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“Relaxing vacation, good value for money.”

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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Toronto, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Relaxing vacation, good value for money.”
Reviewed January 17, 2011

I just got back from the Gran Bahia Jamaica on January 15th after a week stay. I have stayed at another Gran Bahia Ambar in Bavaro, Domincan Republic that I decided to check out the chain again.

The hotel/grounds- very beautiful and well kept.

Front Desk- there were some minor hiccups when checking in. Our flight was delayed due to snow in Toronto so we didn't get the special check in that we were supposed to get. We ended up checking in 4 hrs behind schedule due to the flight delay. The hotel is about 1hr and 15mins from the Montego Bay Airport that we flew into. Front desk seemed understaffed. The man checking us in kept answering the phone and doing other things in the midst of checking us in which caused a longer process than needed. He also made me panic a bit when he said he couldn't find our reservations- he found them eventually. Be prepared to have your reservation in writing to hand to them. He took scissors and cut out a portion of our reservation to keep.

Rooms- very nice, clean and spacious. We stayed in the new section, building 23 and there rooms are very spread out so there can be a bit of walking depending on where your room is, but we didn't mind. Our building had only been opened for 2 weeks. Our room overlooked the pool and the sea. There is a jetted tup which we never used and a separate shower. The shower is a bit small. There is one sink, makeup mirror, hairdryer and some shampoos/soaps etc. The beds are really comfortable and they give you tons of pillows. Be sure to ask front desk for an extra key because you need a key to turn on the air conditioner and electricity when you are in the room. We got an extra one and just kept it in the room so that the air stayed on when we were at the pool and we always came back to a nice cool room. There is a sitting area with a couch, small table and two chairs as well as patio furniture on the balcony. They have satellite tv (which we did watch due to rain) and they get a lot of tv stations and kids channels like the Disney channel. If you have kids you could even bring your own dvd player as the tvs can hook up to it if you wanted to bring movies for the kids. The closet space is decent, there are shelves in the closet that are large enough for a whole family's wardrobe and there are also three drawers in the dresser. The mini bar was stocked when we arrived but there was no alcohol in it. I'm not sure if there should have been as we didn't get any the whole time we were there but that was ok with us. We saw the guy that stocks the fridges and asked him for diet coke and beer and tipped him $5 US. He very happily stocked our fridge with more than we could have needed.

Pool- absolutely beautiful!! There are always activities at the one end of the pool, usually around 11am like aquafit, bingo, volleyball, etc. The activities people were very energetic and friendly. The pool was clean and well maintained. The pool bar was awesome and the bartenders were very friendly. They enjoyed joking and laughing with the guests. They also really appreciated tips as I guess a lot of people don't tip when you stay in an all inclusive but trust me you get rewarded. Any bartender we tipped would serve us before others when we were in line. A downside to the pool is that there are not enough pool chairs. Not even close. My fiance had to get up every morning at 7am to put our towels down on chairs to reserve them. No one took the towels or our spots.

Beach- the beach in front of the hotel is a bit rocky. You need to walk to the left of the hotel and there you will find a ton of chairs, shade, and nice sand. The water is very clear and my fiance even saw a manta ray. The beach is very very large and there is a bar at the very far end that we didn't go to. You can also get drinks from the snack bar which is closer to the hotel.

Activities/Tours- We only did the shopping tour in Ocho Rios. It was about an hour bus ride. They take you to a tourist shopping village that has about 30 tourist stores that all have pretty much the same stuff. The prices are ridiculous and you really need to haggle. I found it odd that the stores were all run by non Jamaicans. We picked u a few souvenirs but I still feel like we paid too much.
They have a dolphin cove tour that is very expensive. You can touch, kiss, and ride a dolphin for over $200.
They have tours for bobsledding in the trees, horseback riding, zip lining, cruises, a lot of Bob Marley tours where they tell you that you drive there and fly home due to the herbal influences on these tours. (We didn't partake).

Food- I am a pretty picky eater and the food was ok. We had a la cartes booked but didn't end up doing any of them as the menus were limited. The buffet was well stocked but very repetitive over the week. There was always stuff for kids, hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries at every meal. The fruit was not very good at all which surprised me. They have a pasta station that you pick you ingredients and have pasta made for you which was decent. They have a ton of different bread and rolls, a decent salad station, good tropical flavoured ice-cream, mediocre dessert selection. One note- every kind of meat has bones in it. Even the ones you wouldn't expect so be careful if you have little kids with you. They also have omelette stations every morning. They have themed dinners. On mexican night they had free shots of flavoured tequila. Sometimes you had to wait a bit for a clean table. The waiters were decent but getting refills on drinks took awhile. The water was very good. The house wines were not good at all, they served these at dinner. My fiance said the red was ok though.
Jerk chicken- the jerk chicken was amazing! You can only get it at the snack bar which is on the beach near the garden grill restaurant. You will see a sign that says jerk chicken and you need to go down a few steps where they have it on the beach. It was so good!!
They give you a ton of it!

