Old Reviews –

  Bahia Principe Tulum   Emma ~ Nova Scotia

December 4 2009

Arrival: Sept 20-27, 2009
Our flight and arrival were smooth. Unfortunately the bus taking us to the hotels was very delayed leaving the airport due to a late arriving plane.  As we had been warned, it was a long drive to the hotel. All told it was about 5 hours from when our plane arrived to when we got to the hotel.  Check in was fast and our room was lovely. The return ride to the airport only took 2 hours.

Rooms:
We stayed in room 1515 which was listed as garden view but did have garden, pool and even ocean views. It was nice and quiet, a very short walk to the snack hut. The beach straight down from our room was nice and not very rocky.  The walk to the lobby and buffet was nice, not too long and far enough away that noise was no issue. The room was clean, no bugs and the beds were comfy.

Restaurants and Bars:
We mostly ate at the buffet. We found the selection good, food fresh, and always found something we liked. I would rate the food as on par with the better all inclusives in other countries I’ve stayed in. We LOVED the mexican restauraunt and went twice. The brazilian restauraunt might have been ok (others we talked too liked it) but our service was so terrible that we left and ate at the buffet instead. Not a big deal, and no one else we talked to had a problem. Guess we just hit an off night.  We also ate at the Italian restaurant. It was nice, but the mexican was the best by far.  My only real complaint about the food was that the Mexican section was very small in the buffet. I can eat pizza and burgers anytime and I was hoping for more authentic mexican food.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
We prefered the Tulum beach to the Akumel beach. The hotel was only at about half capacity which meant we could always find beach loungers and pool loungers where we wanted. We tried all the pools but only used the Tulum beach.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went on a tour of the Cenotes and loved it. We did snorkle with the sea turtles which was great, except the boat ride out was really rough and we all got sick. The tour company ended up getting a bus for us back to the hotel so we didn’t have to get back via boat. The turtles were amazing and it was just unfortunate about the storm that blew in.  We also went snorkling in the lagoon. It was some of the best snorkling I’ve done from shore.  I would highly recommend it. Bring your environmentally sensitive sunscreen! We took the collectivo to the Tulum ruins, very safe cheap and next time we go we’ll likely stick to collectivo transport instead of the much more expensive organized tours. We only went to one of the shows offered each evening, typical tacky shows. The dancers are really skilled. These shows are not my thing though, and others seemed to enjoy them….

Other Comments:
This is the time of year to go. Cheap prices since it is low season. It did rain briefly most days but soon cleared up.  The hotel was only half capacity, tones of space and loungers and peace and quiet. No problems with restauraunt reservations either. We would go again, there are many more excursions I want to do. We would stay at this resort again and in Tulum if possible.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Bob ~ Livermore, California

April 2009

Arrival: March 22 – March 29
Our vaction guide picked us up on time when we arrived.

Rooms
The rooms were fine. Very clean and well kept. The air condioner was a tad weak, but it sufficed. Service to the room by our maid, Elvira, was over and above expectations.

Restaurants and Bars
The restaurants were all very good, especially the lunches. Breakfast was excellent as well with many selections available every day. The lunches had tremedous variety including fresh fish and a wide assortment of meats.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The pools were all fabulous whether the main or smaller satellite pools. The Gran Bahia pool had guest activities including water polo, swim contests and entertaining hosts.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel We went on the Mayan Ruins tour. Very interesting.

Water polo, horse shoes, darts, water aerobics, dancing, lsitening to the entertainment were all enjoyed by our group.

Other Comments   I would give this hotel an overall A-. The service, food and facilities were an A+, but there were 3 things the hotel could do better.

1. I know we were on vacation, but geez, I don’t want to be in a current event black hole…..how about a little CNN or Fox News? And what’s with the Zorro movie? It was on every day. I know a newspaper would be a day old by the time it arrived, but even that would have been welcome.

2. Most hotels have computers you can use. This complex had one in the Hacienda Club and when I was there it didn’t work. Otherwise, the desk clerks were clueless. In fact, their website address in their customer satisfaction survey comes up as invalid address. Three very large hotels in one great complex and no computers. Duh! Even the postcards I sent home never arrived as of this writing 10 days after I sent them. Maybe they are going from the hotel to the post office via donkey :>).

3. As good as the food was, I could not understand why the coffee was so very bad, everyday and in every restaurant. Boiling the living crap out of coffee ruins it every time. Excuse the poor adverb phrasing please.

Last of all, not in the hotels control, was the wind. For 5 of the 7 days, a trip on the beach was like getting sand blasted. Thankfully, the pools made up for the wind.

I also let Fun Jet know their service was excellent except for the worst seats on the plane on all four flights. Iknow they look for cheap tickets, but next to the toilets on all flights….inexcusable.
Cummings102@Comcast.net

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Mark ~ Canada

March 2009

Arrival: Feb 28 to March 8
This was our fifth trip to the area with previous stays in 3.5 to 5 star hotels.

Airport Transfer & Check In
GBP is approximately 90 minutes from the airport, depending on how many other stops at hotels they have to make. Most bus drivers and hosts have cheap Corona on the bus for you. Make sure you watch them put your luggage on the bus at the airport. At GBP, your luggage is placed at the lobby entrance and you go check in. There are 4 or 5 porters who watch your stuff. Once you have a room tell the porters and they deliver your luggage(depending what time you arrive, before 3pm you may have to wait). We were dropped off at 2pm and had a few drinks at the pool then got a ride with our luggage to our room. As soon as you check in go make your Al a Carte reservations. That desk is about 10 feet from the check in.

Rooms
We stayed in Tulum building 29, 3rd floor. King size bed, blow dryer, clothes iron, dresser and large closet. The safety deposit box will cost you $5 Canadian a day. You pay this at check out. Used my MasterCard for a better exchange rate. Rooms are very clean and are updated. A/C works awesome. Not a ton of water pressure in the shower but it’s hot as heck. The bed is firm as are the pillows.

Restaurants

Buffets: We ate in all 3 buffets. The meals are very similar but have different themes on different nights. Just call and you can find out. We had breakfast at the Tortunga instead of walking all the way to the main buffet.

Al a Cartes: We did the Sea Food at Akumal, Japanese at Coba and Brazil at Tulum. Amazing food and service. Dress code is in effect.

Snack bar: Open 24/7 and has your usually fast food and they keep it fresh. Service at all restaurants was above normal.

Pools
We frequented the Tulum activity pool (swim up bar) and the Tulum quiet pool (beside the snack bar). There was not a mad rush to place towels on loungers at either pool. You could find loungers at 8am, 11am, 2pm or 5pm. The people from Coba and Akumal don’t come over so there’s lots of room.

Beach
There were so many loungers at the Tulum beach at all times of the day I could not believe it. This was not the case at the beach where Akumal and Coba share. The Tulum beach has the large sand bags in the sea to protect the beach. It is distracting. The Akumal water and beach is definitely nicer but you have the lounger issue.

Grounds & Bars The Hacienda located at the front of the property has a sports bar, disco and some shopping. The vendors do not budge! There are a series of trucks/trains that are constantly shuttling people around. After 1 day you can figure out which goes where on this huge property.

Each hotel has a lobby bar of some sort. The Tulum is huge and open air concept. The Coba has a nice enclosed bar. All have evening music. Pool bars, beach bars and snack bars were not overwhelming busy. The lobby bars had better premium alcohol than the pool bars.

Shows
We did the Jackson and Broadway shows. Very good music and dancing. Not Vegas but awesome none the less.

Location
If you want to travel off site on your own, walk out to the main entrance, past the Hacienda, past the taxis to Collectivo’s They are 12 to 14 passenger vans which go to Tulum or Playa del Carmen and points in between. 30 pesos or 3$ US. Talk about cheap. They will not go until the van is full so you may wait 5 minutes. Once you are at your destination remember your drop off so you can catch one back. We went to Playa Akmaul one day to snorkel and eat at Lucy’s. You have to eat at Lucy’s in Playa Akumal.

Check Out
If you have a late departure and have to check out at noon, they do have a secure room to store your luggage. The gymnasium has lockers where you can store some personal items and shower. The gym closes at 7pm.

Summary Very clean resort. Canadian facilities could take some lessons. The grounds are constantly maintained by a mob of workers who are very happy and friendly. They spray every day around 5pm for bugs, never saw one. Lots of Mexican gophers though (iguana’s). English was never a problem. This resort caters to North American clients.

Mark_Ref@hotmail.com

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Dale ~ Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

January 2009

Arrival: Jan 11 to Jan 18
Upon our arrival we were asked to leave our baggage with the hotel staff outside, we entered the lobby to register and almost immediately were greated by more hotel staff this time offering us a champange beverage, we had barely finished the drink and we were off to our room our luggage arrived within minutes of us. Very impressive start…..

Rooms:
Our room was clean and room but nothing special. Our maid left towel art every day.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet was very good, only minor changes during the week, some items were only available once or twice during the week, others everyday

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was very nice the sand wonderful, however the water seemed very rough there were sandbags( very unsightly ) in the water, people seemed to enjoy playing on them.There is a spot in between the piers that was calm and you can snorkel there. Over all the beach was very nice, some rocky spots and rough water but still very nice to walk or lay by.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went to the ruins at Tulum, we rode the collectivo there and came back by cab, the collectivo is larger and more comfortable than the little cabs there. The ruins themselves were incredible and the beach breath taking. We also took the collectivo to and from Playa de Carmen the shopping was fun. By cab we went to Akumel Bay to snorkel, well worth making the time for. These three trips cost very little, there were four of us so we used the cabs when cheaper than the collectivo, however the collectivo were more roomy, usually cheaper and very easy to use.

Other Comments: This resort was very well looked after, the service was outstanding,the buffets good as buffets go, the food in the ala cartes was very good. We visited Don Pablo ( Tulum Gourmet Rest ) it was excellant!!! Other than the beach being rough ( which I believe is normal for this resort ) This is the most outstanding resort we have ever been to. We are already looking forward to returning to Bahia next year…..

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   William ~ Boston Mass.

January 2009

Arrival: Jan6 – Jan13 2009
was good had to wait till 300 to cheack in so sat at the pool for a couple hours then the people were great

Rooms:
very clean nice rooms. only thing was getting towels was a nightmare veven when we asked it would take hour all i wanted was 1 clean towel a day but other than that was good.

Restaurants and Bars:
reataurants were good the best was japanese the only thing was we were there for 7 nights and thought we could eat at 1 every night but that is no the cases we could only pick.3 for the week the reast was at a buffet and that is a lot of the same food lunch breakfast and dinner to much buffet….but food was ok

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
pools great grounds great….. beach i have been to mexico 8 years love it go just for the beach and ocean hotel has the worst beach i have ever seen in mexico we had to go buy swim shoes just to go in the water

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
activities they said are free but what they did not tell ytou was they make you take there lessons and charge you for them i could not believe it ever other place i have stayed has never dune that all so you need to set an appoint ment to do anything like snorkel and that was for only 1 hour a day not fun at that beach..

Other Comments: the place was new and beautiful and to big to have fun but if you are going for the beach go to another hotel it was that bad…. one other thing we were asked to fill out an evaluation sheet on the hotel 2 night before we left and never did we here from the hotel about any problems we had kinda sad…. all so fast note we rented a car do not do that i was robbed by the police at gun point on the road to tulum 3 cops with machine guns only had $60.00 on me but they took it anyway good luck don’t rent a car cause that is how they picked us

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Liz ~ Sudbury, Ontario

December 2008

Arrival: November 5th to 12th
We arrived at noon and check-in went smooth but we had to wait to get our room at 3:00pm. They brought out welcome drinks and the staff was very friendly and helpful. They gave us a map of the resort and directions to get to the buffet restaurant for lunch.

Rooms:
Our room was always clean and the maid left towel art on the bed. We found the bed was hard but they offered you a foam topper to put on the bed, you just needed to contact housekeeping. We didn’t bother and although the mattress seemed hard we never woke up stiff or sore.

Restaurants and Bars:
The buffet restaurant was good and I found the variety was great. They offered mexican and oriental as well as other international food. As for the ala cartes, we went to Don Pablo’s, the Mexican restaurant and the Dolce Vita. Don Pablo’s was the best as far as food and service. We were very disappointed with the Mexican, we expected the food to be really good but was flavourless.(except for the desserts, they were very good) We didn’t get a chance to try any others so I cannot comment on them. We tried many of the bars and they were all good in drink quality and service, we did find that they were lacking staff at the swim up bar and we had to wait a while for someone to show up to get a drink.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach was raked every day and clean. There is lots of work doing on all the time to maintain this property and it shows! The grounds were beautiful and very well taken care of. The pools were clean and there were lots of them so you could just grab a chair almost anywhere. This of course is low season so it could very well be a different situation once busy season comes.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: The activity staff like to get you involved at every opportunity and although we were very hesitant we ended up participating. We really did have a good time. We went to 2 shows during the week and although every resort I have been to has a Michael Jackson show, this one was the best. We also saw the circus show and I found it to be very impressive.

We went on Jungle Jim’s atv tour and had a great time, well worth the money. We chose the morning tour so that we could avoid the afternoon heat. We also went to Xcaret for the day and although this seemed a little pricey we had a very full day with lunch included and the show at night. I highly recommend this one.

Other Comments: The staff work very hard and you are always greeted with a smile. I would go back to this resort in a heart beat.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Terry ~ Canada

November 2008

Just back from the Bahia and as usual we had a great time. There have been a lot of changes in the staff but the service and hospitality have not changed. A polite hola or gracias goes a long way. The Grand Tortuga restaurant is now a Brazilian restaurant and in my opinion is good. They had paiella at the pools several days and it was good but there are so many people you have to be in line early or you luck out. This is not high season so it was easy to find a spot on the beach or even at the pools if that is where you like to sit.The evening entertainment has changed and finishes early and then there are games till 11 pm which I personally feel is not the time of day for games. After that you can go to the Hacienda for one hour of live Latin music and then the disco. Can’t comment on the disco just looked in and it was not for me.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Sharon ~ Wales, UK

April 2008

We returned to this hotel because we were so impressed with it four years ago and a family member wanted to get married there.
We were a party of 22 and ended up spread all over the place instead of all together as promised, our rep did pull some strings and get some of our party moved closer after 3 days though.

Warning: if you are thinking/arranged to be married there check and get a final all in quote and take it with you – my niece has ended up paying well over the odds and the wedding planner rushes through everything. On the last day of our stay we found out that the wedding is only legal in Mexico (even though this was discussed during the first meeting with the wedding planner and she assured the bride and groom to be that it would be) and had to pay extra money for it be legalised in Britain. This wedding turned out to be very stressful and costly and the wedding planner useless..

The actual wedding was absolutely fantastic, so don’t panic if you’ve already booked it but please check all your details carefully and take any emails with you as the wedding planner tried to deny a lot of promises.

The hotel rooms and settings were still the same high standard and beautiful, the service in the restaurants was very poor. It seems that since the opening of the Coba staff have been moved around instead of employing more staff. During breakfast you could sit there for well over 15 minutes before getting a coffee/tea and when I got up to get my own coffee was told to return to my table and had to wait a further 5 minutes. Four years ago the service was of the highest standard and faultless. To be fair the staff were still friendly but plainly overstretched and the food which was exceptional four years ago is now like any other all inclusive – repetitive and not very hot!

The evening entertainment is poor and finishes early in the lounge bar. You can go up to the Hacienda but again is repetitive and since you are so secluded you have to put up with it.

All in all we will not be returning to this hotel again.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Chris & Joan ~ Ancaster

March 2008

My wife and I just returned from a week at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum, and found it to be outstanding. We have been to Mexico before, as well as Cuba and Venezuela, and we were both very impressed with the accommodations, food, and service offered at this resort.

