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“Avoid, Avoid, Avoid” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

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BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Ranked #93 of 212 Hotels in Playa del Carmen
Calgary
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Avoid, Avoid, Avoid”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 March 2012

This is the worst experience ever on the Mayan. The resort is rundown and the beach is terrible. You have to walk north or south to find areas where you can enjoy the ocean. There was no hot water for 11 of the 14 days and some days there was no water at all. The sink was cracked and the water ran out on the floor. The door key cards worked sporatically. The patio doors would not lock. The safes malfunctioned. The pools are not clean and 3/4 full. The foot pools are full of sand, not water. The outdoor showers seldom worked. Only one buffet is open in the evening leaving you at the mercy of the a la cartes and the ridiculous reservation rules. And so on. Stay elsewhere.

  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with family
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Hellofastay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (1,922)
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English first
Toronto, Ontario
Level Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 March 2012

This is my fifth resort vacation, and I travelled with three good friends. We wanted a vacation that was not dirt cheap (afterall, you get what you pay for!), but also not overly expensive - and we quickly settled on BlueBay due to the positive reviews on this website.

We travelled February 20-27th, 2012.

Upon arrival, we were checked in very quickly (no waiting), and we and our luggage were driven to our rooms in building 1 (Tulum), close to the beach. Yes, the resort is quite large, but do not pay attention to the reviews making a big deal about walking from one end to the other. It takes no longer than 5-10 min to get from the beach to the lobby, depending on your pace.

ROOMS: The rooms were fantastic! Very spacious. We had requested a room with two double beds but got a room with one king bed. My friend and roommate called the front desk but we were told we could not change because the hotel was full-up. Ultimately it did not matter that much, so it was not a big deal for us. The rooms were clean, and mini fridges full, with a working safe. Our balcony faced the beach, which could be seen in the distance. The nearest hotel was quite a ways away, and we had a lovely view of a shrub forest and the beach.

FOOD: The buffet food was DELICIOUS but not very varied. We didn't mind at first, until about the 4th day when we started to get tired of the same (albiet yummy) choices. There is no limit to how many or which a la cartes you may book during your stay (awesome!), and they were fantastic! My favourite was the Mexican and French.

DRINKS: Drinks were delicious but not very alcoholic (I hesitate to use "watered down" because they still tasted good). The best mixed drinks, in my opinion, were by the lobby/a la carte restaurants (amazing mojitos!).

POOLS: The pools were very clean, and very refreshing (not "cold" by any stretch of the imagination). One of the pools seemed to have been partially drained (water level was about a foot lower than it should have been), but still working. It was being filled at one point, I recall.

BEACH: The beach was white sand, and being cleaned constantly by the staff. Loungers directly in front of the hotel were tricky to find, but ultimately we never had a day without loungers (despite the hotel being totally booked). Half way through the vacation we found that there were many dozens of free loungers if you take a right when you hit the beach and walk towards the swing bar and volleyball courts.

WATER: Yes, it's true what they say. The water is brown, and seaweed does wash up occasionally (on one day A LOT had washed up during the night). Spots of clear water open up, and you can walk to them and hang out there (and there are fishies!). Murky water is not something that I find gross, having swum in MANY Canadian lakes, but it's not what I want when I'm on a tropical vacation. Apparently this stretch of beach never had murky water/seaweed issues, until the hurricane in 2005 which washed the beach out. HOWEVER, if you walk about 7-10 minutes north (turning left when you hit the beach), you will come across a beautiful lagoon next to a nearby resort. It is beautiful, and very warm.

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS: We loved the hotel, and the food was delicious and plentiful - though unvaried. The service was great (room service was free, prompt, yummy!), the front desk was very friendly and helpful, and our Thomas Cooke representative was great too. The rooms were great, the grounds were lovely, and the beach was nice too. The only drawback was the water, and I hate to say it but this is why I would not visit this area again. What can I say - I'm a sucker for crystal clear blue water while on vacation!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank m_ms09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kelowna
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 March 2012

Having a time share at BlueBay might suggest it is the reason we keep going back, I guess that is partially right but the real reason is we enjoy most everything about the place.
One of the priorities for us when we book a vacation is to have great food, good entertainment. clean rooms, and friendly and helpful staff. At BlueBay thats what you get. Like any other resort there are some things that could be better but on the whole BlueBay fits our requirements. We are both in our 70's.
One of the negetives this year was the fact that if you wanted a sun lounger around the main pool you had to get up early and reserve them with a towel or tee shirt. I went down most mornings at 7-15am and even at that time the most popular locations were already taken.On the positive side the pool staff were teriffic, Dini and the other guys really got people involved with the daily fun activities.
We are always amazed that some of the staff actually remember us from previous years, Ruperta in the breakfast buffet ran to greet us with a big hug, also we were well treated by our Circle One concierge Cecilia, and Walter from building #3 was very helpful when we needed assistance.
The final night of our stay we were asked if we would like to stay at the new Blue Diamond resort. If you want to be pampered and stay in complete luxury, then this is the place for you. But if you want lots of fun, lots of excitement then BlueBay Grand is the place to be.
How could the resort be improved, well the food at the dinner show tended to be on the cool side, and the sports bar and show theatre could use a little renovating.
Next year we intend to make it 5 years in a row.
Kelownasplash.

