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“Best all inclusive resort!”

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Grand Bahia Principe Coba
Ranked #11 of 22 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 February 2010

The Bahia Principe Coba was the 5th all inclusive resort I have been to in the last 6 years. I must say that this hotel had the best ala carte food I have had. My wife and I and a couple of friends ate at four restaurants at this resort. The italian is the Dolce Vita and it had great appetizers and all of our meals were great. The service was excellent and even the house wine was good. We also ate at the Brazilian (lots of meat delivered to your table), the Mexican "Tequila" and the Coba's Gourmet restaurant. They were all good. Because of our golden booking, we could go to 4 ala cartes in the week. We booked them at checkin. If you want to go to the Gourmet restaurant, book right away because we could only go on our second last day. You can book any of the ten or so restaurants which is a nice selection.

The bus ride from the airport was long (2 hrs) but there was beer on the bus ($3) which was much cheaper than the airport beer and it was nice to see the countryside on the way. The ride would have been shorter but we had to drop off a couple of other groups along the way.

Check in was smooth. No pushy time share salesmen at the resort. We were in our rooms right away. We had the upgraded "golden" lobby which had free internet service.

The beach must be 2 km long, with very nice sand and lots of beach chairs and palpas. There is a nice calm area blocked off by a weir for people to swim in the ocean, even on windy days.

There were many pools and bars to check out. Large pools, quiet pools, whirl pools, swim up bars, and whirl pools. We tried them each afternoon.

The rooms were clean with bottled water each day. You will surely enjoy this resort. Although the resort is big, there is large golf cart like trolleys that carry you around the resort. You do not really need to walk far if you dont want to.

I would recommend this resort. It is also very close to the village of Tulum and the Tulum ruins, also Xel Ha resort. They would be a short cab ride away. We didnt go there because we had been to this area before. Playa del Carman is further away, likely 25 minutes by cab. There is shopping (tshirts, nick nacs, colored plates, etc) right on the resort.

Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
1  Thank Ss987
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8,542 - 8,548 of 13,767 reviews

Reviewed 9 February 2010

Ok, where to start? Expect your trip to go something like this: Our flight from Ottawa departed at 6:30 a.m. We arrived in Cancun at approx. 10:00. From the airport in Cancun, we were met with a Sunquest tour operator who guided us to the appropriate bus. It took about 2 hours from the airport to the hotel, as Sunquest also drops off guests at other hotels first. It does go by fast though...just enjoy the sights along the way! We arrived at the hotel around 1:00 pm. By the time we were checked in and unpacking in our room, it was more like 2pm. We immediately reserved our a la cartes dinners (3 of them) that afternoon. Then, the rest of the afternoon, we were soaking it up in a pool with many drinks to come!

From check in to check out, the service was great! In general, staff are very friendly. One of the most impressive aspects of the trip was the food. The buffet was absolutely fantastic, almost not even worth getting a la carte dinners. For the a la cartes, we chose Le Gran Tortuga (Bazilian), The Mediterraneo (Greek), and the Portofino (Italian). All were good, menus not much to select from. Snack bars available by poolsides were great too!

The beach itself is divided in three areas, in for each lobby / section: The Tulum Beach, the Coba beach, and the Akumal. All are somewhat rocky, with the Coba being the least rockiest. From what I've heard, these beaches weren't as nice as others in Punta Cana or Bahamas, but what we did realize is that they offer terrific snorkling! We swam with more tropical fish at these beaches than any snorkling excursion / tour. So bring your goggles...you won't be disapointed!!

The rooms are very clean with a Mexican feel to them. All are air conditioned, thank God. There is a wet bar per room, but there isn't much to choose from...a few beers and sodas. Enough about the rooms...who wants to spend too much time in a room anyway?

Another impressive thing at the hotel were the nightly shows...which my partner said they were the best she'd seen at any resort (and she's been to Cuba, Dom. Rep., Bahamas, Jamiaca). In particular, there is this Michael Jackson impersonator who was incredible! Also, every night outside the lobby there are shows and activities for guests such as kareoke. Also many poolside activties during the day.