Everything from the expansive main lobbies of the three hotels (the Tulum, Akumel and Coba) to the restaurants, bars, pools, beaches, and rooms were immaculately clean and well maintained. Even the restrooms were exceptionally maintained. Staff was plentiful and generally very friendly. The selection of food was overwhelming, and the quality high.

The only bad meal we had was at the A La Carte restaurant called Gran Tortuga, we had steaks that were not nearly restaurant grade cuts, and not prepared well. Our meals at the Portofino (Italian) place, and the Don Pablo gourmet restaurant were excellent.

The beaches were very nice, generally rock-free, cleaned and raked every morning. Even the walkways (miles of them!) were always clean. The landscaping was awesome, with many different varieties of palm trees and other interesting tropical flowers and shrubs.

We are already looking forward to returning to Mexico next year, and will very likely return to the Principe. I would recommend this resort to anyone looking for high quality and lots of variety.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Jan ~ Edmonton AB

February 2008

My husband and I and our 6-month old daughter stayed at the resort during December 12-26th. This was our first visit in Mexico and we are very happy we went there. We bought the Club Diamond package through Sunquest, only $100/person more than the standard rate, and it was quite worth it. For the extra dollars we got to stay in a more quiet section of the hotel, which, indeed, was nice (we stayed in Bldg #40); we got terry robes and slippers in our room, free internet access at the Club Diamond lobby and a fast check-in/out there instead of a longer wait at the main lobby, and 4 a’la carte restaurants/weeks as opposed to 3/week for the non-Diamond package. We also managed to get a free safe in our room (normally it costs $5/day).

The Hotel:
The hotel is huge and if you do not want to walk from one place to another, you can take their little shuttles which ran every 10 minutes. There were so many paths for walking or jogging that we did not bother to take the shuttles unless we really had to.

The paths are well lit. This hotel is a part of the Gran Bahia Principe complex which includes the Tulum, Akumal and Coba sections, so you get to walk/swim/eat at all of them – it’s up to you where you want to spend your day. We found the Akumal section every crowded, especially the beach and pool areas. Our section, the Club Diamond, was nice and quiet, yet still close to the main Tulum buffet (Yukatan).

Especially the beach there was very quiet as opposed to the Akumal or Coba beach which were filled with people.

The Rooms:
Our room was in Bldg #40 on the top floor – we had a beautiful pool/ocean view from the balcony. We emailed the hotel ahead of time and asked for a top floor room with ocean view and they have done pretty good job getting it for us. The king size bed was very nice – they have postpedic matteraces so some may consider them too hard, but I found the matterace super comfortable (note: I can’t stand soft beds so if you are not like me, you may find the beds too hard). The hotel offers extra pads to soften the matterace though. There was a TV, hair dryer, iron and ironing board and a mini-fridge in the room. You get a key to the mini-fridge which is kept locked. The mini-bar was stacked daily with beer, soft drinks, juice and water.

Once, we got a small bag of potato chips and a small Oreo chocolate bar, which we did not relaly care for, as there were so many goodies to eat at the buffet/bars. There is also a safe in the room, which costs $5/day, but we were lucky and managed to get it complementary. Since we were there with a baby, the hotel also put a Graco playpen as a crib for our daughter, but she actually slept with us in the bed most of the time. The room was kept clean every day, and our maid, Carlos, left nice towel arrangements on our bed.

The Beach:
The beach was very nice (not as nice as in Cuba or Dominican Republic). The sand was clean and we were able to take long walks along the beach, which were usually 1-2 hrs long. If you want to go into the water, I would recommend water shoes as the bottom is a bit rocky. In the Akumal and Coba section you can snorkel right off the shore. We actually made a couple of steps into the water and colorful fish was right there swimming around our legs. There was always a red flag at the beach as the waves were very strong. As I have mentioned earlier, the beach in the Akumal and Coba section was very busy and crowded, so if you want to lie down and relax listning just to the ocean waves, go to the Tulum section or even better further to the left towards the Club Diamond section. There was no locals or beach vendors at the beach like it happens for example in Cuba.

The Pool:
The pools were very nice and clean. The depth was 1.35 meters everywhere, with some pools having little round jacuzzi sections.

The Staff:
They staff was extremely friendly and polite. They did everything to make your stay at the hotel a blast. We found everyone spoke good to very good English. During our previous visits to Cuba or Dominican Republic we were very intimidated by the staff because they expected tips – not here at the Gran Bahia. Tips or no tips, you would get the same excellent and friendly service. Thank you to all those great people! We were very impressed!

The Food:
The foods was good; however we are picky eaters and, having heard many praises from friends about Mexican resort food, we were a bit disappointed. Not that it was bad, but it wasn’t amazing, except for the desserts. Overall it was good. However, there were times at the buffet when they were a bit behind with bringing out new food. As I have mentioned, the desserts were excellents, a variety of cheesecakes, cream puffs, eclairs, german strudles, fruit/custard tarts. The guacamole in the Mexican corner was also amazing – with large avocado chuncks -yum! They also had some maki rolls at the Japanese corner, but these turned out to be a bit dry. In between meals, one could always find fresh fruit in the main lobby, or some baked goods, coffee, tea at the main bar. The pool bars served fast food such as burgers, chicken nuggets, fries, nachos, they also had a good selection of salads and desserts. Try adding some guacamole to your burgers – it was delicious.

The Restaurants:
Book all the a’la carte restaurants when you check in as they fill up very quickly and it is difficult to get a table. Also, note that if you are there for Christmas, the Christmas Eve will count as one of your a’la cartes. Also, note that the Christmas Eve supper is the same international buffet style at all buffets and restaurants. Here is our summary of the a’la carte restaurants we ate at:

a. The Oriental (located at the Hacienda) – were were told to book it for Thursday as that night there is a Mexican Fiesta taking place at the Hacienda and one has to pay to get into the square, but if you go to the restaurant you are there and don’t have to pay. Well, if you want to take advantage of that, book a table around 8:00pm, because the Fiesta starts at 9:00pm. The only available table they had for us was at 5:30pm, so we took it, plus we were with a baby so it would be difficult to stay up that late. The Oriental restaurant was very good. We ordered: – appetizer: Indian chicken wings (3) with curry sauce

– good, but a bit greasy and mild; sushi platter which consisted of 3 maki rolls (very good) -main dish: Chinese fried rice w/shrimps (very good); shrimp coconut tempura (very good)v -dessert: strawberry cheesecake (very good) The staff at the Oriental restaurant was friendly and polite.

b. Arlequin (Akumal section) – this is our #1 pick. We ate there twice and would eat more if we could. The staff was exceptional, especially the waiters: Fernando, Jesus and Jose. The food arrangements are exquisite; small, but beautiful and yummy portions, but somehow we managed to leave the restaurants full. – appetizer: spicy salmon and baked potatoes (exquisite); seafood caviche (excellent); prosciutto with melon and rasberry (excellent) – soup: both cappuccino de portobello and lime soup were exquisite (a must to order!) – main dish: seafood fettucini – loaded with shrimps, scallops and clams (excellent); surf & turf (shrimps & lamb chop) (excellent), chicken cordon blue with nut/cheese stuffing (exquisite)

– dessert: tiramisu in a long martini glass – this is a must!; it is to die for and a huge portion too.

c. Don Pablos (Tulum section) – many people recommended this one to us sowe went there, but it turned out to be nothing special. – appetizer: green salad with olives, mini-eggs and shaved tuna (ok), lobster mille leville – lobster pattie with small scallops (ok), chicken soup (ok, a little blah), cream of selery soup (ok) – main dish: seabass and gnocchi (ok, but lacking some flavor), sauteed shrimps (3 big ones) (good)

– dessert: tiramisu – it was very good, but more like a traditional tiramisu cake, not as good as the one at Arlequin

d. Mikado (Coba section) – we love Japanese food, and especially sushi, so we wanted to check it out. The food was very good, small sushi portions though, but it was the only place where we were not impressed with the staff. They were rather stuck up and not as friendly as staff at other places. Eventhough we ate there twice – simply because we love sushi. Well, here is also what we did. Technically, you are ‘allowed’ one plate per course of your meal, but we wanted to order two plates of sushi and maki per person, since we wanted to try both and they were very tiny portions, so we decided that we would pay extra. As it turned out the waiter was a but surprised when we told him that we wanted two plates/person and that we would pay. He said that technically one gets one plate and that this is an all inclusive resort so it is impossible to pay extra, but since we wanted a second plate he brough it for us. So, if you want to order more at an a’la carte restaurant you just have to let them know and be persistent and you will get it 🙂 – nigiri sushi (4 small pieces), sushi roll (5 small pieces), salmon sashimi (5 pieces) – all were very good – miso soup (good), fried rice (excellent, but a bit greasy) – fish fillet w/shrimps – mixed with vegetables and clams (very good) – fillet mignon w/shimps (very good)

– dessert: if I recall correctly, it was called ‘callamago’ – vanilla ice cream with kahlua jelly on the bottom (good but nothing special really), vanilla tapioca with rasberry sauce (quite good)

e. Frutos del Mar (Akumal) – this restaurant was ok, the service was good, the food was good, but for my husband once was enough, for me, well, I would come back. The nice thing about it was the appetizer buffet, which basicall consisted of cold and hot seafood appetizers which I loved, but my husband was not impressed with. So they had: various fish salads, cold smoked salmon, shrimp salads, scallops, calamari, cold fish, calamari tempura, crab cakes. – main dish: scallop stake – 4 large scallops baked wrapped in something to form a stake (good), new orleans shrimp (good), seabass fillet (good)

– dessert: lemon marenge cake (nothing special), cherry cheesecake (good, but nothing very impressive)

f. Tequila (Tulum section) – we booked this restaurant for the Christmas Eve supper, since it was just next door to our building, and since all restaurants served the same food that evening. The staff was nice. The food was superb – international cuisine; they had cold and hot shirmps, smoked salmon, veal, chicken, beef, bbq salmon, various pastas, I can’t even remember what else. The desserts were amazing: tiny little fruit/custart tarts, cream puffs, cheesecake, german strudel, mini-chocolates, fudge squares, fruit.

The Excursions
Since we were with a baby, we were limited in our side trip selection. We wanted to go to Chichen Itza but it was quite a long trip so we decided not to go (next time 🙂 For those of you who plan to go, it is a full day trip, with approx. 3 hrs on the bus to get there and 3 hrs to come back; the cost was $99/person. We wend to see the Coba ruins instead since they are close. It was only 1 hrs drive by bus to get there. We did the Coba/Maya Adventure – the cost was $85/person (no charge for the baby). It was a full day trip as well. We left at around 9:30 and saw the Coba ruins first. We spend there about 2 hrs. You get to walk to the pyramid through their park, and see smaller ruins on your way. Coba is the tallest pyramid and people can climb it (you can’t climb Chichen Itza anymore). >From Coba, they took as for lunch, where we had a selection of chicken, beef, pork or vegetarian quesadillas with rice and veggies. One soft drink and a beer were included. he lunch was very good, but for the dessert they served a terrible cake (like those ones from Safeway or IGA with blue/green icing, grrrr) After lunch they took as to see a Mayan village – it was a neat experience, but I would rather do the ruins by itself. The trip ended with a stop at the nearby cenotes (spring water caves) where people could swim.

We were back at the hotel around 5 pm. We also wanted to see the Tulum ruins. They offered a trip there for $38/person, but since the ruins are very close we decided to take a taxi. The taxi was flat rate $20/each way, plus $6/person entry to the ruins. We went there on a Saturday and it was quite a number of people there since the locals were also visiting. The weather was amazing, even too hot. It is such a beautiful place, there is a wonderful beach right a the foot of the ruins with crystal clear water. The view is breathtaking.

We also went to the Xel-ha. One can pay $119/person for a trip with transportation to the park, or buy an all inclusive ticket for $75/person and get your own transportation. We took taxi and it was flat rate of $10/each way. We spend a great day at the Xel-ha. You do not need to bring towels as they have them there.

There is plenty of loungers. Good drinks and food. I did the snuba for $45 (got too see a 6 ft fish and a bunch of small ones) and the walk on the bottom of the oean – got too see and touch a sting ray which they bring out to you (also for $45) – my husband did it too. He also went down the river in a floating tube and he saw a big sea turles by the shore. It took him about 1 hr to float back, while I and the little one had a nice walk in a stroller around the park and we saw little blue fish.

On our way back, it turned out that the plane was delayed for 3 hrs and all the airline did for us was offered us free headphones to watch the movies (jeez!), we had to ask for glass of water because they were so slow. Not very impressed with the flight back, but the good thing was that our baby was all good and slept mostly thorugh the entire flight.

Well, if I could I would certainly come back to Gran Bahia Principe Tulum.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Gregory

January 2008

Summary:
My wife and I just returned from a one week (January 19-26, 2008) vacation at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum resort in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. We found the resort was good, but would not recommend it to others or return ourselves for another stay. If you are considering staying here, we think you could probably find better value for money elsewhere. In our view, the complex gets its 4.5 to 5-star rating on most travel websites due more to its many amenities (e.g. pools, bars, restaurants, services) than to the quality of the food or rooms or the overall degree of luxury. We felt a 3.5 to 4-star rating would more accurately reflect of our overall experience. If you do go, we do not recommend paying extra for the "Diamond Club".

Who we are:
We are a Canadian couple in our mid-30s. This was our first trip to Mexico, but we have previously stayed at all-inclusive resorts ranging from 3-stars to 5-stars in Puerto Plata (Dominican Republic), Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) and Negril (Jamaica). The things we value most in a tropical holiday are a nice beach, clean rooms, and some interesting historic or cultural things to explore off the resort.

Bookings:
We booked online through Sunquest Vacations about two weeks before our departure, and paid about CDN$1500 each (including flight, taxes, transfers and fees). This price was approximately CDN$250 higher than other options for the same resort because we decided to stay in the "Diamond Club" section (rather than in the Coba or Akamal sections of the resort). The flight was a Skyservice charter direct from Ottawa to Cancun. The transfer to/from the airport by bus took a full two hours because our we were the last to be dropped off and the first to be picked up, with stops at three other resorts along the way.

Resort:
As other reviewers have mentioned, the Gran Bahia Principe resort complex is huge, comprising three resorts (Tulum, Coba, and Akumal) in one. You have free movement throughout the complex, provided by regular shuttles or pleasant walkways. The grounds of the complex are beautifully maintained.

Rooms:
All rooms in the Gran Bahia Principe complex are in identically painted, 3-storey buildings with your front door opening to a veranda and a sliding glass door at the back opening either onto a patio (ground floor) or balcony (upper floors).

When we arrived we were assigned Room No. 4311, which smelled very strongly of mould even after airing it out. We asked to change rooms that night, but there were no other rooms available. The next day we were moved to Room No. 3912 without any hassle, and that room was fine.

It is true that the colour scheme of the rooms was a bit dated and that the linens and bed coverings were a bit worn, but the beds were comfortable and the bedroom and bathroom were very clean. Our maid left towel art every day and did an excellent job (we left USD$3 per day for her on the pillow). Our minibar was replenished daily with canned beer, soda, juice, and snacks (we left USD$2 per day in the fridge). The TV carried 50+ domestic and international channels. The extra cost (USD$35 per week) for a lock to the in-room safe was a bit of an irritant, but what can you do?

We were unable to tell what difference paying extra to stay in the "Diamond Club" part of the Tulum resort meant for our rooms, since the standard rooms seemed to have all the same amenities except for the terrycloth robe and slippers.

Beach:
We are not pool people, so the beach is really important to us. We were concerned by other reviews that said the beach was disappointing and rocky, so were pleasantly surprised to find a beautiful beach with soft white sand and lots of palapas providing shade. The beach area was clean and lounge chairs were plentiful. The water was warm and a beautiful turquoise colour, and we spent many hours snorkelling over the shallow underwater reefs a mere 25 to 50 meters offshore — home to many colourful fish! As others have said, there are some submerged rocks when you first enter the water, so the use of water shoes is recommended, but you can walk along the beach without them. The beach area in the Tulum section of the resort did seem to be the nicest because it was less crowded and beach went back a little farther than it did in the Akumal section of the resort. Overall, the beach wasn’t quite as nice as those we saw in Jamaica or the Dominican Republic, but it wasn’t as bad as many reviews make out.