Room Tip: Ask for a pool and Ocean view.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank kelownasplash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Red Deer, Canada
Level Contributor
30 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 March 2012

This was the second time my husband and friends have stayed at this resort. (First time 2008).

We arrived at 9:30am and got into our room at 3:30pm. This is typical for all resorts we have stayed at when you arrive early. The hotel will store and deliver your luggage during this time at no additional charge. In the mean time, we just relaxed at the pool and beach, ate and drank with full resort privileges.

The rooms are very nice. We had no trouble with hot water. The glass doors do have a gap in them that will flood your bathroom if you are not careful. We know from our first stay, you can call for maintenance and they will put a plastic guard up to help this. This time we stayed on the third floor. Much better than the first floor. No one is looking in and your balcony is private off the first floor. Do note that you can lock yourself out of your room on your patio, as our friends found out!

The buffets are good. Not the 5* best we have had at other resorts but is a good solid 4 1/2*. There is usually something for everyone. Having a fish and seafood allergy, there was only 1 night that I was not able to eat. Room service was called; it was prompt (30 mins) and good.
The best a la cart was the French! We ate there 3 times. The others (did not do asian) were good but not as good as the french. The snack buffet that opened at 11:00pm in the mexican a la cart is burgers, hot dogs, nachos, cheese type food. Not the best but good.

The beach has improved since our first visit but is not the best on that side of Mexico. They are working on it and are constantly cleaning it but is not very appealing. Do head north up the beach (towards Cancun) and go snorkelling in the three rivers. Lots of fish. Current is less after 12:00.

If you are looking for a night life, do not come here. There is not one. The entertainment staff is lacking greatly. There are many activities to do but you need to seek them out or you may never know they are occurring. The shows at night are just as bad as any resort we have been at (4 total in Mexico). Instead, head down to the VIP beach bar after 5 for a quite drink or after 11 for music by a dj and dancing.

Given the cost of the trip, we did return. If a great deal came up again, we would return.

Room Tip: Off the main floor.
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank MyDanesRock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
surrey, british Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 March 2012

Just got back from BBGE. Wow great time. Can't compare as this was our first all inclusive but have travelled around the world before. You may read the odd review that is negative but I would suspect these people probably have never posted a positive review ever. Example would be a lady we saw screaming for coffee two seconds after she sat down. Also for some it would depend on what is important to them. If internet connectivity is very important, more so than lazing around the pool then don't go here (or I suspect anywhere in Mexico).


THE ROOM
The resort itself is very nice a extremely clean, especially considering the number of people there. Service was good to excellent and in almost all cases very friendly. This is from what I can see a big resort with many buildings spread from the beach (Buildings 1-4 with 5 just off) to a 10 minute walk towards the highway for buildings 6,7,8 as well as main lobby and restaurants. Our room was large containing a single King bed that was very comfortable, balcony, bathroom with big shower (fantastic) and dual sinks. You had a safe (could fit a legal size paper flat and about 6 inches high), closet, fridge and long desk with tv and writing area. Lots of wall plugs and light switches in convenient places (a first for me anywhere) as well as GREAT air conditioning that was not noisy. Over all the best room I have probably stayed in.

Each day you come in to see a new towel creation on your bed. Bird, donkey, person etc. Only negative would be the noise level from the cleaning carts on the concrete patterned floors.

Buildings 6,7, and 8 are newer and from what I heard from other guests were better both in size and condition. Downside is your not on the beach. Next time I would probably ask for a 4th floor or maybe a 1st floor that was off the beaten path a little.


FOOD
I found the food to be really good and plentiful. The buffets can get a bit boring but each day there was some variety. Almost never had to wait for refilling of empty food containers. The buffets are never busy and service is tops. Some of the waiters go over the top in entertaining you and taking care of you. The "a la carte" restaurants we tried were the French and Italian. Both had food you could die for. The Italian was a bit slow for service but well worth it. Only thing I was disappointed in was lack of seafood and for some reason in my mind I though there were be plenty. Some fish but it wasn't appealing to me. Certainly didn't ruin my meals.