There are 2 highlights to our trip: an excursion to the Chichen Itza ruins and the Xcaret water park. Chichen Itza, now one of the world's newest seven wonders, was amazing! It was a full day excursion...approx. 2.5 hours away from the hotel. You can book this with your travel advisor at the hotel. About 100$ / person for the day, I think. This includes a ride on a fancy coach to and from the ruins that includes beverages and a stop at a buffet on the way. You spend about 3 hours on site at the ruins. After that, lunch buffet. After, you travel to a cenote (underground lake) and swim there for approx. 45 minutes. Back at the hotel for dinner. I would definitely recommend this to anyone fascinated with history and civilisations, etc. No other place quite like it. There were also the options for seeing the Tulum ruins or Coba ruins (you can actually climb on the Coba ruins!) but we opted for Chichen Itza, the most famous of them.

The Xcaret waterpark was great too!! Also a full day excursion. About 30 mins away from the hotel. Also need to book with travel advisor in the lobby. There are many aquatic parks to choose from, such as Xplore (zip linning, doom buggy riding, etc.) and Xel-ha, but Xcaret had a little more to offer such as different animals and a 2 hour show at the end for the day on the history and evolution of the Mayan people which should not be missed!! At Xcaret, we swam the underground river, which was really neat. Also did the underwater Sea Trek...but was a little disapointed with that because the poster showed participants with sea turtles but there were no turtles to see...just fish!! We also did the swimming with dolphins, which is defintiely the highlight of my trip!! I STRONGLY encourage everyone to do at least 30 mins (up to an hour) with the dolphins, which is an extra charge and not covered by the entry fee. You will not regret it! Also not covered by the entry fee is: swimming with shark, swimming wtih stingrays, and the Sea Trek. For those not interested in the 2 hour cultural show at the end for the day at Xcaret, then then Xel-ha waterpark offers almost as many activities. There is also this one excursion called Mayan Adventures which is mostly snorkling all day...but why pay to snorkle when the beaches at GBP offer great snorkling!!!

All in all, I loved this trip. 7 days went by too fast and wish I would have booked for at least 10 days. There is just so much to do and see in this area. Would have loved to seen and climbed the Coba ruins! Just on the resort itself, there are so many activities to do!! This isn't a party resort, although there are bars on the resort at this area called the Hacienda about a short walk away. I'd say it was more family oriented, which is what we wanted! General quiet at night and good sleeping!

All in all, a great bang for your buck.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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11  Thank DanB1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 February 2010

This was our second time to Bahia Principe. First time was last February 09 in Tulum and this year February 10 in Coba.
The room was clean. No problems with replenishing of the bar fridge or water daily. Ran into one funny situation at 3:30 in the morning. Went to washroom in the dark and turned on light in the bathroom only to be greeted with a mouse staring at me. Needless to say, my boyfriend was awaken by my screams. The poor little mouse quickly ran into the air vent and I never seen him again...mind you we left the bathroom light on in the evening after that event.
The food has taken a turn for the worse. The buffet seemed to be the same stuff meal after meal, just moved to different areas. The snack bars were ok - both are supposed to be open 24 hours, but because of the resort not being at full capacity, only one was open at 10 p.m. and these are the only places for a drink after 11:30 if not going to the disco. The ala cartes were a nice change from the buffet. Went to the Portafina - very good service and food, The Arlequin - still good service, but didn't enjoy the food as much and lastly, the Le Gourmet, service was not good, but again, food was better then the buffet.
Took a trip into Playa del Carmen via their collectivos - only $3.00 us each way - something different to see. Gets you off the resort for a day.
Drinks were ok. Didn't find them watered down, but alot of the time they would run out of a certain brand you were drinking and would have to find something else...oh well.
Overall, I thought last year the resort deserved a 5 out of 5 and this year I have a problem giving it the full rating. I would say it is anywhere between a 3.5 and 4 for most.
Would I recommend it, sure, but not for a return. There are too many other resort to see and ones that are closer then 1 1/2 hours from the airport.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Stayed: February 2010, travelled as a couple
4  Thank blue_eyes_chat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 February 2010

Have stayed at many all inclusives. On the good side - this one had beautiful grounds, everything was impeccably clean, our room was basic but spotless and our housekeeper Vanessa was a towel artist - a new animal every day! We stayed in building 19. The staff were inconsistent - some were fantastic (Nereo in the main buffet), others seemed to have no idea what they were doing. Please tip the staff that do a good job, they deserve it.

