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13 Elements of Caribbean Luxury in this Bahia Principe Trio

13 Elements of Caribbean Luxury in this Bahia Principe Trio


avatar   Stacy
Trip Date 06/09/2022
Posted On 08/22/2022 10:49:22

Destinations | Dominican Republic | Jamaica | Mexico | Caribbean | Punta Cana | Riviera Maya | Runaway Bay | Bahia Principe Luxury | Ambar | Akumal | All Inclusive Resorts | Adults Only | Vacation | Lodging | Butlers | Pools | Beach | Dining | Bar Service | Activities | Entertainment | Shopping



Since December of 2019, we've had the opportunity to spend anywhere from 6 to 11 nights at three different Bahia Principe Luxury resorts. We've visited on our own, met up with another couple and even traveled as part of a group of six adults. Our first stay, at Jamaica's Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay, was "pre-Covid", and our last three stays were at different phases during the pandemic:
  • Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (March 2021);
  • Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal in Riviera Maya, Mexico (October 2021); and
  • a return to Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay in Jamaica (May - June 2022).

Since it can be difficult to choose where to vacation, this article will help you decide which of these three all inclusive resorts is best for your adults only escape. You'll find a comparison of everything from check-in to the resort grounds (including the swimming pools and beaches). We compare room accommodations and the service provided by each team of butlers. We also share our experience with the dining options, bar service, activities, evening entertainment and even shopping opportunities at all three resorts. Whether it's the beach, your lodging and accommodations or something else that is most important to you when vacationing, you'll be able to make a more informed decision on the location for your next Caribbean escape.

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1. Adults-Only Getaways

The Bahia Principe properties in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico offer both family friendly and adults-only holidays. Children are not permitted to enter the adults-only sections within any of the resorts. All of the activities and entertainment in these areas are geared toward adults. The family friendly brands offer venues and activities geared for youngsters, yet are still fun for adults. Plus, they all have bars which serve adult (and virgin) beverages too!


Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal

Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal

The luxury brand resort in Jamaica and Luxury Ambar in the Dominican Republic are open to adults only. All pools, restaurants, entertainment and activities at Luxury Runaway Bay and Luxury Ambar are for adults only. Unless you venture off into one of the other resorts in the complexes, you will not see children during your stay. These resorts are perfect for anyone desiring an adults-only escape.

With an adults-only section, the Luxury Akumal resort has a different feel than the others. While there is an adults-only infinity swimming pool plus villas and restaurants designated as adults-only, all other areas within the luxury resort are open to people of all ages. You'll see and hear children as you wander around the resort, see youngsters at the shows, in the pools, at buffets and may even have young ones dining at tables near you in many of the restaurants. (Although not yet reopened during our visit, the Bahia Principe Luxury Sian Ka'an in the Riviera Maya is a true adults-only destination.)

Our Overall Pick for Best Adults-Only Getaways: Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay (Runaway Bay, Jamaica) or Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) If you are truly desiring an adults-only getaway, your best bet is one of the two resorts that are only open to adults. If Mexico is your dream destination, and adults only is your preferred vacation style, you might want to check out Luxury Sian Ka'an.

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2. Check-In

Improvements to the Bahia Principe app have reduced the amount of time needed to check-in upon arrival at the resorts. There are, however, limitations to what you can complete on-line before your arrival. It's the resort staff who will finalize your check-in, provide you with your room assignment and issue wristbands, room keys and towel cards for each guest.

In order to complete check-in at the resort, the policy is that guests must present the credit card that was used to pay for their reservation. Because we had fraud on the credit card used to pay for our stay in the Dominican Republic, our account was closed and we no longer had the card. This complication made check-in much more difficult at the resort.


Check-in at Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar

Check-in at Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar

The check-in agent who assisted us in Mexico was, by far, the most personable and efficient. He knew about the room request that we had made online and was able to honor the request.

