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“Caution - Circle One Resorts, including the Grand Esmeralda”

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #99 of 215 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Reviewed 10 March 2014

It's an okay resort....spread out a lot. I bought an all-inclusive package week online for a very reasonable price. Thought I would come back. Word of warning....don't get fooled, as I did, in purchasing a 'resort package' from Circle One, on site. Luckily, I bought a small package of weeks but it is a little deceptive in how it was sold. The package is basically buying the room....nothing else, so you pay and extra daily fee for food and drink. To schedule the resort, there is an $80 annual fee just to make reservations. If you want to exchange any weeks to another resort, you pay more money to do that. All in all, not a great deal....I am very disappointed and dissatisfied. I can purchase an all-inclusive resort package, including air fare, for about $500 less than using my purchased resort weeks. VIP status isn't worth the extra charges. I won't be using my resort weeks, I suspect, because of all the extra charges...

  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled with friends
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12  Thank Kathleen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3,308 - 3,314 of 9,975 reviews

Reviewed 10 March 2014

My husband booked a trip at the BlueBay for my 50th Birthday. We have never been here before but have been to Mexico several times. We had an incredible vacation! Alonzo is the Assistant Manager and he went above and beyond both of our expectations. This resort is so clean from the rooms, to the restaurants, pool bathrooms....everywhere. We found all of the staff very friendly and helpful and always happy to chat with us and share a bit about themselves and their family. We can't wait to go back again next year and catch up with them.
The pools were never overcrowded and we had no trouble getting chairs in the water each day. The al la carte restaurants were top notch, if we had to pick a favourite it would probably be the Steak and Seafood but only by a little. We loved that this resort was big. We really enjoyed the walking and never felt uneasy at any time. This is the first resort we have ever been to that we have promised ourselves we will come back again on our next vacation and refer our friends and families to go as well. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Dave B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2014

The resort was beautiful! After reading the reviews I was very nervous about going to this resort... after our trip I knew I had to write how wonderful our vacation was! People find it easier in life to complain and be negative then to take the time to write a nice and positive review. Upon arriving we were quickly greeted and given a cocktail! They helped us with our luggage and escorted us to our room. The room was somewhat update but we had a spacious room and a pretty view from our balcony! Didn't mind the "Mexican" rooster we called it in the morning, coming from the north and not hearing birds chirping for what seems like months! Staff was always working, friendly, and helped us when we needed it. Rooms were cleaned everyday, if you think they will be cleaned by 10 am get over yourself! The staff works hard and has lots of rooms to clean - Go outside and enjoy the pools, the very blue beach, go sight seeing, go into town - that's what you are there for!! Buffets were delish! Reservations are needed for eve dinners, easy to do and plenty of choices. We did seafood (my fav!), steak and Italian, all were very good. We did one excursion to Tullum - very much recommend this! You will see the bluest of blue water! Gift shops and spa really nice! The resort was clean, chairs in the pool, beautifully landscaped, drinks all day and the sun shining! What more can you ask for!

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Kerry F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2014

Pros and Cons: Pros, the resort was very clean, rooms nice with comfortable beds and kept clean. Food was very good in the buffet and the beach buffet served the same food as the main buffet for breakfast and lunch. All the servers wear hairnets for sanitary reasons. Waiters, maids and workers around the resort were very friendly.
Cons: The front desk staff was very rude during checking. If you wanted to book a restaurant you had to do it the day before and had to be at the concierge in the lobby by 7 AM or you wouldn't get the one you wanted. Can only book one at a time. Don't get talked into the new restaurant CENO. They tell you is a Brazilian show, which it wasn't. When we got there had to sit at a table with 10 people, luckily they were all friendly. Others we spoke to weren't so lucky. No choice in the menu. You had to eat what they served you. The entrée was flank steak with 2 thin slices of potatoes and a few onions. If you're a vegetarian you're out of luck. If you have any problems in your room the service is terrible. We had to wait 12 hours for them to fix our running toilet and 2 days before we could get batteries for the TV remote. One time when I went to make a phone call dozens of ants crawled out of the phone. When I tried to kill them they went back in, gross . When calling for bag pickup when we were leaving the phone rang for 5 minutes and no one picked up. Luckily my husband was standing outside and was able to flag down a shuttle. The shuttles are supposed to run every 10 minutes but in the morning and early afternoon it's longer than that. Evenings they run more on schedule but most run on diesel and the fumes permeate the resort. At night our driver was wearing a mask to cover his nose and mouth! The walk to the beach from bldg 6 or the lobby is 10-15 minutes. The beach water was black. Didn't clear up until Thurs. Friday I tried to go in and sank in mud up to my ankles. Someone suggested I go in to the left. Very shallow and after walking 50' I was still only at my waist, (I'm 5'2") and water was very murky, I gave up. Twice at the bar the bartender took a glass out of the soapy rinse water, shook it and poured my drink in while soap bubbles were still running down the glass YUCK. The shows were not very good. The Michael Jackson impersonator didn't look anything like him and couldn't even sing. People kept leaving the theater. They did GREASE which started out good but then they went into a stupid act that had nothing to do with GREASE, again people walked out. After talking to a lot of people 50% were satisfied with the resort. They were the ones who were on they're first all inclusive vacation. The other 50% were like us and had been several places in the Mayan Riviera so knew this resort wasn't great. Very little shade on the beach. If you need shade like I do you have to be there between 5:30 and 6:00 am. Luckily we're early risers!

