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“Overall, pretty good”

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #98 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed April 19, 2012

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.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank catcatnyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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4,433 - 4,439 of 9,884 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2012

My husband and I stayed at this beautiful resort with 9 of our close family and friends for a wedding from January 31st to February 7th, 2012. This resort is beautiful!!! Very well maintained, and the staff is very eager to please!! With all of the lush greenery you feel like you are in the middle of a 5 star jungle!!! Those that wrote negative reviews must have stayed at some 5 star resorts, because this resort is excellent. Food was fantastic with several different a la cartes and variety in the daily buffet. The resort had all different ages, but was majority adults. The two"negatives" I couldmention if I had to say something is that if you are a young couple, there is no disco to party all night long! Also, the beach is not blue crystal water and nice sandy beach... but this was OK because I'm more of a pool person than a beach person!

If you are planning a wedding... the wedding planner at BlueBay is AMAZING... Patricia is helpful all throughout your wedding planning right up to and even after your wedding is complete! She leaves no detail undone!

I will definitely come back to this resort! Fantastic!!

Room Tip: We had a suite in building two... it was fabulous!!! If you are a couple, make sure you request a ki...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Emily M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2012

We stayed at BlueBay for a fortnight at the end of March. It was a long journey from York - a 5 hour drive to Gatwick, 10 hour flight and an hour down to the resort but it was worth it. I agree with many other people who nitpick - if you want a top of the range, 5 * resort pay what you expect for one. Sometimes our meals were interrupted my other guests complaining about the stupid things which are completely unreasonable. This was certainly from a certain nationality over any other.

We went at peak season and it wasn't the most expensive or cheapest on offer. We mainly went because of the food reviews and the proximity to Playa del Camen. The food was wondeful - the buffet was a bit canteeny but make an effort and treat it like a meal rather than a convayor belt and enjoy the food because it really is good. We didn't really have too much trouble getting into the resturants but then we tended to book that morning. The resturants are great, the food is wonderful and the portions are normal and realistic, rather than being over faced with a huge plate of food. If you want prime time in the French get up early and the this is the case with the sunbeds too. If want one in the shade, by the pool, you are looking at getting up before 7am to get your towel down! This is really the only downside I felt BB has. Not enough shade, you do end up elbow to elbow with very loud families and as a couple with no children this wasn't really what we wanted. We tended to go onto the bench, towards the right of the resort.

On the topic of the beach, the sea wasn't too bad and I am not sure everyone means mud as all I saw in the water was bracken, from trees, The lagoo, which is about a 7 min walk is great and very refreshing as the water is much colder there.

There was loads to do, if you want to, which we didn't!! There was volleyball, yoga, water polo, games, pottery painting etc. I played volleball once which was enough but there was always something happening if your not a sun worshipper.

If you want to go into Playa walk down the drive and catch the Playa shuttle, which is about 30MXN round trip. Just stand on the side of the road and flag it down, it will flash its headlights!! We went to Playa 4 times and worked out if we'd taken a taxi it would have cost about £120, compared to the £12 we actually spent. If you do go and want snacks for your room, buy them in Playa as the little shop on the resort is really expensive.

The room was fine, really clean but then I found everywhere on the resort and outside we went was spotless. We did have a family of racoons living under our patio. The maid was great and I'd like to say how honest the staff were. We went to Xcaret for the day and left the safe door open with all our mexican money, credit cards, mobiles, passports, a watch and ipod in. When we got back the passcode on the safe was change and a note left saying to ring reception to have it reopened. When it was reopened everything was still there. We were massively relieved as we had read some negative reviews on this subject but the maid, the fridge restocker man and someone came to mend the fan that day and it was all left safe so Thank You!

We did both get a bit poorly from the air conditioning as we left it during the night and the fan was broken. Once this was fixed and we could turn off the air conditioning we were fine. They did fix it very promtly, once we told them it was broken!

The rest of the staff were wonderful too, nothing was too much trouble. My partner, who speaks Spanish was getting very frustrated by the fact they would rather speak English to us than let her speak Spanish so as a English only person this was a massive relief!

The resort is NOT massive, it takes about 5-7 mins to walk from the beach to reception and occasionally on an evening we even walked around the entire resort just because it was nice! The bus around the resort is totally un-neccessary, its noisy and polluting. With all the food its necessary to get a bit of exercise and quite frankly if you cannot walk around just because you are too unfit then you should be ashamed of yourself. Do get some bug spray though.

Outside the resort go to Playa for a day, its great and go to Xcaret or Xel-Ha, and jump 15ft into the lagoon (both if possible!) They are amazing. Also walking back down the drive in the evening we saw a deer which was also amazing.

A wonderful holiday.

Room Tip: We did notice that the swim up suits were right on the paths which the stupid bus went past and it w...
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  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank kateandcaroline
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2012

We went to Playa del Carmen in october 2011, it was an excellent vacation!

It's a very nice resort with a nice environment (animals included!!)!
Helpfull and friendly staff!

We had an amazing time in BlueBay and in Mexico!!!!!!

The only disadvantage is that the sea isn't that blue and clear!

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Michael_D_1908
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2012

We visited the BlueBay in March of 2011 for a vacation. The property is absolutely beautiful. Breakfast is great and there are a lot of food options. As an all-inclusive, I did get sick of the food by the end of the week. Breakfast was by far the best meal. The beach at the resort is so relaxing and it feels like you are walking on clouds. The property is very large so after the first day I did not necessarily feel the need to work out in the morning lol! I would highly recommend staying in an oceanview room. It is worth every penny!!! The resort is close to various activities and a pretty short cab ride to Playa Del Carmen. As far as things to do...Xel-Ha is really fun. I would recommend going early in the morning and snorkeling right away in the morning so that the sand isn't rustled up.

