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“Great family vacation”

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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Reviewed 17 March 2011

My husband, 3 kids (daughter 14, sons 12 & 10) and I just returned from a week s stay and the Gran Bahia. It was a wonderful family vacation. The kids had a wonderful time especially snorkeling near the wedding gazebo (thx for tips from other postees). Here are our additional tips for those going; 1) go to the evening shows - even if you are tired, go anyways :) - they are really, really good. We missed the first couple and regretted it. They start around 9:45pm and finish about 10:45pm so they are a perfect nite cap before settling in for the nite or heading out for the nite life. 2) The entertainment staff are great - they not only do all the hype and activities during the day, they come back and oversee all the entertainment at nite. So they certainly appreciate any tips thrown their way. 3) The stores in the shopping center definitely will bargain with you and there can be big sways in pricing on the same items from store to store ($10 vs $15 for the exact same towel). 4) With regards to the dreaded "towel to save a pool or beach chair" issue - frankly I think it's insane that any guest thinks they can "save" a chair all day and only use it for a few hours. My family of 5 decided we would basically apply a different rule - use the chair only when we were at the beach or pool - I know a novel concept. Anyhow, what we did was go to the beach or pool and parked ourselves on chairs that had been "saved" by someone else with a towel. (we gently moved their towel beside the chair while we used the chair) - we figured we would just move to another chair if the towel owner came back. Guess what, during our ENTIRE vacation not a single person came back to claim any of the chairs we sat in for the 1-3 hours we used the chairs! Just goes to prove there really is no need to 'save' chairs - just use them when you need them and then leave them open for others. 5) I tried a massage at the Spa - it was good - not over the top, but good 6) Book as a Golden Club guest (thru air transat or nolitours) as it entitles you to 4 al a cartes guaranteed - and the timing for those were all 6pm - 7pm - so it was awesome (we spoke to some non golden guests who got 3 a la cartes and their reservations were for 8pm or later 7) The only negatives we had for the trip was a note we got under our door noting, as we were a "valued golden club" that we were entitled to take the attached ticket with a bar code to the lobby get our free "gift". It turns out the note was from the Gran Bahia's time share group (sorry "vacation club") which are not associated with the hotel per say. When we went to get our free gift we were really encouraged to go to their "vacation club grand opening" the next morning to hear their pitch. My husband and i decided to go as we've been to other pitches year ago. They pitch was the most passive we've ever heard and they didnt pressure us to buy when we said we truly werent interested. It was pretty much 1 hr of our time and we walked away with 2 tees, 2 hats, a towel and beach bag. Not a bad haul! I would suggest that they be more upfront with their note they placed under our door that's all. In the end, we were very pleased with our holiday and would go back to Jamaica and the Gran Bahia.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank katof5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8,603 - 8,609 of 11,374 reviews

Reviewed 17 March 2011

This was our 1st time in Jamaica and we were very excited because it was a bit on the higher end of trips that we usually take.
The resort was beautiful and large but was not crowded at all. We always found room by the pool and the beach area was huge. The beach is a bit rocky and hard because its a man made beach but that didn't bother us at all. it was clean and looked great!

The service was excellent and the staff was really nice although laid back there were never any issues.

I loved the layout of the resort, there a courtyard on the one side that is a 2 sec walk and that is where the nightly entertainment is shows, disco, karaoke bar and lots of shops. it was nice to not have to leave the resort for those things.

the Food was GREAT! Loved the jerk chicken at the beach buffet!
We also had a wonderful dinner for our wedding anniversary and they make a special toast and dessert for us.

