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“Clean resort--poor beach”

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #97 of 214 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Fairmont, West Virginia
Level Contributor
29 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Clean resort--poor beach”
Reviewed July 30, 2012

Stayed at BlueBay Esmeralda From July 11-18 as a 5 Apple Square Deal. I would actually rate this hotel as a 4 Apple. Our room in building 4 by the pool was comfortable and not musty smelling even though it was on the first floor. Even though this is a huge resort, the buildings are arranged around the mangroves so rooms have privacy. We had a broken shower handle that was fixed the same day we reported it. We were actually able to check in at 11:00. Apple rep James was fun and helpful. Watch out for the Circle One people (actually timeshare); they're really persistent. They corner you as soon as you enter the resort. The rooms with the swimout lap pools would be nice especially if you have children. The pools were okay, but with the water levels so low, I'm not sure the water was being filtered. The shade around the pool was rather spotty with strips of wood. There were plenty of palapas at the beach for shade. The sand is quite soft and doesn't get hot. However, except for the VIP section, it drops off about 3 ft to the water and also contains many sand bags and sea weed. The water is actually brown in spots with the fine sea weed. This was so disappointing since we are beach people. At least you can walk either north or south in front of other resorts which don't seem to have the brown water problem. The food was good. We always ate breakfast and lunch at the buffet by the beach. We always ate in the section to the right when you walk in so we could have the same waitress, Ruperta (sp ?) who was great. The food is typical all inclusive and can become monotonous. We ate at the restaurants for dinner every night except the day we arrived and the day we went to XelHa. My husband usually loves the buffets, but we didn't really care for this one, so we made sure we had reservations for the restaurants. Reservations can only be made the day of or the day before. There is a concierge in each building to help with dinner reservations and any problems (our room key did not work one day). We ate at all but the Steak House since we're vegetarians who also eat fish. All we good, but we liked the French the best. We did a lot of walking since this is a huge resort, but we only had to go to the front of the resort for dinner. There is a little train, but it's usually full. Can't comment on any of the shows because we were always too tired to stay for them, but the theatre and sports bar were laid out a bit awkwardly, so socialization was difficult. The shops were fun the walk around but overpriced. The spa looked nice, but we didn't use it either. The grounds were spotless and the wildlife was interesting! Watch out for the coatis...too friendly. The lobby was only for business. We have enjoyed the lobbies of other resorts that were attached to the bar, shops, and theatre. They are the gathering places at night, so we've met many people from various countries that way. We met a few people on the beach at the BlueBay, but that was about it. The bars were good, and we enjoyed the beach drink service. The activities took place at the pool, so the only activity I participated in was stretching on the beach every morning. There seemed to be many activities for children. This is an eco resort, so they don't spray for mosquitos. I sprayed myself every night and still had a few bites. The maids have to leave the room doors open when they clean, so the mosquitos will get in. We made sure that we killed them before going to bed. The airconditioning was very good. Overall, I think that this resort needs to have some updating since it's 6 years old. It could also use some color--too much white and cream colors for a tropical resort. Paint would help. Even though we were able to relax and enjoy the sun, we would not return to this resort, mainly because of the beach/water. I would only rate this resort as a 5 Apple if you stayed in the VIP section. This is primarily a family resort---there were many small children there during our stay. Our favorite resort is the Palladium (stayed there 3 times), and we enjoyed the Catalonia Royal Tulum as it's small and all adult.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Diane H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Michigan
Level Contributor
32 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 197 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

We stayed at the BlueBay Grand Esmeralda for a 4 nt. summer getaway July 21-25th. We are sisters who have been to many (lots) of all-inclusives in the Caribbean so I feel we have a good point of reference for comparison. We did an Apple Vacation 5 Apple Square Deal so did not know where we would end up. We were happy when we arrived at our departure airport and were told our resort because its one we had not been to. I guess we are lucky in our travels because we didn't experience any of the misfortune some of these reviews complain of.

We arrived and were checked in quickly and were given a room in Bldg 5/third floor. We could see the ocean which was nice considering we did not pay for "ocean view". Our room was spotless, AC worked fine ( I called it freezing) we shut it off at night and used the ceiling fan only and left the patio door cracked for balmy night air.....love that.

The food we had was very good. Ate at the Steakhouse and Italian and in the buffet the other two nights. One of those buffet nights was "Mexican night" DEE-LISH!

The service we received from all staff was great. I agree with other poster, Luz (cocktail server around the pool was a gem) and Houdini (yes that's his name!) in the Sports Bar made the best margaritas. (Ask for Cuervo) Our concierge in Bldg. 5 was there every day from 9am - 5pm....he made our dinner reservations and helped us get a new alarm clock since a button was broken on ours...and pretty much asked it there was anything else we needed...nice touch.

The beach is not nice in front of the BlueBay....sad but true. You can tell it was ravaged in a past hurricane, the sand bags are everywhere. That isn't something the resort can help but they rake daily and try to keep it presentable. I mention it because if the beach is your biggest draw you may want to go elsewhere.

The only other thing we did not like was the temp of the pool water. It started out in the AM as warm and by afternoon it was almost HOT. Again, nothing the resort can control--it's the Caribbean in July. Thankfully, someone told us about the wonderful bay of cool water down the beach in front of Tres Rios Resort. As others have reported it is a mecca of refreshing, crystal clear water to swim in. We spent time there every day.

Our Spanish is very limited but we didn't have trouble communicating with the resort staff. They tried their best with English and we reciprocated. It was just fine.

All in all we had a good trip and were sorry it was such a short one. Take your patience, your good attitude and your smile and relax. I think you'll enjoy....

