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“Great time at Blue Bay”

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #98 of 213 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed July 15, 2013

My boyfriend and I stayed at Blue Bay from July 2-9/2013 and we had a great time!

I found this resort to be pretty big. I've stayed at bigger RIUs before but they way it was situated made most of the walks pretty long but there is a shuttle that will take you places so you don't have to walk if you don't want to. We booked with Nolitours and apparently if you book with them you can only stay in buildings 5, 6, and 7 which are super far from pretty much everything. I will say we had a nice view of the pool and one close restaurant where we spent a lot of our time.

The food was really good. Nothing exceptional but they did try and have something new everyday. We booked the a la carte's no problem and didn't have to wake up early in the morning and wait in a huge line as we had experienced before at other resorts. The steak house was our favourite - but the service at this place was really slow despite there being not a lot of people.

The staff was super friendly and always said hi and asked how you were doing.

The beach was pretty dirty and murky but I think this was because it had been raining quite a lot the previous week and during the week that we were there. I've seen other reviews about this being dirty - and realistically they can't control the ocean if it's been raining and given the fact that this is hurricane season it will take a while to clear. We loved the little huts on the beach where you can catch some shade! You might need to go a little early to make sure you get one.

The shows were so GREAT! They did a really good job, was different and fun every night.

There is a 24/7 sports bar but there is no food - I wasn't the happiest about this because people get hungry at night!

The pools were beautiful and the temperature was great. There was however no swim up bar. But there was always someone walking around asked if you wanted anything to drink and a cute bar with swings on the beach.

There were a lot of families here and not a lot going on other than the shows going at night. There is no disco and Playa Del Carmen is really not that close. If you're coming here to party - I would tell you not stay at this hotel.

Check in was fast and easy and the resort was beautiful. I would stay here again for a nice relaxing vacation.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank S F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 15, 2013

