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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
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Reviews (10,469)
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Reviewed 10 September 2008

Our first trip to Mexico...chose Blue Bay after seeing beautiful photos of pool and beach. The pool is very nice and large. Lots of space, some shady areas which are taken very early in the morning. Its great that sunning chairs are in the water. Loved that. (Be aware that there are topless tanners.) No swim up bar. Bar service to pool area was very poor. Don't expect to get a drink brought to you after you order one. That never happened. BUT the bartenders at the pool were the best in the entire place! They have hamburgers and hotdogs grilling right at the pool so you didn't have to go back to room and get dressed for lunch to go into a restaurant. Bar had chips and cheese dip as well as soft drinks. But watch out for the honey bees! We got them in our drinks!

Very few kids at the pool. They had kid programs for the kids which my 11 year old had no interest in. That was where the kids were.

The good news---Swim-up suite was GREAT!! We had our own private pool that was like a lap pool. Long and narrow but about 5 foot deep. We had a table and two lounge chairs and two sliding glass windows. Two HD, flat screen TV's and stocked mini bar that is FREE!!! Also FREE room service! 24 hrs a day!! We ordered chocolate cake, sandwiches, fruit, drinks. Just don't expect it to be hot when it gets to you. But it was nice to just pick up phone and order something.

They do have the major network TV channels in English, so we could watch news and were lucky to see the last week of the Olympics while we were there.

Restaurants were okay. Nothing special. The buffett was like any other buffett. Lots of fresh fruits and meats. Nice arrangements of food and food used as decorations. Buffett had chefs at stations making pasta and slicing meats, omlets, etc.

We were told that the Italian restaurant was the best. It was just average as was all of the food,. The steak restaurant was the best. The dinner show was not great. Poor service--not enough waiters to serve the same meal to everyone.

We got a bit annoyed that we coudn't get decent times for reservations for any restaurant. We would check and they would tell us that they only had 6:30 or 6:45pm times. We would go in and there would be very few eating and the same amount when we left an hour later. We don't understand why we had to go so early when the restaurant wasn't even half full when we left.

Also, the dress code at the restaurants are a joke. My husband wore pants when he was "required" to do so, but we saw other men dressed in long shorts and collared shirts and they got in with no problem. Women can wear anything except a swim suit top. But I wore my swim suit to breakfast with a long cover-up tied under my arms and saw many women dressed like this.

I was surprised how many people dress up for dinner. I'm on vacation at the BEACH. I didn't bring high heels. I saw many many women in dresses and high heels which just blows my mind since we had to HIKE to everything! Our room was near the beach and all but two of the restaurants were up at the lobby area. We walked for 10 minutes just to eat. By then I was dripping wet, my hair frizzy and wondered why I took a shower! If you were lucky you would catch one of the golf cart transporters that seated a dozen people or so. But if you didn't, make sure you can make that hike in whatever shoes you are wearing.

I stopped putting on make-up after the 3rd day. Restaurants were too dark to notice and it slid off your face due to the humidity, so I gave up. Just get a tan, you'll look fine.

If you are used to air conditioning be aware that there isn't much. The lobby is not air conditioned and it was hot, humid and miserable. I'm from Texas and can take the heat, but this was not just heat. It was still, no breeze and we sweated!

They use bottled water so we didn't get sick from the water. But I got some good advice from my Doctor. Get a prescription of antibiotics before you go and take them. If you do get the bug, that will take care of it. It isn't just something that will go away with some meds.

The staff was nice. Most spoke very good english. There was towel service at the pool, which was nice. We did bring a couple of our own as you only get one each but you can exchange it any time for a dry one.

Also, know your pesos! We encountered many times where the clerks just took money and acted like we weren't getting any change. Don't fall for it. Stand there, get a receipt and get your change! We found more souveniers at our gift shop than shopping in Playa de Carmen and for a better price. Very surprising.

We went to Xel Ha. More hiking. There is NO air conditioning and the same kind of cafeteria food. Drinks were also filled with bees. We snorkled but very few interesting fish. It is a huge area to snorkle in but very crowded and, again you have to walk so far to get anywhere. No beach area to speak of either.

