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Reviews (13,646)
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Reviewed 2 March 2006

The resort is awesome! The service was great and the staff were very friendly and helpful. Extra tours outside the resort are very easy to book if you want to do any. Fairly close to many different sites and attractions. Xel-Ha, The Tulum Ruins, and Chichen Itza are definite must sees while you are down there. If you want to save a few dollars you can even hop on a local bus to get into Playa Del Carmen and other nearby sites. The vendors and people in town aren't as bad as other Carribean cities either. They will ask you a couple of times and then leave you alone - no grabbing you or trying to pull you into the shops was seen here.

Tons of pools, bars, and restaurants throughout the resort along with golf carts to transport you if you feel lazy and don't want to walk. Iguanas are out enjoying the sun everywhere too! They have 5 or 6 sit-down reservation style restaurants and some buffet style restaurants throughout the resort and they also have a mariachi band that comes around to the buffet restaurants and plays for the diners.

The beaches were great and if you like to snorkel you can find lots of sea life quite close to the shore. I thought it was really cool that they also have an ecological preserve right in the resort. There is a section of beach and ocean that was roped off for sea turtle conservation, as well as some of the bush on the resort. If you walk up and down the beach at the resort you will find a lot of turtle nest sites as well.

Overall I would say this is probably one of the nicest resorts we have stayed at in Mexico and would not hesitate to highly recommend it to anybody.

  • Stayed: September 2005
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12  Thank archiehodge76
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 March 2006

My boyfriend and I traveled to the Bahia Principe in April of 2005. The resort is beautiful and well maintained and the staff was very friendly. However, fot the rating of 5 Golden Apples, I feel like our vacation should have been a bit more.
When we arrived we were greeted with a glass of champagne and a smiling staff. After that, we were taken to our room. We requested a non-smoking room and the second we walked in we could tell that we were put into a smoking room. After calling the front desk, they said that they were booked for the night but they would be happy to change our room the following night.
For our first night there, we made reservations at Bar El Taquila. The restaurant was beautiful, and again, the staff very friendly and helpful. The food however, was not what I hoped for. I wouldn't call myself a picky eater, but I believe that hot food should be hot and cold food should be cold. We helped ourselves to the appetizer buffet. The food that should have been cold had condensation on it and the food that was supposed to be hot was no warmer than the outside temperature. When our entrees arrived we both took a bite, and that's about all we could handle. My burrito was swimming in a lime sauce that tasted like a mixture of sour cream and lemons. My boyfriend's entree was also floating in a puddle of unidentifiable black sauce.
The waiter quickly offered to exchange out meals. We both decided on the steaks which were pretty decent.
They do have one restaurant there which is AMAZING. The newest restaurant is an Oriental place in the Hacienda plaza. Everything we had from there was exquisite! Sadly, you were only allowed reservations at 3 restaurants. We only visited this place once. If we could have ate there every night, I would in a heart beat.
Beware of the seafood restaurant there if you don't like eyes staring at you when you eat. All of our items stared back at us. We quickly put our napking on top of them and took off.
I was expecting better Mexican food from the resort, but sadly it wasn't so. For the rest of the week I tried to stick to bread, bottled water and frech fruit. For the price that was paid for this vacation, that should not have been the case.
If you do decide to visit the Bahia Principe, bring the Pepto!

3  Thank BurtonFanatic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Regina
121
Reviewed 1 March 2006

After much research, we booked the Tulum, only to find upon arrival, that we were "bumped" to the Coba along with hundreds of other people. We spent hours trying to make both the hotel and Signature Travel honour our reservations but to no avail. We asked for compensation but Signature was offering a meager $60 per person... not even worth talking about. Apparently the hotel had overbooked so were "upgrading" everyone to the Coba (and I ask, if the Coba is an upgrade, why are there so many vacancies there??) Anyway we decided to give up our fight and just enjoy our stay and deal with the issue upon returning to Canada.

