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Any Gran Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Brides out there?


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#2761 tamandrob

tamandrob
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    Posted 22 October 2011 - 05:40 AM

    I have a question for past or future brides, I am trying to plan a group excursion for my guest and I was just wondering who to go through, the hotel, travel reps or and outside tour group? I would like to go to Dunn's river falls if that helps.


    Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica- February 28th, 2012

    32 Booked.......and counting!


    #2762 Tekeya Thompson

    Tekeya Thompson
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      Posted 22 October 2011 - 06:00 PM

      My travel agent recommended island routes, www.islandroutes.com. We did our excursion thru them and I also recommended them to cupcake. They provide free roundtrip transportation in the price and pick you up from your hotel.

      #2763 Jodiann

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        Posted 23 October 2011 - 03:56 PM

        HI brides!! Gotta question .. So far I have 30 people coming, possibly more. What package did you all do? Also, is there a free package, and if so what are the details with that? I know I would have to pay separately for the minister fees, but anything else? Just wondering if you girls know the details and what the best thing is to do.



        #2764 acw271011

        acw271011
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        • Wedding Date:October 20, 2011
        • Wedding Location:We tied the knot in Runaway Bay, Jamaica and renewed our vows in Mexico on our 4th Anniversary
        • LocationToronto Area

        Posted 23 October 2011 - 03:58 PM

        Hi ladies. Yes - we're home. And married!! It still sounds so strange to say that!!  After all the "trials and tribulations" we actually made it!

         

        I don't know where to start. I'm going to try and give you helpful information if I can along with what my impressions were overall.  I'm sorry if it will seem long but after being there (finally) and thinking about all the past messages that I've seen here, there is just so much! I have to say the very first word is WOW!!  Maybe it was because we were only 2 and didn't have a group to contend with, even though I wish we had, but the GBPJ far exceeded our expectations. We have travelled extensively and this was by far the best vacation we've had in terms of what the resort provided and what we got out of it. We had the 7th floor of section 23. It's a bit of a walk for some things (not all) but it's the top floor and the view is spectacular. We would get up in the morning and just watch the waves coming in and cruise ships going by if it was really early in the morning. We were surprised by how hot it got very early. If we were out in the sun by 10am, we needed a break by noon, sometimes a little earlier. The sun really is strong. I had to get out of the sun for 2 days before the weddng because I got too much too quickly and I was worried about a sunburn with my dress so be careful. The other thing is pack your patience. It's Jamaica. And while it's your wedding, it's also a vacation. Don't sweat the small stuff. It will all work out.

         

        Ok. First of all. The one thing we noticed about the resort is that the front desk for some reason doesn't seem to be very organized. Arrivals and departures are a complete zoo so be prepared. We arrived with 2 busloads, which is a full airplane plus I think another flight as well. Thankfully we were on the Royal Golden upgrade and our tour company had everything prepared ahead of time for us. We had our bracelets and a room key in an envelope package they gave us right on the bus. A bellhop got to us when we arrived, realized immediately that we had everything, put our bracelets on and took us up to our room. We bipassed the front desk completely and were in our room with our luggage in about 10 minutes flat. A lot of other people weren't so lucky and for you Canadian ladies, I hate to say it but Sunquest for some reason seems to be a problem tour operator. I truthfully don't know why. But they seemed to have mutliple problems with their passengers hotel check in and we heard stories about it taking as much as 4 or 6 hours before getting settled in rooms, rooms being scattered all over instead of all together, room requests being wrong. So like I said - pack your patience. But don't hesitate if things are really, really wrong to get to the tour operator's little office (they're all in the same room) and take a strip off of them and let them know how you feel.

         

        The rooms are exactly as they look in the pictures and very pretty. We loved ours. We had a fantastic maid that did a great job on our room the whole week.  I took a couple of little bottles of Bath & Bodyworks and we tipped her twice through the week, then a good tip before we left. NOTE: The staff are not allowed to take things off property so don't take large gifts. They are not allowed to keep them. They will be confiscated and there is a security guard that sits on each floor when the maids are cleaning to watch them. The money they can have, but we tried to offer a couple of things and only found out at the end that they are checked when they leave the resort.  The staff work hard so we tipped where we felt it was warranted. We did for all of our a la carte dinners and a dollar each time we were in any of the bars having a drink. Budget for it. It is worth it. We had a bartender that because of the tip we gave him, every time we went to that bar, he knew what we were drinking.

