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“Wonderful resort - top notch service, great attention to detail by all the staff!”

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Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica
Ranked #6 of 14 Hotels in Runaway Bay
Ottawa, Canada
Level Contributor
70 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Wonderful resort - top notch service, great attention to detail by all the staff!”
Reviewed 13 March 2010

After having read reviews on-line about GBP, I must admit I did have my reservations. However, my worries quickly vanished upon arrival at this wonderful resort. I was with my husband and 2 young children (ages 3 and 5), along with my parents, my inlaws and another friend, who was also with her parents, husband and 6 yr old son. There were 13 of us all together.

The resort was spotless, including rooms, restaurants, pool, beach, grounds and gardens. There was always a staff member(s) working hard to maintain the property and we were met with a smile around every corner. We loved the Lobby Bar where all 13 of us would meet before dinner for drinks and then again after our meals...wonderful service there and great live music!

The service we received was impeccable! My 3 yr old son has a peanut allergy, so I had phoned the resort prior to our arrival and spoke with a chef named Arnoldo, who assured us that he would make sure we knew what foods were prepared with nuts and which foods were safe for my son. He was true to his word. He met us at each meal at the buffet, but also made sure the staff at the Snack Bar and a la carte restaurants were aware of our needs relating to the food allergy. He even met us at a specified time at many of the different restaurants. He was happy, friendly and went out of his way on many occasions to prepare special food for my son (special omelettes, waffles and even packed us a safe lunch for the trip home). 98% of the food was safe anyway, but he made my son feel extra special by cooking special meals just for him!

My children had a wonderful time! The staff treated them very well, in fact I think they were a bit spoiled...they loved the beach and the pool. There was a nice shallow pool near the stairs to the lobby bar that we spent a lot of time at! There was a kids club but we didn't try it out because the children had to be 4 to go there and my son was only 3. We did check out the Mini Kids' Disco each night and my daughter even played musical chairs one night, taking first place and winning a souvenir t-shirt! She was so happy!

The adults all had a great time, too! I participated in Aguagym by the pool bar just before noon and had lots of fun! There was always something fun going on there every day. My husband and I did not make it to the evening entertainment because we had to get the kids to bed, but my parent highly recommend Jamaica Night! My daughter and I had manicures at the Spa and they did a great job with her! She had sparkly nail polish and then they painted little designs on each fingernail...she was in heaven!

A couple of quick points to make:
1) ask for a room on a higher floor. My in laws were put in a room on the first floor and had to be moved...very musty. But their request was accommodated on the second day and they were happy with the new room.
2) bring lots of $1 US bills for tipping. We were pretty generous with our tips and had a wonderful time with great service!
3) bring face cloths. We did have them sporadically during our weeks' stay, but because I had packed some, it wasn't a big deal.
4) don't forget the sunblock...at least 2 bottles. We brought 2 for my husband and I and then 2 for the children. It was enough for the one week.
5) be prepared to reserve your spot near the pool. I was up early with my son, so we didn't have a problem, but many chairs would be reserved by 8am. Chairs on the beach were easier to find.

There were a couple of negative experiences during our stay:
1) shower drain was very slow...tended to pool around your feet if you had the water on full pressure.
2) don't reserve at Dolce Vita, Italian restaurant. I think it was probably the worst dining experience I have ever had. Service and food was terrible. The Japanese restaurant and the Grill were wonderful, though, and totally made up for the bad night at the Dolce Vita. We were not able to get a reservation at the Don Pablo that was early enough for the kids, but I heard from other guests that it was wonderful.

My husband and I had traveled to Mexico in the past and had a very negative experience. This was only our second time going South and it definitely erased the one negative experience we had. We probably won't go to Mexico again, but will definitely be back to Jamaica!

And many thanks to Wayne and Gregory at the Orchid Buffet and to our favorite bartender, Beatriz, by the pool! And of course, to Arnoldo...who ensured that our son had no allergic reactions to nuts during our stay! Thank you all! We hope to see you on our next visit! We'll be back!

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank reddya
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Michigan
Level Contributor
20 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2010

My husband and I traveled to Jamaica with another couple Feb 24-Mar 3. This was our 2nd trip to Jamaica and the first for our friends. The previous trip we stayed at the Holday Inn Sunspree and travelled with our teenage children. We DID NOT plan to retun to Jamaica after that vacation. However, our friends changed our mind since they had never visited Jamaica. We have stayed at Gran Bahia in Riviera Maya & in Domincan Republic. This was our 10th Carribbean trip.

