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All reviews don pablo diamond club hacienda section tequila restaurant snack bar a la carte restaurants thomas cook gbp tulum fish bahia principe tulum main buffet tulum ruins dolphin pool show table breakfast and lunch main pool smaller pool
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Reviewed 18 August 2008

This hotel was luxurious. The food was fresh, tasty and healthy. The rooms were nice and clean. The beach had rocks but it made for some amazing snorling without having to go out on a boat. I recommand it to everyone.

Date of stay: May 2005
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank alexxxita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2008

I vacationed at the GBP Tulum from July 13 to July 20, 2008. While this was my first stay at this resort, I vacationed in 2004 at the adjacent GBP Akumal, so I was familiar with the resort and it's amenities. I booked this Air Canada Vacations package 3 weeks before departure on iTravel2000.com. Being familiar with the standard of the resort, I realized that the $1400 price tag, including single suplement, was a good deal.

First, a few words about the booking and the travel. I had no trouble booking online with iTravel, but I did have some difficulty when I phoned the next day during their regular business hours to have some questions answered in person. I found the service a bit nonchalant and some of the answers didn't make any sense. I finally ended up calling Air Canada Vacations directly to get my answers. I found them VERY helpful. The lack of service from iTravel would not have ruined my vacation had I not been able to find my answers elsewhere, but I was a bit disappointed with the apparent lack of knowledge and the non-service oriented attitude. For this reason alone I would probably either use my regular in-person travel agent next time, or else just book things directly with the supplier myself.

Air Canada, however, surprised me. I had heard all the usual stories about indifferent service, long lines, and so on, but I found none of this. My experience on the phone with Air Canada Vacations was excellent, service at the airports was quick and friendly, flights were on time, and cabin crews were friendly. I particularly enjoyed the "regular" seating configuration of the aircraft (as opposed to the "cattle car" class of the charter carriers), and the seat-back on-demand entertainment system was appreciated.

Despite the rapid onset of it's 10th birthday, and the incredible amount of people passing through it every year, the GBP Tulum is holding up incredibly well. The grounds are maturing nicely and are incredibly well-kept. The "standard room" I received was admittedly much smaller than the "Jr Suite" I had at the Akumal on my last trip, but the same high finish standards applied, and the rooms make you feel like you're somewhere special.....especially the extensive marble flooring and fancy bathroom.

I was given a room on the top floor of building 27, which is almost as far from the main buildings of the resort as you can get, and is in the back row furthest from the beach. That being said, the surroundings were lush, the view was great, and the walk to the beach, dining, shows and so on wasn't that bad at all. The only complaint I'd have about the location is that this building is along the main path linking all areas of the resort, as well as leading from the Tulum area to the adjacent Akumal and Coba resorts. This resulted in pretty heavy traffic of passenger shuttles as well as resort service vehicles pretty much 24/7. The noise was quite noticeable at night though it wouldn't usually be enough to wake you up if you weren't already awake for some other reason.

The room was well-appointed with marble bath with huge vanity and deep tub/shower combo. Closet space was generous, as was other storage throughout the room. The furnishings were decent and in good repair and the TV selection was decent. The bed wasn't quite as hard as I remember from previous Mexican vacations, but was still pretty stiff. The mini-bar fridge worked well and was kept well-stocked with water and a basic selection of soft drinks, beer and snacks. Cleaning was, as with my previous experience, beyond reproach. The room was spotless every single day, and my cleaning lady was very much an artist with bed sheets, towels and curtains. I came back to a unique surprise of towel and curtain art every single day of my stay. My only complaint was with the air conditioning. While it blows lots of cool air out of a very large vent it simply doesn't cool the room down very quickly. I turned mine on "high" and set it to 23 degrees when I arrived at my room and when I left one week later it had made it down to 24 1/2. The first couple of days were a bit hot, but after that it was OK, and they have installed ceiling fans in the rooms to help move the cool air around a bit. Apparently it is just a function of the type of system that is used, and it's age and there is nothing much they can do about it other than rip it out and start over again. I found it a minor inconvenience overall as it was still MUCH cooler in my room than outside considering the time of year.