One major annoyance was the fact that the "Blu Club" animation team (which for some strange reason seemed composed solely of loud Italians) constantly trolled the Tulum beach area exhorting people to join in dancing and pool activities. The blaring music and constant shouting into microphones really detracted from our attempts to relax on the beach.

Buffet Restaurants:
The food at the main buffets (we tried the ones in both the Tulum and Akumal resorts) was pretty standard as all-inclusives go. There was enough variety to satisfy our tastes, although there is bound to be some repetition and dishes are not always cooked the same as they are at home. There were often long lines at the stations where chefs would cook eggs/omelettes to order, at the roast beef station, or whenever pizza came out of the oven, and we often found that staff were a bit slow in bringing out new food when supplies ran low. Bacon was extremely hard to come by at breakfast. Overall, however, the quality of the food was good. The wait and bar staff were attentive and pleasant, and the dining atmosphere was nice. The Tequila restaurant (which had been billed as a private breakfast and lunch buffet exclusive to "Diamond Club" guests) was nothing special and people with wristbands from other parts of the complex were also free to eat there.

A La Carte Restaurants:
Our upgrade to the "Diamond Club" did entitle us to 4 reservations at the a la carte restaurants (rather than the normal 3). We booked the day after our arrival, and were generally able to get the restaurants we wanted at times that suited us, although we heard many other people had difficulties with this. In general, the a la carte restaurants seemed half empty no matter what time we went. We never could figure out why.

The a la carte restaurants provided a more intimate ambiance than the buffet restaurants, and the food and service was generally better as well. Our favourite meals were at the Portofino restaurant (Italian) and Gran Tortuga restaurant (steak and grill). The Mikado restaurant (Japanese) had a great ambiance with a chef who cooked right at your table, but unfortunately our waiter was really awful and the food was only mediocre. The Fruto del Mare restaurant (seafood) was a bit disappointing. Other reviews mention reserving at the Oriental restaurant in the Dona Isabella plaza on Thursday nights in order to see the Mexican fiesta show, but when we visited the resort the Oriental restaurant had been closed.

Bars and Nightlife:
This resort has some very nice bars, and unlike many other resorts in this category, serves some premium international brands of alcohol rather than just the cheaper domestic brands. There were tables where you could sample flavoured tequila, and the bartending staff were friendly and quick (we occasionally tipped USD$1-2 for good service). However, one problem we had with this resort was that most bars stopped serving at 11:00 p.m. It’s not that we were party animals hoping to drink hard until the wee hours, but a few drinks after a late dinner at an a la carte restaurant would have been nice! After 11:00 p.m., your only options are the 24-hour "snack bars" serving hamburgers and french fries, or the "sports bar" in the Dona Isabella plaza near the entrance to the complex (quite a distance away).

Excursions:
The highlight of our trip was getting off the resort to visit some of the nearby Mayan ruins, see a bit of the countryside, and get a better sense of how real Mexicans actually live. One day we rented a small car (about USD$60 per day) and drove about 45 km to the ruins at Coba, which has the highest Mayan pyramid in the Yucatan and the only one that people are still allowed to climb. Set in the jungle, it seemed the most ‘authentic’ (and least touristy) of the ruins we visited. The next day, we drove to 2.5 hours to Chechin Itza (recently named one of the 7 wonders of the modern world), which was very touristy but impressive nonetheless. Later that day we went into nearby Playa del Carmen to do some shopping. On another day, we took the colectivo (private vans that travel the highway between Tulum and Cancun and charge only USD$2 per passenger) to Tulum and visited the ruins in that spectacular setting overlooking a very beautiful beach.

The Bottom Line: Go to this resort if you’re looking for a decent 3.5 to 4-star resort, have kids, and want to use it as a base for doing day trips to nearby attractions like Tulum, Xel-Ha, or Playa del Carmen. If, however, you’re on a honeymoon or a romantic getaway, enjoy fine dining, or like the personal attention of a smaller resort, this is not the place for you. If you do decide to book, don’t pay extra for the "Diamond Club" unless a different coloured wristband, a robe and slippers, an extra a la carte reservation, and free internet access on one of two laptops in the hotel lobby seem worth it to you.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Jeff, Miriam, Justin, Tyler, Ryan, Dave, Pam, Josh, Robin, Laura, Spiro and Boca

January 2008

We’ve just returned from the most awesome week at the Grand Bahia Tulum, Mexico, and all we can say is "WoW"!

Our two families go away every December and last year we went to the Grand Bahia Punta Cana and had a wonderful time. Thus, we decided to go to another Grand Bahia Resort and this year we chose the Grand Bahia Tulum in the Mexican Riviera, just south of Cancun. Having searched the internet for the best price (I mean really searched) we booked with Susan Sandulak of www.canadatravels.com (1 800 563 5722). She was really great!

Between the families (and two of our kid’s friends who joined us) we had 8 between the ages of 15 and 21. Thus, we looked for an all inclusive including drinks (alcohol), food, entertainment and water sports! Let me say, the Grand Bahia Tulum was a PERFECT choice!

Upon arriving, we were introduced to "Nicki", the most wonderful Guest Service Manager we could have asked for! We had previously e-mailed the resort (guestservicebptul@bahia-principe.com) our request for five rooms close together including three with double beds, as well as two cots for two of the rooms.

Well, Nicki and her staff had already taken care of our request, our rooms were ready and the entire check-in process for the twelve of us took less than 15 minutes. Unbelievable!

The hotel then gave us a ride to our rooms, and less than five minutes later (barely time to check out the living quarters) our luggage arrived. I must say I was really surprised by the level of service, not only by Nicki and her staff, but by the entire staff on the resort! With a party of 12 for lunch and dinner, the staff was always ready to accommodate!

The activities on the resort were varied and always well staffed! We snorkeled, kayaked, played beach volleyball, pool volleyball, basketball and took part in water aerobics (well, at least our wives did!). We had planned to play tennis and sign out bicycles, but we ran out of time!

The ala-carte restaurants were really a treat at the end of a busy day! We did Japanese (Tapen-Yaki dinner is cooked in front of you by a very talented and amusing Chef), French and of course, steak! I would highly recommend them all!

Daily our rooms had towel bunnies on the bed and our fridge was always well stocked with beer and pop!

The one day trip we did was to the ruins of Tulum in the morning and the Town of Playa Del Carmen in the afternoon. Since we needed a bus for the twelve of us, the hotel gave us the phone # to Armando, a local driver who had access to a taxi, a van and a bus.
We called him (984 127 6988) and for USD$200.00, Armando picked us up at 9 and dropped us off at 5. We tipped him $20.00 for the excellent service he provided. I would highly recommend these two excursions, as they were a perfect compliment to the trip!

Tulum is really beautiful (excellent swimming if you bring a bathing suit) and the shops at Playa (there were too many to see!) were really interesting! It’s a great place to buy gifts to bring home, but don’t forget to bargain!
The evenings were also a lot of fun! After dinner, we would head to the Lobby Bar for a Spanish Coffee or a glass of wine, then to the Piazza around 11 for dancing and entertainment (and a beer and a cosmo), and then at midnight we would hit the disco to see the kids. The resort also had evening shows (9-11pm) but we only went once, as we preferred to eat a little later in the evening (between 8-9) to allow for a siesta from 5-7.

Also, don’t miss the 24 hour restaurant! Perfect for a snack or a late evening drink!

In conclusion, we must again thank Nicki Van Den Auwelant, the Guest Service Manager at Tulum (you know she speaks 5 languages?). She looked after us as though we were members of her immediate family! Truly, we cannot thank her enough!

For those who like pictures, we have posted 269 (yes, 269! How could we delete any?) at
http://picasaweb.google.ca/TheSharpeeFamily/Mexico2007
. Please feel free to take a look!

Questions? You can contact me at jsharpe@expect2win.ca.

Have a great time!

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Kathy

January 2008

We loved the GBP Tulum, we were there from December 14-22/07 – so bear with me, this might be a little long….

This resort is HUGE, the biggest we have ever stayed at. For us, this was a plus. Sometimes smaller resorts can get a little boring – not a problem here – there are so many different bars and restaurants to check out! We did do a lot of walking – our room was centrally located on the Tulum side, and almost every day we would walk up the beach to the Swing Bar and sometimes far beyond it. Having said that – the trolley system will take you wherever you want to go, you don’t need to walk if you choose not to!

As has been said in previous reports – the grounds are immaculate! At night we found them to be better lit than most. They have combination ashtray/garbage/lights along the walkways every 30 ft or so, and the ashtrays were kept clean with the Bahia sun always stamped in the sand. This really impressed the smoker in the group!

I think the resort was at about 80% of capacity for most of our stay and it certainly didn’t feel crowded! The only place that we found crowded was the beach at the Akumal end, between the Swing Bar and the Coba section of beach. Other than that, you could always find a quiet spot somewhere if you wanted, and lounge chairs, especially on the beach, were plentiful. We ended up at the South Tulum pool many times later in the afternoon and had no trouble finding a chair.

We took our beach/water shoes but never wore them. As I said, we walked the beach a lot – mostly in our bare feet. There are some sections which have larger pieces of coral in the sand and others where the sand is very nice and soft. If you are planning on going in the water, you might want the water shoes – the rocks can be a little slippery.

We did email in advance to request a room. We asked for building 11, 12, 22 or 23. Our room was located in Building 22, on the third floor (rm 2225). We looked out over the South pool at Tulum and the ocean. The Gran Tortuga was right next door and the snack bar was just minutes away. Perfect location for us!

We found the service, for the most part, to be top notch. Everyone, from the serving staff to the maintenance and cleaning staff, always had a smile and a big ‘Hola’ for us. The staff truly seem to enjoy working at the Bahia – something we haven’t seen in a lot of places. Nicki and Sara (the guest services managers) are truly amazing – they went above and beyond to make our stay special and memorable. It was my birthday during our stay, we returned to our room that day to find a bottle of champagne on ice and a note wishing me a happy birthday! And at dinner that night the wait staff brought out a cake and sang happy birthday! Thank you both again!

On the Thursday evening they had a ‘customer appreciation’ party in the lobby bar. They introduced the animation team and the management and gave out some prizes. We found this to be a very nice touch – we’ve never seen this before in any of the resorts we’ve been to.

MEALS/FOOD
The only disappointment we had was the food, particularly at the main buffet (Tulum). Most mornings, the trays on the buffet we almost empty and the line up for the cook to order station was very long and slow. We were typically there a little later (8:30 or so), on the days we went earlier – there was the buffet was full, we even found bacon, and the line up was small. On the Thursday of our stay, they opened the Gran Tortuga for breakfast and lunch. We started going there for breakfast and found it much better. The overall selection was smaller, but the trays were full and it was quick and easy to get eggs or an omelette.

At dinner in the Tulum buffet, the food was okay but not as good and plentiful as we have seen at other resorts. We did go to the Akumal buffet one night for dinner and found the selection etc to be better, but the service didn’t compare to what we had received at Tulum.

The 24 hour snack bar was okay. The menu is very basic – burgers, hot dogs, tacos, chicken and ribs; all served with fries. They also had a fruit and salad buffet table set up during the day and early evening.

We did 3 a la cartes during our stay – Don Pablo (Tulum gourmet), the Gran Tortuga (Tulum steakhouse) and Fruitos del Mar (Akumal seafood). We booked them the morning after we arrived and had no trouble getting the times (7 pm) and days that we wanted. Don Pablo was absolutely fabulous – the food was wonderful as was the service. I would highly recommend this one! The Gran Tortuga was a disappointment. We both had the Porterhouse steak – it was very thin and gristly – we were only able to eat about half, and the service wasn’t the best we had. Fruitos del Mar was very good. We enjoyed everything about this one, from the appetizer buffet (lots of seafood) and the main course to the service. If you do the a la cartes you must try the Mayan Coffee. The show alone is worth seeing – have your camera ready!

DRINKS/ENTERTAINMENT
The bar staff at the Bahia is wonderful! From the Swing Bar to the Lobby Bars to the Pool Bars, they were all great! Yes, we do tip, but only AFTER receiving good service! We both use insulated mugs and my other half likes to drink Tequila on the rocks. We actually had to go to the gift shop and get him a smaller mug – the kept wanting to fill the other one! They do have drink menus at all of the bars, but if you don’t see something you would like, just ask – they are more than happy to get it or make it for you if they can. The beer is Dos Equis on tap, and it is good and cold.

The Swing Bar was our favourite – what a great meeting place! Great view, nice breeze – couldn’t ask for a nicer spot on a hot day! We found the lobby bar at Tulum more lively (day or night) than Akumal or Coba. At Coba they had a station set up in the evening to make Mayan coffees which was nice.

They had entertainment in the Tulum lobby every evening. It ended every night at the same time, just before the show started, even on Thursday when there was no show (a bit of a disappointment). We did go to the Coba Music bar one evening, only to find out there was no music that night. Later in the evening they have a band playing at the Hacienda. We went one night and they were pretty good.

Every morning they had a coffee bar set up in the Lobby bar, with coffee, tea and usually some sort of sweetbread. When the bar opened at 10am they added an assortment of liqueurs and a tequila table. Also, at the main buffet they had a Mimosa station (champagne & orange juice) set up every morning as well as a Bloody Mary station. This was a nice touch.

EXCURSIONS
We went snorkelling twice at Akumal Bay. The first time we took a taxi over ($10 US each way) in the morning and went out on our own. The second time we went with the Bahia dive shop ($40 US each). They took us over by boat and we snorkelled with the turtles and then swam out to the reef. My advice – do it on you own, but go in the morning. We thought it might be better with a guide, but it really wasn’t. On our own we saw turtles and the wall of fish; with the guide we also saw the barracuda. The reef was nice, but we saw more fish on a smaller section of reef when we went by ourselves than we did with the tour. Our tour left the Bahia at 11:30 am (the 9 am was cancelled) and Akumal Bay was very busy at that time of day. The day we went by ourselves, there were only a few others there; I can’t even begin to guess how many were there the second time!

We are ATV enthusiasts, so we decided to go on an ATV tour. There is one that leaves from the Hacienda; we were told it was 3 hours and $89 USD. Our tour rep recommended another one to us; it left from just south of Playa del Carmen and was 2 hours (Yucatan Explorer I think). The cost was $55 US. They charge and additional $10 pp for pickup unless you have a large group. Because there was already a group of 12 going from our resort, she included us with them and we got free transportation. We rode the bikes on good trails and swam in a cenote; we also stopped at a cave for a look. It was a fun outing; but be warned – the bikes are very old and in poor condition. They are only 125cc bikes and have been ridden hard. More than 1 bike in our group broke down. This is also the only ATV tour I have been on where they didn’t insist that you wear a helmet. If you wanted a bandana, there was an additional charge of $5.

OVERALL All in all, we had a great time! We’ve been to enough AI’s to realize that the food and drinks are more or less the same wherever you go. What sets the GBP apart is the level of service and the attention to detail. We would definitely go there again, and we don’t typically go to the same place twice. We would also stay at another Bahia resort without hesitation.

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  Bahia Principe Tulum   Kari ~ Edmonton, Alberta

December 2007

We just spent a week at the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum returning to Canada on November 21, 2007.

We went with two young boys ages 9,10, my husband and myself.

