Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Hotel

3.5 star
hotel photo More hotel photos

Average Rating

4  / 10
(14 reviews)

Recent traveller reviews — view all

Ratings summary

Brilliant
0
Good
3
Average
1
Poor
3
Awful
7

Rating by feature

Room: 8.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Food: 8/10
Value: 7.5/10
Cleanliness: 8.5/10
Location: 8/10

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Traveller reviews

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The worst two weeks vacation ever!!! by Juds
1 / 10

The Grand Bahia Principe is the worst hotel ever:

1. It took my family and I three days to get our room

2. The food kept making us sick. We had food poisoning.

3. The smoking almost killed us(and I'm not just talking about cigarette

smoke). My family and I inhale so much POT that if they had given us a

drug test we would FAIL.

4. It was so awful we could not find anywhere to go in the hotel that did not have smoke.

All the hotel staff did was offer a lot of open promises. I will never recommend the Grand Bahia principe to anyone.

My family and I had the worst two weeks vacation ever and we can't get that back.

CW and family

  • Holiday details: Jul 2013, Booked Independently
  • Advice: I would not recommend the Bahia to anyone.
  • Good For: , Skiing

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The worst two weeks vacation ever!!! by Juds
1 / 10

The Grand Bahia Principe is the worst hotel ever:

1. It took my family and I three days to get our room

2. The food kept making us sick. We had food poisoning.

3. The smoking almost killed us(and I'm not just talking about cigarette

smoke). My family and I inhale so much POT that if they had given us a

drug test we would FAIL.

4. It was so awful we could not find anywhere to go in the hotel that did not have smoke.

All the hotel staff did was offer alot of open promises. I will never recommend the Grand Bahia principe to anyone.

My family and I had the worst two weeks vacation ever and we can't get that back.

CW and family

  • Holiday details: Jul 2013, Booked Independently
  • Advice: I would not recommend the Bahia to anyone.
  • Good For: , Skiing

Did you find this review helpful? Yes

Poor Management by LilyMay66
2 / 10

We stayed at Grand Bahia May 16 to May 23 2013. This was our first time in Jamaica. After we checked in our room key didn't work, so we had to travel from the 7th floor via the elevator to the check in desk. They reset the key card and after several tries it opened the door.

On May 21 the door swipe card stopped working. We went to front desk and they reset our cards. The swipe still didn't work so we went back down to see the Checkout / Exchange desk attendent Annoy and his trainee Shevaynie Gaynor. (names may be spelled slightly different). They took our cards again and must have reset again. We ventured back to our room and still no luck. At this point we were told to wait outside our door for maintenance. We travelled back to the 7th floor of our building and waited for 1 hr for maintenance. No one showed, so we went back down to the front desk and informed the same people. More time passes and now I am getting pissed. Annoy disappeared for a few minutes, then said wait here and he wondered off. We went on an excursion early that morning and just wanted to get in our room to change, then go eat and relax in the sun. After standing in the lobby for another 20 mins and no update we are both really pissed off. At this point we have been waiting for hours to get in our room. An important looking guy dressed in a white shirt walks by and I stare him down as he asks if everything is ok. I explain my dilema to him. His name is Mr Fran and he is the Resident Manager. He gets on his phone and makes a calls. Then says to follow him. We go to our room and Annoy is trying to get into the room to no avail. Mr Fran speaks to him and he is back on the phone. Maintenance shows up and opens the door. Maintenance explains that he has to replace the lock system on door. Mr Fran explains this never should have happened and assured us that the hotel would make it up to us.

The next day we went to the Public Relations desk and spoke to 2 women working there to explain our half of a day wait to get in our room the day before. They wrote our room number 13712 on a piece of paper and beside it wrote fixed and that was it.

Later that day we spoke to our Sunquest T.A. Simone and explained our issue and she was going to look into it.

On May 23 after we checked out of the hotel and were waiting for our bus to the airport we decide to get an update from out Travel rep Simone. She said she looked into it and no one knew anything about it. I said that is odd because one of the names I gave you is at the front desk now. 20 mins later she gave us hotel staff shirts a 200 mil bottle of $3 rum (checked at airport) and small bag of coffee.

