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“Enjoyable vacation” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #93 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Prince Albert, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Enjoyable vacation”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014 via mobile

My husband and I, usually takes a sunny trip down south this time of year and we usually try to stay at different resorts every time.
As our trip neared, I was doing more research in tems of what there is to do around the resort.

To my dismay, there were so many BAD reviews of Blue Bay, that I actually considered changing my reservation...
I am very happy to say that my husband was right..."there are ALWAYS people that complain unnessesarily"!!

There was unfortunately a few hiccups, our room key did not work, and even though we payed extra to have an ocean view room, we were initially accommodated in a NO view whatsoever room.

Luckily this was sorted out swiftly and without difficulty.
Our stay overall was wonderfull and relaxing.
The Italian, French and buffet restaurants were of very good quality and we enjoyed the variety of food available.
The hamburgers at the pool was amazing, especially after spending a day in the sun and surf.
The seafood restaurant on the other hand was disappointing and sub par interms of menu selection, quality of food and service.

We did use the spa facilities and each had a swedish massage which was wonderful.

The staff over all was very friendly and helpful, as well as our hotel representatives with BD travel.

There is some minor improvements that could be made to improve patrons experience.
This suggestions is what my husband and I discussed:

- It would be nice to have a room key each.
- We would have appreciated receiving WiFi free for all our devices, only one device gets free WiFi.
- Some music round the pool would make quite a difference to the holiday atmosphere.

We had a wonderful holiday, I think some of the bad reviews might be a bit harsh, but there is some room for improvement!

Would we go back, I think we would.

Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Annalie B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Montreal, QC
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 March 2014 via mobile

My boyfriend and two other couples (late twenties/early 30s) went last year and we had set our expectations high since it's touted to be a luxurious 5*, however, it's not the lap if luxury that we had hoped. Everything from the check-in, to the rooms, service and food was fine and good; no complaints. We liked the fact that each building had their own concierge which meant that we didn't have to walk to the lobby every time to book a restaurant. The pool was good, but I felt like it needed more spots in the shade as the sun is terribly hot. Unfortunately, the beach left much to be desired - lots of black sand a couple of feet in, but you could swim through it to get a patch of nice water. You could also walk along the beach to get a better spot, but i didn't like the fact that I had to do that. Perhaps it was the time/season that was making the water that way.
What I didn't like was the layout of the place. It was big for nothing and the block where we stayed though next to a pool was far from the main pool, beach and buffet.
We I'd have a fun one thiugh. Animators were good and not annoying or imposing and there was a synchronized swimming troupe from Cuba who gave a special and amazing performance.
I give this hotel 7.9/10

Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Elena P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ladner, Canada
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 March 2014

We were a little nervous booking this resort after reading the trip advisor reviews, but I am so glad that we ... the value that you get for your money is great. Do not be swayed by the really negative reviews - there are simply some people that cannot be pleased.

No, it isn't the fanciest place in the Mayan, but he friendliness of the staff, the food, the service, the rooms; all are well above average.

We had no complaints on the food (well, except for potatoes - they tend to taste like the mangrove smells :-) but the buffet menus were varied in the 10 days we were there - Festival, the main buffet, had theme nights (Mexican, Italian, Oriental, etc) that were very enjoyable. The al la carte's were good although I thought the menu's were somewhat limited. I have noticed this in other al la carte's as well.

The beach is lovely. Where you swim....not so much, but you can't control Mother Nature.

Night life wasn't something that we were interested in and it was my understanding from some of the younger people at the resort in this area was lacking. They headed to Playa del Carmen, down to 12th Avenue and partied hardy! No complaints from the folks we talked to - they had a blast.

Service, from the bartenders to the housekeepers to the guys that drove the trams all over the resort (which were frequent, by the way - 10 minute wait tops) was top notch. Check in was quick, making reservations in the restaurants was simple - I have no idea how other people could find criticism in the friendly, helpful staff at this resort.

Were the drinks watered down? Sometimes, but let's face it, most people started drinking right after breakfast! If you wanted a stronger drink, all you had to do was ask.