I have been to many resorts in the Carribean and this one was beautiful. Although I read many complaints about the rocky beaches, I have no complaints at all. There are a few areas where there is a lot of coral washed up on the beach and you need to be careful of your step but there is still miles of sandy beach to walk. There is lots of coral (rock) close to the beach which requires caution when swimming, but also lots of soft sandy areas. We swam daily directly in front of the Tulum area. There are lots of large sand bags set up to break the waves and the kids had a blast playing on them. We also snorkelled and swam up the beach off the Akumel area and it is beautiful and clear there and only a short walk up the beach. Lots of fish to see without leaving the resort. The coral reef is in sad shape here when you snorkel out a ways. But if you want fish there are lots! Staff was working daily to reduce the amount of coral on the beach.

When we arrived at supper time check in was a breeze. Everything was exactly as promised and described. Every room is beach view. Rooms were clean and up to date. Only BIG complaint was the beds. They were the hardests beds of any resort I have ever been too. There was a note in the room offers to ‘soften’ beds. We took them up on this offer immediately upon arrival and this was done before we returned from supper. Unfortunately they were still very hard. Room service was great. Rooms were cleaned before 10 AM every morning . Fresh towels and toiletries as well as bar fridge were always restocked. Lovely towel art was left for our enjoyment every day. But do note that I do leave a small tip daily for the maid. $1 -2 US daily rather than at the end of the stay. Rooms are not spacious but are certainly adequate for the amount of time we spent in it. This room did contain 3 double beds. We were in building 6 right near the beach bar, south pool and still close to the lobby and main restaurant. It was an ideal location but a couple nights was loud due to partiers at the 24hr beach bar. It was a minor inconvience for the great location and I do leave the patio doors open at night.

Food was a disappointment and one of the reasons I would rate this resort much lower. Buffet was unispired, and did not vary at all from night to night. Often food was cold. We did take advantage of our 3 alacartes and with these we were impressed. Best of the 3 was the oriental at the Hacienda, next best Don Pablo followed by the Mexican. It is nice to be able to choose from the a la cartes at all 3 resorts. The 24 hour beach bar by the south pool was excellent, much better than the buffet! None of the a la cartes was open for breakfast or lunch as their signs stated so food was limited to the main buffet or the beach bar.

We did 2 tours during this trip. We went to the Mayan ruins of Coba and visited a Mayan village. We learned much about the Mayan life and the challenges they face as tourism increases. If you plan to go the children love to recieve things. We had candy but after seeing the teeth of many of these children, please consider small toys, balls, school supplies! They were gracious in showing us their homes. Coba is an amazing archeological site and worth the visit. At this time you can still climb the large pyramid. Since it is relatively new on the tourism radar it is much less commercialized and very worth the visit. Only a small part of this site is excavated at present time. We also did a day trip to Chichen Itza and went to a Ceynote to swim. Chichen Itza is certainly a marvel. It is a long day from Tulum area but worth the visit if you have never been. The size and breadth of these ruins is aweinspiring. It is very touristy though, beware!

On previous visits to this area we have also been to the archeological site of Tulum and visited its gorgeous beaches. We arrived there on this tour via a catamaran and the view of the site from the ocean is phenomenal. Also worth a visit is the Xcaret park. The underground rivers are a lot of fun, there is a recreated mayan village and great snorkelling areas.

Overall the resort is clean and attractive. Pool maintenance got sloppy and garbage was left on pool decks during the last couple days of our stay. Staff was always attentive and efficient. It was a long drive from Cancun airport to the resort, so just be prepared for this. It was two hours by bus as we were the last resort let off.

We would return but at a time of year when it was busier in hopes that food would be better. I would still recommend it to others! But beware of those beds!

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Bahia Principe Tulum Angela & Karl ~ Toronto

October 2007

Hi,
We just came back yesterday from Gran Bahia Principe Tulum yesterday.

This resort is enormous. It is so expansive and has two other resorts on the same beach – Bahia Akumal and Bahia Coba.

There are little trains that pass by every few minutes to take you to the others and there is a small shopping complex and entertainment area with a disco on the property as well.

Staff were wonderful. They all really work so hard.

Food was great. A lot of variety.
(Make sure you book the gourmet restaurant Don Pedro. Exquisite! Smaller portions. But I think I was up at the buffet to many times previous as this was welcome.

All in all great place. Only caution is if you are going, make sure to pack water shoes. Unfortunately, entry to the beach is difficult due to the broken coral from previous hurricanes.

Also, there is really nothing worth watching on TV – but I really didn’t go there to watch TV. I can do that here. We visited Tulum ruins – bring your bathing suit and towel as you can swim and view the temple at the same time. We also went to Playa del Carmen.

Enjoy Yourselves!!

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Bahia Principe Tulum Nadine ~ Canada

May 2007

I stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum this past March 2007. I only have praise for the place! It was everything I expected and way more. My only slight complaint (if you could call it that) is the ride from the airport was supposed to be one hour, but ended up being almost 2 hours. After the time change earlier in the evening in Canada, a 2 hour flight delay and then 2 hours on a bus, it was kind of a hellish ride. Once you are settled in after a few hours, you completely forget about it though. Other than that, the place is beautiful, clean, welcoming and the staff is superb! It is the most relaxing place I’ve been too in years. I can’t wait to go back for two weeks next year!
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Bahia Principe Tulum Canada

February 2007

We stayed at the Bahia Principe Tulum the weeks of February 2nd to the 16th. This is our second time staying at this resort as we also stayed here in February 2005. We have previously been at resorts in Cancun, Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Barbados, Bermuda and Aruba.

For this, our second stay at this resort, we were disappointed and found that the resort is getting to be tired looking and the quality of service is not at the level we experienced in 2005. It is in our opinion, no longer the five star resort indicated in our travel brochure and indeed is not the four and a half star annotated in other brochures.

Rooms
The first room we were given in building seven was smelly and had black mold in the bathroom on the walls and on the ceiling. We are aware that in tropical climates you can experience a damp smell but this was different. When we complained we were told we could move to another room but the options were very limited. Nothing with the requested ocean view. We were told that if we wanted to stay in a building near our friends at the north end of the resort, we would have to pay an additional $70.00 per person per night. We found that unacceptable but decided to wait until the next day which was a Saturday and a day many people were leaving so we could see what might become available

The next day we went to the Hacienda Principe Tulum (Club Diamond) and we were successful in changing our room for $30.00 per person extra per night. Not ideal but better than staying where we were. No one could explain the difference in the price quoted the previous night and the price actually charged.

Our room cleaning was OK with some minor inconsistencies such as sometimes soap etc. was left, sometime not. We left $2 US per day as a tip. Sometimes we had little towel animals left on the bed while other times we had to search for the towels. The mini bar was filled about 60% of the time we were there. Definitely not on a daily basis despite the upgrade we paid for the room.

By the way our second room was in building 46 on the third (top) floor and sported an outstanding ocean view.

Staff
The staff at the Club Diamond are excellent and most helpful at all times. Free internet connection is also available to people here. Hats off to all the staff located at this site.

The staff at the reception desk in the main building (Tulum) were not accommodating at any given time during our stay. The staff who book the restaurant reservations in the main building were mixed in their performance. One (Sarah), was excellent, while another kept telling us that we could not book reservations at certain restaurants. She kept saying we were not entitled to book at those places even though we had already booked and dined at them the previous week. We were later able to make reservations at those same restaurants so the inconsistency in the information given was annoying.

Beach
The Beach is OK but not great. However that being said, we found the beach better on this vacation then our previous trip. More shade is available and more sand has been added. We enjoyed swimming in the ocean and bouncing around in the waves. There is plenty of space and although you have rocks present, there is plenty of areas to swim where the rocks are not a problem. It may not an outstanding beach but it is not as bad as some people report.

Pools
We really only hung around the Tulum Pool, which is also called the North Pool and located near the Tequila Restaurant. The last time we were here it was basically an adult only pool and had animation staff that ran some really fun activities. This time we found the pool inundated with children and hence any activities such as water polo or volleyball included children. The noise level was proportional to the amount of children in the pool. If you are looking for activities with your children great, but for those of us looking for an adult oriented setting, the pool atmosphere had changed and the pool activities were limited and poorly organized. Service at the pool bar was indifferent even though we tipped well.

All pools that we observed in all locations Tulum, Coba and Akumal were clean and well cared for at all times.

Food
The buffets are good. We tried the buffet at all three resorts (Tulum, Akumal and Coba). The food at all three buffets is pretty much the same with slight variations. If you had to eat there every night you might get tired of it but mix in your three a la carte options and you have a pretty good selection with respect to dining.

A La Carte Restaurants.

Mikado – located in Coba
Japanese cooking. Excellent presentation. Food very good. The only problem was we felt like we were rushed through our meal to make the room available for the next group. It was not only our group that expressed this concern.

La Gran Tortuga – located in Tulum
Steak is the main offering at this restaurant. Setting is OK. Service was slow and the food was poor. There were four of us (2 couples) dining and not one of us actually had a good meal nor did we get exactly what we ordered. We had made reservations for two evenings at this restaurant and we cancelled the second night.

Arlequin – located in Akumal
What a gem this restaurant is! Excellent setting. Superb presentation of food. Service is exceptional and the food was just outstanding. We made another reservation as this place is well worth a second visit. The second time we ate here it was just as good. Marvelous food with first-rate quality service at a relaxed pace.

Oriental – located at the Hacienda Dona Isabel
We ate here twice as it too is an excellent place to dine. We found the menu to have enough variety to satisfy the diverse tastes in our group. The food was well presented and delicious. The service was excellent and professional. Go on a Thursday and save yourself the cost of paying to get in for the Mexican Fiesta. The Mexican Fiesta by the way was OK. I liked it while others in the group found it cheesy.

Dolce Vita – located in Akumal
We had eaten here on our last visit and so we had high expectations. We were not disappointed. The food was very good although the service was a little inconsistent and slow. Over all though, the lovely setting and excellent food make this a wise choice.

Don Pablo – located in Tulum
We had eaten here on our last visit and were quite disappointed in both the food and the poor service. We had friends who dined here this time and they had mixed reviews. Two couples were quite satisfied with the food and service while another couple were very unhappy. It does seem to be a bit of a hit and miss with respect to the quality one finds here.

Gym
The gym is small and there was only one treadmill which was not working well. The last time we were here I believe there were three treadmills – all fully functional. There were weights, exercise bikes and an area where you could do yoga or other forms of exercise. For those wishing to jog or do power walking, forget about the gym and head for the many paths throughout the resort. I went early before the heat got too much and only used the gym the once due to the limited equipment .

Grounds
Immaculate and very well maintained. The grounds staff are excellent.

Overall rating for the Resort
Great if you are expecting a 4 star resort but mediocre if you are expecting a 4 ½ or 5 star establishment. We will not be returning for a third stay here as the decline in quality was enough to convince us to look elsewhere.

Area in General
The ruins at Tulum are really close and interesting.

The ruins at Chichen Itza are a nice day trip but you can no longer climb the castle (aka pyramid). We found these to be the most impressive ruins of the four we visited in the area.

The ruins at Coba are an hour away and you can still climb some of the buildings including the largest building. Don’t spend the money to book the whole day tour unless you want the complete package (lunch with a Mayan family etc). We just hired a taxi and had a far better time with a lot of flexibility on when we went and how long we stayed.

Ruins at Muyil are worth a visit. A UNESCO protected site and a well kept secret.

Shopping
Hacienda Dona Isabella is close for those who really don’t want to leave the resort grounds.

Akumel beach is fairly close and has better prices and selection for T shirts etc.

Playa Del Carmen is about 20 minutes away and has a variety of shopping options in and around the 5th Avenue main street.

Remember to bargain to get the best prices.
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Bahia Principe Tulum Laura ~ Canada

January 2007

We are a middle aged couple from Hamilton, Ontario and this was our very first trip ever together anywhere. We want to tell you what a fabulous place the Gran Bahia Principe Resort is. We stayed in the area referred to as Tulum and the section was called – Club Diamond.

It was absolutely fabulous. The staff were all very very friendly, helpful and courteous. The resort and I mean the whole resort, including Coba and Akumal was immaculate. I have never experienced anything so clean and so well maintained in my life. We cannot even keep a Tim Horton’s clean! The number of staff and workers at this place boggled my mind. We tipped most staff that we had contact with. Whether it was the lady making our omelet to the the unknown personnel cleaning the ladies washroom in the main lobby. Everyone works very very hard at this resort and it was pure professionalism all the way. We became very good friends with the girls at the customer service desk, namely Claudia and Jhoanna. They could not do enough for us and us in return. We were visitors in their country and they accepted us with open arms.

Restaurants: All of them were lovely – we reserved at the Oriental – Thursday night – to be able to take in the show at the Hacienda. We dined at the Don Pablo – very very fine dining and an ultimate experience. Food was fabulous at both places. We also experienced the Meditterrean Restaurant as well as the La Tortogue. (The Grill) Both were very nice. The buffets were over and beyond what we could expect and the food was excellent. Some may say the food tasted bland, but all you need to do is add some spicy sauce or hot peppers and your good to go.

Room: We stayed in Villa 40 – 2nd floor – Ocean view and the room was wonderful. Beds were made daily and sheets changed and room cleaned. Carlos was our maid and he was an excellent one at that. A very sweet man and tipping wasn’t out of the question. The rooms are equipped with shampoo, conditioner, body gel soap, toothbrush, shoe shine kit, shower cap, mending kit, hand soap, hair drier, combs, magnifying mirror. I won’t hesitate the next time to not take all these personal items with me, because I did use theirs and they were just fine. We were only there a week. Slippers were also given to us for use and allowed to be taken home. The bathrobes were there as well and if you wished to purchase them at the end of your stay, you are to speak to the front desk. (we did not take advantage of this)

Bar Fridge: This was stocked daily with any of your requests and again tipping helped in this matter. Cervaza, chips, chocolate bars, and soft drinks.

Drinks at any bar were more than plenty and a delight to ingest and believe me, we ingested a few. No waits and service was excellent. We did take insulated coffee mugs to keep our cold drinks cold in the hot sun and this worked really well.

This resort is very very large, so trolley cars were a good way to get around, which we sometimes chose to do and sometimes not. Always a pleasant time with mexican music playing to get you in the mood.

They call this resort a 5 star resort, but in our eyes it was a 10+.
I am still in awe on how they manage the magnitude of services and to so many thousands, without a blink. They are very hard working people and want to please. I can’t honestly say we can do it as well in Canada.

Beach: The beach at this particular was rocky, however we knew this before going. We did snorkel down in the Akumal section and it was lovely and the beach was very crowded. We preferred our little section, not so crowded and just a lovely. We had a red flag most days, because of the high winds, which prevented most people from going in the ocean. Those that did usually got whistled out by the life guard. You do need beach shoes if you want to walk into this section of the ocean.

We shopped on the resort at the Hacienda, and found all our needs met and were able to pick up lots of souvenir type of items for family members. We did not find this to be overly expensive. T-shirts of the area for $5.00 – how good is that!

We did tip well as mentioned earlier, and rightfully so. They are hard working people and they deserve it. Our Sunquest rep. advised us they are only perhaps making as much as $10.00 a day. If this was a plug, so be it, I felt they deserved every penny we gave them, if not more. If tipping and shopping was our only expense, then let’s do it right!

Have a great trip and I cannot wait to go back, and this resort is a dream come true.
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Bahia Principe Tulum Steve ~ Ottawa

December 2006

I have travelled to many resorts, countries in the Caribbean and I must say that I was extremely impressed with this resort. Truly a 5 star resort.

Musts: Oriental restaurant on Thursday nights, beach shoes, bug spray at night, thermal mugs for drinks poolside, US money (much better exchange rate – 11 pesos per dollar compared to 6 for Canadian money), XEL-ha.

Airport
· Was a little confusing to find way to Immigration officials. Once completed and luggage obtained, you get to push the button at Customs to determine if you are green (good to go) or red (time for a search). We were green and proceeded accordingly.

· Upon leaving the Customs checkpoint, you will be overwhelmed with people asking you if you want a taxi, drinks, porters, information, etc.

· One gentleman asked us what tour company we were with and asked us to follow him – he too was a salesman, offering a timeshare. I listened to his tips for bargaining and obtained a map but then left to find my real guide.