Needless to say we weren't impressed with how anybody handled this. This hotel needs to clean house with the management. It was hit or miss with service in the restaurants. Like I have seen reading other reviews here. There is a trend of some shifts to provide no service and others are great. Strange how one day we would have nobody come to our table to ask us if we want coffee, water etc. and the next day new staff would give us terrific service.

On the no service days you would see staff talking in small groups, only to break away to provide service to hotel staff dining or if a Manager asked them. Unfortunately, not enough management presense to direct.

We will not be booking with anything affiliated with Sunquest or Bahia.



Terry and Nina

  • Holiday details: May 2013, Booked Independently
  • Advice: book elsewhere

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Excellent looking hotel, superb food... by G Price
7 / 10

Excellent looking hotel, superb food with lots to choose. friendly staff. overall let down by the Spanish feel. Absolutely no Jamaican feel to the hotel and surroundings. If you want a relaxing holiday, here is the place. If you want to experience Jamaica - go elsewhere! We spent 2 weeks here and took 5 trips. I looked at it as we spent 5 days in Jamaica and 9 in Spain. Entertainment is very tacky with a very Spanish feel. Considering the price - go elsewhere!

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Gran Bahia - Enjoyed ourselves despite the issues by beachboundtoo
4 / 10

Just back from Jamaica Runaway Bay and the Gran Bahia Principe Resort.

My wife and I spent 1 week there from 1/3/07 – 1/10/07. If I close my eyes I can still see the beautiful water and the feel the sun on my face. This was our first trip to Jamaica and our first all inclusive. So, I will write this from a first timer’s perspective. Hopefully that will help other first timers or those visiting the Gran Bahia for the first time. I am writing this before reading any other reviews on the Gran Bahia so I write this without any outside influences. This a long review so I’ve put it into categories so you can jump to specific topics that interest you. At the end you will find a couple tips, what we loved and what were the biggest issues we had with the hotel.

We chose Jamaica and the Gran Bahia based on what we thought was a great rate from Nashville, TN for a week at an all inclusive in January.

Getting There:

Upon arrival at the airport in Montego Bay we got our bags quickly and found that going through immigration with our new passports was a breeze. The wait time in line was 5-10 minutes. Not bad! We also found the ground transfer area quickly and our specific transfer company. (Tropical Tours) After 2 minutes of paperwork and 10 minutes waiting for other passengers we were on our way. The bus driver told us what we were seeing as we drove by and some Jamaican stories that were amusing. It made the 2 hour bus ride from the airport to the hotel a lot more interesting. Be prepared for a bumpy and a slow ride depending on your arrival time as they are working on a new roadway that will make future trips much easier and faster. We made a stop ¾ of the way there so passengers could use the restroom and get a Red Stripe or food if they couldn’t wait any longer. By the time we arrived at the hotel it was dark. Maybe 7:00 PM

Checking In and First Impressions:

As the bus pulled up we were all excited. The lobby area is big, beautiful and bright. Total check in time was about a half hour and we had just one couple in line in front of us. The gentleman was friendly but was very serious when he told us that we would be charged $25 per towel card if we did not return them. I asked if all rooms were no smoking. He said yes. Interestingly enough ashtrays and matches appeared in our room on the 4th day. He gave us a property map that must have come off the worst photocopier in Jamaica. It was horrible! It was a clue as to how “ready” the property was for guests. After the 30 minute check in we turned around and were offered our arrival drink. Sure would have been better while we were waiting to check in. We’re on our way to the room with the bellman! We have to use the stairs because as we find out later the elevators are not operational yet. It takes 30 minutes to get into our room because the key cards are not working. It takes the head of hotel security to come with some type of electronic equipment to program the door. Finally it opens and we are in the room!

