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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
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Reviews (10,353)
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3,185 - 3,190 of 10,354 reviews
Reviewed August 18, 2014

I just came from one week vacation at Blue Bay Esmeralda and I was kind of disappointed. As indicated by one of the previous reviewers, the lobby had no ventilation and it was suffocating when we arrived at night after 8:00 pm and to top that the lobby had only 2 receptionists and the one that was to serve me, which I should mention I was second in line, called everyone to give the “info” that she should do one by one, and to top that she lost/ gave away my reservation to someone else and we have to wait for over 20 min in that suffocating lobby so she can tell as so, she than suggested that we go have dinner and come back to get the keys!!

We when to the buffet and behold and the lineup was at least 3-4 meters long, they have 2 sections in the restaurant, one for “adults only” and one for everyone else, hence people in groups of four had to wait twice as long as other, nevertheless we had our meal and then at last we went and picked up our key (the second was given the second day, I don’t know why) and we went to our room which was way too far from the lobby. Hotel floor that we stayed in was concrete not even painted hence it had the effect of old and shabby with no proper lighting in the hallway, the room we had was clean and functional – but no tub only shower area.

We had the facility to book the restaurants the day before which they had about 6 of which we attended 5 only and all were disappointing except the French one, that one was great and booking for it was even harder since you need to book it by 7:00 am if you want to go there the following day.

The service in general was ok.

The beach… what I can say it was not being maintained it was full of sand bags and lots of seaweeds and other black stuff which made the sea look like it was black, it was nauseating, I would have accepted that with the recent weather the ocean could have been disturbed, but when one of the locals confirm the fact it was the case all year around, was a big letdown.

If you are not going for the beach than book this hotel… do not even think about it otherwise, it is not good at all and this place is bad, for me I would never ever even consider the resort for anyone I know.

Be warned…

Room Tip: but very weak signal, so not that useful.
  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
3  Thank NellyG1234
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 18, 2014

my boyfriend decided to take me to mexico for my birthday this past christmas, should have been a birthday of a lifetime and it turned in to an awful awful experience for both of us and it ruined our vacation. We have 4 kids so obviously we chose to do an adult only resort... we were told bluebay is like a secrets but they failed to inform us it was a family resort. We requested a king sized bed at the time of reserving. We arrived at the airport and they had a nice car waiting for us with our name... when we arrived it was very pretty driving down the long driveway, nice trees landscaping and lighting, even the main lobby was beautiful.... well we were deceived. They brought us to a room and when we entered in to the room we noticed we had two full sized beds with old old furniture. We had requested a beach view room as well and our view was a wall of plants and trees with a million misquitos in some back area with an alley way. I walked in to the bathroom and all along the floor was spots of what looked like blood! yes blood! you could clearly tell that they did not clean the bathrooms very well. We immediately noticed how dirty the room really was so we called up to the lobby and they said to come down. When we got down there and explained that was not what we had thought we were purchasing they said they were sorry they would be happy to move us to another room but they do not have any king sized beds available (we purchased our room 3 months prior). We got to another room and decided lets go venture... we met up with a couple and they had told us they booked their trip 4 days before and they had a king sized bed. The next morning we ate breakfast and the food was worse than disgusting. I really dont know how i survived bc every meal at every restaurant just really was not appetizing.When we got down to actually check out there beach, we noticed they did not have a beach they had sand bags and that was it. Not a place you want to stay at when you think of island local. We then were never told we had to check out and hold our bags prior to a later flight so they charged us all kinds of fees after we left... The 3rd transferred room since the toilet didnt work in the second room we were in by the third room our vaca was pretty much ruined, we had ants all over the floors. we ended up spendin about 3 grand extra bc all we wanted to do was excursions to get out of this miserable excuse for a resort. They dont have oceanfront rooms which was what we had requested, I wanted a massage on the beach and they dont do that. We requested an adults only resort and we had kids literally running down the halls yelling through our concrete cubicles at 6 in the morning. The best part of our vaca was our excursions, coco bongo and the fact that we missed our flight and stayed an extra two days at Secrets resort and that place kicks butt in every aspect of a resort. I would go back in a heart beat that resort is pure luxury. Bluebay is being in concrete jail cells they are so nasty. Once you started threatening the staff that you were gonna post pics and post how bad there resort really was for deceiving us they got very very nasty and no one would help you and they talked back to you. they were probably the worst staff ive ever met in my life which says a lot coming from someone whos gone all over europe. We met up with a few couples who were going through the same problems and we started nicknaming it "the struggle" Really cant explain it better than that!!! And I know some people can exagerate things and might be a little more stuck up but I promise that none of what I just said it exagerated.

