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“GBP - Wonderful hotel chain”

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Grand Bahia Principe Coba
Ranked #11 of 22 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 4 January 2009

We booked this Christmas vacation as a last minute choice through Sunwing, but felt assured of a great holiday based on our previous experience with this chain's resort in Jamaica. We were not disappointed! The Mayan resort ,of course, is much larger as it had 3 resort complexes, but the facilities and amenities were similar. We knew what to expect with respect to the room, buffet, a la carte restaurants, bars, and pools. The advantage of the Mexican site is proximity meaning less flying time for us...5 hours!

When my husband and I arrived at the Cancun airport, we knew to head straight out to the buses and to ignore the blue-shirted men asking if they could help us. Although the bus ride was 90 minutes, it didn't feel that long. The transfer bus that was included in our vacation package was like a greyhound bus..comfy seats, air conditioned..so I focussed my attention on the towns, resorts, highway traffic, etc. Our resort was the first drop off so the length of this drive obviously depends on who else needs to be dropped off and the location of those resorts.

On arrival, the bus boy took our baggage and assured us it would be delivered to our room so we had no bags to lug around. Check-in went smoothly..we were expected; we even had a room choice. After drinking our welcoming punch, we headed to the a la carte reservation desk to make our 3 dining choices. There were only 3 other parties in front of us so it didn't take long to get that done. I liked that the girl had several binders with the menus of each of the a la carte restaurants so we could quickly assess which ones we wanted to eat in. We could choose from restaurants that specialized in seafood, Italian, Japanese, gourmet, and Mediterranean. The days and the times we requested were available. Rather than have a coffee or a drink in the lobby, we jumped on a club car next which took us right to the door in our villa.

The villas have 3 floors with 6 suites on each floor. Since the bus boys take the bags to the rooms, you might not mind not having an elevator. The third floor rooms give the best view...over the tree tops, but you'll only see the ocean if your villa is close to the beach. Our first floor balcony faced a jungle planting which was OK since we were in the room only early in the morning and after dinner. Our first floor room was assessible to mosquitoes. In fact, mosquito hunting was the first thing we did when we came into the room after dinner. The lobby shop has mosquito repellant for sale ($8.00US for an aerosole can). Bring along after bite medication if you swell up after a bite. Other vacationers on second and third floors didn't seem to have mosquitoes in their rooms when I asked them about this problem. The grounds people do spray for mosquitoes by the way. A huge spider also decided to spend some time on our patio. Fortunately, the grounds people dealt with it promptly. Thank goodness no iguanas visted our balcony even though there were many on the property and even at poolside. Interesting creatures to look at! I would book a suite again in the Coba section, but I would want a suite on the second or third floor to get away from the mosquitoes that gained entry to our ground floor accommodation.

Our first floor suite was very quiet..no overhead noise, no plumbing noises, no noise from the pool, the highway, etc. The junior suite has a sitting area with a table, 2 chairs and a padded bench..makes the room feel more spacious and provides alternative seating when watching TV or reading. Don't expect to see your favorite evening shows on TV if these aren't CNN and BBC News. Even though there were many channels, some where in Spanish, German, Italian, and English. Some of the foreign language movies had English subtitles. The floors in the sitting area are tiled and the bathroom has marble everywhere. The jacuzzi bath has a shower head in it.

I was overwhelmed with the size of this resort when we got there in the evening. After all, there are 3 sections to this resort each with its own swimming pools, restaurants, and villas. However, after exploring the various facilities, beach areas, pools, bars, and eateries the next day, I soon felt right at home. There are many club cars to take you to your pool, buffet, beach, lobby etc. so if you don't know how to get somewhere, flag down a club car and tell the driver your destination. The wait for these rides was never very long. Take along the convenient hand-sized map showing the property layout or use the posted signs to find out where you are. You will find a similar property map on the GBP Rivieria Maya website if you want to get acquainted with the layout before you go. At first we took the club cars to get a ride to the beach, but later in the week we enjoyed the short walk back to our room. All of the walkways are paved to look like grey brick so it would be easy to push a stroller or wheelchair around. I saw some guests bicycling on these walkways as well.

