Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Hotel

3.5  / 10
Average rating (18 reviews)

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Traveller reviews

1 / 10

"My family of 10 took our annual family vacation to Jamaica this year & we all booked at the Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica. 3 separate rooms to include 6 adults & 4 children. I booked the golden club with an ocean view & even called prior to inform them of exactly where I wanted my room to be located, the front of building H facing the ocean. I booked our airport transfer & was told to go to the coming 2 transfer desk upon arrival to Jamaica MBJ airport. We arrived in Jamaica on March 10, 2016 & went to the desk as instructed. A girl named Simone told us to wait & she would direct us to our bus for transport to the hotel. When she finally came back she told us that the bus that we were supposed to be on was full & had left. We were there waiting about an hour & a half before she put us on a small Toyota 20 seat van. Not long after leaving the airport to go to our hotel the driver named Kingsley called into his company dispatch saying he was having problems with the alternator. He had to cut the air condition off & drive about 20 miles per hour the entire way to the resort. It took us twice as long to get to the resort as it should have. Upon arrival to the resort no one was there to greet us as we were told it should be. No bellman to get our luggage! The driver took our bags off the shuttle & as we drug them up the stairs at the entrance of the hotel he pulled off. We waited about 30 min before the bellman came to put our bags on a cart. I stood in line at the front desk & when I tried to check in they told me I needed to go around the corner to golden club to check in. I went to the golden club & we stood there about 5 min while other people were being checked in. I finally asked someone is this where we are supposed to check in & he told me we will be right with you just have a seat. about 5 min later a girl came & checked us in. We tried to make reservations for our a la carte dinners that were supposed to be included in the package, but were told that they were booked & the only thing they had available was a 9:30pm reservation for the steakhouse the next day. We took that reservation & asked about the other restaurants & the only other thing they could find was the Japanese restaurant for the night of 13th at 6:30pm. After finally getting to our rooms I noticed that we were not where I had asked to be & we had a view of the theater & not the ocean as paid for & requested. My sister had a king bed, but booked 2 beds since she has 2 children & her husband on the trip. She called down & requested to be moved to a room with 2 beds, but was told that they didn't have anything available & would contact her when they did. About 11pm at night they contacted her to move rooms & she as put in another building with pool view, but she paid for the same thing I did with ocean view. I wasn't going to ask to move rooms right then since I knew what a problem it was for her to even get the room type she booked. As I lay in the bed after a day of airports & traveling all I could hear is the loud music from the theater & club(disco) until about 2 am. After breakfast the next morning I went to golden club & asked for a manager. They said he hadn't made it in yet & I said I would check back. When I finally got a chance to go back & ask for the manager they said he was gone for the day. After leaving there I walked by the steak house & it as around 6:30pm & the restaurant had plenty of seats available, but we had to wait until 9:30 at night with 4 young kids to eat. When I got to my room I called for towels & told the operator that I needed 4 big & & 4 small face towels. 30 min later she called back to see if our towels had been delivered & I said no. One hour after the original request the maid shows up with only the big towels. It took her another 30 min to bring back the face towels. Ridiculous that it took a hour & a half for towels. Next day I went back to the golden club to speak to manager & was told he hadn't made it in yet. I left my name, room number, & phone number this time, with no response back from any manager. Later that night something was wrong with the phone in my sisters room & she could call room to room but got a beeping noise when she tried to dial zero to order room service. When I tried to dial zero I got the same beeping, but after several attempts it finally rang. When I was transferred to room service the girl asked for my room number & I tried to explain to her that I was ordering for my sister, but she rudely interrupted & said "just give me your room number!". I told her my sisters room number & placed the order. My sister said after a hour & a half she called to cancel the order when her phone was working, but they brought it up any way a hour & 45min after it as placed. I was given instructions of how to access the WiFi from my room, but there was no signal in the room so I was never able to get on. My self, my mom, & son stayed a day longer than my sister's & their families, so after they departed I went to golden club & told them that I was not leaving until I spoke to a manager. The same girl I spoke to previously about a manager said she went to get him & would be right back. After about 30min she comes back & says he is in a meeting & could I come back in 30 min. I said no, since he is too busy to see a guest then I need for her to get his boss so I can speak him/ her. She said she would be right back. She never came back! A girl just so happened walk in & asked how my day was & explained to her the problems that I had been having. She sincerely apologized & was able to book reservations at one of the restaurants for us 3 that were left for 7pm. Funny how the reservation is now available when they were booked up when we arrived. She saw her supervisor walking by & got her for me. The supervisor said she will try to make my last day better. I worked in hospitality for 16years, so I know what hospitality should be. She saw the manager & grabbed him so I could speak to him. Finally after a hour & a half the manager was just walking by & available to speak to an unhappy guest. I spoke to him & explained all of the problems that I had been having with my stay. He said he couldn't do anything about reimbursing me for my ocean view & that I would have to contact the person I booked through. I told him I booked through Bahia & he said I would still have to contact the 1-800 number which is to the corporate office. He apologized & said they would try to make the rest of my stay better. Basically nothing accomplished! As I was packing the night before we were supposed to leave I noticed my son's travel bag was missing, it had his pillow, blanket, my Samsung tablet, his kurio tablet, & kurio phone inside of it. I contacted the hotel lost & found, the company that supposedly provided our airport transfer & no one can find the bag. The next morning I went to the coming 2 office & was given the run around & told I need to speak to the manager at the airport, When we got to the airport I checked with southwest to ensure it was not turned into them since it has southwest airlines tags on it & my name & number. I checked with the airport, I went to speak to the supervisor like I was instructed to do, & just so happened that it was Simone & she remembered the driver. She said he didn't even work for them, & worked for Tropical Tours. I contacted tropical tours & they said they spoke to the driver named Kingsley Brown & he said nothing was left on the shuttle. I have a picture of the bag being on the shuttle, but I do not remember him ever taking it off of the shuttle as he pulled all of the bags off. Between the van & the bellman bringing our bags up upon arrival my son's bag came up missing & has not been turned in. I filed a police report with the Jamaican police, but nothing was done. I contacted the Bahia 1-800 number as well as instructed by Zephenia the manager, & was given the run around once again by Bahia & its employees. I was told that there is no one I can actually speak to live & would have to email & someone would follow up. I explained to the gentleman on the phone that I need to speak to a live person & asked to speak to his supervisor. He placed me on hold & came back saying that she was on a phone call & I would just need to submit in writing. I replied that no I want to speak to her boss since she is busy. He placed me on hold again & then she some how was available to speak to me. She said I would still have to put the info in writing & send it to her so she can get it over to the corporate office in Spain. I have never heard of any hospitality company that can't let you talk to someone directly to solve these situations. I guess this is how unhappy Bahia guests are treated. As you can see what I expected was far from the vacation I received. After a month I finally received a response to this letter that I had to send twice to corporate basically saying oh well we are not going to do anything about it, we already have your money! I WILL NEVER STAY AT ANOTHER GRAND BAHIA IN JAMAICA OR ANYWHERE ELSE! If you want a vacation that is worth the money you spent on it I would advise you stay elsewhere! By the way if you lean over the balcony & pray you do not fall, look to the right to get your ocean view!"