It looks just like it did on the Bahia web site! It’s big, spacious, has a dark wood four post bed and was romantic with soft lighting. We are the first guests to use this room. That’s cool! We were in building 12 with a nice view of the pool area and veranda. Technically it’s the 4th floor, but just 1 floor up from the lobby. The balconies are big enough for a table and two chairs and it was nice to sit out there while a 3 piece band played on the veranda from 6:00 -7:00. Our floor was very quiet as there are rooms on only one side of the hallway and this was the best hotel bed I’ve ever slept in! The bathrooms are very nice with marble on the floors, counters and tub and showers. There is a Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower big enough for two. There were some issues with the room that will be unique to our experience. No hangers in the closet, no bathmat, no guest directory, no instructions on how to use the phone, no cable for the TV and the power outlet doesn’t work. The dresser drawers are dirty and dusty since they hadn’t been cleaned since being delivered. So, we like the room and location, but clearly this hotel room was not ready for guests.

The Resort and Amenities:

Pools:

The pools area is beautiful. Four pools run in succession and are separated by bridges that cross over the pools. There’s a children’s area, shallow areas for wading or sunning, deeper areas for swimming, three round Jacuzzis that bubble but are the same water temperature as the pool water and a nice swim up pool bar. On busy days, the nice lounge chairs fill up fast. People get up early, throw their towels on them to reserve them and go get breakfast or go back to bed. Get up early if you want a choice spot or the nice wooden loungers vs. the cheaper plastic ones. Only one day did we have trouble finding any place to lounge. Music is played in the pool bar area, but if you are at the far ends of the pool I don’t think you will find it intrusive.

Beaches:

There are two main beach areas and plenty of loungers for the number of guests during our week. The area directly in front of the hotel is nice for sunbathing and has a nice view of the water. Swimming is tough though due to the rocks and waves that day. For better swimming, head left from the pool area. There you will find a long sweeping beach. There they offer kayaking, paddle boats, a couple of sail fish, windsurfing and snorkeling equipment. Snorkeling is not great here. If you really want to snorkel I would recommend finding another area. The snorkel/dive excursion is $20. Bring cash to the water sports area for the excursion and lessons. You cannot charge it to your room. I don't know about putting it on your credit card. I got a great 1 hour windsurfing lesson from Pocus for $25. The water is a little cloudy at shore from the waves and sand in some areas but is very nice as you wade out. There is some construction going on behind this area. Overall it is quiet, with only occasional loud construction sounds. The walk from the hotel to this beach area was still being landscaped while we were there. I’m sure it will be very nice once it is all done. I found it an OK beach but found myself wishing for something nicer.

Restaurants/Food:

For a one week stay you can choose three nights at the ala carte restaurants. I believe you get four nights if you choose to opt for the “club” membership. I’m not positive on that so you should check with your agent or check the Bahia website. I’ll start with the beach bar & grill, then the buffet and then review the three available restaurants. The fourth restaurant, the fish place that will be on the water is still under construction and looks like it will be two months if not longer before it is ready. It will be a nice spot for a meal when done!

The beach bar & grill is also not ready right now. Currently they serve sandwiches (the tuna sandwich is very good) which you can eat on the nice deck or take back to your beach chair. You can also get sodas or a Red Strip to drink. The bathrooms in this area were not ready either, so you need to walk back to the pool area or your room if it is closer to go to the bathroom.

The buffet: I’ll start by saying I am not a buffet person, so it would take a lot to impress me and unfortunately the buffet does not impress. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll find something to eat and there’s plenty of it, but I feel anyone who likes fine dining will be disappointed. There is a theme to each night, but I’ll be damned if I could tell much of a difference. My recommendation is to look at the buffet theme nights and choose your ala carte nights based on that. I also found I was much happier with the main courses I ordered at the cooking stations as opposed to eating what is on the buffet line. The specially prepared pasta dishes were good. The same goes for breakfast. I found myself ordering omelettes and getting fresh pancakes from the grill as opposed to the dishes on the buffet line. The fresh fruit was some of the least desirable I have ever had on the islands. Not that it was bad, just not very ripe or tasty.

The service staff in the buffet is very pleasant and courteous and helped make the buffet a better experience. Red wine or chardonnay is available at lunch and dinner in all restaurants.

