Old Reviews – Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay

  Gran Bahia Principe   Marsha ~ Calgary Alberta

November 2009

Arrival: Decemer 2008

We went to Jamaica for Christmas. The flight with Air Transat was great. No complaints. When we arrived in Jamaica we had a 2 hour wait to get through customs.


We booked the Golden  Club and and had 2 oceanfront suites. The rooms were very clean.  Nice granite bathrooms with big walk in shower and jacuzzi tub.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet was ok.  We had a hard time finding something that appealed to us by day 3. Ended up with pasta many nights as they had a lot of unusual items, liver, goat curry, very different ways of preparing the meals. We do love curry and I do consider our family quite adventurous but we did have a hard time at the buffet. (cold fries and burgers and dogs for lunch) The steak house was excellent as was the Japanese restaurant. If you do go to this resort I would suggest you upgrade to the Golden Club. The couple we went with did not upgrade. We tried to book our 3 restaurant dinners for the week within an hour of arriving and the earliest they would give our co travellers a dinner reservation was 930 pm. We had the golden club and got 7 pm reservations for the 3 nights. Unless you are a golden club visitor they really discourage you from eating in the restaurants.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: The pool was freezing cold.  In a 7 day trip we spent no more than an hour in the pool. It was terribly windy as there is no shelter from the beach to the pool. There is no beverage service around the pool.  We were there 7 days and not once did we have a waitress offer us a drink. We went up to the bar and got our own drinks. The  hotel grounds were beautiful and very clean. This is a very big resort and it takes a very long time to walk anywhere.

The walk from the lobby to the hotel room was over 10 minutes long. We didnt care for the beach. There was lots of seaweed in the swimming area of the ocean.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went on a shopping tour.  Waste of money! They took us to the local shopping huts.  It was all handmade Jamaica souvenirs, the same things you could buy at the gift shops the resort.They kept us there for over 2 hours.  They then took us to the shopping district where you could buy jewellery etc but only gave us 45 minutes to shop before the bus pulled out. If you want to go shopping take a cab into town and shop on your own.  We also did the Dunn Rivers Falls tour. The falls was a lot of fun to climb. Fairly easy but a nice day.  The problem with leaving the falls is that you cannot exit the Falls without walking through the local craft market.  They people were very very aggressive and dont take no for an answer. They went as far as to pull a 10 year old boy that was with us into their shop so we had to come into the shop to get him out. (we watched them grab his arm and haul into the shop) We also went to Margaritaville one day and this was a great day!

Other Comments: The service at the hotel was not great. I have stayed at many 5 star resorts and this is the worst service we have ever had.  If you could find a waitress at the hotel bar to serve  you she would take no less than 30 minutes to bring  you your order. It got to the point where we would place an order, go up and get our own drinks, and by time she got back with our order she could take our empties. We are big tippers so this was quite surprising. The one waitress that served us every night consistently asked us to please sit in her section every night as she loved the tips but we never got a drink in under 30 minutes. No amount of tipping got you  better service in Jamica.  We were at dinner one night and ordered a glass of water,waiter said no problem man, it never showed up, not once in asking during 7 night of dinners did we get a glass of water,although we did  leave a decent tip on the table every time we ate at the buffet.It became comical.  The favorite saying of the l!

ocals is "no problem man".  We quickly learned that "no problem  man" truly meant no problem, in that you are not going to get what you ask for,absolutely no service! The people are lovely people, very easy going, a little to laid back to be in the service industry!  I would go back to Mexico where the service at the 5 stars is amazing before I would return to Jamaica. Jamaica is beautiful so if service isnt  an issue you would love it!

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Terri ~ Denver, Colorado

June 2009

Arrival: May 7-12
We took the shuttle bus from the airport straight to the hotel. When we arrived at the hotel we were offered a drink and checked in immediately, The front desk staff were very nice. No problems with check in at all. The resort is beautiful and we were thrilled.

The room was fine. We had a great location – 3rd floor corner room overlooking the beach. The room condition was just ok…it looked clean but I was never very comfortable walking in the room with out flip flops on. The bathroom looked like it could have used some work..there was a wierd melted looking spot in the tub so we never used it (shower thank heavens was fine) Everything was stocked daily (I was tipping the maid $5 per day to ensure that it was) but even after asking we never were given wash clothes…do they not use them in Jamaica? Bed was very comfortable..not too hard for us..just right!

Restaurants and Bars:
The restaurants and bars were fine. Not outstanding but adequate. We aren’t big drinkers but the Red Stripe beer and Pina Coladas were great in the hot weather! We ate at the buffet most of the time. The food is pretty blah and ordinary..but I didn’t imagine that it would be top notch cuisine…but there is a huge variety. By far the best food we had was the Jerk Chicken at the grill. (I’d love the recipe!) The absolute worst meal we had was at the Italian restaurant & what a shame, the restaurant itself has great atmosphere but the most bland food I have ever had in my life…the food presentation was fabulous and the staff was wonderful but the food was horrid. Best part of the meal was the drink. Even the beautiful looking desserts were terrible.

We spent most of out time at the beach..always found chairs and loved it. Contrary to other reviews…the beach is not all that rocky. If you sit on the far side of the little bay..it’s just sand your walking on in the water. It was a wonderful spot to relax!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did on excursion that was arranged by the hotel. We did the shopping, Shaw Garden and Dunn’s River Falls trip. We hated the shopping trip…the bus dumps you first in to what looks like little wooden shacks/closets that they call a "craft market"..yikes, what an awful place…the people are VERY aggressive…I ended up with a lot of Jamaican junk that will be heading to Goodwill or a garage sale soon. I guess if you like bartering and buy junk it would be fun…for me it was like being dumped in to a tank full of sharks. After that we head on to Ocho Rios for more "shopping"..we went to the "Jewelry Palace"…not as bad as the craft market but not great…then they drove us to a shopping area similar to a strip mall. This area wasn’t bad..just looked around and bought a couple things. Then it was off to Shaw Gardens via the Fern Gulley. Both were very pretty and I’m glad we saw them but again, they try and sell you over priced junk, pictures and DVDs. At least there they took no for an answer. Finally we went to Dunn’s River Falls, I climbed and my husband took pictures and walked up the falls. I enjoyed the falls, it’s relatively easy but was really crowded the day we were there. Glad I did the falls but sorry it was such a pain to leave…the people in the little shops are frighteningly aggressive & one guy came out of his "hut" and actually whacked my husband in the arm and said "you afraid of me?" I guess because we choose to ignore him and the others yelling at us to buy more crap! I couldn’t get back to the bus fast enough….if we ever go back to Jamaica (big if) we would never take an excursion…which is a shame, it really looks beautiful.

Other Comments: All in all it was a good vacation…it was relaxing on the beach and the water is gorgeous and warm. The Gran Bahia has some things that are really nice and other things that need attention. It is a good value for the money though. As far as returning to Jamaica…I say no way but my husband says yes…we just wouldn’t leave the resort….Note: I did get sick the day we were leaving..not sure if it was from water I drank on the resort(thought they had their own purification system) or from the water I was in…but it took a round of antibiotics to get rid of it when I got home)

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Alana ~ NS, Canada

May 2009

Fellow travelers: Too many to name! 80 of us in total.

The flight: We flew Air Transat, but had a relatively uncomfortable flight. The food on the plane wasn’t very good, especially the vegetarian option. We were so excited for the trip though that it barely mattered! We traveled with 80 other people, as we were headed down as a group for 2 separate weddings. When we arrived in Jamaica, we had a pretty odd impression right off the bat of the people. They were yelling back and forth at each other outside the buses and were exhibiting zero friendliness. It was 11pm at night so the bus didn’t make any stops on the way to the resort and they just played a Bob Marley tribute concert video for us.

The Resort/Arrival: Absolutely breath-taking beautiful. It looks like a castle! It is very large and can get confusing at times if you have had too much to drink. Check-in didn’t take too long, though they only gave us one room key between the two of us and we didn’t get any kind of welcome drink, which we were told we’d have. We’d also been told check-in would be on the bus on the way there to save time (told by friends who had gone before), but this didn’t happen either. We were put into a room on the bottom floor facing the beach. I was completely exhausted as it was so late by the time we arrived that I tried to head to sleep while my boyfriend went out for drinks at the Puerto Principe with others. It was IMPOSSIBLE to sleep because there were a million hungry mosquitoes in our room. I even tried to sleep with the sheets over my head but they found their way in. I became upset pretty fast and decided to go out for a drink to loosen up. I headed to Puerto Principe and we sat outside for a drink. It’s a really great place to just relax with a huge group of people. The burger snack bar only had meat options but the chef made us a grilled cheese which was nice.

Our room: We were originally put on the bottom floor, but after 2 days and millions of mosquito bites later, we had to switch. Switching was not easy as they kept telling us to come back at a different time. We were eventually switched to the second floor overlooking the pool and had no bug problems in here. The room was nicer, and even had a Jamaica book for Tourists that the last room didn’t have. My only complaint with this room was that someone tried to kick the door in and mess with the card hole when I was in there by myself on the final night. I filed a security report. I had a few resort workers say some pretty vulgar things to me and then ask to come to my room (aggressively), so I don’t know if that was who it was or if it was a drunk person. We paid for the safe in the room $6/day which was worth the peace of mind. We had dinner one night with a woman who had her passport and credit cards stolen from her room earlier that week.

The food: The food is actually pretty good, and there was a good selection for vegetarians. However, it is extremely repetitive and by the end of the week all we wanted was to head home and enjoy some different food. Lunch and dinner pretty well offered the same foods.  There weren’t really any multigrain options of anything, so we had a lot of white bread, white pasta and white potatoes. It’s too bad they don’t have something vegetarian in the buffet with the jerk seasoning as I hear it was delicious on chicken. Men: Do not forget your long pants!! They are VERY strict and don’t make exceptions, even in the buffet. We went to the Italian Restaurant, La Dolce Vita, twice because it was SO delicious. We ordered the chef’s special to split before our meals, with which they come out with a HUGE Romano cheese block/bowl and place pasta inside to mix the cheese with the pasta…making Fettuccine Alfredo. It was so delicious my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Then we had the Margarita and Vegetarian pizzas. Also very delicious. They buffet part of the restaurant is amazing too. Our waiter was Hughroy, who was very friendly. I highly recommend trying this restaurant and the Chef’s special! Another night we tried the Mikado, and we got a seat at the section where they cook in front of you on the grill. It was pretty entertaining. They were really great at giving us veggie options and the food was fabulous. For desert we had the Green Tea mousse, which was SO good, I can’t believe we don’t have it in Canada. I heard the ice cream was really good too.

The drinks: I was disappointed in this area because I expected drink menus like they have at other Bahia Principes. They do have a small drink menu at the lobby bar, but that’s it. Otherwise, you need to be an experienced down south drinking and know what you want. The drinks weren’t consistent. When you ordered something, you had to have at least 4 back-up drinks in mind because sometimes that specific bar tender would say they don’t make them. The woman bartender by the pool, Marlene, was awesome at suggesting drinks. She made me a Bob Marley that was delicious. The best drink at the lobby bar is either a Chocolate martini or a Dirty Banana. The drinks are very strong! If you get just a vodka and pop or a rum and pop…you will barely be able to drink it! They don’t have Bailey’s at the resort, it costs extra apparently.

The pools/grounds: Both very clean and very refreshing. I didn’t find Jamaica very “hot” like Mexico or Dominican. It was always warm but didn’t have that sweltering heat that made you need a dip in cold water. Their was only one pool bar and swim-up bar open when we were there, but after a lot of demand they opened the second one up later in the week. Other than Marlene, the waiters were pretty unfriendly.

Staff: I found the staff very unwelcoming and unfriendly. They don’t care about tourists like other resorts and I can’t understand where the “No Problem, Mon” attitude is because I certainly didn’t witness any. It’s the first resort I’ve ever gone to where you didn’t find a staff member that you liked so much you knew them by name and could joke around with them.

Day Trips: My boyfriend and I did the Dunn’s River Falls visit, which is $40 per person. It only took a few hours and it was SO much fun. I highly recommend it. Make sure to bring an underwater camera and water shoes. You can rent water shoes if you forget them and you don’t have the option to climb it in anything else. They are $7 to rent. You’ll also need $8 to get a lock and locker there to put your stuff in (can’t take it with you). Although the adventure was awesome and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we were left with a bad taste in our mouths when we tried to leave the falls and got stuck in a shopping area. The salespeople are SO aggressive in a manner I’ve never seen in other countries. They will throw a necklace around your neck, tell you there is no charge and then demand a donation as you are leaving while wearing it. They will also try to get you to hold items of theirs and then make you pay for them because you touched it. We had to run through towards the end because they were yelling at us and they scared us so badly. We then had to wait for over an hour for our bus to come back. It’s too bad the shopping is so aggressive because otherwise we would have loved to have spent the hour shopping (others in the group said the exact same thing). We felt very unsafe and were very anxious to get back to the hotel. I was harassed to buy the $40 DVD of us climbing the falls and the guy would not take no for an answer. He actually showed up at our hotel complex and called our room twice. So aggressive!! We knew people that did the zip-lining and absolutely raved about it. We also knew people who went into Ocho Rios for shopping and they said it was a terrible experience as they experienced overly aggressive sales people like us.

Activities at the resort: The only activity we did was go snorkeling. This requires a $25 deposit each in case you don’t return the equipment but you get your money back when you’re done. We loved the snorkeling. It was nice to have an area on the small beach (pebble beach) where you could snorkel instead of having to go out to the middle of the ocean. We wanted to go paddle-boating but didn’t get the chance. Someone from our group took out a kayak and it cap-sized while they were out there. There is A LOT of wind and we saw a lot of people turning over in the catamarans/kayaks. Another person from our group took out a catamaran and after it capsized it was in pretty rough shape. He was terrified he would have to pay the damages, but we never found out if he’d have to pay.

General impression: The resort is SO beautiful, very visually appealing. It’s quite clean and the servers are well dressed. I guess my mom was right when she said don’t judge a book by it’s cover. The resort was great but the staff was so unfriendly that it changed the whole perception. Would I return? No. Would I return to Jamaica at all? Not a chance. We had a good vacation because we were with some fantastic people….but Jamaica is WAY too aggressive and had me feeling unsafe the entire time. The Gran Bahia in Mexico is SOOO much better!!!