  • Holiday details: Mar 2016, Booked Independently

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2 / 10

"I stayed at the 'new' Luxury Bahia next door that opened Dec 1st. Beautifully designed with amazing grounds. The ocean view room in building 25 are amazingly beautiful with attention to details. Loved the bathroom. That's were it ended. The housekeepers, some, had high expectations on the tip side. One called my room several times telling me to leave an envelope at the front office with her name on at 4:00 in the morning. I was floored especially since she had been well compensated.

They say free WiFi in room but that was not true. They wanted me to pay for an internet card and use only the internet setup downstairs off the main lobby. I blew a gasket and they finally gave me a code in order to log on in my room.

The pool side staff were good and attentive. Every staff person gave a pat on their chest every time they walked past which was degrading and I could tell it was something they didn't want to and should have been made to do. Most of men raped me with their eyes, starring way longer then felt normal. The women seemed to up/down me with fake smiles. It was uncomfortable although, there were some who seemed sincere and respectful.

The food was 'all' buffet style and seemed substandard, of poor quality. I never had one meal that was hot, it was always either room temperature or cold. The staff in most of the restaurants stood around too close for comfort constantly approaching guests as they were eating to ask questions. Even with food in my mouth, this kept happening. I finally asked one waitress during breakfast to please, just let me eat. This was rude behavior which I had never experienced in all my travels.

Room service was the worse EVER with meals taking up to an hour to get and upon arrival was cold and tasted awful. Nothing worth ordering on the menu. No standard breakfast food was on the menu.