Room Tip: no oceanfront rooms at this resort. concrete walls, old furniture.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
6  Thank Laura D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2014

To say that the blue bay was an all inclusive trip would be a stretch! To start the lobby is like a sauna. It starts things off bad. Simply adding fans would make a big difference! The rooms had beer only. So if you drink wine or anything else plan to bring $$ if you want a bottle in your room.The concierge not friendly! If you don't make dinner reservations early (7:00am) good luck! You will get no help or exceptions. It's like being restricted by rules while on vacation! That being said, the food is good and the wait staff excellent The hotel has a moldy smell to say the least. Stocked only with one sprite,soda ect.. Per room. It is a ten minute walk from the hotels by the beach to the main restaurants. If you have trouble walking the shuttle's are far and few between! The beach is full of seaweed which causes the pools to get full(dirty)!floating lettuce and straw wrappers are not for me! All in all we managed to have fun after spending an exorbitant amount of cash(no credit cards accepted for most excursions).

  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Jeanne J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2014

I'm going to write a detailed review, as everyone else's reviews really helped when we were booking. We stayed 8/9-8/14/14. If you want a shortened version, know to stay in the newer buildings and expect a terrible beach. Food was excellent.

On to the details...

Pros:
1. The food was amazing everywhere, at all the buffets and at all the a la cart restaurants. Neither of us got sick and they had many vegetarian options at the buffet, and at least one option at the a la cart restaurants. Granted, I didn't ask if there was chicken/meat stock in any of the food, but I couldn't handle that level of detail in Spanish (not a strong Spanish speaker)! The desserts were delicious, everything was great. The best margarita I had was at the Italian restaurant.
2. The shuttle to downtown was only 100 pesos/person, round-trip. This was convenient, and the beaches in downtown Playa were gorgeous.
3. The resort was clean and lovely and we saw iguanas, coati, and birds. The walking really wasn't bad.
4. We forgot to lock our safe twice and both times they came quickly to reset our code and everything was still in it.
5. I don't think we were really bothered about the time share--the maid once tried to tell us to call the front desk but we didn't call and never heard about it again.

Cons:
1. Beach-->As everyone says, the beach was terrible. It was so shallow it barely went above my knees, and there was a lot of seaweed and rocks (although there were cute fish near them that you could see with goggles). We walked to the lagoon 10 minutes up the beach and the water was freezing and there was a guard who wouldn't let us pass. We could have swum in one small part where there were a lot of people already swimming, likely from our resort, but unless you were a guest at the Tres Rios resort you weren't allowed in the nicest part of the lagoon. That was a real bust. If you like lovely water that you can actually swim in, plan to pay for the shuttle to downtown Playa.
2. Rooms-->We were booked on the first floor of building 4 our first night. It was *atrocious.* The plug for the sink was plugged and there was no device to unplug it, so we washed our hands and all the water stayed in the basin. We called no less than three times to get it fixed and nobody came. I ended up brushing my teeth outside in the garden. The mosquitoes in that room were terrible--we killed at least 5 and there were more buzzing around. The grout in the shower was disgusting, the towel holder with our clean towels resting on it was rusted. The a/c didn't work, the TV was old, and in the morning there was a dead cockroach under the sink. It couldn't have been worse!! Plus, we booked through expedia and they were supposed to give us an upgraded room, which they didn't. Thumbs down to expedia.
So after not sleeping at all the first night, not having showered because it was too disgusting to step into, we upgraded the following day to an oceanfront room. That was when we were told that buildings 5, 6, and 8 were newer builds. STAY IN BUILDINGS 5, 6, OR 8. Don't risk it with the older buildings. Our new room was on the top floor and had an average of one mosquito per night. Though we spent more time hunting mosquitoes than we would have liked, we had a very nice experience in building 5.
3. Mosquitoes-->The only problem with mosquitoes we had outside of the room was at the "Oriental" restaurant. It was open air and next to the pool, so I got bitten a few times while dining there. Otherwise I didn't get bitten at the resort.
4. Booking meals-->This is minor, but it was annoying to have to book a reservation for the a la cart restaurants because you could only book 24 hours in advance. Half the time we'd forget until late the evening before, and all the later time slots were taken. We never got to eat at the French restaurant because it was a small venue and reservations were snatched up. We ate at 6:15pm most nights.
5. Dead bees-->There were a lot of dead/dying bees in the one buffet restaurant. They must have had some poison sprayed around the restaurant, which was alarming to be eating next to and was horrible to watch these poor bees struggling on the ground, writhing in agony.