Our check-in experience during our most recent stay in Jamaica was quite the opposite. The team responsible for check-in appeared disorganized. We were asked to complete a check-in questionnaire, however our travel companions were not. From beginning to end, it took at least three different agents to process our check-in and a longer than expected wait - plus no one seemed to have knowledge of our room request.

Our Overall Pick for Best Check-in: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) The agent who assisted us in Mexico was able to complete the entire transaction efficiently - plus he was the most friendly. (He even recognized us on more than one occasion during our stay.)

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3. Wristbands

Although we've only stayed at four different all inclusive resorts, the one thing that is consistent is that all guests are required to wear a wristband for identification purposes throughout their stay. Each of the three Bahia Principe resorts where we've stayed have two or three brand levels - luxury, grand and fantasia (only in Dominican Republic). Guests staying in the luxury and fantasia brands usually pay more for their vacations so they have more access to resort amenities. Those staying in the lower priced grand resorts have limitations on which restaurants, bars, pools, etc. are available for their stay. It's the wristbands that allow resort personnel to quickly identify which guests have access to which venues.

In addition to resort identification, the wristbands issued to guests of the Dominican Republic Luxury Ambar are embedded with RFID chips. The wristband chips serve as "keys" to assigned hotel rooms. Guests in the Mexico and Jamaica resorts receive both a standard card access room key plus a wristband. Hopefully this new technology will make its way to additional resorts in the years to come.


Wristbands and Room Keys at Luxury Ambar

Wristbands and Room Keys at Luxury Ambar

Our Overall Pick for Best Wristbands: Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) It's so nice not to have to keep track of a key card during your stay - it's always with you!

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4. Accommodations

It's amazing how you can travel to three different Caribbean countries yet have a deja vu feeling upon your arrival! After spending time in the luxury accommodations at Bahia Principe resorts in either Runaway Bay, Punta Cana or Riviera Maya, a stay at either of the others will feel familiar.

The furnishings at all three resorts are quite similar - king sized canopy beds, seating areas and well appointed bathrooms. The nightstands on either sides of the beds have USB outlets. Storage at all three resorts is plentiful - each has a dresser with drawers plus a closet with shelving, a safe and a rod with hangers. All rooms have nice-sized balconies with views of the well-manicured resort grounds. They even have outdoor racks perfect for drying swimsuits!


Junior Suite Deluxe Accommodations in Adults-Only Villa at Luxury Akumal

Junior Suite Deluxe Accommodations in Adults-Only Villa at Luxury Akumal

Enjoy the View from Runaway Bay Junior Suite Deluxe Sea View

Enjoy the View from Runaway Bay Junior Suite Deluxe Sea View

The biggest difference between our four rooms was the bathtub in our upgraded room in the Dominican Republic. Rather than having a whirlpool tub in the bathroom, our tub was in the main bedroom near the large sliding glass door.


Hydro-massage Bathtub at Luxury Akumal

Hydro-massage Bathtub at Luxury Akumal

Corner Suite Bath Tub and Living Area at Luxury Ambar

Corner Suite Bath Tub and Living Area at Luxury Ambar

One thing to note: The villa where our room was located in the Dominican Republic did not have elevators. Since we typically take the stairs to get some exercise and because the villa was only three stories tall, this did not cause an issue for us. If you prefer to avoid climbing, we recommend confirming elevator availability in advance.

Our Overall Pick for Best Accommodations: It's a Three-Way Tie! Nothing stood out in any of the destinations that warranted a higher ranking over the others.

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5. Butler Service

One of the benefits of staying in a luxury brand Bahia Principe property is having butler service (upon request). We first learned of this benefit in Punta Cana - during our second Bahia Principe stay. Upon checking in at the Luxury Ambar property, we were escorted to our room by Horam. During his introduction of the resort, he educated us on his role as our butler.

