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“Very Good!... with a few exceptions”

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #97 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Boise, Idaho
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Very Good!... with a few exceptions”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2011

We stayed August 1st - 8th for our honeymoon and it was very nice and relaxing! The resort itself was very beautiful and clean, has a huge pool with beautiful landscaping. The beach was also very large with tons of chairs and palm trees. HOWEVER, the water along the beach was very dirty and shallow, making it hard to swim in. There were a few areas with clear blue water but mostly dirty (This is obviously not the resort's fault, just the area).

The service here was awesome! Everyone was very nice and hard-working, they made sure we had a good stay. We even had chocolate covered strawberries and champagne waiting in the room the first day! The staff worked very hard to keep the place clean as well as made sure you always had a drink in your hand!

The room was very clean and the bed was soo comfortable! The air conditioning was very nice and the fridge was always stocked with drinks! Everything in the room was perfect! Just wish we would have gotten an ocean view... had a view of just trees and another hotel.

The food was delicious! The variety of food for dinner was very good. HOWEVER, you have to make reservations for dinner at a certain restaurant (Mexican, Italian, Steak, Seafood, etc.) 24 hours in advance. This was ok except the last few days of our stay we tried to make reservations for the restaurants we had not visited but they were booked. If you do not get reservations there is a buffet with a different theme each night available without reservations, which was very good but not as nice/fancy. ALSO, there were no restaurants open from 5pm to 6pm, between lunch and dinner, so if you wanted a snack or wanted a late lunch/early dinner, you were out of luck.

The bars were pretty good, the bartenders worked very hard to keep the unlimited drinks flowing. HOWEVER, the liquor available was bottom shelf and they only had one kind of beer. ALSO, one night there was a wedding which shut down one of the bars by the pool/beach (the coolest bar!) the other bar by the pool closed at 11 so everyone went to the last bar, making it very crowded! It would just be nice to know if an event is going on during your stay OR they could keep another bar open later.

Overall it was an excellent vacation spot, downtown Playa De Carmen is only 20 minutes away, and there are many excursions you can PAY to go on during your stay. As for anything to do while your there, theres not much... you can pay to parasail or jetski but theres no snorkling spots or activities on the beach. This resort was awesome for the price we paid, and a great spot to relax!!

*** If you are going to this resort or this area bring bug spray!!! There are little mosquitos that bite your feet and ankles like crazy! And if it is your honeymoon or anniversary seriously consider an adults only resort! This one is not and had tons of loud kids running around! ****

Room Tip: Get an ocean view! Don't waste money on swim up room. very small swim area and the water is very...
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  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
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1 Thank ashleyandjosh_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    3.5 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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Brampton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2011

When first leaving for the Resort, I was super excited. But honestly when I got there. I was already ready to leave. The resort was SOO Big. The Walking in the heat was unbearable. I changed my shirt 4 or 5 times a Day because it was so Hot. About the 3rd or 4th Day, I stayed in my Air conditioned room till about 6pm, Ate Dinner then Drank my face off. You can only do so much in that sort of Heat!. The food was AMAZING, i'll give that a 5 star. I stayed in Building 6 which was a 15 minute walk to the beach. But I was right beside the 24 hour SportsBar which was Great! Room Service was okay, But they would knock on the door around 5am even when you have the sleeping sign up. The Service was Friendly, Just honestly.. I Hope you can handle the heat. The walking is unbeilieveable. I don't recommened going in July, And I don't recommened going with Kids as all they did was cry because it was so Hot. Overall. it's a really nice place I think it just opened in 2006, so Everything is new. Just watch out for the heat. It's a Different Kind of Heat haha

Room Tip: Request for Buildings 1 to 5 as they are closest to the Beach. Buildings 6 to 8 are Furthest
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  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank YoungKyle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2011

I stayed at Bluebay with my family from 29/07/11-5/08/11. I didn't know what to expect as all the reviews I read were mixed.

The resort is very beautiful and well kept up. There are always staff working to keep up the resort. The food was excellent. We went to the Mexican, French, Steakhouse and Italian à la carte restaurants. The Italian was my favorite but the Mexican was the most fun.
All the staff are very friendly and do there best to make sure you are happy. Everytime you walk by a staff member they take the time to say hola.
At the sports bar each night there is a show. Some are really good, some are super bad and cheesy.
Everyday there is a photographer walking around with an animal (monkey, parrot, and I believe some others), which is pretty cool, They take a few pictures of you with the animal then you go to the photoshop that night and you can purchase them if you would like (12 for the smallest size photo).