Dolphin Discovery----GO THERE!!! We swam with dolphins and that was the highlight of the trip. Very little guidance and BRING YOUR OWN towels. We bought the video of our experience and it was worth it. They edited it and it was very nice.

Everything was expensive at Playa de Carmen. Definately go at night if you are gonna go down there. Lots of restaurants and not very many places to shop. Lots of jewelry stores and not costume stuff. Expensive but very nice. We also were told to offer less money to other places to bargain. But very few would and some took offense to us even asking them to take less.

The room was nice but bed was very hard. My daugher slept on the pull out couch and it was uncomfortable. We called for a roll away bed. It came very quickly but it was basically a box spring and not a mattress. We ended up pulling back cushions off the couch putting them down on the couch for cushion and using our big pillows off the master bed to fill up the space. With sheets over that, she was much more comfortable. The sheets were very soft. I've stayed at the Ritz and the sheets were hard. These were nicer than those! Go figure.

The maids were good. We found towel figures on our bed every day. Some were swans that stood way up on the bed. Other times there were rose pettles. It was annoying when maids would knock on our door at 8 am to see if we needed room service. I thought, ya we do, but not while I'm in here sleeping!!

Over all it was okay. We won't be going back to Mexico because I love to go ole USA.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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2  Thank lgctgravis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2008

The resort was beautiful, food was great, and the service was great. But unfortunately we had money stolen from us from our room and then from inside our safe in the room. The first time it happened my husband looked in my wallet and noticed $20 missing and I blew it off thinking we spent it or miss-placed it. So we counted the money in my wallet and put it in our safe. We had called room service while we were at the pool for an hour and a half and when we came back we packed to leave and noticed another $5 missing. I am assuming it was one or two employee's that did this and not to blame the whole resort, but it still sucks. It made us question other things like cleanliness and if it didn't happen the last day it would have really ruined our trip. So please count your money every time you leave your room and make sure this doesn’t happen to you because we thought the safe was "safe" but it wasn't! Oh ya, and don't sit through the time share thing, they said they would give us $100 to use at the resort and we ended up not being able to use it anywhere and it took way longer then they said.

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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5  Thank 098plm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2008

We just spend a good 4 night 5day at the blue bay grand esmeralda resort

When we First got to the Hotel - Overall was good. The grounds where nice and pulling up to the resort was nice as well.

Lobby - No air conditioning/no bar - Open and airing feeling

We arrived early so we had to hang out before we can get our key around 2:30-3:00. When we checked in they showed us a Map of the resort (what they show on line and what is actally there) there are three additonal buildings closer to the lobby area(buildings 6,7,8) which i believe has a small pool and a small bar area) - These are what i like to call the nose bleeds section of the hotel. When they told me i was in Building 8 (i was alittle disappointed) because i would have like to have been closer to the bigger pool/beach. So when it came time to get our keys we asked if we can get a garden view closer to the beach. They were great in doing just that. The building we got was #5 and I was so happy with these 2 rooms (dbble beds) which we did not care after drinking too much with your husband you might want a dbble bed :).

Rooms: Clean and Bar was stocked very well everyday

Grounds: Really nice and the Animals were beautiful. They had something there between a racoon looking thing with a long tail. I forgot what they were called but they were cute and fun to watch.
OH MOST IMPORTANT - BRING BUG SPRAY for the mosqitoes, even though i did not get bit. My girlfriend who went with us got bit alot.

Pool: Very nice. Also did not have to fight for a spot to sit (even though there could be more huts(for shade) by the pool area. (there is noooo pool bar for the husbands that like them. (there are two bars by the pool on the opposite sides of each other. We like the Bar with the swings.