On the not so good side - front desk staff are awful - ranging from indifferent to listless to rude - as in I'll spend as much time as I like chatting with a fellow Spanish speaking person while you just wait. Getting them to give you small bills so you could tip the staff was like extracting teeth. Rooms need new TV's and digital safes. It's chintzy to make you pay $5 per day for a safe. Keys - by the time you add your safe key and mini-bar key to the lanyard with your room key, you're starting to feel like a prison matron with a cluster of keys around your neck.

Forget about taking the Coba bus to the beach - it was guaranteed that the first 2 or 3 buses going by were not going to Coba Beach or back to Coba.

The resort is huge with a lot of variety in restaurants and pools and bars, but I actually found it too big - you don't really get a chance to know anybody.

Entertainment at night was good, shows were good quality and the band at the Hacienda was fantastic.

The bes thing I did on this trip was take the Catamaya catamaran trip for $92 US. This is probably the best excursion I have ever taken on a vacation. The bus picked us up on time and took us to Puerto Aventura which is only 15 min away. The 50 person catamaran was spotless. The crew was absolutely fantastic, the friendliest, most entertaining, most helpful I have ever experienced. A big thank you to Jose! We snorkeled, ate lobster for lunch, drank beer, sat in the sun listening to great music - bliss!

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
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2  Thank Wanderer14
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 February 2010

Just returned yesterday from a one-week stay at the GBP Coba in Mexico. Have to put my 2 cents in since I've done nothing but read Trip Advisor for the past few weeks in preparation for the trip! First off, I've done the "all-inclusive" a lot, so I'm a pretty good judge of places. I've been to Punta Cana, DR, twice (Catalonia Bavaro and Caribe Club Princess) and Cuba twice (NH Krystal in Cayo Coco and Club Amigo in Holguin). I've stayed at everything from 3 star to 5 star.

This place was absolutely gorgeous. The grounds were phenomenal. The pools were breathtaking, especially the Coba "quiet" pool and the Akumal pool right in front of their main lobby. Restaurants, lobbies, etc., were all so nice to wander around, beach was really stunning too - white sand, etc. Let me break things down a bit to talk further:

BEACH - I'm a beach person....I'll say this was maybe my 3rd fave beach out of 5 that I've visited. It was beautiful, but a little on the cramped and crowded side and not the best for swimming. DON'T, however, listen to the ludacris reviews claiming you need water shoes etc....You need water shoes if the bottoms of your feet are made of, oh, let's say tissue paper, and you would need water shoes if you were legally blind and couldn't just simply watch your step. Yes, there are a few rocky-ish areas on the bottom of the ocean, but just watch where you're stepping and you'll be fine. The sand around these rocky areas is powder-soft. Mind you, I'm not much of an ocean swimmer, just dip in and cool off. If you really like to swim in the ocean a lot, or run through the water with a frisbee without watching your step, I'd say this might not be the place for you. Most spots the water went from shallow (before the large sand-bags blocking waves) to rough, wavy, and not-relaxing-looking (but probably fun if you had the energy) between sandbags.

Best way to get to the beach was to walk. We took the beach shuttle once and never again! The driver circled and circled Coba in endless loops looking to fill up his shuttle before driving to the beach, SO maddening. It was our first day. If we had of known for certain where to go we would have leapt off. I tried to be polite and ask him if he could take us to the beach soon (the trolley was over half full), but the guy foolishly wasted more gas and time riding around asking people who were clearly just roaming to a pool or buffet if they wanted to go to the beach. VERY frustrating, so we never took the trolley thing again to the beach. Just go to the Premier Lobby, take a right from the front entrance of it, that will take you to Akumal....We preferred to walk through the main Akumal lobby, past their pool (and grab a serve-yourself cervesa from the pool bar on your way, the taps are running before 10am and we always got a beer there early before the other bars opened by serving ourselves! Taps face outward), and then walk to the right. Best beach area! Near Akumal snack bar for lunch, not as crowded, near the Swing Bar, etc....We preferred the "back beach" area, aka the chairs and palapas set up on the little slope above the beach. Many still had a great view, sand, etc....but when you're on the main beach there's zero privacy. The palapas are too close, there's no palm trees like Punta Cana, no other trees like Holguin, so as people fill up and start talking in a ton of different languages and trying to move their chairs to face the sun, etc....it got crowded. The upper part of the beach was awesome, way better. More room, little shrubs and trees to block off sections more private, etc...