Some things that I did not like were the fact that a majority of the builidngs are not air conditioned (sports bar, lobby, some of the buffets, hallways in hotel buildings). I read alot of reviews that said the buildings were noisy. We were in building 6 on the 4th floor. We specifically requested the top floor so the noise wouldn't be too bad, and I'm a sound sleeper so I had no complaints.
We went as a family of 5 and had 2 rooms, and we each had some room issues. One of the first days the fridge in one room wasn't working and it took a day to get it back working as it took a while to get cold again. The ceiling was leaking water one day and I phoned down and waited over an hour, finally I went to the concierge and he said he would get someone ASAP but if they couldn't fix it we would have to move rooms, but luckily they were able to fix it. In both our rooms we would find the water in the shower would randomly turn off. Usually it would be down for a few minutes but one time I had to get a family member to phone down as I was waiting 15 minutes with shampoo in my hair and no water and they said they would get someone to check the water of the builiding and it was back up in 5 minutes.
In one of our rooms we had 3 people, and the first few days we had to keep phoning down to get an extra towel as they didn't seem to realize there were 3 of us.
Even though we had a few room issues they always were able to fix the problem, but I feel with a 5* or 4.5* depending where you read the rating there should not be so many issues.
One thing we found strange was that in one of our rooms we needed to leave our room key in the slot to have power (lights, air conditioning), but the other room this was not required. This is a pain as everytime you took out the key the air conditioning would go off and the room would get hot, and they did not want to give us a second room key until the second day we were there.
Alot of reviews that said the Mosquito's at this resort were terrible, but I hardly saw any.

-At the pool and beach there are tons of chairs, the only problem is you have to be up and at the beach around 7 to get a space under a hut or palm tree. The ocean water isn't that nice looking, usually a browny color but it varied from day to day, but it was never clear and blue. At the pool/ beach there would be servers bringing drinks but they were very slow, usually took up to a half hour to get a drink, it was way faster to go up to the bar yourself to get a drink.

-The pools are fairly shallow, so it would be nice if they had one pool that was deeper. Also the pools closed around 7, which is very early (probably because it gets dark then) but it would be nice if they had spot lights so you could swim later.

-I would not suggest this resort for young couples or people on there honeymoon as there are tons of children everywhere. Also there is no nightlife.

-Alcohol is very watered down. Never felt a buzz or anything the whole time I was there

-I read lots of reviews about weird smells at the resort, and im sad to report that it is true. There was often a smell of rotten eggs, although you could normally walk past it pretty quickly.

-You will do alot of walking at the resort no matter what building you are in. Buidling 6 was close to the sports bar and one of the main buffets but a walk to the beach. There are shuttles though, so its not a problem. We did not mind the walking

-We booked through nolitours and got a $30 off coupon at the spa. I was going to get my hair braided in playa del carmen when we went shopping but decided to get it done at the spa (45 minus the 30 off coupon so 15), plus I figured it would be cleaner and nicer getting it done at the spa. The night before I got mine done my sister got hers done in Playa del carmen, and it turned out so well, so I knew what to expect at the spa. The lady doing hair braiding at the spa had no idea what she was doing. She did not do proper braids, she was lazy and rude and rushed it. I wanted my bangs included and she did the shortest braids ever. I also wanted beads and she told me they were for kids, I told her I wanted them anyway. The braids were uneven and looked like a disaster. She messed up on the beads and tried to fix them but when I touched them after she was done part of them fell down, and she got mad asking what I did. Then she cut out part of the beads and tried to redo them but they were still really bad, so I went to the front desk 5 minutes after asking for her to fix them (they were really loose) they said she had already gone home (so she rushed it to go home), and they said to come back at 9 the next day (which was a pain as it was the day we were leaving, but the beads fell out again the night I got it done so I did go back the next day) I got it done thursday night, and today is saturday night and one braid already fell out so I have to take it out tomorrow (so much for lasting 3 weeks).

Overall I enjoyed my vacation and for the money we spent it was worth it, but I would not go back as I would like to try a different resort and somewhere with a nicer beach.