Room Tip: Would suggest at least the second floor. Our room was on the first floor and service carts and truc...
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank happy65NH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2014

The resort is nice , well kept. Rooms a big and clean . The staff works hard and was excellent . Now for the bad . Guests of the hotel were robbed by armed gun man at the lagoon . I was just a minute away from the lagoon when people came running telling us to turn back . The gun man fired a shot in the air and told people to run . Then some helicopters came and searched the lagoon and mangrove area . The local news reported it , caught there guys .
By no fault of the resort , I didn't fell safe anymore .
The bar tenders need a smart serve course . Drinking is fun on vacation . Too much ,is not fun for anyone . Many people I saw were drunk to the pint of getting hurt .
To end on a positive note beautiful pools and grounds , close to playa de Carmen , great staff !

,.Cool wildlife

  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank Carolyn K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 March 2014

We have been going to Playa del Carmen for 15 years and have stayed many different resorts. We have no kids and have gone with groups as large as 20 but usually just my wife and I go. The grounds are well kept. There is much lush vegetation. The room was clean. The staff was friendly. There were mostly Canadians there (they are so friendly and polite). That's about all the good I can come up with.

We always pay extra for the ocean view and we expect an ocean view. Well if you call 1st floor room next to the pool an ocean view, we could see a bit of the ocean through all of the people at the pool and all of the cabanas and pool bar. Of course we complained and they said they would have another room tomorrow and just call the front desk in the AM. When we called in the AM the front desk would not answer (later on we realized that the front desk never answers). So I walked the 10 minutes to the front desk they said the room would be ready at 1:00 and do we want to move i said I want to see the room first they that wasn't possible because they needed to know now or they would give it to someone else. After much discussion and demanding to see the manager they agreed. When we saw the room it looked to the side and not to the ocean . So we gave up on that. They really have very few rooms with an ocean view. Don't think you are going in the ocean in front of the hotel just read the other comments to see why. The food is the same as all of the other all inclusive no better no worse. It rained one evening and we had dinner reservations in town. The umbrella in the room was broke but while we were trying to chase down an umbrella the shuttle to the front desk came by so we hopped on. On the way to the front desk (remember it is a 10 min walk) we passed at least 30 people waiting in the rain for the shuttle. the shuttle was full so it just drove on by. We always like to have two towels per person for the pool but NOOOOO I am sorry that is just impossible for you to have two old worn out towels per person oh and just try to get two keys to the room. We ate at the sea food place the first night and it was surprisingly okay of course even if you show up on time it still takes 10 min to seat you and and an hour to get your meal. But there is no hurry to get anywhere is there now? The sports bar and entertainment are quite lame. The concierge in each building are really just time share sales people and not much help. The Wi Fi is slow and you can only get the code for one device and you must be at the front desk to get the code??
I recommend staying somewhere else closer to town. We like to go into town, lots happening on fifth ave. great restaurants, The Blue Lobster and casa adel to name a couple. If you like adventure try flyboarding at the Blue Diamond resort. Make sure to ask for the good booze it is not top shelf but it is better than the rot gut well. The beer is not very cold. The rooms don't get cleaned until 4 unless you hound them or pay your maid up front.

Room Tip: get the cheapest room there are no good rooms.
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Jack B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 March 2014

Very disappointing. We stayed in building 1 and we found the room stunk, the fixtures were rusting and the air conditioner had mould on it. The beach was a mess. The food was good and great hours for the restaurants. Check in was a nightmare. Concierges on every corner to offer a great variety of lip-service. A really large resort and it takes almost all week to find your way around. Not going back.

Room Tip: I can't help you find a good room, okay well maybe get into a newer building. The older ones ar...
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  • Stayed: April 2013, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank TripsforTeresa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal- Puerto Juarez km 300 | Camino a la Pileta, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#51 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#56 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#59 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#69 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#78 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range: £112 - £315 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — BlueBay Grand Esmeralda 4*
Number of rooms: 979
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ideally located in an area of 445 acres in a prime position on the beach on the Riviera Maya, BlueBay Grand Esmeralda combines elegant Mayan features with contemporary design and a wide range of service to suit the most discerning traveller. BlueBay Grand Esmeralda provides a relaxed atmosphere for holiday makers. The hotel features 979 elegant and well-appointed rooms and suites with the option of a sea or garden view. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Bay Esmeralda
Bluebay Grand Esmeralda Hotel
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Riviera Maya
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Mayan Riviera
Grand Esmeralda
Blue Bay Grand Esmerelda
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Resort
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Beach Resort Spa
Blue Bay Esmerelda
BlueBay Grand Esmeralda Mexico/Riviera Maya - Playa Del Carmen

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