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Shannon ~ Toronto

March 2009

Arrival: March 6 – 13
We arrived in Montego Bay with no problems at all. We boarded the bus for our 90 minute drive to Runaway Bay. The tour agent asked the driver to go direct, no stops, so the expected 90 minutes was decreased to 60 minutes. Fine by us, we can drink Red Stripe and buy crappy souvenirs just about anywhere! As we were booked into the Golden Section of the resort we had already been checked in and our room key card was in our welcome envelope. This would have been a lovely feature had the room key card actually worked. It took 5 tries and us requesting a maintenance worker to the room but they finally got it right. However, the front desk did not offer to solve the problem for us. We had to trek from our room to the lobby every time. The resort is massive, so when I say trek, I mean trek.

Our room was extremely clean and well appointed. It was kept this way all week with twice a day maid visits. The air conditioner did cease to function at one point but maintenance was there right away and fixed the problem. Warning – the walls and doors are made of paper, every sound was clearly communicated into our room. No problems with electricity, hot water, tv reception, towels, etc.

Restaurants and Bars
This is where the entire vacation falls flat. With the Golden Package our 4 a  la carte reservations were made for us in advance of our arrival. Each slip was in the welcome envelope. For some strange reason all our reservations were in the 6-7 pm timeframe. We like to eat later than this so requested they be changed. No problem mon! However, this probably would have been an issue if the resort was operating at capacity. We estimated it was about half full. We have been to other Principes in various countries and have never been disappointed with the food. As stated on every web site we viewed for this resort – "Please note that effective immediately, the à la carte restaurants now require gentlemen not only to wear long pants and collared shirts, but also to wear closed shoes." Note: This also means the buffet. We took this to mean the resort is taking the food to the next level. Fine by us, as together we have over 75 years in the hospitality industry and our palates are quite well educated.

The buffet is large enough, but food is repeated, there is virtually no salad bar, in a ocuntry that grows lettuce, the majority was slop. The exception was breakfast – it’s hard to go wrong with an egg, a piece of toast, and a yogurt! The Grille restaurant was so bad my shoes were more appetizing. The buffet portion of the meal was all I could eat – hmmm, 5 star nachos! The Fish House was just ok; however the buffet portion of the meal was meagre and unappetizing. I still can’t comprehend why we were expected to dress for dinner to help ourselves to a buffet! Everything about the International cuisine restaurant was bad. The waiter was horrendous – he actually served us Chateaubriand that had been sitting, unheated on the service cart for 20 minutes, did not open the bottle of wine we ordered, did not refresh the bread, the water, or offer us coffee with our dessert. And, he consistently performed the cardinal offence – he reached across me for everything. No such thing as serve from the left, pickup from the right for this young man. Ah, but there is always an exception. The Japanese restaurant was wonderful. We were fortunate enough to be seated with 5 other couples in a private room. Our chef and waiter were both amazing. I cannot say enough good about the meal and service in this single location. Everything was Irie Mon
There is a Jerk chicken and pork bbq served everyday at lunch on the beach. This saved the week for us. One note well worth mentioning, with the exception of 1 waiter, all the food services staff, no matter the location, are trained exceptionally well. We were both amazed at their dedication to detail and to providing the customer with everything to make the meal more enjoyable. Unfortunately, they do not do the cooking!

Stunning. Clean. Well manicured. No bugs. No trash. More than enough staff to keep everything looking wonderful. And as I mentioned before, this resort is massive so this is no small feat. At the far end of the beach there is a fenced off area. A sign outside proclaims, "This is a nude beach. Clothing is prohibited". Worth the walk for the photo.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We opted out of tours for both personal and practical reasons. The tour offerings are extensive and some actually sounded like they might be fun. But, when you calculate the cost of a personal swim with the dolphins for $150.00 US and then are told there will be up to 7 other people in the pool with you and the time limit is 45 minutes this personal swim just got crowded and I would have had about 5.625 minutes with the dolphin. This calculates to about $26.66 US per minute with the dolphin. Hmmm, maybe not! So, we hired a legal cab driver for the day. He took us into Ocho Rios to a great shopping area, waited forever while we bought those crappy souvenirs I mentioned, drove us to Margaritaville for lunch and a tour, and then took us to Dunn’s Falls so my husband could experience this. Our driver, Owen, charged us $80.00 US for the day. He was chatty and witty and earned his fee, lunch and tip. We learned so much more from him then we would have from a tour guide who will only repeat the vanilla version of the country.

Other Comments The benefits of being in the Golden section were well worth the extra cost to us. Having free internet, a concierge at our disposal, the restaurant reservations made, private checkin, etc. are services we utilize. We will return to Jamaica, not to the Bahia Principe, but certainly to this country.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Cam ~ Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

March 2009

Arrival: Feb.22 to Mar.1
Arrival was fine. Very friendly. Gold club members are pre-checked in, so right off the bus and to our rooms.

Rooms are very nice and comfortable. Bathroom was very large, deck is nice to sit on at night and have a drink.

Restaurants and Bars
The food here is fantastic… with one exception. The fisherman is the worst restaurant I’ve ever been in. If you have an ala carte booking here, change it. It sucks that bad! Don Pablo’s was good, Mikado’s was the best of all three. The buffet was fantastic everytime we went, no bad food at all. My stomach is really sensitive to MSG, and different foods, but I never had a problem once with anything I ate here. food is five star. The only complaint I have is there is not enough jamaican food served here. Several people who have been to the caribbean before have said this is common, as the europeans want regular food more than local flair.

Beaches leave a little to be desired. the small beach in front of the hotel is man-made and very rocky. sandals or beach shoes are a must. The main beach to the left of the resort is very nice, and not too deep. The nude beach is on the left of the beach and is fully blocked off. Be warned… there is some nudity on the main beach as well. Lots of europeans going topless.Main pool in the hotel is very nice, and has several swim up bars as well. The grounds are beautiful!! Very well kept, and the groundskeepers are very nice… may even get you some fresh coconuts if you ask nicely!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We felt the activities through the resort were expensive and over-priced. We chartered a taxi bus for the 6 of us to go into ocho rios for the day. Cost us 120.00 u.s. for the day. Went shopping, stopped to see the cruse ships docked, picked up some fresh fruit along the road side. I wanted to get some real jerk pork, so our driver Mighty took us to a small jerk place deep in ocho rios… the best jerk that I’ve ever had! Everything is booked through the resort, but Mighty gave us his number, and we worked out a pretty cheap deal for later in the week if we wanted.

Other Comments I was very confused after reading all the reviews on this hotel; this was our first trip to jamaica, and we booked here because my sister in law had stayed here last year. Some review say it’s terrible, others loved it. I have to say this hotel is a solid 4 star hotel. I don’t think it qualifies as a 5 star, as it’s not refined enough for that. By that, I mean little things like repairs taking all week in the hallways, scuffs on the wall, cable for t.v. broken etc. The only problems we did experience was on the first night, our shower wouldn’t drain. Called the front desk, maintenance was there in 10 minutes and fixed it right away. We went the gold package route, and wouldn’t do this again. $200.00 for both of us, and the benefits were: small bottle of rum in the room, pre-check in, one extra alacarte reservation, free internet useage for 1/2 hour daily ( be warned… there are only 2 computers in the gold club room, and it can be very hard to get on them. ) bath robe and slippers to use. It wasn’t worth the money in my books. The business center is located below the main check-in and you can buy internet time there. Wi-fi is available through the hotel for your laptop if you wish, gold club member’s were charged 12.00 u.s. per day.There is also a buffet on the main beach that is good… mostly quick food, but very good as well. Bottom line… would I book here again? If I wanted an all-inclusive resort, yes, in a heartbeat. But we are planning to go back to jamaica next year and will not be doing the all inclusive thing. Not enough jamaican culture for us. That said, if you want a good all inclusive, book here with out worries. If you would like pictures, feel free to e-mail me and I would be happy to send them to you.


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  Gran Bahia Principe   Stephen ~ Caledon

February 2009

Arrival: Feb 6 – 13
Our group of 26 flew Air Transat. Our flight departed Toronto on time at 6:20am and landed in Montego Bay just after 10am. By 10:15 most of our group had a cold Red Strip which was purchased at a little bar just outside from the airport as we waited to board our bus. As is standard with the Gold Package our group was issued our wrist bands on the bus essentially checking us in long before we arrived at this resort. The drive from Montego Bay Airport to Grand Bahia Principe is about 80km. The scenery is nice with the ocean on the left and rolling hills dotted with homes on the right. 30 minutes into our drive we stopped off at a road side market for beer. For those of you that plan on sampling the local Jamaican grass I’d suggest purchasing some at this market as someone in our group did and it was very, very good.

Rooms: Rooms are spacious and very clean. Each morning our fridge was re-stocked with soda and beer and other than some MINOR issues everyone in our group was happy with their rooms.

Restaurants and Bars: Food exceeded my expectations. The A la Cartes were ok, no complaints really. Probably our favorite was the Japanese one. The buffet however was very good. So good that while we ate at the A la Cartes I found myself wondering what they were serving at the buffet this eve. Breakfast, lunch and dinner was always yummy and the service was decent. The bars were much like most other Caribbean resort bars. The only complaint I have regarding the bars is that only one bar served coffee at and if you were at the beach or at the far end of the pool you had quit a walk a head of you for a cup of java.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: Pool is massive and very nice. I’d suggest brining your own volleyball as the resort apparently has only the one ball! The grounds on the resort are lush with vegetation, much different from other islands we have traveled to. Compared to Caya Coco this beach is 6/10 compared to any beach in North America and this beach is a beautiful 10/10. My wife and I enjoy long walks on the beach, we weren’t able to do that at this beach. For laying on a beach chair catching rays or playing in the water this beach is perfect.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: About half the group went to Dunns River which was booked through the resort. The found out after that they could have saved about $15.00 a head and had a better time had they hired a private taxi to take them there and back. 8 of us golfed at Breezes golf club which is only 10 minutes away. If you’re looking to play a well manicured challenging course this is not the one for you. If you’re looking to get off the resort for a few hours with your pals and have a laugh then this course will suffice. Excellent courses can be played in Montego Bay but will cost you twice as much $200.00 On the way back from golf our driver took us for Jerk Chicken and Pork at a road side restaurant which is less than 5 minutes away. You’ll pass by on the way to the resort and its on the left hand side. Well worth the taxi ride there if you’re a fan of Jerk!

Other Comments: Overall we were very happy with this resort and would recommend Gran Bahia in Runaway Bay to friends

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Keith ~ Canada

February 2009

My partner & I escaped the cold arctic air in Aug to spend 2 weeks in Jamaica, the first week at the GBP. This resort is very classy & elegant, with clean rooms & very friendly staff. We particuraly enjoyed the beach as it is so vast & divided in 2 sections, with a beach bar at the far end, that’s not so popular, & they also have a private nude beach which we took advantage of. The evening entertainment left a lot to be desired, so this resort gave us a chance to be a true couple. I would highly recommend this resort for couples who want a romantic get away.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Chris ~ Kingston

February 2009

Arrival: Jan 23 – 30
flew air transat, all on time, very organized at the airport, on the bus within 30 mins.

club gold top floors , 2 dbl beds and used the couch for our 12 yr old son. room service used daily for brkfst and pizza for snacks no charge! bar fridge filled daily, maid service very good.

Restaurants and Bars:
this is the only bahia yu have to wear long pants to the buffet!!!! alcartes’ i understand , get reallllll. the food at all the restaurants was excellent!! the dan paublo and japanese are overbooking, too many patrons for so few servers

the pool is well looked after , seems to be off a poor layout. the whole grounds dont flow very well, everything seems to be tucked away thats makes it hard to use, ie , volleyball court, ping pong table,

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
we did the tubing on white river, $245 for 2 adults and 1 child. and of course tips for the guides and the driver! luckily the sun shone that day . the tubing itself is not very exciting,

Other Comments: this is our 6th bahia, this one does not compare to any of the others except for the quality of the food and tthe friendlyness of the staff

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Julie ~ Ontario, Canada

February 2009

Arrival: Jan. 17 – Jan. 24
We flew with Skyservice, Nolitours, and once we arrived we were sent to a desk at the airport which had us check-in to our resort immediately to avoid check-in at the resort. This was a nice feature because once we arrived at the resort we could go straight to our room. Upon arrival we were greeted by staff which gave us some nice rum punch.

Our room was beautiful, and very clean except the curtains and the sofa were a bit stinky. The bathroom was big and gorgeous with a separate room for the toilet and a telephone in it and a nice jacuzzi tub.

Restaurants and Bars:
We really thought the buffet restaurant was good with a nice selection of foods, the only ala carte we didn’t try was the fisherman’s because we heard alot of people say it was terrible. The steakhouse was good, Don Pablo was also very good but the food took forever. The Japanese was by far the best, the chef cooked the food in front of you and it was very entertaining as well as delicious. The beach grill was excellent but you have to wait in a line for the jerk chicken because it’s the only place you can get it and it’s only available for a couple of hours, we had been to Jamaica before and the jerk chicken was available all day and most of the night so that was a bit annoying but it didn’t matter to much. "Men" be prepared to have to wear long pants in the all the restaurants in the evening including the buffet, we were not prepared for that. The bars were very nice and accomodating to give you and make you what you wanted but sometimes way too strong especially the bar at the show at night.

The pool was absolutely the best I have ever seen, huge and beautiful. The chairs with the white cushions are the best but you have to get up at 630am to reserve them they go quick, we even found some people putting their towels on the chairs the night before which was very unfair. The Beach farthest to the left was the nicest, the beach in front of the resort was rocky but very quiet. The grounds were well kept and very beautiful, some of the nicest landscaping I’ve seen.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
The nightly entertaining was not very good and it was annoying to hear this spanish guy host when your in Jamaica, they need to work on this. I heard the black river was really good but a long day. We chose this time to not do anything because we wanted to relax and chill on the beach. But we had a massage on the beach which was fantastic, be carefull though they change their pricing sometimes. We got our massage for $67 but it was supposed to be $147 on the price list, don’t know why we got it so cheap. Anyhow it was excellent.

Other Comments: BIG WARNING….. Now we really liked the resort it was beautiful but half the week we had no power so yes that means showering in the dark and ladies that means no blow drying your hair. The power was going on and off for most of the week, sometimes for 10min and other times for hours…HUGE INCONVEINIENCE! To top it off we had no running water for one day, so can you imagine not flushing the toilet anywhere in the place or washing yours hands or having a shower, it was disgusting trying to use a toilet. We were pissed, and very disappointed being such a large resort chain and 5 star hotel. Needless to say we will not be returning to any bahia principe again for those reasons, which is to bad because it is a very nice place but not worth the inconveinience.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Stockguru

January 2009

Arrival: February 2008 Flew with Air Transat from Montreal, flight was uneventful left on time got there on time. I really, I mean really appreciated the Golden package you took, on arrival at the airport, an AirTransat rep was there to assist us and to direct us to the bus, on the bus we were provided our wristband, reservation to restaurants were made and keys to the room. So waiting in line was necessary.