  • Stayed: April 2010, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sillywaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2011

We vacationed w/friends here March 2-9. Arrived here late afternoon, check-in was easy. Rooms were very nice (Jr Sea View) loved looking out @ beautiful blue water every day! Didn't have any problems w/staff, all were very nice and attentive during our stay. We did have some trouble getting into the a la carte restaurants when WE wanted, had to take what was available (late night 9:00). Best meal we had was definitely the Mikado. The meal that we had @ Grill Steak House was okay, ribeye was overcooked(should have asked for medium rare not medium) Dolce Vita was very disappointing-ordered salmon pasta, 1 paper thin slice of salmon over lots of noodles-skip this one! Buffets were okay, I would suggest getting there when they start serving for freshest selections, food here tends to dry out quickly. A little disappointed in fruit selection for breakfast, wishing for ripe juicy pineapple(didn't find it) no bananas, grapes, melon was hard-not ripe yet. Big plus-omlettes made while you wait!
Chairs around pool area are "saved" late at night and very early in the morning. We went down several mornings very early to get chairs, this was a problem all week. Towels are @ a premium, if you get one, hang on to it-I brought my own. Also, use of paddle boats and kayaks are on first come basis. Snorkeling is okay, but would suggest to go over by beach restaurant, the cove over there is better.
Enjoyed several evenings on the terrace/piano bar area w/live entertainment if you get a chance to hear Michelle Black you are in for a treat!
Also took in several shows @ the Pueblo Principe they start around 9:45, the "Marley man" was really-really good, steel drum band was very good also.
Tours- we booked with Mark Morris(excellent guide) he spent the day w/us- Dunn's River(wonderful experience) tubing(okay) Fern Gully(beautiful) learned about the area, took us to a GREAT jerk place for lunch, finished w/shopping in Ocho Rios. I would highly recommend him (www.markstours.com)
Also went on Cool Runnings for the Sunset Dinner Tour-in our opinion-don't waste your time. They aren't really equipped to serve dinner which is just okay-jerk chicken that you can get @ hotel is better.
Golfed White Witch-picture perfect-beautiful course a bit more $$ but worth it! Breezes course is okay-not really worth the $$.
Enjoyed the Bahia Spa special-Juliet was wonderful!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled with friends
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1  Thank ddm79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2011

After waiting a year to stay at the hotel, due to overbooking last year and moving us to another resort we were pleased with the overall look of the hotel. F.Y I very Big! The first 4 days we enjoyed the pool and beaches on the resort, On our 5th day we went on the Scuba Shops Dunn's River, snorkel excursion. Upon our arrival back to the resort and returning to our room around 6 we realized our suitcase had been INVADED. The liner in the large pocket of my suitcase was riped, cut, torn...whatever it may be and ALL our money was Stolen from our wallets. My husbands Iphone 4 and my LG phone was also Stolen.! All of these were in my purse in my Locked suitcase. The police and security for the hotel were involved and a read out of who entered the room was done. The Maid service was the only one who entered the room. Obviously she was to blame or was involved in someone else stealing our property,. The hotel informed us at this point that they are not liable for anything not in the safe...? WORD OF ADVICE ALWAYS USE THE SAFE.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Escapegrl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2011

Just returned from the Bahia Principe in Runaway Bay. First I would like to say don't believe the negative reviews, if there were problems at this resort they have been taken care of. During are stay we noticed upper management types in the restaurants, buffets and around the grounds making sure all was well. The hotel was beautiful as well as the grounds, the beach was wonderful especially to the left of the resort. If you were on the beach by the snack bar you could get drinks from there, or if you were further to the left there is a bar next to the nude beach. Bring bug repellent as there were mossies out after dark and some could get in the rooms, once again not a big deal.The buffet food was OK, if you are there for more than a week it could get boring. We had no problems getting reservations for the restaurants, we did the japanese (nice show plenty to eat), also the gourmet (very good food we chose the lobster & steak) and the Italian ( good food but desert was a little confusing as what to take). And finally the comments about the negative attitudes of the staff we did not see one person being rude or not willing to help you in any way. I would recommend this resort and am looking to going back soon. Any questions I would be glad to answer.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank mguz44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2011

Couldn't believe what a great place to stay after hearing negative reviews from here . This place was perfect.
The hotel is located beach front with great views. The water for snorkelling was unbelievably warm and the reef was great for fish.
Staff at the resort went out of their way to make your stay enjoyable from the housekeeping to the entertainment.
Restaurants were good with the Italian been our favourite alacart.
Entertainment at the lounge and the open air theater were very good.
I highly reccommend this resort,