No Requested wake up call which I felt was done on purpose. No mention of having to report to their travel agency office to confirm bus pickup the day before departure. I called the evening before only to be told the aforementioned. I go to that office early the morning of check out it was closed.

I requested several times to meet the hotel manager Felix Scholokat as one bellman propositioned me by asking if he could spend the night in my room with me. Disgusting gesture. A pool boy ran up to my face smelling of alcohol wiggling himself in a provocative manner, very offensive move on his part as I saw no humor in his action.

Worse were the mosquitoes which they DO have a major problem with and yet no one thought to give a heads up, get bug spray which should have been mention at the time I checked in. It should have been a common courtesy to warn guests as I was eaten alive. It was a terrible experience and I will NEVER go again. I truly felt harassed by most of the men.

This is 'not' a five star resort by any stretch. It's a three at best but the food, forget it. I also see they have someone posting reviews on other sites say how it's a five star and so fabulous and the staff along with services were so outstanding. Everyone I talked to, had pretty much the 'same' concerns I had.

Felix Scholokat should immediately be fired. The General Manager, could not be reached and no one would give any information about him. What does that tell you?

  • Holiday details: Dec 2015, Booked Independently
  • Advice: Don't waste your money. Go to Ochio Rios

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1 / 10
dirty rooms rundown resort

"I will start with the good: they do keep the pool area clean, tend to the gardens and nice BBQ chicken at the hut on the beach, can't think of anything else. the negative: our room was the dirtiest place i have ever stayed in, there was molded food on the curtains dust everywhere the floors where sticky tiles coming off hairdryer hanging on by wires and so are the wall lights i reported problems with our room 3 times and only got somewhere when i asked for head office details, but came 12 days too late and still it wasn't clean. dirty old blue and white plastic loungers not what i expected in a 5 star hotel they have 3 jacuzzi and none of them have worked for weeks, you have to be up about 6am to get one. your constantly asked if you want to buy drugs and they are used at the smoking areas the smell is awful. trying to get a beach/pool towel is another task if they have any. and the maid rarely changes the ones in the room. the poolside bar, they serve beer, if you want a cocktail its pot luck what you get served as they don't know how to make them, the bar inside near reception does make nice cocktails. i have been to the Bahia Principe Mexico resort and it is nothing like this one, you have to pay for branded drinks, they where included at the Mexican resort so was quite shocked at this. my husband was asked if he wanted to play tennis, when he was finished he was told it was $20 plus tip and said sorry he didn't mention it before, it ruined the experience. would of liked to of been told first. make sure you pack everything you need, we where charged $5 for 38 cotton buds its very expensive on the resort $6 for a packet of crisps. the staff are unhelpful and sometimes rude, your constantly harassed to buy timeshares too, saved all year for this holiday, just wanted to come home. i have received communication from the company but its the same paste and copy style letter everyone gets that complains, they do not communicate with you personally"

  • Holiday details: Jan 2015, booked with First Choice
  • Advice: visit the waitress in the morning or afternoon she serves outside the orchid restaurant and sings, she has a beautiful voice
  • Good For: Beach

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3 / 10
Roof leaking in bathroom

"Roof leaking call front desk ,no action .4 days went by until the last day check out ,almost fell down flat on the floor cause rain overnight ,flood in bathroom had use all towel to absorb ..shampoo hair can not use the dryer all outlet and pot light was dripping water . Complain and write the survey to air transit representative .No reply for any follow up

our anniversary kind of ruin and stressful Stay in room 21604 .we have a video to view how much water drip and pictures of wet floor with all soaking towel.We stay from Jan 05 to Jan 12 2015 Haft of the trip was ruin for the unpleasant stayed

  • Holiday details: Jan 2015
  • Advice: Try to remember where your room cause it is big building they all look the same

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

"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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1 / 10
The worst two weeks vacation ever!!!

"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

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2 / 10
Poor Management

"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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7 / 10
Excellent looking hotel, superb food...

"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!"

  • Holiday details: Aug 2008, All Inclusive, booked with Thomson

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4 / 10
Gran Bahia - Enjoyed ourselves despite the issues

"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:


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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.


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.

  • Holiday details: Jan 2007

5 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

2 / 10
Not Ready

"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.

  • Holiday details: Jan 2007

2 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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

"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.

  • Holiday details: Jan 2007

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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."

  • Holiday details: Jan 2007

1 reader found this review helpful. Did you? Yes

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