Beach: Clean but if u are looking for that Clear crystal beach this is not for you. You will have to walk furthur down the beach for that

Resturants: Buffets were good, we only ate at the Steak and Seafood resturants and they were okay. (no air conditioning)

Sports bar/show area: was good

They do have golf carts that are always coming around that u can hop on because of the resorts size

I do recommend you go into town of playa del carmen $14.00 each way US dollars. Lots of shops/resturants (where comfortable shoes)

Overall - I would recommend But, i would not stay there again. After staying at the moon palace golf and spa resort, u get a little spoiled.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank kimmie0773
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2008

We just returned from our week long stay at BBGE today. The resort is very nicely maintained, with clean, comfortable rooms. We stayed in the Tulum building in room 1139 and it was very nice. The building is close to the beach and main pool area, and about a 7 minute walk to the lobby, main restaurant area, theatre, etc. However, a big recommendation would be to request a 2nd or 3rd floor room so you have a bit of a better view and possibly some relief from mosquitoes. We are not picky people but make sure you bring the highest strength bug spray possible.

The food was awesome and the room service was prompt, but not much of a selection past 11 PM. There is an Oriental, Seafood, Steak, Mexican, Italian, French and Buffet. Our favorite restaurants were the Mexican and Steak House. Important...you need reservations for the restaurants and can only be made the day before you want to go- make them as early as possible. They book fast! The only place that does not need a reservation is the Festival which is an awesome buffet.

To be honest, from what we experienced the service at the resort was lacking. The staff overall was friendly however they have a way to go compared to other resorts. The entertainment staff was a blast, they are great! Participate as much or as little as you want, but there is plenty to do throughout the day. Nightly entertainment was good, can get alittle warm and muggy in the theatre, recommend to sit by a window for breeze.

Bars are great...they make good drinks and will give shots if asked. There is a theatre bar, a 24 hour sports bar in the same building (closest to the lobby for those looking for drinks as soon as you arrive) 2 bars by the main pool, one being a swing bar which is cool and the other by the steak house and seafood restaurant, and a bar by the Oriental rest. As a few people mentioned there is an "after hours" bar on the beach with a DJ that goes until 1 AM. It is really awesome!

For excursions, we went on the ATV Jungle Tour and it was AMAZING! Highly recommend this trip - you get transportation to the ATV place and ride through the town and jungle for a while and then you zipline 3 times through the canopy and finally climb down into a cavern to swim in a cenote (natural spring). Amazing all around, the staff was great and really professional - they knew what they were doing and made you feel safe the whole time. We also took the shopping tour of cancun - had to make quite a few stops at other hotels before arriving in cancun and on the way back - but we took it all in stride. If you go to Market 28 - try to get a majority of your souvenirs in the section in the back - you can get more of a bargain whereas the stores on the sides are fixed prices (still cheap, but shop around). Definately worth it overall.

One last thing - don't lose your room key - they charge for a replacement - ask for 2 keys at check in if it's not extra charge :)

Overall the resort was beautiful and we had a great time - remember - you are on vacation - relax and enjoy!!

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
8  Thank arcpeach4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 September 2008

My 3 girlfriends and I stayed at Blue Bay over the Labor Day holiday and had a fantastic time. I would say that we are all seasoned travelers and have been to Mexico previously and would rate this resort as great, but not fantastic. However, I would definitely recommend the resort for a wonderful and inexpensive getaway. Here's some specifics on our stay...

Rooms--Exactly as pictured on the website. We requested rooms through Anne Marie and received 2 garden view rooms in the Tulum building, third floor (1406 and 1408). I must say this was great location as we had wonderful ocean views (without paying for one!), we were close to the main pool and restaurants. One note to those with kids---the tub is very deep and hard to get in and out of, which could provide an issue for bathing little ones.

Resort size---as others have commented, the resort is quite large. However, we had no problems catching one of the carts to bring us to the main part of the resort. Otherwise, it was just a short walk, maybe 5-7 minutes. We actually enjoyed this exercise after laying at the pool all day and stuffing ourselves at dinner!

