This is our first family experience at a resort so here is the breakdown. I can’t help comparing our trip to that of a cruise because that is mostly what I am familiar with (I’ve done a Cuban resort once in 2005 and a Barbados girls’ trip in 2017) and all the kids know.
Buffet 5/10. The good stuff for breakfast included croissants, crispy bacon, and fresh fruits such as papaya, pineapple, and passionfruit. I usually do smoked salmon and grapefruit for breakfast, but the fish colour didn’t look as bright as I’d like so I didn’t risk it. The only day I did was last day for lunch because the colour and texture looked okay.
Lunch was good for fried chicken and nuggets. As good as their fried items are, their fries, onion rings, and calamari weren’t crispy (either soggy or overdone). I enjoyed their broccoli, cabbage, and eggplant for veggie selection, but didn’t see appealing premade salads. I made my own with a variety of toppings from the antipasto section as well as chopped items (peppers and red onions) meant for soups. The girls liked their pasta and cream cheese sushi a lot! My husband had no issues filling up his plate and often enjoy the fried chicken and goat.
Restaurants: 8/10. I really enjoyed le Gourmet which reminded me of a cruise dining room. They had delicious choices such as beef fillet, lobster and crab salad, and fresh rolls. The girls really loved Maiko, the Japanese tepanyaki place. Their salmon and beef were amazingly well done and the show was great. I emailed the resort about a month ahead of time to book restaurants even though you’re supposed to sign up when you get here. I went with the “it can’t hurt to ask” and it paid off big-time! Hip Teacher Dad loved Santa Fe Tex Mex and I have to say that was extremely yummy as well.
8/10. Girls loved their Banana Mamas, Pina Coladas, and lemonades. They even enjoyed the orange juice (I couldn’t handle the uneasy colour so I drank bottled water all the time). They made great mojitos though! Hip Teacher Dada enjoyed the beer and making his morning mimosas. I had about four espressos and cappucinos a day (don’t judge) and they were divine. The bar by the stage also made amazing hot chocolates! Great bartenders there!
8/10 for the cleanliness and spaciousness. It had a lot of closet space and drawers. The bathroom had a double sink, huge soaker tub, and separate shower stall, and toilet area. However, the toilet gave us issues (it ran loudly for the first night and after it got “fixed” it plugged up. When we got it fixed a second time, the top tank overflowed and the plumber fixed it fast, but the lady came 30 minutes later with a mop to clean up the overflow (with me in the halqay ready to pounce at any employee who could help). We just wanted to shower and use the toilet so 30 minutes was a LONG time. I had to walk Hannah to the bathroom in the lobby in the meanwhile.)
Location of the room was AWESOME. We were about 1 minute from the buffet and a couple of restaurants. We were about 5 minutes from the pool and waterpark. The view from our balcony was great and we could see the castle light show nightly. It also had a built-in drying rack for bathing suits. Practical.
They gave us ONE shampoo and conditioner for us despite me calling concierge daily ablut us being a five person room. SO odd. On the last day, they gave us four. What was cute were the little packs they gave for kids which included shampoo, liquid soap, and cologne. Maybe they thought there was conditioner in there? The girls liked the sponge it came with and the clear pouches make for great pencil cases. (We took those home.) They liked the little slippers and robes in the room. They felt like they were in a spa.
8/10 for we managed to watch some Raptors games and Food Network. We the North. They had a good selection of channels for movies, sports, news, and entertainment. They even had several Mandarin stations (which would impress me more if I spoke it). We saw some Simpsons episodes and Fast and the Furious 3. Most importantly, NBA TV ran here and that was like home. On the last night, I found a showing of The Phantom of the Opera 25th Anniversary and Hip Teacher Dada was so excited!
9/10 for the sheer size of it and how pretty it was. It had a large shallow area for Baby C and me! Big H swam all over the deeper end and we could even toss a ball around. The large shallow end meant that Baby C could sit in her new alligator floatie (purchased in the store lobby for a mere $9 versus the $ for the kiosk by the pool) while we chilled nearby. Middle A ventured out a bit and practiced some swim skills. They had lifeguards, BUT no lifejackets anywhere. Very odd considering this is a place kid focused.
They brought out a huge bouncy slide on Friday which kids (not mine) loved! There was a lot of aerobic exercises to follow. More music would’ve been great though! At times, it felt a bit too quiet.
10/10. Many slides, but enough chairs for us to see the kids. It is close to bathrooms (which have been clean every single time) and a snack bar. The snack bar had a delicious croissant hot dog, fruit bowls, and yogurt. They had non-alcoholic drinks at the ready. They had two lifeguards manning the slides and one was always diligent about kids running or using the slides inappropriately.
8/10 for the fine sand and the easy 10-minute walk from the room. There was a guy constantly raking up the seaweed. The days we went to the beach was windy so we didn’t stay in the water for long though the second visit was much more pleasant because of the burning sun. The girls loved making sandcastles and burying my feet. Drinks were close by and easily accessible. There were lounge chairs available, but we just planted ourselves on some towels and laid out.
3/10. If you have been on a cruise, you need to pretend that your kid is in each production so that you will sit through it and watch it all. Not joking. The Michael Jackson tribute was good, but The Lion King Show was pretty basic and my girls couldn’t stop laughing. They have seen Grease and Hairspray on cruises. They have seen Into the Woods live and soon will experience The Wizard of Oz. They appreciate live theatre so these productions were a bit amateur for them, but Baby C enjoyed them. I just enjoyed the vicinity of the bar and their amazing cappuccinos (yes, I had to repeat myself).
Half of their shows had random kids from the kids’ clubs so it really was about audience participation. Our kids are shy so they didn’t volunteer. They got dragged up to the stage for the Michael Jackson “Heal The World” song and that was enough for them.
8/10 because it is simply up to Mother Nature. The first couple of days were overcast and breezy and I was bummed hoping it would improve. We finally got some sun and hence, my tanned raccoon eyes. I don’t mind because I got some colour (bye Ghost Face). The heat was not overpowering, but the sun clearly did its job. The girls look like they’ve gone ten shades darker.
6/10 because cruise service is unlike any other. I can say this with 14 cruises under my belt (H and A have each experienced 3 Disney and 3 Royal Caribbean). The room stewards are quiet where here, they called to each other sometimes during nap times (3 to 6pm). They literally would shout from hallway to room. Some staff here would be friendly and say “Hola” as you walk by while others looked like they didn’t want to be here. Cruise service is very different. Always a smile and they look like they enjoy their jobs. Plus, they great the girls with “Hey Princess” which the girls won’t admit, but secretly love.
When my travel agent told me to complain to the front desk about our service, I didn’t get much in terms of reply or compensation. Luckily, I felt validated because some ladies on the Facebook site seemed to have the same complaints. Join the Luxury Bahia site for details.
Through my IG stories and personal IG page, I’ve had questions already so here is my answer.
YES, I would come again, but I would book the restos ahead again and remember the service cannot compare to a cruise. The pool is amazing though so that’s my focus. It was great to have some family time with just us five. No particular wake-up time or activity to attend. I really just chilled. Hopefully we can do another winter getaway in a few years. I miss the sand already.
Overall Grade: A-