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“way too massive and bad beach bad water”

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #101 of 209 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“way too massive and bad beach bad water”
Reviewed 28 August 2014

the food is good as they have like four big buffets... met some cool people who we partied with at the sports bar and the little dj party on the beach

The beach is terrible and from our building on the resort we had to take the little fairy... pretty much had to take the fairy everywhere as the property is so big.

had to take a taxi into playa

rooms were nice but some money came up missing from our safe after we complained they gave us free taxi to the airport so it was a wash.

the beach sucked so we just chilled in the pool all day... they do provide premium liquor and have good bartenders

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Location
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    • Service
2 Thank skatzey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Laval, Canada
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2014

Let me just start by saying that i had also read all the comments & i was a bit nervous about my choice of resort.

i was going there with an open mind like i had done in the past with my other vacations & i was always impressed at the end.

This resort on the other hand was not the case, here are the negatives & the positives.


At arrival it was very hot in the lobby as there is no A/C nor fans, so extremely hot. my daughter & niece get a drink but they didn't have 1 for me???

Concierge not overly friendly. (common question through out our whole 10 day stay-are you guys here with your better half's ????)

Time share people- annoying - called 4 days during our vacation in the morning.

My daughter got a big cut in the big pool, when we got to our room asked the concierge if we could get a bandage-waited but never got one (had to go & buy my own).

Buffet at night next the lobby (awful) always the same food at the end we only had salads & guacamole.

A LA CARTE - SEAFOOD next to the big pool - AWFUL & the MAÎTRE D' (NO SMILE - SIMPLY RUDE).

Bartenders at the big pool next to the buffet for breakfast (RUDE) never acknowledged my presence in the morning i would go for my morning coffee & i had to say good morning to them as they were too busy talking about what they had done the night before. how do i know what they were talking about i speak Spanish as i am Spanish .

Tried to get some change so i could give some tips from the reception desk (NO CAN DO) they had no change available, they had me go to the stores & with some of the bellmen. nobody had any change (needless to say this resort is quite big) so i was frustrated beyond belief especially in that heat.


Reservation for the a la carte restaurant-we were never able to get reservations at the time we wanted even though we reserved the day before.

Asked our concierge to reserve for the FRENCH a la carte, she said there was nothing available as it was full, even though the hotel was no longer that full. (HAD ENOUGH AT THIS POINT) so i went to the main lobby & spoke to concierge ANIBAL & KARINA. Karina managed to get us a reservation for 8:30 pm . they were both very helpful.


(when we got to the restaurant it was 1/3 full)????????


Let me just say that a lot of the guests that we spoke too, felt the same way.

I had taken the time to write a 3 page letter to the GENERAL MANGER of the hotel regarding
my concerns, gave this 3 page letter to the concierge at the reception desk 2 days before we were leaving, hoping he would contact me so we discuss my concerns never heard from him(I AM ASSUMING THAT THE GUESTS COMMENTS & CONCERNS ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT TO MANAGEMENT).


A breakfast we were always welcomed with a big smile by Juan at the buffet next to the big pool.

Housekeeping always did an amazing job.

Restaurants a la carte - FOOD EXCELLENT - SERVICE EXCELLENT.

Nice room, mini fridge in the room always well stocked & housekeeping people always had a nice smile.
Bed very comfortable

All in all i would not recommend this hotel to anybody, if you are planning on drinking a lot nothing will bother you & everything will look amazing to you at this resort.

I was looking forward to my 1st trip to Mexico as everybody told me that it was great, i beg to differ.

i have been to CUBA 8 times & 1 time the Republic Dominican & it 100% better.

PS all that i have written on this comment, is exactly what i wrote on my 3 page letter to the GENERAL MANAGER - so do you think that maybe he should have taken the time to discuss.

If you have any questions regarding this resort, i will gladly answer.

  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
5 Thank fome1220
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peterborough, England, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 August 2014

This is the first time I have written one of these reviews but I thought it was important to give some balance to the negatives written by others. We read them before going and were really worried but didn't need to be as we had a fantastic time. I found a lot of bad reviews to either be completely untrue or by the snobby, rude guests we seemed to encounter during our stay.

We arrived as a family of four. It wasn't too far from the airport and the drive up the beautiful gardens was amazing. You are very safe in this resort as security monitor the gates 24/7 and were very strict on letting people in. No one can get in off the beach so the front gate is the only entrance. Security also patrolled the grounds.