Even though the resort was fully booked during Christmas vacation, the grounds and pool areas are so spacious that you don't notice how many people there actually are in this resort. Sure, you won't get a lounger around the pool if you don't reserve one before 7:00 am by throwing a towel on it, but there are plenty of loungers on the sandy beach. We always found what we wanted even though we got to the Coba beach by 9:00am. The loungers are placed under a grass-roofed shade umbrella so I had sun or shade when I wanted it. Even though we were close to the beach, the pool, bars, toilet, snack restaurant, and buffet were only steps away. While our junior suite was in the Coba section, we hung out in the Akumal section because it had the proximity to the daytime facilities that we wanted... beach, pool, toilets, bar, and buffet. Other facilities that we did not use were also in this area--gym, spa, hair braiding, child care and play area. I think guests are limited to 1 beach towel which must be personally returned at check-out. We heard more foreign languages being spoken at this resort than the Jamaican resort These languages included German, Spanish, Italian, & French, and possibly Portuguese. The hotel directory offered assistance in these languages as well.

There were lots of beach activities from beach volleyball, soccer, snorkling (tropical fish around the pier..could wade in the water to see them), windsurfing, diving, fishing, jetski boats, catamarrans, parasailing, swimming, sand castle building for tots, walking along the long shore lines. Hammocks are available along the beach as well as pool side. Although the Caribbean Sea crashes onto some part of this shoreline, there is a section that is baracaded so that there is a safe swimming lagoon without the wave action.

We enjoyed the food in the buffets both at Akumal and at Coba. Each morning at Coba we could start your day with a champagne and orange juice drink or the waiter would bring freshly squeezed orange juice to the table. Breakfast buffets at Coba were very satisfying as the selection was so great...something for every nationality I think! They even had just fried egg whites for the healthy eaters. The stations for eggs to order and hot cakes and french toast were popular, but you could also help yourself to a wider range of food as well....hot/cold cerals, scrambled eggs without or without bacon, breads/buns/hot cinamon buns/pastries, bacon and sausage, fried potatoes/rice, Mexican breakfast foods, and lots of fresh sliced fruit, fruit juices, milkshakes, and hot chocolate. The counters were lower for the children's section which offered foods that kids like. Breakfast is served buffet style from 7 to 10:30am. Don't worry if you slept in. Breakfast is also served from their 24 hour snack shacks. Hamburger, hotdogs, chips, nachos, chicken, and ice cream are other foods that are available around the clock in the snack building. The stewed chicken drumstick I had here was delicious.

Lunch is served from 12 to 3:30 and dinner service starts at 6pm. Dinner always had several choices of fried fish (tuna, salmon, grouper), shrimp, clams, poultry, beef (prime rib, steak), pork, as well as casserole dishes that use meats and seafoods. The pasta station was very popular...your choice of pasta types and toppings. If I wasn't careful, I could have gotten full on eating just the salads and other cold appetizers. I am not a big dessert eater so I could easily pass by the squares, souffles, tarts, cookies.

We ate at the Le Gourmet, El Pescador, and Portofino a la carte restaurants. The food was excellent with emphasis on presentation of the individual plates. Usually the appetizers are buffet style with the main entree and dessert limited to 1 choice. The focus of the main entree is the meat /seafood with just a few vegetables. Usually took about an hour to eat at the a la cartes, but one could linger over coffee, too. The buildings are air conditioned so men in their long pants feel comfortable. Shorts are discouraged, but anything else is OK. Don't need anything really dressy. Some females wore short short jean skirts, others wore pedal pushers...casual clothes. You'd be comfortable in halter style or sleeveless tops, too, no doubt.

This resort goes all out for the New Year's Eve dinner. We each received a champagne drink upon entering the evening buffet. In the buffet, the first thing that grabbed your attention were the ice carvings. Individual letters in "Happy New Year 2009" were carved out in either ice blocks or white chocolate, huge bouquets of white lilies flanked each of the stations beside other statue size ice carvings. Towers of layered ice bowls held cracked crab, oysters/clams, shrimp. Hot foods were turkey, lobster, prime roast beef, steak, lamb, along with a variety of vegetables, rice/au gratin potatoes, Mexican dishes. Dessert included fruit kabobs to roll in chocolate fountains, tarts, bouche noel, souffle sqaures, coconut and chocolate fudge, truffles, selection of cheeses, and ice cream. Didn't feel the need to dress up any more special than I usually did for any other night ...no glitzy dresses and shoes required!

We stayed at the resort for 7 days and did not venture outside of its boundaries. We did not participate in the evening entertainments., afterall we are a retired couple! We did not even shop in the markets available inside their gates.