Don Pablo’s: No this is not a Mexican restaurant but a fine Italian restaurant. This is clearly the best restaurant on the property right now. The surf and turf is excellent and the sea bass with medallions is delicious! You start with a wet warm towel, wine punch drink and a liver pate. Choose your appetizer, the fettuccini with shrimp was good; choose a soup, your entrée and then a dessert, all of which are good. You will feel like you’re dining in a big city fine restaurant and you will not be disappointed. The wait staff is exceptional and it was the best dining experience we had! Knowing what I know now we would have eaten there all three nights.

Mikado Japanese Steak House: This is a good dining experience. If you’ve never eaten where they cook the food in front of you, it is a fun time. You start with sushi, choose a soup, order your dish as he is cooking and choose a dessert which you eat at a different table. Overall good, but not up to par with our favorite Japanese steakhouse in Franklin, TN

The Grille: We found our experience to be enjoyable. The setting is nice. It is a round shaped building with glass all around. It will be nice to dine there during the summer when there is daylight at dinner time. You head to a buffet area for your salad. We chose the Caesar salad and found the dressing to be a different take on Caesar, but very good. Everything else is brought to you by your waiter. We both had the shrimp wrapped in bacon and found it to be delicious, although one my wife's shrimp wasn't cooked thoroughly. The cheesecake for dessert was very good. Our seafood soup was good as well.

Since we were getting tired of the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we discovered on our 4th day there you can also eat lunch in the Grille. It is less crowded, a very nice setting too since you can look out at the pool or beach area as you dine. It is a simple menu but we preferred it to the buffet for lunch every day. You can have chicken, steak or swordfish grilled to order and they have hamburgers, fries, chicken nuggets and hotdogs that the kids will probably like along with a few salad options. What else do you need? Otherwise eating heavy at breakfast lunch and dinner, you’ll gain 10 pounds.

Shopping:

There is a gift shop in the hotel that has some nice things and some at reasonable prices. As it is brand new, there wasn’t a lot to pick from, but every day something new would arrive so it was fun to see the progress.

The shopping village to the left of the hotel is quaint with the shops painted in different pastel colors. While we were there 7 of about 14 shops are open. Current shops include a jewelry store, Jamaican clothing, Bob Marley merchandise, Jamaican souvenirs (we bought some nice things there), a photo shop for producing your digital pics and a ladies clothing store. It’s a very short walk from the hotel and will be a convenient spot to shop if you do not want to go off property.

Entertainment:

A three piece band plays nightly on the veranda from 6:00 until 7:00. (Maybe longer) It’s a great spot to be for a drink before dinner. As I said earlier we could hear them great from our room so sometimes I just had a beer on the balcony and listened to them.

At the shopping area there is a bandstand and a courtyard and you will have live music nightly from different bands. It’s a great way to while away some time. The “disco is open for drinks and you can carry them out the courtyard to listen to the music, but there was nothing happening in the disco while we were there and the A/C wasn’t working yet. If you are looking for “great nightlife”, this is not the place yet!

Gym/Spa

Right now the gym is a joke! 2 treadmills, 2 bikes, a weight station and a few free weights. The belts slipped on the treadmills and it made you feel unsteady at times. It could easily cause a slip and fall accident. The gym is below the lobby area and has no windows to look out of. Even when complete, it will not have the beautiful views you can have when exercising at other resorts. There were no towels, no water, and no clock, nothing else to help your work out. This was probably our biggest disappointment as we love to exercise when on vacation, because there’s time to fit it in, as opposed to fitting it in during hectic lives back home.

We booked a couple's massage at the spa, but decided to cancel. We decided to spend our money in other ways rather than be disappointed.

Excursions:

We did not do any tours. We decided to just mainly chill. We did go off property with Alvan our taxi driver. He was great and took us wherever we wanted to go. Drove through Fern Gulley and stopped to barter for souvenirs at a roadside stand.

