment. Not much seating, no ambiance or fancy decor, just dark and loud. The shops onsite were nice and reasonably priced. They do have internet service for 50 cents a minute. Be quick. All in all I enjoyed the trip and would stay there again although I would have to agree with other reviewers that it is probably more a 4 star than 5. If you can go with the flow, then no problem mon, enjoy all the bob marley music, you'll hear it often.

  • Liked — Beautiful Junior Suite with King Size Canopy Bed
  • Disliked — Maid service to Room, clean sheets, towels, etc
  • Stayed December 2008, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank suzyQ2008
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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