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Reviews (13,752)
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Reviewed 15 January 2007

My wife and I flew out on Monday 25th September from Birmingham airport. It was our first long haul holiday and, despite a flight of around 11 hours, time seemed to 'fly' by!

The transfer from the airport to/from the hotel was about the only down side to the entire holiday. It took about an hour to check out of the airport, we then had to battle past the local entrepreneurs offering to carry our bags, then had a two hour journey to our hotel. A bit much when suffering from jet lag.

The hotel itself took our breath away. The rooms were large with excellent facilities including regularly stocked minibar, balcony etc. The room was cleaned daily to a very high standard. The staff were extremely friendly, whether you tipped or not; we had non of the problems mentioned by other visitors.

We stayed for a fortnight and by the time we left we still hadn't sampled all the bars and restaurants. The food was exemplary, and the standard of food at each of the a la carte restaurants exceeded expectations.

There was always room by the pool or on the beach, and snorkelling is a must as the resort is on a protected reef. The all inclusive cocktails were another highlight!

The hotel was well positioned; we took tours to Tulum and Coba, swam with dolphins and visited cenote at Akumel. Word of warning; take insect repellant! We both had bad reactions to bites which put a dampener on things. It gave us a chance to sample the pharmacy and doctors service at the hotel; both were of a high standard if expensive.

I would strongly recommend sampling things away from the organised tours. We took a 'collectivo' to Playa del Carmen and caught a ferry across to Cozumel, before returning to the hotel by bus. An expreience, but a highlight of the holiday.

All in all, 5/5 for the staff, accommodation, entertainment, food location and the experience as a whole. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed: September 2006, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank TheLongsUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2007

My family just returned from a one week vacation at the GBP on January 13th.
I'm going to write this review from start to finish, so I won't forget too much information.
We booked the trip through Sears and went with Sunquest Vacations. As part of our package, we were going the club diamond route.
Our Sears travel rep booked us on the top floor of building 6 and we had a great view of the sea.
She also pre-booked us all together on the plane, so she did her job very well. She actually was the best travel agent we've used.

Out of Toronto with no problems, but we flew with Skyservice, which should be named Sardineservice. Tight, tight, tight.....
To Cancun and on to the bus with no problems, but here is where our problems started.
Our bus attendant named Manuel, told me not to worry about cold drinks, there would be some on the way. There was, but only beer, and for a price.(2 for 5 American) I'm not cheap, but my 12 year old doesn't drink beer just yet, and I don't think the other kids on the bus do either.
Manuel spoke broken English on the bus. No problem with that, were in a Spanish speaking country, but the speaker behind me was broken. So what to do after a couple of beers....Oh yea, go bathroom. That didn't work on the bus either. Manuel should also remember that we can see him talking on his cell, right in the middle of talking to the bus patrons.
So after 4 hotel stops, we made it to The Gran Bahia Principe Tulum.
We had our luggage right at our feet and the guys with the golf carts said they would be delivered to our rooms in 15 minutes.
The shuttled us off to Club Diamond to sign in.
Club Diamond is small and not air conditioned. We waited for 45 minutes in that tropical room and then they didn't have our key ready. After my face was getting red with anger, the key magically appeared.
We went for lunch at one of the many buffets before we went to our room. No luggage! Phoned bellhop, and he said 15 minutes.
My wife stayed and my son and I went for a swim, with the shorts we wore from Toronto.
Went back to room in a hour, and no luggage.
It's getting close to dinner and I'm soaked and no clothes. It turns out they misplaced our luggage in the resort somewhere.
Altogether, it took 3 hours to have our luggage from the lobby to the room. It's a 5 minute walk! Our first day gone....

Fortunately it got better.
The room had a great view and was wonderfully kept. The mini bar was well stocked they made those creatures out of towels that everyone writes about.
The food: Not gourmet fare, but pretty good. Buffets were well stocked and variety was good. I've read in other reviews about the food not being hot. True, but this is what I did. Less portions instead of walking around these huge buffet areas aimlessly with food on your plate.
The omelette line in the morning can be annoying so we just went to the smaller buffets when we wanted one.
The restaurants, only the Gran Tortuga was poor. Very poor actually! Steaks were of poor quality.
We enjoyed the Japanese the most, with the Oriental a close second.
The seafood restaurant was good, not great.

The pool facilities were good and well kept. If you ask or explore you will find, you can find one to your taste.
The beach was good, water shoes help alot. We played on the larger rocks and had a blast.
Pool chairs become rare fast, but beach ones were plenty.

Entertainment was good, not great. Everyone liked the Michael Jackson show, but I thought it was creepy.