         

        Chandlyn is truly an absolute saint. This lady went so far above and beyond for us I can't tell you.  She is one of the sweetest, nicest people you could ever hope to meet. Very calm and cool. She doesn't seem to get stressed, at least not that I saw.  As an FYI, I didn't tip her directly but I took something personal for her that I picked out that cost me about $75 and she seemed very happy with it. That was because I had no one with me so she did a few extra things for me that I wanted to give her a gift for, not pay her.  I think because of her job it's a bit different for gifts for her compared to the other staff. I had no real dealings with Donnalee and saw her for about 15 mins at our ceremony so I didn't take anything for her. But I will say this. Some of the comments may have found their way to her because she was very pleasant. Not at all rude as I was expecting and Doug said she was good with him. I had given him the heads up so he was prepared but he said she was only helpful and polite with him.

         

        Do yourselves a favour. Put your music on a CD and do a simple little list of what they are in order and what part of the ceremony they're for. Don't fool around with an IPOD. It actually is more aggravation for them and things will go more smoothly if you put together a CD. And make more than one copy. We took 2. We provided one ahead of time and kept the other as backup that Doug took down with him just in case the first one got lost. They will turn the sound up so you will hear it from the long walk down the stone walkway. And take your time and enjoy the walk. It really is fun. Yes - you can manage heels for that. It's a smooth surface and you won't have any problems. But if you're like me and not used to heels, take a pair of flip flops. I stuck it out as long as I could then had to switch. Since we were only 2, we put a little bag together that Doug took with him so we put my flip flops in there.  Donnalee took charge of it during the ceremony then just gave it back to us afterwards.  The sand area around the gazebo is packed pretty hard so even there you should be ok in heels for a short while. But if you start moving around the resort to get site photos you may want to switch to something more comfortable.

         

        The minister is a sweetheart. He gets this look on his face like he's being very stern and serious, but I don't think he is. The nice thing for us was that because he didn't have to try and have a crowd hear him, he genuinely spoke directly to the two of us. He looked right at us and spoke quite gently during the entire ceremony. The ceremony itself is very short, unless you add your own things into it. We had a marriage poem that I wanted done and he did that right at the end but it was still only about 15 minutes total. Reverend Watson doesn't waste any time and gets right down to it.  We did a sand ceremony and he read what he wanted for that. We didn't have any special requests and were completely happy with what he read.  It was perfect and in keeping with what I wanted the sand ceremony to be.  You are not allowed to have your sand ceremony on the table during the marriage ceremony. That's why Donnalee is the one that brings it over. I put Doug in charge of it and he was setting it up and they told him not to. They said not permitted and that Donnalee would put it up when the time came. It was the first thing I looked for when I got up to the front and even spoke under my breath asking where it was and was told the same thing. That it would come out at the right time. And when we did set it up the first thing that happened was that the wind blew over the empty vase so that may be the reason they don't allow it set up in advance.  There is a waiter with champagne ready and waiting right after the ceremony. We got the chance to be congratulated just by the people hanging around, then they set us up for our first dance right there.  They played our song and we just danced where everyone usually sits since we nobody sitting there. If you do they'll do it under the gazebo so it will be just as nice. And you can hear the music perfectly. I would highly recommend this because unless you have the gazebo rented we didn't find there was any other place to do a first dance. If you have the gazebo or are booking out an entire restaurant that's different. We weren't doing either one since we're only 2 so right at the gazebo after the ceremony worked just great for us.

         

        It really is very very windy down at the gazebo. It's quite pleasant because it cools things off but it doesn blow right into your face as well. And having lots of hairspray definitely is a must. The spa ladies are excellent. Well worth it and convenient for getting hair done right on site. Their hair spray really is cement. My hair hardly moved the entire time even when the wind was really blowing. It may seem pricey but I had a trial done a couple of days before so it really is worth the price. Send an email and get your appointments ahead of time especially if you know there are other weddings the same day as yours. I had no bridal party so it wasn't a problem for me but if you have bridesmaids and the other wedding has bridesmaids and mums and so on, it will get quite busy down there. Save yourself some aggravation and book it ahead of time. Tell them exactly what you need and for how many people and they'll set it all up.