FOOD - Can't complain. Was delicious, for the most part. Yea, it gets tiring, same old thing.....but that's an all-inclusive for you. We did Italian al la carte (not great), Mexican "Tequila" (very delicious and enjoyable), and Japanese "Mikado".....food there was delicious, but we waited over an HOUR to be seated. That sucked. If you want a la carte they will seat you right when your reservation time is booked, but if you want to actually sit in the tepayani section and watch the show-cooking, you are at the whim of the tiny Mexican lady at the front who will say "10 minutes" every single time you ask her how much longer. In my opinion, NOT WORTH the wait! My friend wanted to, so we did....and we were at that freaking restaurant from 8:20 pm (for our 8:30 reservation) and didn't get out until 11:15pm. There goes your whole night! Now, that lady at the front was brutal, but one waiter did come out and take drink orders and bring us all a drink while we were waiting. That was great.....although it would've been nice for him to do that during the first 45 mins of my 1 hour pilgrammage in the waiting room, as opposed to just the very end....nevertheless. The show was mildly amusing but definitely not worth the wait, the food was great. Do Mikado but skip the show-coking. Book your a la cartes ASAP when you arrive.

ROOMS - Awesome. I had e-mailed the resort requesting one of several different villas and they came through! We were in Villa 22. Close to both lobbies and the buffet, with an incredible view of the quiet pool. I would highly suggest looking at a Google-ed map of the resort before you go and requesting a room close to the amenities you enjoy. Inside our room was always clean. Never saw any bugs (a first for my travels down south!) and the beds were actually decent. Previous reviews said they were hard as rocks....well, they were super firm but they were NEW, brand new mattresses. The woman at the front desk told me the resort just replaced all the mattresses. Mini fridge was stocked frequently, every second day if not every day. We left 2 bucks in there a few times throughout the week and were treated like gold with the mini-fridge: extra beer, extra chips, etc. ...

NIGHTLIFE - You can have some fun if you want to make fun, but....Depends on your crowd. Personally, I don't get off on the shows down south whatsoever. I tried to check out the Michael Jackson one but the Coba theatre was literally polluted with people that night, not a seat or standing room, so I left. Coba lobby was pretty at night and lively, with karaoke going on outside, but again - hard to get a seat. When we did, we generally had floor service for drinks and a decent time. Tulum lobby had great, loud, live bands, if that's your thing. Coba's Premier lobby had bands playing English cover songs and some people were even dancing, so that was nice. I had a good time up at the Hacienda - just having a drink outside in the pavillion area near the sports bar. At least you didn't have to fight for a table there! It filled up a bit later, when the disco was about to open, and there was again live music! I never checked out the disco b/c it opened after 12am and I'd usually be back in the room by then....I'm young and like to have a good time, but I LIVE for my beach days and don't plan on being hungover at the beach! This resort was not great for the younger crowd, a ton of families and couples. But again.....as long as I got my beach the next day....there was tons to do at night, the place was huge and you could wander.

EXCURSIONS - I didn't do any, but I did take the collective to Tulum Ruins and Playa Del Carmen. Only $3 each way, like they said on here. Just walk to the highway (from the Hacienda) and the white vans saying Collectivo will stop for you. Same side of road as the resort to go to Playa Del Carmen (or Akumal beach, which is where you swim with sea turtles), opposite side of road to go to Tulum. When we went up there were 2 collectivos waiting anyway, one ready to go to each destination. TIP - If you want to see Tulum Ruins, make sure you get off at the right stop. About 5 mins before Tulum Town (which is where the driver is heading) is where you need to get off. Just specify you're going to the RUINS, not just TULUM. If you don't speak Spanish and aren't up for a small adventure (I say small b/c I always felt safe, no big deal), then the collectivo might not be for you. Keep in mind it's public transportation, so at many times we were the only English-speaking people crammed in that shuttle. As long as you have a rough idea where you're getting off (Tulum Ruins for us, then we walked down a road that we figured led to the ruins due to all the foot traffic and we were right! ...and then Playa Del Carmen, but you need to wait for the "downtown" stop!) the collectivos are awesome. I found the Ruins boring, but with a beautiful beach. Playa Del Carmen was great - a town on a beach! The typical annoying merchants, but also some fun-looking bars and restaurants etc, little hole-in-the-wall spots and music and sun and drink....ahhh! My friend wanted to go to Senor Frog's, which was okay but definitely just a tourist-trap money-maker. I would've rathered grab chips and salsa and a Corona at a more Mom-and-Pop type place, ya know? But Senor Frog's was fun and had a great view.