That about sums it up; we really had a great stay, but the food and oceanview room are the only things that would make me want to stay there again.

Room Tip: Book in newer buildings 5, 6, or 8. Higher floors might have fewer mosquitoes. Book your a la cart reservations for food as early as possible.
  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
9  Thank beach_2384
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 16, 2014

My husband and I just came back from 5 days here and I was a bit nervous after reading some of the reviews. We are typically not that fussy and figured we would have a good time if we set our minds to it. There were obvious positives and negatives when we arrived.

The grounds were lovely and nicely kept up, however, it is very swampy and foresty bringing both good and bad. The good was it was pretty and full of adorable animals that make their presence known at times. The bad was around our building (#1) the smell was a combination of swampy/sewage/mold/mildew. The hallways in our building (though open-air) were nauseating. Once in our room, the smell continued, but turned into more of a VERY strong mildew that seemed to be spewing out of the A/C unit. We asked the bell boy that brought our luggage and he said it always smells like that.

The food was pretty good. We enjoyed the welcome dinner and show but only made it to one of the specialty restaurants (seafood) and that wasn't overly impressive with choices, amount, or quality. The staff everywhere was helpful and hardworking (with the exception of the front desk and concierge). Check-in lines can get long and very slow. You must make reservations with the concierge desk for each night you want to eat at a "restaurant" and not the main buffet building. You could only make your reservation one day ahead of time.

There was a lot of walking to get from building to building, however, the grounds are beautiful, so not a bother (unless you're in heels), but they do run a shuttle around the grounds constantly. There are places with little "bus stop" signs to stand and wait for the shuttle.

The pools were nice. We stayed at the one by the ocean since it was nearest our building. Some complained about loose tiles that cut their feet or ripped swimsuits, but we didn't notice anything like that. The bars are busy but they did their best to keep the drinks going. I did see one person each day getting drinks for people around the pool but the whole time we were there, we were never asked if we wanted a drink by any worker, so we got our own. We enjoyed the BBQ (hamburgers) for lunch one day that was set up by the pool rather than having to go to a restaurant.

The beach was disappointing due to the sandbags, the seaweed all over, and the water was not what you would expect as far as the color. We did take other's advice and walk 10 minutes to the left to the lagoon. The water was clearer but was freezing. I couldn't get in. Some may find that refreshing. Not me.

Can't say much about the nightly shows. I had read some bad reviews, so didn't really have the interest. And by 9:30, we weren't in the mood.

One thing that needed improvement was the A/C situation. It was very hot and humid while we were there and every building seemed to have an open-air layout or a thatch roof, so you always felt like you were sweating while you're eating. The "sport bar" was a joke. There is a large bar-looking thing that is not functional and has broken tile behind it, like there were still trying to figure out what it should be. It was so hot in that building, you didn't want to sit there. They had installed several huge fans, which just made it windy and loud, but still hot and humid. The pool tables and air hockey were coin operated, and the snacks near the operational bar around the corner were hit or miss.

All in all, what we paid for our trip, I can't complain too much, except for that smell and we did kill one large cockroach in our room the last night, which for how "foresty" it is, I'm surprised there weren't bugs everywhere, but there really weren't that we saw anyway.

If you go, you'll get your money's worth. Beware of the timeshare push at the Cancun airport. They pretend they're trying to help you find the ride company you are going with and start in on a timeshare with the Hard Rock Hotel. Head straight out the door to the vans! Lastly, if you go shopping in Play Del Carmen (5th Street they call it), it's like being lowered into a den of lions. I found it so distasteful with the harassment, and people bugging you to look in their shop, I couldn't wait to get back in the taxi! Just a few tips.

Room Tip: Stay away from building #1 due to the smell- although we heard of a couple that switched rooms 3x and still had "the smell" Buildings 1 and 5 are closest to the ocean and large pool.
  • Stayed: August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Jackie A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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