         

        We had Merrick Cousely as our photographer. I cannot say enough about this man. He stuck by us when our plans all went south and promised we would still have beautiful pictures. The man was 200% true to his word. I can't wait to see them. He sent us one teaser and if that's what we have in store for us, I would die truly happy. I also got the same video guy as Tekeya - Roxroy Gough. This man too is an absolute sweetheart to be around. So calm and unflustered. And he worked with our photographer. The two of them really seemed to work well together and Merrick said he had worked with him once before so they were familiar with each other.  We did some shots around the resort at different locations. The one shot I'm sorry now I didn't get was the jumping in the air shot. I really wanted that one and completely forgot about it because of everything going on. I should have been smart and sent Merrick a list of what I wanted for pictures, but I didn't think about it so there were one or two things that I missed because of it. If you can, do a list of what you want.

         

        I'm going to go off topic just a bit for a reason. I wanted to go to Mahoe Falls to do our pictures and still be back at the resort for sunset shots. People here will have heard about Spencer Taxi. I have the info about him that I will provide later. We booked him to go to Ocho Rios and asked about Mahoe Falls. He asked us if he could recommend a place that he would take us to see. Our choice. No pressure and if we still wanted to go to Mahoe he would take us to see it. We turned up this pothole road through overgrown fields and I thought OMG - where is he taking us, this is going to be a dumpy place. Cranbrook Park. We got there and the guide took us around. Beautiful. Stunning. So picturesque. And the best part is it's 15 or 20 minutes from the resort.  No long travel.  Mahoe Falls is about 45 minutes away.  So it worked perfectly. Merrick said we couldn't have taken him to a  better place to do our pictures even compared to Mahoe Fals and Coyaba Park. There's a river with a waterfall, flowers, a gazebo, old bridges and PEACOCKS!!!! It's gorgeous. The cost was $10 per person for the 4 of us - Doug & I, Merrick and Roxroy. Now I'm sure if you had a big group for pictures they would work something out for you. I highly recommend it.

         

        We got back to the resort in time to take a little break and have a snack then headed back over to the gazebo area for our sunset pictures. It's a beautiful area when the sun is going down.

         

        We were booked into the Grill but they were re-doing the floors so they moved us to the Palmyra buffet room instead. I wasn't happy about it but we had no choice. The renovations unfortunately were only going on for 3 days and of course it was the three days that included our wedding day. But it turned out just fine. They had a table for us covered in rose petals and candles and our centerpiece. The cake was so pretty - not quite what I wanted at all or what I had asked for but they still did a beautiful job on it so I couldn't say anything. We did the vanilla raspberry and it's delicious. The food was terrific. The service was fantastic. Since we were just 2 we had an exclusive waiter that couldn't do enough for us so it made it worth it. So unfortunately I can't give you a report on the Grill. I know a lot of you are doing the Dolce Vita for your meal and one of the other weddings we saw had that restaurant and said it was great. We had an a la carte dinner there and hated it. The service sucked, the waitress was rude and the food was terrible but I was told afterwards that the wedding menu was better than what was on the a la carte so don't take what I say as anything to worry about. I had ordered a pink table runner for our table to go with our pink flowers and that cost me $15 but I figured for 1 table I'd splurge. It may not be worth it for a larger group.

         

        I had our flowers from Tai Flora and they were absolutely gorgeous. I was thrilled with them and the pricing was great. I had a beautiful upgraded bouquet, the orchid bout for Doug and a glass vase centerpiece and it was $200 plus the tax and delivery so you can't beat that. I've ordered 3 bouts and 3 corsages for our reception in 2 weeks and that's $110 so as far as I'm concerned Tai Flora was exceptional. They arrived on time and beautifully fresh.

         

        Now for Spencer Taxi. If you are planning any kind of tour contact Michael Spencer. The man is a true gem. He is kowledgeable about the area and gave us some history on our way to Ocho Rios. He has a beautiful air conditioned 25 to 30 passenger bus so it would work for a group. And his prices are just phenomenal. We had him recommended by someone Doug works with that was married at GBPJ in May and they said he was awesome. They were right. He took us to Ocho Rios directly to an outdoor market that was across from a shopping center. We only wanted a couple of hours to shop. We didn't have time for a tour so we asked for just 3 hours. We found out that he watched where we went to be able to keep an eye on us. There were 2 cruise ships in that day and he said that's usually when you will get the pickpockets or very pushy street sellers out so he said he wanted to make sure we stayed safe. We never knew he was there!!  But just the fact that he went the extra mile to watch out for us sold it for me.  Ladies - do yourselves a huge favour. Check the cruise terminal schedule in Ocho Rios before you plan any tours. Like I said - there were 2 in the day we went and it's absolutely mad!! There are people everywhere and it's just a zoo!!  If you can go on a day when there are no cruise ships in, it's much quieter and apparently you get better deals because they'll bargain more. They figure with the cruise ships that people will just pay whatever and won't bargain as much.  To contact Michael:           DSC_9224.jpg