At the airport and on the bus some people are drinking beer, so a pit stop midway is an excellent idea.

We were on the 5th floor, large room, king size bed, very clean, we were told that golden are 4th and 5th floor so we get a better view. Downside, the door was hard to lock, you had to push it hard for the lock to get in the hole, one day after the beach we got to our room the maid had done the cleaning and the door was opened, she probably didn’t push hard enough to have the lock in place. Nothing was missing for our room. We complained to the front desk and the maid came to see us to apologize, at first she did not believe us but when I asked her to close the door and lock it she did as she always do and it didn’t work, so she did apologize.

The day we arrived, our safe didn’t work, we called reception and within 30 minute someone was in our room to fix it. We met

people that became friends at the resort, they were "non-golden".
They reported to us that service was lousy, their safe didn’t work they called to complain and 7 days later nothing had been fixed.

Restaurants and Bars:
We loved the food served in every restaurants, the main buffet (Orchid) has a large selection for breakfast, lunch and dinner, no problem mon.

A la carte, we went to the Japanese (Mikado) and that was fun, they make the food in front of you, it’s a show and food was excellent. The next day we were scheduled to Don Pablo, but we had booked a trip to Martha Bray’s raft, so we went to the Golden club and immediately changed our reservation to the following day. No waiting in line, just excellent service. Don Pablo was so good that the next day we were scheduled for the fish restaurant,( the Fisherman’s Palace) but we changed it to go back to Don Pablo, once again, no problem mon, we also made a reservation for 4 that included our "non-golden" new friends and had no problem. I read another post that said portions were not big, when came time to order deserts, I asked the waiter to get another lobster tail and guess what…no problem mon, I got one and I got desert too. Portions were excellent.
The Garden Grill was also good but compared to Mikado and Don Pablo it was only ordinary.

Beach/Pools/Grounds: Pool is very large, surrounds the buildings with bridges, always very clean. Grounds, this is a new hotel, on the week we were there I counted that they installed 20 palapas around the pool area, so one week before there was no palapas.

Beaches: There are 2, the one in front are pellets, not sand, you cannot walk barefoot, we didn’t go, we just walked by. The other to the east side of the building is larger and has sand but it’s hard compacted sand, not Varadero type of beach at all. There is also a coral reef that blocks all the waves so if you like to play in the waves, there are none…The water was always calm and good for snorkeling although not very deep, I say a stingray and a small barracuda that just happen to pass by.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We did not go to any shows at night, so I cannot comment. We did however see an excellent jazz signer just outside the lobby bar.

Off resort, we booked 2 tours, the Martha Bray’s raft ride, that was fun, you sit on a 20 foot raft pushed by a guide that will tell you about the surroundings, the guide left my wife and I pushed the raft which is harder to do than one would think.

The other day trip was the Dunn’s river falls, a must see attraction in Jamaica, you climb a beautiful greenish rocked fall, the tour also included a visit to a ceramic factory, a very beautiful private garden, and a stop to shop.

Other Comments:
I felt like some of the stops in the tour and on the way to the resort from the airport were made because of bribes from local shops to bus driver/guide, but it didn’t bother me at all. You can probably get the same goods cheaper if you take a cab and drive to another local store, but I didn’t find it was worth loosing time for it, we’re on vacation to relax, not to save money…..

I highly recommend this resort, BUT, you need to book the golden package, it’s well worth the $80 to $100 more. I heard so many people on site complaining about this and that but my wife and I did not experience any of it….probably because golden are kings/queens to this resort.

I’m looking forward to try another Gran Bahia in 2009.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   M ~ Aurora

December 2008

Arrival: Dec 13th-20th
We arrived on the saturday of the 13th of December and we flew sky service.

Rooms are large, clean, king size bed, nice size balcony. We were on the ground floor and they are reluctant to change your rooms. We stayed where we were and were happy with it over all.

Restaurants and Bars:
the buffet gets old fast. There isn’t a large selection of fresh fruit. I heard that they have been hit hard with hurricanes, but I was surprised that there were so few bannanas. Also, the fish that is sitting there always tasted funky and the scrambled eggs were pretty gross.

Still, if you stand in line and get your eggs in the morning they are good and if you do the same for the fish you shouldn’t have a problem. The pasta also is lacking. We aren’t picky eaters, so we never went hungry, but there was a lot of waste and I think that was because you had to try different things to see if it was good or not.

Read what others are saying about the other restaurants, book as soon as possible!!!!!!!!!!!!! We almost didn’t get into a third restaurant, (you have your choice of 3 for a week.) They are good, the fishermans was our least favourite and friends said that the Japanese had small portions. I was very happy with the grill and the Don Pablo, very tasty

The alcohol was good, but if you are going there for the entertainment, it is a bit tame. Which was fine for us, we were just a bit surprised. We really enjoyed the bands that played and the one women we saw who sang was excellent! Really impressed! They make it a very cosy environment. Especially when the band plays at the beach bar, that was one of our favourite times to sit and listen to the band.

very nice and clean, no complaints. All of the reviews of the beach been so-so are right. Still, it is clean and doesn’t smell like puke as it often does in cancun.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
we did the reggae and culture tour and the ochos rios day trip. They really hound you and when your guide advises you to say, "no man," SAY IT! We really love the local Jamaicans, but they are excellent sales people. It can be very hard to say no and you don’t want to be rude.

Other Comments: We had a wonderful time, we can’t think of someone, (even our picky friends,) who wouldn’t have a great time! It isn’t half moon resort, but it is a very good resort for the price we payed and we really liked the staff.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Kyrylo ~ Canada

December 2008

Arrival: Nov. 24- Dec.8
My wife and I flew with Skyservice, and the trip was quick and smooth there and back. We stayed at Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica for two weeks. We had lots of fun!

The hotel itself is very nice and clean! Definetely five stars. It is clean and new, opened in 2007. All rooms are the same in the hotel, they have jacuzzi tubs and shower tubs (very convinient. The bathroom is quite spacious. The room itself is spacious and the balcony as well. We had a beautiful king size bed and a small table with two chairs in the room, and on the balcony. I would say the room was five star as well. Our room was fairly clean when we got there but smelt smoky a little bit, but then i got used to it or it went away.

Then we started having problems with room service. We had one maid throughout our stay. The next day we left some tip, and surprizingly for some reason that day we didnt have any toilet paper, no water in the fridge and one hand towel. Plus the floors werent mopped. That was strange. It happened several times after that as well. So one day we liked how everything was cleaned and the other day we had to call the rooms service to bring us water or towels. or toilet paper.

The in-room safe is $6 a day. We didnt take it, we just put our belongings away in the closet. It was fine there.

Overall we are satisfied with the room.

Restaurants and Bars:
Bar: I wouldnt know, we don’t drink alcohol. But none-alcoholic beverages were good.

Restaurants: BOOK yours reservations as soon as possible! there are 4 restaurants, 1 buffet, one small buffet on the beach and burger place open at night.
The buffet was great. Never had any problems with food. The restaurants were awesome as well. A la carte Japanese, and French. Semi a la carte were The Grill and Seafood restaurants. The best steaks I ever ate in my life, I ate in the Japanese, French and the Grill. The food in all these restaurants was delicious. But very small portions. Burger place is good as well, although we ate there once. And the buffet by the beach was very convinient and delicous as well.

Overall we are very satisfied with the food. You can get something to eat probably 24/7

Beach/Pools/Grounds: Now the pool was attractive and clean, with lots of activities to do like water polo or water volleyball also with swim up bar. Although we spent most of the time on the beach.

Now the beach was NOT great. The one on the west side, because the east side beach, I wouldnt call it a beach. They are all man made., lots of little rocks. Probably crushed stone. But west side beach is much better but still not like Punta Cana. It was probably 3.5 star beach, although it was beautiful. The water… same thing. If you swim out there and snorkle, you will have lots of fun and will see lots as well. Water is most of the time is clear. You can also play volleyball or soccer there as well but the ground can be a problem.

Overall we liked the beach, the pool and the sea.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: We went snorkeling with the boat to see shipwreck and reefs but it wasnt as good as when we ourselves swam probably 500 meters from the shore and saw much more and were more fascinated.
Also we went to dolphin cove, to swim with the dolphins, to see sharks and stingrays. It was definetely worth it, despite costing us around $400. Yeah, Jamaica is too expensive. I have no idea why. But we were told that if you go to dolphin cove and buy your admission and the program there, it turns out almost half price, rather than booking through the hotel.

Other Comments:
Water is safe to drink there, thats a plus. Shopping village is very convienient, well it was for us anyway. We ran out of sunscreen, but we were able to purchase one there.

Oh, the entertainment…. i hope they improve on it, because it wasnt very entertaining. Not professional at all… boring.

The SERVICE in Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica… i would rate it 4 star. Overall our vacation there was awesome for 14 days. We enjoyed it very much! and we would definetely recommend this resort.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Shelly ~ Ontario Canada

October 2008

Arrival and Flight – We flew Skyservice from Toronto great flight, on time with transportation waiting for our arrival 1 hr to hotel

Rooms – Beautiful, large room with king sized canopy bed, sitting area, mini fridge, coffee maker, iron, sofa, table and chairs and a beautiful marble bathroom with whirpool tub with separate shower. Huge balcony with amazing oceanview!!!!!!! Very clean and very comfortable bed. We were on the top floor facing the ocean and pool incredible!!!!!!! Excellent maid service everyday, always there in the morning and mini fridge and bathroom supplies were full everyday.

Restaurants – There is a buffet (Orchid) restaurant very nice, good variety, food could be hotter but they do have make to order stations (pasta, egg, dessert) that you can always get something just made that is really hot if temperature is a problem

Piscis snack bar at the beach with buffet lunch everyday with a jerk chicken and pork bbq hut on the other side of the bar incredible we ate there at lunch everyday best jerk chicken and pork around beautiful view and steel band a couple of days a week

Alacarte were very good, there are four-Mikado, Garden Grill, Don Pablo, Fishermans Palace. We ate at Mikado-very good, Garden Grill-so awesome we ate there twice, Don Pablo-excellent. Nice and formal, long pants required for men. Fantastic personalized service, nice a quiet very romantic

Bars – Terrace Bar is beautiful, live music in eary evenings incredible view of ocean and pool, Pool bar very nice good strong drinks made to order, Lobby Bar Daiquiri beautiful with live piano music daily

Beach and Pools – Beach in front of the resort is very rocky, best beach at resort is to the far left of the resort it is a beautiful beach with lots of chairs and awesome swimming.

Pool is perfect!!!!!!!! We did not have any problems getting chairs when we left the beach to go to the pool everyday in the afternoon, we did see people reserving chairs early in the morning as at most resorts.

Grounds – As like all the Bahia Principes we have been to (San Juan, Tulum, Punta Cana) before, the grounds are amazing, they are always working painting and cleaning up the resort everyday.

Activities and Entertainment – They have lots of activities daily and have a schedule that is provided upon arrival. Did not stay up for entertainment but they have an Pueblo Principe village with late night entertainment, bars and a burger restaurant

Tours – Did not do any, but did go to the briefing for them but decided to decline.

Departure and Check Out – We departed the hotel at 6:00am for a early morning flight, no problems checking out but we alway go down to check before the last minute rush 1/2 hr earlier than the time they say to meet in the lobby)so there was no wait for us as they usually only have 1 person behind the desk at that time of the morning

Conclusion – We purchased Golden Club as we feel the offer the upgrades that we enjoy, we like our reservations guaranteed and the private check in and club house with bar and free internet daily are worth it. Preffered room locations also are included as well as robes and slippers, and room service.

We had a wonderful week and had beautiful weather. Our balcony had the most beautiful views of the sunrise, sunsets,pool, ocean and wedding gazabo

This resort in our opinion is comparable to the Bahia in Tulum and would recommend this as good vacation spot.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Canada

June 2008

I will start off by saying we had a wonderful vacation at this resort.

Flight and package Air Transat…I highly recommend upgrading to business classworth the extra $$ …

We also chose Club Golden at the time of our booking it was equal to not having this so we grabbed it.There are a few perks .

Arrival ..2 large planes so wait was a bit but you are starting your holiday so who cares !!!Guided to our coach bus which was filled with only Bahia guests so no stopping …if you are thirsty after your flight there is a bar where you can grab some Red Stripe for your journey..we had a late afternoon flight so all aboard declined the rest stop and carried onto the Bahia. All our resort/room info etc. was given out on the bus so no stopping to check in.

First impression ..very nice comparable to Mayan resorts we have stayed at..

BEWARE….If you arrive late you cannot get your safe key until morning …DO NOT LEAVE ANY VALUABLES IN YOUR ROOM …until you get one…a few guests were robbed of their cash and cameras the first night …this did not happen to us I am sure my review would be different if it had …you have been warned.

Rooms exactly as shown in brochures very nice clean no complaints but one …NOT SOUNDPROOF at all….we were kept awake at all hours ..if I had small children I would have moved immediately …We really should have moved …but our room had probably the best ocean view I have ever had on vacation..our room had an adjoining door so maybe things would not be as loud if there was a wall separating us…

Food. Only one bad meal and that was at Don Pablo I had raw surf with my turf just turned me off that one meal ….the rest were very good.As previously recommended the Jerk Hut chicken & pork very good.Great desserts…Buffet at lunch fab !!, & breakfast lots of choices.The Mikado very entertaining my favourite.Seafood good Grill Good…

You can have tea and cakes in the lobby bar in the afternoon..

Entertainment really only caught one show and I think I have been to too many all inclusives I am a little bored with the shows…They had a jazz singer on the terrace who was really enjoyable she was there a few times during the week ..Alicia Keys, Celine Dionish type .

They have a shopping complex on the resort that is where the entertainment is held at night lots to look at..I found things cheaper in the gift shop in the resort…

Side trips we arranged ourselves we had a driver take us to Montego Bay, Rafting on the Martha Brae , and a look into some small villages along the way …also used the hotel shuttle $15 …shopping in Ocho Rios & a stop at a straw Market..

The beach is exactly as stated so if you want beach this is not the resort for you but I had no problems with it.

There is allot of walking here but again no problem for me.

The pool is winding around the ocean side of the resort so from our balcony you see pool & ocean . There are two swim up bars but only one was operational in early May perhaps in prime time they have both working.

Beverages must try Jamaican Rum cream…all regular frozen drinks pinas were good do not forget your thermal mugs but if you do you can buy them there$10..

If you have booked this resort you will not be disappointed enjoy !!!

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Houssam and Caroline

May 2008

We were there early May 2008. We cannot understand where those bad reviews are coming from.

The resort was beautiful. The rooms were very spacious and clean. The service was very good.

