Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica

Salt Coopers, Runaway Bay, Runaway Bay Jamaica
4 star hotel

Reviews summary

( 12539 reviews)
  • 1 room
  • 2.5 pool
  • 2 beach
  • 1 service
  • 1.5 value
  • 2 food
  • 2 cleanliness
  • 2 location

20 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog

Gran Bahia - Enjoyed ourselves despite the issues

Reviewed Wed 21st of November 2012

"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

  • Travel date: Thu 11th of January 2007

Not Ready

Reviewed Thu 20th of December 2012

"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

  • Travel date: Wed 10th of January 2007

Unrealized Potential. Looks great..poorly managed. No Jamaican Flavor.

Reviewed Wed 31st of October 2012

"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

  • Travel date: Wed 10th of January 2007

2 weeks too many

Reviewed Fri 21st of December 2012

"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."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 8th of January 2007

***WARNING!! Go somewhere else!! Will not be finished for at least one Year!***

Reviewed Fri 21st of December 2012

"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"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Mon 8th of January 2007


Reviewed Thu 20th of December 2012

"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

  • Travel date: Mon 8th of January 2007

Will be amazing...when finished, but had a great time!

Reviewed Sat 20th of October 2012

"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."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 7th of January 2007

Gran Bahia Pricipe Ready?.......NOT

Reviewed Wed 21st of November 2012

"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."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sun 7th of January 2007

We loved it

Reviewed Mon 24th of December 2012

"Well after all i read i have to speak.............. We've benn at this resort for a week from dec. 23th to dec 30 th. Yess its true every thing it not ready yet but its far from what i read abouth this resort. We had 2 rooms and every thing was perfect. This hotel is like a castel i enjoy looking at it every minute of the week. The room are very nice, the food very good, the restorant à la carte ok, and will get better i'm sure. The sea food restorant was not ready, and at the beganing of the contruction so dont expect il for few months.
The beach ... nice for a family with kids.. but for myself a littel too short. I'we been at Riu negril and Bahia Principe Punta cana so i expect a lot more for a beach....... at this resort it takes 5 minutes to go at the end and come back............
Forget the motorized water sport they dont have and they wont have too much coral under the surface.
When we booked we knew that the resort was opening the dec the 15 so we were aware that there will be few things not ready....... but we wanted to try a new resort and we did.
The worst thing about this week was not the hotel but the tourists complainind about every thing........ and repeting the problem of other peoples.
I head some people complaining because they went out of rhum one afternoon..... WOOW what a sacrefice............ but they had Grand Marnier and i enjoyed it.
The bar at the beach was not open but they had cold water, soft drinks, beer in a can keeped in ice WHAT a delice insted of draft.... in a little glass. And my kids prefered to walk to the bar at the pool (2 minutes walk) too get there pina colada and Straberry Daikiri. We experience 2 électricity cut for a period of 1 to 2 minutes......... during the whole week .......... not to write about..............
We enjoyed this week and if we had to started it again we would go the same place............ We looked at what was perfect not the little problem, every where i looked was nice and lovely.
NO contruction going on excepted the boutique out side of the resort.
Yes there were some people who had problem with water and some with air conditioning................ but many people were complaining abouth problems they heard that people had..... woow......... they were the pain in the neck.... not the hotel.
I heard that a man complaining because the tennis was not ready yet........ or the Gym.................. HEY GYE i swam acros the bay every days under a blue sky looking at marine life under me......... insted of smelling perspiration in an air conditioned room................ isnt'it something ????
I will put photo as soon as i have them and i will show the real resort not the 4 worst pictures i've been able to take. I saw mabe 200 door rooms, only one was not clean, and you saw that one on an other review........... The pool is very very nice so is the terrace near the loby bar where we took the digestif after diner......... the view there was incredible.
The people working at the resort was very patient and kind all the time...........
At the end of the week the air transat representative came to see us and tell that the manager was aware that every thing was not ready for the opening, and asked us to accept a one week free holiday at the resort at our choice ... Punta cana, Jamaica or riviera maya to excuse them...... woow what a responsible hotel is Bahia................
Finally i agree that some people had problems ... every things was not perfectly ready... yet........... but it was a fine resort............ and many complaints came from people who heard about other peoples complaints..............
Some people like to look at what was not ok ................... its there way of leaving.......... I agree its not a 5 stars yet but a 4.5 and it made my holiday and my family , a wounderful one"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Sat 6th of January 2007

Give it some time.