Tip: I recommend parasailing. It was $65 a person and worth every penny. I'm terrified of heights but so glad I made myself go.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank c_mac33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2011

for an allinclusive this place deserves a 5 star. the location is ok but th service and the food make up for it, the rooms are big and the ac is great, we have had several meals at the petit restaurants and the food have been great this is definatelly a great place just for relaxation and the quality of the service is great the pool also is nice and clean and the gym is to die for,

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank sandraperezpaez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2011

This was our first trip to Mexico. Stayed July 29th - Aug 5th, 2011. Stayed in building six. Requested adjoining rooms but they did not accommodate this request. Staff were very helpful. Fridge didn't work on arrival but was fixed soon after staff were advised. Rooms were cleaned daily. No complaints with the food as we attended the Mexican, French, Italian and Steakhouse Restaurants and the only negative was the Steakhouse was not air conditioned so it was very hot when we visited. We all attended the spa and three of us were pleased with our massages but my wife was not pleased with her manicure and my daughter was disappointed withn her hair braiding. Beach was not the greatest as there was seaweed and rocks in the water. All in all, the positives far out weighed the negatives and we were not disappointed.

HMAC

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank wizard403
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, NY
Level Contributor
1 review
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2011

The only reason I'm giving this place ANY stars is the staff - the cleaning crew, the porters, the waiters, the cooks - these people work extremely hard and always have a warm smile for you.

As far as everything else, this place is atrocious. Here are some highlights. Or rather lowlights:

THE LAWS OF THE LAND
Restaurant Reservations: I don't know about you but the last thing I want to do on my
vacation is worry about making my dinner reservations 24 hours in advance and showing up on time. But that's exactly what you have to do at Blue Bay if you wanted to avoid the alternative which is waiting on line to get into the buffet and fighting hungry crowds for food. To add insult to the injury these reservations are sometimes enforced with full burocratic fervor and sometimes ignored completely. On our second night we had reservations to the Mexican restaurant (the only one we could get that morning) but on a whim decided to try and get into French. And we did. So, we figured we'd just do that every night. But when we tried to get into Mexican without a reservation the following night we were lectured in the most condescending way about the importance of having a reservation and turned away! Even though the place was HALF EMPTY. We then went to Jaal Ha restaurant (the one by the pool that doubles as the steak house at night) and were seated without any problems.

Another ridiculous policy is that all restaurants and buffets close at 10 PM. So basically if you don't get food before then, your only option is the room service with its extremely limited choices and a $10 delivery fee.

The Internet: I've come to regard free wifi in hotels as the most basic guest amenity, like having a bed in your room. Not at this place. They did have 3 areas with free wifi, the lobby, the Festival restaurant and the sports bar. But here's the catch - all 3 were clustered in front of the resort, ways away from where one would spend most of their time (beach, pool and rooms). So if you're lounging by the pool and want to check out some local things to do online without shelling out a hefty fee, you need to get up and walk half a mile to the lobby. I found this to be the most hostile unfriendly policy that really made me feel like the management does not give a damn about their guests' comfort.

The non- inclusives: If there's anything you may need that's not part of the all-inclusive package prepare to pay double or sometimes triple for it. (and I'm from New York and used to high prices) ATM fee is $6. A plain baseball cap is $17. A can of OFF is $17. You really get a sense that they know they got you trapped and take you for it.

NIGHT LIFE
This is place is pretty much dead after 10 PM. There is nothing going on - you can get a drink at the 24 hour bar and but that's about it. No place to go dancing, no entertainment of any kind. There's the dinner show (7-10). We went on our first night, mainly because we
couldn't get reservations to any of the restaurants and the show was a joke. Let me be clear, the dancers worked really hard and had great energy, but the whole thing was so poorly produced I felt it was a waste of their talents.

THE FOOD
Since I am on the dinner show, let me start the food review with the INSTANT MASHED
POTATOES. Yep. That's what I got as the side to the dried out flavorless piece of chicken breast on my first night at the hotel. Now, with what I paid for this vacation I was not expecting anything fancy. But INSTANT MASHED POTATOES? That crossed the line for me. The food at the buffets was OK - you could find decent things there. But the restaurants were hit or miss. Great creamy soup at the French restaurant followed by a piece of pork so dry it was almost brittle. Again, good soup at the Italian restaurant followed by a severely over-salted fish and some chocolate volcano desert that had
such strange texture it was virtually inedible.