We took Horam up on his offer by requesting a dinner reservation at M.E.A.T. for the night of our anniversary. He was able to use his magic touch to find availability that we could not find online. He also decorated our room and left a bottle of champagne for us to enjoy. Since he was so helpful, we called on him a couple more times to rearrange some dining reservations and he did not disappoint.


Celebrating our 15th Anniversary in Punta Cana

Celebrating our 15th Anniversary in Punta Cana

Throughout our stay, he checked in on us almost every evening - either in an a la carte restaurant (he always knew where our reservations were) or in the lobby bar after dinner. (He took his responsibilities so seriously that he was even "on call" during his off duty hours to help his guests!)


Horam, Our Amazing Butler at Luxury Ambar

Horam, Our Amazing Butler at Luxury Ambar

Now that we knew about the assistance that the butlers were able to provide, we had plans to seek out assistance from our butler when we arrived at Luxury Akumal in Mexico. After all, we were three couples meeting at the resort and wanting to dine together each evening.

Andres, Cynthia and Victor were an awesome, always willing and super helpful trio of butlers assigned to a small group of villas. Andres was able to help with restaurant reservations for the evenings that we were unsuccessful in reserving before our arrival. He even personally drove us to the restaurants in the neighboring resorts. (Cynthia also saved me from climbing back up two flights of stairs on more than one occasion when I realized that I left my mask in our room!)


Private Transportation Courtesy of Andres

Private Transportation Courtesy of Andres

Less than 8 months later, the six of us met in Runaway Bay. Butler service was far less consistent when compared to our previous two experiences. Our butler did stop by to introduce herself on the night of our arrival and also decorated our room for a "honeymoon celebration".


Butler Bria's Wishes for a Happy Honeymoon

Butler Bria's Wishes for a Happy Honeymoon

Because we enjoyed it so much during our first stay at this Jamaican resort, we requested coconut scent for our room. It arrived a day later than requested and was difficult to have replenished on future nights. Although our travel companions never had a visit from their butler, after multiple requests, they were finally able to have a room scent delivered.


In Room Coconut Scent in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

In Room Coconut Scent in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Our Overall Pick for Best Butler Service: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) This was a more difficult pick than some of the other categories. We had excellent experiences with butler service in both the Dominican Republic and Mexico. Having a team of butlers was the primary reason for our choice of Luxury Akumal.

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6. Resort Grounds

The resort complexes in Runaway Bay, Punta Cana and the Riviera Maya do have some similarities - but there are differences as well. One of the biggest differences is size. The Bahia Principe resort in Jamaica is the smallest of the three. Two beachfront hotels (Luxury Runaway Bay and Grand Jamaica) make up the resort. Because of it's size, it's the easiest to explore on your own two feet. Guests staying in the luxury branded property have access to all facilities and a la carte restaurants in either of the two resort brands.

Two Grand level hotels (Coba and Tulum) plus two Luxury hotels (Akumal and Sian Ka'an) make up the Bahia Principe complex in the Riviera Maya. Both Grand Tulum and Luxury Akumal are beach front properties and Luxury Sian Ka'an is adjacent to a golf course. While shuttle service is available between the four resorts, guests wanting some exercise can walk between all but the Luxury Sian Ka'an. Guests of both Akumal and Sian Ka'an can enjoy the a la carte restaurants and amenities of all four resorts - including evening entertainment and the dolphinarium.


Morning Dolphin Performance at Grand Tulum's Dolphinarium

Morning Dolphin Performance at Grand Tulum's Dolphinarium

A total of seven resorts make up the Bahia Principe complex in Punta Cana, three of which have direct beach access. Four Grand level properties (Punta Cana, Bavaro, Aquamarine and the not yet reopened Turquesa ), two luxury hotels (Ambar and Esmeralda) plus Fantasia are interconnected by walking and shuttle paths. Depending on your start and end points, it can be quite a hike to walk between properties. It's guests of Fantasia that have access to all of the restaurants and amenities in Punta Cana (not guests of the Luxury brands).