Maintenance/Safe- when we first arrived our safe did not work. You have to pay for them but through Air Canada Vacations you get a free safe. You need to have your room key programmed to work the safe but it should be programmed for you if you have a free safe included in your package which we did but it did not work. We called to have it looked at and in less than 10 mins someone came up to fix it. We were very impressed and no further issues with it.
We also had a problem with our shower light leaking and the floor in the bathroom was leaking as well. We called for maintenance and they arrived the next day. They fixed the issues with no further problems.

Maid service- we brought a lot of little items for the maid like shampoos, kids toys, candies etc and left them for the maid when she cleaned our room. The maid made beautiful towel decorations on our bed and put some fresh flowers in the room. The rooms were always spotless. My only complaint- one day we left a $5 tip for the person who restocks the fridge in the fridge with a note asking for more coke, beer etc. and when we came back to the room after the maid had cleaned but before the bar guy came in I noticed the $5 in the fridge was gone. One could only assume the maid took the bar guys tip.

Air Canada- we booked our trip via Air Canada. The Air Canada packages seemed a bit more expensive but were well worth it. Firstly the planes seemed roomier and I didn't feel like I was packed like a sardine. They have tvs at every seat so you can pick your own movie, watch tv shows such as the Simpsons, Big Bang Theory, etc as well as listen to music. Be prepared to pay for snacks on the plane as there is no meal provided. You can only pay with credit card.
Air Canada Reps- we had two air canada reps and we attended a meeting the day after we arrived where they tell you about the tours and sell tours but also provide useful information about the hotel. They tell you that they are there to help if you have any problems and that they are your liaison between you and the hotel management which is nice to know that you would have assistance if you had any problems. They were very friendly reps and were easy to find and always around.

Kids- we did not have any kids in our party but my sister and kids plan on visiting there so I took special note of kids activities. There is a kids club that pretty much looks like a daycare and is opened daily from about 9-5. There is a small playground for the kids too. They have a daily kids mini disco I think at 8:30pm. There were not a lot of kids there and there was not that much for kids to do but if your kids like the beach and pool they should be pretty happy. There also is a kids section of the pool with a wading pool.

Shows/entertainment- the nightly entertainment was pretty good. One night they had "jamaican talent night" that was very impressive, men played current pop songs from Rhianna and the Black Eyed Peas on steel drums while dancing. Amazing! And then they had like a dance off portion where the dancers showed off their skills. Very good! A bartender gets you drinks and these drinks are better than the ones from most bars.

Animals/insects- there are a few stay cats around the resort that did not bother guests, they just laid there in the sun. I did get a couple of mosquito bites and I would advise wearing repellant to avoid possible Dengue fever.

Overall the resort was very lovely. It is everything you would expect from a 4.5- 5 star. I really don't understand some poor reviews. I think when you travel you have to be appreciative of other peoples cultures and realize that not everything is as efficient as it would be in Canada/Us. I would recommend this resort to any couple, family, and young travellers as well!

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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11 Thank Emerick06
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Montreal
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed January 16, 2011

After seeing several not so great reviews, I needed to add my "two cents"...
I stayed with my family and we had two rooms, one king room and another with two double beds.
There was a bit of confusion with the check in and believe it is partly due to front desk staff not being fully trained to handle situations. It was my understanding that the hotel was at almost full occupancy!
We had only two problems, one was the key did not work upon arriving to room and we had to wait for someone to come and re-program the door, the other was the safe and once again waited only a few minutes to have this fixed. One of the rooms was in the new section and the other in the section to the left of the lobby, both were clean and very large. Towels were sufficent and changed daily. (Suggestion to travelers would be to tip the maids on a regular basis and you will find they are overwhelmingly helpful in offering you sufficient supplies and nice suprises at the end of your day!)
The restaurants for the A la Carte section were a nice change to the daily buffet and also note the service is a bit slow however if you are not in a hurry and arrive with this attitude all is great! (tip for travellers with small children would be to talk with the waiter and mention your concern about eating in a timely matter!) There is an excellent choice of food and everything I tried was good, we all ate more than our share of great food and again did notice that if we arrived when the buffet was recently opened there were clearly fresher choices!
The beach to the far left is better and there were always plenty of chairs with shade available, it has more of the natural sandy beach feel. The larger pebble beach is actually the old road that ran along the waterway before and this is why people say it feels like cement underneath!
Our family spent a week here and we were not disappointed with this hotel, yes there were a few problems however the staff at the hotel were quick to resolve the problem and I did notice that a friendly smile and patient attitude goes along way in Jamaica!
If more people had this laid-back, no stress attitude that Jamaicans are so well known for, we might actually take some time to enjoy whats happening around us!
There is evening entertainment on a nightly basis up at the shopping complexe with two bars, one a sports bar and the other a disco opened at 11pm. Shops were open in the evening as well with lots of things to buy if you had forgotten anything from home including all those wonderful souvenirs we all like to bring home to friends and family!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.....

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank MontrealChaparita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed January 15, 2011

As I write this, I am currently a guest if the Grand Bahai Principe staying in room 11405. We arrived Wednesday January 12,2011. This is our 3rd trip to Jamaica but the first time staying here. We will not be returning unless things take a dramatic change for the better.