My partner and I are just back from 2 weeks all inclusive at BlueBay and we were extremely disappointed. First of all this hotel is not a 5 stars at all... i would give 3 out of a push which is a shame for the money we paid.
Before booking it, the reviews were very positive which has made us want to visit this place (also our travel agent was very positive about this resort) however a few weeks after booking this holiday, the reviews started going downhill with lots of negative comments which has worried us a little bit.
We got there on the 27th of June late in the evening since our flight was delayed five hours. First impression on the bus driving up to the resort was very positive the place is well kept with lots of palm trees and plants around it! Got off the bus the lobby guy helping us with the suitcases started yelling at the group not to take the suitcases but to go for the check in first (he could have been nicer since we have just stepped out the bus). On the other hand the guy that drove us to the building and brought our suitcases up was very nice and cheery.
During the first few days of our stay we could not understand all the bad reviews... the staff was so nice and friendly everytime they walked past you the would say Hola with a smile on their faces. However a few days in the holiday we started to see all the bad sides of this place!
FOOD- breakfast was good lots to choose from waffles, pancakes, eggs, sausages, scones, lots and lots of things. Lunch was ok however I survived 2 weeks of hotdogs and pizza unless there was anything else. Dinner was disgusting!! If we forgot to make a reservation for an a la carte restaurant we actually preferred not to have dinner at the buffet since it was that bad. If you decide to eat at the small pool restaurant, be careful what you put in your plate because there are birds flying all over the place and picking food off the trays (especially the salad and condiments). Also you have to wear clothes and shoes to go in (I don’t understand why since its right by the pool) however this rule does not apply for everybody!!!!!!!!! A la carte, there is not much to choose from we went to the Italian which was not too bad, the fish which was bad and the steakhouse which was very good. For both the fish and steakhouse you have to pay $30 extra if you fancy the lobster? Fair enough it’s an expensive dish but $30 it’s a bit too much I think. DRINKS- for the drinks they use cheap spirits, they also don’t measure the ml so sometimes they could taste quite strong. SPORTBAR – very poor. There are TVs, chairs, tables and also a space for shows every night. They start at 9:30 and supposed to finish around 11 but you are lucky if they last till 10:30. The place is rammed during the show but everybody seems to leave once it ends. After that there is not much to do and it can get boring. We are both in our 20s and not into clubs or anything like that but a small disco would have been entertaining. There wasn’t really much to do apart from sitting in the sportbar (sometimes it had a DJ) for 2/3 hours. Every Saturday there is a small market within the resorts with lots of interesting things to see but unfortunately some of them are overpriced but others are worth getting. We also found this very disturbing and disgusting smell of sick right at the bar every single night we went which was a bit putting off. There is an open area outside with a roof with some tables and chairs but you’re not allowed to smoke there. There is no relaxing designed smoking area. SNACKBAR- if you can even call it that consists in biscuits, teas and coffees.
Most of the STAFF was very nice, however some of them very rude especially at the buffet. One night we sat down and nobody took our drink order for a very long time and didn’t even bother pouring us water (they usually do at your arrival) I had to ask several times for a glass of coke and lemonade and never even came. I understand they don’t want to be there and this job is tiring (speaking from personal experience) but there is no need to be rude!!!! Not all of them are rude, there are a few younger ones and also a man called Wagner who was very nice and attentive, we always made sure we left him a tip. Restaurant waiters are much nicer and attentive. The door lady at the buffet got me into bother for wearing my bikini top at dinner. She told me I had to tie it round my back otherwise I wasn’t allowed in. After fixing it I saw lots of other girls with the bikini tied round their necks. THE RULE DOES NOT APPLY FOR EVERYONE! Receptionists are polite but watch out for the tall guy not only he is not helpful at all but also very rude! We went to him with 3 issues and he was not help at all!!
ROOMS- were ok. There is a comfy bed, 2 side tables, a desk with TV (only a few English channels but didn’t bother us much). Toilets are nice and spacious, there are 2 sinks and the shower is very big. We had a lovely room keeper who always tied up and made the room lovely with towel arts every day. On her days off we had a guy who was the opposite!!! The safe and Wifi are free of charge which was a surprise since it was advertised to be with an extra charge. There is also a “mini bar” inside the closet. You get a few bottles of beer, can of coke/sprite and water. There is a coffee make but no snack!!! If you wanted a little something to eat you would have to go to the “snackbar” at the sportbar to get a biscuit!!
POOLS – this resort has 2 pools. We were mostly going to the small one as it was closer to our building and quieter but neither of them had proper parasols just a pointless shelter where the sun can still go through!!! For me wasn’t a problem but for my partner and other people it was as they needed shade so he was forced to stay in a very small space of shade created by a palm tree.
BEACH- the beach was disgusting!!! Now I understand there are algae in the see and this is a natural thing, but they can certainly look after their own beach! The sand was dirty you have to be careful where you step in and lots of seaweeds by the river which can be easily be taken away. The good thing is that there are parasols… at least there! We went to Playa del Carmen once or twice and it was paradise.
PHOTOGRAPHERS- there are a few photographers who come around the pools and the beach with animals. There is no commitment for the images and you can later choose whether to buy them or not. When reviewing the images please don’t just look at your face and the monkey/bird but also look at the composition and exposure. These images are really expensive to get and they were trying to sell me some rubbish work.
SPA- we’ve never been to the spa as it is incredibly overpriced for what you’d get.
SHOPS- there are 2 shops in this resort. The souvenir shop is incredibly overpriced in snacks!!! $12 for a packet of crisps? That is ridiculous. If you want a snack go to playa del Carmen and you can get them cheaper!!!
EXCURSIONS- if you have booked your holiday through Thomas cook and are thinking to book some excursions I advise you not to book them through them as they are more expensive and are not clear about the trip or “forget” to mention things. The hotels reps are much clearer.
The place its ok I liked all the green and plants and also lots of wildlife it is nice to walk around it. There is also an useful train that takes you to the beach. It is not that far probably 7 minutes or so from the bar.

OVERALL this hotel it is not a five stars at all!!! There are a few positive sides of this hotel but it is advertised to be something that is not. NOTHING SPECIAL and I can’t recommend this place to anybody else. We stayed at the Moon Palace hotel in Cancun for one night due to a flight delay. This resort put Bluebay to shame as it is the proof of what a 5stars should be like!!!! will never go back!!!

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank mkct
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

Just back from BBGE and I must say that I cannot say anything bad about it, all in all I found everything to be perfect including food, drink, service and rooms. Downside's were the weather (mixed), mosquitoes & beach ( which I don't bother about anyway and knew about prior to booking).

Food - we found this to be fantastic - breakfast and lunch had enormous choice which catered for all tastes and were varied each day - omelettes were to die for! We could have no complaints at all about the A la Carte's but then we are quite open about eating and others did have issues. We found the steakhouse, Mexican and italian to be the best but the banana tempura was to die for in the oriental! You could also order room service at 120 pesos per time and you could order as much as you wanted though glad we only latched onto this with three days to go as we had plenty to eat as it is!

Drink - I found the beer not to be the best, quite watered down but I got 4 bottles in my room every day therefore if wanted to drink beer drank some of these before going out. The house wine was vey nice, which my wife drank most of our vacation and there was also a wine list you could choose from at dinner with an extra charge. The cocktails they make you tend to be watered down but if you requested an extra strong one from the batman they would usually oblige ( with the help of a small tip). The spirits that thy give you are generally local ones but if you ask specifically for a brand you will get that no problem at all. The tequila is a plenty as my head will testify on more than one occasion but do look for the smooth one in the square bottle as others leave a serious burn.

