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All reviews don pablo hacienda section diamond club tequila restaurant snack bar a la carte restaurants thomas cook fish gbp tulum bahia principe tulum tulum ruins main buffet dolphin pool show table breakfast and lunch main pool smaller pool
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Reviewed 21 August 2006

Overall our trip to the Bahia Principe Tulum was great! This was our third all inclusive in Mexico and the second in the Mayan Riviera (Barcelo last year) for my boyfriend and I and a first for my parents. It was about 1.5 hours straight to the hotel from the airport.

Rooms: We stayed at villa 39 which is way at the end of the property. Air conditioning worked but was very loud.

Beach: The beach was very rocky at this portion of the hotel. The beach was better at the activities center but it is very far (The beach at Barcelo was excellent).

Pools: Chairs at the main pool (which has a swim up bar) are impossible to come by, but the other pools were quiet and had lots of seating.

Food: The Tequila restaurant (which is close to 39) offers breakfast and lunch. Supposedly it is only offered to Club guests but we went a few times and found it much quieter and fresher than the main buffet. The buffet had lots of variety, although it was nearly the same variety every day. We were disappointed in main entrée put out, mostly paella and pork. A number of the dishes were not very hot, but the pizza and pasta bar was nice. The a la cartes book up fast for the good time slots so do this early. We also found that if you go for two weeks try a few the first week and repeat the ones you enjoy. The Oriental and the Gourmet were both excellent. The Gran Tortuga and the Piscador were okay. Anything premium comes with a price (30US lobster). Last year we had lobster tails in the buffet twice a week as well as prime rib, peking duck, and all other kinds of entrees, although the a la cartes at Barcelo were not very good.

Safety deposit box is $5US a day which I think should be included. We also found that nothing we brought would fit into the plug in so we bought an adapter at the gift shop for $2US.

Service: Rooms were done pretty well although varied from day to day, whether we tipped or not, from towel animals to no towels at all, and one day we had no water. But these problems were remedied very quickly with a call to the front desk. Service in the lobby bar was the most hit or miss. If you sit at the bar you get excellent service but if you sit at a table the service was virtually nonexistent. Buffet service was a little slow but seemed to vary greatly depending on the staff working.

Getting Around: There are golf carts that run all over the Bahia property between the hotels that are very convenient to go to the various a la cartes or to the Hacienda. If going to Playa, Xcaret, Xelha, or Tulum, take the collectivo for $2US each direction, it runs until 9pm.

Tours: We have done lot of tours and some of them twice. So far: Coba, Chichen-Itza, Tulum, Xcaret, Xelha, and this year Ek Balam which has only been open since 2000. We did a private tour of Ek Balam and Chichen-Itza through Mayaland Tours and it was fantastic! Four of us on an all day private tour with guide was $125US each.

Mexico is always fantastic and we look forward to it every year. We met tons of great people and we all had a great time!

  • Stayed: August 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
18  Thank punkycanuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2006

Me, my wife and 12 year old son stayed at the Bahia between the 14th and 30th July 06. My fist immpresion as we steped of the coach was how clean it is there. Everything is immaculate even the edges of the lawns are manicured by hand. As soon as we checked in we taken ona short trip by golf buggy to our room along with our luggage which was promptly taken into our room( make sure you take some $1 notes for tipping). First immpresions were of being comfortable rather than luxurious(but who cares your there for the sun not to sit in your room) and again very very clean. Mini bar was stocked with beer and soft drinks and there was also a coffee machine. Buffet restaurant has a wide variety of dishes to chose from including oriental, mexican, italian,fish, a grill section and a kids corner with burgers, chicken nuggets, hot dogs etc. Breakfast is much the same with plenty of choice there is a hot plate serving fresh eggs, ommletes, pancakes, waffles and as much fresh fruit as you can eat. The resort also has 6 ala carte restaurants 3 of which are in the Tulum side during they day they also serve buffet breakfast and lunch so you do not have to use the main buffet all the time, they make a welcome break from the large buffet and are generally a lot quieter at peak times. During the evening you have to make reservations for these, Tequile serves mexican, Don Pablo is gourmet, and La Gran Toruga which is a staek house. All of these served first class food with waiter service. Remember to make your reservations as soon as you get there to avoid disapointment.. The resort itself is huge we only ventured away from the Tulum side once there was not really any need as the Akumal side is iddentical and Coba is inland with no beach. Every were you go you will come across the native iguanas which cause you absolutly no bother at all. If you want a quiet relaxing pool go to the other side of the Tequila restaurant it very rarely got more the quater full around there,it has its own bar and is only 10 yards from the beach. I can,t think of any nagatives for this hotel, the staff were allways freindly and helpfull, before we went i read reviews of the animation staff hassling people i didn't see any of this, and if you don't want to get involved go at sit by the quieter pools.
A trip to Xelha is well worth snorkling there is great for kids as it is in a lagoon where the waters are very calm but beware when you float towards the floating bridge whrere fresh water meets salt water, a couple of feet the other side of the bridge you suddenly encounter a wall of fish which are all 2 to 4 ft long, can be a bit unnerving for the less adventuras. The ruins at Tulum are beautifull beware the afternoon sun though go early in the morining. Take a taxi up to Puerto Aventures and sit at Gringo Daves with a cocktail and watch the dolphins playing at dolphin discovery. Beware the free trip to Lapis from the hotel, you are told this is a jewelery factoy when you get there it is just very large jewelery shop ended up costing me a $1000.00 as the wife spotted an new ring she liked. If you like fishing head up to Akumal which is only 3 Km up the coast and head for the restaurant La Cueva del Pescador.they will organise one of the local boats on the beach for you, 3 hours fishing for 2 cost me just $120.00 and if you catch they will cook you a meal with it included in the price. As you can see from thr pic my son thought it was well worth it( he caught the big king fish). The beach at the hotel is but you will need beach shoes if you want to venture into the water as it gets a little rocky, you will not be allowed onto the beach after dark as the turtles come up at night to lay eggs and the local conservationists patrol to stop any body interfearing. Hope any one reading this finds it usefull. if you have any questions email me at markturnham@talktalk.net.