Bahia Principe Fantasia Punta Cana

Bahia Principe Fantasia Punta Cana

Our Overall Pick for Best Resort Grounds: Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) With a total of six currently open resorts, there is a lot of variety at the Bahia Principe resorts in Punta Cana. By using the shuttle service or walking, guests of the Luxury brands have access to the amenities at five of the resorts.

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7. Swimming Pools

All three of the luxury brand resorts have multiple swimming pools and whirlpools (not heated) that are perfect for cooling off during a warm day in the Caribbean. Although all were not open during our stays due to the pandemic, at least one of the pools within each resort does have a swim-up bar.


Whirlpool in Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay

Whirlpool in Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay

During our time in Mexico, it was the infinity pool where we spent the majority of our time. There is no swim-up bar in the pool, however during our stay, the wandering waitstaff was filling drink orders as soon as guests were empty ... or even before! Walk-up bar service was also available in the adults-only section of the resort. One other difference with the complex in the Riviera Maya was the availability of hot tubs in the Grand Coba - a short walk from the adults-only villas.


Luxury Akumal's Adults-Only Infinity Pool

Luxury Akumal's Adults-Only Infinity Pool

Our Overall Pick for Best Swimming Pools: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) The adults-only infinity pool with an excellent waitstaff filling drink orders won us (and many other resort guests) over!

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8. Beach Services and Waters of the Caribbean

All three resort complexes are located beachside thereby allowing guests to choose between swimming pools and sea waters (or a combination of both). If it's the white sand and lounging seaside that puts a smile on your face, all three resorts are quite appealing.


Beachside Palapas in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Beachside Palapas in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Depending on weather conditions, water crafts including kayaks, catamarans and paddle boards are available for up to one hour per day upon request (and subject to availability). During our visits, we preferred the ability to make reservations 24 hours in advance - only available in Punta Cana.


Kayaking in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Kayaking in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Sailing on a Hobie Cat off the Shores of Punta Cana

Sailing on a Hobie Cat off the Shores of Punta Cana

The biggest beachside differences that we found between the resorts was the beachside bar service and the availability of snorkeling spots. Surprisingly, our experience was that bar service was more limited at the beaches reserved exclusively for luxury brand guests in all resorts except for Luxury Ambar in Punta Cana. By taking the short walk to the shared "grand level" beach in the Riviera Maya, bar service was excellent. We found the best beachside bar service in Runaway Bay was at the farthest point of the resort from the luxury level rooms.


Our Favorite Beach Palapas at Luxury Akumal

Our Favorite Beach Palapas at Luxury Akumal

(Guests of the luxury brand resorts can swim or snorkel and enjoy the beach anywhere within the resort property. Those with rooms in the hotel's other brands are restricted from the exclusive luxury beach and swimming areas.)

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All three resorts offered the use of masks and snorkels for up to one hour per day upon request and subject to availability. In our opinion, only Riviera Maya and Runaway Bay had enticing snorkeling areas. Because of the variety and unique undersea life, our favorite was Jamaica's Runaway Bay. Having a great snorkel spot such a short walk from our rooms was one of the main reasons we were lured back to Jamaica for a second stay.


Just a Short Walk to Amazing Snorkeling in Jamaica

Just a Short Walk to Amazing Snorkeling in Jamaica

Our Overall Pick for Best Beach Services and Waters of the Caribbean: Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay (Runaway Bay, Jamaica) or Bahia Principe Luxury Ambar (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic) Because we tend to spend our "beach time" in the water, it's the snorkeling that ranked the resort in Jamaica highest on our list. For those most interested in having beachside bar service or in using water crafts, the Dominican Republic is your winner!

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9. Dining

With 24/7 dining options including room service, it would be hard to go hungry during a stay at any of these three Caribbean resorts! Breakfast and lunch are primarily served buffet style in a choice of venues - main dining room, beach restaurant or pool restaurant. (During our 2021 stay in Punta Cana, the pool restaurant was operating with table service rather than a buffet.)