We had lunch at a seafood restaurant that Alvan recommended called Spring Garden Café and Seafood Grill just east of Ocho Rios on the Ocho Rios Bypass Road. The restaurant was open air and full of Jamaican atmosphere. You could choose the air conditioned dining room as well. You can call your order ahead for faster service if you want. The jerk snapper was excellent! This is what I came to Jamaica to experience! If you are getting itchy to get off property, I highly recommend it. Ask for Alvan as your driver. He is one of the licensed drivers and cannot negotiate his fare which was $80 for the round trip to Ochi and back including the stops. Stopped at the Taj Mahal shopping center where you can get all the t-shirts, souvenirs and jewelry that you like. We got very good deals at Jewel Palace. I bought a watch for myself and a pink sapphire bracelet and tanzanite earrings for my wife. Ask for Victor. He will take very good care of you and be sure to tell him you’re at a hotel instead of one of the cruise ships. He will give you a better price.

I can’t comment on much more than that.

In conclusion:

We enjoyed our time at the Gran Bahia Principe and we felt for the money it was an OK experience. We met some of the nicest people who are now our friends. Hellos to George, Kristy, Andre, Julie, Joseph and Karen if you read this! We enjoyed meeting the people of Jamaica. They are happy and friendly and truly there is no problem mon. I found the restaurant staff, landscaping crews, maintenance, bellman and all other staff very pleasant, in fact much more so than the guest services and front desk staff. We will return to Jamaica, but not to the Gran Bahia. I’m sure there are better run properties and nicer beaches elsewhere on the island. Despite the good deal we were getting we were disappointed in their “5 star experience”. Many people visiting while we were there had bigger issues than we did. To put it simply, they were not ready to handle the number of guests they had that week and the rooms were not properly prepped for the guests. There were many minor inconveniences other than what I’ve mentioned here. I’m sure this will change as the weeks go by. If you’re already booked and you feel it’s a great deal, don’t let this change your mind. There’s plenty here to enjoy. It’s a good budget vacation. If the price I was paying is the same or close to other properties with better reviews, I’d go elsewhere.

Tips and Suggestions:

Make your dinner reservations for the restaurants as soon as you arrive. We were not able to eat in the better restaurants until our 4th night

Bring your water shoes. Even though the nicer beach is pretty sandy, there are still some smaller rocks in the water, the beach has a lot of stones in it and it helps with the water sports.

There are many nice shops in the airport after you go through security. You can do some last minute shopping there and will find many things there that will appeal to you. You can buy things like jerk sauce and duty free liquor and carry it on the plane. If you connect in the U.S. though after going through customs, you will need to put all liquids back in your checked luggage.

Go early to Dunn's River Falls and avoid the crowds.

What we loved

Pool and nice beach towels

Wait staff and bar staff

Don Pablo’s Restaurant

Lobby, veranda and lobby bar

The view from our balcony and our room

Being on the beach looking out at the water

Jamaican culture, although we experienced too little of it

Oddities and Curiosities

There are no soap dishes or holders for your toiletries in the shower.

This is the first resort I've stayed at that didn't give you a daily list of activities and a weather forecast.

Why is it so hard to get a reservation for dinner, when there always seems to be plenty of tables available? What’s up with that?

The clocks in the room do not keep the right time. We weren’t the only ones with this problem.

Why don’t they serve any Jamaican food at the hotel? We didn’t get jerk anything. What a huge disappointment!

No handrails on many of the stairwells

The water in the shower cycled from hot to cold; very annoying

There was no orientation to the the hotel and it's amenities. Everthing we had to learn on our own.

Big Gripes

The gym needs huge improvements

I asked for a light bulb for a lamp in my room several times. Never got it

Elevator didn’t work until our 5th day

No ice maker on our floor.

Had a red Strip in my room frig day 1. Couldn't get another afterwards.

3 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

Not Ready by lovedmayan
2 / 10

Our trip to Grand Bahia Principe was horrible. ( December 30- Jan.6)The resort was not ready at all, dirt, dust, constraction all around us. We had a major flod in our room and no one came until ten hours later when room was completely floded with suitcases and our shoes ending up in the water (dirthy water from the toilet). We were helpless and felt stranded in that horrible place. The hotel looked nice, but nothing I mean nothing was finished. Cealing leaks all over in the restaurants, lobby, public washrooms. You should not be selling this resort yet at least for another six months.

