Bahia Grand Principe Jamaica, Runaway Bay
1 reviews from the community
Review of "Bahia Grand Principe Jamaica, Runaway Bay"
Thank you to everyone who helped me get to Orange! Onto Bronze now! Getting sick of Ciao messing up...
There are two Principe hotels. One is the Luxury Bahia Grand Principe and the other is Grand Bahia Principe. I am reviewing the Grand Bahia. The Luxury is for adults only.Let me tell you how my friend and I came about going to Jamaica. I was sitting in my bedroom, minding my own business, watching some Netflix and chilling (not in that sense) and I get a phone call. I happily pick up the phone to my bestie and she says "Wanna go Jamaica in May?".
"Okay" I reply.
"Come round and we'll book it".
I jump in the car, drive round to her house and within less than an hour we booked a two week trip to Jamaica. Quick and easy. No fuss, no muss.
Please note that in Jamaica they prefer American Dollar to Jamaican Dollar. Although they have to accept Jamaican Dollar, the JD is not worth a lot and you will find that you will feel like you are spending more than you actually are.
BookingMy friend loves going on holiday. When she is on holiday, she is already looking up her next holiday. We was on the First Choice website and found an amazing deal.
2 weeks, all inclusive, transfers, five* resort for £1,200!Cannot go wrong at all.
We book this online through the Thomson (in partnership with First Choice) and it was really easy. We simply typed in our details and clicked okay as and when and it was all good. They sent through our details by email and we had everything that we needed.The price we got was an online price which was very cheap, as you can see. You can book this through a travel agent but the price will not be the same and more than likely will be more expensive. I know booking things online can be kind of scary and I am one of those people who would prefer talking to someone rather than doing it myself, in case I get anything wrong but it was really easy to do.
Salt Coopers. Runaway Bay. Jamaica
Arriving At The AirportPlease ensure that you leave in plenty of time. I always say get there 3 - 4 hours early to allow for check-in and also allow you for time to walk around the duty free.
One thing that annoyed us was when we went to check-in online, the website would not let us. It was annoying but we were still able to check-in at the airport and it was fairly quick anyway.
Take OffI will not lie to you, the flight was not great. It was quite uncomfortable but I will not go into too much detail. Maybe that's for another review.
It took around 8 - 9 hours to flight to Jamaica.Note: Please note there are some devices that cannot AT ALL be turned on during a flight. I believe these are some of the Samsung tablet devices that are known to explode when on a plane. It might be best to have a check before you fly.
Arrival was pretty straight forward and you land in Montego Bay. You are given a immigration card to fill in before you get to the lovely place that is Jamaica. The immigration card is pretty straight forward to fill in. Don't bring in live animals, drugs, bombs etc.I'll tell you a funny story. I purchased 400 cigarettes in the duty free (DON'T SMOKE KIDS, I HAVE QUIT NOW) and on the immigration card it said that you can only bring in 200 sticks of cigarettes. This got me really worried. I filled in the card to say that I had over 200 sticks. My friend told me that I should not worry and they are more than likely looking for bombs than people bringing in cigarettes. I thought it is always best to be safe than sorry. I did not want to not declare it and end up getting either thrown in jail or sent home. I went through to the "Nothing To Declare" part and told the inspector that I had 400 cigarettes. She looked at me as if I was mad. She asked me "Do you plan on selling any cigarettes here?" to which I replied "No, I don't know anyone in Jamaica". Then she went me on my way. Needless to say my friend was probably right but better safe than sorry aye?
The transfer took almost 2 hours. Being on a plane for 8 - 9 hours then being on a coach for 2 hours, you just want to get in your hotel and relax.The transfer was fun though. The coach driver and our representative gave us a little educational lesson on Jamaica. We went through many sights on the way and found out that Jamaica's main source of money comes from fruit, tourism and bauxite which is a rock that is used to make aluminium.
We was the last stop on the coach ride and we finally got to our hotel.
First LookOn first look, the hotel looks like a palace. It is so big and the statues and decoration on it are spectacular. There were people waiting outside for us who helped take our bags and point us to where we needed to go.
Inside the hotel was beautifully decorated. There is a water fountain in the center outside of the desk and chairs to sit down. Everyone seemed pretty chilled and relaxed there.It was very busy. There were lots of people there so I assume that it is a popular hotel.
Our representative was very friendly and explained to us what happens at the hotel. She informed us of the meeting in the morning to talk about trips and soon, roughly after an hour, sent us on our way to get settled.
Checking InAgain, checking in was very easy. We were given two cards including two towel cards. If you lose these cards, you will be charged a fee so best keep them safe.
There are elevators available so getting to your room is pretty easy as well. The elevator did break down a few times but there are stairs available. The rooms and floors are marked out clearly but it is such a big place, you probably will get lost from time to time.You get free WiFi in the lobby but if you want WiFi all around the resort, you will need to pay for it. We bought a deal which was $70 to get WiFi on 4 devices for the week.