· Once finding my guide holding a sign for my tour agency, we had a short 10 minute wait. We were then escorted to a waiting passenger van. There were only 4 of us altogether and we were dropped off at our resort first.

· Trip to the resort seemed shorter than at other locations, yet it was still well over an hour away.

Check-in
· As we were the only ones that attended our resort in the van that we were travelling in, check-in was a breeze! A nice touch was the champagne and orange juice provided to us immediately.

· Also, we did not touch our bags at all. A bellman quickly snatched the bags from the van and once we checked in (matter of a couple of minutes), we were chauffeured to our room, using one of the many trams on the resort.

Room
· We were in a junior suite, which had a huge king bed, with a seating area (small table and chairs and couch). This was all in the same room, yet the seating area was separated slightly with a half wall and pillars. Still definitely an open concept though. Nicely air-conditioned. We were on the 2nd floor of one of the many 3 floor villas. Ours was villa 4, room 413. If overlooked the beach and ocean. We had a balcony with a small table and couple of chairs. Very nice. Would highly recommend an Ocean view. Villa 4 was nice and close to everything. With some 35 villas, many were out in the middle of no-where, so be sure to request where you would like to be. Bathroom had a Jacuzzi tub for one, large counter with hair dryer and makeup mirror. No ventilation, so mirrors, etc. tended to get fogged up quickly with the nice hot bath / showers. Great water pressure. Also they have one of those clothes lines that pull out from the wall to hang wet clothing. In room safe costs $5 USD per day for the lock. Although extreme, we took it and had peace of mind all week. (actually 10 days).

· Mini bar in the room loaded with various pops (coke, diet coke), as well as beer (Dos Equis). There was also a small bag of chips and a couple of chocolate bars (Milky Way and a Snickers). Bar is replenished on occasion. Tips may assist in this regard.

· BEWARE of the tiny ants. Do not leave any sweets/chips/food lying around. The ants will be on it in no time. We only had the experience once with half of a chocolate bar that was left on the nightstand. The ants had come in from the balcony and I followed the trail of them. Once the chocolate was removed and I killed the many ants in the congo line, we were fine. We never saw them again. Weird thing is that they did not bother with the fruit bowl left in the room as part of the honeymoon package.

Honeymoon Package · We did not have to show our documentation to anyone, but had brought it just in case.

· Weddings daily and they have a nice spot set up near the Tequila restaurant – outdoor arbour / patio decorated, where I am sure the weddings take place. Looked quite nice.

· I think there were a couple of flowers in the room and a small bottle of tequila with a bowl of fruit to set the honeymoon mood.

Smoking
· Note that smoking is permitted EVERYWHERE. It did not bother me, and I actually indulged in a few cigars myself, however if you are not into that beware!!! They did have some non-smoking sections, but we all know how well those work.

Television
· Who cares, you are not there to watch TV. However there were some English stations and we got caught up on news with the FOX station.

· The TV made an awful noise, so I called the front desk and someone was there in approx. 20 minutes to replace the TV. Pretty good service!

Newspapers
· Again, who cares, but if you have to get caught up on any major events, newspapers are available at guest services (where you book the restaurants), free of charge.

Facilities · Easy to get around with the trams provided. · 3 huge resorts in one. Go where you want when you want. Eat and drink wherever you like. · Shows were so-so, although one was really good – shows start at 10pm. · Drinks galore….Drinks are not watered down, as I watched them crack many a bottle of rum. · Your favourite brands are likely to be there – CC, Smirnoff, Bacardi, Havana – not just the local stuff. · There are coffee bars, which include teas of all sorts. · There are specialty coffee areas, where the server lights the liquor on fire and ends up serving it to you.

· There are also specialty tequila areas where you can try different flavours of tequila – strawberry, pineapple, etc. Quite nice and ready for the taking.

· There are just many extras that make the resort a pleasure.

Restaurants · Excellent!!!! · Remember Cuba??? This is nothing like it, as the food is actually really good.

· Book the specialty restaurants early and make sure you book the ORIENTAL restaurant for the Thursday night. It is located in the market area of the resort. Every Thursday night they host a local festival in the market square and charge everyone $16 USD to enter. By eating there on the Thursday night, you are already there and thus do not need to pay. They will still ask you in advance if you need tickets, but do not bother paying and simply state that you already have your tickets. You will not be disappointed. The show is actually quite good and shows you a lot of the local culture.

· You are entitled to 3 specialty restaurants for a one-week stay.
· Every night there was a ‘drink of the day’. Pick it up on your way in. Many of them were so good, I continued with them once reaching the bar after dinner – especially the Mango Margarita!!!!!

Bars
· Many of them and I never had to wait very long for a drink. And I was not tipping each time either – actually very rarely. I like tipping at the end of my vacation, which is what we did.

· NOTE: Bring the thermal cups with lids, etc. for around the poolside. Those little plastic glasses they give you just do not do the trick.

· Disco at the Hacienda is good. A good mixture of 80s, 90s and current music. Not all rap, etc., although there is some. Beware – it is loud though. But always a good time.

· Resort Bars
– Bands are pretty good, but if you listen, you can tell that they are making up the words to many songs – including the famous ‘take those old records off the shelf’. I would bet money that they stated ‘take the salt shakers off the shelf’. They may have just been being funny, but I doubt it – lol. However, the same songs night after night is enough to drive anyone nuts. It is fun for the first couple of nights, but after that be prepared to either do something else or drink until the band sounds differently! The resort bar is nice in that it is a totally open concept. No windows, etc. It is also a good place to play cards, cribbage, etc.

Weather · Lets just say that when it is nice, it is really nice – 30+ degrees celcius. Beautiful.

· Unfortunately, out of our 10 days, we had at least 4 days of PURE RAIN. Now, being our honeymoon, it was not bad. We also enjoyed the bar as well as playing cards and crib.

· We just had a freak storm system that was circling for several days rather than moving on.
· Thankfully we were there for 10 days, so we had nice weather to start and end, but it was bad in the middle.

Pictures · Lots of nice settings for great pictures.

· In addition, the resort sends people around with parrots, warriors, a large iguana, etc. to have your picture taken. They charge though if you want to take them – $10USD each.

Deals / Shopping

· We did not buy a lot, however we did take a bus from the resort ($19USD for the two of us – charged to our room) to Playa Del Carmen to shop on 5th avenue. We did get some deals there. We went in due to the rain – something to do. Some good deals to be had at the Hacienda at the resort too.

· BEWARE: timeshare people around in little kiosks on the street offering you assistance and chatting you up.

Timeshare
· In the middle of the 4 days of rain, we decided to take an offer for a timeshare. We never would have done it if the weather was nice, however due to the rain, why not. We were told that it was not a timeshare, only that we were to compare this new resort to our existing resort. I knew it was a lie when he ensured that we had a valid VISA or MC card with us. Naturally, 90 minutes turns into about a 3 hour adventure, but transportation and breakfast was included. However, we did get 2 tickets to the Xel-ha / Tulum adventure, 2 bottles of 1L Kalua and 2 large Mexican blankets for our time.

XEL-ha / Tulum Adventure
· We LOVED it!!!! The best part was that it was the first day that we had seen the sun in 4 days and it was HOT out. We did some snorkling and got some good pics in the water – underwater camera a MUST.

· Best part would have been floating down the river in the inner tubes, with beer conveniently hidden for our journey. As it turned out, everyone was doing the same thing and we had a blast!!!! Drinks and food were included.

· Bad part – leaving. They took us to XEL-ha first. We did not want to leave to go to Tulum mid-afternoon.
· If you have seen Chitzen Itza (sp?), you do not need to see Tulum. It is actually a disappointment in comparison. However, if you have never seen the ruins, it is worthwhile. Our guide was great and provided a lot of Myan history and culture. There is also a large beach there where you can go swimming if you like.

Checkout · A breeze. · They want you to settle the bill the night before (any excursions, room safe, etc.).

· Simply drop off the key, get your final receipt and you are set. They also provide you with the voucher for transportation back to the airport, so you do have to actually wait for the receipt and voucher.

Airport · For Canadian flights, we were able to bring liquids on board as carry on. · However, for US flights, all liquids were being removed and everyone was going through another detailed exam at the gate prior to boarding (even though they had already gone through security). Same was not true for our Canadian flights. Top of Page

Bahia Principe Tulum Kim ~ Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

December 2006

Just got back from a week there – Nov 5-12th. Second time visitors to same resort; have also stayed at other all-inclusives in Mayan previously. We have two children aged less than 6. What we loved about this resort last time we stayed (4 years ago) was just how easy it was to be there especially with children. This time I must say I was very disappointed in the tipping aspect. The first two days our room was not cleaned, or barely cleaned (we had not left tips as we had not broken any money yet), once we started leaving tips the room was cleaned and the little towel creatures we had told our children of, were made. One day instead of a $5 USD tip my daughter wanted to tip so left her money which was about $1.40 USD in pesos…..apparently not good enough, room was left a mess….oh and did I mention the mini-bar was not refilled either on the low/no tip days. You could stand at the bar fainting from the heat and not get approached for a drink, unless you waved US cash around. I do not object to tipping but believe in tipping for service, not getting service because I am offering a tip. It made the trip considerably less easy, as you always needed to have cash on you which to me defeats the all inclusive idea, and of course that meant leaving cash unattended at the pool/beach and other things that are worrisome when travelling.

Also the kids club mini-disco was never on. We showed up every night with a multitude of parents and children only to find that they had nothing planned or did not think there were enough kids, or did not show up at all. It was made up with face painting, for those kids who were still waiting by the time the hostess finally arrivied.

4 years ago this place was incredible, but now I was really disappointed in the fee for service attitude that seems to be expected.
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Bahia Principe Tulum Wayde and Silvia – ~Toronto, Canada

October 2006

Gran Bahia Principe Tulum BENITO JUAREX KM 250

AKUMAL, QR MEXICO

This resort is made up of:

* Tulum – beach is the largest, 1/3rd rocky on east – Largest resort but Akumel is slightly nicer estically. – east side is quite due to rocky shoreline.

* Akumul – beach 1/3rd rocky on west.

– beach is nicely setup for families and has a dock. – beach can get very congested due to the guests from Principe and Coba.

* Coba – beach sandy

– resort is furtherest away from the beach.

* Club Diamond (very small) – never went to it.

* Principe (very small) – beautiful smaller scale of the other main three.
* Hacienda – This is the main entrance where all the shops and the disco are.

– I found the beaches to be great as I walked them in my water shoes. There is a lot of sand to lye in and rocky areas to explore if you want. – Guests have access to all resorts, buffet resturants, and beaches. – There are small bus like vehicles that move between all destinations every 5 minutes. – There are pools everywhere. – You can book snokal gear for 1 hr everyday and check out the fish in the reef. **** DO NOT FEED THE FISH, I was told that bread, etc… kills the fish **** – Room TV will tell you about some of the adventure tours.

– Drinks everywhere; however, they must be severly watered down.


//// Things to do when booking ////
– Make sure your coupon specifies room preferences or if its your anniversary/honeymoon. – Insist on a 2nd or 3rd floor of the villa to avoid having any thing crawl in under the front door. We were on the 3rd floor and saw a 3inch gecko in the bathroom

a few times. It was more cute than anything.

//// List of things to bring //// – Small 500ml bottle to fill and carry with you. All bottled water comes in 1 liter. – Bring sun lotions. – Bug spray for evenings and adventure tours. – Underwater disposable camera for reef on beach and adventure tours. – Water shoes for rough coral areas. This is a very long beach with lots of sandy beach in the center. – Get pesos/US dollar exchange rate "http://www.x-rates.com/d/USD/table.html" Only bring US and insist on US change before making any purchases. – Bring photo copy of marriage certificate if applicable.

– Umbrella or rain gear, we never used it 09/09/06-09/16/06.

//// What to do upon arrival //// – Book three a la cartes restaurants before your orientation meeting with your Rep. This can be done at the Public Relations desk.

– Ask for a room safe (35US/7day)

//// Resturants //// – Oriental – Great – Don Pablo – Great

– El Pescador – Great

//// Tours //// – De Play Carmen 3hr trip in to this town for 3hr of shopping. Cost 12/person. Ate up a half day. We didn’t find any deals that we couldn’t have found at the Hacienda at the resort. – I was not impressed with the tour to the local Silver factory. We were lead into a large showroom and we didn’t find any deals to write home about. The driver was very informative about the area and brought us into a local village where we bought candy to give children on our tours. – Coba/Mayan Village – Great

– Aqua Adventure – Fantastic!

//// Miscellaneous //// – Ride to the resort was a very long 1hr45min; however, the bus had air. Not much scenery on no stops for drinks or food. – Air conditioned rooms where not as cool as we keep it in Canada, but provided us with restful nights. Some guests had problem with theirs. – Pack of 4 AA batteries $20 US. – Under water desposable camera $20 US. – Tip 1 or 2 dollars when you get the chance. The staff are mainly comprised of the local Myan people and make very little base pay. They depend on the tips. The run down buildings and towns are were these people live.

– You could bring hard candy (chocolate will melt), pencils, and crayons for children you encounter during your tours.

I hope this helps you better prepare before you get there and enjoy yourself while your are there.
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Bahia Principe Tulum Brian

September 2006

Hello, just got back from the Gran Bahia principe Tulum club diamond section and wanted share my thoughts on the resort.

I’ll make it very short and to the point.

The good:

The resort is absoluetly beautiful. Food is fantastic, and the service wonderful.

The bad:
You cannot swim at the beach in this part of the resort. It begins with sand and ends in reef, all before you even hit the water. very dangerous.

The "exclusive" Club Diamond areas are anything but. We spent the week in line behind people from every part of the resort while in the Club Diamond restaurant, couldnt get a spot around "eclusive" pool for the same reason, and pretty much wondered why we had spent the xtra $300 to use these services that everyone else can use.

I would higghly recomend this reort to anyone, but would suggest they save some $$$ and stay in the regular tulum section or if looking for a nice beach the akumel section.
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Bahia Principe Tulum Jean ~ Canada

September 2006

Wow, I just returned from the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum and it was more than I had expected. I had read almost all of the reviews for this resort and felt like I knew what to expect, and I was still stunned with the beauty! I was traveling with my boyfriend and we are both 26yrs old. We both went for a relaxing vacation to spend in the sun, which is what we got.

It’s a 1 ½ hr drive from the airport to the hotel, which was long, but we’re on vacation right? Our check-in was really fast and simple -no fuss at all. I had e-mailed the resort (email from their web site) with a request of a third floor (which is the highest) room with an ocean view and a king size bed, which I was granted (Villa 20). The bed and pillows are on the firm side, but I slept like a baby! We were near the Gran Tortuga restaurant, which was great in the morning – they serve a buffet breakfast and lunch and its right near the nice beach. The room was very clean, but I did encounter those TINY ants that I had read about in other reviews. I had brought my bug spray with me, and I spayed the corners of the room with it and the bottom of the bed and it fixed the problem. I did find a couple in the bathroom, but they didn’t bother me all that much (as long as they weren’t in the bed).

Now when they say the resort is big, they mean HUGE! It’s actually 3 resorts in one. We never left the Tulum grounds, except once to visit the gigantic pool in Akumal, but then went back to our known grounds! Take the trams. If you don’t like large hotels or a lot of walking, this probably isn’t the place for you

We saw all sorts of people, from young couples, honeymooners to families and elders. It’s such a big resort that it’s really made for everyone. You can choose to stay at the pool or go to the beach, there are always chairs available.

Beach – the beach is pretty rocky, not like in Cuba where it’s smooth sand everywhere. BUT, still amazing and SO warm! I had brought water shoes with me, but ended up not wearing them (I didn’t want the tan lines). I didn’t feel like I really needed them, the rocks are really just near the land, once you’re in the water, it’s really clear – there are some big rocks in the water, but it’s SO clear that you can avoid them! We stayed at the beach in Tulum, right beside the snack restaurant. There were ALWAYS chairs available under a little hut.