This was a most enjoyable holiday...like a cruise without the port excursions and the threat of sea sickness. In December, the weather was sunny mornings and cloudy and windy afternoons, no rain though. Very comfortable. Sea water was warm while pool water was cold and hard for me to get into.

We left the hotel at 11:30 and lfinally left the airport for home at 6:00 (a 2 hour delay) with dinner served on the plane at 8:00pm. So take along some snacks like fresh fruit from the lobby before departing to munch on if your flight schedule is similar.The airport has very nice washrooms (free) and a food court (food prices in Mexican $) with limited shopping. Prices were in US$..and expensive I thought.

I would certainly use the GBP hotel chain again in Mexico. Perhaps next we'll explore their other properties in Punta Cana or ? Sunwing arrangements went smoothly. Would use their vacation packages again although now that I know that Airtransat and Nolitours use this resort I might do some price comparision.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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22  Thank retireeVancouver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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9,199 - 9,205 of 14,079 reviews

Reviewed 2 January 2009

This was our second time staying at the Coba in the last 2 years. We were tempted to try some place new, but given our previous experience was so wonderful, we decided we wouldn't chance it - and go with something we knew.

As you'll see from other reviews, there are few things to keep in mind.

1. The hotel is a long way from the Cancun airport. Many people are surprised by this but most of the brochures I've seen say it's a 90 minute drive (add a few stopovers if you've got transfers included in your package and it can be 2 hours). We've now done this twice and figure it's worth it.

2. The hotel is not on the beach. The beach is a short walk (or golf cart shuttle) away. We didn't mind the distance or the walk. We've heard time and time again Coba has the nicest rooms of the 3 Bahia Principe resorts in the area, so for us it was worth the very minor inconvenience (the pools are also great and are close to the rooms).

3. There are lizards. Yes, folks - this is Mexico. This is also a natural habitat for these creatures. They won't bother you .. they like the direct sunlight and you'll most likely see a number of them sunning themselves on a rock (they are typically very still and don't move).

Food and restaurants are generally pretty good. Best to make your a-la-carte reservations as early in your trip as possible. We enjoyed Mikkado (Teppanyaki Japanese) and Le Gourmet (French). El Pescador (Seafood) was average. The main buffet has a lot of fresh fruit and salads though some of the dishes can be repetitive if you eat there every night. Wait staff were always very cheery and receptive.

We booked a meal at La Tortuga (it's in one of the other affiiated resorts) and were very disappointed by the service. We had been looking forward to the Gaucho-style Brazilian experience. No cheery welcome, ignored most of the night (we left after an hour). Not sure if this was a problem just that evening, or there's a serious morale problem at the restaurants outside Coba?

Room was very clean and met our expectations. Air conditioning worked very well, shower/jacuzzi water temperature and pressure excellent (this is one of the little things we appreciated, having been to other Mexican resorts where it's hit-and-miss). Some guests complain about the hard beds. We didn't mind it - there is a note in the room to call reception and ask about a topper should you feel it's too hard.

Beach was excellent. If you snorkel (or have been shy to try it), this is a great place to get a taste of it. There is a massive coral reef just outside the beach area (just past the ropes about 20 feet into the ocean). The water is not that deep, but if you swim out to the ropeline, you can see real coral and many different varieties of fish. We saw about 20-30 different fish. Some schools of fish will swim all around you. Amazing sight. Buy some cheap snorkel equipment (mask and tube) before you leave so you don't have the hassle of renting equipment there.

Like many others, we also ventured to Playa de Carmen. We used the Collectivo both times we went, with no problems at all. The ride is about 30-40 minutes. Only thing to note is that the dropoff point in Playa de Carmen is a little sketchy if you've never been there before (make a note of the intersection as you'll have to find your way back!!). It's about 3 blocks away from the "5th Avenue" shopping district.

Lots of very interesting shops and beautiful beachfront as well.

Back at the resort, we took advantage of the golf cart shuttles to take us on tours in the evening to see other parts of the resort (or the Akmul and Tulum resorts).

Did not have any bad experiences with any of the staff. Treat them as you want to be treated, engage them in conversation. We spoke a little Spanish so it made for a good ice-breaker.

We've recommended this hotel to friends and they've all come back very happy.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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12  Thank YYZtotheworld
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2009

Was there from Dec. 21 to 29, 2008, room 31835 block 18b

I am French from Quebec, Canada, age 48.