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank MedicineHatThehawk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 March 2011

Ok, I am going to try and write the most objective review I can. Quite often people write reviews based on their likes. So here we go, Beach- great! There are two sides. One side is extremely long with beautiful white sand. Their is a man-made side that the sand is more "gritty", but most people use that for snorkelling and other water activities. It also gives a beautiful view of the open sea, which is why I believe it was meant for. Take the opportunity to go on the cliff and watch a beautiful sunset. The main beach has something for everyone! Closer to the shore and the hotel, their are little rocks in the water that I have seen people feeding schools of fishes. As you walk down the beach it gets better, water is clear, warm- somedays- like a lagoon. I give the beach a 4.5, and I am being harsh- the lifeguards are great btw! The hotel is awesome! The rooms are great, well kept with nice wrap around balconies. I give it a 5 because I don't know what I could possible complain about. I don't go to Jamaica to sit in the room, perhaps if I sit and investigate every corners, then it may not be such a high rating, but I didn't, so 5 it is. The food! I personally loved the food, but I heard one "Mexican" vacationer complain that it was bland, at which point me and 15 people had to correct him. Jamaican food is flavourful- they don't put hot sauce on everything and call it good, they actually cook the food with the spices. So if you are use to the Jalapeno style of flavour, you would not appreciate the food. However, if you like food with different textures and flavour- you will enjoy it. Furthermore, there is sooooo much food to choose from- if you don't like something- eat something else! The one thing that nobody, I mean nobody, complains about is the Jerk chicken at the snack bar! A must- but watch out for the Jerk sauce- tip- mix it with the smooth sauce. Finally, the one thing I have to say is if you really want a Jamaican experience, get to know the people. They sell this place! It is impossible to not have fun in this place! Please people, leave the attitute behind, the only way to truly enjoy a vacation is to emerse yourself. This place has everything for you to do so delightfully!

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sheretale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica

Address: | Salt Coopers, Runaway Bay, Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Jamaica > Saint Ann Parish > Runaway Bay
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Romantic Hotel in Runaway Bay
#5 Spa Hotel in Runaway Bay
#5 Family Hotel in Runaway Bay
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Runaway Bay
#6 Top resorts Hotel in Runaway Bay
Price Range: £124 - £328 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica 3.5*
Number of rooms: 850
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services 3 lake-style connecting pools with 2 areas for children 3 Jacuzzis Large sun terrace with gardens, sun umbrellas and loungers BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, 2 tennis courts, volleyball court, football pitch Water activity centre Pool and beach towel service WiFi access in the lobby (24h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Wedding gazebo 2 buffet-style main restaurants and 5 speciality restaurants 4 Bars Snack bar Entertainment amphitheatre Meeting and convention room The 18 hole Breezes Runaway golf course is just 5 minutes from the hotel. Pueblo Principe: local craft stores, live music, shows, sports bar and disco Rooms 848 rooms including 4 types: Superior Junior Suite, Sea View Junior Suite, Club Golden and Club Hacienda Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Pillowtop mattresses Fully-equipped bathroom with separate shower and hydromassage bath tub, wash basin, magnifying mirror and hair dryer Bathroom amenities Air conditioning Ventilador de techo Sitting area with sofa Balcony or terrace Telephone Radio alarm clock Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (additional charge) Ironing set WiFi (additional charge) Club Golden and Club Hacienda Junior Suites Children Bahia Scouts Children (aged 4 to 12) will have the time of their lives with these facilities: Children's pool Special shows and activities Entertainment team Mini Club (4 - 12 years) Other services 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Nudist area on the beach Bahia 'au Naturel' (over 18s only) The hotel has a nudist bathing area apart from the other areas ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bahia Principe Jamaica
Gran Bahia Jamaica
Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Hotel
Grand Bahia Jamaica
Bahia Jamaica
Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Jamaica
Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Resort
Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica Runaway Bay, Caribbean

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