Overall, I had a great time. The place is a real 5 star, in my opinion, as far as all-inclusives go. Good and sometimes great food, lots of variety bars, staff was friendly (though not in the life-changing, I miss-them-already! kind of way that other reviews rave about.....don't know where those people were, maybe the annoying activity pool. I stayed away from there, for the most part), the rooms were big and clean, and lastly the place was just plain gorgeous.

Any CONS? Sure. There was very often a major lack of chairs in the lobby bars at night, at certain spots on the beach, and at nearly every single pool. Also, on the last day they started putting up little fence posts right along the slope that separates the "back" part of the beach I loved chilling at with the "main" part, which is ludacris.....I can't see the point of putting anything there, and the posts were instantly annoying us by wrecking the view and casting shadows from the sun. Ummm, we didn't always get the greatest, fastest service, but not bad enough to complain about beyond a mention. Put a dollar-bill in your hand when you're at the bar. They deserve a tip anyway, it's the service industry and they put up a lot of crap. I know, I'm a bartender. Another thing, I had a bit of an issue with hygeine sometimes around food and beverage. Like I said, I work in this industry....and I would never make someone a drink in a glass I just washed out by rubbing the inside of it with water and my bare hand. Yet....this happened to me. I was also handed many utensils by waiters gripping the eating part (prongs of fork, etc..) in their forefinger and thumb and handing it to me, though most of us would hand someone their silverware via holding the handle, right? Am I alone here? The cook who made me my chicken tacos one night flipped the shells with a utensil, but why I don't know.....because he then put the flour shell directly in the palm of his hand and asked me what I'd like in it. I find these practices....not great. I did get "the runs" during this trip, though not bad enough to ruin it, so perhaps the staff at Gran Bahia could use a refresher course on Food & Safety practices. Seriously!

(**Not that we, as tourists, are any better....this is a side note, but at GBP, at the snack bar at Akumal, I was revolted every single day by my fellow man. Seriously, people! I can't tell you how many women and men walked into the bathrooms (small, 2-stall things in the back of the snack bar) in their bare feet. I was also revolted to watch numerous people go for lunch in nothing but a bathing suit, speedo, trunks, etc....often barefoot.....so that they were literally leaning over the buffet food with bare, hairy chests, and not caring that the food was mere inches away from their scantily-clothed crotches. I'm sorry, but let's get brutally honest here.....Do you really want chest hair - or worse - in your lunch? I call this place El Short & Curly Snack Bar. It's one thing to see speedos and chest hair and thigh-fat flapping around on the beach, but I do not enjoy it flapping around next to my lunch. Have some decency, people! You can walk around your own kitchen half-naked, but when you're sharing this food with other people - take 5 seconds to throw on a beach cover-up! How would we all like it if the cook came out to refill one of the food bins and he was wearing nothing but a speedo and bare feet?? We'd be revolted, exactly. Put a tiny bit of clothes on when you're eating, please!)

Sorry for the sidetrack rant, that had nothing to do with GBP.

Gran Bahia Principe Coba was great, in the long run, though I wouldn't go again unless I got it as super cheap as it was for this trip. Next time I'll find a place with less people and a roomier beach. But go! Enjoy! It's beautiful! Feel free to ask me any questions at all.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
22  Thank LilBee24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 February 2010

I’ll try to make this review as comprehensive as possible as there is a lot to cover with this resort. The following will be the collection of opinions from my entire party, hopefully giving you an accurate review in which you can base a possible decision.

Our party consisted of me (33 Years of Age), my wife (26 Years of Age), our two friends (30 and 29 Years of Age), my mother (62 Years of age), my sister (42 Years of Age), and her two kids (One girl (Age 14) and one boy (Age 11).

Travel to the Resort:
The bus ride as you will read in other reviews, is about two hours long due to the resorts location, and depending on how many stops you have to make, it may be longer as the Bahia is one of the last resorts to be visited. We really didn’t notice the extra two hours because everyone was excited to be in 30+ degree weather compared to the -44 back home.

