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“Coba vs Iberostar Quetzal”

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Grand Bahia Principe Coba
Ranked #11 of 23 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 December 2010

We have enjoyed our 12 Mexican Vacations, so this time I thought I would try something different - compare 2 resorts that we have visited back to back - the Iberostar Quetzal/Pariaso Beach and the Bahia Principe Coba. Both are about the same price point. The Quetzal and Pariaso Beach are very similar, that's why we have included them as one. We are a family of 4 who always visit with a crowd of people - last year, Iberostar with 12 people, and this year Coba with 20.

Arrival - Tie

Booked both with Funjet Vacations. Both have excellent check in/out service that is fast, friendly and efficient. Both are spectacular resorts with lots of marble. Both resorts were at maximum capacity (over 95%) when we vacationed their.

Rooms - Tie

Both resorts are decorated in a Mexican theme, but the Coba rooms are much larger - suitable for a family of 4. If you choose to stay in the Akumal/Tullum sections of the Bahia, the same cannot be said. These rooms are tiny, like a room at the local hotel. Most of our party had some type of complaint about our rooms at the Coba, but nothing ever seemed to be done about it. Our toilet was continually clogged. After 10 days of visits from the staff, you would think they would fix it - no. Others had no face clothes in their room for several days, some missing towels. Our friends had a fridge that didn't work, and every time the repair guy came to fix it, he would give it a shake, and say he would come back again. The next day, a shake, and so on... Rooms at both resorts were very clean and well kept. The beer fridge at the Iberostar was stocked with much more than at the Coba.

Restaurants - Iberostar

Buffets are better at the Ibeorstar. There is far more selection with varied theme nights. They claim to have theme nights at the Coba, but it's a small section of the buffet that varies night to night. 90 percent of the items are the same at the Coba buffets day after day. The big disappointment was the snack shacks located throughout the complex. These had the exact same items every day. (Hamburgers/Hotdogs/Chicken/Nachos. The Ibeorstar has a far wider selection that changes all the time. There will be items that you see only once or twice during your vacation. While we were at the Coba, they continually ran out of items at all sittings - not to say you are going to go hungry - but a bit disappointing. The specialty restaurants at the Coba are superior. Although the service seemed to be a bit slower, the quality of food was better at the Coba in the 5 restaurants we attended.

Pools - Iberostar

Both locations feature large pools with tons of activities throughout the day. The Iberostar featured better activities during the day, and lots of them aimed at children or young adults. The Iberostar has 3 swim up bars throughout the complex, while the Coba has one. The pools are clean, although a bit cold on a cloudy day. The Iberostar was warmer and deeper. Hard to find a lounger, especially by the pools of both locations after 9:30

Beach - Tie

Both have beautiful turquoise waters with a little bit of rocky areas. The Iberostar seems to have more beach chairs available throughout the day. The Coba has a bar right on the beach, while the Iberostar offers beach service.

Location - Iberostar

If you want to stay close to the beach - the Coba is not for you. The Coba is quite removed from the beach, and although they have trams running continually, it's not the same as a few minute stroll. The trams are advertised as continually, but the truth is there will be 4 in a row minutes apart, then nothing for 10 minutes. The Coba is a massive resort that takes several days to get used to. Traveling with my parents was a real eye opener as they continually got lost even days after our arrival.

Grounds - Tie

Both are beautiful and well maintained. Workers continually cleaning and polishing.

Activities Crew - Iberostar

While both resorts offer excellent activities, the Iberostar are clear winners. They involve the children far more - are classier, and more personable. The Coba entertainment staff tends to cater to the 20 something bikini clad models or wanna be wrappers. There was more than one instance when the activities crew at the Coba were playing volleyball while the guests sat out. NOT A GOOD THING! Both were very good overall, but the Iberostar is better.