Once we accepted our doomed fate of not having beach front property, we started to explore. The staff was increadibly friendly (even though not all that fluent in english, but I guess it is Mexico); the food was excellent although didn't vary alot from day to day but with the wide variety, we didn't get bored until about day 12 of our 14 day vacation. The buffet at the Akmul was our favourite.

We did go to 4 a la cartes and found the Arlequine the best food any of us had eaten perhaps ever!!! The service there was fabulous - absolutely no complaints. We also enjoyed the Chinese at the hacienda (but upon check out found that they had charged us for lobster which we did not order... apparently they just put it on any bill if they forgot who ordered it, so make sure you check out the night before you leave to ensure you have adequate time to get things right).

The pools were all great, bar service very fast (although after awhile, everything tasted like a pina coloda) considering the number of people they were serving. We took a to-go mug after reading reviews but found that we didn't need them, so save the space in your suitcase... buy yourself a snorkle and fin instead. Entertainment was good - check out the Micheal Jackson show - it was surprisingly excellent!!! We spent most of our time at the Akmul pool because of its design - it was large and divided into different sections so even though there were a couple hundred people around it, it only seemed like 20 in any one spot.

It is true that prices at the little shops at the hacienda are reasonable - possibly alot of shopping and bartering will get you cheaper prices in other towns, but if that isn't your bag, be content in knowing you haven't been fleeced at the hacienda.

Gym facilities were limited but modern at the Coba but way more extensive at the Akmul.

As I said we were at the Coba but spent most of our time at the Akmul. Options to get there included the little carts or walking - surprisingly, walking was almost as fast and allowed us to walk off all the food and beverages we had consumed. To get a cabana on the beach or by the pool though, we had to be there by 830 at the latest. We usually just put a towel down, then went to the Akmul buffet for breakfast and then came back out to assume our position... we never had problems with people stealing towels, etc. but I guess it could happen pretty easily.

I'd say the best beach was the "Coba Beach" which was between the Tulum Beach and Akmul Beach. Funny thing, we were booked for the Tulum but didn't spend one second there in the two weeks... maybe it was our bitterness coming out. We took our own snorkel and mask so we wouldn't have to use one after a stranger... there were tons of fish to see especially just off the big platform dock... just go to the dock, walk down the steps on the water side and voila - schools of fish. I think there are so many because people take food down to feed them, so when they see people, they aren't all that scared. One tip I can give you though, is they won't come near if you are moving (ie swimming) but if you stop, they come in quite close. A word of warning, because the water is quite shallow, the coral is very close. I definately recommend water shoes if you want to go into the water, but not really necessary if you are just going to stay on the beach or wade around the edge.

As for excursions - NEVER PAY FOR AN ESCORTED TRIP. Take the collectivos everywhere. They are cheap ($2 us or $20 peso), the drivers friendly and helpful and may be willing to give you suggestions. We found that just chatting with other passengers on the bus, we found out alot about different little places. The collectivo will take you anywhere between Playa and Tulum including Xelha, etc.

We went to the Tulum ruins (on sunday it is free to get in and $4 us other days) only to get to the beautiful beach below it. We spent a couple hours body surfing in the waves.

We also went to Puerto Ventura. There are dolphin excursions and catamaran trips out of here. Even if you don't pay for the dolphin excursion, it is fun sitting on the sidewalk in the town centre drinking a beer and watching them (you can get within 2 feet of the waters edge so very good view). We booked a catamaran trip with "snuba cat" a new company. We were fortunate enough to go our with only 3 other people. Although it is new and apparently not all that popular yet, i highly recommend it. the "vendor" at Puerto Ventura is Canadian (Phillip from New Brunswick) and the staff made sure you had lots of fun... and it was $20 less then the competitor.

Anyway - I would totally recommend the Mayan Riviera for a holiday but probably not the Gran Bahia and definately not through Signature. I might consider something closer to Tulum (beach) or to Playa (action). If you want to go to the Gran Bahia - I would recommend staying at the Akumul.

