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“A beautiful resort that cannot hide its' faults.”

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Grand Bahia Principe Coba
Ranked #11 of 21 Hotels in Akumal
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 March 2012

One of the recurring words i keep hearing while reading the reviews is "money grab". For some reason, I find this word sums up my time in Mexico, specifically at GBP Coba.

Now of all the "spectacular", "Beautiful trip", "everyone helpful" and "great food" reviews i have read, I am wondering which resort they actually vacationed at with rose colored glasses and if they get out much when they are at home?

First of all, this all-inclusive was like being sentenced to one of Canada's most gluttonous, self centered, unapologetic and obscene white trash suburban Neighborhood.

Yes, yes yes, there are roaches, everywhere. They come under the front door, vents or balcony door, just check your suitcases before leaving and shake all your clothing for bedbugs. But after 3 nights of coughing, feeling ill, we found out that the strong smell in the room was not from an air freshener but from fumigation. Never warned about it. We happened to catch them in the act. And the dead roaches stayed there for the next 2 weeks.

Yes. yes. yes, the main buffet smells of sewage, (most of the resort smells of it) service in any of the buffets are non-existent. Unless of course you were Mexican or Spanish which is a theme that does not go unnoticed, especially when the only 3 servers in the entire place are at their table side while your table hasn't been cleaned yet, no cutlery, no water to lay claim to your table nor wine before hitting the jungle they call the buffet line. People will push, sometimes shove, eat directly over the food, elbow each other, completely undo an entire display of food that the staff will not replace nor rearrange. All manners are completely forgotten here. I would quickly walk around the others and jump in and get something then quickly move out of the way. It was stressful to eat dinner at the main buffet. So we found the other buffet, at the premiere club Akumal (which is still Coba) called Cozumel.

Cozumel.What a relief. Large dining room, only about 4 tables maximum every night, but quickly found out why. After waiting 20 mins to even be acknowledged we went to get our own food. Sat down and started eating . Manager and server completely ignoring us on their numerous passes next to our table. We saw other frustrated guests get up get items, and silver water jugs from behind server stations.This place was empty, and virtually void of staff.
Having accepted the fact that we were not in Canada, Europe, USA or even Dominican republic, we were content with the idea that maybe being a third world or developing country, that perhaps Mexicans were simply ignorant of what basic service standards are, like a greeting, clean table and basic sanitation. Until a tall white man with the "radio" shows up unannounced. It was like someone flicked on the lights in a roach infested apartment kitchen. Boom, the waitstaff magically multiplied tenfold, the same cockroaches that couldn't see us for the entire hour that we were dining, picked up our stack of dirty dishes, water/wine poured, all sweat-browed and smiles asking how our experience is at the restaurant in perfect english, keeping an eye on the man with the "radio". This entire time, every night, every place, every ride, front lobby, bartender, waitress , towel guy and animation team, all were taking every single one of us for fools. This was the enlightenment that i would regret for the remainder of our 14 day stay.

Yes, yes, yes, 100 chairs around the quiet pool, 10 people in them, 3 in the pool, 87 reserved with towels all day long. Get over it, it will never change at this resort.

Yes, yes, yes, waiting in line behind these people with obscene mini keg-sized thermoses takes twice as long for the foot dragging bartender to make drinks.

Yes, yes, yes, you get what they give you not what you ask for. Ask for white bacardi and diet coke gets you brown unmarked sludge and reg coke. Even when we succeeded to get bacardi, never tasted the same twice.

Yes, yes, yes, food safety is not a priority here at Coba. Snack bars with open food lids all day long, insects, dangerous food temperatures, this was more evident at the picsis snack bar next to the loud pool. Staff ignores everything. People are even worse. I watched a shirtless man wearing only a wet bathing suit no footwear, profusely dripping from his hairy moobs directly onto the food. Not even a quick towel dry off before entering a food establishment. Again, no action from on-looking staff. I also saw the Tulum district health inspector at this particular snack bar later in the week. Instructed staff to keep lids closed. People, if the lids are closed, close them when finished, staff will not do it for you. I was very sick from a burger that afternoon. Can't imagine kids eating that food.

Yes, yes, yes, pool is dirty, not properly filtered. You are dirty and sticky from the exon valdez-like sunblock spill floating over the water. Think of others, don't over paste and lather up to go for a swim, ironically if you do, water probably seems clean to you, guck slides right off. Pool tester is just for show.