Check In:
When we arrived to the Coba lobby, we were greeted with beverages as you are at many of the resorts, and there were about 25 people checking in at the time. We didn’t have to wait too long, about 10 minutes max and we were simply checked in. The Customer Service personal are very kind and professional. They supply you with a Map of the resort along with your Keys and Vacation package, this map will become your best friend for the first couple of days, if you lose it, I suggest you get another to replace it available at the check-in counter. Another fun fact at the check in counter is that you can change $20.00 USD at a time into smaller bills for tipping at no charge. (This comes in handy) There is a charge for you’re in room safe ($5.00 per day) which I found odd, especially for a 5 star resort, but if you leave on a Saturday, do a partial checkout on the Friday evening (be sure to bring the actual safe lock plus the key), only keeping your room and mini bar keys. You’ll save 5 bucks, and the check out is quicker.
Your luggage gets delivered to your room, which is a nice service, but all 8 people in our party staying in four different Junior suites, had to wait for almost an hour to get our luggage. (When you just want to get out and take a look around the resort, that hour feels like an eternity) We had spoken to other vacationers who didn’t experience the same wait time for the luggage, they had there’s in about 10 minutes, so I think that part will be different for everyone.

The Resort Appearance and Layout:
The resort itself is beautifully landscaped and exceptionally clean, as well as being very well maintained, but this resort is absolutely huge when you include Coba, Akumal and Tulum, and the layout is confusing even with the map for the first couple of days until you have some landmarks to remember. They do have signage for the Villa’s, Premier Clubs, and Room number blocks, but no signage to find your way, nor do they have any direct routes marked. At different locations, there are very large Maps showing you where you are, which is great, but there not on every corner, so you end up just accidently finding them. Throughout our entire trip, we seen and overheard allot of people trying to find their way, walking by our balcony, then walking by yet again the other way. Its very easy to get turned around here until you get the hang of it.

Rooms:
Our rooms were like any other room at a resort, but they were very clean and spacious. They have Jacuzzi tubs in every room, but I’m not sure how often if ever do they clean the jets in the tubs, when we turned it on, there was a slight scum on the top of the water before we were going to get in so we never ended up using the jets (this is usually created by dirt, shampoos and dead skin unless properly maintained) The mini bar consisted of the standard beer, various pop’s and juices, chips, water, coffee and mini chocolate bars. The bar wasn’t always restocked, and when it was, it only contained a quarter of the stock that was there the first day, sometimes no beer, other times no coffee, ect. You get the general idea.(We even left tips in the mini bar, so tipping didn’t seem to make a difference) The beds here are as hard as rock, so unless you like a real firm bed, your back may be a little sore after a week of sleeping on it. On three occasions, different members of my party including myself had a run in with cockroaches in our rooms. My mother had two cockroaches in her room, one on the blinds, and one in the bathroom. Ours was in our bathroom the last night we were there. I’m unsure how they get into the rooms as we always kept everything closed, including our drains especially once we heard my mothers stories. I do understand however, we are in the jungle and bugs live there too, and I don’t believe that it has anything to do with the resorts cleanliness, but maybe check your luggage before you leave, as they like cool dark places. :-)

Beaches:
The beach is split up into three areas, even though all beaches are shared by all resorts. Akumal area of the beach has one very dismal area to swim in and the rest is all rock. Lots of sand though, just not to much near the water. Coba’s designated beach area is very nice with two sitting pears, shallow calm water, and great beach sand. This area is perfect for snorkelers as the fish like to hang out by the pears where the water only goes up to your waist (if you bring fruit from the buffet’s, the fish will eat right out of your hands as I seen many people doing this. A little further out there is tons of coral and a lot of beautiful fish to view. The current here can get very strong, so keep that in mind, the further you go, the stronger it gets. Tulums beach is the largest of the three with the most swimming area of the three. This area is best for playing in the waves. The water is only above your knee caps in some areas with little rock even at 60 feet out (There are areas which are about waist deep too), I’m 6’4”, and a number of the waves were a couple feet over my head, a lot of fun, but could be dangerous for children. My nephew who is 11, had no problems and was having a blast, but only went out there when my friend and I where there as well.