Service is so slow I had to serve coffee and drinks if we wanted some............on and on and on. This was totally unreal and our precios time and over $7,000.00 was totally ruined and wasted.

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Unrealized Potential. Looks great..poorly managed. No Jamaican Flavor. by SunSeekerChicago
6 / 10

My husband and I stayed at Gran Bahia from Jan. 3-8, 2007. The hotel is beautiful, but disorganization is the order of the day. We had a great time, but that was because we decided to not let our disappointments ruin our vacation.

Bad things:

1.Check-in was a nightmare, it took about 7-8 hours for them to get us into a room. Once we were in the room we had to call maintenance to have fix the shower,etc. It basically took the entire first day and part of the second day to straighten everything out. It's sad that you go to relax and end up with more hassle and aggrevation. Many other people we spoke to had similair complaints.

2.We had paid extra for the Club Golden priveleges. As far as I could tell this entitled us to room service, robes & slippers(which we received on the second day), internet access in the "club room" (4 computers which were always occupied by), the quite zone (couldn't find/not opened), and private beach/pool area (couldn't find/not opened). Room service always took a very long time, food okay, even with tipping. Was it worth the extra $200, probably not. Room service never showed up once.

3.The room smelled musty. The halls often smelled of sewage or urine. I bought scented candles to try and difuse the oders. Bring Lysol.Water leaks very common in rooms and public areas.

4.Tried several times to talk to manager, that person was nowhere to be found. Nobody knows whats going on here. The poor girls at the front desk were bombarded all day long with unhappy customers as they try to straighten out and fix the messes all day long. Basically, spent way too much time, trying to get everything straightened out.

5. Lacks Jamaican flavor, very generic. You could be at any tropical resort, nothing about the place reflects local culture.

Good things:

1. Food above par for an all inclusive. Ate at Don Pablo-excellent, the Grille-good, and buffet - average to good.

2.Beautiful hotel and location.

3.Everyone seems to working very hard, staff young but friendly, they really need additional training/experience & organization.

4. Family orientented- if thats what you're looking for-not romantic for couples.

5. Nice strech of beach some sand, some pea gravel, bring water shoes, rocks in water.

Would I go back? Probably not....It just wasn't for us. We are 35-40, prefer adults to children. Quiet zone/private beach not completed. Club Golden-not worth it. The hotel failed to capture the charm and beauty of Jamaican culture and people. It felt very large and impersonal, with many, many, many, security gaurds, everywhere you turned every 50-100 ft, you saw a uniformed security person. Common area restrooms dirty and not enough locations. Rooms/pool/ and beach far apart, I don't mind walking, but bring a small cooler for drinks if you plan to spend time on the beaches. We had a good time but not a great time. We had fun, but it was because we did not allow the inconviences ruin our vacation. If you are picky and impatient, don't come here. Once they get eveything together, the Gran Bahia has the potential to become a great hotel.

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Abysmal by stoshChicago
2 / 10

Unsafe, poorly managed, poorly trained personnel. Noxious odor. More flies than food in the Grill. Spanish management that hid while the poorly trained native Jamaicans were taking the heat. Will never survive under present management in Jamaica. I was appalled. Bahia management heads should roll.

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2 weeks too many by DeepCoveDan
4 / 10

My family of four stayed from Dec. 22 until January 6th - we had no alternatives but to stay. The problems were extensive and widespread. From rooms with no lights, toilets or beds to interrupted hot water supplies, to pool lights that gave out shocks, to bars that run out of beer and rum (in Jamaica), to no entertainment, to amenities simply not up and running such as the karaoke bar, disco, tennis courts, to continual plumbing leaks. My honest and sincere advise is to reschedule or defer your stays for several months - perhaps a year. If you are used to 5 star service and amenities, and especially the experience of other GBP properties you will simply be frustrated and annoyed. Best to visit after all the bugs (oh yes there are those too) are worked out.

