Jamaica Trip 2011 & Gran Baha Pincipe Resort Review Carrier: AirTransat – Flights were fine except that we stopped in Winnapeg for an hour and a half to pickup people. Instead of a 6 hour direct flight from YVR (Vancouver Airport) we were on the plane for 9 hours. Plane staff were hospitable to some degree. Resort: The resort was impressive when we first arrived, large pillars greet you and some magnificently large artsy sculpture in the lobby looked really interesting. Once we stepped of the bus, our bags were unloaded by the driver and he sped away in the large bus. We stood there looking for a bell hop with a trolley because we had six bags. After 15 minutes we realized that the bell boy was not coming, I was surprised after all it was a tip opportunity thwarted. We were lucky enough to be members of the Gold Club, so when we found the welcome room we were greeted with a drink and a smile, nice. After the first week at the resort we noticed many people tipping the bar staff. It was surprising to me after all we just paid $9,000 dollars to be here for two weeks. The impression we had was that the staff were underpaid, and this was confirmed by someone I talked to working at the resort. The staff lived off of tips from the clients. I suppose it is naïve to think otherwise, but it was a little weird and awkward feeling guilty for not tipping at times. For the first three days we had trouble trying to get towels from the one towel stand near the middle of the pool. People were supposed to turn in their towels daily but they never did, the reason being they were using them to reserve the nicest spots near the pool early in the morning by throwing their beach towels on the loungers. We witnessed a new person every day trying to get towels only to find out that they were out of them, ridiculous. I bought a bottle of rum from the gift shop for $32.50 USD. Another guest mentioned that it was cheaper at the airport, I tried to return the unopened bottle at the resort but they would not let me, lame. Kids Club: Our kids did not go to the kids club, however another boy mentioned that it smelled really bad and the video games were really old, with only one or two games. Weather: We were here from the middle of March to the beginning of April. I would not recommend coming to this resort at this time of year due to the wind. Every day in the afternoon the wind would pick up from an estimated 30 to 50 km/h gusts. When we were at the beach we had sand fly into our eyes many times. At the pool the wind was annoying too, in the afternoon one of the palm trees was blown over due to high winds. Overall Rating 2.5/5 considering all pluses and minuses. Would I go to this resort again? No. We would opt for Nigril the other side of Jamaica if we ever go again
21000 – second floor ocean view
Arrival: Ground Transport: Tips Tips Tips, how annoying, from the moment you set foot outside the airport in Jamaica the hands are out for tips. From the people that move the bags into the bus to the bus driver. The 1.5 hours bus ride once we landed in Jamaica to the resort was an unwelcome annoyance as well with the bus stopping for the driver to get a beer and a seedy little store for 20 minutes of the ride. This was particularly annoying as we have 6 and 8 year old boys. The ride to the resort showed the real side of Jamaica, which is a poor third world country. There were bars on all of the store and home windows and large gates to keep out presumably all the thieves and beggars. It was not a pretty site and almost made me feel guilty to come from a rich G8 nation like Canada where we have so much. Once we arrived at the resort the driver reminded us that tips to the driver are greatly appreciated, how annoying!
Rooms: Room: Wow! What a magnificent view from the room, I must say it was the best that I have ever had. We were on the second floor facing the ocean with views of the beach and resort pool. After we were in the room for a week we started to notice all a lot of flaws. It was amazing to me how run down the room was when the resort was opened in 2006, wow. There was no fan in the bathroom, which surprised us.
Restaurants and Bars:
There Don Pablo was the best restaurant, others were mediocre at best. Bars were sometimes far away from base locations at the resort.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: Beaches: The beach was nice, white / tan sand, lots of locations to sit on loungers. There were some strange Jamaican characters who sold pretty much anything you wanted near the nudist beach at the resort. Pool:
The pool was kept fairly clean all the time, and the chairs arranged every night back to their specific positions. We really enjoyed the pool with our children.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Scuba Diving: The scuba diving was pretty good, but the wind stirred up the visibility on some of the days. I dove in Fiji in 1999 and this was the best I have ever seen, the most pristine reefs you will find on the northern Fiji Island. Dolphin Cove Day outing:
We went to dolphin cove on one of the days, it was quite a tourist trap. They would not allow you to take images with your own camera which annoyed us. The amount they were charging for a video and or image CD was ridiculous too, way over the top as far as price. We ended up purchasing one picture of the family with a sting ray, $9.00 dollars. The entire CD would have been around $89 dollars, rip off. The only time my family got sick was after eating lunch at the dolphin cove, the burgers were under cooked. The dolphin program we in different categories, look, touch, and swim with dolphins, all at ever increasing prices (this was a 300+ dollar day). In my opinion it was worth around 1/3 of what we paid.
Very run down resort for only being 5 years since opening.