  • Stayed: January 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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21  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2006

We stayed there in Feb 2005, and liked it enough to have a family reunion vacation there this year. What a difference a year makes - - it was a horrible experience. The addition of the Coba resort and the unannounced addition of several buildings at the Tulum resort, has streached the staff & has greatly diminished the service. The repair and general maintenance of the rooms (and the maid service) has fallen off dramatically. Tulum resort is the oldest & is treated like the poor sister (altho it has the best beach of the three). The recipricol agreements between the resorts (Tulum/Akamul/Coba) have been limited or curtailed, and many functions which were included in 2005 now have fees.
Our party was split without out consent (our children were given rooms in Akamul). We were given conflicting stories between the desks at the resorts .... which reached the point of out and out dishonesty .... our vacation time was treated, by the Bahia Principe management, as having no value.
This three resort complex is now overly large and impersonal. Guests are now just so much cattle to house, feed, and move along.
One additional note - We found that Bahia Principe was greatly over-booked (which could be due to Coba's delayed completion). They are offering free three day/two night trips to Merida "because of their anniversary" (which workers admitted was just to get people out of thier rooms). Still could be a good deal.
We have filed a complaint thru Apple Vacations, but have had no answer to date.

  • Stayed: February 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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10  Thank Phil E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2006

We were at the resort from Feb10-17, 2006
Let me start by saying that I wish I was there right now, so how much could have been wrong? not that much, but what was, was livable. We went with friends, and I would advise to go with another couple..

The beach wasn't as bad as I've been reading, especially if you take a little walk down the beach (which was no hard ship) to the left, down by the dock, past the condos. The water was calm and clear, the reef blocked the waves, it was like bath water, and how bad could it be to see Angel fish and little clear fish with black stripes, swimming around, amazing. Acumal beach, were we went Para Sailing (which is a must do) seemed to be better than Tulum, which isn't that far a walk, they have lots of free water activities for everybody to do, as well as rental stuff.

Some people were complaining about smoking and people blowing smoke in your face, I never seen this. I am a smoker (I can't stand a cigarette smoke, odd huh?). Everywhere you go, there are no walls, and smoking sections, and Non smoking sections, so you don't have to sit in the middle of smoke.

The food was great, the only real complaint was that it could have been hotter. As far as the a-la-carte meals, well, we booked 4 and only kept 2, the Don Pablo was really great, the other (can't even remember the name), not so good, the buffet was better than waiting until 10 to eat, or scrambling off the beach to get ready for 5:30-6:00, so we just went to the buffet, no time schedule that way. The Tequila for breakfast and lunch, good choice, not so crowded, good food, quiet, and close to the beach.
The only staff that I would really have a complaint about was the Reception deck. It was almost the attitude of "I'm to good to be waiting on you" it seemed like the "better" job a person had at the resort, the less polite they were.


I know alot of people go shopping at 5th Ave, we didn't, and din't miss it, we went to the Dona Isabella, 2 minute walk, they had everything we would want, didn't waist time away from relaxing, plus we were told there were no deals, so take your pick.

Do the Dolphin Adventure, which was Wonderful, the catamaran and snorkeling, not great; actually, it was the only time I felt like I was ripped off in Mexico. The snorkeling it self, well, we were told later that the last storm they had took all the colored coral away, where they took us wasn’t very good, it was so far down, that if you were glasses, and didn't have them on, you couldn't see anything, and what was there, was just a gray mass, and no fish, which I know they can't control, maybe I was just expecting to much, not sure, but would never do it again.

Our biggest complaint was with Sunquest, we didn't have any problem with our reservations, but the flight and some other confusion was horrible. Too much to get into here, I didn’t realize I wrote so much, sorry. If you want more, so you can watch out for it, e-mail me.

Long and short,,,,,,,,expect nothing, enjoy everything

23  Thank goodgurl_37
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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