Sun – It was SO strong! Bring lots of sunscreen and re-apply! Sunscreen doesn’t make you not tan; it just blocks the bad UV rays and actually gives you a more even tan because you stay moisturized. Bring after-sun lotion too!

Snorkeling – If you can bring you’re own gear, do so! If not, it’s free to rent it at the hotel (but it’s much easier if you have at least your own mask). The water is so clear and there are tons of fish to see. Bring some bread out in the water, and the fish will come ALL AROUND you. Beautiful! Bring an underwater camera for the fish!

Buffets – The buffet restaurant Yucatan in Tulum was really good. I’m not much of a fussy eater, but my boyfriend is a meat guy and he had no trouble eating. Every night, they had sushi, pizza, pasta, tacos, soup, salad, Chinese food, health corner (steamed veggies, rice, fish, chicken breast), hamburgers, kabobs (beef and chicken) pork chops, a kids corner (nuggets, onion rings, fries) and fruit and desserts like you wouldn’t believe!!! (And I could go on…)There were soft serve ice cream stands in ALL the restaurants!!! The 24hr snack restaurant had AMAZING hamburgers, just like having a Whopper. There were always fruits and salads there too, and nice guacamole! We learned that the Gran Tortuga served breakfast and lunch buffet daily, which was nice because there wasn’t as many people and not a big line-up for the wonderful omelet station! The milk shakes are really good!

A la carte – Reserve EARLY at public relations! For some reason, they book up fast (even though they’re always half empty). Men have to wear long pants, but jeans are fine. We ate at Don Pablo (gourmet food) and it was the best. We had the fig salad, celery soup and sautéed shrimps for starters and the steak and shrimp and asparagus risotto for main meal. AMAZING! We also went to the Gran Tortuga which was also good – had the New York steak and the Ribs, really tasty. We also went to the Oriental (in Hacienda). I wasn’t super impressed, but I think it’s because in Montreal, we have REALLY great oriental restaurants, and this was kind of tasteless comparing to how good everything is here. The Tequila restaurant isn’t very good, you’re better of at the buffet.

Hacienda Dona Isabel – It’s a small town like square just in front of the hotel. There’s a shuttle to go, but also a 5min walk (good to digest the food!). There are little shops where you can buy stuff, but I found that the prices in the lobby shop were better. There’s an internet cafe there, and a doctor and an ATM. There are 2 bars there and a night club. Nice place to hang out in the evening – there’s a live band until about midnight then you can go to the disco.

Entertainment – The animation was great during the day, playing beach volleyball and soccer and having contests, but the shows in the evening were not so great. It’s a shame, because they have this great auditorium, but they don’t put too much into the shows, not very creative.

Excursions – We went to the Tulum ruins. Took the collectivo for 20 pesos and it’s 45 pesos for the entrance. Wear you bathing suit under clothes, the beach is great. All ruins in Mexico are free on Sundays, but it does get crowded.

We also went to Xel-ha. Also took the collectivo and paid the $58us entrance (the all inclusive includes drinks and food). It’s a great park to visit, nice snorkeling. The food wasn’t very good though. Keep you flippers for the lazy river, you will need to paddle yourself – the river is VERY lazy!!

Shopping – You can take the collective to Playa Del Carmen to get better rates, but not that much difference. The Duty Free shop at Cancun airport is decent (I bought a 980ml bottle of Kahlua for $12us, where it was $8us at the Walmart in Playa). Hacienda also has a variety of souvenirs if you don’t want to leave the resort. Just make sure you bring enough sunscreen, it’s pretty expensive at the resort ($16us).

Just a couple tips: -If you’re not sure what you’re eating, don’t eat it. Usually, you’re instincts are always right. -Try to book Oriental restaurant on Thurs – you get a free entrance to Mexican Fiesta (usually $16us). -They say the water is purified, but I only drank bottled water. They water in the restaurants and bars is ok. -If you want to go somewhere, take the collectivo. They are white vans with a blue or green strip on them. They are the public transportation for visitors and locals and the cost is ALWAYS $2us or 20 pesos whether you’re going to Tulum, Coba, Xel-Ha or Playa Del Carmen. I saw one of the drivers trying to tell tourists that the fare was 30pesos – if they do that, wait for the next one. -You don’t need to bring your passport anywhere, leave it in the safe (which is $5/day at the hotel 🙁 but it gave me a sense of safety). -Use pesos, you’ll end up saving more money than if you use US. Exchange you’re money before you get to the hotel. There’s an ATM at Hacienda that charges $3us and gives you pesos. -If you like Tequila, sample the different flavors. The hot chili was great! -Bring a small umbrella – it’s a big resort and if it rains, you’ll get soaked walking to diner!! -Bring a small water bottle, they only supply you with a 1liter bottle, which is kind of big to lug around. -BRING MOSQUITO REPELLANT!! Once the sun goes down, these tiny mosquitoes come out and do ALOT of damage! -Inform yourself. I read many reviews and found out a lot of tips! Thank you everyone!!

-Make the best of it. Yes, we can all find something to complain about, but remember, you’re on vacation. The service isn’t always the greatest when waiting for a drink, but don’t forget that these people are getting paid $6/day. When I called front desk when my television broke, it took about 3 mins for someone to come check up on it, and another 10mins to exchange the tv! Wow!! I also received a call from them 1hr later to make sure that it was taken care of. Now that’s quality control!

Overall, it was GREAT! No complaints…I would recommend this resort to anyone!! Just remember to have fun end enjoy yourself….it passes SO fast and suddenly you’re back to work
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Brian ~ England

August 2006

Travelled over from England and wasn’t at all disappointed. Two adults and two children (14 & 9) in twin adjoining rooms. Excellent 3 in one hotel (Tulum, Akumal and Coba). Al a carte restaurants were all good, we liked the Italian the best. Buffet restaurants were also good.

Beach was as expected, a little rocky but nothing that a good pair of jelly shoes didn’t solve, all the pools were well maintained, as were the gardens and hotel grounds. Staff were friendly and very nice. Without exception. Didn’t see any Germans but that didn’t stop the pratts from reserving the sun beds around the pool… pathetic especially as short showers are quite frequent… there we’re plenty of wet towels on some days. This said loads of spare beds on the beach, lovely sea breeze and only yards from either the ocean or the poll – great.

We really enjoyed it. Took taxis to both Tulum and the Eco park, both were good value and a lot cheaper than the ‘Thompsons’ excursions.

Overall a great holiday.
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Georgie & Doug ~ Canada

July 2006

We just returned on July 1st from a weeks stay at the Gran Bahia Principe Tulum and have nothing but great views on this resort.There were seven of us travelling together from age five to sixty-five and we really enjoyed ourselves. The resort staff were very friendly and accomadating, the rooms were beautiful [we had a third floor room with a kingsize bed and ocean and pool view] the food was varied and plentiful and the weather cooperated. [only had occasional rain usually in the evening and once for an hour in the morning]We had a great time booked with escapes .ca and will certainly return another time.The booking process was easy and the price with escapes was good. You can’t go wrong with this resort.
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Jenny ~ Vancouver Canada

April 2006

I visited the Bahia Principe Tulum during the week of March 18-24 (spring Break), and beleive me when I say it was the best vacation I’ve ever had and probably ever will have, not to mention the best week of my life. It’s definitley a resort for everyone – families, couples & party-goers, such as myself. I travelled with my best friends and we’re all 19/20.

I’ve been to the area many times before. I’ve stayed at the Iberostar(3X), Barcelo(1X), Palladium(2X) and of course, the Bahia Principe. Overall, the Bahia Principe wasn’t my favorite resort wise, and it was definitley quite different from the others, as they were all built similarly, but the Bahia was still a lovely place. It is really big, as other have mentioned, which can be annoying for some. I didn’t mind the walks because of the amount that we ate/drank, I figured walking was the least I could do.

Check in/out was easy. Loooooong ride from the airport to the hotel with kids screaming on the bus, so not the best way to spend a 2 hour bus drive. Coronas for sale aboard the bus. The rooms were nice, nothing special. Kind of dark inside and we couldn’t open our curtains because the door faced a popular path and we didn’t want everyone to see us changing and stuff. This is okay, however as we were in our room to sleep and to shower. We stayed in villa 31, which was far from the lobby, but close to a trolly bus stop. We never stayed in Tulum, we always hung out at Akumal and ate at Coba, drank at the Hacienda.

Service was so-so. Go to the Coba buffet and ask for Alfonso, he is an AMAZING waitor. He is just one of those people who stands out in a crowd. The service wasn’t close to the excellence at the Iberstar or Barcelo, as it took us 45 minutes to get drinks at night and by the last night, the only way you could get drinks is if you waved money in the bartender’s face, and even then he was reluctant. Most of the staff said hello whenever they could, but the service is definitley an area that needs to be worked on.

FOOD:
Food was great, I’m not a picky eater, so I have no complaints. Every night the buffets featured something a little different, which was nice. The waitor staff was always great and consistient. Pasta, pizza, meats and sushi was featured every night. We went to three A La Cartes – La Dolce Vita (Italian), Tequila (Mexican) and The Oriental restaurant. Our favorite was the Oriental. I wouldn’t reccomend La Dolce Vita, as it wasn’t very good, but if you do decide to go, order the Tira Misu. Order a pizza for lunch at the Akumal Beach Snack bar. The cheese is amazing!

POOL:
We always stayed at the Akumal pool because we loved their animation staff. Pedro, Yvon and Mary-Sue are amazing people that everyone should meet. The pool was very nice and there were always activities going on. For example, beer-drinking contest, crazy games, dance lessons, guacamole making, volleyball, bingo… Animation team deserves a 10/10 for effort and enthusiasm.

BEACH:
Never stayed on the beach, exept for the hammocks on the Akumal side. Beach was pretty bad, hate to say. Rocky and busy. There’s only one place that you can swim and it was always packed with kids.

HACIENDA (Disco, bars)
WOW! Best part of our trip. We met over 30 other people our age and we always filled the disco with our group. Definitley a place for 19/20 year olds… music was awesome. DJ has great remixes. We partied at the hacidena every night except for one. If you’re young, you must check out the Hacidena! You won’t regret it.

BARS/DRINKS
Tulum Bar/Hacidena bar is were we always went. Tulum Bar is the best bar on the resort. I was surpirsed to see brand name liquor. Smirnoff, Bacardi, Malibu, Kaluha, Bailey’s, Jose Cuervo, you name it. Drinks were inconsistent. The beachside/poolside drinks were never really great, but at most of the bars they served up a great drink or two. Beer was alright, nothing compared to Canadian beer.

My reccomendations: SHOTS

Tequila BoomBooms, Kamikaze, Fetus shots. Try them!

COCKTAILS
Amaretto Sour, Coco Loco, Blue Lagoon, Killer Long Island Iced Tea. Ask Yolanda to make your Long Island Iced Tea.

Overall, I don’t think I would return to the Bahia Principe, but it was an amazing place. I met some people there who I’ve become great friends with and will never, ever forget. Thats what made my vacation so great. Nice resort, nice people, great weather.
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Ken & Moonyene ~ Pickering, Ontario Canada

April 2006

We have just returned from Mexico, which is our first trip there. We are from just outside of Toronto and we travelled with another couple all of us in our mid 50’s.

For my husband and myself, we have visited the Caribbean before, Curacao, Aruba, Barbados, Margarita Island and Cuba. Our friends travelling with us, well this was their first visit beyond the USA and Florida.

We all agreed that we should write this review as we cannot say enough good things about this resort. Our treatment from the time we arrived where you were greeted with a champagne and orange juice,until the moment we left very very early in the morning, with coffee and sweet breads to tide us over on our trip, the entire experience was nothing but positive.

The people are warm and friendly with an hola and smile whenever you encountered them. Many spoke English and were always willing to help you with your attempt at Spanish.

Our first impression was memorable. There are three compounds within the Bahia Principe, Coba, Tulum and the Akumal, We were in the Akumal, and in our estimate, the best. We visited all the others at some point during our vacation for lunch or dinner.

The holiday was booked 5 days prior to departure, and little did I know I booked the Golden and the accommodations were fabulous. Marble floors, Jacuzzi tubs, big cumfy dressing gowns with matching slippers. Your fridge was stocked each morning with beer, soda and bottled water, chocolates and chips. Chocolates on the bed in the evening with the bed turned down. Adorable towel scuptures each day. No problem with the water pressure or air conditioning. The bottle water is in 1 ltr size. so you may want to take a smaller 500 ml to fill and carry with you. All water, no matter where is it served is bottled. We would just fill our 500ml plastic bottle at the many bars available for you.

We were in Villa 73 about a five minute walk from the beach area. But there is always a golf tram going somewhere that you can jump on. Just behind Villa 73 was the Jacuzzi pool & bar. We would end our day here getting to know the other guests.

Yes it is large, but you never felt overwhelmed with people. Depending on when you went to the buffet, it may be crowded. I would suggest if you are travelling with no kids, go a little bit after 8:00 pm. We always found it quieter then. The buffet was fabulous with selections for all tastes and cultures. Hand off to the chefs. We ate at the Seafood a-la-carte and it was OK, but we preferred buffet simply because it was quicker.

As I was booking this holiday not just for myself and my husband, but for our good friends and their first time in the Caribbean, I wanted to be sure that I got the best bang for our buck. I did a lot a reading review for many hotels on the Mayan Rivera. I read reviews on this resort complaining about size, heat (gee your in the tropics almost eh!!!) and bottom line the holiday is what you make of it. Remember it is their country, not yours, and sometimes things are done in a "Mexican Moment". Your on holiday, chill out, take a drink and relax.

We are very basic folk and don’t really need a lot to make us happy. We would ease into the day…buffet was open till 10:30 am then walk the beach, and finally relax on the beach. I always found the pools too busy mainly with frolicking children. Don’t get me wrong, I like kids, but we didn’t come with any so we didn’t feel the need to share their space.

We did make one trip to Xel-Ha the Naturalist park. We took the $58 trip and chose to go by taxi instead of the over-priced All-Inclusive fee arranged by the hotel/Air Transat. The fee covered our entrance fee, food, drink, towel, locker, snorkel equipment and you get to keep the snorkel (Health reasons no doubt) We loved it. My friend is an avid snorkeler and it was the experience of a lifetime for him. He loved it. Suggest when out there, stay to the shoreline, rocky areas, the visuals on the fish and sealife are better there. It does get busy there, so try to go when the park first opens. Opened from 9 to6 pm. Swim with the dolphins is pricey at $115 US which will take up 2 hours of your day. one hour of orientation and another hour with the dolphins. The Taxi ride was $10 us each way. Money well spent not to wait for straglers to get on your bus.

They only allow biodegradable sun lotions, so check when you buy here that it is eco-safe. Cost for sunscreen at the park $150.oopec. ($13.50) (Lobby store NOAD lotion $$114.00pc. Also, that much time in salt water, bring some regular body lotion to use after you’ve showered off. You will go through a lot of sunscreen so bring a good and varied number (8-15-30-45supply)

The beach in front our our immediate Villa was rocky, so bring water shoes. It was extrememly windy when we arrived and the crashing waves off the coral reef were impressive. A good swimming lagoon is just a short walk down the beach, near the peer. Here you can bring some bread from breakfast and feed the multitude of fish that will each out of your hand. A fun experience.

The people here work hard for their money. I would see the same bartender working our bar during the day for 8 hours and then doing the dinner bar for another 5. Yes it is all inclusive, but a single $1 tip goes a long way. A single $1 is a cup of coffee for us, but it may mean a days meal to their family. Don’t be afraid to be generous. The scars of the Hurricane Katrina were evident in the foliage, but apparently this hotel faired better then most.