We were with the Golden club. When we arrived to the hotel, everything was ready for us. Our package, our 4 "A La Carte" reservations were all ready for us. We were expecting special pick up from the airport, but that was not included. We are used to "Concierge" service at other countries.

Food was excellent. The main buffet was filled with a huge variety of food/desert/salads (but no Lobsters!!!). We have visited The Grill/The Fisherman’s restaurants. They were very good. Make sure to try the Jerk chicken at the beach restaurant.

Service was very good. Every staff said hello when they passed by. We had tipped few servers. But even without tip, they were doing very good service. You can feel that the management were trying their best to provide a good service.

The beach was so and so. One beach you can swim at. The others beaches are not for swimming.

We have visited the Dunn’s River and we went to Ocho Rios market couple of times. It is essential to go out of the resort to see Jamaica!

What we did not like the fact that the hotel is for families. We were used to "couples only" resorts. But even with that, it was acceptable. It was not as noisy as we have feared.

We loved that resort. We would go back. And, it is definitely 5 *. But, hopefully next time we want to try the infamous Negril beach…

Should you need more information, please contact us at howayed@rogers.com

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Cheryl

April 2008

Two professional middle age women from eastern Canada spent a week (April 14 – 21, 2008) of relaxation at this beautiful resort. This is a pretty and immaculate resort, where most of the people are happy, singing and dancing all the time. "No problem" is the operative word and we found that all the employees there aim to please. The food was very good although coffee and tea are not provided with lunch and dinner, and I am one who enjoys my tea after meals. However, the coffee at this resort is superb – both in the rooms as well as at breakfast! The west beach was wonderful; the ocean is warm and we were constantly serenaded by a wonderful steel drum band at the nearby eating area on the beach. From our room, we had a view of the resort and ocean which was truly beautiful. Although it rained for three days, it did not interfere with any of our activities as it was so warm. We enjoyed tubing on the Whyte River and climbing Dunns River Falls. I had the best massage I have ever had – a stress cure massage – by Shana Kay – in the spa at the resort. It was a great week. I am recommending this resort to my friends; I would return without hesitation.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Carmen

April 2008

Two familes including two teens. We like nice places and we were not disappointed…even the teens thought it was great although they were a little bored in the evenings.

Overall opinion: We loved it and would go back in a minute! We had a few glitches in the beginning (room not ready and not quite right) but no problems after the room situation and had requested a room near our friends and a view of the ocean and this request was honored. After reading the reviews prior to leaving we were a bit nervous and we felt the management is really trying to improve on their reviews and seemed to care about our stay and our opinion…they asked us…many times if we needed anything and how our visit was going. This was our third visit to an all-inclusive and our best. Loved the facility and the beach. Food very good but it’s a buffet so it’s not going to be perfect for everyone (even our picky teens liked it…there was something for everyone). Dinner reservations at the Don Pablo (good food…slow service), the Japanese restaurant (great food and loved the chef) and last night at the Grill Restaurant (nice service, good food although part of the meal includes a buffet). We loved the jerk food near the beach area….tucked away but worth the find and the little bit of wait. Nightly entertainment outside of the Lobby was very enjoyable on the beautiful balacony. Beautiful pool area although bar service slow and not the friendliest. Enjoyed the bar near the end of the resort…not as busy and tucked back…very friendly and quick service.

One of our favorite vacations!!

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Linda

March 2008

I am Jamaican on holidays from Canada for the long easter weekend (March 2008) to meet with other relatives from Cayman and Kingston. My drive in from Montego Bay airport on Jamaica Tours was good, however, the stop off to buy beer and use a thing they called a toilet was a bit dumpy and unnecessary. First impression of convenient facilities was not impressive. I am sure we all could have lasted till we arrived at Gran Bahia Principe.

Arrival at Gran Bahia Principe there was loud shouting and complaints at the staff at the reception area from the visitors about their long wait and no service. Management was not helpful. I did not have to wait that long, a lovely girl with a beautiful smile, Marshalynn, attended to my check in. Other relatives arrived soon after and Marshalyn took care of their check in also.

No Problem !

Got to the rooms, door lock did not work, balcony sliding door lock broken, room door deadbolt did not bolt, lock on room door barely connected so pushing hard a couple times seems OK. Shower pole fell out of the wall. Bath tub had broken pieces. Bathroom tiles were put/fitted in without cement/grout. Towels, Pillows were not adequate. TV did not work. Coffee pot did not have proper top so the water flooded over.

FOOD: BORING ! the only a la carte we enjoyed was the Don Pablo. The Grill was aweful. Was difficult to get reservations but the restaurants were always empty. The only place to eat was the Orchid for breakfast and dinner, BORING, they had the same food everyday. I must say the Fish was not bad at all. They should be jailed for serving those little lobsters and it too was dry and tasteless. For lunch we went to the Fisherman, Jerk was great ! but eating it everyday was BORING.

BEACH: AWEFUL ! only the tourists would be fooled to think it was real sand. It is not sand but crushed stone. No wonder there are so many complaints.

ENTERTAINMENT: SOMEWHAT BORING ! only the mosquitoes had a good time sucking my blood.

SERVICE: some staff running around like they don’t know what to do with themselves breaking and dropping everything from glasses, china, cutlery, other staff taking their own sweet time with not a care in the world, like admiring themselves in the mirror in the washrooms while we are waiting for a supply of toilet paper.

MANAGEMENT: Lacking ! the only thing they were good for is to talk over the walkie talkie.

It was very obvious that the Spanish foreigners held better positions but they were useless. The other staff were friendly and courteous, and accommodating, maybe because they knew we were Jamaicans.

Marshalynn was the only person I dealt with at the reception because she’s wonderful.

OVERALL: This All-Inclusive is over-rated. For an all-inclusive and have to pay to use the vault, it’s no longer an all-inclusive. Most of the local staff were quite pleasant and friendly.

Rating should not go over a three (3).

The architectural design is beautiful but it’s all cosmetic and picturesque, construction is very shabby, walls were echoing neighbours sexual activities.

Elevators and floor plan were scary and unsafe, due to lack of proper lighting.

Recommend to others, NO !

In addition: because of a hotel mix-up for another family couple from Kingston, we were offered a day pass. When the relatives arrived they wanted to stay overnight together with us instead of going somewhere else, of course there were still no rooms available, so we pooled 2 rooms together to free-up one room to accommodate them. They still had to pay US$345 for the one night. Unbelievable….. Is this resort for real ?

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March 2008

Our stay at the GBH was awesome. Check-in was prompt. The staff were great and just remember that a dollar a day tip on your pillow goes a long way. The food was great we really enjoyed the dining lots of choices. The bartenders especially Antonio in the main building is the best. Again a dollar tip now and then works I was at the back of the line a few times and all of a sudden he would reach over with my drink. The beach was nice get our towels out on a chair early before breakfast if you have a reference. First time on a nude beach really relaxing and nice and quiet. There are locals selling shells, starfish and other stuff on the beach these guys are great and great to deal with. The rooms were very comfortable and who cares about an alarm clock Your in Jamaica time is nothing. Met up with 2 other couples so for a tour we decided to rent a taxi (early morning) $150 for 5 hours. Got off the beaten path it was fantastic well worth it. Back by 1 for lunch and then the beach. We did not want to leave a couple more days would of been nice.

Oh Yes if you are bringing back liquor (Tequila) was $12 at the duty free stores at the air port, but we bought back some rum thought about throwing it in the garbage though.

Yes we enjoyed our stay and would recommend it to others

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Bonnie

March 2008

My boyfriend and I booked this resort for us and our family January 26th to Feb 2nd. We flew club transat and had the best time flying to Jamaica. What a party we had in the Club Class. LOL. Our flight attendances were very nice and friendly, on the way home on the 2nd it was another story. The crew certainly could have learned some manners from the flight crew of January 26th.

I first want to say how nice the hotel and property looked. My boyfriend and I travel a lot to the Caribbean and stay at many resorts ranging from 3 to 5 plus star. We are not hard people to please but……..

What I want to point out is the many misfortunes we encountered. It was not only with us, but also other people we met over the week. We booked the Golden club rooms. The number one problem was the lack of service we received from this resort and also the resort is very poorly managed.

We were greeted at the airport and shown to our bus. (point of a finger) Our package says it was suppose to be private shuttle for Golden club members. We were given an envelope that had us pre checked in, but then so did the 50 or so people on the bus even though they weren’t in the Golden Club section. We stopped at the side of the road so people could get a drink which was probably a good thing. It was late for our grandchildren and they were really tired and hungry.

What a joke- you pay for Golden Club and you’re only allowed to make 4 dinner reservations for the week???? The rest of the time you had to eat in the buffet. When they tell you the restaurants are full and you can’t have the booking you want-you should walk by them, there are hardly any people dining at those times.

The restaurants that you book through a reservation were OK. The food was good but the service was bad. You literally had to chase down the waiters and waitress to get a drink. The buffet restaurants serve the same food over and over. I think they reheat it. There was suppose to be 2 restaurants open for breakfast but only one was open. Most of the mornings, we ended up getting our own cutlery and coffee, even though we asked several times for it. They have a very limited amount of fruit- gee you’re in Jamaica. How can you be limited on fruit?? My boyfriend ended up taking some of their decorated fruit to eat. HAHA

As I said before we booked the Golden Club rooms and to my understanding they were suppose to be on the 4th-5th or 6th floor. We were placed on the 3rd floor with the orange. When I questioned this to the Golden Club representative she said you are on a Golden club floor and there are no oranges there. HA. We were the only group there that was gold. When we called for room service and gave our room number the guy asked us what colour our bracelets were, that should tell you something if the workers have to ask that kind of question. Our room safe didn’t work for 3 days, so we used our daughters. The room safe was free but to others that didn’t book the royal golden you had to pay to use them. I’ve never been at a resort where you have to pay to use the safe. We didn’t have an alarm clock and addressed this to the concierge at the Golden Club but we never did gt another one.

The buttons on the phones never worked. FUNNY. The shower was a mess- very low pressure and very hot water that burns you. The drains in the shower seemed to be plugged. When I finally complained about this our water pressure went up and the water temperature remained stable. HUMMMM.

The Golden Club respresentative tried to tell us that the owner of the Gran Bahia stays in our room when he comes. Another HA, I don’t think so. On the 4th night there, there was this loud drilling and banging. It started at 11 PM, finally after an hour I opened my door and there in the hall way there we many angry people. Apparently they had a leak in the ceiling (floor) whatever, and the only time they could fix it was 11 PM at night, while the guests were trying to sleep. Everyone called the manager he finally came about 1 and ½ hour later. He said it was the only time they could fix it and apologized. I said at 12:30 at night you shouldn’t be up here apologizing – this just shouldn’t be happening. He assured all of us that it would stop. He left and it stared again. My son inlaw went down to the kitchen and said if you don’t stop they are going to come down and make you stop- ok so now it is 2 am and finally it stopped.

The maids need a lesson on how to clean rooms. The balcony was so filthy and had broken glass on it for 5 days, even though I complained daily it needed to be cleaned. How much more can one take?? We had to fight to get our fridge filled daily and to get them to leave Cofee/Tea and creamers. By the end of the week-nothing was left.

Here’s a tip. You will receive 2 room keys – leave on in the switch by the door so the air conditioner stays on.

The bartender (woman) was completely rude to everyone. I can’t understand why they would keep someone like that. Can you believe they ran out of bananas??? Haha- you are in Jamaica, how can you run out of bananas????? HAHA We had to go through the list of drinks and ask if they could make certain ones-they always seemed to be out of some ingredients.

The disco for the little ones was fun to watch- we couldn’t stomach the nightly entertainment. HAHA

The pools were well maintained- but getting a drink at the swim up bar was hard. When they did show up to serve you- you had better order 4 to keep you going.

The beach by the main area was rocky and not very good. It was like walking on cement. The beach on the other side was pretty good.

No hello-kiss my grits or thanks for coming we hope to see you again. We always get this when leaving a resort-they really need to learn some manners at the front desk.

I plan on writing the management at the hotel to which I am sure we will not receive a response. Why would they care? They have so many people coming and going. One day the fun will run out for them when people finally decide not to go there. Don’t waste your money go some place else.

OVERALL I would not recommend it to anyone, nor would I go again. They need to change the management team there, and they need to hire people who love to work with the public

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Cathy

March 2008

excellent value for money
great a la cartes, beautiful beach, beautiful pool, friendly service, staff couldn’t do enough for us, never had to fight for a chair, lots of loungers available everywhere, service at bar by pool could be slow at times.

would go again in a heartbeat!

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Danny

March 2008

Arrival – Arrival Was great, got there at 11, went to the burger place, only thing that was open, long wait.

Rooms – Rooms were gorgeous. Never had enough towels, there were 3 staying in our room and we only got 2 towels. I asked the maid for more towels and she said she only had one. Never had enough cream or coffee.

Restaurants – The Food tasted good but wasnt prepared right. My dad got food poisoning 3 days before we left. We think he got it from the outdoor grill. Everthing is left out all day, it is open from 11 am – 6p.m. The mayo and condiments were left out all day, not on ice or anything. Hamburgers were left out. We found one day, they had steak at the breakfast buffet from the night before. The A La Carte restaurants didnt seem very organized and not like other ones we have been to in different countries.

Bars – Slow service. Sometimes rude … Example: i asked for a strawberry daiquiri, and i saw her make it and didnt put any rum in it, so i asked for alcohol and she replied with we dont know how to read minds here. Poor Service.

Beach and Pools – Gorgeous pool. The beaches are kind of rocky, seen better.

Grounds – kept clean

Activities – they had a show everynight, there was only 1 show we saw that was good. The disco was suppose to be open everynight but it was only open the night we got there…

Tours – We went to the dolphin cove (amazing, reccommened) and ATVing, also reccommended!..

Conclusion – There were 9 of our family memebers that went, and we wouldnt go back. We found the service poor, and very rude.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Al & Lori

March 2008

We flew Air Transat to Montego Bay.The flight was good and the Jamaican airport was easy to get around.The bus ride to the resort was OK.The driver asked for a beer break and no one wanted so to the resort we went.The ride is 1hr and all our check in envelope was given to us.

The greeting was OK and lots of people to point you in the right direction.Our room was ready on time and very nice.We had no problem with the room all week.

The beach in front of the resort is a little rocky but great for snorkeling.And the beach on the left of the resort is very nice for swimming.The pool was very large great for kids and lots of entertainment all day.

The a la carte restaurant were just amazing.The buffet restaurant was also very good to eat.But you should know this breakfast and lunch you can go with short,but super the men must wear pants and shoes.

