I don't know about you, but we did a lot of research before picking our vacation spot. Some reviews made me a bit concerned about our comfort so I contacted several resorts. My wife has celiac disease and we were traveling with our 15 month-old daughter. I wanted some assurances that the kitchens were aware of how to keep a strict gluten-free environment and that it would be comfortable for the little one.
We pre-requested a king-size bed and a crib. We got them. Actually the crib was not in the room when we first arrived but they brought one up within minutes. It was a well constructed crib with high sides. Entertainingly 5 mins later another crib arrived... then a few minutes after that, another crib!!
The food was great. Besides the buffet, we ate at Don Pablo, the Grill and Italian restaurants, and the jerk hut. They had gf pasta if you asked (at the buffet and Italian restaurant). The fruit was fresh!! There was great variety. Not everything will suit every taste, but if you could not find something to eat, you are plainly impossible to please. (Whoever complained that the oranges were rotten does not know what oranges look like when recently harvested!!).
My wife would get TD settled and would get our food. Almost everything was gluten free anyway and we ate early to avoid other diners cross-contaminating the food with bread crumbs, etc. NEVER A PROBLEM!!!
The kitchen staff were conscientious and on top of what was/wasn't gluten-free - most sauces were thickened with corn starch - except for the gravy with the turkey dinner. If they weren't sure they asked someone else. One cook at the Grill even asked to see my wife's plate and told her she'd be safer without the corn tortillas as they were deep fried alongside gluten-containing foods.
DW brought gf snacks, bread, hamburger buns, from Canada and was glad she did!! She enjoyed the burger from the snack bar and nighttime potato chips were a treat!! Some of the burgers are 100% beef and made in-house. Others were pre-made and they couldn't guarantee that they were gluten-free so ALWAYS ASK!!!
The Italian restaurant was the only disappointing experience (as other reviewers have mentioned) - we were told to arrive on time to not lose our reservation. However the restaurant was not ready to open at 600. So we waited in our formal clothes in the hot, humid air for about 15 minutes. As it was an early time, there were several other couples and groups with young children waiting outside, getting slowly cranky. They had welcome cocktails at the entrance but the hostess forgot to offer them. We asked for a high chair, but that took about 20 minutes to arrive, although no one seemed busy!! And finally my wife said she'd love gluten-free pasta with Bolognese sauce but was told that was not possible so she settled for an olive oil-based infused sauce (pine nut I think) that she found unpalatable. She did find food at the Italian Restaurant's buffet, though. For my entree, I had a stuffed chicken breast with toasted risotto crust that was quite delicious. The buffet part to the Italian restaurant that was quite good - several pastas, and other starters... I'd stay away from the mussel salad next time though.
ROOM COMFORT: The air conditioner worked perfectly. Actually had to turn it down the first night!! Bed was comfortable. Pillows small. Fridge took a while to cool off the minibar drinks, but patience is a virtue! Housekeeping was fantastic and timed their service around baby's naps. There does seem to be a towel shortage - having a young child we would have liked to have had washcloths but they were not always available. We made do with baby wipes.
KIDS: There were loads of toddlers at the resort and our little girl had a great time socializing with old and young alike. The staff were very friendly to her - she would cry every time we went back to the room because she enjoyed being outside around others so much!! I discovered that our girl has a compulsive taste for pool water and so we kept to the ocean after realizing she could not resist sipping from the hotel pool :} . Glad we brought hydrocortisone cream b/c she got a nasty diaper rash! Never had a problem getting a high chair (other than a bit of a wait when staff forgot). We brought lots of snacks with us and coated her with sunscreen at least twice per day kept her sunhat on as much as possible. Only bottled water for her. She loved the beach, walking the halls of the hotel, and floating in her tube.
VENDORS AND MEMBERSHIP SALESPEOPLE - I was ready to be hounded and that was not the case. The women selling resort memberships were friendly and not pushy. The locals at the beach (who swam or boated in!!) were likewise easy-going. The staff in the shops in the village seemed friendly, but a few places gave us the 'stink eye' when we left without buying, making it seem that their friendliness was false. Otis at one of the smaller shops stood out as genuinely friendly and even gave out daughter a small present and refused to take any money for it.
How To Multiply Your Money:
A few $1 bills immediately become about 10x more valuable when given to a helpful, friendly local!! Please budget tips into your plan. We left daily tips for the cleaning staff, and we tipped at almost every meal. The odd time we received poor or no service we did not feel we should tip, but we could see that it means a lot and is really a very small proportion of what we would tip at home for similar service. If you are from a place where tipping is not a practice, you may consider it one of those 'W\hen in Rome..." situations. You do seem to get better service when you tip, and that is natural.
Overall we were very impressed and had a wonderful time - Relax, recognize that you are not in your home country and realize that perfection is nowhere ... if you need something - ask!! Being a grateful and polite guest is also recommended!! We would certainly return to the resort on another trip!!! I would like to thank the PR staff, front desk, for pre-trip communication; housekeeping maintenance, all the friendly servers who made our time very memorable!!
- 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 (1h 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