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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #101 of 211 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Hamilton, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
“good value”
Reviewed April 19, 2014

April 11 to 18 2014 Just got back, weather was fantastic, hotel was very nice, maid service excellent ( we stayed in building 7 , 4th floor pool view ) The area around building 6,7,8, was great, you did not need to go to the big pool, unless you wanted to join in the pool activities.
The al-carte dinners were very hard to book, the rules changed from 1 day to 2 days ahead , but we did get into the French al-carte and was very happy with the experience.
The people at the bar and eating area around the small pool were great, the food,the service, all excellent. The front desk not so good.
They really need an activities board at the towel bar in this area so you can go and join in the activities you may want to at the main pool. It is a good 10 -15 min walk to the main pool and beach.
The beach is poor, sand and laying area, ok but poor ocean swimming(pools are great)
We did hear complaints from people in building 1 and 2 of smell and mosquitos but we had no issues in our area

Room Tip: If you want to relax and do not care about the beach stay in building 6,7,8, close to everything exc...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Thank Lanceandkim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Toronto
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2014

First and foremost I had read many reviews before I booked.

I knew the beach wasn't going to be that great so that's fine. The reviews are correct, the beach was as expected. I did head to the beach in town which was packed and beautiful.

The room itself was clean and I loved the rain shower. I didn't find any issues with the room. What I did dislike was the 7am wake up to the sound of housekeeping staff rolling their carts down the hall. This was a big turnoff as the hallway is very loud. I was on the second floor of building 6.
This may not be a bad thing for most but the housekeeping staff showed up at 8am, which was a problem form me. I like to sleep in myself. This was fixed with a DND sign every day after.

There is a pool and restaurant by building 6, which is where I noticed most of the kids in the resort hung out. I ate breakfast there most days as it was not too busy.

The beach is a bit of a walk from building 6 (10min) but they do have a trolley to take you to and from the beach. I attempted it once but it was a slow ride.

The beach bar is nice but it got quite busy during the day. They would set up another bar by the pool to alleviate the wait times. The drinks were as expected, wonderful. The thing I liked most is that they actually have decent alcohol - Stoli vodka, good gin and scotch.

I didn't realize how much I miss having a swim up bar until I stayed here. I will never stay at a resort without a swim up bar again.

The food was great and did not disappoint. To be completely honest, I have never really had bad food in the Mexico resorts I have been to.

The night life was (what nightlife?) dull. After the show, its got really quiet at the resort. The beach bar was open late but had no music. They will let you play your music if you wish but you need to bring something to play it on. This place does lack a disco.

The Spa is beautiful but the water is cold. I had an 80 minute message and it was delightful.

As far as service goes, it was fine. I didn't experience any issues with the service. I did not see one single timeshare sales person when I was there.
--
I would like to say one thing about people reserving their chairs near the pool. If I see a book saving a chair for 3 hours with no one in sight, I am the guy who will most likely move it. Its nothing on the resort just the people.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank time2fly2001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2014

We stayed 4th -13th April. The hotel amenities were great and the variety of food was excellent. We struggled to understand why there were negative reviews as the hotel was just lovely, the beach was nice and whilst not clear water it was very nice and very safe. Some of the staff were not terribly friendly but not surprised by the rudeness of some of the guests. Reception staff need to learn customer service and we're unhelpful and rude. We missed our flight connection due to Chicago immigration taking 2 hours. BA were very helpful and put us up in the Hilton but this meant we lost the first day of our holiday. We called the hotel and advised what had happened and they advised us this was not a problem. Unfortunately when we did arrive our room had been given to another guest and we were told we had to wait until check in! We had paid for this room from the previous day and this was not acceptable. I asked to speak to the manager and the male member of staff said he was the manager, he was not and when I challenged his position he wondered off and refused to talk to us. Thankfully the female member of staff was helpful and did find us a room that should have been available. Apart from this we had no other issues. The beds are a good size and very comfortable, unfortunately there are guests who do not respect others and are noisy when coming back after a night out. The hotel cannot control this and people should be more considerate to others. It is a shame that the guests feel the need to indulge heavily in food and alcohol. Entertainment is good during the day, you can sit back and relax or join in the fun. We chose to relax on the beach. is beach party with a live band, this was fun to watch. The Dolphin Royal swim was amazing and I would strongly recommend it, they really look after the Dolphins and the hour we had was very memorable. We enjoyed our first visit to Mexico and will go back but would get direct flights next time.

Room Tip: All blocks are nice we were in block 5.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sue M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, Canada
1 review
Reviewed April 18, 2014

After reading some of the other reviews i was a little worried, but all in all it was a good experience. Went down for a wedding which was great!

Food-Liked the fact that you get unlimited A la cartes. My favourite was the oriental. Definately have to go to that one...delicious! Only went to the dinner buffet the first night because we arrived late. Being a vegetarian, i would say it was ok. The breakfast and lunch buffets were awesome though. Salad bar was great!