The Beach- from what i have gathered from people who either lived or worked in the Mayan riviera for years,is that there are no natural beaches. What you see are truckloads of ground white stone. which is why the beach is 5 feet above sea level, some parts are just rocks and its like quicksand when you enter the water. They have sand bags in the water to stop the waves, but creates a calf-deep swimming area where ocean debris gets stuck.Then, its the fish. Normally not this close to the shore in shallow water, but attracted by guests feeding them bananas, and food from the buffet to watch them school around their ankles. Then come the birds. People eating directly on the beach, leaving their half eaten plates in the sand filled beach pots used for cigarette ashes. Classy.

Yes, yes, yes, this resort, the workers, the people, its nothing but a money grab. From the exchange rates, (if you have U.S the price is in pesos,and vice-versa) they cancel all shows on Thursdays, to force everyone to pay 16 dollars to go see the Mexican show at la Hacienda. They advertise open bar on the pamphlets. In an all inclusive? No way.. We tipped about 40-50 usd per day, just to get them to do their job, things like actually returning with our order, Ensure using a drinking cup from the clean pile, actually changing the sheets, restocking the mini fridge, getting all the towels for the room, getting a ride to your destination from a driver whom never seems to be going where you are going to. (makes fake radio call, then agrees to drive you special...) If you don't tip, like we learned, our driver who was buttering us up the whole way back from la Hacienda jumped out and yelled "what! you no like my serBice" with his hand out.

So.. yes, yes, yes, rude, unprofessional, misleading, lying, deceitful and unmanageable staff in every department. I never once complained, acted rude, said anything disrespectful in any way. I felt like an imbecile every time i ordered anything or spoke to anyone. Then i would remember where i was. No one cares about you. The attitude from the workers is borderline resentful and its comical to them that you would remotely expect what you asked for.

I tipped everyone everyday. 50peso room, 20 peso mini fridge 20peso for towels. 50 pesos for main lobby or else it was a huge hassle to get any change from them. Then we learned we should take out usd instead. Huge difference. 1usd goes a long way. If you are going to tip, go with american money. 10x1usd can last you a whole night.

Out of 14 days, there were only 3 where the sun didn't disappear at 930 am. All the humidity from the gulf, is somehow funneled directly over the resort all day long. A 20 minute drive in either direction will give you sunshine. Not a cloud in the sky until you return the resort. Maybe it was just in February that this happens, but i would not take another chance.

We were two male gay friends travelling together, A lot of looks, both from staff and guests. Offers of cocaine and "chicas" were plentiful, from the cab driver to the salesmen, street vendors on 5th avenue to the Akumal door man and drivers etc.Very unprofessional and unappreciated. This resort is huge yet only one black couple. 3 Asian couples with 2 kids,some Europeans, locals on the weekends, the rest are very white suburban Canadian families. Just so you get a better picture of the clientele.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with friends
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14  Thank lastminute79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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6,951 - 6,955 of 13,534 reviews

Reviewed 2 March 2012

I can't say enough about the Coba. This was our second visit there and we will go back again.
This trip we traveled with family, 8 of us including my 10 year old granddaughter. The staff was exceptional, everyone including the grounds staff always met you with a smile and Hola and made you feel welcome always, no exceptions
The resort is big including access to Tullum and Akumal, but with its size comes variety, there are several a'la carte restaurants to choose from and 2 buffet's at the Coba. You are never more then a few steps away from a drink or something to eat. There are 2 large pools at the Coba, the activity pool and the quiet pool, the towel thing is a bit of an issue but it is every where. There are always people going out at 6 in the morning and laying out their towels on the deck chairs and then not coming back until 10 or 11. The staff seem to be weeding out some of these by removing towels if the chairs have not been used for a while.
The food was good, I am a meat and potatoes kind of guy and I was never disappointed.
All in all you can't go wrong at the Coba,

Room Tip: Villas 24, 25, 26 and 27 are in the middle of everything.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank Greg9538
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2012

My review title says it all. This is not a bad resort; the grounds are immaculate, the pools are great and just being in the Mayan Riviera during the winter is great! We were travelling with our two girls, ages 7 and 10 and this was their first trip to Mexico...they loved it.

We are not particularly "picky" people but my wife and I were spoiled by our stay last April at the Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana where you also get what you pay for.

We booked through Air Transat with the "Royal Golden" package which gave us robes, slipper and an extra a la carte meal. Check-in was fine but very little detail about the resort and how stuff works i.e. Trams, towels, etc. around the resort. We just sort of figured it out as we went along...no biggie. I had contacted Felix by e-mail for our a la carte reservations prior to the trip....no word of a lie, Felix responded to me within 20 minutes of my sending of the e-mail with confirmations for all four reservations.....great service to say the least!