Pools:
There are enough pools to go around. As I said before, the complex is huge, but if you want a spot, this goes for the beach as well, get up around 6:30 a.m and place your towel, a pair of flip-flops and a book on your chair, otherwise you’ll be out of luck for seating. There are signs stating there are no reserving chairs, but everyone at the resort does it, and the staff never do anything about it. The pools are clean and if you’re up early enough you’ll see the pool boys out cleaning them. I even had seen a staff member with their testing kit making sure the chlorine levels were adequate.

Food:
This seems to be a big one for people so I’ll try to be as concise and honest as possible. There are so many places that you can find food. There are snack bars everywhere serving up Hamburgers, Hotdogs, Fries, Bar-B-Q ribs, Pork, Salads, Pizza, Bacon, Icecream etc. These at first will seem to be a good choice but stick to the Buffets as they have more options for sure. If you’re on the beach, hit up the Buffet at Akumal for lunch,(Nice and close) you’ll be glad you did as it’s a full Buffet rather than a Tiny snack Bar. With all the Buffets, including the snack bars, they were still constantly running out of a number of items the entire trip. Even when we were there when it opened, the food ran out quick, and it seemed the staff couldn’t keep up. This wasn’t the staffs fault in my opinion; the resort just didn’t have enough staff working. This ended up becoming one of the most frustrating parts of the resort. Having that said, the trek over to the Tulum buffet was the way to go. It’s the largest of the three, and had way more to choose from so I suggest you hit up Tulum’s buffet a couple of times. A lot of the food at all the buffets tasted the same as everything else with no real flavor, some were watered down and others were so greasy it made it impossible to even attempt to eat. There were items that were great (Don’t get me wrong), but not everything. Our a la carts consisted of The Mediterranean, Japanese, Italian, and the Seafood. (the names of which I cannot remember for the life of me, all of which were on the Coba property.) The Italian was fantastic for an easy meal, but was nothing to write home about. There were items there that we really enjoyed like the battered deep-fried Mozza cheese as well as our main dishes. Everything was great, flavorful, and well presented which we were happy with. (It just wasn’t spectacular) The seafood a la cart was mediocre with the exception of the swordfish steak, but the restaurant lacked anything special. The majority of the food seemed overcooked and mushy and wasn’t the most pleasurable meal. The Mediterranean restaurant was very good. Our entire party ate here and all 8 of us were very pleased with the whole meal from start to finish. Food was excellent; I highly recommend this a la cart for sure. A great mix of choices from the menu and everything looked, smelt, and tasted perfect. Now, for the Japanese, if you’re looking for a great experience not only for your over-all enjoyment but for your taste buds too, you need to book the Japanese a la cart. I give this place 10 out of 10, it was fantastic.

Bars:
Bars are bars. They have alcohol. There are a lot of bars on this resort, but we found no matter where we were, there were always line ups of 50 people waiting to get served. Once again the bars like the snack bars and buffets were understaffed. One bartender for an entire beach, who was ran off his feet trying to get everyone their drinks did however impress me, he took 16 different orders which were all 4 to 8 drinks long, and made them all not asking for them again, and he got them all right…impressive for sure. ( As a side note, there are no straws at the Beach, so bring some from the lobby with you) At one point one evening we walked to the lobby bar because there was only one bar in the entertainment area with one bartender trying to serve 800 thirsty patrons, to find another very long lineup at that bar as well. Standing in line for about 20 minutes or so, we decided we would hit up the “music Bar” thinking that would be quicker than where we were as the line hadn’t seemed to move. When we got to the music bar, we were informed it was closed, so, we then headed to our buffet and we finally got our drinks. This happened on a daily basis consistently; sometimes the bartenders were not even there during the day because he had to go get more supplies. Half the bars here close at 9:00 p.m. which is kind of ridiculous in my opinion; it really shouldn’t be that hard to get a drink. If you were at a table, the servers would come as frequently as they could, but two servers for the entire entertainment area v.s 800 to a 1000 people just dosn’t mathematically work out. As for when you actually received your drinks, they were fantastic.

Shopping:
There are allot of shops here, but they charge about double and sometimes tripple from what you can get it for in Playa del Carmen, spend $3.00 to catch a ride there via the Collectivo, or the $30.00 for cab and hit up 5th Avenue.

Service:
Every single one of the staff is pleasant, very hard working, and are smiling all the time. The customer service here was A+. The reviews that tell you differently must have had a staff member who was having a very bad day, because not once did anyone in our party experience any kind of unfavorable behavior or attitudes from any of the staff, this includes the staff like the bartenders and the servers who were so overworked, I would have expected them to be a little cranky, but that never happened.