Stayed: July 2006
39  Thank zaxis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2006

I have just returned from the bahia principe tulum last week and i have to say what an amazing hotel this was. It was huge but that meant that we could have easilly stayed longer and not been bored.
To start the holiday the check in was great very fast and simple with complimentary drinks getting handed around! The shuttle bus then took us to our villa and the porters dropped off our luggage very easy and fast! Our mini bar wasnt stocked when we got in but we just phoned reception and somebody came and filled it within 15 mins.
The food was great although the buffets got a little repetitive, my girlfriend had a stomach upset but that only lasted a day and we are not sure what caused it.
Nearly all of the a la carte restaurants were great couldn't fault them apart from that we felt like we got ignored in some places with people taking drink orders then promptly forgeting about us, but hey we were on holiday and in no rush.
We are not beach people and so didnt really bother with it and used the pools. The pool between the gran tortuga and snack bar was really good and you could usually find a bed easily. Watch for people trying to steal your towels though, that happened to us twice and if they do go missing you hav to pay $50 each towel or towel card.
The buffet and pools at coba were far superior to the other pools but sadly we only found this out on our 2nd last day!
We tended to us the gran tortuga for breakfast and lunch as it was right beside the pool and not as crowded as the main buffet! everywhere in the hotel seemed to be very hot and i would recommend the hotel to invest in more air con!
Now to the bad point....the maid! We though we were bieng nice to the maid and we left her a tip every day sometimes 2 which amounted to around $20 for the holiday, she then decided that this was not enough and took around $50 out of my bag which we didnt notice till we got to the check in desk as the airport and i felt like an idiot leaving my girlfriend standing at the desk as i had to run to the cash machine. So if anybody is staying in villa 19 lock everything away. If anyone wants anymore info on the hotel feel free to e-mail me on stevo1206@hotmail.com as im sure iv left lots out but didnt really know what to write,
Toodle Pip
Steve
P.S im still singing that bahia principe tune i cant get it out of my head! and if anybody knows the recipe for a blue iced tea please get in touch, it was a wicked drink!

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank stevo1206
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2006

We are a couple from Portugal and we travel with our 4 years old son, this was his first “great” trip. With him we already been at Azores (Terceira and Flores island), Madeira and Porto Santo Island, Mallorca and Menorca. Myself and my wife we have been at Dominican Republic (2 times : Puerto Plata and Punta Cana), Cuba, Brazil (Recife, Porto Galinhas, Natal and Pipa) and Maldives. So we think this point of view is from “some” experienced travellers.

We went to México from 24 July to 7 of August – we think this is a long journey just for one week – specially with one 4 years old son ! So our advice is collect some extra money and go for 2 weeks. Our travel operator was Soltour. “ weeks before our departure I email to the hotel do ask please to stay at Tulum – this was the right choice in our opinion : with a 4 years old son the best hotel is Tulum and then Akumal (Coba has the best rooms but it’s far way from the beach…). I must say it wasn’t easy to stay at Tulum…well thanks to the hotel guest service ! They were very nice.