I have done several trips in all inclusive resort and well capable of rating this hotel.

Beautiful site, meals was excellent, hotel employees very responding and smiley.

We took the collectivos to go to Playa del Carmen on the hotel site and were there 20 minutes later (30 pesos - 3$ CDN) Would not rent an hotel at Playa del Carmen (not my style) but ok for a day.

Would certainly return there.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
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5  Thank Jolaro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 January 2009

When we first booked our hoilday at the Gran Bahia Principe our only concern was "would the complex be too big and impersonal?", we need not have worried as its split into three distinct areas making each more personal but with a free "bus" between them giving the benifits of a very large hotel.
I've never been to a hotel before where, due its sheer size, the area of the complex you assigned is "allocation on arrival" (overall complex capacity is between 5000 and 6000 people in around 3000 rooms...so its huge). Having booked a Junior Suite we were allocated the Coba part of the hotel (from walking around it appears that Coba contains all the junior suites and Akumal and Tulum contain standard one bedroom villas). Coba contains arguably the largest buffet dining room, best pool, nicest lobby bar and al-la-carte resturants in the complex. Although Tulum and Akumal are nearer the beach.

The food offered in the buffet dining room was excellent, well presented, huge choice from different styles (there's a Mexican corner, English, Healthly, Salad, Oriental (including fresh sushi at lunch and dinner), pasta cooked while you wait, handmade pizzas etc. etc.). The drinks waiters we allways polite and attentive (toward the end of the holiday they were a bit too keen as they knew we we would be leaving soon and so were eager to get a tip). We tried four of the Al-la-carte restaurants (Mediterranean, Italian, Japanese and French). Whilst the Mediterranean and Italian restraunds were very good, it was the Japanese and the French ones that were suburb. Excellent food, service and ambiance (although in fairness the French restaurant was let down a little here).

Overall the hotel was very clean, well deorated, well managed had lots of activities on offer, well connected (to the other parts of the complex including the shopping Hacienda) wih excellent attention to detail (including the Origami towel sculptures left on the bed each day).
The weather was excellent, 20deg at night and about 30deg in the day with the very occasional small cloud, far more sensible than in the crazy heat of the summer months.
The only down sides were the distance form the airport (about 1.5 hours by coach), the beach/ sea (we didnt realise when we booked but this far down the coast the sand isnt soft white "Carribean" flakes but is very sharp coral sand and the sea was more suitable for surfing than swimming (not sure if this was due to the reef or the fact that in winter the riviera gets cooling onshore breezes from the sea). The fact that amongst all the shops offered on site there is no newsagent/ bookstore (plenty of clothes shops all selling very similar things though), and although the main Coba pool is huge (there are several other, smaller pools) there never seemed enough lounger area for everyone as there was always people wondering around looking for places to louge which led to towels on the loungers by 7:30am in order to get one... but these are really minor points when compared with the things this place does so well.


We'll definately be back next year year.... maybee three weeks next time to compensate for the 18 hours door to door travelling time.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled as a couple
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11  Thank cstrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2009

We stayed at the GBP Coba from Dec 24-31, 2008. It was an excellent experience overall and it definitely exceeded expectations.

The Coba is one of 3 hotels in the Gran Bahia Principe resort complex in Akumal. The resort is huge! The Coba alone has over 1,000 rooms. The other hotels are the "Tulum" and the "Akumal".

Opinion - What was Great!:
- Very impressive grounds and entrance - extremely well kept and cared for. The beach is supposedly over a kilometre long, and we believe it.
- Fairly rapid check-in, welcome drink and efficient bell boy.
- Generously sized junior suite with balcony
- Firm, large bed. Firmness may not suit all, but it was wonderful for us (couple in mid-thirties)
- Very friendly and always-smiling staff. Plenty of them around, always greet you with a "hola" and seem to be constantly working at keeping the place clean.
- CLEAN, very much so. Clean room, spotless lobby areas and every single restroom we used in the resort was in a more than acceptable state of cleanliness.
- Facilities - plenty of pools, great swim-up bars in most of them, not too crowded in the last week of December.
- Food - the a-la-carte restaurants are a must do, you will tire of the buffet quickly. Not that the buffet is bad, by any means, but the restaurant food is a notch higher. The Mediterraneo and the Portofino score highly, as does the Don Pablo.
- Stars - the wife and I absolutely loved going to the beach at night and looking up to see the stars. Quite the highlight and the advantage of not being on the cancun hotel strip where light pollution would pretty much kill off any chances of seeing many stars in the sky.