P.S. the jerk sauce is spicy,and don’t forget anything in your room its a long walk back. We would recommend this resort to anyone.It truly is a 5* resort

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Ron & Jan

February 2008

We arrived in Montego Bay february 9th Via Air transat approximately a three hour delay. We went through customs very quickly and were surprised that we were pre registered so when we got to the resort at 9:30pm we went right to our room changed and right to the Buffet before it closed. The Room was clean and as expected.

The pool was huge and very nice. Food was great. The little cove in front of the resort was very gavelly but the snorkeling was great and saw a large variety of underwater creatures from colored fish,eels,cuttlefish and octopus. The main beach wasn’t great but snorkeling here was good also as we saw a few Rays here. I would definately go back to the Bahia Principe. The Major complaint I have is with our fellow tourists(americans) that sit at the swim up bar and never leave. We all know what they are doing in the pool. Didn’t their mothers teach them anything??

PS. Stayed two weeks. Also watch for the free trip offered on the weekends. We took it and it was great.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Jo-Ann

February 2008

We stayed at this resort February 2008.My husband and I returned from the Gran Bahia, with only fond memories and wondering why all the fuss and bad reviews. This was our second honeymoon, and was absolutely amazing. Arrival was ok, it was very late, so no one was around to show us to our room. We found the buffet still open, had a bite to eat, a cold beer, and walked around exploring. Popped in to the disco, had another cold one, then headed back to our fabulous room.

Ok, the first beach was rocky, still pretty nice, but the one to the left of the resort was picture perfect of an ultimate turquoise blue caribbean sea.

Food was great, lots of choices, and since we had the golden package, our 4 a la carte dinners were already booked for us upon arrival.

Our fridge in our room was filled up every day for us, as well we had turn down service each night, one night with chocolates upon our pillows.

Staff everywhere were very helpful and friendly.

The pool was breathtaking, and the open lobby was a very relaxing place to have a drink or two before dinner, where a very entertaining band played every day.

We would highly recommed the "Spirit of Reggae"tour. Hopefuly you will get Desmond, if you book it, as your rasta tour guide. He was a real sweetheart.

Our overall experience was 5 *****, and we would definitely recommend this resort to anyone.

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February 2008

Arrival in Montego Bay was ok. They send you through customs without alot of hassels. We stopped at a "pit" stop along the way where you could have a beer for $5 U.S. we found out you can get one at a little stop along the road for $1.25 !! When we reached the hotel we got our room fairly quickly. People were freindly but not happy. Rooms were great. We were in the 13th block on the 7th floor. We had a picture perfect view the room was well maintained. We did not have a bottle of rum or slippers and they never brought them. Elevators only worked 1/2 the time try doing over 100 steps 3-4 times a day. Restraunts. Well, this was their worst management!!!!!! The first night we went to The Grill Restraunt and we met 3 couples comming out upset they said we may as well turn around and leave because my husband would not be allowed in because he was wearing sandles as they were also.Sure enough they asked us to leave. I was dressed very well and so was my husband except for sandles. This restraunt was run by process of humiliation. We ended up going back and watching the manager pick and choose who he would let in and by the way if you were in you could see others with sandles on. LOTS of people left it ANGRY. The Don Palo restraunt was run by a true Jamiacan he should be the Hotel manager. If you had sandles and thats all you had he said no problem man come in and enjoy. The buffet was good but men were turned away if they were wearing dress shorts.

Bars were ok. The one bar had a piano that was never played. A guest one night played and sang so beautifully she drew a crowed. At 11:00 sharp (closing time) they asked her to stop and the next day it was covered with a blanket imagine that!

Beach was rocky. The beach to the left was a little nicer. but definately not soft and sandy.

One of our best memories was when we rented a driver for the day and went to Negril and Ocho Rios. If we had not done this we would have been completely dissapointed in Jamaica.

Conclusion we would NEVER go back to this Hotel again . I believe to truely experience the culture and goodness of the people of Jamaica you have to stay at another resort. The Bahi Principe was like a grand hotel. It was gorgeous that is no doubt. They spared no expense in building it. But however they spare expense at the cost of their guests, the tourists that visit them. The management of this grand facility is AWFUL they have soooo many rules it seems that their staff is always on guard. Anyone could come in and make it more friendly. The stress is sensed and the spirit of Jamaica does not exist, in my opinion at this hotel. I didnt want to write any review Im not that kind of person but I feel these things need to be said.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Jo-Anne ~ Saskatchewan

February 2008

Arrival – We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe February 1 – 8 and thoroughly enjoyed our stay!!! We booked through Transat and flew with SkyService there and back. We moved quickly through customs and were greeted with a Transat Rep who showed us to the bus shuttle to the hotel. We were on our way in no time and enjoyed the very informative bus driver. We made one quick "beer" stop along the way and made it to the resort in about an hour and a half total. We booked as Golden Club members which was great! We were checked in in an air conditioned room and were promoptly taken to our room by two very nice, friendly gals.

Rooms – Waiting on our king size bed, were two swans created from our beach towels, 2 bath robes and 2 sets of slippers. Also, there was a welcoming letter from the hotel, a small bottle of rum, and a well stocked mini fridge including beer, pop, water, Pringles, and chocolate bar. Our room was in building 14 and was spacious,comfy, great view and had a very private balcony. We enjoyed the resort rooster, whom we nicknamed "Rusty", who greeted us each and every day! When we arrived, we were informed by our Transat rep that none of the safes in the rooms were working, so that was disappointing! Carried our passports, wallets, etc. with us constantly – which was a pain!! I’m sure they have that problem fixed now as they were working on it when we were there.

Restaurants – Reservations for the 4 a la carte restaurants were already made for us and given to us at check in. We enjoyed all the different food and I’m sure there’s something for everyone — even the pickiest of eaters!!! Hey – I was just glad I didn’t have to cook for a week! Seemed to be a shortage of bananas, especially for bar drinks – maybe the time of year???

Bars – Drinks were good – service could have been better, but we found if we socialized a bit with the staff, they were more accomodating. Also, a tip didn’t hurt!! It was nice to see an air conditioned bar in the hotel, if you wanted to get away from the heat for a bit.

Beach and Pools – Huge pool, no problem finding chairs, or privacy if you wanted it. Beach in front of hotel wasn’t great, but the beach to the left of the hotel was fantastic – beautiful sand and the ocean was warm. Because of the size of the hotel and the grounds, it never seemed crowded, although there were lots of guests.

Grounds – Grounds were beautiful, but new. In a few years when the trees and plants mature, it’ll be even better. Employees were constantly working on the grounds.

Activities – We enjoyed the trio entertaining in the mornings at the Orchid restaurant and the band at the beach bar/restaurant in the afternoons. However, the evening entertainment is definitely lacking. The hotel really needs to improve on this.

Tours – We didn’t book any day structured tours, but we did rent a taxi (actually a mini van) for a day and went to Negril. Spent the afternoon on the beach – 7 miles of beautiful, white, sandy beach – did some shopping – then our driver took us to Rick’s Cafe to watch the cliff jumpers and see the sunset. We shared the taxi with another couple from Saskatchewan and two young lads from Italy. It was a very enjoyable, relaxed day. Left the hotel at 9:30 AM and returned at 9:00 PM. Thanks to our taxi driver, Peter, who was very informative and accomodating.

Conclusion – The mini shopping plaza at the hotel was very enjoyable, prices were reasonable. Some items were cheaper in the gift shop right inside the hotel, and others were a better bargain in the shops. Much nicer than going to a marketplace in one of the towns and getting pressured by the vendors! We found the hotel staff to be very accomodating and pleasant. When I started talking to one of the security gals, she said "you must be from Canada – you’re very friendly"! We found if we were pleasant and talkative to them, they would smile and open up to you. My husband and I enjoyed our trip to Jamaica and our stay at the Gran Bahia Principe. We would definitely go back and would not hesitate to book with this hotel again.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Valentina ~ Ancaster, Ontario

February 2008

Arrival – We arrived in Montego Bay airport on time but waited 45 minutes between the buses to get a ride to our resort. They put us on an oldest bus that couldn’t get up the hills. We stopped about a 1/2 hour outside of the airport at a "pit" stop where one of the workers that was on our bus picked up marjiuana and was dealing on our bus. The whole bus smelled of marijuana. Finally, we get to the resort and were treated with some champagne. I complained to the receptionist that I couldn’t believe that the resort didn’t have there own bus to pick us up. That I couldn’t believe that a 5 star resort didn’t have their own transportation and that my son had to smell marijuana the whole way from the airport. She just said she was sorry and that was that. The staff and the service at the resort are terrible.

Rooms – The rooms( I say rooms) because we moved 3 times within the 2 weeks, we stayed in were very nice but dirty. The shower doors did not close or there was no cable or the shower didn’t drain, there was dust everywhere….etc…We had to beg for towels. Room service didn’t come sometimes until 6:00 pm when I wanted to shower and go and get ready for dinner. The first room we were in was joined with another room. So if 2 families came they could go between the rooms. Our 4th night there a couple arrived and started smoking pot in the adjoining room. We had to put towels by door to keep the smell out. I complained the next day and they asked me what "do you want me to do about it?". I told her to tell them to smoke it outside on the balcony. So that night the same thing happened where we woke up at 3:00 a.m. smelling pot in our room. I called security. She came and knocked on there door but they wouldn’t answer so they moved us. Front desk asked us to move. I said why should I move, that I was staying 2 weeks and to ask the pot smokers to move. They said basically tough, live with it. So we decided to move because I had my son who was sick, exposed to pot everynight. I had called the doctor to come look at my son who had a high fever. I found out later that the doctor on call was a psychiatrist. She wanted to put my son on intervenous fluids. Thank God the nurse with her said that that was unnecessary and he should be fine with Tylenol. That service call cost me over $200.00 US. I give this resort 1 year and it will be falling apart. The hallways where the rooms were located were soooo dirty. If you use your safe you have to pay for it. They didn’t tell us that until the last day that we owed them $60.00 for safe charges. No where does it say that there is a charge for this. If you don’t pay you can’t get a voucher to leave.

Restaurants – TERRIBLE SERVICE, There were no bus boys to clear tables at the buffet. We would go get our food to find out someone had took our table. The staff was totally unfriendly and over-worked. The spanish guy who would sit us down at the buffet was a total idiot who who lead you to a table then leave you in the middle of the restaurant without giving you a table. You would have to get your own cutlery, wine, water, etc,,,, We got sick of the same food everyday for 2 weeks.

Bars – No reggae music whatsoever. After dinner it was so boring. The entertainment was terrible. We went back to our room and watched tv.

Beach and Pools – Pool was huge but not heated. It was freezing. For a 5 star it should have been heated. The beach on the nudisit side was nice. I saw one time in 2 weeks someone come around and ask you if you wanted a drink. They had a rustafarian walking up and down the beach selling pot.

Conclusion – I have been to may resorts all over the world but this was the worst i have ever been. This resort should be rated a 2 star. I will never go back to Jamaica ever again. the Spanish owner really needs to leave and let a Canadian run it. maybe the Jamaican people would be more friendlier and not so over-worked. Do not waste your money going there. you will be greatly disappointed.

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  Gran Bahia Principe   Rick and Sue ~ Georgetown, Ontario

January 2008

Arrival – Arrived Sat. Jan 19th for a week in the sun. We flew West Jet – no problem there. Bus trip was an hour and a bit, including a rest stop for a beer. It was daylight so we got to see the countryside. Check in was easy as we were given everything on the bus – room & towel cards, wrist bands, hotel map and things to do. One issue is they only give you 1 room card, and it’s difficult to get a second.

Rooms – Lovely modern spacious rooms, we had a king bed that was very comfortable. Power does go out as soon as you remove room card from slot, so you do need your own battery powered clock. Bathrooms had everything. Our house keeping was good, but the rest of our party of 9 felt different about theirs. We went several days without beer in our bar fridge, even after a phone call to front desk. A tip does not always guarantee service either.

Restaurants – The Orchid Buffet food was pretty good. Desserts were really good. There is a dinner dress code for men and strictly enforced by the maitre’d. Long pants are required, no exceptions. Men were frequently turned away to go change. Women can wear whatever they want – and they did. And remember to pack some closed toe shoes for the ala cartes. As for the Ala Cartes, the only openings offered to us were for 9:30 at night. All other times were prebooked by Gold Members. After MUCH arguing with the reservation staff, we were able to book the Don Pablo for 7:30 on our last night. When we got there, and all the time we were in there, the restaurant remained half full. And every night it seemed the restaurants were half empty every time we walked by them. Because we were allowed 3 ala cartes, we were told they would try to squeeze us into a few other ones. That never happened and we never heard from them either.

Bars – Service was slow and most were singley managed. At a few of the pool and beach bars, it was a daily occurrence to have the beer run dry at mid day. We found our group having to move locations just to find a bar that had beer. When asked “when’s the beer coming”, they’d say "don’t know, maybe tomorrow". And then there are issues with ice cold drinks. There’s either no blender, a broken blender, or just one tiny one that just barely accomplishes the job of making a frozen margarita. The irony is that there was more "weed" available than there was beer.

Beach and Pools – There are 2 beaches, with the lagoon side the best. The bar, right beside the nude beach, was the most infuriating place to place an order. Long line ups, slow service and always ran out of beer mid day. The pools were nice, with the main pool bar always well stocked with beer.

Activities – The one activity we took note of, was the beer drinking contests they had. Somehow there was always lots of beer for that. Maybe that was because it was beside the main pool bar.

Tours – We went off the resort one day to Ochos Rios, taking a bus/taxi that cost us $20.00 each. The driver was good and took us where ever we wanted to go. We saw the craft market – high pressure sales there with everyone selling the same stuff, drove up Fern Gully (wow), went thru St.Ann’s (wow again). Suggest not driving yourself, as they drive like the English and the streets can be very crowded.

Conclusion – If we were a gold member and didn’t drink, we probably would have had a different opinion. However the staff wasn’t overall friendly or accommodating. No beer, broken blenders, watery drinks and no ala carte availability does not equal 4/5 Star to us. Compared to our previous vacations in Mexico, Panama and Dominican, we paid the most for this vacation but got the least satisfaction. We were there for a wedding (which had its own issues), and if not for that, we probably would have taken the resort up on their offer of 1 night stay free in Negril (our hotel had been overbooked). Do we recommend the Gran Bahia in Jamaica? NO.