The only negative I can think of came from the other guests. The behavior of some of the European guests was appalling. Many were rude, treating the staff more like servants then servers. They would jump in line to pay for goods or demanding drinks. Never was their an attempt on their part, that I saw, to try to communicate to these people in Spanish.

We would not hesitate to recommend this resort to anyone, and we ourselves will be searching the Last Minute vacation trips next year for a return trip.

Adios
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum  

March 2006

We are a family of 4 including our two teenage daughters. We traveled to the Principe Tulum March 8-15 and were very impressed with the place. The resort complex comprises of 3 facilities being the Tulum, Akumal & Coba. The Coba is set away from the beach therefore you will not be able to get a beach front room, but each resort has 3 or more pools, one being very large and two smaller, quieter pools. Each also has two buffet restaurants, one massive and the other smaller. There is approximately 12 a la carte restaurants throughout the complex with a few of them being exclusive to each of the resorts, but a majority of them having exchange privileges between them. The resort complex has open tram cars that travel regularly day and night between all of the resorts to get you around and the property is huge and without exceptional walking shoes, you will need the transportation. There is a shopping complex at the entrance of the resort called the Hacienda Dona Isabel that provides all the souvenirs you may want, but they are more expensive then in Playa Del Carmen.

ROOMS: Very clean and spacious. Fridges stocked with beer, pop, juice, chocolate and chips. Left a tip in fridge and for room attendant as they are different. Left notes in my very rough Spanish to get extras of what we liked best. Worked very well.

BEACH: Yes the shoreline is rocky due to the November 2005 Hurricane, but if you bring water shoes and walk out a bit you’ll find the sand again. It was great fund wave jumping when the winds are not too high. There are plenty of beach chairs and nice sand and to walk on up on shore. The beach is very long and beautiful to catch the sunrise and go for a walk.

POOLS: This was our only area of frustration as they could double up on the loungers and towels, but don’t and run out of both. There is also not enough shade around them to have a break from the sun so yes you have to do the save game early to get a lounger at all, let alone one in the shade.

FOOD: Quite frankly you can eat all day long until you’re sick. Each of the resorts has a 24 hour snack bar and our room was a little to close to one. The main buffet restaurants are HUGE and have a great variety of stations for grilling, pasta, pizza, Mexican etc. You could not possibly leave hungry. The a la cartes should be booked upon your arrival or times and specific restaurants will be hard to get. We attended 4 of them and they were all very good with the Don Pablo being excellent and the Oriental in the Hacienda being excellent as well. If you are able, book the Oriental on the Thurs. evening when there is a Mexican Fiesta night as that is the main entertainment throughout the complex and you will be charged $16 per person if you are not already their dining. You can go to the area to shop up to probably 8 p.m. and try to then stay for the late show, but after 8 they will not let you in without paying.

ENTERTAINMENT: The evening shows were actually quite entertaining. Yes some cheesy parts, but good variety from the repetitive singing and dancing every night. They had different themes and really tried to mix it up a bit, from a circus type show, to a comedy type show. Even our teenagers found them entertaining.

FINAL NOTE: This resort complex is rated a 4-5 Star depending on the brochure and I would say for the volume of guests, rooms, restaurants, grounds etc., that have to be attended to, that the rating is accurate. If you are use to more intimate, personal, individualized type of service then this would not be the resort for you. There are approximately 2000 plus rooms within the complex and they do a fantastic job trying to meet the expectations of most. You can never win with everyone.
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Brad ~ Canada

March 2006

Thank you to all that have previously posted here, the information was extremely accurate and helpful. This was our first family vacation to another country other than the US. The information provided helped us decide before we went that we made a good choice and we were not disappointed and also how we needed to prepare for our trip.

We were there from March 9 – 16, 2006 we stayed in the Tulum part of the complex.

We are a family of four, two kids age 14 boy and 8 yr old girl. We only took one room, we would probably change that next time.

Resort: the resort itself is incredible, clean. Not having the benefit of previous visits, we could still see the devastation to the vegetation from the Hurricanes, this resort, has either repaired most of their damage or did not sustain much, they are still replacing palm trees that died from hurricane damage. There is also the usual maintenance. We were in unit 612. I believe the benefit of the Tulum section is that it is more spread out along the beach than the Akumal side, the Coba section is only 3 months old, this is where the junior suites are. For both Akumal and Coba there is more walking to get to the beach. More units on the Tulum section had a sea view. Our unit we could see the sea and overlooked the snack bar, it is not as bad as it may sound, it was 200 feet away or so.

There seem to be trade offs, here are a few that I was able to determine.

Akumal part of the complex. Silly, before we went I thought the Akumal side of the complex would be on the closest side to Akumal. The Aumal side of the complex is on the southern part. Allot nicer beach, less rocks, has a pier and a bit of a protected cove where younger ones could swim in the sea without being pummeled by waves. There was allot of people snorkeling in the this little protected area, quite allot of fish, although not the colourful varieties a thrill never the less. People were feeding the fish, Saw allot of those snorkel sets that Costco had on sale a while ago.

At the Tulum complex, there are three pools, one at each end, one larger as the main pool. This spread people out, less of a sensation of crowds. At the Akumal Pool although larger, attracts more people, looked more crowded to me.

The maids are great, constantly checking on your satisfaction of your room. We left about 10 pesos a day for a tip. Two days we asked them not to clean, it was not convenient for us.

CONS: I found the beds and pillows very firm, it took me several nights to get used to them.

The food was good, we were allowed 3 al a carte reservations. We used them at Tequila, oriental, since we could not get into Don Pablo, they allowed us to reserve at the Mediterraneano. Tequila they advertise as their Mexican restaurant, the food was good, service was good, I did not see what I expected on the Menu. Maybe I have been to affected by North American advertising about what we consider stereotypical Mexican food.

Oriental was probably the best experience for us. I will say that this reservation was at 8:30 pm. We were in bed most nights by 9 and up between 6 and 7. This was a late night for us. Good Food, they have about 4 choices from each of food from India, Thailand, Vietnamese and one other I cant remember.

The Mediterraneano, had allot of seafood, we are not big seafood or fish lovers, I am sure the quality was good, most part of the menu was not for our tastes.

I found the worst place to exchange money was at the resort, I got better rates everywhere including the Ruins at Tulum.

If you want to tip, make sure you are loaded with US $1 bills or pesos by the time you leave the airport. If you don’t tip you might want to take advantage of the $3.00 beer on the bus to the resort.

We were getting tired of the buffet food, although a very large buffet, the ala cartes offer a variety,

We did not see any of the shows, could not stay awake that late.

Although another $35Us the room safe provided us some peace of mind, to store airline tickets, tourist cards, they say they will charge $50 if you lose it,

If you are going to spend the day at the pool. The lounge olympics start between 6:30 to 7:00am, where people will put out towels or what ever to reserve lunges. The resort has a towel card system. When you check in they will give each member of your party a towel card, that you use to get fresh beach towels every day. What some did was to keep the towels in the room overnight to reserve lounges in the morning, The towel cabana opens at 8 or 8:30. You can always get fresh ones then.

Of course be ready for the antics at the main pool level where the swim up bar is! Fun to watch.

We visited the Tulum Ruins, this is a great half day trip, we were all in, you can either walk 750 m to the front gate from where our taxi dropped us off of for 2 pesos each take the trolley, you can hire a guide for 350 pesos and then admission. I think the whole thing was about $60 US. You cannot ignore the beach

Our guide was good, he spoke broken English, had to listen closely. He spent about 45 minutes with us, He ended his tour at El Castillo, he shows where the exit is, how to get to the beach and then leaves you to spend the rest of the time as you wish. The steps down to the beach are right beside El Castillo. Not a large beach, but sure is beautiful. We spent a couple of hours in the waves. It was great fun and salty too. Take water and some snacks.

From the exit, you take the trolley, or walk, back to the Market area. You can have a cervaza while you stroll the market area. My wife bought, or should I say, I negotiated a price for dress for her. Got it for half the first price. the retailer apparently had to call his boss, to see if he could accept our price, You have to be prepared to walk or give them their price. Its fun to try and get your price though.

On a separate day we took a taxi to Xe Ha. We got there about 10 am. I would not suggest getting there much later, especially if you plan on swimming with the dolphins. If are planning to do this, go there straight and book it. We were there all day. We also snorkeled. After my wife and daughter swam with the dolphins at 11, had lunch, snorkeled there was much time to float down the river, We did most of our snorkeling down near the floating dock. Allot of people were also snorkeling up at the top of the river too, Don’t thing you can loose, probably less of a current from the sea at the upper end.

On another day we took the Collectivo to Playa Del Carmen. This 10 passenger van for 2.00 pesos each will take you very close to 5th ave, the pedestrian mall in playa. On the way there you are usually in with other tourists. One the way back, you could be in with some locals. We were not concerned at all.

In Playa del Carmen, the antics of Mexican market are true. People selling tours to XeHa or Xcaret. They seem to target our daughter. Seem to like families the best. I can see why, We either kept walking or said we had been there already, what ever you say, they have a answer or a comeback. Its funny or awhile.

My negotiating was not that successful here. There seem to be two types of stores, the market type store and the ones that appear to be more ……. sophisticated or legitimate. We did not buy much at the market type stores. Just wasn’t after that type of stuff. We bought from the more sophisticated stores, they actually had glass doors like we see in malls here, nice displays etc. You will see the difference. It takes about 1/2 hour each way, we were there probably about 3 – 4 hours. They say the beach there is very nice too.

Would we go back, I have no hesitations about going back, We will want to see other areas before we do, like the Dominican.

I hope this helps you with information to get ready for your experience.

If you would like more information please email me at barcars2001@yahoo.com

I also have some photos that might help too.

Have a great trip.
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Anne, David, Kathy, Chris, Shelly & Paul ~ New Brunswick, Canada

February 2006

We have just returned from 7 days at Gran Bahia Principe Tulum, Club Diamond. Our first trip to Mexico. In the past we have used Debbies reveiws to help us with our vacation choices. What to watch for what to see and what to avoid. Very helpful.

RESORT: This is the largest resort we have every been on. Over 2000 rooms. There is a shuttle system that will drive you anywhere on the resort.They pass the lobbie or your room every 10 minutes. Try to travel with Pedro, he loves to give to! urs of the resort and speaks excellent english. Lots of fun.
This resort is beautiful.The Mayan decor was very tasteful and interesting. Lots of marble and granite. Open and airy. It is the cleanest resort we have ever seen. We were always up and out by 8am and the grounds staff were already cleaning. They even picked the leaves of grass and twigs from the decorative rocks arround the walk ways…. every day. We were in unit 3702. It was 2 minutes to the beach and 4 minutes to the buffet. Martha our maid kept our rooms spotless and surprised us every day with creative bed art made from towels.There were iguana’s everywhere which was so cool. Not one bug on site thanks to these little guys. Got some great pictures. Our warmest day was 29 and our coolest was 16. Definately a sweater day.

FOOD: The food was very good. We had the buffet for breakfast and dinner everyday and most suppers. There was a wide varity of food to choose from such as chinese, our friend Pauls favorite, Mexican and everyday Canadian.The fruit and veggies were fresh everyday and they had a good variety of fresh squeezed juices to pick from. If you are having pancakes or waffles, be careful choosing your syrup. Sometimes they are not labeled and you will end up with honey rather then maple syrup. Try to sit in Wilberts seating area. We loved him. He was fun and loves to teach you the spanish names of the food and drinks you are eating. We ate at 3 of the ala carte restaurants. The Grill was our favorite with Gormet being a very close second. It was nice to order a steak just the way you like it. The waiters were great. Very attentive. Be sure to order the specialty coffee, the show is amazing.

BARS: There are Tequila bars set up all over the resort, a well as your regular bars. We tried every flavor of Teguila they had. One thing we did note is that there is no consistancy in the drinks. You will never get the same Strawberry Daquiri or Rum and Lemonade, etc twice.

BEACH: We are beach people. No pools for us. We have them at home. We were very disapointed in the beach. We had read in the reveiws that it was not good but we were not prepared for how bad. There was so much coral, You couldn’t take a nice walk on the beach without shoes and even then you couldn’t go far. You have to be very cautious swiming as you can’t see were the coral is under the water and huge waves. One of the girls tore her bathing suit swiming. It is windy the! re 24/7 making big waves. The beach would not be a good choice for children. It was so windy that the red flag was out all week. We had no trouble getting a palapa as most of the tourists stayed around the pool. Less wind and blowing sand. At the far left of the beach we did some snorkeling around the coral reef. Watch for the Sea Urchins, there were dozens of them and if you come into contact with one, they are very painful with lots of swelling. Not poisonious though. Take a little bread with you from lunch. As soon as you step into the water the fish will swarm around you even before you put the bread in the water. They will even eat out of your hand. Underwater disposable cameras are a must. Even though we did not use the pools they were absolutly beautiful. Big, so they never looked crowed, clean and had lots of seating and shelter. There was alway lots of fresh beach towels available.

ENTERTAINMENT: They have entertainment every evening at 10pm. Their costumes and sets are outstanding and the light show is first rate. The entertainment itself was boring. Not creative or exciting. Very little audience interaction. Give the costumes and sets to the Dominican resorts and you would have a first class show.

SIDE TRIPS: We went to the Tulum Mayan Ruins. Caught a white mini van with a red stripe, on the side of the highway for $2.00 a person. Hire a guide. It cost $79.00 for 6 people and was worth it. You can walk arround and look at a pile of rocks or have someone explain the history of the ruins as well as the giving interesting information on the trees, animals, etc . Take your bathi! ng suit as the beach is AWSOME! You can stay as long as you like. We also took a trip into Playa Del Carmen, same $2.00 rate, to shop on the famous 5TH Ave. There are all kinds of little shops to pick up gifts or momentos. Check the price of t-shirts and jewelry on the resort first so you will know if you are getting a good price. We beat a guy down from $35.00 for a hand painted t-shirt to $15.00 and thought we got an awsome deal as mater of fact we bought 4 and then we got back to the resort and they had them for $16.00. Much to eveyones delight there was a Walmart which we promptly took in. It is nothing like home. Don’t expect to see anything familiar. It was an adventure.

MEDICAL: One of the girls in our group is diabetic and wears a pump. She had some trouble with the pump and had to switch to needl! es but soon discovered that she would not have enough insulin to get her home. We went to the Hacenda where there is a doctor, a medic and a pharmacy. We explaned to the medic who spoke excellant english that she did not have enough insulin and that she needed to buy more. She showed them what she used. They did not have insulin in stock but they went the extra mile and got on the phone, made some calls and tracked some down in Playa Del Carmen. They had it delivered to the resort with-in 3 hours, a Mexican minute 🙂 Excellant service.

All in all we had a good trip. You make your own good time where ever you go and we did. Would we go back again? Maybe. If so I think we would try a different part of Mexico.

If you have any questions you can e-mail at woodsie61@yahoo.ca
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Greg and Bev ~ Ontario, Canada

February 2006

We have just returned from a week’s holiday at the Grand Bahia Principe Tulum and would like to share some of our observations and opinions regarding our holiday. This was our first trip to Mexico and we found that reading other reviews on this site helped us to choose our resort. My husband and I have visited many resorts in the Carribean and felt that the Grand Bahia compared favourably. We have visited only “Adults Only” resorts for the past several years and decided to try a more family oriented complex. Our vacation was arranged through Sunquest and provided our accommodations at The Club diamond, which we felt was a worthwhile upgrade. Check-in was very fast, the concierge arranged our a la carte dinners quite efficiently and we had daily access to the internet. The reception area was small but pleasant and had a bar, fresh fruit and nibbles- a very nice touch. Rather than reiterate in detail what has been noted in other reviews, I will just say that we felt that the a la carte restaurants were quite good, the daily buffets were ample and tasty and the staff was, without exception, excellent. We appreciated the coffee/tea bar set up in the lobby bar every day for afternoon tea, the tequila tasting bars, the platters of fresh fruit at all bars and in the lobbies and the specialty coffee bars set up at dinner every night. This resort is well maintained and there are always gardeners and handymen working on the grounds and buildings. Although The Grand Bahia suffered some damage from last fall’s hurricane, most of it has been repaired. The week we were there, crews were installing the large windows in the main lobby and repairing the last of the beach palapas.