The lobby was very nice on arrival but I did find the check-in procedure a little hectic. Our cases were taken by the bell boy who gave us a ticket to retrieve them later. We weren't too sure where to go initially as there were quite a few other groups there too. One staff member led us out of the lobby where he showed us a couple of the main parts of the hotel. The resort itself was very big but to get from the furthest point to the entrance is probably 10 minutes maximum walk, at a slow pace. Not the 15 mins people have complained about. There are also golf buggies that regularly pick up guests from certain marked stops so if you are too lazy to walk, they can drive you. Anyway, I found this "special welcome" for the Thomas Cook group to be a little annoying as we just wanted to get changed after being on the plane for so long and have a drink. When we were finally shown to our rooms, we then had to wait a further 20 minutes for our cases to show up so we just had to wait around as we couldn't go anywhere or even get changed. Even when the bags did show on the back of a golf buggy, we were tired of waiting and just grabbed them instead of waiting for the guy to bring them to our rooms.

We had dinner in Festival, which was the main buffet area. You don't need a reservation for this restaurant. It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food there was good. Some nights weren't as good as others but there was quite a big selection. Breakfast was always good, the chef that made the omelettes was brilliant. We did manage to eat in all but one of the reservation only restaurants. These are open in the evenings and we found the best way to book a table was to go to the concierge desk early the day before and book. The desk opened about 7am. Some of the restaurants did have dress codes. Formal was required for those indoor, due to the aircon. Outdoor was less formal. The buffet area had no dress code apart from no swimwear.

Di Rossi, the Italian, was the worst restaurant I have ever eaten in. The service was extremely slow and we had to keep asking for more drinks. The salad bar and dessert was good but the main and starters were awful. I wouldn't bother eating here at all. We thought it would be a safe choice but all bad comments on here about this restaurant are 100% true.

The French and Oriental were absolutely amazing and I cannot believe they are from the same hotel as the Italian. They are definitely worth eating at as the chefs are fantastic. The food was delicious and presented well. The service was so much better in these 2 too.

The steakhouse and seafood restaurant were great too. They were the same restaurant but one night they served more steak dinners and the other they served more seafood dishes. The food was good here.

The entertainment during the day was great. The animacion team who organised activities were so much fun. Don't take too much notice of the activities board as it seemed like the activities on were just what the team felt like doing on the day. Also, get used to them relying on Spanish timings, meaning it could happen whenever, not specifically on time. The best thing to do was relax around the pool and listen out for the announcements, when they would (around 10:30am) explain what they would be doing that morning. The water games were always fun. Beach volleyball was good and they always did a "crazy game" that could involve teams or individuals. There were often prizes up for grabs. In the evening, there was usually a show on. They were always a bit hit and miss. These were held in the sports bar (the 24/7 bar). Apparently the Grease show was good but we missed that. We saw the dance show, that was good and the best couple and Mr Bluebay, which involved audience participation. They were really funny but perhaps not very suitable for younger children.

The sports bar wasn't anything special. I am not too sure why it was called that really as it didn't show any live sports. However, it was nice to chill at after a meal.

The pool itself was a nice size. It would have been nice if it was deeper in sections for those wanting to do more swimming as I think it was only 4ft deep. There were lots of sunbeds and we never struggled to find any. There was a good amount of shade and you could often see wildlife running past (like the coati's that are a type of racoon). We did find a few people seemed to cut themselves on cracked tiles in the pool, so my advice would be be extremely careful in there.

The cocktails and drinks selection was amazing. You could even order champagne by the glass at no extra charge.

Another complete lie on some of these reviews is about the staff being rude. We encountered a very friendly bunch. They all seemed to speak good English and were very helpful. I reckon they were only rude to those that didn't even say please or thank you, which a lot of guests seemed to do. As well as pushing in at the bar. One gentleman pushed straight to the front of the bar when there was a queue and the staff refused to serve them until they waited. A positive in my opinion as I would have been very angry if I had waited all that time. The only rude staff had to be the person at the towel centre near the pool. The two that worked there were so moody and seemed to chuck towels at you (obviously didn't get tipped too often).

The rooms were really nice and the maid did a fantastic job on the cleaning of them. I liked the way she would make animals out the towels before putting them in your room. The minibar was always restocked with a wide variety of drinks and there was a safe in the room too. The balcony was a nice touch.

Finally, the beach itself was extremely disappointing. It was dirty with seaweed and sea was rough. The grounds were beautiful and the mangroves rarely smell like everyone complains about on here. Apparently, the forest is all natural as the hotel was built around it. There is a lot of wildlife to see.

Overall, we had an excellent stay and found the only real negatives to be the Italian restaurant and the beach. The rooms were nice and there was a lot to do around the hotel. Definitely worth a stay!

Room Tip: Tulum (building 1) was nice, despite the negative reviews on this website.
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7 Thank Sarah G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2014 via mobile

A really nice hotel. Would not listen to the bad reviews. Everyone is really nice the buffet is great and you have a choice of 3 restaurants that alternate each night. Really clean and tidy the people couldn't be more friendly. This hotel is an absolute delight. Would highly recommend!!