Pizza for Lunch at Luxury Ambar's Pool Restaurant

Pizza for Lunch at Luxury Ambar's Pool Restaurant

A beachside lunchtime kiosk in the Dominican Republic offers a rotating menu including a combination of paella, burgers hot dogs, chicken and more. Depending on the day, a poolside tent in Jamaica offers menu items including jerk chicken, hot dogs and burgers for lunch. Mexican dishes including guacamole, tacos, tostadas, burritos and ceviche are served poolside in the Riviera Maya. Although it's easy to know what's being served each day through the Bahia Principe app in Mexico, it was more difficult finding out the daily specials at the other two resorts.


What's for Lunch at Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal?

What's for Lunch at Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal?

In addition to themed buffet dinners in the main dining room, each resort has a selection of a la carte restaurants. The dress code is casual and reservations for the main dining room are not required. Reservations for a la carte restaurants open up five days prior to resort arrival for members of the loyalty program, My Bahia Principe. It's important to look at the suggested attire prior to making a reservation.


A la Carte Dining in Runaway Bay

A la Carte Dining in Runaway Bay

In both Mexico and Jamaica, guests staying in the luxury brand resorts have access to all of the restaurants throughout the entire resort complex. While the resort in Jamaica is smaller, there are still plenty of a la carte options - gourmet, modern, steak, Asian fusion, Brazilian, Italian and Japanese. In the Riviera Maya, guests of Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal have the largest selection of a la carte dining restaurants. In addition to several gourmet and Italian restaurants, there's restaurants featuring steaks, seafoods and regional favorites including Brazilian, Indian, Italian/Mexican, Japanese, Japanese/Peruvian, Mediterranean and Mexican.


Mixed Grill of Fish and Seafood at Mediterraneo Restaurant in Riviera Maya

Mixed Grill of Fish and Seafood at Mediterraneo Restaurant in Riviera Maya

Comprised of seven different resorts, Punta Cana is the largest of these three Bahia Principe complexes. The biggest difference with dining options, however, is that in Punta Cana, there are limitations as to which restaurants are available for luxury brand guests. The a la carte dining options (gourmet, steak, Brazilian, Greek, Indian, Italian and Mexican) are all clustered near the luxury villas. (There is an additional a la carte seafood restaurant that has not yet reopened.) Luxury Ambar guests also have two casual dining spots - a coffee shop offering drinks and pastries and a sports bar serving a traditional bar menu.


Scott's Anniversary Dinner at M.E.A.T. in Punta Cana

Scott's Anniversary Dinner at M.E.A.T. in Punta Cana

Note: Two of our stays were affected by restrictions due to the pandemic. In Punta Cana, rather than allowing self-service, all buffets lines were staffed. This caused some problems, primarily due to translation difficulties. In Mexico, all guests were required to wear disposable gloves as they walked through the self-serve buffet lines.

Our Overall Pick for Best Dining: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) All three resorts have a combination of buffet dining, poolside and beachside restaurants plus a la carte dining. It's the biggest selection of a la carte options that make Mexico's Riviera Maya resort stand out among the three. The one downside was that, during our stay, some restaurants advertising "adults only" were open to people of all ages.

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10. Bar Service

There are indoor bars and outdoor bars at each of the resorts. There's lobby bars, pool bars, beach bars and swim-up bars. Many of the buffet and a la carte restaurants even have bars. (It was during our most recent resort stay in Runaway Bay where the swim-up bars had finally reopened after shutting down at the start of the pandemic.). Depending on your drink of choice, you'll likely find a favorite bartender no matter which resort you visit.