Opinion: What was "So-so" (average or slightly above)
- Drinks. Stick to the margaritas, mojitos, pina coladas and beer and you will probably do ok. The (included) wine is not recommended though you have a choice from a larger wine list at extra cost.
- Beach. Very nice outside the water, but plenty of coral and rocks as you get into the water. There are paths that you can take to avoid them and they do diminish as you go a bit deeper but it can be painful if you are not expecting them. Once you find the ways in, it is not so bad.

Opinion: What was Not So Great
- Location. The complex is a solid 90 minute drive from Cancun airport. Even Playa Del Carmen is a 30 minute drive north.
- Access. The hotel does not provide a free (or even at cost) shuttle to Playa or Cancun. You are effectively left to your own devices to go to the main highway and negotiate a cab or a shared minivan. All tours have to be booked through the hotel and they will pick up at your lobby. However, the selection of tours and activities (and cost) is better from Playa Del Carmen than from the hotel.

No problems with the food or water. All water in the resort (but not necessarily on the tour) is purified and was safe for us. Some days were humid and we drank quite a bit of plain cold water.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
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16  Thank DrkRoast
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 January 2009

Hi, I stayed at Gran Bahia Coba from Dec 20 - 27. I was in Villa 5 ( nice and quiet) and just behind pathway through Akumal to beach, which was a lovely 5 min walk.

I spent 4 to 5 hours on the beach every day, and I didn’t find - as some other reviewers have said, that there was only limited areas where you were allowed to swim. I was able to swim wherever I liked: there just wasn’t any life guard service outside of the designed swimming areas directly in front of lifeguard towers. Also it was quite rocky outside the designated swimming areas in close to shore but once you got out to the sand bags there was lots of sand on the bottom.

My favorite pastime during the day was jumping up and down in the big rolling waves by the sand bags. It was quite windy so the waves were about 3 feel high and rolled in on top of about 3 feet of water. (These waves pull you in and out quite a few feet, so you need to pay attention to where you are if you don’t have your feet on the bottom.) I enjoyed best, the sand bags at the Tulum beach in front of Villa 5. The sand bags are scattered about in the water to break the waves for the swimmers who like calm water close to shore. Each sand bag (estimate) is about 5 feet high and 12 feet long and in (for most part) 3 feet of water. It was great fun to try get o top of these sand bags - they have big round backs and are very slippery (moss covered) It is fun to sit on them as the waves wash over them and sometimes strong enough to wash you off. I am in my early fifties so was not as nimble as the young ones out there with me. I had to get on top of the sand bags by going on the ocean side of them and wait for a big wave to carry me up on top, and even more fun sometimes it would wash me right over! I was very lucky that it was so windy while I was there to be able to enjoy such big waves. See pictures.

As to the rest of resort - I agree with other reviews that the place is huge which I found fun for exploring, but I was disoriented the first time/day there, until I got my bearings where paths and the carts go. Grounds are beautiful and all the pools are very attractive. The service was great up until the 24 of Dec after which they could not keep up with the numbers of people there. this was especially noticeable at the buffets where food trays - that were always full before the 24, were nearly always empty, but by then I was so stuffed from previous days of eating, I didn’t care. However, they did pull off a very nice Christmas Eve dinner.

My 2 complaints are: One - mosquitoes! I am still covered in about 40 itchy previously oozing bites. ( I left my patio door open all night to listen to the ocean waves - don’t make the same mistake.) Two - it was “impossible: from Dec 24 on to get a lounge chair at any pool in Coba. I was out there before 7 AM to try to get one. Even more annoying was that there was so much empty space where the hotel could have placed more lounge chairs - especially at the quiet premier pool. Most annoying was that some individuals would reserve bunches of 4 to 5 chairs and you would rarely see anyone in them. I really think the hotel could do better to make sure their guests staying at Coba could get chairs by the pools at Coba. There was no problem anytime of the day getting lounge chairs at the pools in Tulum or Akumal.

My 2 favorite points (One the waves) and Two - was the attractive main lobbies and the warn lighting at night making the sitting areas cosy and intimate even though it was a large space - softened also by pots of flowers, etc. - all made is a nice relaxing place to go at end of day.