Food---I would say that the food is good overall, but we didn't have any remarkable meals. We ate at the ocean/pool restaurant every day for breakfast (Jaal-ha). This was typical buffet style with eggs, pancakes, fruit, pastries, etc. The food got pretty monotonous after a couple days, but Festival is exactly the same and wasn't worth the walk or the effort of putting on "real" outfits. I would recommend Jaal-ha due to the fabulous ocean view and convenience to the pool (although there is no A/C). Lunch was pretty much the same everyday as well, and got boring. We ordered room service a couple days to get out of the sun and have a different meal. RS was good, came on time, and hit the spot. One thing the resort is lacking is an a la carte for lunch which would have been perfect. We ate at the Italian, Mexican, French and Asian for dinner. Each one was pretty good. I would say the Mexican was the best overall. The menus were fairly small and we had a vegetarian and some picky eaters among us. But, I will say that every restaurant made something special off the menu for my vegetarian friend which was very nice. There is also a lovely cocktail area just outside of the Italian and French which was lovely to relax and have a drink before dinner. We also had no problems getting our reservation using the concierge each morning. We weren't exactly sure why they required reservations as the restaurants were not very busy any of the nights. We typically ate around 8:30 and didn't experience any full seating. I think they must do this just to control the food ordering. One note---the asian restaurant is by the second pool, so dress for the warm temperature.

Pool---The main pool was fantastic. Numerous lounge chairs in the water, perfect for soaking up the sun. Everyday at the resort was completely sunny and hot . When it was time for some shade, we did have a little trouble finding it at the pool, but found that the beach had many palm trees that served just fine. We did have a waiter that served us each day at the pool. We started tipping him, but he didn't seem to come around any more frequently, which typically works at other resort, so we stopped tipping so much. We didn't really see many others tipping either at the pool or restaurants. We always gave some money as I know the staff makes very little. There are 2 bars at the main pool, one at each end. So, there weren't any lack of drinks available, which was great. We also found the drinks were very strong if you requested premium liquor. They had many brands to choose from so getting a little tipsy was not a problem! Try the Electric Lemonade with Sky Vodka! YUMMY! The one thing we would say we wanted at the pool was some snacks! They had some terrible chips with nacho cheese sauce, but that was about it. And they cooked hamburgers and hot dogs each day on the beach. We tried these and were not impressed. We kept hoping they would switch it up one day and cook something different--but it never happened.

Beach---Yes, the beach is not the lovely turquoise that you may know in the Caribbean. But, the sand is the whitest I've ever seen, it isn't hot and if you walk out just a little the water is lovely and clear. Everyone should stop complaining about something that the resort can't solve for. Its just the beauty of mother nature.

Staff/Customer experience---We read many reviews talking about the staff being rude, but we never once experienced this. Everyone we came across from the bell hop to the wait staff were very pleasant and helpful. No worries about this!

Spa---We tried out the spa one afternoon when a few storms came through. You can visit for $30 and use the 9 water pools. This was nice as each one had some sort of pressure treatment. You could also use the sauna, steam room, and pool decks with loungers, which were lovely. A couple of my friends got massages and said these were not worth the price. They each paid $150 for 80 minutes but said their treatment was not up to par based on their experience at other spas. We would recommend just using the normal spa for $30.

Entertainment--We aren't much of the show-goers and after a full day in the sun we were exhausted. So, we never went to any of the shows that the staff put on at night. They did have various pool activities during the day that weren't forced participation which was nice. One end of the pool is definitely louder than the other, so be careful where you choose your seat.

MISC---Many have commented on the mosquito's. Only one in our group, who is prone to bites, was affected. The rest of us sprayed ourselves each night before dinner and never had one single bite. Also, as others have noted, the resort does burn something in the early morning. This was kind of a burnt plastic smell but dissipated by 10am and wasn't really bothersome. One in our group used the gym each day and said it had basic equipment and served its purpose.

Overall, we had a great time at BBGE and for the price, we would definitely return. I recommend this resort for travelers who are looking for a relaxing vacation, lovely accommodations, without too much entertainment, and a reasonable price.

  • Stayed: August 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
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8  Thank ShoeGal04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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