Beach Bar at Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica

Beach Bar at Bahia Principe Grand Jamaica

You can always walk (or swim) up to a bar. Sometimes, when you are on vacation, it's nice to find a spot to just plain relax. Your favorite place may be on the beach, in a pool or on a poolside lounger. In our experience, the poolside bar service was fairly consistent from resort to resort. For beach side relaxing, it was in the Riviera Maya where the service was a notch above the other resorts.


Our Favorite Beach Palapas at Luxury Akumal

Our Favorite Beach Palapas at Luxury Akumal

If you have a favorite regional drink that you are looking forward to, you may not find it at all of the resorts. The Jamaican Smile was one of our favorites and, not surprisingly, it's only found in Jamaica! Other regional favorites included Jamaica's Bob Marley and the Sammy Sosa in the Dominican Republic.

Our Overall Pick for Best Bar Service: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) No matter if we were relaxing beside the pool, cooling off in the water or lounging beachside, we found team members checking up on our drink status most frequently in Mexico!

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11. Entertainment Staff and Activities

The entertainment staff at all three resorts works hard to ensure that guests have a good time. From an introduction to a foreign language to a guided bike tour of the resort grounds or a game of Bingo to a cooking class, the schedule of activities at each resort has good variety with something for most everyone.

The schedule is fairly consistent from week to week, so anyone staying longer than seven days has a preview of what to expect during upcoming days. The Bahia Principe app also helps guests to know what is going on. (The app has undergone improvements since our initial stay in 2019, and we were able to use it almost exclusively during our recent two stays in Mexico and Jamaica.)


Weekly Entertainment Schedule at Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay

Weekly Entertainment Schedule at Bahia Principe Luxury Runaway Bay

No matter the resort, as the time for many of the upcoming activities approaches, the entertainment team walks around encouraging participation. Although we don't always participate in these types of activities, we have joined in on some of the fun. Scott's experience with playing bean bag toss in the Dominican Republic was interesting as pandemic protocols were still in place (mask and social distancing required).


Socially Distant Daytime Games in Punta Cana

Socially Distant Daytime Games in Punta Cana

One member of our travel group participated in dance lessons, another joined in on water aerobics and several did a bike tour and played some of the poolside games during our stay in Mexico. At one time or another, our entire group of six "competed" against other resort guests in games of luck and chance like Bingo and Loteria Mexicana. Everyone, except for Scott and I, returned home with a winner's resort t-shirt!


Playing "Mexican Lottery" in the Riviera Maya

Playing "Mexican Lottery" in the Riviera Maya

During our most recent stay in Jamaica, we all joined in on a game of Human Ring Toss. There were a total of 8 people playing, and the staff member responsible for the game made it fun for everyone.


Human Ring Toss on the Beach in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Human Ring Toss on the Beach in Runaway Bay, Jamaica

Scott and I were a little disappointed with the bike ride that was on the schedule for a day near the end or our stay in Runaway Bay. No one else showed up for the guided ride - not even the guide! After waiting more than 20 minutes, a member of the entertainment team was finally recruited to lead the ride. Unfortunately, we waited longer for the ride than the duration of the entire ride.

Our Overall Pick for Best Entertainment Staff and Activities: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) Each time that we participated in an activity at one of the three resorts, it turned out to be fun. There was something about the personalities of the entertainment team at Luxury Akumal that made them stand out above the others. It was hard to say no when they were seeking out participants for upcoming activities because we knew that laughing would be involved and the team would make it fun. Because of this, we joined in on more activities at the Riviera Maya resort.

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12. Evening Entertainment

Our review of evening entertainment only compares the Bahia Principe resorts in Mexico and Jamaica. (During our Dominican Republic stay, government restrictions were still prohibiting traditional entertainment due to the pandemic. Each evening, the hotel lobby became a venue for "socially distanced" versions of Karaoke, Bingo or a trivia game.)