Rooms:

Musty...wow...really musty...not our first trip down south and I've never been in a more musty-smelling room even with the fan on ALL the time....the clothes we never wore reeked of mustiness when we came home. Bed was rock hard BUT a mattress pad had already been added...so, not horrible. The front desk also had an extra single bed sent up free of charge for our one daughter. As some have pointed out, the cheap CRT TV seems anachronistic in today's age of flat screens but really, hardly a big deal. Maid service was fine.

Food:

Not good. The best buffet for all three meals is Tulum but none are actually any good. Even my girls who love waffles, chicken fingers and bacon, dreaded going for a meal. Really bland and mostly unappetizing.....the a la cartes varied wildly. Le Gourmet an Tequila were not good (steak is not supposed to taste like roast beef?), Mikado was pretty good and the show entertaining at least for the kids while Don Pablo at Tulum was EXCELLENT. We went to Don Pablo's on the last night and it was air conditioned (finally a restaurant that had AC!) and the food and service far superior to any we experienced at the others.

The service in the buffet's....wildly inconsistent from waiter to waiter...you never knew if your request for water, coffee or oj would ever be fulfilled. Some were great, some you never knew if you'd see them again.

Grounds:

As stated many times....immaculate, as close to perfect as you will find. I have not seen better.

Beaches:

Obviously, they've been torn up over the years by hurricanes with all the giant sandbags protecting what's left of the beaches. That said, most of the Tulum and Akumal beach frontage is rocky and generally, not to be enjoyed by swimmers. The Akuma beach area with the piers is awesome for kids as their are so many fish everywhere for both snorkeling fun and for feeding them bread...kids loved it. We'd walk out of breakfast or lunch with at least one loaf of bread for the fish!

Location:

Apparently, it's a long trip from the airport if you take the transfers from the vacation operators--knowing that, we booked a private transfer with USA Transfers and they were great and cost competitive. Took around an hour each way.....other folks said it took between almost 2 and 3 hours to get to the resort from the airport....no thanks!

Overall, a good trip with the kids...they can't wait to go back to Mexico. Next time though, we will be looking at the Iberostar chain again with whom we've been really happy several times before. This resort costs less than others and it's apparent why.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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3  Thank John T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2012

We have completed are forth trip to Gran Bahia Principe Rivera Maya Resort and our third time to the Coba resort. I have to say we did have some small issues the first three days which, we had not seen in the past. We did notice a lot of staff in training tags and that may have been the reason for the issues. My wife talked to Carla in public relations and with in hours the issues were all taken care of, thank you Carla. All in all the food was great again and 3 of the 5 la carte resturants were very good. I recommend the Tequila, Mikado, and le Gourmet Resturants.

Room Tip: Close to a buffet resturant will also put you close to a pool. Villa 28,29,30 or 31 will do that.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Dunner15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 March 2012

Booking:
We booked with Sunquest/Thomas Cook through a local travel agency.

Sunquest representative at the hotel:
There was an Irish guy and a local rep. Neither were "in" to their job. We seemed like a hassle to them.
When we had an issue with being eaten alive in our bed by some sort of insect, the Irish guy (I don't even know his name because we had very little contact with him) dismissed it and seemed to take the side of the hotel, we felt like we didn't have anyone on "our side" in Mexico when it came to trying to be treated like a guest at a 5 star hotel.

Check in:
Easy, pretty quick.
We seen others getting welcome drinks when the next group checked in, we didn't.
We were on our honeymoon and had been told (by our travel agent) to present our marriage certificate at check in and we would be upgraded. They made us feel dumb for showing them the certificate and said we'd have to check in to this room and come back in the morning and talk to public relations. When we did that they, again, made us feel dumb. We decided to be happy with our moldy smelling room and carry on.

Room:
Our bed was quite wet, more than damp.
It smelled like musty basement/mold.
The bathrooms were very clean and the maid always did a good job - IF you tipped. We forgot to tip one day and she made the bed and left everything else. When you tip you'll see a much nicer looking room and a better stocked mini fridge when you return.
We ended up with some sort of insect like was biting us in our sleep (more on this below).
Beds and bedding leaved a bit to be desired, stained and uncomfortable but that wasn't a big deal.