Reviewed Mon 29th of October 2012

"Where does one begin? My wife and I have just returned from spending the Christmas week at the Gran Bahia Principe resort in Jamaica and I would like the opportunity to write a review and be as unbiased as I can.

We knew this was a new resort and studied with interest the comments and questions being asked on the Web prior to the opening. Even though we realized the potential for disaster was real, we decided to be one of the "guinea pigs" referred to in the forum and write a review after our vacation.

We arrived on December 23rd and after a major bus delay we arrived at the resort close to midnight. As a few of the reviews have already stated this resort was nowhere close to being ready to accept paying guests. One poor family had no toilet at all in their room and unfortunately we had two. (One almost installed and one still in it's packing box stored in the bedroom along with five large boxes of bathroom fittings.). We had no air conditioning for three days and no hot water for two days. The tiles on the floor and bathroom walls were filthy and covered in grout that had been wiped after completion of the tile grouting. We had a leak in the shower ceiling from the suite above and the jacuzzi tub had so much hardened cement in it you could not have used it even if you wanted to. The TV cable llink was not installed and none of the a la carte restaurants were open until after Christmas.

However I have to admit the very worst part of the whole trip was being subjected to the disgusting spectacle of human behaviour at the welcoming meeting by the Travel Company and the Hotel senior Management the day after our arrival.

With close to a hundred people in the room bombarding the Resort Team with insults and not allowing them to even talk without being shouted down was nothing short of degrading and really illustrated the lack of respect human beings have for each other today. What level have we sunk to as a human race? The situation gave me increased respect for the General Manager and Hotel Manager who tried to do as much damage control as possible without "losing their cool"

On the other hand I have very little respect for the Air Transat representatives that appeared to hide securely behind the resort management claiming they just transported us and had no responisbility for the failure of the hotel to be ready. My guess is we will travel with another Tour Operator next time. I will however return to this resort in the future.

Regardless of the start up problems this resort experienced, my Wife and I actually enjoyed our stay. We met some very interesting people and the hotel staff, some of whom were very frustrating due to their inexperience, did everything in their power to to try and improve the situation. My special thanks to David who is the Manager of the Garden Grill and Leonni who was our waitress for several meals in the Buffet restaurant. who went the "Extra Mile"

The pool was great, the rum kept flowing, the sun shone all week, the sea was warm and inviting and the food was more than adequate for our needs. We certainly were not going to ruin our much needed vacation by spending the week constantly complaining. Been there; done that!!

Yes it was certainly not a perfect vacation but take my word for it, you could see the improvements on a daily basis and I am totally convinced this will be a fantastic resort in the not-to-distant future. The buildings are impressive; the rooms are large; the terrace relaxing; the pool is very large, winding beautifully through the resort; the beach "coves" they are building look very interesting; the separate village square shopping area is a great idea and the staff are learning fast.

Okay......We did the "guinea pig" thing. The Management appears to have your attention. If you are really "picky" I would recommend you give it a month or two but I think this resort has enough going for it not to panic.

Hope this helps"

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 4th of January 2007


Reviewed Thu 1st of September 2016

"The hotel was no more than a 3 star. The service from the staff was awful from start to finish.

No member staff cared about the guest. I meet numerous guest complaining about the lack of attention and certainly there was no one of any seniority within the various department to echo the frustration. During my 7 days stay, I must of spent the equivalent of a day waiting on service or help. Take a minute and think about it.


It is a considerable time. The wasted time were spent it in the restaurant, front desk, 40 minutes waiting for my room key to be reactivated at 12.30am (all the excuses you could imagine) 1hr 15mins waiting on assistance to get boarding card printed. A group of 8 sat down for 1.20 min for a meal in the Italian, they went ballistic and no one came and apologized or explained why they had to wait so long . When they complained no one stood forward to deal with the issue or even apologized, never a "sorry" or "I'll deal with it straight away".

Everything was done at their time and their time of course is "Jamaica time", which is not a time based on the watch, as opposed to how the individual feels.

The mentality of the staff was always, "Jamaican time" or "No problem", but what they have not recognized is that it is a serious problem, as we've paid for not only the accommodation, but also the SERVICE for which there is none.

In addition, you are slap with fees for the WiFi, fees for security box and no room service.

The West Indian food was a poor example of Jamaican culinary and you would be sadly disappointed if your expecting authentic Caribbean meal. For example, the plantain was hard which indicates it was from green plantain, rather than ripe and the ackee and salt fish was more like slop. The were poor reflection on some Jamaica finest foods.