  • Stayed August 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2 Thank MrMrsFreeman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
saint john
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2014

I have to be honest, I was scared of coming to this resort due to the many negative reviews read prior to arrival.
We arrived on a Thursday at noon, our room was ready no wait - ask for building 5 when booking , it is close to the pool, beach,snack and buffet bar and the swing up bar
This is a huge resort, you need to catch a cart if you don't want to walk .... Building 4 and 5 are the buildings you want, stay away from 1 if all possible
Staff very friendly, food is Awesome, you have to try the Steakhouse , Oriental, French and Seafood ala cartes if you can ,,,,delish I didn't have the opportunity to try the Italian

Their is no disco but they have a beach bar past the VIP SECTION ...we tended to hang out at the swing bar = staff is super friendly , we did go to the Coco Bongo which was an interesting experience
Room was great, super clean and beds so comfortable = again request building 5

This is a family resort tons of kids, pools very clean with tons of chairs Beach sucks but if you walk 5 minutes in either direction beach is good and their is a lagoon 15 minutes down the beach , its a great walk

Bring bug spray OMG I was eaten alive

we stayed August 6 thr 13th 2014

Room Tip: ask for building 4 or 5 , closest to pools, beach and buffet
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6 Thank bellashophie1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 August 2014

My friend and I just got back from this hotel 3 days ago and it's the best hotel I've ever been to. All the negative reviews on here are absolutely ridiculous and unfair...

If you don't like Mosquitoes don't go to a hot country let alone one in the Caribbean!!!
If you don't like kids go to an adults only resort!!!
If you don't like Americans go as far away from the U.S as possible!!!
If you don't like being too hot don't go to Mexico!!!
and if you only like pasta go to Italy!!!
Seriously anyone with a complaint about the hotel is obviously used to 7 star and 7 star only.

Anyway enough ranting. The hotel is stunning, rooms are beautiful and clean, pools are huge and lead on to a beautiful beach and the food is gorgeous and there's so much choice it's impossible not to find something you like. The staff are amazing too, so friendly and polite, constantly helpful and really made the holiday special. The hotel is slightly out the way if you're used to being able to walk to areas outside but so are all the hotels along that strip, there are regular shuttle buses and taxis on call any time which the hotel control and monitor so you always feel safe and never feel too far away from anything.

If you like a bit of fun and adventure as well as sight seeing, I highly recommend the Tulum Jungle Maya trip. You get to see the ruins in Tulum in the morning then practise activities in the jungle for the rest of the day such as rappelling, zip lining, snorkelling and trekking as well as a 4x4 ride and eating traditional Mayan dishes for lunch. It's a really great day out and we had so much fun.

If you're looking for somewhere you can also go out to at night Playa del Carmen was brilliant for that, it's only a 15 minute taxi ride from the hotel and has a great choice of amazing night clubs including CoCo Bongo's ( YOU HAVE TO GO HERE!!!!), Mandala and la Vaquita, as well as smaller bars too. In the resort itself it has a main sports bar where all the entertainment is held in the evening which is open all night, a lovely swing bar on the beach which serves until 1am then a livelier beach bar in the VIP section which is open 11pm-1am which has a DJ (anyone can go). You also have the option of going for a meal and a show. Out of the 6 restaurants we managed to eat in 5, all were beautiful but our favourites were the Italian, Oriental and Steak house.

I did wish the pool was colder due to the heat but I think that was due to the sun heating it up all day which can't be helped, you always have the option of going in the sea. There is also a beautiful lagoon just up the beach near the next hotel where the water is completely clear and freezing! - it's so pretty and the perfect place to go for a swim if you need to cool down a bit.

I could go on forever about how amazing the hotel was but I'll stop here, it really is brilliant, for families, couples or friends and deserves all the good reviews it has and none of the negatives. Don't be dissuaded at all, you won't regret it. Hope this helps :)

Room Tip: There are 8 blocks of rooms, 1, 2, 3 and 4 are near the main pool next to the beach and 5 (I think...
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  • Stayed August 2014, travelled with friends
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Service
4 Thank Lucy M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
England, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 August 2014 via mobile

Me and my partner have just come back from this resort. After reading some bad reviews, even though I was still excited, I was hoping it not to be a let down. I can safely say it was not a let down by far! We had the best holiday and didn't want to come home. It was like paradise! We were greeted with drinks on arrival, all members of staff were welcoming, polite and so friendly, especially the waitresses in the bar. The food was fantastic and I would suggest people to go to the spa. Overall one of the best holidays I've had!

Stayed August 2014, travelled as a couple
10 Thank Nixi-88
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
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
#58 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 (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 
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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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