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***WARNING!! Go somewhere else!! Will not be finished for at least one Year!*** by dbagg
2 / 10

Grande Bahia Principe is to be the largest hotel in Jamaica. As of Jan 1st, 2007, their construction schedule is over two months behind. To our knowledge, 5 (five) workers have died on the project and only 400 of some 1600 rooms are 'open'. Management are opening three hotels in the chain simultaneously and this might be the straw that could sink this chain.

Problems encountered:

At least one of these events occured at one point to one of our party:

No air conditioning

3 (Three) inches of water leaked from the ceiling

Toilet did not work

Phone did not work

Wrong beds provided from what was booked

Clocks did not keep time (when actually on - see below)

Daily Power Outages

Staff willing but entirely - ENTIRELY - untrained

Washrooms unfinished at beach restaurant

Beach 1/3 finished

Pool 1/2 finished

Pool light emitting high voltage with children present in water

3 (Three) of 5 (Five) restaurants open

Gym not finished

No Tennis

Carpets just laid - not cleaned or vacuumed

'Village' 1/3 complete

and the list goes on.

If it ever finally gets finished, I would still stay away: this place will be a monster and you'll be cheek to jowel vying for space poolside or on the beach or bar etc. etc.

In short: Don't ever go here.

Bar ran out of: Vodka, Gin, Pina Colada and beer kegs kept failing

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Gran Bahia Pricipe Ready?.......NOT by Jammin156
2 / 10

Gran Bahia Principe Ready?..........NOT

This was my 15th trip to Jamaica. In the past 25 years, I've stayed everywhere from Port Antonio to Negril... low budget to the Half Moon, Sans Souci , Lido, Riu etc. Booking the Gran Bahia Principe was a huge mistake. It is my understanding that there were worker fatalities that occurred during construction of the hotel, which is probably a measure of the hurried nature in which it was both constructed and staffed.

After being there only one night my family and I (as well as another family traveling with us) demanded a move and eventually ended up at the Rose Hall Beach Club (the old Wyndham) Here are just a few highlights (lowlights) of GBP:

1. Interminable wait (40 mins) for check in. Totally incompetent front desk staff. Reservations stored in envelopes at the front desk not field alphabetically or by date. Several people checked the same bunch of envelopes 3 times (we watched in amazement.) We also watched the supervisor ream them out for their apparent lack of efficiency. These same reception staffers readily admitted to us that the facility was ready not ready for opening.

2. No welcome drinks, water. fruit in the reception area ...nothing. No explanations for delay. Kids are hungry after trip. We wander aimlessly (with carry ons) at around 3 pm finally finding a beach bar where we are offered ham/cheese sandwiches. (I kid you not.) Nice touch when you’re spending $10K a week /three people for a vacation!

3. One of 3 rooms is now ready. Kids check into room, finally. Adult rooms ready later... at around 2 hours after arrival. As they enter the hallway ....rodents are seen running between rooms. Request move to different floor. Not a good sign.

4. I get fed up and go to designated room even though I haven't got a key. Room still not ready but maid inside. Mini bar contains one beer....nothing else. I would have called the front desk to ask what the hell was going but both room phones didn't work (no dial tone). Light fixture falling off wall between beds.

5. Few if any toiletries (soap, shampoo) in room . No facial tissues in bathroom dispenser. Ironing board but no iron. Toilet runs constantly.

6. 4 hours after check in bags arrive in room. My travel companions in the other room phoned the front desk 11 times to fill their mini bar before getting a response!!

7. Herd of goats seem meandering toward unfinished part of resort is shooed away from hotel by having rocks thrown at them by staff.

8. 15 minute waits for drinks at understaffed pool bar not uncommon. I finally get pissed and tell them to go get help. Instead of phoning, one of the two bartenders leaves his post to get help. Drink lines now even longer. Some clients say there are no more glasses to pour the drinks into. The bar appears to have a self serve soda and slushy dispenser on the side of the bar but it isn’t working. Total ineptitude.