BEACH AND POOLS
As many postings here have stated the Beach is really nice with pure sand, clean and they remove any seaweed that floats up. A continual breeze really helps you stay cooler. As well the water is not crystal clear due to the continual waves hitting the shore but refreshing to swim in. Some postings talked about it being rocky yet I found only a couple steps where I hit a rock. Yes some seaweed as you get out 50 feet from shore. It was nice to swim out and hit the big waves. The lagoon 10 mins north has some clear water to swim in and is very nice to go to.

As to the pools. The small one up by buildings 6,7,8 was very crowded but had the bar, buffet and washrooms all really close. Didn't spend time here as too many smokers. The big pool was really nice. The wind from the beach kept you cool and there were some places that offered you shade. Not sure why people complain its only 4 feet deep but I wasn't there to dive in a pool. Spent most of my time just floating around. Pool was very clean and maintained. Music around the pool could have been a lot better that for sure but they had entertainment once in a while put on by the staff with things like water excercise, contests, water polo etc. For chairs many go down at the wee hours to save spots and by 9 most are gone. We just went down after breakfast and pulled up chairs from the beach or area around and found many a spot to sit at. Wasn't an issue any of the days we were there and each day we got great spots at the big pool.


TRAVELING
Getting away from the resort to Playa del Carmen will cost you $20 for a taxi, or $5/person for the shuttle. The shuttle runs at specific hours or upon request if you have a party. Finding taxis in Playa is easy and getting out of the hotel is easy. You are on a long highway of resorts so nothing to walk to.

RESORT
For internet use the lobby or sports bar. Service drops off once in a while and you need to re-log into their web page each time. It's not super fast but worked. Best buffet is probably #14-Festive and handy if you are going on an excursion. 15-Jaal-Ha was also pretty good and nice if your down at the beach. The tram that moves people around goes about every 10 mins and goes from the small pool around the sports bar and down to the beach. Occasionally you get a smell around the walk ways but yes people this is a jungle and it's the water sitting around the jungle that smells. Nothing that kills you.

MISC
I was amazed at the people that were just plain rude, demanding the bartender put 3 or 4 ounces of alcohol in their drinks and then not bothering to tip. No the drinks aren't watered down they are just made properly. Do you really want to get hammered at noon on Pina Colada's? I had troubles finding decent mix if you want a highball but there was a guy set up at the pool by the bbq that had real mix.

Basically I suggest you find a waiter or bartender or bar that you like, order a few drinks and if service is great tip them every once in a while. They will be your friends for life and make drinks any way you want them. Often sat at the swing bar at night, tipped my bartender and they were fantastic for the night. If you want name brand alcohol you need to ask and they might have it.

If you want to eat at 6 or 7pm you need to go to the lobby to book your A la carte. They open at 7am or use your building concierge who starts at 7:30 if a later time will work. Room service was also good and quick.

We booked through Nolitours and they were fantastic from airport to resort and each room got three 1l bottles as well. They really took care of you on the buses, airport and excursions. Our room was in building 8 on the top floor looking out into the Jungle.

I would definitely recommend BBGE but if I went back might go further south to other side of Playa Del Carmen for something different.

Room Tip: Book 4th floor if you want quiet or 1st floor if you want a nice space outside your room. Buildings...
See more room tips
  • Stayed March 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank screamnbuzzard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about BlueBay Grand Esmeralda

Property: BlueBay Grand Esmeralda
Address: Carretera Federal Chetumal- Puerto Juarez km 300 | Camino a la Pileta, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
Phone Number:
Region: Mexico > Yucatan Peninsula > Quintana Roo > Riviera Maya > Playa del Carmen
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#50 Top resorts Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#52 Luxury Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#56 Spa Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#64 On the Beach Hotel in Playa del Carmen
#78 Romantic Hotel in Playa del Carmen
Price range (per night): ₹ 9,164 - ₹ 26,181
Hotel Class:4 star — BlueBay Grand Esmeralda 4*
Number of rooms: 979
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ideally located in an area of 445 acres in a prime position on the beach on the Riviera Maya, BlueBay Grand Esmeralda combines elegant Mayan features with contemporary design and a wide range of service to suit the most discerning traveller. BlueBay Grand Esmeralda provides a relaxed atmosphere for holiday makers. The hotel features 979 elegant and well-appointed rooms and suites with the option of a sea or garden view. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Blue Bay Esmeralda
Bluebay Grand Esmeralda Hotel
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Riviera Maya
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Mayan Riviera
Grand Esmeralda
Blue Bay Grand Esmerelda
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Resort
Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda Beach Resort Spa
Blue Bay Esmerelda
BlueBay Grand Esmeralda Riviera Maya/Playa Del Carmen

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