In the past we stayed at a resort called The Grand Palladium and had a great time each time. This year my wife wanted to try something different, so we booked at the Grand Bahai. A mistake!

There are many issues (and we are not fussy people). I'll only share a few.

On arrival we were supposed to have beach towels, bath robe, slippers etc... in our room as part of air canada vacations. Not surprisingly they of course were not there and getting beach towels was a bit complicated, but we did manage to get some finally.

The bigger issue was that things started disappearing from our room. At first it was cold medication that I left on my night table and then the next day it was my wifes sunglasses. "No" they were not misplaced, they were on the bathroom counter before breakfast, when we returned, they were gone (the room had been made up in the interrum).....not that I'm making any accusations. ;)

There was a ridiculously long line up to get into the buffet today (about 15 minutes). This was at 1:30 which is long after it opens and when we were finally seated, inside there were many empty tables. So just mismanagement. Also expect to sit for quite some time before some asks you if you would like something to drink. If it happens at all that is. When you finally do get to the buffet, good luck getting a plate. On several occassions there were no plates or bowls (see pictures).

Want Yo change your wet old beach towel for another one? Think again. I was told today, "no more towels". Lol. Reminiscent of 2 star resort in Cuba.

These kind of things really should not happen here. This is not a new place working out the kinks, it's supposed to be an established resort.

As a side note, the safe is supposed to be complimentary with air Canada, but they took a credit card number for it ?!? Oh ... and yes, Wifi here will run you $15 per day(not very classy).

I will try to remain optimistic and will post a follow up review as the week unfolds. Needless to say I will lock everything up tonight.



inside there were mamt

  • Stayed January 2011
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sensei_steve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Collins, Colorado
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2011

Traveled to Jamaica with extended family for a week stay. Had problems getting to Jamaica due to Delta Airlines; lost a day on the way in and attempted to extend the stay by one day. Neither the resort nor Apple Vacations would work with us and we paid an huge premium for the extra day - no choice really as we had already changed our flight and not much was available elsewhere for just one night. Found front desk staff to be extremely rude; buffet restaurants were a mixed bag, but had better quality and service at the newly opened La Palma; pool and beach bars were fun; beach was clean, water was clear and warm. Will try someting a bit more upscale next time, but certainly will never book with Apple Vacations again.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank MurphyA123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 14, 2011

Check in - was fast (had Gold Member)

Food - anything that was a buffet style was on the luke warm side, however, the ala cartes that were cooked at time of ordering were hot and awesome. Do not miss going to the Don Pablo (The Keg type fare) and the Japanese.

Drinks - the bartenders were great and the drinks were delicious. One complaint I had was that they would not make pina coladas with rum cream (against hotel policy)???

Beach - awesome.

Room - great (it is starting to show wear and tear not because of maintenance but because of the horrific # of guests and the sand and salt in the air). The cleaning staff did a very good job.

Nightlife - brutal (my opinion). The set up of the resort does not invoke mingling. The bars were not the stand up type so you will sit at a table for 4 and be served.

Spa - I had a deep tissue massage (1 hour). It was good but I have had better. It was worth it though.

Shopping - there is a shopping centre that sold the usual nic nacs. Nothing special.

This is a "huge" resort so those that don't like to walk or cannot get around easily, this place is not for you.

I travelled alone and found most guests not that sociable. It could have been the time of year or it could be the resort does not attract singles. The staff were inter-active and helpful. The tourists were mainly large family groups or lovebirds.

I rated the location as only a 2* because of the weather. Due to the close proximity of the mountains it was overcast 40% of my stay.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled solo
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Helpful?
4 Thank OceanSunSeeker48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2011

We stayed Jan 3 to 10th and I loved Jamaica but not this resort. The hotel looks beautiful, but the service is either excellent or rude and indifferent. We actually didn't get sheets on the mattress on our 3rd night there.
And we got sick after eating the seafood at the Italian ala carte restaurant.
I love to eat, but even on the first night at the buffet we had trouble finding something we wanted to eat. Boring food and they run out of fresh salads and fruit.
The snorkeling was great, and the bar on the terrace by the lobby is consistently good. And Air Canada Vacations did a great job.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Traveller23005
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saskatoon
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
Reviewed January 12, 2011

We visited this hotel in both 2006 and 2007. One of the main determining factors in returning to this hotel was the incredible spa. This December we found the spa was really non- functioning – the steam didn’t work, the sauna didn’t work, the hot tub was cold, the aromatherapy walk didn’t work. Basically nothing worked. It was a huge disappointment. The only services provided were pedicures and massages.

The hotel otherwise remained much the same. The rooms were fine and the food services were good. The wine however was marginal at best. The staff were excellent although somewhat over supervised. The problem of not enough lounge chairs by the pool continues. If you are not out by 6 a.m. forget it. Even the beach ran short of loungers by noon some days.

It seems that maintenance is slipping in favour of expansion. Without prompting another guest remarked it was hard to believe the resort is only 5 years old and we had to agree.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank sunseekerduo
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 On the Beach Hotel in Runaway Bay
#6 Top resorts 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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