Staff-Everyone was very pleasent and helpful. If you tipped well, you were set. Even if you didn't it was still good service.

Check in-Line up was extremely long when we arrived so a little frustrating, but nothing to get angry about. We were only given one room key and told we could get another one the next day. After locking the room key in the room twice (my bf!!) we the concierge in our building gave us another key : )

Beach-This is the one thing i really didn't like about this resort. I love the beach and would rather spend time in the ocean than the pool. I didn't go in the ocean once while there for the week. Sand bags are visible, water rough and dirty looking. There is however a small little lagoon about a 10 min walk to the left that numerous people on here had mentioned. We went and checked it out and it was quite nice. There is a bridge that goes over to a "private" beach. There were some men standing there saying it was 3 pesos to cross. We went back a couple days later and no one was there so we crossed into the "private" beach lol

Rooms-We were in building 5 with a partial ocean view. The location of the building was down near the large pool which was nice and convienent! If you have a room near the front, it's a bit of a walk to get down to the big pool and beach. However, there is a trolley that you can get on to get around if you don't want to walk. Our room was always clean, the only issue was the toilet kept leaking from the base. We called the front desk and told them about it, but nothing was done other than a towel placed around the toilet to soak up the water. The cleaning carts on the concrete halls is somewhat annoying, but the only time i noticed it was during the day if i went back to the room for a siesta haha

Pool-There is a small pool near the front of the resort and then a l;arge one down near the beach. There is not a swimup bar, but to me that's a good thing. At least there aren't a bunch of people just sitting at the badrinking and peeing in the pool all day!

All in all it's not a bad resort. I have been to others in the area and would prefer to go back to one of them, but this is still a good place

Room Tip: Get a room down by the large pool and beach or you are in for a walk!
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank tofu1981
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Moreno Valley, California
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2014

very clean facilities, friendly staff. food and drinks ok nice ocean view from our room ocean view rooms are the best. only problem is hotel is 45 minutes from cancun and transportation is very expensive

Room Tip: ocean view rooms are closer to bars and pool, bring your walking shots as you have to walk a lot or...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank javier n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Red Deer, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 18, 2014

We just returned from this resort and found it to be 'mostly good'. When we arrived after a long day of travel, the front desk person was so unfriendly we were worried. We asked about our room view and found that it looks out over the back of the building, so we asked about an upgrade and told it was $50 per night. We decided to go to the room to see it before deciding, so we were told to go and wait for the shuttle, as we were in building 4, down by the beach. We waited over half an hour for a shuttle, finally decided to walk. The walk isn't bad once you know where you are going - but we were tired and frustrated, not impressed. The shuttles run with no regularity - so you need to be willing to wait or walk!
Our room was lovely and clean, but the view was nothing so we decided to go ahead and pay for the upgrade. We went back to the front desk, (walked as still no shuttle) same guy, just looked at us and said no - there were none available for us now. We found out later that the hotel was overbooked and they were asking everyone to move out to another hotel for one night. The other thing about the reception area is that they have their own time share people in the lobby and the time share people pretend to be concierge, so you waste lots of time trying to get information from them before finding out they want you to do the timeshare tour - when all you really want to do is book a reservation for dinner.
But we were in building 4 which was at the pool and close to the beach. The beach here is huge, I don't know why other reviews say there is no beach - there were at least 6 rows deep of beach chairs, plus 10 or 12 feet of shoreline. The pool is really nice and there was always a place to sit.
The swing bar was close to our building, so that was our normal place for drinks. It wasn't comfortable to sit at, as the swings are too far away from the counter, and none of them are level. But most of the bartenders were really good. There were a couple that were unfriendly and would ignore you for several minutes for no apparent reason, no matter how good you tipped.
Our room was always clean and a new towel buddy everyday. There were no bugs but there were also no screens on the patio doors, so you couldn't leave your window open for fresh air.
The food at the resort was really good. For the a la carte restaurants there was a dress code for the men to wear long pants and closed shoes - so we only went one time to the steakhouse as it was so hot out. DInner was ok, but not the greatest steaks. We went to the buffet for the rest of the meals and there was always a great selection, lots of salads and meal choices. No complaints about the buffet, the service was always good at night, but slow at breakfast time.
Overall the place pretty good. We really didn't like the Circle One time share people trying to get you to the VIP tour all the time, and also there were Excursion sales people around the pool that were always approaching you to do things. I wasn't used to this as most place don't allow the sales people to bug you at the pool.