From the aero port to the hotel we took 1 h 30 minutes aprox. It was direct to Tulum Hotel (another 2 bus went to Akumal and Coba). We made “half” CHECK IN at the Bus ! Brilliant thanks to Ricardo from Soltour (we took the papers from the hotel and the bracelets). So when we went to the hotel was 1 minute just to say hello Bienvenido to Mexico ! (At the sound of Mariachi !!!) – our soon loved – (about him – advice to families with young children : our flight was 9 hours – bring portable entertainment : Nintendo, DVD, books, lego, etc…and everything will be easy !!!). Very important : bring a trolley, a baby car – this is very important for the airport, and for the excursions).

Well, lets continue, I will try to summarize:

ROOMS :
We stay at villa 9 – room 926 at 2 floor. It’s very near to Gran Tortuga restaurant – this is the best beach area for our son! This is the less rocky area. The room is great very clean, a King size bed and a large bed for our son. We left 1 dollar to our Housemaid – simple and efficient.

BEACH :
As I wrote in front of Gran Tortuga it’s the best beach area – less rocky and easy to enter in the water. If you are in front of the sea if you walk right it’s the best…if you continue to walk before the wooden pear it’s the best part for snorkelling. It’s easy to find hammocks and “umbrellas pallotas” (9.30 am/10:00am) !

Tips : Bring water shoes – yes it is necessary (remember we are experienced ! I’m sorry to say this but…). Attention the beach is NICE ! So why rocky ? Well, because is CORAL, so Coral means fishes, tropical fishes.
Advice : Bring your own snorkelling equipment (I’m Open water diving, and we are experienced snorkelers – we are trying to teach that our son …). As I told you if you past one rope before the wooden pier you will see lots of fishes and very nice coral – do not touch anything and be careful in some areas with the coral.
If you say at the less rocky part of the beach (once again in front of Gran Tortuga
Restaurant you will see some colour fishes (like our son as saw !).

POOLS:
I think it is a “crime” when you are at the Caribbean go to a pool but….well that’s my opinion. But …we had our son so at the end of the day we love the pool ad we were with him – we have to adapt our vacations a little bit right ? We use the Gran Tortuga pool. But once again the sea is much much much better ! We think the water is much warm then the Dominican Republic, maybe like Cuba.

RESTAURANTS:
For the breakfast and lunch we always choose “Gran Tortuga”. Near our room and in front (1 meter!!!!) from the beach. When we had excursion we choose the main restaurant the “Yucatan”.
For dinner we always dinner at Yucatan (buffet), one night we dinner at akumal main restaurant (we preferred Tulum). And we made a reservation at :
Gran Tortuga, Mexican, Oriental, Pescador – special dinners with reservation and “no shorts”)…well to be honest we only went to Gran Tortuga…nothing special…and we did not go to the others…we prefer the buffet – much simple and more choice (specially to our son).
There's a bar – a main bar near the reception it’s very nice. And a pool bar near the pool of Gran Tortuga (ask Alberto for an “Alberto” and of course Pina Colada, Coco Banana, well try it…)

Other thing about HOTEL : very efficient, very polite, very good it’s similar to Dominican Republic.

EXCURSIONS:

Chichen Itza : GO ! I went alone (my wife stay with our son but I regret – you can go with a child…once again don’t forget dvd portable, Nintendo portable for the 2 h 30 m bus…)
Go to Chichen Itza. It’s a must. It’s an unforgettable place ! Its magical ! Nothing that I could say can describe this spot.

XCaret : This was the poor excursion…yes yes…everything is artificial. My advice go only at the afternoon – to see the BRILLIAND night show – Xcaret at night – this is very good ! But all the rest is very articial.
For our soon it was magical – why ? We made with my wife the “Dolphin kid program” – very good- for us much more interactive then the adult’s dolphin swim. Its about 30/45 minutes very dedicated to young children. Its only for Young children (I don’t remember maximum age allowed, 6 I guess….).

XEL – HA : GO ! And stay all day…Don’t go half day (like the soltour/hotel excursions – half day Tulum and half Xel-Ha). Xel-Ha it’s all natural ! (this is the difference from Xcaret!). Lots of tropical fishes, the “down” river to the Sea is fantastic (fresh water to salt water…). You can make here also the Delphi kids program (and adult too). At the first part of the day it very calm (because everybody are at Tulum….right ? so do all day !).

TULUM : GO ! How ? Not in excursion …like this : go to the other side of the road…pick up the Playa del Carmen – Tulum Mexican Vans (VAN white FORDS with a green or red stripe at the middle) 20 pesos per person to tulum and more 20 (by person) to came back (our kid was free !). When we arrive we ask for a professional Guide (48 USD entrance, and car from the entrance to the tulum entrance – its about 1 km). You ask for this at the “information” “desk” .