  • Stayed: May 2011, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TheWorldAwaits936
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 17, 2012

My boyfriend and I travelled to BlueBay on March 25th. We got a great price, and had an amazing vacation. People who write these 2 star reviews are just so nitpicky about the stupidest things, so here is a review you can really trust!

Fortunately we had a morning flight, and it worked out well, as the Cancun airport can get a little crazy when there are several planes at once. Took us about an hour to get through, and then about 40 minutes on the bus to BlueBay. We arrived to a delicious fruit juice drink, and were taken to a private check-in, because we booked with Nolitours. It probably would have been faster to check in at the main lobby, but we got to be out in the sun and get a quick look at the grounds. We were lucky that day and even though we arrived at the hotel at about 9:30, our room was ready. I had requested a room close to the ocean, and we were in building 8, which is as far as you can possibly get from the ocean, lol, but I don't complain over things that don't matter. The rooms are very nice! They had put the 2 double beds together to make one huge bed, which was very comfy. It took us a few minutes to figure out that you have to use your room key to get the lights on and then leave it in the little slot or the light will turn off after about 30 seconds. We were ground floor so had a little patio outside. The bathroom was awesome! Double sinks, and an incredible shower with 2 heads, so it was perfect for washing off all the sand and sunscreen at the end of the day.
If you are wondering what building number to request or book, building 6,7 and 8 are all situated around the smaller pool, farthest from the beach. There is a breakfast and lunch buffet there as well, and you are fairly close to the lobby and main buffet and bar. Building 1-5 are near the beach and big saltwater pool, and quite a walk to the main lobby and everything.
Okay so lets talk about the beach...sand is gorgeous and soft, tons of trees and stuff for shade. The water! You do not find the beautiful turquoise blue water here, apparently a hurricane broke up part of the reef that protected the bay so the water can get quite brown. If that is something really important to you, don't come to this hotel. You can walk down the beach to the left about 10 minutes to the lagoon, which is just beautiful, but the water is cooler down there.
Next, my boyfriend and I are not big drinkers, but we had some drinks and I thought they were quite good. Try a BlueBay! Very yummy. Food as this resort is excellent! Tons of choices, something for everyone. People who say they couldn't find anything to eat must be the worlds pickiest people. The only thing that was hit or miss are the steaks, tend to be quite rubbery and sometimes overcooked. If you book the steakhouse a la carte, the steaks there are yummy. The fruit is delicious, especially the pineapple. We also went to the italian a la carte, which was also good and had a really great atmosphere.
The staff were 95% awesome, we had the odd grumpy bartender here and there who wouldn't say a single word to us lol only seemed to be talking to the young drunk girls wearing very little clothing...hmmm. Almost everyone who walks by you says Hola! and gives a smile. Very helpful too. The resort is a bit confusing at first, you will most likely make a wrong turn walking back from the beach, but just enjoy the scenery! There is also a little shuttle service that runs constantly. It is a good walk from the back of the resort to the beach, my boyfriend and I are both letter carriers, so we walk quite quickly and it took us a good 10 mins. There are dinner shows you can go to every night, and then a different show in the main theatre at 9:30, which were usually quite good. Michael Jackson show was pretty impressive!
The hotel has a shuttle that goes to Playa Del Carmen, which is a must do! It is 50 pesos (12.5 pesos in a US dollar) and drops you off right downtown. The beach in PDC is GORGEOUS. We spent a few hours there alone. We went into town twice, once during the day and once in the late afternoon into the evening and just loved it. Just be prepared to say 'no' alot and barter like crazy! Whatever price they tell you, at least cut it in half.
Another thing to do, if you like jewellery, take a taxi to Lapis, the jewellery factory that is literally next door to the resort. They pay for your cab, you just have to set it up with the hotel the day before. Barter here too! We paid less than half of what the sticker price on our rings said. That was a great experience!
Lastly, you MUST MUST MUST go to Rio Secreto. Wow. One of those experiences you will never forget. Starts out with a blessing and cleansing from a Mayan descendant and then you head into the cenote. One of the few cenotes that is actually 'alive' and continues to grow and change. The history of the caves is just amazing,you will learn so much, and will say wow at least 100 times. Our guide was Rodrigo, the best. This is a must do. We were gone from 10am til about 3pm for $99 per person. Lunch provided. Amazing.
Back to the resort....a few less than perfect things.
The water, as I already said. It didn't bother me, but I could see how some people could be freaked out or grossed out by the water. Parts were blue, mostly brown.
The steak! Hit or miss, but for the most part, was not that great.
One other thing I noticed is that there are people in and out of your room constantly, from as early as 8am until like 6pm...I had never had that before. So use your safe! Always always use your safe and keep things mostly put away. One night we went back to the room to get ready at about 5, had a shower and laid down for about 20 minutes so the bed was messed up. We left to dinner and when we came back at about 11pm, the bed had been remade. So just be cautious.
Overall, a great hotel, great beach, a great vacation. Food is delicious, and everything is washed in purified water and ice cubes are made from purified water. Im sure if you went around with a magnifying glass and examined the paint in your room or the tiles in the pool like some people do, you will find some flaws. Who cares!? I highly recommend this resort!

  • Stayed: March 2012, traveled as a couple
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18  Thank JillD260
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 16, 2012

This is a beautiful hotel with a lot of options, clean, well maintained and with a great ambience. We reserved for the Seafood restaurant and the Tuna and Salmon was absolutely great. Breakfast is good too and for lunch you can grab a snack and you will be fine. We are pretty easy going so with the options that you have is great. I would go back to this hotel for sure and prepay the swim up suites. Beautiful.

  • Stayed: April 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank JuanchoS10
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

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
#57 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#68 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#78 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: $156 - $642 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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