All in all, I would highly recommend this resort to anyone who isn't a whiney complainer. If you fall into that category, pay twice as much and stay somewhere else.

Room Tip: We stayed in Tulum - building 1. It was quiet, with a jungle view, and we were on the top floor. C...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Heather F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gimli, Manitoba, Canada
Level Contributor
9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2014

The deluxe superior room was less than what we expected. The room was in a good location close to the pool and beach but not much more than a standard hotel room with a king-size bed with safe and mini-bar (restocked daily with pop, water, and beer). There was no seating area inside the room, just on the outdoor patio which was infested with mosquitoes. There was a definite sewage smell every morning outside our unit and around the pool area. At times, there was a sewage smell in our washroom coming from a drain under the sink vanity.
The buffets were average and service was good. The staff were very helpful at the resort and always had a smile for you. The best a la carte restaurant was French cuisine. We ate there several times and the menu changed every day. Wifi was free (bonus) as was the in-room safe. This is not usual at other resorts unless you are booking under one of their privileged categories.
You had to be up early (at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. at latest) in order to reserve a chair around the pool. The hotel policy says this is not allowed but everyone does it. Do not be surprised if you go to eat and come back to find your towels missing and some one else in your chairs. Replacement towels are $30 USD each. Might be a good idea to take some cheap ones from home to put on your chairs, along with an old paperback. There is no swim-up bar but lots of areas where the chairs are set in shallow water which is nice.
The ocean was full of debris and the first two days we were there, no one was swimming in the ocean. There is nothing to see when snorkelling as there are no reefs nearby. You could walk for quite a distance both ways down the beach passing several other resorts on the way. The shop there (Dive-X) was good and we had some very good scuba dives with them.
This is rated as a 4-star (some say 5) but I would say 4 may be stretching it. It is quite a distance from Playa del Carmen so it is a costly cab ride there. The shops are typical resort shops and very expensive. The weather and the staff made our holiday enjoyable but I do not think we will be returning to this resort. There are others that are nicer, in a better area, and the same price.

Room Tip: We were told if you are booking though a travel agent such as Transat, you will be in a building tha...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Katherine C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Holmfirth
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2014

My wife and I travelled with Thos Cook from Manchester to Blue Bay and stayed "inclusive " from 25 Feb to 8 March 2014.
This was our first visit to this part of the world and we were impressed with the hotel, its staff and in the main with the organisation.
So let's deal with the downside first.
Checking-in at reception was torturous. If Management had gone through the drill as a customer changes would have been made. It was all the more trying coming after we had left home some 17 hours earlier.
We were advised by the apartment concierge that there was a special welcome dinner with entertainment. We had read that this was not worth making the effort to attend.
We foolishly ignored that advice. It was more awful than words can describe: the entertainment consisted of a person talking into a mic that had been so boosted that the volume was too distorted to be understood and was so loud that it was painful to the ears. The dancers were talented but having seen male and female execute the "splits" at least six times it became boring.
As we received the main course all the hall lights went out. The power problem did not affect the volume from the stage nor the stage lighting but eating a meal in the darkness was a form of entertainment that we could have well done without.
It seems that over 100 people failed to eat their meal. We left early too!

But from day two we had nothing but gratitude and praise for the hotel its very willing staff, facilities,food and location. Yes there were those staying there who were less than happy with certain features of the hotel but when one talked to them they seemed to be unhappy with everything connected with their holiday from the transport to the airline to the menus the size of the beach and most of the other holidays that they had been on too!
We found the eating arrangements excellent and at each meal there was plenty of choice of international and local dishes. The casual buffets in Festival did ring the changes and the quantities that one could take were up to the individual. The more formal evening meals that had waiter service were just that - more formal, but not stuffy nor was there any feeling of being
hurried away from the table as soon as one had finished eating. Perhaps we were lucky but we had superb t-bone steaks on each visit. We recognized that the Sports Bar was not the venue for us in the evening so we went elsewhere we did not feel aggrieved: rather that management had to provide for a wide spectrum of guests.