Advice : go in the morning you have the best light for photos and I almost forgot : if you want to use video camera in Chichen Itza and Tulum and Coba you have to pay 30 pesos). Pay and use the camera – you have to show to our family right ?
QUADS 4x4 HALF DAY : GO ! Wyes you can go with a 4 years old son ! My wife had a moto 4x4 only for her…I had one for me and my son (we was in front very secure – drive calm pay attention and my advice go in last position a little bit far from the last- one guide will always follow you !) We saw snakes, monkeys, a swim at a fabulous CENOTE very very nice with stalagmites and stalagmites and lots of colour fishes at fresh water! It was very fun ! Perhaps the best choice was ALL day-…we were a little bit “afraid” because our son – HE LOVED !

MEXICAN PARTY – Thursday at the HACIENDA : don’t go ! It is just a simple show like the other at the hotel. And you have to pay 16 USD for person.

TURTLE CORAL REEF : With the DIVE center of the hotel (near the Gran Tortuga) – GO ! I has in one day, and my wife went in the next day (it’s not for young 4 years old children!). You will see lots of turtles, lots of fishes and very very nice coral ! You don’t have to be experienced (if you are well it’s better in some parts you can take of your life jacket – like I did and swim in at natural aquarium (and attention I’m doing a comparison with Maldives…in some spots it is very similar ! But once again you don’t need to have experience, ok ? Don’t lose this trip – it’s a must. It’s about 20 minutes by boat and 1 hour at the sea in 2 sports – Turtle reef spot and Coral reef spot. (In the turtles spot you have to wear life jacket – yes don’t touch anything – just to see – and yes you can take photos – or buy from the center guys !)

COBA AND TANKAH – Go ! Its about 1,5 hours from the hotel ! Yes we go with our son (We loved Tulum and Coba specially – we told him about the MAYS – an ancient people that has “castles” well you have to use this and of course he “climb” 4 or 5 steps from the fabulous Mohoc Mul (the tallest Yucatan pyramid). You (adult) can climb all – be careful its very tall (40 meters). Coba is very different from chichen itza – much more virgin, more jungle – very nice ! Once again we think we could take our son to chichen itza after Coba…don’t forget the children trolley/car or at coba rent a lithe car bicycle with driver if you don’t have one for our son.
Tankah is a Mayan place were you can see a Mayan village – like the descends of the Mayan live, you can se children (this is very simple place – very important for our son – we offer a pencil and a book to another child – it was a very important and “rich” experience for him ! Great photos here ! After a very good Maya lunch we try some canoes – very fun !

Conclusion : Go ! Go ! But be careful with late August and September this is the “storm time”…in our first week the weather was fantastic, at the second week 2 days were very bad (coba was very bad – that as “fantastic” yes I’m not crazy – you should see Coba with rain and thunderstorms….magical place…but yes I know it is not comfortable…

Go to the Riviera Maya ! Go to Bahia Principe TULUM – Its lovely so much to see - 2 weeks it’s the best choice – you can rest, swim at the sea, have fun at the hotel and of course do lots of excursions! The hotel is very good! Don’t hesitate – and there’s no problem with any food – of course he stay way from “strange thinks” we stay away from mayonnaise and so on…just be yourself with some attention to the food and extra drinks be relax and have fun ! Nice Vacations!!!! If you need some extra info please feel free to email me pedromanuelsantana at gmail.com (at should be replace with @ with no spaces). Pedro Santana from Portugal.

(Photos are only about the hotel or related like the spirit of trip advisor hotel review, emails me if you need or want to see more photos.)

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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39  Thank pedrito_pt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2006

I went to this Hotel last year July and was amazed by the service and quality of everything on offer. The rooms were perfect with mini bar topped up regular and if you give the maid a tip he would give you extra beer!
The main buffet restaurant was stunning too with a vast choice of food from the healthiest fruit and fresh juice to deep fried calamari. The best of the al a carte restaurant had to be the seafood one, beautiful lobster. king prawn and squid all super fresh!. the staff were excellent and would bend over backwards for you.
We would highly recommend visiting Xel-ha a short taxi ride down the main road ( about $6) were you could snorkel with tropical fish or swim with dolphins. Would definately wear a t shirt as no sun lotion allowed in the water and we got burnt to a crisp. you can pay to have meal included and free drinks and the tequila is the best I have ever tasted. The chichen itza tour takes you to a beautiful sinkhole on the way that is he most stunning thing I have seen. All in all hotel was perfect We plan to go back there for sure as it was flawless. We intend to get the suite by the sea as they are literally on the beach and dont cost a great deal more. Holiday of a lifetime!

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
20  Thank Nicolw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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