My husband and I just came back from 5 days here and I was a bit nervous after reading some of the reviews. We are typically not that fussy and figured we would have a good time if we set our minds to it. There were obvious positives and negatives when we arrived.
The grounds were lovely and nicely kept up, however, it is very swampy and foresty bringing both good and bad. The good was it was pretty and full of adorable animals that make their presence known at times. The bad was around our building (#1) the smell was a combination of swampy/sewage/mold/mildew. The hallways in our building (though open-air) were nauseating. Once in our room, the smell continued, but turned into more of a VERY strong mildew that seemed to be spewing out of the A/C unit. We asked the bell boy that brought our luggage and he said it always smells like that.
The food was pretty good. We enjoyed the welcome dinner and show but only made it to one of the specialty restaurants (seafood) and that wasn't overly impressive with choices, amount, or quality. The staff everywhere was helpful and hardworking (with the exception of the front desk and concierge). Check-in lines can get long and very slow. You must make reservations with the concierge desk for each night you want to eat at a "restaurant" and not the main buffet building. You could only make your reservation one day ahead of time.
There was a lot of walking to get from building to building, however, the grounds are beautiful, so not a bother (unless you're in heels), but they do run a shuttle around the grounds constantly. There are places with little "bus stop" signs to stand and wait for the shuttle.
The pools were nice. We stayed at the one by the ocean since it was nearest our building. Some complained about loose tiles that cut their feet or ripped swimsuits, but we didn't notice anything like that. The bars are busy but they did their best to keep the drinks going. I did see one person each day getting drinks for people around the pool but the whole time we were there, we were never asked if we wanted a drink by any worker, so we got our own. We enjoyed the BBQ (hamburgers) for lunch one day that was set up by the pool rather than having to go to a restaurant.
The beach was disappointing due to the sandbags, the seaweed all over, and the water was not what you would expect as far as the color. We did take other's advice and walk 10 minutes to the left to the lagoon. The water was clearer but was freezing. I couldn't get in. Some may find that refreshing. Not me.
Can't say much about the nightly shows. I had read some bad reviews, so didn't really have the interest. And by 9:30, we weren't in the mood.
One thing that needed improvement was the A/C situation. It was very hot and humid while we were there and every building seemed to have an open-air layout or a thatch roof, so you always felt like you were sweating while you're eating. The "sport bar" was a joke. There is a large bar-looking thing that is not functional and has broken tile behind it, like there were still trying to figure out what it should be. It was so hot in that building, you didn't want to sit there. They had installed several huge fans, which just made it windy and loud, but still hot and humid. The pool tables and air hockey were coin operated, and the snacks near the operational bar around the corner were hit or miss.
All in all, what we paid for our trip, I can't complain too much, except for that smell and we did kill one large cockroach in our room the last night, which for how "foresty" it is, I'm surprised there weren't bugs everywhere, but there really weren't that we saw anyway.
If you go, you'll get your money's worth. Beware of the timeshare push at the Cancun airport. They pretend they're trying to help you find the ride company you are going with and start in on a timeshare with the Hard Rock Hotel. Head straight out the door to the vans! Lastly, if you go shopping in Play Del Carmen (5th Street they call it), it's like being lowered into a den of lions. I found it so distasteful with the harassment, and people bugging you to look in their shop, I couldn't wait to get back in the taxi! Just a few tips.
- 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