Bars - the bars were varied and different, some better than others. If you are looking for a nice quiet relaxed drink then the VIP bar, on the beach, or the lounge bar, outside the italian, are the best places to go! The sports bar is a bit lacking in atmosphere and very warm but does offer 24 drinks for those wanting to carry on beyond one. The one we found the best was the swing bar on the beach, great atmosphere, helped by barmen Ivan and Carlos as their hourly ritual of tequila time got everyone involved and we made some good friends there. The one thing lacking in all the bars was a bit of music or entertainment, the nightly show (repeated second week) was finished by 10.30 and was a bit hit and miss. This resort could also try to cater for kids of between 12 and 16 a bit more as really wouldn't be much to do for them at all, especially in the evening.

Staff - we found them great and very pleasant but it does help if you give them the odd tip though those reporting that you don't get served for a long time unless you tip are wrong. Overall we had one bad night of service throughout the whole holiday, which I think is an average you would struggle to get back home.

Rooms - we found ours to be fantastic, 2 large queen beds, massive bathroom with walk in shower, cleaned daily, with towel art and mini bar stocked daily with soft drinks, water and beer. We did though chat to people that did have issues but when reported to concierge they were either moved and problem was resolved.

Overall it was a great holiday, spoiled a little by the weather and mosquitoes but that can't be helped and I would recommend it to others.

Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Kevin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

My travel agent told my that lots of his clients go here so I booked then read Tripadvisor and was so nervous about all the negative comments. But it was great!! I felt safe travelling solo too.
All staff friendly. Food plentiful and kid oriented (though I did not have a child with me-lots on the premises) Great assortment at the restaurant and so fresh-tons of fruit!
The place was so clean. They constantly were cleaning even the curbs. Pool was clean, towels and chairs plentiful.Mini bar always stocked with beer and water
People complained about walking the property but they had trolleys and you could call if they weren't there.
I have recommended it to tons of people and would go again in a minute!!

Room Tip: second floor was great-every room had a terrace
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled solo
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3  Thank Heather M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013 via mobile

Great place. Only setback was beach was full of seaweed and driftwood and Mosquitos were everywhere ! Huge facility. It would be miserable if you were handicap due to the long walks between rooms and restaurants. Beautiful, good food, nice staff. Great entertainment for families.

  • Stayed: July 2013
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Thank Gabeandcheryl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

After reading the negative reviews on here before going on holiday I tried to change the hotel that we were staying in. We were unable to do this so thought we would grin and bear it.

We arrived at the hotel with very low expectations thanks to the poor reviews on here.

Arrival at hotel - impressive lobby, greeted with a drink and a quick check in.

The room - spacious and clean - however this did decline throughout our stay. The maid slowly stopped giving us towels/flannels etc and I was bitten very badly during the night which I believe was due to bed bugs so you should definitely check the sheets etc and take creams for bites just incase.

The beach - we love the beach so were extremely disappointed to read bad reviews on it. This is a load of rubbish! yes the beach is not fantastic and there is much better in Mexico (we stayed at the Barceló last year and the beach was out of this world!) BUT it is fine. The sea has a lot of seaweed in it but this is only when the weather is bad. The first two days were terrible but once the weather cleared up the sea did too and it was clear. The beach has sandbags on but this is purely because the hotel are trying to save it. The hotel to the left (which has the lagoon) is not trying to save the beach and there is a big jump from the beach to the sea so don't knock Bluebay for using sandbags.

The lagoon is a short walk to the left of the hotel beach. Water is crystal clear with lots of fish to see. You can not cross the bridge but there is a long pier which you can stick your stuff on and go straight in.

The food - I am a very fussy eater and not once was I hungry. There is plenty of choice, both plain and fancy! The Italian and steak house are out of this world!! absolutely beautiful.

The staff - wonderful! everyone smiles and says ola. The drinks are filled up as soon as you finish and they are happy to help you with anything.

Overall, the Bluebay is fine. I would not recommend it if you are looking for a complete beach holiday but if you are not bothered by the beach then you will have a fantastic time.

Room Tip: We were in block 6 - close to smaller pool, snack bar and main buffett
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Holidaying0410
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 14, 2013

We just returned from our week in bluebay. The resort was as advertised except for the beach. The ocean was full of seaweed and brown water. Most of staff was friendly and helpful. We did have hassles with dinner reservations and food quality was average at best. Not much for nightlife and no swim up bar. Pool was nice. Our bed was comfortable but the rollaway for my son was like sleeping on a box spring-hard as a rock. No corona beer?

Room Tip: Building four had ocean view and near pool
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Chris H
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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