Overall, I was very satisfied with my week there.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled solo
    • Value
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10  Thank moltmist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 December 2008

Stayed there from Dec 22-29, 2008

Overall: We went on a last minute sell-off for $1200 CDN p.p., so it was pretty good value for the money considering everything. Perfect place for a family to get a week in the sun and be quite safe.

The Good:

- perfect weather: sunny and 30 by day, 22 at night, no rain

- rooms and grounds were spotless and beautiful

- pools were lovely and there were lots of them

- beach was great - white sand, warm water, very windy every day

- restaurants and bars were plentiful and drinks were quick

- resort felt very safe and water was treated so no one got sick

- HUGE resort, so lots to do there (games, activities, etc)

- lots of things to do nearby - ruins, cave diving, snorkelling, etc

- some quiant and humble small towns to visit (Tulum, Akumal)

- resort staff were 85% friendly and helpful (15% were jerks)

- lots of different food variety at the buffets and at the al la carte

- the shuttle buses were generally running every few minutes

- seemed to be a nice place for families - good age mix (10-20's)

- the area around the resort was more authentic Mexican than American (no WalMarts or MacDonalds nearby - go to Cancun)

- very few locals hassling you to buy junk on the beach

- no bugs at the resort or the beach

- Cancun airport was amazingly clean and efficient (MUCH better than Pearson in Toronto)

The Bad:

- we heard that there were 7000 people at this resort. it was probably just TOO BIG to run smoothly

- with that many people, not a lot even took the time to say Hi

- with that size of a property, you really need to plan everything to the minute or spend all your time on shuttles or walking back and forth to your room, lobby, beach, pool, restaurants, etc

- the food quality was AVERAGE in both the buffets and al la carte

- the service was unreliable - depending on the staff

- the beach conditions were "red flag" all week, so no sailing, kayaks, boogie boards - apparently you aren't even supposed to swim when its a red flag.

- theres not a lot nearby. playa de carmen is over an hour, tulum is about a half hour, chichen itza is over 2 hours.

- anything in the area is REALLY expensive. expect to pay $100 CDN pp to do anything - theme parks, fishing, parasailing. A jeep rental with insurance is close to $200 CDN per day.

- we probably wasted an hour each day just waiting for things:
>waiting for shuttle bus at airport - 1 hour
>80 km trip on shuttle, including stops at 3 other hotels: 2 hours
>checking in: half hour (then told to come back in an hour)
>waiting for maid to leave room (even though its after 3pm): 15 minutes
>asking for a lock for the safe, having the desk clerk nod and tell you that its in the room, then having to walk all the way back and forth to the lobby again to get it: half hour
>waiting at another area to make your 3 alloted restaurant reservations: 20 minutes
>having to come back a few hours later to "confirm" them because she couldn't enter them in the system: 10 min
>trying to figure out how to get to the beach: 10 min
>waiting for the beach shuttle bus: 10 min
> sitting on the shuttle bus to the beach: 10 min
>trying to find the cabana for towels: 10 min
> trying to find the snorkelling equipment: 5 min
> walking back without any equipment because its too wavy: 5 min
>waiting for a drink: anywhere from 1 minute to 15 min depending on how aggressive you are and ignorance of the others who were there ahead of you.
>trying to find the snack bar: 5 min
> waiting for greasy burger and fries: 10 min
> walking back to the beach: 5 min
> waiting for the shuttle bus back to your room: 5 min
> sitting on the shuttle bus to your room: 10 min
> waiting for the maid (who for some reason is in your room AGAIN): 5 min
>walking or taking the shuttle bus to dinner: 5-10 min each way
>waiting for the waiter to bring a glass of wine: anywhere from 1 minute to 10 minutes depending on his attitude (BTW, tipping does help but the place is SO HUGE that it's hard to find the same person again)
>waiting for the "fresh chefs" to whip up some stir fry or pasta at the buffets: 1-10 minutes
>waiting for the best selections to be refilled because the trays were empty: forget it and just get something else
> waiting for a drink after dinner in the lobby bar: 1-15 min
>waiting for the 930pm show to start: anytime between 920 and 945
>waiting for the shuttle buses to the "hacienda" (dance club): usually just 5 min but some nights closer to 15. Also, if you don't sit right in the front seat you'll be breathing oily exhaust fumes
>waiting for the Europcar attendant to process a simple car rental that you reserved online weeks ago: about an hour
>returning the car 3 days later: when he asks you to wait another hour, just leave the keys and tell him that you'll come for the bill later
>waiting to get into the buffet: usually walk right in, but if theres a line up just walk to a side entrance and walk right in...dah!