         

        DSC_9311.jpg


        I said "yes" again to the love of my life at Grand Coral Beach Club, Playa del Carmen, Mexico on our 4th anniversary - October 20, 2015

         

         

        http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/topic/78874-acw271011-so-this-is-not-a-planning-thread-but/

         

         

        event.png


        #2765 acw271011

        acw271011
        • Moderators
        • 3,128 posts
        • Wedding Date:October 20, 2011
        • Wedding Location:We tied the knot in Runaway Bay, Jamaica and renewed our vows in Mexico on our 4th Anniversary
        • LocationToronto Area

        Posted 23 October 2011 - 04:03 PM

        Here's another pic...

         

         

         

         

        DSC_9228.jpg


        I said "yes" again to the love of my life at Grand Coral Beach Club, Playa del Carmen, Mexico on our 4th anniversary - October 20, 2015

         

         

        http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/topic/78874-acw271011-so-this-is-not-a-planning-thread-but/

         

         

        event.png


        #2766 acw271011

        acw271011
        • Moderators
        • 3,128 posts
        • Wedding Date:October 20, 2011
        • Wedding Location:We tied the knot in Runaway Bay, Jamaica and renewed our vows in Mexico on our 4th Anniversary
        • LocationToronto Area

        Posted 23 October 2011 - 06:08 PM

        and here's the teaser from Merrick...

         

        _MG_8720_edit.jpeg


        I said "yes" again to the love of my life at Grand Coral Beach Club, Playa del Carmen, Mexico on our 4th anniversary - October 20, 2015

         

         

        http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/topic/78874-acw271011-so-this-is-not-a-planning-thread-but/

         

         

        event.png


        #2767 belledame

        belledame
        • Jr. Member
        • 195 posts

          Posted 23 October 2011 - 08:35 PM

          acw271011 congratulations, you look amazing!! I'm glad it all worked out and you had a fantastic wedding/vacation. Merrick's teaser looks stunning, I'm sure you'll enjoy the pics!!! Thanks for review and congrats again : )

          #2768 Natalie2012

          Natalie2012
          • Jr. Member
          • 212 posts

            Posted 24 October 2011 - 03:41 AM


            Congrats to you!!!!! Thank you for the awesome detailed review. I am so happy everything turned out so perfect for you! Thank you for writing about the high heel walk for us inexperienced heel walkers...lol...I have been so back and forth with that! I have Merrick Cousley booked too...your teaser picture is BEAUTIFUL!!!! He is an amazing photographer....can't wait to see more pics from him!! Only 162 more days to go for me!! Yay!
             

            Originally Posted by acw271011 

            and here's the teaser from Merrick...

             

            _MG_8720_edit.jpeg



             



            #2769 tamandrob

            tamandrob
            • Jr. Member
            • 349 posts

              Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:16 AM

              Congrats on being a Mrs!!!!! I am glad everything was great and it is very refreshing to hear that if you could do it again you would. Thank you so much for your great review it is very helpful... You looked beautiful and I love your dress! Your teaser picture is amazing and I can't wait to see more. Congrats again!!!!

               

              Originally Posted by acw271011 

              and here's the teaser from Merrick...

               

              _MG_8720_edit.jpeg



               


              Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica- February 28th, 2012

              32 Booked.......and counting!


              #2770 tamandrob

              tamandrob
              • Jr. Member
              • 349 posts

                Posted 24 October 2011 - 06:22 AM


                Thanks Tekeya going to check it out!
                 

                Originally Posted by Tekeya Thompson 

                My travel agent recommended island routes, www.islandroutes.com.
                We did our excursion thru them and I also recommended them to cupcake. They provide free roundtrip transportation in the price and pick you up from your hotel.


                Welcome Jodiann! We are having 32 people attend our wedding and we went with the free package, It includes 16 people free and after that you have to pay $20 per person. Total for us is $520 and that includes the guests and the minister fee. If you want I can email you the package that I received with all the information of whats included.



                Originally Posted by Jodiann 

                HI brides!! Gotta question .. So far I have 30 people coming, possibly more. What package did you all do? Also, is there a free package, and if so what are the details with that? I know I would have to pay separately for the minister fees, but anything else? Just wondering if you girls know the details and what the best thing is to do.



                 


                Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica- February 28th, 2012

                32 Booked.......and counting!





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