As has been noted before, this is a very large complex. There are three complete resorts on this property (about 2000 rooms in total) and another is slated for future development. We were impressed at the high level of organization and attention to detail that was evident in a complex this size. It is very easy to visit all three resorts and all inclusive guests are welcome at all facilities. The shuttle service is efficient and frequent and the drivers will make sure that you are on the right tram. Although the size of this complex may seem overwhelming, it has some advantages. There are at least 15 a la carte restaurants from which to choose and many bars. We found that the lobby bar at Akumal was a great place for a quick drink and to listen to the duo that played there every evening and so made it a point to go there every night after dinner for a little while.

We were very disappointed with the beach at Grand Bahia. The area near our room was not usable for swimming. The area with palapas is lovely sand; however it has many pieces of coral buried and hidden in it, which makes it difficult for walking. The water in this section is filled with large rocks and coral; it was very windy the entire time we were there which meant large waves and visibility was poor, which made it impossible to see what was under water and therefore dangerous to walk in and swim. Further along the beach, there are a couple of areas that are sandy, the largest of which is the Akumal beach. Swimming there was fine; you can snorkel to the rocks and see some interesting fish. This is not a beach for walking for miles through the water’s edge, picking up shells. We took water shoes and used them! There are lots of palapas and beach chairs all along the water and around all of the pools. Towels are always available.

The distance from the airport was another concern for us. Our arrival trip took I hour and 45 minutes, with 2 stops on the way. Our return trip was slightly under 2 hours from the resort to the airport, with 3 short stops. Traffic was heavy. I am certain that these times can vary greatly. We were told that a new airport is being built for the southern end of the Riviera, which would alleviate this problem.

We were pleasantly surprised to realize that the level of dress was very casual at The Grand Bahia. Very few women bothered to dress for dinner. Often, capris or a skirt and a nice top were standard; most men wore khakis and a golf shirt, although jeans were evident on men and women for dinner. Most guests wore bathing suits with cover-ups for breakfast and lunch at the buffets.

Our only other area of concern was the level of noise throughout the day and night. Many guests were extended families with young children (a 2 week old baby was the youngest!) which causes a lot of noise, some happy play and some not. Older children seemed to roam in packs, generally just being obnoxious- no adult in sight! We were surprised to be bumped in the buffet by a young teenage boy on “wheelie shoes”. Several times in the evenings, we noticed youngsters wandering through the lobby bar, whining for their parents. There were large groups of friends vacationing together. They would try to reserve seats for 20 people at the pool which made it difficult for others to find a spot. They seemed to have little awareness of how their “fun” affected other guests. Good sized groups of single men and women were also in evidence. Guests returning from the disco at 3:00am were very noisy, shouting to each as they went to their rooms. I slept with earplugs several times.

In closing, we felt that this was a really good resort, but not the place for a quiet get-away. This was not a peaceful, relaxing holiday for us, as we had hoped. This is not the responsibility of the resort, but a product of the mix of guests visiting at any given time. I don’t think that a complex this large and attracting so many different types of guests can be very much different. We felt that we got what we had paid for in all areas and had a fairly good time.

One final thing worth noting- every day, beginning at 4:30 pm, the entire resort is sprayed for bugs. A pickup truck with a fogger in the back travels the pathways and sprays a heavy mist of bug spray on everything, including guests! However, the many iguanas and birds that we saw every day did not seem to be affected. Make of it what you will.
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Gran Bahia Principe Tulum Dan and Tammy ~ Canada

January 2006

This was my husband and I first time to Mexico, so I will be comparing it to the my 3 Dominican holidays.

Arrival:
Point 1: When we arrived at the airport in Cancun we were ready for all those people eager to help carry your bags for a few bucks but unlike other places we have visited we had to go through a barrage of people trying to sell time shares. We asked someone where do we go to get the bus and lo and behold like many other people 30 min later we were being pressured into going to a time share presentation. If you want a bunch of free stuff seem interested in going but don’t commit to go to the presentation they will give you tons of free stuff to try to get you there.(we got 2 free excisions, 1 bottle of tequila, 1 bottle of kalua, a Mexican blanket, beach bag, 1 all inclusive day at there hotel) I am sure if we held out longer we could have gotten more trips. The down side is those presentations are brutal and they waste a couple of hours. Ps. They did ask us for $40 to guarantee we would come they do give it back when you go. I think the easiest way to get them to give up on you at the presentation is pretend not to have any $$.

Point 2: This resort is approximately 1 hr and 15 min from airport at the most. I would consider taking a taxi for $60USD to the resort instead of the bus, you’ll get there allot sooner. The plane arrived at 10:30, the bus left at 12 noon, we stopped at 2 other resorts we got to the hotel at 1:40

The Resort:
I read the reviews before going but I never realised how big this place is, the Mexicans in the vicinity call it a city, it’s huge, It would take 2.5 hours to bike around the whole complex . I have never been to a resort like this. Also it is by all means a family resort. Tables are not set for 2 they are set for 4, 10, for 15 and so on. people had there families and even extended families there too. (ps Our room was right near the outdoor chapel I think I witnessed 5 weddings) there were tons of groups. Now this is not necessarily bad but we were looking for a romantic getaway, and I actually starting felling lonely for my kids.

Beach: There is an area where it is sandy where you can swim but to tell you the truth this is the worst beach I have ever seen. seaweed and coral everywhere besides the swimming area. On the first day I walked barefoot and all week my feet botherd me kind of like they had a mild rug burn. In all fairness I have spoke to people who have been there before and they say it was not like this before so I was thinking maybe it was the result of the hurricane

Weather: I would guess the weather was between 26 and 29 degrees Celsius which would normally be warm but because of the excessive humidity and the not stop wind I was cold most of the time unless I was in the sun. Not sure if this is normal but I would suggest bringing a couple of sweat shirts/pants and some nice cover up to wear at night over your nice clothes for when you go for dinner.

Room: our room was in building 39, right near the beach but we were on the 1st floor and the view was blocked buy trees if you try to get the 2nd or better the 3rd floor you could probably see the ocean. I did speak with someone about ocean view rooms, if you want them, pay for them in advance. I think it is $30 USD per night. The rooms themselves are ok, clean, they are "as seen" on the internet.

Restaurants and food: Food is probably one of my more important issues when going on a holiday and I was not disappointed this time (Ps. I am a very fussy eater and my husband is not but we both found the food good. Buffet’s good if you felt like it you could eat there all week and be satisfied.(it is the biggest buffet I have seen – from hamburgers , to barbecue chicken to sushi and much more) I do suggest 2 a la carts #1 oriental (on Thursday) so you can get into fiesta night free also the food is the best. (ps the oriental is not just Chinese it has all types of oriental type food) And Don Pablo because the food is beautifully prepared and very tasty. We went to a number of other restaurants they were fine like what you would get at a regular restaurant. One other thing this hotel is a part of a complex with 2 other hotels and you can eat at any of the restaurants as well (there are possibly more than 15 places to eat!)

Mexican Fiesta night: cost $16/person – you get a show, see crafts people, free food & drinks ect (free if you are already there at the restaurant oriental, they give a special wrist band in order to eat or drink) We did not stay long but I really enjoyed watching the local artisans doing there art, one lady was doing paintings on ceramic tiles using her nails and fingers, they were gorgeous ( I bought one) and the other was this guy doing spray paint art equally impressive.

Making diner reservations: Do this on the day you arrive, also make sure you double check what he reserves you for, I asked for 7pm for 1 restaurant and he gave me another time, then I asked for Italian restaurant and he gave me the Mediterranean restaurant instead. Not sure if it was a language problem or if he just happened to be the only uncooperative person we happened to come across.

Entertainment: In the main bar they had a band every night from 9-11 that we really enjoyed listening and dancing to.(played all kinds of music, rock, 70’s, oldies, salsa, and local music) They also had a show every night, we are not really into that but compared to other hotels there performance seemed a little more professional.

Staff: The employees are some of the most friendly and most eager to please people of any of the resorts we have been to. You will never go hungry or be thirsty in this hotel they will not let that happen.

Shopping: I am not a shopper but I did need a couple of things this holiday and was shocked so I thought I would warn you. Most important do not forget or lose you sun tan lotion – a small bottle is $9.5 USD, regular size bottle – $15 USD its nuts!, also not much is cheap here it is not like the Dominican or Jamaica. I have a theory, I think there are 2 type of Mexicans, the natives (myans) who probably need financial help but the other 80% or so must be doing fine considering the prices they charge for things.

Conclusion: This was a very nice resort perfect for weddings, families and other groups, and it appears to be run very efficiently in order to manage the sheer volume of people it put through its doors. Having said that I do not feel this is a 5* hotel, a 4 star definitely maybe 41/2* it just doesn’t have all the amenities I would expect of a 5*. As for my husband and I we will not come back to this resort again because we prefer something a little more romantic.
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Bahia Principe Tulum Kay ~ Canada

September 2005

This is our third time in Maya Riviera and we absolutely loved the resort. Comapred to the other ones we have been to which were already very good it has many superior aspects.

Ticket booking: we shopped around a lot and finally went back to purchase our tickets at Travel 2001 (Toronto) since that they gave us the best deal (even compared to the internet prices) while really taking care of all our requests.

Departing: as part of the departing process I have to mention SkyParx. We used the SkyParx coupon provided by SunWings as we were booked with them and had our car valet parked there for the whole 7 day trip for only 34.50$ taxes and everything included! They after that drove us to the airport which took only about 3 minutes. When we got back we waited for only 2 minutes or even less they were already there picking us up to drive us back to our car. We were very happy with their services. Checking in with Air Mexico took longer compared to Air Canada but it went smoothly.

Arriving: we were transported to Bahia in a air-conditioned mini van which took about 1.5 hours. Upon arriving we had no problems checking in and were given the room with conditions we requested when having our ticket booked plus a bonus of the ocean view. We were also given a resort map and told we could book 3 a-la-carte restaurant dinners. We requested a safe at 29US$ for 7 days which was paid upon checking out at the end of our stay which was worth it. Then a bellboy took us and our luggage to our room by one of the shuttle buses.

The Resort: The resort was big and spread over many 3 storey buildings. There were shuttle buses travelling guests at high frequency but we hardly used them because there was no need for us to. However if you enjoy walking (for example from your room to the main buffet) and if you’re going there in a rainy season I would suggest you bring an umbrella as there were no undercover walk paths between buildings and you know what tropical rains are like…. There was a wicker-chaired coffee bar with live bands at night, an excellent place to hangout after dinner. There was a theatre which we enjoyed the coffee bar too much to check out. There were a few pools the main one had swim up bar which was very nice.

Beach: Even though it was rocky for most parts but I have nothing to complain about as there was a sandy area big enough for swimming. The resort was very big that it has many beach areas: more swimmable area, more quiet area, more partying area, more rocky area, etc. We had no problems getting chairs and shades even though there were some by towels reservations of chairs going on.

Room: our room was in building 26, 4minutes walking away from the beach and 3 from the breakfast and lunch buffet restaurant. We had no problems whatsoever with the room, spacy with king-sized bed, minibar always filled, perfectly working air conditioner, more than enough towels, no leaking, no bugs, etc.

Restaurants and food: Very good in general. If you want to dine in the Oriental Restaurant book as soon as you arrive! We were told it was already fully booked for Thursday on the previous Sunday! Food was generally very good and not too salty which was very health conscious. There was always salt and pepper on each table! We did not have any problems with diarrhea or anything that would have suggested any hygiene related problems.

Staff: very polite and friendly. would go out of their way to help us. i have no complaints at all.
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Bahia Principe Tulum M&K ~ Calgary, Canada

August 2005

The Bahia Principe is GIGANTIC! We have been to the Barceló Maya twice before, but found this fabulous price for the Bahia, so decided we’d try it out for a change! We found the resort to be quite beautiful, but I couldn’t get over how enormous the place was. FAR TOO HUGE for my liking, unfortunately.

BEACH: very very disappointed after the miles of white sand beach and very few rocks in the water, at the Barceló. I have read other reviews which talk of the beach between the Tulum and Akumal sides of the Bahia, but we must have missed it somehow – and we sure looked for it!! We only found a small section of sandy beach; which was completely populated with sunbathers, so there wasn’t a chair or palapa to be found. We spend about 45 minutes in the glorious Caribbean, but without water shoes it was quite uncomfortable to walk into the water any distance. We were terribly disappointed with the beach and the water, after the fabulous experience at the Barceló Maya.

POOLS: I thought they were spectacular, and after seeing our beach, realized that they had to be, because the beach at the resort sure wasn’t.
Our pool was pretty and quiet (*) and out of the way (and the Hacienda restaurant was very convenient for breaky and lunch. We enjoyed the major dining rooms for suppers or the specialty restaurants, but only twice). The first day of our vacation the regular water games and activities went on around our pool. The lovely young staffer spoke in several different languages as is the custom, so as an English speaking person (one of the languages she translated into) I had no troubles understanding what was happening with the activities, and it was fun hearing her counting, etc. in several different languages during ‘water aerobics’ (very relative term, by the way), etc.

*HOWEVER, on the second day, our pool was besieged by a group of about 15-20 people all the same nationality, and by the next day the group grew closer to 30 or more. The young staffer was of this same ethnicity, and so the other languages previously used, were just dropped from then on, so the rest of us didn’t know when to join in, etc! Very disappointing, as having fu around the pool is part of the whole experience, in my opinion. Also, since this group was so huge there was no chance for anyone else to join in on activities, even though a few other couples tried.

One afternoon, when the usual seemingly all day water volleyball/water polo had ended, my husband and I decided to go into the pool and just try to float around a bit. It took about 10 minutes before a few of the regular macho men to come over and start throwing the ball over our heads (kind of monkey-in-the-middle style!). Sort of ruined the romantic mood, so we – as usual – moved closer to the kiddy pool and just stood. **Of course, this was just our experience, and perhaps others did not notice as we did.

ROOM: Our room (booked into Tulum but were given an upgrade (?) to the Hacienda) was in Bldg 39. As other reviews have stated over and over, the a/c was a bit of a problem. We also had ant-like bugs in the room (gross) in the corners and in the bathroom. Luckily we had a resident gecko, who made nightly appearances – which freaked me out! – but at least he kept the bugs under some kind of control! Thank goodness for the lovely bathrobes and gigantic slippers supplied by the resort. The lady in the room directly above us, however, instead decided to wear her stiletto heels most evenings and mornings, so we heard her clomping around the room until about midnight or later every night, and then were awoken to her movements again at around 7 a.m.!

Our experience with the Bahia was not a very good one, unfortunately. I would not recommend this resort because of its immense size. Certainly the food was good, and the grounds are beautiful, the shuttles were kind of fun and certainly efficient compared to walking, and the staff was friendly enough, but for us; being at a resort the size of a small university campus; the lack of world renowned white sandy beaches and ease to walk in ocean, made this less than ideal for us. Compared to the Barceló Maya resort, this was a HUGE disappointment.

Although it was still wonderful to be away with my husband, just the two of us, we will not return to the Bahia Principe. We would suggest to those looking for beautiful beaches and warm water you can walk in without worry of damage to your feet from rocks and coral, other resorts throughout the Mayan Riviera. (That said, there is an ecological society which seems to be supported/sponsored/operated by the Bahia, and it was fascinating to see their work every morning, as they had pegged off nesting areas of the sea turtles. I guess these sea turtles love this kind of beach!!)

Enjoy your Mayan vacation – it is a beautiful locale – rich in history, and wonderful for romance! Adios!
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