My wife and I stayed at the Blue Bay Grande Esmeralda (BBGE) from Jan.27th, 2011 to February 10th and had a wonderful time. For those never having been there, the resort which we feel falls between a 4 to 4.5 star rating is along the Mayan Riviera coastline, about a 20 minutes drive north-east of Playa Del Carmen. Did we like the place? Let’s just say that this is our 2nd trip back to BBGE in as many years and we’d go back there a 3rd time in a heat beat!
Arrival: We flew direct from Ottawa to Cancun on West Jet and the flight itself was quite pleasant. We’ve flown other airlines/charters before and this was our 1st time with West Jet. Great airline, good selection of food/drink while en route and we’ll be using their airline for sure in the future. We arrived at Cancun about 11AM and assumed because it was a Thursday that things would move quickly – wrong! Seems other tourists had the same idea so out of the blue there was like about 6 flights arriving one after another. Immigration and Customs lines were murder and we waited about 1 hour solid along with about 300 other people at the carousel to get our luggage.
Once out of the airport we got shuttled off to BBGE with no problems. Check-in at BBGE was pleasant enough. No major hassle encountered. For any 1st timers to this region – be wary of the Time-share marketing people who have a desk next to the main counter. They will approach you asking if they can reserve dinners for you which will end up being an introduction to their time Share stuff. Find out who is your building concierge and do all your dinner and tour planning through them instead.
The accommodations are quite adequate. Our beds were comfortable, the bathroom always shipshape. The staff work their butts off to keep everything as clean as possible. Hint: A $2.00 tip left on the bed each morning before you go out goes a long way to ensure it stays that way. As I mentioned earlier, the buildings closest to the beach are bit older so most of the rooms have older tub/shower units. The newer buildings further back are graced with larger bathrooms, double sinks and gorgeous, huge ceramic/glass walk-in showers.
Restaurants and Bars:
We can honestly say that we did not have one bad meal in our 2 weeks stay there. I don’t care what other persons may have written in the past about this topic, the food at BBGE is 5 star+ all the way! I can say that the food there was as good or better than any restaurant we’ve eaten at in Ottawa. With 8 separate restaurants on the resort, if you can’t find something to suit your palette then you’ve got a serious problem.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The grounds at BBGE are immaculately kept. Staff and other workers constantly seen, sweeping walkways, trimming back greenery, raking the beach, cleaning the 2 huge pools, etc. They have a great kids-club/baby-sitting service there and we never heard anything but praise from young parents there. The resort is so big that even with 100+ children at any given time, you rarely see or hear them.
The only real negative comment we’d have is the beach area. The Mayan area was severely pounded about 3 years ago by a hurricane and this has taken a toll on the beach. They are slowly reclaiming beach area which was lost in the storm and although adequate enough, is not up to par with what Cuba and/or Dominican may have to offer.
Other Comments: BBGE is a fairly large large resort spread out over many beautiful acres. It will require a fair bit of walking to get from one place to another but there are several electric shuttle carts running back and forth all day so you never have to wait too long if walking is not for you. There are 8 separate buildings for accommodations. Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4 are the oldest but closest to the beach while 6, 7 and 8 are furtherest from the beach but newer. Buildings 6,7,8 are also closest to the main lobby and most of the restaurants are in that area too.