Food:
The first day we thought the food was great at the buffet, we were starving from the plane ride.
At a tropical-like destination, you would expect at least the fruit to be fresh and it was VERY near expired, you wouldn't eat it out of your own fridge.
They changed the sign outside the buffet each night for a theme of some sort but the food was always the same. It was alright, be sure to book your a la cartes as you'll be sick of the buffet after a few meals (at the Public Relations desk as soon as you arrive).
We did the Mexican and Mediterranean a la cartes, we didn't bother with the Brazilian on our last night as we were definitely over the food situation.
Service at the a la cartes was great.
Service at the buffet was hit and miss. Some days you'd have to go looking for forks and go the whole meal with no water, other times you'd have a great server. The men were usually better waiters than the women.
I asked for a coffee one time, the man rinsed a cup from a tray of dirty cups in the sink and poured coffee in to it. It was a plastic drink cup. That was weird.
The snack bar has a bit of a selection but the food didn't look very safe. We stayed clear.
Drinks were alright, most of them were made with a syrup of some sort instead of real fruit. We stuck to plain drinks most of the time and they were good. Absolute Vodka and Bacardi or Appleton Rum.

Service:
Front desk staff were TERRIBLE. They were so useless and not helpful. They didn't seem to like tourists or their jobs.
The bell guys were usually pretty great, as well as the cart drivers - willing to help.
The Public Relations women were kind of pointless and rude, we didn't feel like anyone really wanted to be there.
As mentioned, restaurant staff was hit and miss.
Bartenders were usually pretty friendly and welcoming.

Issues:
We woke up one morning covered in bites. Legs, ankles, back. Called the front desk about it and they said someone would be up to check, we said we would leave the room for the day. Returned to the room untouched. Called again and was transferred around a few times. Got Antonio who is the "head" of something from what I understood, he said they'd be up to fumigate the room. I said we didn't want to sleep in a room that was sprayed with something toxic so we'd need a new room. After a few minutes of back and forth he said "You'll sleep with the bugs or you'll sleep with the spray, you're welcome" and hung up. This is when I went up to the desk to talk to our Sunquest rep., wasn't much help. I said I was expecting to have our luggage bagged up and put in the dryer and moved to a clean room. Shouldn't have been a big deal. They refused to switch our room BUT "generously" offered to do our laundry at 50% off the marked price...I think a T-shirt started at 16-25 dollars, and we had to fill out a form for each piece of laundry. Some guy showed up with a can of Raid-like stuff and a maid came and changed the sheets. We're now home and covered in bites, waiting for the exterminator to come check our house and possibly spray, starts at $500-$1200 for a treatment.

There was a very unfortunate incident at the resort when we were there. The staff are untrained, there is no equipment to deal with an emergency. There happened to be two paramedics there on vacation that were trying to take charge of the situation but the staff kept pulling them away and telling them they were trying to make a scene, they were trying to save a life. An oxygen tank arrived 10 minutes later and it was empty. All the staff/hotel cared about was hiding the problem and covering their own behinds. They seemed to have no compassion or regard for human life. It was really, really bad. The swim up bar staff didn't even stop mixing drinks. I've heard from a few others that the doctor and "ambulance service" (Toyota hatchback) are a money grab.

If you're Caucasian or a non-Spanish speaking person, it seems service isn't as good.

Do not rent a vehicle to drive yourself around, some were pulled over and robbed by the police. We took the Collectivo bus service and it seemed bad enough, I wouldn't recommend leaving the resort.

The time share sellers are constantly at you every time you walk by them in the lobby. They offer free excursions, shirts, tequila, etc. They say it will be a 90 minute tour, if you're able to get out in 2 hours or so...it's a nice mini tour of the resort and you'll get some free tickets. The breakfast they take you on is just to the buffet and you have to eat at a table with your tour guy. You'll get some free stuff anyway if you're able to get away alive from the sales guys.

MONEY:
Take enough money with your to last the trip. The ATM machine charges you about $30 USD to take out money in pesos, it was even more to withdraw USD. It was crazy.

Pool and grounds:
They were very well kept. The pool was warm from the sun, the grass seemed to be cut every second day, there was always someone pressure washing the walk ways, etc. Very clean. Along with the lobby and entry way.

Yaxmuul was a fantastic day trip. Tulum ruins, cenotes, zip lining, Angela was our tour guide with AllTourNative. That was the best day of the trip. We also had great weather and met great people on the resort to hang out with.

We're a pretty laid back couple and don't worry about too much. But when we booked at a 5 STAR hotel, we expected the service, food, etc, to be tolerable and it was very under par. We will never return to this hotel and may not be back to Mexico for a long time as we didn't feel safe and we weren't fond of how the health care, especially for tourists, was just a money grab and you never know when you'll need the help. Credit card number up front. They seemed to have no empathy. Very unsatisfied with the people we dealt with and the service received (at the resort, Playa del Carmen, etc).

I would definitely consider other destinations before staying at this resort/in this area.

Room Tip: Try to get a room off of the first floor, it was very damp and no view.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank Courtney H
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
Amenities:
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
#7 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: $176 - $479 (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 Riviera Maya/Akumal, Mexico

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