THE GROUNDS
I found the grounds of the hotel, all the common areas and all the restaurants to be immaculately clean and pleasant. BUT. The hotel is built smack in the middle of a mangrove jungle. It's absolutely beautiful and a home to coatis (a type of a very friendly and intelligent raccoon) who would come out on the sidewalks and hang around you which was awesome. But the mangroves fill the air with the most unpleasant rotten egg odor. Thankfully you can escape it at the pool and inside but you have to walk through the mangroves a couple of times a day and the smell is always there. Another problem the mangroves create is the mosquitoes. They are abundant, vicious and relentless. I had huge welts all over my body - not the bathing suit look I was going for.

THE BEACH
I'm ok hanging out by the pool but if you love the beach you are going to be very disappointed. The ocean is murky and full of seaweed, not the beautiful tropical turquoise. There's a huge sand bar, so it is very shallow and on our first day the water had that same putrid smell that permeates though the mangroves.

THE ROOM
I had a Deluxe Ocean View room. It should've been called a Rundown Find the Ocean room. I was sure there had been a mistake when I first walked in because all I could see from the balcony was a vast expanse of the jungle. When I called the front desk I was assured that I did in fact have the Ocean View and instructed to go onto the balcony, lean over the railing and look to the right. "See miss, the ocean?" And sure enough there it was, a tiny sliver of water in the distance beyond the jungle. SERIOUSLY??? May be if the room needs to have instructions on how to see the ocean they need to rethink that classification. Oh and BTW, I paid for that view. What a scam.

Overall, even though I did manage to relax (at least I wasn't at the office!) I was very disappointed with a lot of things at this resort and would strongly recommend other travelers to stay away. You just get a sense that the management does not give a damn about you. Once they've scammed out of your money and gotten you trapped in the rotten smelling mangroves, you're on your own.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank SiberianDevil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Millville, New Jersey
Level Contributor
22 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2011

If you're a "spring break" or a big party goer........ This isn't the place for you! A great family resort that had the basic neccessities that you need to make your trip enjoyable.

Rooms were great. We were in building 5 which was close to the beach, pool, and one of the buffet restaurant. Oh, they have specialty restaurants, but they were too fancy. I was happy just to eat at the 3 different all you can eat buffets. They had a different theme each night so reservations at the specialty restaurants was silly and kind of a waste if time.

The service was superb! Everyone was very helpful! Thanks to Ana at building 5 as one of concierges. They had a concierge at each building 24 hours a day to assist you!! That was awesome!!

And I found a new love...... Snorkeling! It was amazing. Just snorkeling in the ocean I got to see dozens of species of fish, huge conch shells, and even a sting ray! The sting ray was a foot away from me and just swam by. Awesome!!

What else?? Oh...... If you want to call home...... I called the USA. If you have a smart phone (I have the iPhone) get the "tru phone" app. Use the wifi in the lobby and sports bar (free wifi there) and it will only cost you pennies per minute. I started with $10 and after 5 days of calling..... Still had $9.12 credit. Lol. It's a great way to call home.

And pack light. We mostly wore our bathing suits. We packed clothes we never even touched. What a waste if space!

The shows at night are just ok...... Kinda corny. But the Michael Jackson tribute is a must see!! A Michael impersonator does a good job and keeps you interested!

Well. If you want a great place to relax.... This is the place.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MichaelFransko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

Property: BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal- Puerto Juarez km 300 | Camino a la Pileta, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Location: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#50 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#54 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#56 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#67 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#78 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — BlueBay Grand Esmeralda 4*
Number of rooms: 979
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ideally located in an area of 445 acres in a prime position on the beach on the Riviera Maya, BlueBay Grand Esmeralda combines elegant Mayan features with contemporary design and a wide range of service to suit the most discerning traveller. BlueBay Grand Esmeralda provides a relaxed atmosphere for holiday makers. The hotel features 979 elegant and well-appointed rooms and suites with the option of a sea or garden view. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Bay Esmeralda
Bluebay Grand Esmeralda Hotel
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Riviera Maya
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Mayan Riviera
Grand Esmeralda
Blue Bay Grand Esmerelda
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Resort
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Beach Resort Spa
Blue Bay Esmerelda
BlueBay Grand Esmeralda Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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