>MIKADO! This a la carte Japanese restuarant was a JOKE! we waited until 830 to get in for a 730 reservation, then 5 of us were seated at a table for 3. we insisted on a proper sized table as HALF the restaurant was EMPTY! Over the next 2 hours we were served hot sake that was cold, hot soup that was cold, cold sushi that was warm, hot entrees that were cold and ice cream that was melted. i've eaten japanese all over the world and this place is definitely VERY average. we had to get the manager involved but he was totally disinterested in us.

>other general line ups: any attraction or theme park might take 15 min to get in and then another 15 min to find lockers etc, then another 15 min to walk 500 meters to the attractions, then another 15 min to walk back and get your wallet when they tell you that the snorkels are $10 USD extra p.p.
>other attractions where they tell you to sit on the shuttle bus so they can drive you in: anywhere between 2-15 minutes depending on how willing you are to make a fuss
>nolitours wanted us to allow FIVE HOURS to take the shuttle bus back to the airport, including 3 hours prior for airport check in. that would have had us waking up at 5 am. instead we paid $100 USD for a cab, he had us there in just over an hour, and we had our boarding passes and were at the gate 15 minutes later with 2.5 hours to kill. (we spent $80 USD on an inedible mexican breakfast). the airport staff were amazing - i bet that we could have just breezed through there 1.5 hours before the flight.

I suppose that the waiting is simply part of the mexican culture. Just don't expect anything to happen fast and you should have a nice, predictable time

If you're looking for adventure, you won't find it here

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
5  Thank torontoeddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Coba

Address: Carretera Chetumal - Cancun Km 250, Akumal 77760, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Akumal
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Casino Hotel in Akumal
#5 Family Hotel in Akumal
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Akumal
#8 Romantic Hotel in Akumal
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Akumal
#10 Spa Hotel in Akumal
Price Range: £97 - £212 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe Coba 3.5*
Number of rooms: 1080
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services: 2 lake-style pools, 3 Jacuzzis, large sun terrace and gardens with sun umbrellas and loungers, pool and beach towel service, BAHIA SPA (additional charge). Sports facilities: gym, 5 tennis courts, basketball court, bicycles, motorized sports (additional charge), water activity centre, entertainment amphitheater. WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge), buffet restaurant, 4 a la carte restaurants, 8 bars, 2 snack bars. Riviera Maya Golf Club: 18 long holes and 9 executive holes with lakes, natural wells and Mayan forest. Hacienda Dona Isabel: karaoke bars, shows, live music and disco Rooms 1080 rooms including 4 types: Superior Junior Suite, Club Golden Junior Suite, Family Junior Suite and Master Family Suite. Room facilities: Two full size beds or a king size bed, sitting area with sofa, fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bathtub, shower, wash basin, magnifying mirror and hair dryer, bathroom amenities. Balcony or terrace, air conditioning, ceiling fan, telephone, radio alarm clock, flat screen satellite TV, mini-bar, coffee-making facilities, safe (additional charge), ironing set, terrace, Wifi. Family Junior Suites and Master Family Suites, the perfect choice for families, including: All the facilities and services of a Junior Suite; bathrobes and slippers for all the family for use during your stay, children's bath kit, welcome basket with sweets, mini-bar with juices, shakes, milk and soft drinks for children, two fully independent connecting rooms (Master Family Suites), Club Golden Junior Suites Children Bahia Scouts Children can enjoy a range of specially-tailored facilities: Children's pool Mini Club with daytime activities Evening Mini Disco Bahia Scouts Water Park Teen's Club (11 - 16 years) Baby Station Other services On-site miniature railway providing access to all facilities Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Personalised diet option for celiacs and diabetics Cash point Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries Casino ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Coba Akumal
Hotel Gran Bahia Principe
Bahia Principe Coba Mexico
Gran Bahia Coba
Gran Bahia Principe Resort Coba
Gran Bahia Principe Coba Hotel
Gran Principe
Gran Bahia Principe Mexico
Bahia Coba
Grand Bahia Principe Coba Riviera Maya, Mexico - Akumal

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