Entertainment - Tie

The shows at the Coba are better, more professional and slick. The only problem is that when the show is finished you have to physically go somewhere else to continue the party. At the Iberostar, the party continues in the same theatre as the show. This keeps the party going. A big plus goes to the golf course located within the Bahia Principe. Very nice course but extremely difficult. I am an ex. single didget handicapper, and I found it to be one of the most difficult courses I've ever played. Some crazy things too - like the pin position on all greens at the front one day, then in the middle the next - HUH?

Smoking Policy - Coba

Far more enforced at the Coba. Lots of Europeans at both resorts that ignore no smoking signs.

Staff - Tie

Both resorts offer good service and in certain instances, excellent service. If you are excepting 5 star service at either resort, you will be disappointed, but Mexico has its own certain charm. If you want consistency, again, Mexico is probably not your destination. One day you will be treated with 5 star service, followed by a restaurant manager who threatens to cancel your dinner reservation if you are more than 5 minutes late. Certain staff members always stick out. These people who "get it", we gravitate towards and reward them with our tips. We have always enjoyed finding those who "get it" and enjoy the adventure.

Overall - Iberostar

These are probably 3.5 - 4 star hotels as you would rate them in the U.S. or Canada. You can't really go wrong with either resort. If a big room is very important, and you are a twenty something, then maybe the Coba is for you. Out of our group of 12, all but one wanted to return next year to the Iberostar. Although the Quetzal and Parisio beach is a big resort, it is nothing in comparison in size to the Coba. Especially if you have children, the Iberostar is a much better fit. One big bonus of the Quetzal is being close to Playa Del Carmen. One final hint - pack a lunch for the airport. I have visited 40 airports throughout North America, and the Cancun airport is the BIGGEST rip-off anywhere. Expect to pay at least $50.00 for a small lunch for 4 people.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
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9  Thank barabsky
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8,339 - 8,343 of 14,093 reviews

Reviewed 29 December 2010

I would certanly reccomend this huge resort and think that 7 days is not enough to know everything about it.
The Coba is one of 3 resorts connected together is not directly on the beach but the systems with the strollers and little cars they have at the resort are very well organized and you just not gonna miss it!
First day we arrived we felt lost but next day our pavillon 12 beside swimming pool and buffet resolve everything. Very well organized huge resort, lots of buffets and restaurants- especcialy mikado with sj=how, good italian and amazing freench you have to try! we did lots of excursions offered by air transat in the hotel reccommend: Chichen itza with a very funny guide, Rio Secreto - Secret river in caves - amamazing and good catamaran for those who love snorkling!
We went to Playa del carmen for shopping taxi 30 usd but yopu can take collectivo for 3usd per person.
Beach is nice and clean with rocks so nice for snorling. Bars on the beach every 100 meters! Nice friendly happy staff very good english.
resort clean, spacoius- room very good, jaccuzi in our room did not have time to use it!
in main lobby asked about COCO LOCCO _ v good drink (coco gin lemon ;) )
Overall - amazing stay, amazing resort, well organized, good food and nice entertainment - you not gonna be bored there! Certainly we are going to go back maybe this year but for two weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Huge golf course for those who love it,
bicycle for 1 h per day included.
wirless internet in lobby section for free take your laptop ;))))) and enjoy with coco loko ;)

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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3  Thank Extravagance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2010

We stayed at the Gran Bahia Principe Coba between Dec 12-26.

The resort consists of 3 hotels: Gran Bahia Principe Tulum, Gran Bahia Principe Akumal and Gran Bahia Principe Coba. Guests have access to all 3.

Shopping – There’s a small shopping complex on the resort – Hacienda Dona Isabel.

Shuttle – This resort is very big but they offer shuttle services between the facilities.

Beach - Coba is not directly on the beach but it can be accessed via Akumal or Tulum. It’s about a 10 to 15 min walk depending on where your room is located. The beach is nice and you can walk a good distance. There are plenty of chairs and palapas. There’s a few swimming areas – they are small and shallow.

Buffet – Breakfast was my favourite meal (Yes – they have bacon and peanut butter!). As for lunch and dinner, I found the food to be bland.