The rest of the resort is a tropical dream. As I already mentioned the landscaping is wonderful and is constantly maintained by an army of gardeners. The food maintained the same high quality I remembered from before. The buffet service area is extensive and if you can't find something you want to eat you definitely need to re-evaluate your priorities. it's not the ultimate in gourmet food, but considering that it's a buffet serving up to 1500 people per meal they do amazingly well. It is certainly top-notch as far as large buffets go. I did find the waiters in the dining room to be a bit rushed, as they all seemed to have quite large areas to cover, but they accomplished as much as they could as quickly as they could and did it all with a smile. I didn't try any of the a la carte restaurants. If you read any of my previous reviews you'll quickly determine my opinion of resort a la cartes. Bar service was also efficient and friendly and drinks were generous. As usual in Mexico I found ALL service staff to be eager and friendly, and a bit of a tip would notch up the service even further.

The beaches of this resort are simply incredible. Out of the three conjoined resorts it has the nicest and most extensive beach. Oodles of soft white sand and lots of palapa-shaded loungers to be had. The swimming, alas, is not up to that standard. If you just like to lay in the sun or under a palapa with a drink or a book in your hand this is paradise. If, however, you like to swim in the ocean as I do, you'll be a bit disappointed. The whole extent of the resort's waterfront is reef area, so you'll have anything from large boulders to small rocks to lava-like expanses under the water as soon as you set foot off the sand. Even the designated "swimming area" down by the Akumal resort has enough rocks poking up through the bottom, and is very shallow. All in all a good place to wear water shoes and just float around. You're NOT going to be doing laps in this ocean ! I was prepared for this drawback though, and it certainly doesn't ruin the overall experience.

I didn't spend any time at the pools, but while passing by I found them to be MUCH more crowded than the beach, and much louder of course with the myriad activities taking place. They are absolutely beautiful pools......multi-level in some cases, expansive, free-flowing art. It just might be hard to get a lounger if you're not out there early.

The Hacienda Dona Isabela "entertainment complex" at the resort's entrance has expanded a bit since my last trip. They now have a large number of stalls outside the hacienda walls selling all manner of souveniers. As with the shops inside the hacienda, most are the usual tourist stuff with stiff prices. Shopping is better left for a trip to town. The internet, which was expensive my last trip, is now ATROCIOUS ! 240 pesos (24 dollars) per hour ! I sent one quick e-mail home and then waited for a trip to town to do further e-mailing.

Speaking of town, thank heaven for collectivos ! For those that don't know, collectivos are white vans that run up and down the highway every few minutes and operate as busses. No use paying 300 pesos for a cab to Playa Del Carmen when you can wait on the highway outside the resort gate for a few minutes for the next collectivo and get there for only 20 pesos. They're quick and clean and run from early morning til about 10 at night.

I made several trips into town and had a great time. Lots of shopping on 5th Avenue, as well as endless selection of places to drink or eat. Playa is definitely a "tourist town" though and you're not going to find a big flea market or bargains like you will even in places like Puerto Vallarta. Venturing off the beaten path even a few blocks found much better prices though and equally interesting venues, so don't be afraid to leave the main drag. Speaking of leaving the main drag, the internet on or adjacent to 5th Ave seems to be about 15 pesos an hour (as compared to the 240 I mentioned at the resort !), but I found a good place on the corner of 6th St and 30 Ave that was only 10 pesos an hour ! Newer equipment, an air-conditioned room, and high-speed internet all for only $1 an hour. Awesome, and well worth the 10 minute or so walk from 5th Ave.

I didn't get to any of the other activities I had planned, like a trip to Coba or a return to Xel Ha for some awesome snorkeling. This was mostly due to the INCREDIBLE heat. I know it's summer in the tropics, but even the locals were complaining about what a hot summer it's been ! That didn't bode well for the fat, pasty white boy from Alberta. That being said, it was still an incredible holiday. I just had to learn to walk slower and rest a lot if I wanted any time that my shirt wasn't glued to my body. I now fully understand the concept of "siesta". It's a fine way to spend an afternoon.

Well, that's about it for now. I'm going to attach all the pics that the site will allow, but I DO have several hundred more of all areas of the resort, room, etc that I'd be happy to share if someone's looking for a view of something in particular. Also feel free to ask me any questions you may have. I don't remember to check my Trip Advisor mail all that often, so if you write me on here you may wait a few weeks for an answer. I have my personal e-mail listed in "about me" in my profile though, so if you'd like to write me that would be the best place. Just mention something about the resort in your e-mail title so I know not to let my junk mail folder have your e-mail.

Date of stay: July 2008
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
16  Thank ArcticWolf1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 August 2008

after reading hundreds of tripadvisor reviews - (and nearly being scared off by the few bad reviews), I am happy to report that this resort is WONDERFUL.