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January 2008

This was my 8th trip to Jamaica and this was by far the worst place I have ever stayed. The “beach” is man made and might as well be considered a gravel pit. We were switched after 2 nights from the 22 block of rooms to the 16 block. The power went out in our room and after 3 hours of maintenance working on it, they suggested we call the front desk and tell them we needed another room because they could not find out what the problem was. After we switched rooms, I could tell that there was quite a difference from one wing to the other. The 16 block room had a slightly bigger balcony and seemed a lot cleaner. The staff was not your typical happy Jamaican employee. They just didn’t seem happy to be working there. When we arrived at 4:30 p.m. they told us that if we wanted to make reservations at the ala carte restaurants we should do so because they close at 5:00 p.m. my wife went over and told us that because we were only going to be there for 5 nights we could only pick 2 but they were all booked up. After insisting to them that this was not fair, she told us that we could eat at don Pablo but only at 6:30 p.m. so off we went and the restaurant has seating for about 60 people. There was maybe 20 in the restaurant. My wife and I both ordered the vegetable soup and the 5 pepper filet with lionize potatoes. The vegetable soup tasted like chicken broth, the steak was pretty good, and the potatoes was a small spoonful of mashed potatoes. When we ordered the flambé for desert we were told they were out of it. Every night after that I looked at the other restaurants and they too were half full at best. As far as drinks around the pool, I am used to the plastic cups, but the ones they use are just slightly larger than a Dixie cup. Any 5 star resort I have ever been to in Jamaica has had premium liquor, this one has it but at an additional charge. If you want better service than a blank stare, the bar staff expects tips, which I do not feel is right at all. If you don’t like a lot of steps, this is certainly not the place for you at all. I would rank the food 2/5 rooms 3/5 pool 3/5 entertainment 3/5 staff 2/5 beach 1/5. overall I give it 3 stars at best.

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December 2007

We just returned from Jamaica last night, so with things fresh in my mind I can give my review. We (my husband and I 50 – 60 and two daughters 25, 21) spent out first Xmas away on a beach vacation. Air Canada Vacations was a pleasant surprise. The flight was excellent with room to move and individual TV’s at each seat made the trip seem to go so fast. The food was good too. Buses were there to pick us up and we went straight to our hotel with one pit stop to use the restroom and grab a beer if wanted. The people were all very friendly but everyone was looking to be tipped and were not shy to ask for one.

ROOMS: They were very nice. Not stocked well. Had to ask for more towels, beg for faceclothes, etc. They never seemed to finish a job or complete a request. We are not demanding people at all, but were starting to get aggrevated with some of the attitude from the staff. We had a leak in the roof of the shower coming from the light and called about it with no one ever showing up. The morning we left we had to meet the bus for 8:30am and our toilet started overflowing before we could get our showers started. I called the front desk at 7am and no one ever showed up to help. We were lucky that we were able to use our daughters room to get ready,as there was water coming out of the bathroom and into the room by this point.

Restaurants. OK. Nothing like the other Bahia resorts that we have stayed at. Dominican Rep ( Punta Cana) Mayan Riviera (Acumal) Dominican was by far the best for everything!!! Service was slow… They would fill a glass of wine when you arrived and never come back to offer you more. Didn’t get offered after dinner drinks at any of the restaurants. It seemed like we had to ask for things to get them, but they were included in the trip and should have been plentiful like at the other Bahai resorts. Food was nothing really special. The a la carte restaurants looked very nice, but again the service was lacking. The Buffet was OK but they didn’t change it up like the other resorts. Again, you had to look for a staff member to get a drink or coffee and they were often chatting with each other instead of doing their jobs properly.In all, we didn’t starve and ate pretty well.

BEACH: There were different areas to go to and it was really nice. The water was great. The pool was big but cool. Lots of chairs at both and we didn’t have trouble getting a hut of chairs most times. No real bar at the beach but there was a snack restaurant that served drinks.

NIGHT LIFE: Was pretty much nothing!!! A small band or singer would play from maybe 6pm to 11pm up at the lounge area. My girls went to the disco (not very exciting) and the kareoke bar (they made their own fun) Neither is very big or too busy. There is a small casino and that was never busy. They had some small shows in the outdoor shopping plaza area, but they were really SAD. This is not the place to go is you are looking to party!!! Everything seems to shut down by 11pm.

The prices for the internet were very expensive!!! We had emailed before going ( OCT.)asking for oceanview rooms and were not too happy. If going, ask for the 17 or 18 buildings overlooking the pool and you will have a good ocean view with it.

Overall, our Xmas trip was a good one. We would not go back to this Bahia resort, but would go to others as we have always been happy with them. It looks like a 41/2 or 5 star but as far as everything else it should be a 4. We will try Negril next time we visit . Jamaica is beautiful and we will try our luck again!!! NO PROBLEM MON….

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Gran Bahia Principe Karen ~ Toronto, Canada

November 2007

I’m in my 30’s. I travelled with my parents on this trip. We flew with Air Transat. The seats in this plane are small! Food is absolutely terrible – probably the worst I’ve ever had. Other than that, the flight was fine. Check-in at airport was fine. We are Jamaicans, so our check-in was very fast in the Jamaican Nationals line, but the tourist lines were extremely long and slow.

Rooms – The rooms were pretty and kept very clean. The bathrooms are particularly nice – big jacuzzi. There were a few annoyances along the way – air conditioner didn’t work for the first 2 days, toilet seat was loose, bathroom shaving/make-up mirror was coming off the hinge. We complained & the repairs were done eventually, but it did take a few complaints before the problems were fixed. I’m not sure why the rooms are called suites. They were regular sized hotel rooms with 1 or 2 beds, a TV, little sitting table. We were in building #18 with a view of the pool & the beach. Great views.

Restaurants – We went to all of the restaunts. Mixed reviews. We were there for 2 weeks & you can go to each restaurant 1/week, but we only went to each restaurant once. As I said earlier, we are Jamaicans, so one of our major complaints was the lack of Jamaican food at this hotel. The buffet restaurant had 1 or 2 Jamaican food items at each meal & Wednesdays were Jamaica night, so they did have lots at dinner & the beach grill had jerk chicken, but that was it for Jamaican food. We were disappointed. However, the overall quality of the food was good – better than other all-inclusives I’ve been to in other Caribbean countries. Buffet was big – good selection of European/North American food. The beach grill was good – nice relaxed atmosphere. We drank and played dominos there every day. A steel band performs for a couple hours from Wednesdays – Sundays. The a la carte restaurants were okay: Fish Restaurant – again, disappointed particularly because Jamaica has amazing fish & seafood, but this restaurant was not at all representative of Jamaican fish. I can’t understand why this restaurant couldn’t have highlighted some of our amazing seafood. We had the mixed grill fish plate which was some lackluster fillets. The buffet at this restaurant for appetizers was good though. The Grill Restaurant also had a good buffet. My parents had the salmon which was okay. My crab cake was awful! The Japanese restaurant was okay – it was visually impressive as the cook prepares the food in front of you on a giant grill in private rooms for 10 people each. The actual taste of the food was just all right – lots of teriyaki sauce on everything. The gourmet restaurant was my favourite. The steak & lobster was very good, though my parents were not impressed with their duck – small, sliced & lukewarm. The buffet restaurant had a crazy rule that no food could be removed. I’ve not experienced this at other resorts. I was sick for a night (not food related!) & my parents weren’t allowed to bring me anything from the restaurant. I’ve stayed at other resorts where they pack you lunches if you’re going away & will make up a dinner for a sick guest.

Beach and Pools – The beach was nice – not as nice as Negril, but quite nice. As others have said, the beach to the left of the hotel is much nicer than the central beach. The water was a great temperature. We had lots of choice of chairs. There’s a nude beach at the very far end behind a fence. I didn’t even know it was there until the last day.

Tours – We only went on one of the tours – we did the Negril package which includes use of Margaritaville beach, a little bit of shopping, watching cliff divers at Rick’s Cafe. We had a great time. Negril beach is beautiful.

Conclusion- This hotel is absolutely beautiful, but for my taste, it was a little too big. I’d prefer a smaller hotel with more personal service. I think this hotel is suited for couples who want to spend a lot of time at the hotel. As a single person, I felt a little isolated. There is nothing outside of the hotel. Because there’s nothing outside of the hotel, you’re at the mercy of the hotel-endorsed taxi drivers if you want to go anywhere and their rates are far higher than the local drivers. There are a lot of minor irritants, i.e. the repairs that were very slow. Also, as some people mentioned – BRING YOUR OWN ALARM CLOCK! As someone said, all electricity stops when you remove your key from the door every time you leave the room, so your clock never tells the right time. Besides that, our clock really did keep bad time..and there were several tiny power outages (a few seconds to a few minutes) while we were there, so bring a wind-up/battery operated clock. Another irritant were the extra costs that seemed to be everywhere i.e. $5/day to use the in-room safe that has been free at 2 star hotels I’ve stayed at!, the internet was 10x the price of what you can use it for in town, the money exchange rate at the hotel was far lower than it was in town.

Our biggest complaint as Jamaicans, was the lack of Jamaican food & recognition/celebration of Jamaican culture. This resort has the feel of a resort in Cuba/Dominican – if you come to this resort & never leave the hotel, you will not have experienced anything Jamaican! A sad example of this was the last day we were there – October 15th. This is a national holiday in Jamaica – Heroes Day – banks are closed, all businesses are closed, celebrations all over the island. Yet, you’d never know at the hotel. There was no mention of this at the hotel. Only the Jamaican staff ever talked about it. That’s shameful! All-in-all, I did enjoy most of my stay here. I’m coming back to Jamaica in a few months & I’ll be staying in MoBay, closer to the ‘action’, but I would still recommend the Gran Bahia. The staff are very friendly and really take care of you. The hotel is luxurious. It was the nicest resort I’ve ever stayed in. Jamaica is a beautiful country, but I recommend getting out and exploring the island a little!

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Gran Bahia Principe Stephanie ~ Toronto

October 2007

I stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe in Jamaica Sept 30 – Oct 7th for my Honeymoon. We’re Canadians in in our late-20’s, just looking for a relaxed vacation. We went with Air Transat.

We loved our stay and would recommend this resort for *almost* everyone. Exceptions: teenagers might be bored, and groups of single people might feel out of place since it’s mostly couples.

I have never been to a 5 star before this trip, so not sure if it’s a "true" 5 star or not … however have done many 3.5 – 4.5 star all-inclusive resorts in the Carribean/Mexico and this was much nicer than all of them. Resort was absolutly stunning. The pictures on the website are not lying! Everything was new and beautiful, and it was HUGE.

We did the golden package and thought it was worth the extra money. Some extras: 1 more dinner reservation, free internet access in the Club Room, easy check-in/check-out, later check-out, robes, slippers, bottle of rum, etc.

Resort has 2 small beaches. We only used the rocky one in front of the hotel to see the fish (you can feed them bread). We spent most of our time at the sandy beach to the left. I liked the temperature of the water and that you could go pretty far out and still be able to stand up. Water was cleaner than some other places I went to (less seaweed floating around than Punta Cana) but was much too short to beach-walk.

There are some locals that come to the beach. I thought they were friendly (especially "Bruce Willis" with the starfish on his head) and didn’t pressure us to buy anything. The people that work at the resort are friendly as well. Everything is "no problem mon". Yes, sometimes service isn’t quick, but remember you are on vacation and should be taking advantage of the laid-back atmosphere!

I recommend asking to be in blocks 17 or 18. The other blocks either have restaurants underneath or are close to the lobby (there’s usually music coming from there so if you want to go to bed early it’s harder).

Yes there is a nude beach at the end of the resort beside the beach bar, however when I took a peek noone was there. It’s blocked off by a wooden wall anyway and doubt it would bother anyone.

We went to every restaurant. Book them soon after you arrive because when we were there not every restaurant was open every night. Main buffet was called Orchid – lots to choose from and there’s always something even a picky person would eat, but many items repeat every day so if I was there for 2 weeks I might get bored. I liked Mikado (Japanese) the best, mostly because it was entertaining. Close second was Don Pablo because my meal was very tasty. The presentation of the food is great – we took pictures of almost every plate. All restaurants have antipasto buffets and we were full after every meal, so not sure why some people think it’s not enough food.

My only complaint is something that I guessed would be the case before arriving, and that is that the resort is too "spanish" for Jamaica. The food, music, the managers from Spain … kinda made it seem more like the Dominican or Cuba. One of the workers said he thought their culture was being stamped out. I would like management to know that we chose to go to Jamaica for a reason … if I wanted a Spanish holiday I would have gone to the Dominican again. Please embrace the culture more!

Dunns River Falls – Very beautiful but could also be dangerous if you’re not careful! Bring water shoes or buy them there. The gift shop in the hotel has them and I think it was the same cost as the rental. Water shoes are also necessary for the rocky beach at the hotel, so they are not wasted. Also, if you want to avoid most of the vendors (who are really pushy) exit the same way you enter and don’t go to the right. Bring a disposible water-proof camera unless you don’t mind the guides holding your camera for you.

SIDE NOTE: I have never gone on vacation without getting the usual "tourista" (diarrhea). I took Dukoral vaccine before this trip, and did not get sick at all! Not sure if it was only the vaccine that helped or other factors too, but I recommend it if you’re like me. Insurance won’t cover it but in my case it was worth the $.

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October 2007

We have just returned from a 1 week vacation from this resort and I can honestly say that I would not recommend this resort to anyone. The hotel was clean and the food was good, BUT when I travel to a specific country, in this case Jamaica, I would like to feel that I am actually in that said country. From the moment that we got off the bus there was no "Jamaican flavour". The music when we arrived, along with the dancers was Spanish. Excuse me! The reggae was totally non existent. The entertainment was not something to write home about.

The beach, which is very important to me when I travel was awful. Very stony, not sandy and very hard on the feet. There was also a lot of seaweed in the beach area and also very close to shore. The beach facilities (washrooms) were not working while we were there and it can take 15 minutes to walk to the nearest restroom. The distance between beach bars was far. If you wanted to be near the snack bar, there wasn’t a nice beach area. If you wanted a nice beach area, there was no bar or snack area. Not well thought out at all.

As for the tension between the management and the staff – well, the resort chain which is Spanish is trying to do in Jamaica what they have done elsewhere at their resorts and it can’t be done the same way. The Jamaican staff feel as though their culture is being taken away from them at this resort. And in my view it certainly is. If I closed my eyes, I could very easily think I was in Mexico at a resort. Heck, I didn’t have to close my eyes! Management greeted guests is an "Ola" every morning at the buffet. Excuse me again, but I think it should be been an "Irie" instead.

I’ll not recommend this resort, nor will I visit it again.