Snack Bar – They had the traditional (hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, rice, salads, etc) but you could also order chicken, ribs and pizza.

A la carte – We’ve tried 7 different a la carte restaurants. The quality of food and service varies from one to the other. My two favourite restaurants were – Mikado and Portofino followed closely by Gourmet.

Rooms – Vary spacious and clean. Our mini-bar was replenished every day. The only bad comment I have about the room is that you can hear everything coming from other rooms and the hallway. If you are a light sleeper, I would recommend that you request a room on the third floor.

Pool - Coba has two big pools and a few smaller ones. Even if the hotel puts up signs that you cannot reserve chairs many people do. This is really annoying as most them will show-up later in the day and use the chairs only for a few hours. By 8am every single chair is reserved and there’s pretty much nobody at the pool. Many people got fed up and just took some of the reserved chairs.

Gym – Each hotel has a gym. The best one is at Akumal. It has 4 or 5 cardio machines and some weight equipment. Nothing to get to excited about but at least there’s enough to get a descent workout.

Golf - Green fees are inlcluded. For clubs and the cart it costs $55 for a 9 hole (Par 3)and $110 for a 18 hole. If you bring your clubs, it is cheaper.

Playa del Carmen – The Collectivo (bus) costs $30 pesos per person. It’s about 30 minutes from the hotel.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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4  Thank melev00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2010

We travelled the week of Dec 18-25th with westjet. My wife and I and our 22yr old son and our 19yr old daughter
First our bus ride to the resort.
Yes it is an hour and ahalf to the resort but we had fun on the bus we sat at the front of the bus so we saw everything and we were able to talk to the guide of the bus(Jamie) and drink beer for $3.00 each, so the bus ride seemed even quicker.
Check in
We checked in at the premier lobby at 10:30 at night. checked in within 10 mins. and than our luggage was loaded onto the golfcart and we were taken right to our room. The guy driving the cart even helped us with our luggage. I read so many negative reviews leading up to our trip about people waiting for luggage and check in being a nightmare that i tipped the guy $10.00. Well he was so happy he wanted to take us where ever we wanted to go, so we told him we were hungry so he drove us back to the Cozomel to the buffet.
The next morning my wife went to the lobby to get our safe key and book our A-lacartes with no problem at all.

Our Room
Once again reading all the negative reviews about bugs in rooms and the smell of the room and the bed being hard, i had my wife bring Raid and febreeze but we didn't need it all week, Our maid(David) was outstanding, bed was made everyday towels were replaced, we only had to ask for water once,
We were at the coba(party) pool every day except one, and yes you do have to get up early to put your towels out. the pools were not cold at all. The swim up bar was great, the bartenders Jamie and carlos were very friendly and i met alot of great people at the bar.
We went to the Tulum beach one day. Found the shoreline to be rocky so only my son(22) swam in the water. We stayed close enough to the Tulum pool that we jumped in the pool to get wet when we were hot and hung out at the Tulum swim up bar alot during that day
No problem all week with either the buffet or the a-lacartes. Read all these negative reviews about the Coba buffets but didn't have one negative experience at all, the food was great and we had alot to choose from and the service was just as good. We ate at the Tulum for breakfast and lunch the day we stayed at the beach and didn't find the food or service any better.
The week was great the the people we met were great the service was great and we would go back in a second.

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank woodycaledonia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 December 2010

My husband and I stayed at Coba Dec 16-26 and since we have been to Mexico 7 times and ususally do the adults only resorts we decided to try a larger resort that included golf. There were two major disappointments, one being not directly on the beach (there is something to be said sitting on your balcony waking up to seeing the ocean) and the second was that there were cockroaches in the room. We have never seen this and it was something that would deter me from going back there.

The food was mediocre and what we have come to expect at resorts out of the country but it served its purpose and filled our bellies. The Christmas Eve dinner was by far the best. The prime rib and turkey were cooked perfectly and the side dishes and desserts were endless.