Our room in block 4 was close to the beach and even closer to the larger and excellent swimming pool which we found clean and well maintained. Whereas our room was rarely serviced until long after lunchtime it was done well and with two double beds for two people we could not have had better provision. The air con worked and while the central fan had a mind of its own it was efficient once we understood each other! The shower always had hot water and more than enough room: the toilet worked efficiently and while the towels may not have been the fluffiest we have used they were not in need of being replaced and were changed daily.

The Thos. Cook rep was efficient and helpful. We appeared to be more attractive to the mosquitos than many other people and we did not find the wrist bands very helpful in keeping the monsters at bay. The spray did work.

We used the hotel shuttle bus with no hassle and had two catamaran trips which took us into idyllic-coloured warm waters. Bliss.
Yes there were still some sandbags forming a very short wall on the beach and also around the jetty but there were acres of beach without any!
We also made very good use of the road-trains that ran round the estate.
Would we return? We certainly would. Would we recommend this hotel to friends? We certainly would but not to friends who would be irritated by some very loud and extremely fouled-mouthed Americans and Canadians who seemed to think that the world needed to know what they were thinking from breakfast time to bedtime!

Our holiday was inclusive and that saved carrying money around anywhere in the hotel. But being English we are not so used to tipping as people from other countries are and found the tipping system a bit confusing - especially on an all-inclusive package. At no time on site were we subjected to any form of "sales pitch".

Room Tip: We were second floor facing the woods. This was much quieter than facing the pool but had plenty of...
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank york1e
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kingston, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 March 2014

We had a blast our week in Mexico! That is the first thing to note! Did we have fun because the resort was that amazing, not exactly…I wouldn’t be rushing back to this resort, but I wouldn’t discourage people from it either, but a few minor improvements would have me singing high praises.

The good:

The resort is very clean. No issues there at all!

The bathroom was a great size, nice big walk in glassed shower with rain shower head, double sinks. The beds were very comfortable (not that we slept much, see one of the complaints). Our housekeeper didn’t make any towel animals, but I know others did. I was a little disappointed as I do look forward to them, but not a big deal. Enough closet and drawer space. In-room safe that you set the code for. A friend of our lefts theirs open and when they got back it was locked with a tape over it asking that they contact the desk. A hotel staff came down to unlock and verify contents, which I thought was great! We had a first floor room with a very partial view of the ocean, but whatever, the little backyard had a couple chairs and a table so all good.

The pool was big and clean.

We had a concierge in each building which was great to avoid the long walk to the lobby to book a restaurant or even check out (great service-if you owe any $$ just pay at front later at night when there is no line, you can check out with your concierge and they will have a bellman come get your bags, couldn’t be easier).

Building 5 is close to the pool (so choose that if you want to be near pool/beach).

The “Swing Bar” is where the action was at night, which was a lot of fun, but there was no music:( I’ll add that below, but the actual Swing Bar was a ton of fun! Luis and the boys are great! Sports bar was ok.

Food: nothing that I would say was out of this world, but it was all quite good and the variety was good. We went to the Italian, Steak, Mexican and Seafood. All were good; Steak was the best (but get the filet, the rest looked unappealing). Buffets were good. Room service, well…the breakfast was good, the late night menu-I’ll mention below.

We didn’t use the spa, but it was beautiful! Ask to check it out, totally worth it!

Wifi was great to have. Did it work all the time, no, but it was reliable at least in the morning and evening and really…that’s all I needed! And at $2/day for extra devices, very worth the money to keep people at home updated.

The staff were friendly, but didn’t go out of their way as I am somewhat used to at all inclusive resorts, but they were good and friendly.

The “needs improvement”:

The beach is small and very shallow. I don’t care about the beach so not a problem for me.
There is no swim-up bar (again, I knew that going in, so wasn’t disappointed, but some were, so here it is-NO swim-up bar).