Drinks were good, if you wanted premium you had to ask. If the drinks were watered down, then my friend from Alberta might argue that with you.

Overall, I thought the service was very good, but not great. Everyone who I dealt with spoke English fairly well when they didn't, we got by together.

A couple items to finish off.
This place is huge and it's hard to ever see the same person twice, so meeting others and getting to know them was hard.
And finally, learn how to use the local bus service on the road, it makes outside trips really cheaper and there not as bad as you may think.
Overall, take away the first day, my son and I would go back, my wife would not.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled with family
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13  Thank canadiansunseekerTO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2007

We spent New Years with friends at the Gran Bahia. The rooms were very nice, we landed 3rd floor rooms with pool and ocean views all together. The service at the resort was excellent and the facilities were all nice and well kept. The food was pretty good, almost too many choices at times. The beach at the Tulum area is a bit rocky in areas but I had read the comments and we both brought water shoes and had a geat time. I think the rocky spots keep people away from the beach area in Tulum and we did not have much competition for chairs. We did take one excursion with Aquatic Expeditions and ended up over paying and wasting most of the day riding in the back of a dirty cramped van to three snorkeling spots that were not impressive. I think we just made a bad choice. My husband also went diving a couple of times with the dive center right at the resort and really enjoyed those trips. All in all the resort was great and we would definitley go back.

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled with friends
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6  Thank JKP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2007

I use Trip Advisor when booking all my holidays and thought it only fair to do fellow readers the courtesy of writing a review of what I experienced.

Firstly a bit about us. I travelled with my partner and we are both in our late twenties. We were looking for a nice, reasonably priced relaxing break.

I must first of all make a comment about the travel company First Choice who I will not be using again. On the way out we paid for extra leg room seats which cost £60. Yes, there was extra leg room but the seats were right in the middle of the walkway so fellow travellers kept stepping over us to get to the toilets. It wasn't worth the money. If you do book them ensure they are NOT in the main walkway. On the return journey lots of travellers had paid for the seats but didn't get them due to overbooking leaving lots of unhappy people. The baggage allowance is only 20kg and on the return journey they stick to it religiously!! Guests were made to either pay excess which for our 6kg was £50 or unload items out of their suitcases at the check in desk. We chose to pay rather than have an airport full of people looking at our dirty laundry! How they expect anyone to have only 20kg of luggage for a two week long haul holiday I have no idea! By the time we had paid for all the little extras we might has well have upgraded. Which is my advice to anyone travelling with First Choice. I think for Mexico it was an extra £180 and at least you get preferential treatment at check in, travel in more comfort, get better service and extra luggage allowance. Trust me, it would have been worth it.

Having travelled to some excellent five star hotels in Asia my expectations were high and unfortunately not met. Don't get me wrong, this hotel is nice and for the price good value for money but not somewhere to go if you want to be truly pampered! As everyone says the grounds are huge but are easy to navigate. The Akumal and the Coba are right next to each other and I could never understand why guests used the golf cart taxis rather than walking the short distance between them. The Tulum is a five minute bus ride away and nearest to the main entertainment (Hacienda). If I had to choose between the three hotels I think it would be in this order:-
1. COBA
It's the newest and therefore the cleanest and best laid out. All the rooms are junior suites - we had a look at the standard rooms in the other hotels and they are tiny! The relaxing pool is the nicest and quietest of the three hotels with teak rather than plastic sun beds. There seems to be a little more entertainment at this hotel (including the a la carte restaurants), I'm guessing to make up for the fact that it's the furthest away from the Hacienda and the beach. The beach is only a five minute walk away from the furthest villa and the Coba has a nice sandy section near the pier where you can snorkel with a few fish. It really isn't a problem!
2. TULUM
It's right on the beach and a two minute walk to the Hacienda which is preferable in the evenings. It also has the nicest main bar of the three hotels which you can sit at meaning you get served a lot quicker.
3. AKUMAL
Pretty much the same as the others except for the things that I've noted above.

LIKES:-
FOOD. I don't know why guests have moaned about this. There are lots of a la carte restaurants to choose from. It's not the best food I've ever eaten but for an all inclusive it's very good. Eating in the al a cartes also means that you get a break from the main buffets. I know people have said that the buffets have a lot of the same food but I think this is because other than Indian food they have EVERYTHING and if you have that much of a selection I don't know how you could offer alternatives. The only downside was how busy the buffets were and we were at the hotel when it wasn't at capacity. My advice is to go for dinner early. You don't have to wait, don't have to sit at a messy table, get your drinks before you've finished the meal and can then find a seat in one of the bars before they fill up.