Booking: we booked our trip through beach destinations.com for a 4night/5 day stay with air for about 780 per person. ( i wanted to throw this out there - because not many other reviews included the price in their comments. i think this is a good value, but i also saw the same package a few weeks later on travelocity.com for 100 bucks cheaper)

Getting there: we bypassed the 50 dollar a person airport van, which would have taken HOURS since it drops of everyone in cancun first, and took a direct bus to playa del carmen for 8 bucks a person, which is about a 45 minute ride. let me tell you - this isn't your regular bus. curtained windowns, flat screen tvs, great english movies, blasting AC - it was a great ride down. At the airport, they will try to tell you there is no other taxis or transportation, but walk right out the doors, and take the free airport shuttle to terminal 2, and then catch the ADO bus to playa del carmen. From playa del carmen, you take another bus to the tulum area, which is also of great quality. Just tell the bus driver which hotel you are staying in, and he will pull over right in front. Two reasons why we though this way was much better - obviously much cheaper, and also these buses don't make any stops - so I think you acutally get there quicker ( total travel time = an hour and half).

things to do: If you take the bus down to playa del carmen, this is a perfect opportunity to stroll and shop a bit in playa del caremen, which also has excellent beaches. If you are looking to do any activities or sight seeing - this is the place to book it, NOT YOUR HOTEL. full day chichenitza trips were as low as $35 with great multi lingual tour guides! we missed the snorkaling and diving - but it definitely seemed worth it!

The hotel: the resort is amazing - a huge expanse which takes about 30 minutes to get around - but there are constant golf carts zipping you around. the resort is beautiful, while paying homage to the mayan culture. There are maybe 10 pools in the place, including fun sports pools, kids pools, relaxing pools, etc. There are also something like 30+ bars all over the place, which serve frozen drinks, beers, liquors, shots - you name it. there are also self serve daquari and pina colada machines, with "pour your own liquor"! the services is AMAZING - please don't forget to tip!

There are so many activities going on in this resort - its good to actually plan before your vacation. There is a nightly show at 9 ( like cirque de soleil, broadway, michael jackson, etc.) which is fairly decent. There is also free dance lessons, kayaking, and water sports - so make sure to check it out. Definitely make sure to book your dinner reservations in advance, like everyone says!

The resort also has a part of beach that is a sea turtle sanctuary! we saw two sea turtles laying eggs! an amazing experience!

The rooms - i emailed a week before, and requested a room in suite #1, which is close to the pool, with an ocean view, and was kindly obliged! the room was fine ( nothing too fancy), but i have to admit, the air wasn't working very well, and it did start to smell a bit. But we were outside most of the time - so it wasn't an issue)

The food - this was the only disappointingly thing. The food wasn't bad by any means - and there couldn't have been more choices - like 7 international stations, plus salad and pasta bars, kids corners, etc. However, the multitude of choice seems to lessen the quality of the food, as they are cooking for hundreds of pallets. It would be great if they could scale down the choices, and just cook half the dishes, but with more authentic flavors.

The staff - this had to be the best part of the hotel. The staff here are the absolute friendliest, and hard working people. Any thing you ask for, they will bend over backwards to accommodate you, and do it with a smile! Even the waiters that served water and cleared dishes spoke 3 languages, and would greet everyone with a friendly hello. We were celebrating my boyfriends birthday, and the concierge was kind enough to send up a complementary bottle of champagne and bring out cake at one of our dinners! Ask and you shall receive!

Tips: remember to bring tuns of sun screen - it is scorching hot. Also, the beach around the hotel is pretty rocky - water shoes definitely help. ( The beach around tulum, which is only 15 minutes away is a must see , and has the softest white sand!).
The collectivos are a great value at 2 US dollars a person, and go anywhere from Tulum to playa del carmen. They are easy, convenient, and very safe! These drivers speak english easily as well.

Date of stay: August 2008
  • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6  Thank globetrotter2222
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2008

Just returned from a two week holiday at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum. Our party comprised of 2 families of 4, ages ranging from 3 to 44.
This holiday more than catered for all of us.

We booked on-line with Blue bay travel, flying from Manchester with Thomas cook. We upgrade our flight to Premier class. The premier class seating wasn’t that impressive to be honest but the fast-track check in desk, security check and the service we received on the plane made it well worth the money.