Room Tip: The higher the better in my book....
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
8 Thank peace_luv_sun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middleton, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Staying at the resort was pleasant with clean rooms, nice staff, good food and a well manicured pool area. But the beach was not very good as many other people have reviewed. Watch out for the friendly(?) help when you arrive as their primary goal is to sign you up for a timeshare sales pitch. Also, the concierges at each building will try and make an appointment "to let you know about all that the resort has to offer" i.e. a timeshare sales pitch again. They claim a 90 minute appointment that includes a breakfast and coupon for 2 free massages at the spa. This actually means at least 3 and more likely 4 hours with ever increasing sales pressure as time passes. After you get past the time share sales attempts we found the concierges to be helpful. Off site we visited the Tulum ruins and Paradise Beach both of which were well worth the time. A travel tip is to walk to the main highway entrance of the resort and use the local public transportation which we found to be cheap, safe, clean and convenient rather than taking an expensive cab.

Room Tip: Try and get an ocean view room even if near or overlooking the pool area as it closes at 7PM and noi...
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank Snowbird2588
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

Still at the resort at time of writing. Service is appalling. Our room had swarms of insects and nobody was interested. Took 3 days to get a room change and only then at 5am when we found more wasps ants and roaches than space to put them on the desk!

Had to list our numerous and varying issues daily to the chief concierge who did nothing except give us a bottle of wine in our room (its all inclusive anyway and the wine was just the standard).

We had to keep walking to the lobby for that pleasure as well.

The tour operators who work daily from the hotel also screwed us over with one of our night excursions and neither the hotel or tour operator were interested, even though we had pre-paid in full!

The food was rubbish as well. And service in the restaurants and bars. You have to ask numerous times before you receive a drink.
You couldn't pay me to stay here again.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Rajinde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
connecticut
Level Contributor
62 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2012

We stayed at BlueBay from July 16-July 25th, 4 adults and 2 rooms. We had 2 adjoining rooms, very practical. Our first impression was it looked very nice, inviting and clean. The first impression remained throughout our stay. We had great service from the rooms, to the buffet hall and restaurants and the service in the rooms. The people working there went out of their way to make sure you had a great, safe, wonderful stay. The security came quickly practically at a run (sweaty and ready to work) when the safe did not work and needed a new battery. The housekeepers were pleasant and kept the rooms really clean everyday. The food was wonderful and drinks very nice. We ate at the Mexican and Steak resataurant both were very nice. I can not fault anything except the tide brought in some seaweed.... I keep trying to think of something wrong and cannot think of one thing....there are ants so we made sure we never brought food to the room and never had any in the room. There are animals around the facility that if not fed leave you alone and are cute.....still cannot think of one thing....it was HOT and the room sir conditioner with ceiling fan was very refreshing....it was a wonderful stay. THANK YOU....Jorge, Juan, Laura, Yuri....and sooo many other workers who made our stay such a pleasant experience.

Room Tip: We had a 4th floor room which looked over the tree tops which was nice for sunrises and sunsets.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank seesgurl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Louis, Missouri
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2012

My 16 year old son and I stayed at blue bay for 9 days. No complaints! The staff was wonderful, the restaurants were very nice, and the activities at the pool were fun. The beach isn't the best due to a reef collapse a few years ago, although the snorkeling is good if you swim out a bit. Ruperta and Candido are wonderful at the beach restaurant. The waitresses at the pool are personable and accommodating! (Luz is my favorite!) maid service and concierge is excellent. Great shuttle service to playa del Carmen. Pamela, supervisor at front desk was very helpful as well. Great value and perfect for families with teens or younger kids!

Room Tip: Ocean view, don't stay in building 7 if you want to be close to the beach.
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank julia_mcdonnell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2012

We just returned from our trip at this resort. It was our first trip to Mexico, but had heard positive reviews of the place. From past reviews we were expecting a poor beach, but it was a sacrifice we were willing to make.

On first impressions this resort seemed to tick all the boxes. It certainly wasn't the self proclaimed 5 stars, however it was clean on entering and attentive lobby staff.

We quickly were checked into our four rooms and got our stay rolling.

The problems soon started to take affect and left a sour taste throughout our stay.

1. One of the rooms was infested with ants, mosquitos and wasps. The air con was not working in this room. And the key cards kept deprogramming themselves. The reception staff kept asking us to come to the lobby to get them reprogrammed. This happened on four occasions in 24 hours. With one of the occupants being a diabetic who needed his medication, being locked outside his room put him in serious danger. On telling the staff this, they did not care one bit and still wanted us to go to reception to get cards programmed instead of them bringin it to us.

2. The hotel has affiliated travel reps, we booked two tours with them. We had a problem with both. We were told to get to the lobby for our transport at 10.30. On arriving at the lobby for 10.20 we were told that out transport came at 10 and left at 10.15. We missed our night out as a result, and recieved no compensation or apology whatsoever. The next day we booked a tour to xplor, the transport arrived late took us to the location, only to be told that we were too late and the gates were now shut. Even though we got out money back, it threw our whole itinerary into disarray.

3. You seriously need to know Spanish. 90% of the staff struggle with English. And do not understand a lot of what you say. At every meal, at least 3 out of 8 dishes were given to us incorrectly. Staff are a bit rude on occasions, and being a well travelled group of individuals we are used to high levels of hospitality.

I thought this clip below was rather stereotypical when I saw it on tv. But after this experience I would definitely agree with the contents.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=5FBun4-DOSE

There were more issues, but that would take me another two hours.

On summary 3/4 star surroundings, facilities. 1 star services.

Book only if you speak Spanish.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank John_raja123
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
#53 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#57 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#66 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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