We had the Club Golden package & arrived at the hotel after 4:30 due to the slowest cab drive I have ever gone on in a Carribbean country. Seriously!! The speed limit was mostly 80km and he NEVER did over 50km. At one point a garbage truck passed us going uphill!! Then our room was not ready, even though check out time is 11:00. We were told it was being cleaned and it would be 1/2 hour. However, they gave me my room key before they realized the room wasn't "clean" and I went into the room to find that it was still occupied!! It took a few hours, but eventually we got in. We talked to many other people who had the same problen and even people on the plane home who never even got to come the Bahia because it was overbooked. Those people ended up at the Iberostar Rose Hall, which looked like a pretty decent trade.

The only other negative was the weather. It rained several times. Those days the ocean was too rough to swim or snorkel & it was very windy by the pools. When it was nice out, I LOVED swimming in the ocean. I thought the nightly entertainment was great. The dancers seemed to enjoy their jobs & the fire breathers freak me out! We shared a table with the BIGGEST spider I have ever seen in person one evening during the entertainment. Thank god it wasn't poisonous (or so I was told!!).

I have stayed at smaller resorts that have had a "friendlier" feel to them, but for the most part I think this was a great hotel. No complaints about the food, although the restaurant times were a bit odd for my schedule. Because we were Golden, our reservations were made for us & we kept & enjoyed them all. Plenty to drink - was give a bottle of Apple Bacardi for our troubles the first day. Its hard to party too hard when you are eating ALL the time.....

The construction is unsightly, but if they ever finsh it I think that side of the resort will liven up! Dunns River is very close to this resort & we went there again. We ended up getting to shop in Ochos Rios as well since our driver had to pick up other people.

In summary it was a nice vaction. However, for good beaches Domincan Republic is better. For good snorkeling, Cozumel is better. For great night life, CanCun is better. For good weather, Peuro Vallarta is better. If you like to smoke pot (I do not), Jamaica IS better LOL!

Oh, internet was free with Club Golden but they only have 2 computers so you have to be quick!

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank sheilaski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Binbrook
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2010

Can't understand the bad reviews some people wrote about this resort. I guess they must be chronic complainers about everything. We completely enjoyed our vacation immensely. The food and service was excellent. The staff was polite and friendly. The whole resort was beautiful and well kept. The only complaint we had was our room faced the entertainment at night and it was so loud we couldn't even hear the TV with the sliding doors closed. Luckily it ended at 11 p.m. But the disco started and went until 2 a.m. You could hear the constant thumping then the drunks coming out on the way to their rooms. We were awakened twice at 2-4:30 a.m. Other than that, everything was great. My comment to management would be that it would be nice to accommodate the guests catching the airport shuttle early in the morning by having some coffee, juices and pastries in the lobby to send them off because the buffet isn't open until 7 a.m. We had to leave at 7:20 so you can imagine the rush to grab something fast and run upstairs to the bus. Will certainly be back again. Loved Jamaica and it's people.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank HappinessBinbrook
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
MISSOURI,USA
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 13 March 2010

Me, my wife and two other couples experienced this beautiful resort the first week of march 2010. To start off ,like alot of other people we also read many many reviews before we make a decision on a resort and overall i am pleased with our decision ont his resort. The pictures that you see on the internet can not even explain how big this resort actually is. We travel somewhat and have never seen anything like this. The beach is long, it almost seems like its not part of the resort its very shallow not rocky, for walking but huge rocks out a ways to cut down the wave size. For the rooms,absolutely wonderful plenty of water pressure, great view and really prompt maid service. The food was average at the buffets, typical buffet food. The specialty restuarants were fantastic we experienced "The Mikado" which was japanese food, the show cooking at this restuarant is something too see. We also ate at "The Grill" typical steakhouse but the food was really good. Another couple ate at the italian restuarant and was very pleased. The beverages were plentiful at all hours of the day or night, i will recommend the dirty bananna. There is plenty of bars throughout the resort,plus a mini bar in the room, the beer of choice is red stripe. We eperienced the dunns river falls cruise and had a blast, i highly recommend doing this. Bring water shoes to climb the falls, a must. The few things I didnt like about the resort were 1) Not enough in house activities, i mean like beach volleyball among other sports. Alot more laid back resort than what we are used to. 2) It seem to me that the pool life wwas completely different from the beach life, maybe doesn't matter too most but it was different for us. The nighlife was alright, always something going on. Overall I would recommend this resort to people that just want to lounge in the sun to waste the day away. Typically whar vacation is supposed to be like.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank BRAD3GIRLS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edmonton
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2010