We had the standard two bed room. We had a staff member who came with us to our hotel room and explained to us the appliances and ensured that we were happy. He was very friendly and helpful. I ended up giving him 1000 Jamaican Dollars but it turns out that this is the equivalent to 1 US Dollar. I felt so embarrassed, I ended up giving him much more to gain some forgiveness.We had a balcony that looked right over the pool and bar area. The scenery was beautiful to look at. To our side we have a view of the sea which was lovely to see.
In our room we had a TV but we did not get any channels on it. It was very difficult to work and did not pick up anything. I know you should not really watch TV on holiday but it is nice when you are getting ready to put something on. We ended up not having the TV on at all during our trip and simply listening to music in our room.The beds were double beds and were very comfortable.
There was a large desk and a mirror (the mirror could have been a bit lower to be honest) which was handy to sit and do your makeup.There were many draws, cabinets and a wardrobe with plenty of room. I ended up using most of these as my friend lived out of her suitcase the entire trip.
There is a coffee machine in the room which is stocked up daily. The coffee was lovely and I ended up having a coffee every single evening we came back to our room. Much to my friend's shock as we had been drinking all day. To her "She had never witnessed someone drinking all day and end up having a coffee at 6pm".We did end up getting mold which we told the reception desk. It kept reappearing throughout our trip and all the staff seemed to do was wipe it off. I did not really have much of an opinion on this but when our ceiling slowly started to crack away, it was not a comforting thought.
Overall, I would not say that it was an amazing room but it did what it was designed to do.
BathroomThe bathroom was okay. I did not seem to be able to work the bath so we ended up simply having showers every day. It was a pretty bog-standard bathroom. Toilet, sink, mirror, shower. It came with little toiletries like shampoo, shower gel, soap, shower cap etc which was stocked up when we used them.
The towels are refreshed daily and we were given more than enough towels to use.
Meeting The RepOur first morning we went to our meeting and booked all our trips. Our rep informed us of what happens in Jamaica, explained how they liked American Dollar and told us that we were on the brink of the rainy season which they call "liquid sunshine". Booking our trips was easy and there are so many to choose from I am sure you will find something to do. My recommendations would be:
- Bob Marley trip
You will travel to Bob Marley's house, see his grave and learn about the man himself.
You can pick and chose how you want to do this but I would recommend the catamaran trip.
When my mother went to Jamaica, she and her friend did the shopping trip and she said as much as it was nice, it was mainly the stuff that you can get in the hotel.
Shops In The HotelThere are a few shops in the hotel. Jewellery shops, clothing shops and convenience shops. The sold lots of things which were nice but a lot of it was novelty stuff. I am sure you can find something to take home.
Bahia Grand Principe has its own private beach. It is fairly large and it is more of a quiet place to sit and relax. Any time we went there, it was not particularly busy so you should be able to find yourself somewhere to sit. There is a bar that is relatively close to the beach but we did not venture do this bar. The beach itself is lovely, the sand is smooth and the water is clear and cool. There are rocks to climb up and it is great to get some photographs.
PoolsideThe pool does end up getting packed in the morning so I would ensure that you get out there early; however, there are lots of chairs to sit around. One thing that annoys me is when people put their towels down and go to breakfast. That really annoys me.
Every hotel says that you should not do that but everyone does it anyway. I must admit, there was not a time when we did not get a chair and most of the time we ended up trying to be as close to the bar as possible.
The pool was lovely and cool but not freezing and it was very large. It basically went round half the hotel. They have a swim up bar in the pool which was great. Although drinking and swimming... not sure if that is safe but just do not drink too much.You are asked not to smoke around the pool and have to smoke in the designated smoking areas. To be honest, no one really listened to that rule and everyone was smoking anyway.
We did not get any poolside service although I did note that some people were. No one came up to us and asked us if we wanted a drink or anything.You will get hounded. We had a few people asking us if we wanted to take pictures with the Jamaican flag and one with a parrot. Personally, I do not like taking photographs with animals, I find it slightly sad that they are stuck out in the hot heat being manhandled by random people. I get worried that they are stressed out so I keep away from things like that.
They also can give you diving lessons in the pool. A fun little activity for the kids.A negative I would give is if you are a young woman, you will get hounded by men. There were a few times, more than a few actually, when some men would not leave me and my friend alone. Some of them got the hint and left whilst others were borderline on stalkerish. It did get quite uncomfortable many times and we ended up trying to get as close to the pool as possible so men would not see us.