I believe this particular hotel is detrimental to a Brand being "Bahia", which i know having seen there hotels in Mexico and Tenerife. I feel that the management should really take a close look at themselves and the policies they are implementing here, as the impression is far being even OK, never mind Great. Should any senior member as staff wish to contact me personally them I would be more than happy to respond further.

PS : To date I have not heard from the hotel despite sending an email to them directly..

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Thu 1st of September 2016

Rating breakdown

  • 2 Location
  • 2 Beach
  • 2 Room
  • 3 Pool
  • 1 Service
  • 2 Value
  • 1 Food
  • 2 Cleanliness

Poor Customer Service

Reviewed Wed 27th of July 2016

"DON'T STAY HERE. I have stayed at many different all inclusive resorts in several different countries. The Grand Bahia Príncipe Jamaica is by far the worst resort I have ever visited. I don't even know where to start because so many things were wrongs with this resort.

First, we arrived to the resort expecting a junior suite superior with two double beds but only received one king bed. When I notified the front desk staff of this mistake, they were extremely rude. They refused to accommodate my request for a new room and made no attempts to compensate me for the inconvenience after a long day of traveling. After about an hour of back and forth with the hotel staff, I was finally moved to a new room.

Furthermore, the hotel decor is extremely outdated, the carpet in the hallways are in need of a deep cleaning, and the bedroom are not extravagant or picture worthy (just an average hotel room).

Also, the hotel is in the middle of nowhere. You have to travel about 40 minutes to Ocho Rio and 1 1/2-2 hours to Montego Bay. You have to sell your firstborn child to leave the resort via taxi to travel to Ocho Rio and Montego Bay. The taxis on the resort's property (and the servers in the restaurants trying to make money off of tourist) will charge you between $20-50 per person to travel to Ocho Rio regardless of how big of a group you have( I was traveling with 60 people). Don't even think about trying to find someone cheaper because outside taxis are not allowed on the resort's property.

The house-keeping staff at the resort were extremely nice but they had a bad habit of trying to clean your room at 8am. Their cleaning schedule is extremely early for someone trying to relax and sleep in on vacation. If you did not expect this early clean up time they would "forget" to clean your room that day. When the housing-keeping staff did clean the rooms they took all of the towels and face/wash cloths and you had to call to the front desk and wait at least two hours for them to bring new ones to the room.

The food in the buffet was not good and I was disappointed in the lack of variety in the food choices. Many of the restaurants ran out of everything such as ice, food, and plates. Additionally, the specialty restaurants were always booked but when you walked passed them at night they were always empty. When we finally got a reservation the restaurant ran out of ice so the drinks were warm including the wine and we were not able to eat dessert because they started removing the food before we finished our entrees.

The drinks at the resort were okay but it was difficult to get drinks at the pool bar because there were a million and one children at the pool bar. This would be a great family resort but if you are an adult looking to relax by the pool with a drink don't go here. Also, the bar closed at 12am. I learned this when the staff turned off the lights on my friends and I while we were enjoying drinks. The resort's staff did not announce last call or that the bar would be closing shortly. They simply hit the lights off.

I can't even give an accurate review on the entertainment at the resort because I missed everything. The resort did not provide an overview of the daily events in your room daily.

Lastly, the customer service was not great or receptive to feedback and they always got an attitude when you expressed your concerns.

Overall, I enjoyed my 7 days vacation with my friends but this resort was the worst place I have ever stayed."

Holiday details

  • Travel date: Wed 27th of July 2016

Rating breakdown

  • 1 Location
  • 4 Beach
  • 1 Room
  • 2 Pool
  • 1 Service
  • 2 Value
  • 2 Food
  • 3 Cleanliness

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Top traveller tips for Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica

  • Juds by Juds

    "I would not recommend the Bahia to anyone. "

  • Juds by Juds

    "I would not recommend the Bahia to anyone. "

  • Kouvela by Kouvela

    "Try to remember where your room cause it is big building they all look the same "

  • Dawn O by Dawn O

    "visit the waitress in the morning or afternoon she serves outside the orchid restaurant and sings, she has a beautiful voice "

  • Leaseright by Leaseright

    "Don't waste your money. Go to Ochio Rios "



  • kdstar by kdstar

    "Until they listen to their most valuable "

  • Erica T by Erica T

    "Don't choose it as your first option, be aware that WIFi has to be paid for in your room "

Grand Bahia Principe Jamaica is also called

  • Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica Hotel
  • Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica
  • Bahia Principe Jamaica

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