Thoroughly enjoyed my stay and would go back anytime. The staff at the hotel were very friendly and helpful, the buffet and restaurants were great, the rooms were spotless, and the beach was wonderful.

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank patgrun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 March 2010

I read alot of reviews prior to going to this resort and was pleasantly surprised when I arrived.

The resort was immaculate, and yes indeed you could see how well they kept the grounds, beaches, pool and pool area.

ROOMS were very clean, and we were on the 2nd floor. I never saw any critters at all, no mosquitoes, it was kind of strange actually, but couldn't find them, and I looked!

I can't say enough about the locals. They were wonderful, whether you tipped them or not. Mind you, when you do tip, they just seem so appreciative.

DRINKERS: You folks at the swim up bar......don't just drink and run.....Jarome, Philip, Beatriz, Timmoy and the rest were awesome and they work hard. I did learn that you need to bring your own LARGE tumbler as they make the drinks according to the size you provide....otherwise you get 12 oz plastic cups, which are fine, but you need to go back regularly for refills!

Tell them Terri from CTV told you to make you a "Miami Vice"

SUNBATHERS: Don;t do what my sister did and that is use #4 Dark Tanning Oil on Day 1....big mistake, give yourself a day or 2 to acclamate to the sunshine before slathering on the #4.....start with #50.

MENUS: I spent almost all my time in the Restaurant Orchid....the buffets were great with a wide variety of foods for breakfast, lunch and supper. Tameisha is an awesome waitress, tell her Terri from Canada recommended you sit in her section - she's the best, so is Claudia and the Manager.

We stayed on the resort the whole time. We found the excursions to be just a big pricey and there was always something going on at the resort. Great beach restaurant with entertainment and you have to visit the Jerk Place between 1 - 3 on any day.....David, the chef there is amazing.

The entertainment plaza is great to hang out in and shop. Now I promised JEETU I'd give him a shout out as he was kind enough to provide us with free calls home to Canada. You can also call the States. Just visit him at IRIE POTTER Gift Shop. He's quite entertaining.

SECURITY was great too, you can walk around the resort at any time of night and feel safe especially with David and Frank, they'll take great care of you.

As you can tell, I love to meet the locals, they give you the inside scoop on everything and you can't help but enjoy their company.

Unfortunately I lost my video camera while there and it was never turned in, but I'm a firm believer of what goes around comes around. I lost it on the Monday night and so it almost ruined my whole week knowing the culprit was there all week too and couldn't find it to turn it in.

I would definately visit again, and look forward to it!

OH, you've GOT TO say hi to "Rohan" the Activities Coordinator by the pool. Tell him Terri in Canada says hi, he is very good at what he does. Not only is he the MC, but he also models in the poolside fashion shows, and is an incredible dancer.

Great folks out there.

Enjoy!
Terri in Canada

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank mscaramelle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
charleston, sc
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 12 March 2010

Well after staying at the GBP in Punta Cana, DR, I think we got spoiled? I don't really recommend this hotel. The front desk staff was very rude! They put us in the wrong room with 1 king sized bed the first night. Right over the discotech so all we heard all night was music and loud drunk people walking back to there rooms at all hours of the night. Then we were moved to another room that had a much better view and was in the heart of the resort with 2 double beds which was better but it took a lot of time with the front desk to get all of that ironed out. The water sometimes did not work and they would not give us any wash clothes? The food at Don Pablos is average at best. The Grill we could not even go into because of the smoke from where they were cooking the meat. It's like there was no ventelation system in there. Mikado was by far the best meal. The daily buffet was not that great. The pool was nice but the bartenders took a long time to service you with drinks and there were no waitresses walking around either. The beach was ok - I've seen prettier. I won't be going back to Jamaica nor staying at the GBP again.

  • Stayed March 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank daisyvogue
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica 3.5*
Number of rooms: 848
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

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