Food & Drink
Bahia Principe has many places where you can eat. It had five A La Carte restaurants, two buffets and three bars.We mainly ate in the Orquidea main buffet. Every night they had a theme, American, Jamaican, Chinese etc. They served your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Breakfast was nice, they had a variety of things to choose from including fruit, pastry, fry-ups and omelettes. Some of the things they had for breakfast I did find odd, meats like pork etc. I had different things for breakfast depending on what we were doing that day. The fry-ups were nice but it took ages if you wanted an omelette or a fried egg, you have to queue for this. Bacon was okay but it ran out very quickly. They did try and stock up as often as they could though.Lunch consisted of many different foods. Pizza, burgers, chips, fruit etc. Everyone there was nice. We did some experimenting with nachos, burgers and melted cheese. Lovely!
Dinner there was good. Again, they had a variety of things to choose from so you will not be left for choice. I would recommend the jerked foods. They are cooked beautifully.You are given a choice of desserts but if I had desserts, I mainly had fruit or the jelly.
If you went with children, I am sure that they will be able to find something to eat.The buffet area is large so you should be able to find seating quickly. The waiting staff were very friendly and made sure that we were stocked up with drink. My friend usually drank the red wine which she loved, whilst I stuck with coke.
If I am honest, we were not too keen on the A La Carte restaurants. We only went to a few of them and both of them were bad experiences. You have to make reservations for these restaurants which we did online. At one point we ended up having lots of reservations we did not even make.The Garden Grill is located near the back of the hotel. We had a reservation at 9:30pm which is really late. When we went in, there was barely anyone where and that was the only time we could get! I would not say it was much of a grill either. There was not a lot of choice on the menu. We had, what we thought was a steak. We asked the waiter if it was steak and he did not even seem to know. We asked if we could have chips with our dinner and when it came out to us around 10:30pm, he gave us nachos. By this time, it was so late, we did not want to get it taken back. I know it seems like a little thing to moan about but when we went to get our starters, which you get yourself, the label on the chips clearly said "chips" and the nachos clearly said "nachos". I am not sure how you get that so confused? The steak did not taste nice either. It was a disappointing meal.
We had a booking at the Dolce Vita restaurant which is an Italian. When we went in, we ended up walking into someone's wedding! We told the waiter that we had a booking and was told "no, wedding happening". Why allow us to book a table when you know there is a wedding happening? We left disappointed, humiliated and very hungry.We did not venture into the eating for the bars but we did venture to the booze. The bars give you a wide choice of cocktails, beers and spirits. The waiters do not measure the alcohol out there so be warned. Another thing to be warned about is the run is extremely strong. My friend and I drank strawberry daiquiri and pina colada slushies which were nice and refreshing.
There are games and things going on throughout the day but as this was a relaxing holiday for my friend and I, we did not get involved in this.The nightlife was not too amazing to be honest. It was mainly music. Nice if you want to relax and chill but not very lively.
The main negatives for me were the men out there. Being two young women, as I explained above, we were hounded a lot and sometimes it got a bit scary. Two men came up to us whilst we were by the pool with our headphones in and would not leave us alone. He sat on my chair, told me I was his princess, he wanted me to stay out here with him, he would take care of me and asked if he kissed me what would I do. I tried to laugh it off but when he would not get the hint, it become very uncomfortable. Eventually they did leave but it was a continuous factor throughout this holiday. One member of staff asked me for my address, another followed us to our hotel room, it was a nightmare. Two waiters in the buffet wanted to take us out of the hotel into town but we did not feel comfortable with that at all. He told us he knew a quiet spot and I thought "Yeah, I bet you do, to harvest my organs". Maybe we should have said something but that probably would not made much of a difference. It is shame because sometimes they are just being friendly or mean totally no harm but you hear so many horror stories, it makes you frightened. There were some that were banterous which is funny and friendly, one waiter always called me his universe, when I walked in he said "my universe is here", but he was not weird, he was nice. I think if you are with a man it is a lot different out there. Just be cautious.Apart from that I cannot think of any other negatives for this hotel. It is more of a relaxing hotel than a party hotel. It was nice for my friend and I as we wanted to relax for two weeks but if you want somewhere that is lively and party central, this place may not be for you.
So let us not be naive here, we all know one thing that Jamaica is known for. Although I probably cannot discuss it on here, if you require more information regarding this subject, please do not hesitate to contact me and I would be more than welcome to explain this to you. In Jamaica they taught us a lot of things and one of these things were the laws out there. It is not as "free" as everyone would think.
Disability FriendlyThis hotel is disability friendly, there are elevators and ramps to get around. As it is quite large there is a large amount of walking to do.
It seemed like there were lots of things to do for children so I think this would be a fun place for children to come to.
OverallI really liked this hotel, for the price we got it for, we could not complain at all. I would definitely come back here.
Product Information : Bahia Grand Principe Jamaica, Runaway Bay
Manufacturer's product description
Rating: 5 Stars
Address: Salt Coppers, Runaway Bay
City: Runaway Bay
Listed on Ciao since: 16/06/2017