On arrival at the hotel there had been a mix up with our booking, 2 persons rather than 2 families, but within a matter of minutes they had sorted us out with 2 rooms next to each other in block 41 as originally requested.
The Tulum resort is perfectly positioned right on the white-sand beach (take scuba shoes for the rocky areas in the sea).
The main lobby & reception area is pretty impressive and the staff are friendly and efficient (case in point detailed above…and below, read on).
The grounds are lovely and well maintained, as are the pool areas that are of a good size with plenty of loungers. Big thanks to Alberto at the Hacienda pool bar.
The Yucatan buffet restaurant and vast variety of food available is of a very high quality, so much so that after dining out at the Le Gourmet, Mikado and Dolce Vita restaurants we decided not to make any more bookings as the buffet was that good.
The rooms are a little disappointing to be honest, 3* rather than 5* I would say. Don’t get me wrong the A/C is great (keep the patio doors shut or it switches off), the maid cleans daily, leaves you fresh towels and the odd towel creation and the mini bar is topped-up every day free of charge, but the room itself isn’t that of a 5*. At the beginning of the second week, our room and our friends room started to smell of sewage, again the very nice man at reception jumped into action and upgraded us to a junior suit (block 33) that was slightly larger than the standard room and had a Jacuzzi but was still not a 5* room.
Having said all that, the resort and all it had to offer was that good the room issue was of no consequence.
And finally, how can I forget the iguanas that roam around the complex during the day and the turtles that come up the beach to lay their eggs at night….WOW!!
All-in-all a great hotel, well worth the money

Trips: We organised 4 trips through our rep and I would recommend them all;
Tulum ruins – take your trunks for the beach
Xel-Ha water park – sea trek is a must
Quad bikes through the jungle – get up close to a boa and a spider monkey.
Swimming with Dolphins at the dolphin discovery – Great day, but haggle when it comes to buying the photos.

In addition to these, for $100 we hired a boat from a guy at the beach for 3hrs fishing. Drinks were supplied and we got to keep what we caught (the hotel will cook a hard days catch for you).
We also went shopping to Playa de Carmen, unlike most who take the $2 bus, we took a taxi from the car park across from the Hacienda at the entrance to the resort. This cost us $25 ($3’ish each) and we were given a loan of a mobile phone to phone the driver when we were ready to come back to the hotel. This was great but I’m not sure if they all do this so ask for Mauricio.

Date of stay: July 2008
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
9  Thank thefergmonkeys
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2008

We have just returned from the two-week trip to Mayan Riviera in Mexico and would like to share our fresh experience of the paradise.

Our trip was booked on a short notice via [--]. We called and spoke to an agent before making the final decision and it was great to do. We are a family of four aged 31, 30, 3 and 1. Having young children we were looking for a safe and interesting destination with all amenities nearby. An agent gave us chioces and recommended Gran Bahia Principe Tulum as a family oriented resort. Direct flight to Cancun from Edmonton was a must for us.

6 hour flight by AeroMexico was good and additional 1.5 hours bus trip to the resort was almost too long for the kids as it was at the night time. Our return trip was during the day and it was way easier on them.
CAD and US$ are widely accepted in Mexico. Take small US bills ($1) with you for tips. We were leaving $1 / day in the room and were tipping waiters occassionally for the exceptional service. We did not feel obliged to do so in the resort and the staff was very grateful for any extra we did for them.
The room was spaceous and clean. Bedsheets were changed daily as well as the towels and minibar items. 24/7 snack bar was right in front of our balcony and was not noisy to our surprise. Beach and swimming pools were seconds to walk.
From the plenty of activities provided by the resort we only choose snorkling and kayaking because of the kids. Variety of fish is all over as the coral reef is very close to the shore. There was a daily entertainment program at the beach and the live theatre that we wish we could participate in. A piece of advise: take a grandma with you if you wish to get around more than we did.
The food and drinks were in abundance and are very deisious even in the buffets. Main buffet had no air conditioners which was a challenge in the mornings, but you have a selection of other smaller and air conditioned buffets to use. Book your a la carte restaurants as soon as you come so you can get the time and day when you want it.
Bring everything you need with you: medication, dipers, toys, etc. To buy anything at the resort is extremely expensive. Laundry service priced to an extreme, so bring extra T-shirts and shorts. Medical services are available at the resort. We had a Blue Cross Travel Insurance for this occasion.
We found mexicans very frendly in this resort. They played with our kids, joked and were full of joy which added to our vacation a lot. Learn a few Spanish words and frases before the trip which will enrich your communications. Be friendly to them and they will repay you with great attention and service.
We saw many families, couples and kids around the resort and believe it is a great destination to get a quality 5-star family vacaton!

Date of stay: July 2008
  • Trip type: Travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
7  Thank avpavlov
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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