My wife and I stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum on Feb. 9 – 16, 2010. This was our 6th Apple all-inclusive vacation and our third trip to the Rivera Maya region. We fly out of St. Louis and like to travel non-stop. That limits our destinations to Cancun, Jamaica, Punta Cana, and Puerto Vallarta. We decided on Cancun, and had a rough idea on travel dates. Then I monitored the Apple web site for the best deal.
We were about to book a trip at a six Apple Secrets resort for $1,050 pp, when the five Apple Gran Bahia Tulum resort appeared for $800 pp. The differences were; Bahia was farther from the airport, five star instead of a six, the Secrets resort was smaller and adults only. In the end we decided to save the $. The next morning I logged on and the price had changed to $850. We booked the trip. I compared prices with other guests. Most people paid more for a shorter stay. We left on a Tuesday and I suspect that contributed to getting such a good deal.
We left St. Louis at 7:00 am (USA 3000) and arrived on schedule at 10:00 am. Some people on the flight had opted for a $20 premium package that gave them express check in and a $7 meal package. We bought breakfast sandwiches in the airport, and had a better meal.
We arrived at the resort at 1:00 pm. Our bus made numerous stops dropping off people at closer locations. It took the same amount of time to fly from St. Louis to Cancun as it did to drive from the airport to the resort!
The resort landscaping and grounds are immaculate. We were notified at check in that our room was not ready. Check in time is 3:00. We went to the restaurant (still wearing our winter clothes) and had lunch. Within about an hour our room was ready. We stayed third floor of building 24. The Apple guests are supposed to get rooms that are closest to the beach. We were two buildings back from the beach and our view was over the grounds.
There are three resorts (Tulum, Akumel, and Coba) located on the same property. Privileges are shared among the resorts. We ate at both Akumel and Coba. The resort is huge and we did plenty of walking. The resorts have trams that run every couple of minutes and on occasion we did take advantage of the free rides. Coba is between Tulum and Akumel and sits back a considerable distance from the beach. Tulum is the oldest of the resorts.
Our room was a little dated. The TV was old and the picture not very clear. The bathroom ceiling had a little mold, and the soap dish was rusted. The room had complimentary robes and slippers, stocked mini fridge, and a safe.
The beach area was long. The north area was the Tulum beach. The shore there had some slope and rocky areas. By far the best area was the south Akumel beach. The area was flat, no rocks, and the swimming/snorkeling area was better protected and consequently the water was much calmer. Sometimes you had to hunt a little but there were always chairs available.
We didn’t use the pools but the water and area looked pristine. We did try to use one of the Jacuzzis only to discover that they are not heated. It was cool and a hot tub would have been nice.
We ate three a la carte dinners and Apple had a special BBQ dinner for their guests. The food was very good, but I love seafood, and had hoped for some peel and eat shrimp, crab legs, thin sliced smoked salmon, and lobster. Shrimp was available in some of the dishes. Last year we stayed at the Barcelo Maya and the buffet had smoked salmon every morning. Lobster was available at one of the a la carte restaurants, and the buffet had, at least once, peal and eat shrimp and crab legs.
The drinks were plenty strong, and the staff was always very accommodating. We went to a coupled of shows and listen to several of the musical groups. It was some of the best entertainment that we have seen at an all-inclusive resort.
I only did three dives at the resort. The weather was overcast and the sea on occasion was rough. I did see a lionfish. They are poisonous and are not native to the area. A year or so ago they started showing up around the keys, Mexico, and Caribbean. The dive master carefully tried to capture it, but it escaped. Be aware.
When you visit an all-inclusive there is always information about buying additional tours. We have done a couple of these but in my humble opinion they are not worth the $. One such trip that is offered is a snorkeling trip to the town of Akumel. The public beach (Akumel beach), not to be confused with the Akumel beach at the hotel, is protected and has abundant sea turtles. The tour package is $50 pp. We walked to the front of the resort and caught public transportation, a mini van. The cost was $2 pp. They dropped us off and we walked a couple of blocks to the beach. Coming home we walked the beach maybe an hour and a half back to our resort. There are a couple of rocky areas but it can be done. While snorkeling we saw sea turtles, stingrays, and lots of colorful fish. One other little tip, we always take our own masks and snorkels on these trips. I also take my own regulator for scuba diving.
We also took the public transportation ($3 pp) for a one-day trip to Playa del Carmen. Playa is a tourist trap with a thousand t-shirt shops. From Playa you can catch a ferry to Cozumel. Some years ago we did take a trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum. I would recommend this trip. Again use public transportation, and you have to pay to enter the ruins. Then someone will try to sell you a tram ride to the ruins. It’s maybe a 10-minute walk. I think I’d save the $.
Another observation we made was there were not very many Americans at the resort. An Apple rep told me the resort was full, and four years ago they Americans made up about 55% of the population. Today it’s about 15%. Canadians now make up about 60% of their clients.
Bottom line, we liked the resort. I thought it was a very good value for the $. We probably will not return simply because I’d like to find someplace closer to the airport that satisfies my seafood craving.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 3 pools (including 2 with Jacuzzi for relaxation) 1 Jacuzzi Large sun terrace with loungers and sun umbrellas BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 5 tennis courts, bicycles Motorised sports (additional charge) Water activity and scuba diving centre Entertainment amphitheatres WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms additional charge) 1 buffet restaurant 3 a la carte restaurants 6 Bars Snack-Bar Wedding gazebo Dolphinarium (additional charge) Riviera Maya Golf Club: 18 long holes and 9 executive holes with lakes, natural wells and Mayan forest Hacienda Dona Isabel: karaoke bars, shows, live music and disco. Rooms 978 rooms including 4 types: Superior, Superior Junior Suite, Superior Club Hacienda and Club Hacienda Junior Suite. The Junior Suites are larger than the Superior rooms. Room facilities: King size bed (Superior Junior Suites) or 2 full size beds Sitting area (Superior Junior Suites) Fully-equipped bathroom: shower, wash basin, magnifying mirror and hair dryer Hydromassage bath tub (Superior Junior Suites) Bathroom amenities Balcony or terrace Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Radio alarm clock Flat screen satellite TV Mini-bar (included) Coffee-making facilities Safe (additional charge) Ironing set WiFi (additional charge) Club Hacienda rooms (See page 18, Club Golden, Club Hacienda) Children Bahia Scouts Children can enjoy a range of specially-tailored facilities: Children's pool Mini Club with activities for children aged 4 to 12 Evening Mini Disco Bahia Scouts Water Park Other services On-site miniature railway providing access to all facilities 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Personalised diet option for celiacs and diabetics Cash point Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries Casino ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with KIPPIN S.A Lussemburgo Cadempino Branch, BookIt.com, Expedia, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Booking.com, Travelocity, Cancelon, TripOnline SA and HotelQuickly so you can book your Grand Bahia Principe Tulum reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Bahia Principe Tulum
- Tulum Bahia Principe
- Gran Bahia Tulum
- Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Akumal
- Gran Bahia Principe Hotel
- Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya
- Gran Principe Tulum
- Gran Bahia Principe Mayan Riviera Resort
- Gran Bahia Principe Mexico
- Grand Bahia Principe Tulum Riviera Maya/Akumal, Mexico