Overall, we had a great experience here even with the tiny insignificant negatives, after all, you’re in the Caribbean, in the sun, at an all inclusive five star resort. Would I recommend this resort to others, that’s hard to say. The resort was too big for us, and they didn’t have adequate staffing in many areas of the resort. Although a lot of my review may sound like a negative one, there were plenty of positives that I consider weighed out the negatives. It is a very wonderful place with plenty to do. I personally wouldn’t go back a second time, but I’m glad we went this time.

P.S. If you've already booked this trip and have been keeping an eye on the latest reviews as we did, don't panic, you will have a great time.

  • Stayed: February 2010, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
15  Thank Shameliss
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 February 2010

Layout: No problems with the open layout of Coba or the other two resorts. It was quick and easy to walk anywhere in a few minutes time. We walked from our room to the lobbies or the restaurants within 3-5 minutes easily. To get to Akumal restaurants was about a 10 minute walk. The grounds are beautiful, very clean and well manicured. And of course, you'll see lots of iguanas, geckos, and birds about.

Check-in Staff: Friendly, helpful, and spoke excellent English.

Rooms: Very clean, spacious, quiet, they mopped the floors regularly, no complaints here whatsoever. Very clean and well attended rooms. We had a small ant issue that was resolved within fifteen minutes with a smile.

Food: Boring, virtually same stuff every day at the buffets for lunch and dinner, the desserts were really bland and not sweet, and tasted a bit like Jiffy baking mix. Fried things (french fries, fried eggplant, fried fish, etc.) always limp and soggy and wet, even if you got to the meal just as the doors were opening! Potatoes of any cooked variety always seemed old, limp, bleh.. like they had been reheated or something. **Fish was always very overcooked**, resulting in hard, gray tuna, rubbery shrimp, etc. Grouper was served almost exclusively as the fish option in every buffet and in all of the a la cartes as the seafood option. A good fish, but ten meals in a row of grouper...

Mikado (Japanese) - We were told to sit and wait for 15 minutes in the front waiting area when we arrived. They then told us we couldn't see "the show" (the Benihana-style teppanyaki cooking performance) because there weren't enough people to fill a table, then seated us at a table for two. Within a few minutes, they were seating various people at a "show table". We asked for sake, got a thimble full and had to constantly request refills. The sushi appetizer was the same stuff they serve at the buffet every night, nothing special there.

Fruita de mar (Seafood) - We asked to sit at window to overlook the water, and were told 'no', and then less than 5 minutes later they seated lots of people in those tables. Never got water refilled even once. Never got bread even after asking and saw others with it. Again, the fish was really overcooked and all of the shellfish was rubbery. The chocolate pyramid dessert was incredibly dry and tasteless, and the cheesecake literally tasted like they forgot to add any sugar.

Service: There was a language issue 95% of the time, only a few people really spoke English. Especially a problem when asking a bartender, waiter or server questions or trying to relay things about food or drink you wanted or had a question about. Even the trolley drivers spoke almost no English - thankfully we know what "rojo" means. We encountered this situation every day and night. Sometimes it was really slow to get drink service, either at bars or at the buffet restaurants. You may order a drink when you sit down and it doesn't arrive until you're done eating!

Drinks: I hate to say it, but I think they water down the liquors like vodka, rum and tequila. We'd get simple drinks that were 50/50 vodka and juice, and they'd hardly have an alcohol taste to them at all. I can't prove this of course, but we're no stranger to drinking and my 100 lb. (45 kg) wife, who drinks maybe a glass of wine a week, had ten drinks one evening and was walking and talking just fine. TEN DRINKS.

Internet: Only in the lobbies, and can be crazy slow (like 10k-30k, which is half of dialup speed!) But, contrary to the website, it's free with your laptop. They were going to institute a fee but they didn't and never updated the website.

In conclusion - it was a fine week, and we got a fair price on our trip. Had we paid anywhere near the normal high-season rate I'd be utterly enraged. We had a great time lounging at the pools in the heat and taking advantage of the free drinks- but the food was a letdown time and time and time again.

  • Stayed: January 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Andre S
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
#7 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: £110 - £286 (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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