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“Amazing snorkeling!”

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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Edmonton
Level Contributor
57 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 124 helpful votes
“Amazing snorkeling!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2009

Ok, we just got back from the Bahia two days ago..simply amazing time if you love the water. I've travelled all over the world, and can easily say this resort offers some of the best snorkeling I've experienced. Just a few things to consider, this is not a five star hotel, food is good at best, rooms are much smaller than previous Bahia resorts we've stayed at, and the night life and theatre shows are less than impressive. That aside, I did give this resort a 4/5 rating for the snorkeling and amout of marine life, I was totally blown away. Staff was incredible, from front desk to all the bartenders. This was a great holiday, and yes of course there will always be people to complain about every little thing not perfect on a resort, but we've always been the ones to make the best of all situations, so ignore all the negative reviews, Bahia will not disappoint

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
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Helpful?
11 Thank SBurke3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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UK
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2009

This hotel is very good, probably just short of a 5* but not far off. Flew with Thomson (premier economy) and could not fault the flight service. The rep at the hotel was very friendly and the staff on the whole were excellent, especially Antonio on the main piano bar. Free minibar and free bottle of rum and fruit platter in the suite. Food was generally excellent in the buffets and the restaurants, except for the Italian restaurant which was only ok. The spa was very good, with an ice bath, aromatherapy shower and reflexology walk in addition to the usual steam room & sauna.

TIP - tends to rain in December in north Jamaica! Some days were sunny and even when it rained, it was still around 29-30°C.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank ms_carnegie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Eastern Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 31, 2009

The hubby & I went with another couple and we all LOVED this resort. I was nervous after reading some reviews but people will always find something to complain about. Sure it wasn't perfect but if we could afford perfect we'd own our own island! Anyway, here's my rundown ....

Beach - just fantastic!!!! Anyone who complains about the beach is just plain lazy!!! The main complaint I've read is that the beach has some pebbly spots, maybe about 2 metres!! What they don't say is that if you go out into the water in this area you can snorkle because there's some coral there. You have to walk literally 2 minutes down the beach and it's just gorgeous!!! You can walk out really far without it getting too deep. It's clear, not too warm and you can float for hours! There were ALWAYS chairs to lay on. I must admit though that we weren't there during peak season.

Pools - HUGE, CLEAN and yes we always found a chair but we had to walk around the pool a bit - still close to the swim up bar. Look for Timoy or Phillip (FLEX) - they were AWESOME!! There were wonderful little whirlpool areas (not heated) and an area for small children.

Food - very good selection and if you went with the Royal package you had your reservations made for you. If you don't like the menu of one of the restaurants then it was easily changed for you. Breakfast was always a treat ... wide selection of dishes. One complaint - and it's validated by other guests, not just my opinion, the late night food takes FOREVER to get. There is a restaurant (burgers and maybe fries) that's open real late but only one guy runs it, and I think he does room service too.

Rooms - very clean, everything worked and the cleaning/turndown service staff were always pleasant. They even tidied stuff that they could see needed tidying but NEVER rummaged through things. The mini bar was stocked every other day and the only down side was the Milwaukee beer - yuck. The bathrooms were beautiful.

Cleanliness of hotel - everything was very neat and clean. Staff were always dressed nicely and the grounds were spectacular!!!

Atmosphere - ok here's where it's subjective. If you're looking to get the REAL feel for Jamaica right on the resort you could try somewhere else. Even though it's beautiful there it's much like spending your vacation at a hotel with a beautiful beach. Sounds strange but it didn't seem like there was too much culture. Don't forget though that there are numerous day excursions that vary in price but are worth it. Dunn's River Falls is fantastic. The market is a bit "haggly" if you know what I mean, everyone wants to haggle - everyone! The Luminous Lagoon is neat to see but the water isn't clear, it's kinda mucky, but again, it's cool to see.

Night Life - well ... leaves something to be desired. The first night was awesome with fire dancers, it was very cultural and got us in our "Jamaican Mood". There was always something to do it's just not busy or really that exciting. The disco was so loud I couldn't even stand in there for 5 minutes, and I LOVE to dance. We could have gotten more involved but chose not to.

Shopping centre - was a bit over priced but they will give you a deal if you just ask for one.

Tipping - we always tipped at least a dollar at our meals and gave our room staff some toys, nylons and other goodies we took with us just to say thank you. No one ever made us feel like we had to tip and we noticed that we were the only ones that did. One of our waiters actually went off the resort to get me a real Juicy Patty because they didn't have any that day, I gave him $7 just because it meant that much to me. If I had to complain about one thing it would be that I couldn't get a patty any time I wanted to.

Spa - TO DIE FOR!!!! Yvonne gave me a massage .... HEAVEN!!!! The sometimes come around the pool area with their chair to give you a sample massage and it's well worth it. The cost of stuff is basically the same as it is here at home.

I would go back to this resort without hesitation. Staff were always friendly. This is the perfect resort if you're looking to relax on the beach and enjoy a swim up bar.