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Gran Bahia Principe Tony and Lucia ~ Ont. Canada

September 2007

We are a couple in our late forties, and go on vacation three or four times a year, usually to Cuba for a relaxing beach vacation or to Europe visiting family. We appreciate the “research” we can do on Debbie’s, so I think it is time we put our own thoughts in too. We went to Jamaica early September, just after hurricane Dean. We had to go on a certain date so there was only Mexico and Jamaica to choose from. Gran Bahia was on for a reasonable price with Royal Golden club by air transat, so we booked right away. We knew it is a new resort so not everything would be perfect, and it showed in the reviews, there were good and bad ones, but after we booked most of them were not good. I was worried but we went anyway, and had a very good and relaxing vacation. Arrival at Sangster airport was fast as long as you had filled in the papers (visa?) provided on the plane. We had a small bus with three other people, the first 20 minutes or so were very bumpy because of road works, but after that, a smooth and fast ride. For check in we were rushed to the Golden Club and was friendly and fast. It is a very beautiful five storey hotel, with 750 rooms. We were in building 18 on the fourth floor. Nice room with view of the pool and ocean. Big balcony, nice furniture and a king size four poster bed. Big marble bathroom with shower and tub, and separate toilet. The bathroom was not really finished nicely, with writings on the tiles, paint spatters on the marble and a loose drain cover in the shower. It was cleaned every day by our maid, and she left plenty of clean towels and towel art. The minibar was filled up and there was a coffee maker with coffee and thee. There were two bath robes and two pair of slippers. The only problem we had with our room was that the patio door didn’t lock, but on the fourth floor it wasn’t a big problem and our mini bar was only filled up twice during our stay. We like to sit on the balcony in the evening with a nice cold beer, so after we drank everything we phoned Golden club for a fill up, and they took care of it right away. It is a big resort, so the first night in the dark it looked like it would go on forever, but after a day you know your way around. The elevators were working, but by the time we left a few of them were out of order. Also the carpeting in the hallways didn’t seem to fit. We had nothing stolen from our room or safe.

The food was really good, especially in the a la carte restaurants we were impressed (used to Cuba food). With Golden Club you could go to four restaurants and we booked them all four the next morning. At The Mikado (Japanese) we had a reservation at nine and had to wait a very long time before the chef started cooking. There was a family with small kids on our cook island/table and they had trouble keeping the kids happy. After the chef started, we had the feeling we were rushed through our meal. At the Fisherman’s Place we had buffet style appetizers and fish for dinner; at The Grill we had beef and surf and turf and again appetizers in buffet style and at Don Pablo beef and chicken. All restaurants, including the Orchid buffet, had very tasty and nicely decorated desserts. The restaurants were all very good, with very friendly waiters and a nice presentation of all the food. Beautiful carvings out of fruit, for decoration. At the Orchid buffet there was lots of food to choose from, fish, beef, pork, chicken, pizza etc. All kinds of salads. Most days the bread was right from the oven and eggs made to order and even champagne to make mimosas or vodka to make Bloody Marys. Sometimes you had to wait a few minutes for a clean table. The waiters here work very hard to get all the dirty tables cleaned and rush everything on big heavy trays to the back. I think they could use some extra hands here. There was also a snack bar at the beach next to the watersports, and that was also buffet style, with very good burgers and chicken. Service for drinks was very slow here, until the manager showed up.

The beach in front of the hotel was very hard on the feet and getting in the water without water shoes was a case of walking very carefully. But the beach on the left side was sandy but not as soft and white as we are used to in Cuba. In the bend it was shallow and sandy, very nice for kids. All the way on the end of the left beach there is a nude beach. It is fenced of from the main beach. Because of hurricane Dean they were making repairs on the fence and the beach during our stay, and some people had a hard time waiting until it was done, and went nude on the main beach. We were mainly on the left beach and always had chairs and some shade, in the afternoon the beach was deserted. On the end of the left beach there was a coral reef were you could snorkel, and we saw a lot of colorful fish. You are not supposed to walk on the coral, but some people do and were called off by the life guards. They try to protect the coral as much as possible they say, but there is a sand sucking machine right in front of the coral, collecting sand for the beach. And locals were walking on the coral, poking in it for shells, fish and octopus every day. We were surprised that there was so much life in the water after all the work that was done; we even did see barracudas and a snake! Also in front of the hotel, beside the gazebo, you could snorkel and between the rocks there was lots of fish and anemones. There was also some coral. We had our own snorkels but I think you can get them at the watersports centre too. There was also a beach bar at the end of the beach beside the nude beach, but it ran out of rum a few times. There were lots of workers on the beach, raking and cleaning and making repair on the palapa’s and placing new ones.

They were still working on the beach, bringing in new sand and planting trees etc. Most people spent the day at the pool, which was very big, with some whirlpools in it, lots of chairs, but not enough parasols. It was really hot around the pool. I believe there were two pool bars. The weather was very hot in the morning, but most days the wind would pick up around lunch time, and it would be sun and cloud in the afternoon. Twice during the week we had big thunderstorms rolling through around lunch time. Workers were very friendly, especially after a “good morning or good afternoon”, but not all guest where that friendly to the workers. Service is not always fast but it will come. We didn’t see a lot of tipping, maybe because there were a lot of South-Europeans; they are not used to tipping? The maid we gave every day one dollar and a small gift and she really appreciated it. We had big trouble to get money exchanged in small bills for tipping and ended up with changing dollars for small change in Jamaican dollars. We tipped in the a la carte restaurants two or three dollars and at the buffet one dollar. In the evenings were mostly at de outside lobby bar, which had a band playing until ten o’clock. There is also an inside lobby bar with A.C. There was a little shopping square at the resort with some souvenirs, clothing, jewelry and photo shops. Here are also the disco, karaoke and another snack bar. We did not go there so I can’t comment on them. This is also where the entertainment team had their shows. Did not went to see them.

In the lobby are also a gift shop and a big indoor theater.

Because we were there to relax we did not do any excursions, except for a shopping morning in Ocho Rios. $15.00 p.p. We were brought to a shopping square with little stores, all with the same things to sell as in the resort. I think all the stores were in Asian hands, with some Jamaican clerks, who would follow you around. After that we went to Ocho Rios Main Street, which has a lot of stores, but they all sell the same stuff. At the crafts market we were swarmed by sellers who are trying to get you to their stalls. They hardly take no for an answer and one even spitted in front of me, or put stuff in your hands and refuse to take it back. We where willing to spend some money here on wood carvings and paintings, but didn’t know how fast to get out of there. On the street you are constant asked for money or if you needed a cab ride, weed/smoke or hair braids. We spent the rest of our time in a nice little upstairs bar, called “the tree house”, and didn’t bother to see more of the town.

The Bahia is a Spanish owned resort, and almost all managers are Spanish. They have a hard time, getting a lot of the Jamaican employees motivated to do a good job. A half year after opening you should think most of them know what to do and what is expected from them. They seem not to be happy with their jobs or the resort. The week we were there, a delegation of the resort owners were there for inspection and all the Spanish managers were on high alert. We are told that in November they will start building on to the right side of the hotel. There will be 600 rooms more. Also there will be a golf course build on the other side of the road next year. With Golden Club we could use the internet for free for half an our per day, and could keep our room a few hours longer after check-out time for free. We also got a few nights a turn-down service. We e-mailed home and did not use the phone which was expensive. We liked that there was a non-smoking policy and air conditioning in all the restaurants and bars. Overall we had a very good relaxing vacation, which was over before we knew it, but I think we will not return. There are other places where we haven’t been.

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Gran Bahia Principe Julie

August 2007

We arrived Aug 12/07 at the Bahia Principe with an open mind, after reading reviews that seem to either love or hate this resort. On arrival, we met several couples that were just departing, but were upset with their holiday. The elevators were not working and had not all week, issues with lack of clean beach towels let alone room towels, food, leaky ceiling etc.

This is a huge resort, so the reception level, is really level 3 – a 2 flight walk up or down stairs; 50 steps I believe, to the restaurants and pool. Elevators or lack of them, do become an issue.

My husband and I have had a hard time deciding our ratings on this hotel. This is the first time that we both have come away saying, don’t need to come back here.

the resort is beautiful, the rooms are lovely and roomy, complete with a king bed, mini fridge, table for 2 and couch, patio furniture on the balconey, jaccuzi, and in room safe (which you pay for if you do not do the upgrade). If you do the upgrade, the mini fridge is supposed to be stocked daily with 2 beers, 4 pops and 2 waters, or you can ask for something different. Our fridge was only stocked 2x even though we had paid for the upgrade and for 3 days we never received water even after several requests. There are no screens on the patio doors, so don’t leave the door open or your room will be inundated with mosquitoes.

Unfortunately, one feels the tension between the Spanish management and the staff. This resort has not been open long but already there have been many workers let go and replaced by Spanish "interns" who it is our understanding, are not paid. On the Wednesday that we were there, management let go 25 maintenance workers. You just can’t do that when you have a property that is as large as this. We had a problem with our toilet backing up. Also heard that there is some sabbotage going on because of the way the workers are treated. So one thinks in a resort that is 8 months old, toilets should be working properly and elevators should be functioning. On the 3rd day of our trip, when the elevators were finally working, we walked past an elevator that had been shut down again and maintenance was removing pails of small stones from under the elevator. Not sure why tiny stones would be in an elevator shaft bottom, but one wonders.

Pool: again, we think this reflects on the problem with management and maintenance. The pool was sparkly and clear when we arrived. Thursday, the day after the layoff, there were loads of wormy like critters at the pool, either dying or on the bottom of the pool dead. I mean a lot. We never saw anyone clean the pool Thursday and Friday, the pool was in exactly the same condition.

Food: Had read mixed reviews, so here is ours. Buffet: so much variety, right down to french fries and chicken nuggets that we just don’t get how anyone can go hungry. I have a food allergy and even though my allergen was in many dishes, I was always able to find something to eat. Staff were extremely helpful in letting me know what I could and could not eat. They even watched out for me when I was selecting.

a la cartes. We had a great meal at the Japanese restaurant, the Mikado. Since we had had a fantastic meal at the Don Pablo one evening, we wanted to go back for our anniversary and they allowed us to do that. On the first occasion, both my husband and I ordered the surf and turf; the steak was fork tender and the lobster tails incredible. On the 2nd try, I ordered the same thing and my husband ordered a filet. Both steaks were tough and my lobster tails were so mushy that I couldn’t eat them. One asks themselves how there can be such an extreme in 2 days.

We attended a meeting held by the manager of the resort for guests on the Saturday re the hurricaine. The manager of the resort said that the buffet and The Grill restaurant would be open at 11 a.m. for lunch (they normally open at 12 noon.) Since we were being evacuated, we wanted to get something to eat, but both restaurants were closed and we were told by staff they they would open at noon. One does not like to be lied to

The staff are amazing, the setting is beautiful. However, management has to change their attitude, so unfortunately, we could only average this as a 3.5*.

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Gran Bahia Principe Julie

May 2007

We are a young couple (20’s) just looking for a nice holiday. We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe from May 6-13. We upgraded to the Royal Golden package, and stayed in room 17420. We had a great time and would go back definitely.

The rooms are perfect. They are spacious and very clean. The furniture is very nice, and the balcony is large and nice to relax on. The room was cleaned daily and each night the lady would come and give fresh towels and turn down our bed for us, which was unnecessary but nice (it’s a part of the royal golden package).

Staff at the resort are very friendly. They are always reminding you of their entertainment show each night (which isn’t the greatest but it’s something to do). Kerry is great, she is one of the entertainment girls.

The pool is absolutely massive. It is really nice and clean. They say it is closed at night, but you may swim in it after the lifeguard leaves at your own risk. It is sometimes nice for a late night swim. The pool seems to be more crowded than the beach. There are activities around the pool all day, and the towel place where you can exchange your beach towels for fresh ones is located down there too. They have lots of chairs at the pool, but it seems that during peak time you would have to get there early if you wanted an umbrella.

The beach right near the pool is rocky. It isn’t bad though if you don’t mind the rocks, wear flip flops. If you go to the left of that beach further down, there is a sandier beach. It is really nice, and neither of the beaches are too crowded. Down at the sandy beach there is a local in the water named Bruce, he comes every day and hangs out in the water and sells shells and stuff like that. He is very friendly and will not hassle you to buy anything, talk to him if you get a chance. Be careful as it is soo hot here and easy to be sun burnt in the water and laying in the sun, wear strong sun protection!!

The buffet has so much good food. Every night is a different theme. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were all good here. If you miss breakfast or lunch, you can always go to the snack place/bar by the sandy beach and get food too. It is pretty good there too. It is open 11-7 daily. Because we had the royal golden package, all 4 of our a la cartes were booked for us already. They are not very good and we would have rather just gone to the buffet, but they are nice to have a quiet dinner, its just that the food is small portions and very fancy. We only tried three of the a la cartes (Don Pablo (french food), El Pescador (seafood) and The Grill) The last a la carte was Japanese but we opted just to go to the buffet that night.

The entertainment at this resort is not anything special. They do try though. We went to the shows, and after they invite you to come to Pueblo Principe, which is where the shops and the disco is. You can get drinks here and sit outside for some live entertainment, but the disco never packs up with people so we never went to the disco. There are many places to buy souvenirs in the Pueblo Principe, but they are overpriced and sometimes the workers in there (not employed by the resort) will try to get you to do things for them like order them food or they want to sell you other stuff like from town. You would be better off to go into the towns on an excursion and get souvenirs there, because they bargain with you there. It is safe to go into town with a guide, we went with another couple we met there, and they hired a taxi driver and he escorted us around (his name is Mike his number is 876 – 866 – 5437 or 876 – 917 – 3481.) He will take you whereever you want to go, and if there is a group of you it is worth it. It was $80US to go to ochos rios for the day which when you split it among 4 or 5 people its not that bad, he can take you to Dunns river falls, or this place where you go on a tube down this river in a forest. It turns out to be a lot cheaper than the tours offered by the resort if you are going as a group. We went out with some other people at night to Margaritaville in Ochos rios. The girls we went with hired a taxi and two guys accompany you into the club and stay with you. It is very safe if you stay with them. We were glad that we did that, because we were hesitant at first.

Overall, we had a great time. We do not have any complaints and would go back in a heart beat. The grounds are AMAZING, the staff is super nice, the drinks were good, the food was good, the weather was good…no problems! Try this resort!

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Gran Bahia Principe Michelle

May 2007

The overall trip was good.

After coming back from the beach one day we came back to our room to pickup some money and go the pharmacy to pickup some Q-tips. Its only when we got to pay for our merchandise that I noticed that my wallet was empty. My friend opened her wallet to notice the same thing. We talked to our Transat Holiday representative (Lori-Anne) and at that time made a report of the stolen money.

Security came to our room and took a reading of all the cards that had been swiped through our door and they only other card was from the cleaning lady. She had been to our room twice that day. They decided to do an investigation and changed us to another room.

