I liked this place for a number of reasons but did have a few issues with it. I travelled Easter week and stayed with my sister and my young daughter. One of the main reasons we booked here was the food reviews and for an all inclusive the food was pretty good. I am somewhat picky and found little overall to complain about, if you keep in mind this is an all inclusive. The breakfast always had plentiful fresh fruit, yogurt and many hot foods like breakfast meats that I do not eat so can't comment on. Eggs and mexican special breakfasts were good. I am an oatmeal fan but the oatmeal here looked sickly so I never tried it. Lunch was always good IMO and of the various restaurants really liked the French, OK with Italian and seafood and found the Mexican to be ironically the poorest choice. For some reason the bookings are limited for restaurants yet they never seemed full when I was there. If you care, make the effort, I only ate at the buffet one night and that was by choice.
I stayed in building 8 and thought the room was fine, liked being on ground floor, AC solid, rooms kept clean. Did not like the stingy manner in which towels doled out. Almost no English language channels on the cable so bring books if you don't understand much Spanish.
The pools are nice but are only 4 feet deep. Can get very crowded. Extremely hot and almost no shade provided by hotel ie umbrellas etc. On your first day scope out the shady spots in afternoon, and get up next day and park your towels on the chairs you want to use. Otherwise you may be sitting in glaring sun with no relief. This is maybe my biggest complaint, you have to act like an animal to get a shady spot, then worry about your towels and the stupid thirty dollar penalty for lost towels just to get a seat.
The ground are large so while I don't mind walking sometimes it's a nuisance in the glaring sun. Evening and morning actually enjoyable.
Loved Playa Del Carmen but the sameness of the shops a bit tedious. I don't enjoy haggling so probably get taken with every trinket I buy. Oh well, that's just me. The ocean beach -- all public -- in Playa is just gorgeous and worth a day trip or more. The beach at Blue Bay more like a pool cleared for kids but the "grotto" which is a few hotels away and also public, was one of the highlights of the trip for me. It is where a river runs into the ocean so you can feel the cool water swirling around the warm and just have the best swim or float ever. Loved it enough to want to go back just for that.
The bartenders at this hotel by the pool, the waiters and the room attendants all make very little money and work their a s s es off. I saw one particular bar tender handle a crowd demanding fussy drinks and he worked like a demon with the sweat just running. Not a single person gave him a tip. Please people, this is a poor country and the workers at this hotel are underpaid. A few dollars here and there goes a long way and is really appreciated. Just because we all paid to go to an all inclusive does not mean you can't show a little appreciation for someone's hard work. Plus, it's good karma.
People smoke all over this hotel and it doesn't really smell. I note it for someone like me who quit but still is tempted -- hard to resist (although I did).
Kids club alright but the movie room smells moldy. My daughter was in the pool most days but made a few friends and enjoyed the club.
We did the dolphin encounter and enjoyed that except it is really a big photo opportunity.
Sorry for the long ramble, hope any of this is helpful. Most people should enjoy this place but if you are more comfortable in a boutique type hotel or where the atmospere is intimate, go elsewhere.
- 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