DISLIKES:-
SERVICE. You definately don't get a 5 star service at this all inclusive resort. It can take forever to get a drink and the staff only seem to want serve guests that tip them first. I thought you were supposed to tip for good service...not to receive it! The maid wasn't very good either. I think she only cleaned our room for seven out of the fourteen days we were there. Nothing like the service other reviewers have stated.
GUESTS. There are a lot of very noisy, pushy and inconsiderate guests at this hotel. Surely it can't be that hard to realise that the 'Relaxing Pool' is for guests who want to chill out and the 'Activities Pool' for those who want to shout and splash around. It also can't be that hard to understand that if you are standing at the bar that you probably waiting to be served and not just standing there for fun.
Another thing that really annoyed me was guests that didn't control their children. As others have stated there is a lot of wildlife around the hotel and it's nice to walk past Iguanas etc as you're going to the pool. What is not so nice is to see is some guests children chasing the poor creatures around the hotel and blocking the entrances to their burrows with towels to try and catch them. It amazes me parents sit back and say nothing or even encourage their children. This is the animals home and they are there for all guests to enjoy, not for some devil children to torment! It shouldn't be down to guests who are not impressed by this behaviour to ask the children to stop.
There were quite a few evenings when we could hear groups of very drunk guests from our room. Don't get me wrong everyone should enjoy themselves whilst on holiday but I don't want to listen to people shouting and swearing at the top of their voices or starting fights with other guests. I think we were woken up on three occasions by this....nice!
ENTERTAINMENT. The hotel isn't really near enough to any local towns to venture out for the majority of the holiday so it's left to the hotel staff to entertain you. There was loads to do but it wasn't really to our taste. It was a bit like an upper class Butlins and in some instances reminded me of the resort in the film Dirty Dancing. Line dancing, conga, tacky theatre shows here you come......enojy.

OVERALL
For the money it was very good value and we did return feeling refreshed. However if you want a holiday where you are treated like a King and Queen, don't have to lift a finger, have true peace and quiet and don't have to mix with self centred guests pay a bit extra and go to a better class of hotel which is what we'll be doing next time.

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18  Thank Georgina G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 January 2007

We stayed in the Diamond Club, Bahia Principe Tulum from December 31, 2006 and returned home January 7, 2007.

I'm not going to go over everything that you'll read in the other reviews. They capture our stay fairly well. We would definately stay again without hesitation and would refer others to go as well.

As far as water shoes. If you like being on the beach and in the ocean - they are a must - but you can purchase them at the market on site for $20.00 american. We paid considerably more for ours at home being off season, and were only in the ocean twice - once with the shoes.

We used a bottle of 30spf sunscreen and got wonderful tans.

We didn't notice any bugs at all, so bug spray is not necessary.

We had our Tim Horton's travel mugs - another definate. We'd fill them up and relax by the pool. They kept our beverages nice and cool. It's very warm there as you would expect and the ice tends to melt quickly.

For you smokers out there, I'd suggest purchasing some at the duty free shop before you go - unless you like American smokes. That's all that is available. You can't pack a lighter in your carry ons - but you can in your stow away luggage. Thanks to Christina - I had a lighter and this little tip for future travels.

As others have said, the Japanese restaurant is a definate - leave Don Pablo alone - unless you are into waiting 20 minutes even though you are on time for your reservation and another 5 to 10 minutes between corses. No thanks.

The best part of the trip is the people that you meet on the plane and bus that are staying at the same resourt. Not only did we have some relaxation that was very much needed, but we also had a lot of fun playing water volleyball at the quiet pool with Ben, Carol, Jennifer and family as well as a blast with Gary, Ann and the boys.

We took one moring and went over to the Tulum Ruins. Again, a must. We didn't bother with a guide (they just take too long) but we still learned a lot about the Mayan culture.

The safe is worth the peace of mind for a mere $5.00 a day.

With Diamond Club you receive 20 minutes free internet each day per person. We only required a few minutes to check email and contact home. We weren't there to sit online.

We tipped our maid each day - regardless of the little towel art or not - she did the work and we'd tip at home as well. But we chose not to leave anything for the guy who filled the fridge. We didn't use it at all.

Shopping - we went into Playa Del Carmen one afternoon for a few hours. The bus dropped us off 2 blocks from 5th, thanks to a young girl who worked at another resort we were pointed in the right direction. We found that other then the Tequila, the prices were more then at the resort. We opted to do our shopping there and are quite satisfied.

Our photos from our trip are uploaded to my personal site. Please email me for the link if you'd like to view them all. I'll try to set some of them up here for you as well.

Hola!

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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19  Thank Snoogy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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