The next morning we meet with the hotel manager. Well this guy was a total JERK!!! he didn’t believe us and nobody had actually seen the made take the money, so we had no proof. After 45 min or arguing, he finally told us that there was no way that he could refund us but he was willing to upgrade us into the Gold Circle and either give us a free massage or free excursion. (there’s a lot more to this meeting but it would be too long to explain it all)

Nice rooms. We were upgraded because of the money stolen in our room safe. The 2nd room smelled since they had just repainted the washroom. After about 1/2 hour of waiting we were transferred to another room. This was on the 5th floor and nothing was working. No hot water, couldn’t flush the toilet, no air conditioning and the TV was defective. They finally for the 4th time changed us to our final room on the 4th floor.

Terrible!!! If your a beach person you won’t be impressed with this resort. The beach in front of the resort is man made and you actually have to wear sandals otherwise you will hurt your feet. There is another beach on the side of the resort which is much better, a lot of weedy spots, so nothing like Negril.

The pool is great. Its big and there’s plenty of chairs for everyone.


The Fisherman (Seafood):
Was terrible. I had the filet mignon and my friend had the shrimp. Don’t waist your time trying this restaurant out.

The Grill:
We both had the filet mignon and this time it was good.

The Japanese:
Very good

The Gourmet (French):
Excellent!!! This one you cannot miss Seafood, Steak and Pasta are awesome.

Buffet: The food is excellent.

Jerk chicken, Lamb, pasta with lobster, shrimp, scallops and breakfast… wow all very good (best croissant and omelets ever). I’m not a pizza person but they had 10 different pizza every day.

Beach grill:  good for burgers, hot dogs but they also have lamb chops, pasta and the famous jerk chicken. Again very good.

Wow I was impress. They are very friendly and flirty. Don’t have any negative comments on this one.


Catamaran and River Duns: Not worth $87us. Keep your money. You take a shuttle from you hotel to this beach in Ocho Rio. We had to wait at least an hour. This is only so the people have to eat and shop there. After 10 min on the Catamaran, we did 30 min of snorkeling and there was nothing to see there. (I’ve done a lot of snorking before and this was the worst place) We are then taken to the river duns. The beach there a dead fish all over so it smells terrible. The film the whole thing to only try to get you and buy the $40us video. The falls itself is not very impressive nor big. Some people were happy about the excursions but if you’ve ever been on any other catamaran, snorking excursions before you will be very disappointed about this tour.

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Gran Bahia Principe Catherine and David ~ Pierrefonds, Canada

May 2007

April 21 – April 28, 2007
My husband and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this year and decided to do so by taking our first vacation away without our kids. Since this is not something we do very often, we were looking for the ideal romantic getaway spot. Jamaica has always been a "must see" for us and therefore our search began there.

I am a big fan of the travel review websites and must admit that I was at first very hesitant to even look at the Gran Bahia due to many negative reviews we had read. The hotel is a brand new one and therefore, as with all new resorts, had a few glitches to work out at the start. As time got closer to our departure date, I began to see more and more favorable reviews and decided to take a chance and go for it. The hotel website really grabbed our attention and photos all looked so perfect. After having seen the pictures and then traveled there, I can first of all say that the pictures are exactly true to form. Rooms, restaurants and resort are exactly as shown on the site. Long story short – we did not regret taking that chance one bit! Absolutely gorgeous resort.

Hotel suites are large and beds are quite comfortable. Balconies are large and are well covered so that if you do get any rain, you can still be outside (which we did one day we were there). Bathrooms were also spacious and offered a separate Jacuzzi tub on one side and a shower on the other. This was a great thing for us as my husband sometimes wanted a quick shower before dinner whereas I wanted the long soak. We could both do our thing without having to wait on the other to finish. Rooms are kept quite clean however one must remember that we are not in Canada anymore and therefore the standards are a bit lower there than they are here. Towels were changed every day and mini bar was restocked daily even if you had only taken one drink from it.

Can not say enough about the buffet restaurant…never before have I had such delicious food from the Buffet of an all inclusive resort. Different theme each night and every one of them was just superb. If you like Italian, try the Eggplant Parmesan – best I’ve ever eaten. Steak is also done to perfection as is the Jerk chicken. Always a huge variety of choices to pick from and they never seem to run out of anything. Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner, you can not go wrong at the Orchid Buffet. Only comment is that the house wine leaves a lot to be desired so you may want to wait for the "a la carte" restaurants to have your wine. Servers are very attentive there as well.

As for the "A la Carte" restaurants, book early as they fill up so quickly. We had to wait until 10:00 pm one night as that was the only time available all week at the Seafood Restaurant. Food there was good but they tend to be on the "French cuisine" portion sizes so some of the men may not find they have had enough. Food at the seafood and gourmet restaurants was great however I do not recommend the Grill as we were very disappointed there. Service was not as good and they rush you out a bit to fast for my liking. Did not try the Japanese but heard several say that it was quite good as well. These restaurants all offer the chance to buy bottles of wine however the selection is limited.

Public Relations was just Excellent there – say hi to Kayan for us if you see her as she truly added a lot to our trip. Always eager to help, remembered our names from day one and was just a really friendly lady. She definitely deserves to be recognized.

Air Transat Reps (Lorianne and Melissa) were great as well. Very open to comments on excursions and ready to help if you had any problems. Thanks to both of them as well.

Met the coolest bartender at the lobby bar (Morris was his name) and just really enjoyed chatting with him about life in general as well as the history of Jamaica. Hard working guy who truly is in the right business for him – makes everyone feel comfortable and makes great drinks as well. Thanks for all those Irish coffees. Keep working on the bar tricks for our next visit!

As everyone has said, if you are looking for the perfect beach, this is not your spot. If you are there just to lie by the ocean and enjoy the sound of the waves like we were then there is no problem at all. Water is warm and clear but beach is a bit rocky.

Huge! Water is always warm and pool is always kept extremely clean. Enjoyed a lot of time there and always had something to do while there. Animators are constantly looking for people to join in on various activities. Met one of the animators (David) and must say he is a real gas – lots of fun and very friendly.

Dunns River Falls is a must! Great experience at a reasonable price.

Dolphin Cove was very overpriced for what you get and the staff there are not at all willing to do things for you. Asked for a picture of my husband and I to be taken together (which we would have purchased for US$8.00) and they said NO as then everyone would want one. I even explained that it was or Anniversary and that this is something we had really looked forward to and they still would not do it for me. Sorry but at US$150 per person, I think they owed us at least that. Time spent with dolphins is minimal and there are not really that many other things to do there.

Shopping in Ocho Rios is great but be warned it is quick! Had to run like crazy through the stores to make the bus pick up time. They take you to 2 different spots where you are given 50 minutes at each. Best to plan 2 trips if you are a big shopper.

Other comments:
– Bring travelers cheques or lots of cash with you as there is only one bank machine on site and it is often not working. We tried to get cash from the front desk at one point and they would not do that for us. Do not do cash advances on the credit card or anything of that nature. Were told to go to the bank down the road and that would have cost us US$20.00 by taxi just to get there.

– Bring lots of sunscreen: sun is hot and it is easy to burn down there. Saw many "lobsters" (including myself) while we were there.

– Get your parasols early if you want one by the pool as they are usually all taken by 8:30 am!

– Make sure you have a lunch everyday…all restaurants only open at 7:30 pm for dinner so it is a long wait if you have not eaten since breakfast. Think I would have found this an inconvenience if the kids had been with us as the kids we saw were all ready for bed by the time they got to dinner. Should at least offer an earlier seating for families with small kids.

– Lastly, do not be afraid to book this resort – it is a great one with lots offer to travelers of all kinds!

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Gran Bahia Principe Paul & Sheila ~ Georgetown, Ontario, Canada

April 2007

Stayed there April 7-14. Beautiful resort, great weather, great food. The pool is great as well as the entertainment. The staff is wonderful and I’m sure when the place is completed it will be the nicest property in Jamaica. If you’re a beach walker like my wife and myself, this is not the resort. The beach is small and rocky. You need water shoes and you have to watch where you’re going. We could hear construction all day and sometimes into the night. The resort is not far from the highway so you can hear the tractor trailers applying their air brakes all day. You could also see the headlights at night which kind of ruined the ambiance of the view of the ocean from our balcony. If you took this resort and put it on a beach in Punta Cana, it would be amazing. We wouldn’t go back just because of the beach.

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Gran Bahia Principe Joanne ~ Ontario Canada

April 2007

Our family just came back from a week’s stay at the Gran Bahia Principe (April 7-14). We read all the reviews, were prepared for the worst and ready for the best. We are a family of 4 with two teenagers (14 and 12).

The flight down
We flew Air Transat, leaving from Toronto at 4:30 pm. The flight, like all charters, was cramped but we were able to get all four of us together. Bring your own food if you don’t enjoy stale, somewhat soggy 6 inch subs and a soft drink. We arrived on time, were able to get through customs quickly and efficiently directed to our bus.The Royal Golden guests had a smaller bus but our bus was fine(a/c and comfy seats). If you want a beer for the road, there’s a small shack at the airport where you can purchase beer and water. The nicest part of the trip to the hotel was the registration package given to each guest at the airport. It contained your registration card, which they asked you to complete on the ride to the hotel, your room key, towel cards, wristbands and hotel dinner and entertainment schedules. No waiting in line when you arrive at the hotel to register! We arrived at the hotel to a welcome drink and the buffet restaurant was open so we could something to eat.

The Rooms
We had two rooms. We did ask for a king size bed in one and 2 doubles in the other but due to the high occupancy over the Easter holiday, they could not accommodate that request but they did bring in a rollaway cot for the kids’ room. The rooms were spacious and luxurious. Our housekeeper, Donnette, was a doll and did her best to make sure we had everything we needed.

The Food
The food was great. Even a picky eater would have a difficult time not finding something to eat. My oldest is picky and brought down food, just in case, and didn’t once go into the food stash. The a la carte restaurants were good. The Grill was our favourite. If you like your steak cooked less than medium, make sure you tell them otherwise your meat will be cooked medium to well done. We didn’t get the large lobsters we read about in previous reviews but what we had was very good. The snack bar was great if you just wanted a burger, hot dog and fries for lunch.

The bars
We tried all the bars. Ricardo at the main pool bar made the best fruity rum drink I’ve ever had (lots of banana, mango, pineapple and rum). The kids loved the slushies, especially the strawberry daiquiris and the Bahia Principes. If you’re getting a Bahia Principe for your kids, make sure you tell the bartender not to add the rum. The lobby bar’s service was a bit slower if you order a coffee but they did make great cappuccinos.The waitresses at the Pueblo Principe are also run off their feet serving guests during a show so don’t be too surprised if they miss you once in a while. It looked like a new bar was going to be added in one of the store fronts, which should help out. Jerry at the snack bar bar is a card. According to him, Yellowbirds are a ladies drink and Rum Runners are a man’s drink… either one is delicious and can be enjoyed by anyone! The slushie machine wasn’t working there but it didn’t stop him from using the blender to make slushies for my kids. I even saw him serve up a half dozen glasses of sparkling wine…so anything goes! Remember to bring thermal mugs as it is very hot there. If you forget, you can purchase one at the shops in the Pueblo Principe.

The beaches/pool
The coral reef in front of the hotel was amazing. You could sit in knee deep water, wear goggles and just plug your nose and view the wonder of a beautiful coral reef. Make sure you bring water shoes and snorkelling equipment if you like to snorkel. The beach in front of the reef is rocky so the water shoes protect your feet. The other beach is beautiful. It’s sandier and if you just sit in the water and dig into the sand, you’ll find lots of interesting shells just under the sand’s surface. There is a nude beach at the far end of the beach so if your sensibilities are offended with nude sunbathing, best to stick closer to the hotel.There was some topless sunbathing at the beach but we didn’t see any at the pool. The bar/snack bar is a little walk away from the middle/far end of the beach but the couple of minutes it takes you to walk to the bar is pleasant. The pool is long and snakes around the front of the hotel. We preferred the beach to the pool as it was less noisy but did find that the pool was always busy when we went for lunch at the buffet. There is a small pool for the little ones and two pool bars. There is lounge chair saving early in the morning everywhere but more so at the pool. The practice is frowned on by the hotel but everyone does it. You can find empty lounges near the smaller pool bar but not that many umbrellas. There were plenty of shady spots on the far beach.

The entertainment
We didn’t see too much of the entertainment. Their entertainment staff did try to get people to participate so if you want to participate, there were things to do. The Hatfield Group, which performed at the Pueblo Prinicpe, were great with their traditional Jamaica songs and dances. The one shortcoming of this hotel is the poor sound system in the theatre. Both times we went there, we had a difficult time understanding what was being said. The lobby bar bands and the Pueblo Prinicpe bands were great if you just want to sit and listen to some great music. Many people brought cards down and had drinks, played cards and listened to the music on the terrace.

Spa/gym/room service
Didn’t use them so can’t comment.

The only construction we saw/heard was by the far beach. You will hear jack hammering and trucks behind the black cloth covered fences. Just move down the beach a bit and the sound is muted.

The Safari tour was the only one we went on. Gary, the driver, was very informative. We saw the countryside, went to Dunn’s River Falls and Gary even took us on a side trip to the town of St. Ann’s for authentic Jamaican meat patties (yummy!). The only word of caution is be careful with the JTL tour operator. Get a guarantee that the excursion you are booking is not already overbooked. We booked our excursion on the Monday for Wednesday morning and they didn’t tell us we might not get the tour we wanted until 7 pm the Tuesday night,via a note under our door and after they left for the day. They knew on Monday, while booking our excursion, that it was overbooked but didn’t advise us to give us the option of booking another day. The note told us we would be on the 12:35 pm Wednesday afternoon excursion, without asking us if that was what we wanted. It was very frustrating dealing with them and the Air Transat rep just sat mutely watching the entire exchange without helping us when we went to work out the details instead of being on our tour as originally planned! We did get our tour and the Chukka Tour Company personnel made up for the frustration we had with JTL.

It was a fabulous vacation. Our family had a wonderful time and didn’t want to come home. If we could get another great last minute deal as we did with this trip, we’d go down in a flash. The hotel will definitely be out of our price range soon and too big for us when completed.


  • bring your own food for the flight down

  • water shoes, if you want to snorkel and/or if you are going to the Dunn’s River Falls

  • tip the staff. They work hard and are always trying to make it an enjoyable experience for you.They were the best I’ve ever met in my various travels in the Caribbean and Mexico.

  • Insect Repellent. There are lots of mosquitoes and they like to bite!

  • bring your own alarm clock. The power is activated when you put in your key and turns off when you take out your key. Unless you enjoy resetting the alarm clock every time you come back in the room, just bring your own and save yourself the hassle!


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