  • Stayed October 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank MalibuEasternCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2009

We loved our stay at the Gran Bahia Principe! We travelled just before Christmas with our 6 month old daughter. After reading some reviews we were a little nervous about the resort but all the concerns are unfounded.
The food in the buffet was better than most. We went to four a la carte restaurants and loved them all (especially the Japanese!) The servers in the restaurants were incredible. We loved Marcia in the buffet!
The pool was a little chilly (we had some cooler weather when we were there) but was absolutely beautiful.
The entertainment and bartenders in the lobby were great. Always some great entertainment int he evenings. We didn't go to any shows because they were too late for a baby.
The only downside for us was the beach sand....it is a little rocky. But the beach itself is so beautiful we really didn't care (and it made it great for pushing a stroller). The seaweed was picked up every morning. But some weeds would come ashore during the day which is nothing to complain about.
One tip is to make sure you bring a watch or a clock...there isn't a clock in the rooms.
Overall we LOVED our stay. Every single worker at the resort was friendly and helpful. We would recommend this hotel!

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank canadian_couple2005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
England
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 30, 2009

After visiting Jamaica 9 times, this was our first Hotel experience, which we booked after staying at the Gran Bahia Punta Cana.
The buildings and grounds are spectaular but underneath there's nothing. The brochure does not warn you of all the steps that need to be climbed every day.
The hotel is 5 star but should not be rated so high.
DO NOT COME HERE FOR A JAMAICAN EXPERIENCE.
The food was not authentic Jamaican, usually warm, at times cold and very repetitive - chefs are willing to cook plantain, bammy, etc if it isn't on the menu and you ask them.
There are two good restaraunts that you have to book: Don Pablo amd Mikado - the others are below standard.
All bars will serve you spanish rum, you need to specifically ask for Appleton Jamaican Rum and often they run out of this and they are not enthusiastic about getting more - there's no Wray & Nephew Over Proof available.
The pool area is billiant, well maintained and clean, there is a selection of reggae and spanish music that is played.
The kids club was a god send and brilliant.
Entertainment is very poor and quite often disorganised. The theatre was never used due to 'accoustic problems.'
The shopping plaza is expensive and a rip off eg: car tassles will cost $1150 jd but in Ochio Rios they will cost $250 jd.
At times, some staff can be very rude or ignorant - especially if they are not given a tip - but why should you if youv've paid all inclusive? But there are some very good staff and nothing is a problem for them.
The gym is basic and out dated equipment.
The beach is stoney and man made, which is a let down.
Over all, the hotel in Jamaica is a let down for the Gran Bahia Chain. It has a lot to learn for the tourist industry and should not be advertised as 5 star.
If you have been to the Gran Bahia, Punta Cana - then you will be disapointed with this one.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank colinbeenie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Level Contributor
21 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2009

Charter flight direct from Edm to Montego Bay was perfect. A bit of a ride from the airport to the resort but you got to see somemore of the area. Resort was nice, well maintained. We were on an upgraded package so had nice ocean view room, but that is all your upgrade includes. Reservations to restraunts was no problem. Dress code was pretty relaxed. Usual race for pool chairs in the morning is always the same at all-inclusives. Buffet was good, the resort was not at full capacity so seating and food was not a struggle. My only complaint is the service for drinks, especially in lobby. Regardless of what you tip ($10 sometimes for a drink) you rarely get a second visit to refill drinks. Staff seems to be indifferent. Bar staff in the pool were great, stay away from the "steelbottom". We spent the last night of our week at the new Rio by the airport. Much nicer resort being new, but you have noisy airplanes overhead every 10-15 minutes.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Oilfan4life
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2009

This Christmas, I decided that I would treat my husband, 2 sisters, mom and dad to a trip to the Gran Bahia Jamaica. I have never been so disappointed in a hotel in all my years of traveling. If this was a 2 star hotel, it might be acceptable but, seeing as it is not, very very poor. If you are expecting class, you will not find it there. . It does not make me happy to write such a review because there was some nice staff that was friendly but, the overall experience was awful and we checked out after 1 day when we booked for 7.

My complaints are such, the food is terrible and if you are actually looking for Jamaican food, dont hold your breathe because you will only get this on 1 night and this is Jamaican night on Saturday. Are we not in Jamaica? Why was it so hard to get that food.

Also, dont expect to get Jamaica's very own beer 'Red Stripe' in the fridge because they do not offer that. You get Milwaukee light. (this is true and not a joke). I stayed all inclusive and had illusions of eating and drinking the foods that Iiked but on the contrary, everything that is good had to be paid for and was not included in the package.

If you want to sleep in in the morning, good luck because the cleaning staff yell and make noise starting at 7:00am.

Bottom line is, if you are looking for a classy hotel and a Jamaican experience, you will not get it at the Gran Bahia.

When we saw several other guests complaining about the same things we experienced from the night we checked in to the time we left, we knew that we had made the best decision to leave the hotel.

If you decide to stay at the hotel, here are some things you might want to ask before you book, dress code, what kind of food, what is really included in the all inclusive.

Sorry for the long review but at $400 a night, you might want to know this.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank gemini620
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 Family Hotel in Runaway Bay
#5 Spa 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 (1h 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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