Since we have already done the touristy things and have already been to the ruins we golfed most of our vacation. The beach was about a 5 to 6 minute walk from our room and Coba's beach was the nicest BUT the biggest disappointment was the lack of bars and bathrooms on or near the beach. There was one swing bar on the beach with one guy working there so getting a drink took some time. It was just a bar with no bathroom. If you had to use the bathroom you had to walk up to Akumel so that was disappointing.

The layout of the three hotels was easy to pick up on. We spent our first full day walking around and after that had no problems finding anything. They did do a fantastic job keeping the resorts very clean. For having that many people there it was impressive that they kept it so clean.

We are golfers and this was the nicest resort course we have seen. It is not even a year old and the clubhouse is still not finished and won't be open for another year or two. The golf was $65 per person (we bought our own clubs with us) which seemed like a poke seeing as it was included but as we learned it included everything.....beer, pop, hard liquor, sandwiches, chips and candy. So all in all paying the $65 wasn't bad because we have done other courses where it was $30 per person but you paid for your drinks and food.....it all pretty much works out to be the same at the end of the day.

All in all it was a beautiful hotel but the cockroaches in the room were enough to keep us from going back there. Makes you wonder if they are in the room.....are they in the restaurants??????

  • Stayed: December 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank IllinoisLuv2Travel2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grand Bahia Principe Coba

Address: Carretera Chetumal - Cancun Km 250, Akumal 77760, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Akumal
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Casino Hotel in Akumal
#5 Family Hotel in Akumal
#8 Romantic Hotel in Akumal
#8 Top resorts Hotel in Akumal
#10 Spa Hotel in Akumal
#10 On the Beach Hotel in Akumal
Price Range: $180 - $388 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Grand Bahia Principe Coba 3.5*
Number of rooms: 1080
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Facilities and services: 2 lake-style pools, 3 Jacuzzis, large sun terrace and gardens with sun umbrellas and loungers, pool and beach towel service, BAHIA SPA (additional charge). Sports facilities: gym, 5 tennis courts, basketball court, bicycles, motorized sports (additional charge), water activity centre, entertainment amphitheater. WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge), buffet restaurant, 4 a la carte restaurants, 8 bars, 2 snack bars. Riviera Maya Golf Club: 18 long holes and 9 executive holes with lakes, natural wells and Mayan forest. Hacienda Dona Isabel: karaoke bars, shows, live music and disco Rooms 1080 rooms including 4 types: Superior Junior Suite, Club Golden Junior Suite, Family Junior Suite and Master Family Suite. Room facilities: Two full size beds or a king size bed, sitting area with sofa, fully-equipped bathroom with hydromassage bathtub, shower, wash basin, magnifying mirror and hair dryer, bathroom amenities. Balcony or terrace, air conditioning, ceiling fan, telephone, radio alarm clock, flat screen satellite TV, mini-bar, coffee-making facilities, safe (additional charge), ironing set, terrace, Wifi. Family Junior Suites and Master Family Suites, the perfect choice for families, including: All the facilities and services of a Junior Suite; bathrobes and slippers for all the family for use during your stay, children's bath kit, welcome basket with sweets, mini-bar with juices, shakes, milk and soft drinks for children, two fully independent connecting rooms (Master Family Suites), Club Golden Junior Suites Children Bahia Scouts Children can enjoy a range of specially-tailored facilities: Children's pool Mini Club with daytime activities Evening Mini Disco Bahia Scouts Water Park Teen's Club (11 - 16 years) Baby Station Other services On-site miniature railway providing access to all facilities Medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) Personalised diet option for celiacs and diabetics Cash point Specialised service for organising weddings, events and anniversaries Casino ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Gran Bahia Principe Coba Akumal
Hotel Gran Bahia Principe
Bahia Principe Coba Mexico
Gran Bahia Coba
Gran Bahia Principe Resort Coba
Gran Bahia Principe Coba Hotel
Gran Principe
Gran Bahia Principe Mexico
Bahia Coba
Grand Bahia Principe Coba Akumal, Riviera Maya, Mexico

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