Room Tip: Building 4 or 5 are by the pool and the beach.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Sharon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ottawa, Canada
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed April 17, 2014

Wife and I spent a relaxing 10 day stay at BlueBay Grande Esmeralda from March 25th to April 3rd. As the title mentions, this was our 5th time here and there will likely be a 6th trip at some point in the future. Why do we keep returning to this same resort? Because, the staff are great, the food is fantastic, room is always clean and we simply love this area!
Yes, the place does have its faults, the rooms are in need of a facelift, the beach area is quite small and because this area is in a bay, there is always algae and seaweed washing up on shore. The resort is huge and spread out over a large area. Expect a several minute walk from the lobby to beach area. There are several shuttle carts running back and forth all day long so if you don't feel like walking, just grab a drink and sit a bit until another one comes along. What's the rush, you're supposed to be on holiday, relax! BBGE is a family orientated resort and not adults only so yes, there are children but the place is so big you hardly notice them. They have a "Kids Club" where parents can drop off the little ones in the AM for a few hours. The staff are great with the kids and we have yet to hear any complaints. Having said that; depending on time of the year, the place is popular with European visitors, some of the females enjoying getting tanned sans top. The resort is by no means "topless" but most staff seem to tolerate it to certain extent. My advise to families with kids; your 4-5 year old will care less and your teen son will love you for bringing him along!
When you 1st arrive at lobby to check in there is a desk near the entrance with bunch of people wearing "CircleOne" nametags. They will try to pass themselves off as a conseirge of sorts and try to smooth talk you into attending a "meeting" which is just a Time Share thing.
The wife and I can't believe some of the reviews we've read about this resort and have come to believe that it is true that there are some people who just can't be pleased and love whining!
There are several "Ala-cart" restaurants on-site including Italian, Mexican, Steakhouse, French plus a huge buffet style restaurant with different themes each night. We are from Ottawa, Canada which is the nation's capital and are used to 5-star restaurants and hotels. The food at BBGE, in general is as good as anything we've tried in the Ottawa area!
The staff here are generally fantastic and will go out of their way to make your stay as pleasant as possible. I have "bad days" from time to time and I expect so do most Mexican people. To say the whole resort sucks because the desk guy was a bit sour is nonsense!
There is a sports bar which is open 24/7 and has nightly entertainment. The locals do their best to put on a good show but it is time they made some changes. This place also could use a bit of TLC but again, ask anyone at the bar; after 4-5 drinks, who cares! Speaking of drinks, in general they are great but it is common knowledge that most of the booze is watered down somewhat. My reply, who cares! just drink more; its all the same price!
Here's my "crash-course" in enjoying a stress free Mayan-Riviera vacation:
- Do not expect your room to be ready for you upon arrival! I can't stress this enough! I don't care if you're from Ottawa, New York or London. Check-out times at most hotels anywhere, including BBGE is about 11AM-12PM. Check-in time is only at 3PM. This year our flight landed at Cancun airport at 08:35AM local time. We were at BBGE lobby by 10:30AM. Did we stress, rant and complain because they had no room ready for us?
- In our "carry-on" luggage we always pack a T-shirt, swim trunks, sandals, aka "beach gear". BBGE will hold your "checked luggage" until room check-in time, lock it all up in a secure room and issue you a receipt to claim it later. The desk will give you a free "Pass" for access to their on-site Spa. From the lobby we wander over to the Buffet restaurant with only our carry-on stuff where we grab a coffee and bit of breakfast. (breakfast 0700 to 11:00AM daily) From there we head over to the Spa where they have gorgeous shower/washroom facilities and change into our "beach gear". From there, its over to the Sports bar next door to grab a drink before catching one of the "shuttles" down to the pool/beach area.
Around 3:30-4PM, about 4 drinks and 1/2 a tan later; we work our way back up to the lobby to confirm if room is ready. At this point, we arrange for a shuttle and bell-boy to haul us and all our luggage to our waiting room. Don't forget to tip the poor guy; he's working for about $5.00 an hour! If there isn't one available at that moment, don't stress! just run over to the Sports bar which is near by and grab another drink! Eventually you and your luggage will find its way to your room which is all clean and has cold beer in the mini-fridge. On 1st night we always eat at the buffet, no reservations needed. The next morning we sit down with our Concierge (each building has one) and book some Ala-carts for coming nights.
Five years now we travel to BBGE and 5 years now we keep seeing tourists weighed down like mules with backpacks, hauling 50lb. suitcases, dressed in sweaters and jeans in 30C degree weather, cursing as they go about so and so Mexicans and darn BBGE, how it s*** and will never come back, etc, etc. Wife and I just shrug our shoulders and wonder why people can't learn to slow down a bit and enjoy their vacation.
All in all its a great resort! The general area is quite safe, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, etc. I say B.S. to all the crap we read in the papers about Mexico. I would never walk downtown Toronto or Chicago after dark so you be the judge. I feel safer in Mexico than in Florida; the locals don't carry handguns in their cars' glove boxes in Mexico!
Have a great trip!

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank virago5977
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
#56 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#59 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#69 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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