9. Resort Claims to have basketball court – this is 2 portable baskets set up at opposite sides of the pool. Very disappointing for one of the young boys in the group who brought his basketball especially because hotel indicated that they had a b-ball court. Not so.

10. Smell of sewage as you walked between entertainment complex and hotel buildings

11. The man made beach is a joke and this area is constantly filled with floating debris. Other adjacent areas not accessible or not suitable for swimming due to surf/coral. Terrible beach.

12. No hot water for shower the following morning.

13. If you have bad knees, bad hips, cardiac problems, are arthritic or simply have trouble climbing stairs…avoid this resort like the plague The walk from the beach to the lobby routinely requires ascending 44 steps. Very poor design for seniors or those with some mobility problems. Wheelchair access…non existent.

14. We performed one final “service” experiment the evening before we left: My traveling companion and I sat in the lobby right in front of the front desk and wished to have a cigar. We asked hotel employees to get us a light. At 10 minute intervals, One, two, three and then a fourth employee were asked for help in locating matches. Most said they would help and then disappeared without a trace. Finally, we asked a security guard making his way across the lobby. He (like the others)first inquired at the front desk – whose staff members had no idea where to get a pack of matches. Finally after about 40 minutes, one of the receptionists ( Kerri-Anne?) saw what we were doing and reached into her own purse to hand us her own personal lighter. We thanked her and returned it to her. She was the only one who cared enough to provide us with service. I think the only reason we did get help was the raucous peals of laughter that we created as we realized that yet another BGP employee left us in the lurch without a light.

In room safe deposit rental fee not returned on check out........ I could go on but I am sure you have the idea by now. In a word............ abysmal.

We finally spoke with the Air Canada Vacations rep (Senior was his name) and demanded to be moved. He sat us down and wanted us to give him a list of problems that we experienced. We listed above observations and many more. I made a point of telling him that is was not OUR job to provide quality control for the resort. ( Why should I waste my vacation time with this exercise?) He then indicated to us that his supervisor said that all Air Canada Vacation sellers were told by head office that this resort was “Not Ready” and that they should inform their clients as such when booking it. This was an absolute fabrication and we were NEVER told this by our travel agent when we booked. (We never would have booked with GBP had this been known.) Furthermore, when we selected the (Wyndham) Rose Hall Beach Resort as our alternate accommodations, we had to INSIST on the EXACT type of room we wanted. Senior initially wanted to book us a lesser room. It was only after we made absolutely clear that we wanted the best accommodations (at a comparable price) and wanted that in writing….that he called his superior a second time and requested the proper room. (Moral of the story: Don’t let these guys finagle you…and they will! Stick to your guns and INSIST on getting it in writing!)

The situation at the Rose Hall Beach Resort was the exact opposite. Prompt check in…within a few minutes. Even though our rooms were not ready the front desk immediately placed arm bands on everyone and we could enjoy the resort (food, drinks, pool etc.) immediately. One of the guests checking out was kind enough to recommend that we wait for one of the rooms in the newly renovated section. That was GREAT ADVICE! Beautiful clean, brand new painted and appointed rooms!! What a difference! The RHBR is run like a well oiled machine. Although this was my family’s third time staying there (2003 and 2004 as well) my 13 year old daughter still enjoyed her stay, as did the other family we traveled with. The buffet food is not spectacular but the resort is well run and the staff are very helpful. Had I known about the situation with the GBP, we would have never booked it in the first place. If you have reservations there in the next few months CANCEL THEM NOW. This resort is easily a year or two away from being ready. With the current staff and level of service…it may never be ready. A total disaster. STAY AWAY.

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Will be amazing...when finished, but had a great time! by rwsiren
8 / 10

We just returned home, we stayed Dec 30-Jan 6th and we had a great time. The hotel is not yet complete but it will be amazing when it is finished. (July 2007). We saw improvements on a daily basis. The staff improved and the resort was coming along nicely.

Everything worked fine in our room and we had a comfortable stay.

We are planning to return next year.

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  • Address: Salt Coopers Villa Runaway Bay, Runaway Bay, Jamaica

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