As the luxury brand resort in Jamaica does not have a traditional theater, evening entertainment is found in either the hotel lobby/terrace, Chill-out Hut or on the beach. During our stay, choices included a saxophonist, the "Ideal Couple Game Show", chocolate and beach parties, and Vegas Dance and Fantasy Variety Shows. We passed on many shows advertised in the Chill-out Hut as they didn't get underway until well past the 9:00 scheduled start time. (Movie screenings always seemed to end later than anticipated causing a delay in everything else.)


Chocolate Party in Runaway Bay's Chill-Out Hut

Chocolate Party in Runaway Bay's Chill-Out Hut

The resort does have a more traditional stage, albeit outdoors, at the Bahia Principe Village in the Grand Jamaica where family friendly performances are open to guests of both resorts. The village is also the home to a disco and piano bar open for late night entertainment.

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As the luxury level resort in the Riviera Maya is open to guests of all ages, it only makes sense that there would be entertainment for all ages as well. Each evening, an 8:00 PM show geared toward the youngsters staying at the resort could be found in the theater. Following the kid's production, the 9:00 performances ranged from musical productions and audience participation events to guest performers. Some of our favorites included "City of Rock", "Back to the 80s" and a magic show.

For a nominal fee of $5.00 per person, guests have the option to see "Origen" at the neighboring Grand Tulum each Wednesday evening. Using a combination of acrobatics, gymnastics and non-traditional circus acts, the hour long show tells the history of the more than 60 cultures that combined to form the customs in today's Mexico.


Origen, Performed at Bahia Principe Grand Tulum

Origen, Performed at Bahia Principe Grand Tulum

Our Overall Pick for Best Evening Entertainment: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) Choosing the best entertainment really depends on personal preferences. Since we prefer variety with a heavy focus on production type shows, the resorts in the Riviera Maya best matched our tastes. Additionally, the venues at the resort in Mexico are more conducive to performances.

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13. Shopping

Lobby shops at all three resorts have a variety of items for sale - apparel, shoes, hats, bags and souvenirs plus a small supply of necessities. The Bahia Principe Village, found on the grounds in each complex, is home to a bigger variety of shops. Staffed by locals and offering more locally made wares and souvenirs, the village shops seemed to be more economically priced.


Our Finds at the Grand Punta Cana Lobby Shop

Our Finds at the Grand Punta Cana Lobby Shop

Most of the shops at the Bahia Principe Village in Grand Jamaica were open during our first stay. We were able to comparison shop during our search for Caribbean Jerk seasoning. Because of the pandemic, none of the shops were open at the Grand Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and only about one-fourth were open at the Grand Coba during our stay in Mexico. Sadly, even during our return visit to Jamaica, less than half of the shops had reopened and many were not very well stocked.


Bahia Principe Village in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Bahia Principe Village in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

A traditional market is found just outside of the Bahia Principe Grand Tulum in the Riviera Maya. Hacienda Dona Isabel Market is an outdoor market with a large number of vendors. Those wanting souvenirs and hand made items or looking to search for gifts or souvenirs to bring back home will have the biggest selection here.


Riviera Maya's Hacienda Dona Isabel Market

Riviera Maya's Hacienda Dona Isabel Market

Our Overall Pick for Best Shopping: Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal (Riviera Maya, Mexico) With lobby shops, a Bahia Principe Village and the Hacienda Dona Isabel Market, guests staying in the Riviera Maya have the largest variety and the biggest selection of both shops and merchandise.

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So there you have it - a comparison of three Caribbean resorts that are all part of the Bahia Principe chain. Choose which of the 13 categories are most important for your vacation style and select a resort for your upcoming vacation!

Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal

To see more about the luxury brand resort in the Riviera Maya, be sure to check out our two part series titled 26 Reasons to Escape to Bahia Principe Luxury Akumal. In addition to plenty of photos, you'll be able to read more about why you should consider this resort for an upcoming holiday in the Caribbean.

All-Inclusive Caribbean Resorts

Which all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean are your favorites, and why do you give them such high marks?



13 Elements of Caribbean Luxury in this Bahia Principe Trio







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