Food: There is not 24 hour food included. This was a real bummer! There is room service for a charge of $12, which is fine, but the options were limited and not tasty -ham sandwiches and bland cheese quesadillas. Have burgers or pizza or something!! And they could have had nacho’s (or even the aforementioned bland sandwiches) available to those of us up until the wee hours.

Not that there is a lot to do until the wee hours. The swing bar closes promptly at 1am. No matter the amount of fun being had. There was no disco, nowhere to go dancing. In fact the entire resort lacked in the music department completely! No music at either bar, no music by the pool…very sad. The sports bar was open 24 hours, but there was nothing going on there…would have been great to have some music or something.

The activity staff didn’t interact with us. They had some pool sports, lots of yoga and aquatic exercise, but no fun games (unless people screaming the Bingo numbers by the side bar is fun to you). One of the things I usually look forward to is the animation staff engaging us in a dance or something daily. None of that here.

The noise in the hallways, which began at 6:30 a.m. was the worst part and my only real complaint (ok, maybe the lack of music is a complaint too). Up and down the hallways the housekeeping and delivery carts rolled. They need to put runners down the hall or sound absorbing something. It was awful! All of the people we bumped into commented on this! The floors were stone or something that echoed the sounds and amplified them. There were a few doors that slammed shut too…I was very disappointed in not being able to sleep in. I couldn’t hear any other guests really.

Saving chairs…one of the annoyances of all inclusive it appears! I know there is “no saving” but that is BS. People were saving two sets!!! One for morning sun and one for afternoon-CRAZY! I wish resorts would have servers make a note and if no one is there by noon or haven’t been there in an hour or so, then their stuff is removed and tough luck! I hate when people save chairs they aren’t even using. Grrr…that is more about ignorant people, but the resort could help. I moved people’s stuff a few times. And I was using the chair each time for over two hours before they FINALLY came to claim them. I watched one set of prime location chairs sit empty until 3pm! They had been “reserved” at 8a.m.!!!

A quick note: please tip your servers! They work hard for the little money they are paid. We left $1-$3 each (there were two of us) at breakfast and lunch buffet and $5-$10 each for dinner. And for the bars, $5-$10/night and the servers around the pool, probably a total of $10/day (we tipped $1 or $2/round, which was 7-8 drinks at times since we met people there to hang out with). I was appauled at how many people didn’t tip even $1! I mean, if they get you drinks, clear your plates, etc…leave them a small token of appreciation!

There is also a lot of walking. The trolley wasn’t reliable, but we didn’t really care…if you have mobility issues with distance, don’t come here. But in terms of being accessible, I think they did a good job-better than many places I have been. There were ramps almost everywhere!
I’ll be reviewing Coco Bongo in a separate review, but if you go…insist they NOT give you a table under the stage, we couldn’t even see the show. Would have been fun, but turned out not to be much because of our location. We tipped our server $20 (there were two of us) and another $20 after an hour or so and we never had an empty drink! He kept us with booze and water all night and was great. Show seemed like it would have been cool!

All in all, a very good week!

Room Tip: Building 5 was close to the pool/beach/swing bar and breakfast/lunch buffet:)
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank LaughDanceLive
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmonton, Canada
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 11 March 2014

The only downfall I found to this hotel (to the fault of my own) was the beach quality. mind you it was still beautiful white sand, clear wate; I spoiled myself when I went to Tulum on a different trip. The bars were great, service was great. Rooms were spectacular. To get to the beach from your room, if you dont have a room with an ocean view, is a bit of a trek, but they have golf carts to carry you if youve had one too many ;) or have limited mobility. The weather was perfect the whole time, it rained on the first day we arrived, but was sunny and beautiful the rest of the trip. mid summer, the heat was pretty extreme but I prefer it that way. when I go on a beach vacation, I want heat!

Room Tip: we chose a regular room that came in a package, and we have no issues. so if you're worried abou...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Elyn153
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

Property: 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:
#50 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#52 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#56 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#64 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#78 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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 
Reservation Options:
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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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