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Kayley's Gran Bahia Principe Coba Review - May 12, 2010


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#1 KRama

KRama
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    Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:05 PM

    Now I understand exactly why it takes brides so long to post a review! After all the wedding hoopla, our AHR, a honeymoon and trying to hit the ground running back at work after 3 weeks off, I’ve finally found a spare moment to write my review!

    Ok, here goes…this is bound to get long…

    Details

    Resort: Grand Bahia Principe Coba
    Wedding Package: Symbolic Deluxe
    Ceremony: Tulum Gazebo, 4 PM
    Dinner: Portofino, 6 PM
    Reception: Arrecife Pool, 8-11 PM
    Number of guests: 39 + 1 child

    Planning

    Our travel agent was Stacey from V the Vacation Store here in Calgary. She recommended we book through Air Canada Vacations as they were the least likely to change flight schedules or go out of business (this was happening quite a bit when we booked in September of ’09). We are so glad we did! We were worried that closer to our departure date the price would drop and our guests would be annoyed that they paid so much in advance. This never happened, plus ACV (or Stacey, not sure who) bumped DH and I to first class, round-trip, AND for every 20th person we booked in our group, we got a free flight so one of us ended up flying free!

    This forum in an absolute god-send. I highly recommend any brides getting married at GBP to thoroughly read through the thread dedicated to this resort. I got so much information there and didn’t have to worry about harassing the WC with minor questions on details.

    Karla was our wedding coordinator at GBP and she was amazing to work with. She answered all of my emails and questions within a few days. At our meeting she let me know that she would not be available that day however Jazmin, the WC for the Tulum section, was thoroughly aware of our plans and would ensure our day ran smoothly.

    NOTE – These wedding coordinators work SO HARD to make your day perfect for you! They are constantly running around making sure everything is in place so they are very rarely at their desks so PLEASE don’t give them a hard time for not answering your questions right away! Rest assured that everything will be absolutely perfect on your wedding day. These girls are pros.

    Arrival

    There were 3 other brides besides me on our flight down (one who turned out to be the cousin of one of my guests! Small world!). Air Canada dedicated a closet for the 4 of us to hang our dresses.

    The airport wasn’t busy when we landed which was great! My mom and step-dad had left a week before us and told me they spent over an hour in line at customs. Our group breezed on through. I don’t think anyone hit a red light! Ignore everyone in the airport after pushing the button. They are all trying to sell you transportation or timeshares. Just head straight outside and find your tour person!

    Transportation

    The bus was waiting for us just outside the terminal. There were 30 of us on one flight so we were hoping we’d have a bus all to ourselves. Turns out one of the other wedding groups on our flight were also on our bus but our group was getting off first. The tour guy was so enthusiastic and kept the beer and cold water flowing! The 90 minute trip to the resort flew by in no time.

    Check In

    This was a breeze. As the group headed to the check in counter, DH and I were approached by Eduardo. I have no idea how he knew it was us, someone must have pointed us out! He led us to the VIP check in and the first thing he did was ask us what he could get us to drink. He came back with margaritas and continued to check us in.

    All of our guests were in villas 10, 11 and 12 and we were in villa 31 which is just on the other side of the Jacuzzi pool. I had provided Karla with a rooming list and preferences before we left so almost everyone had the rooms they requested. Our two single guy friends that were sharing a room ended up with a king size bed (which we thought was hilarious) but the resort gave them a cot for the night and switched them to a new room with two beds the following day.

    We got to the resort around 5 PM so we all changed and headed to the buffet for dinner. After that we hung around the court outside of the lobby bar and buffet where they have dance lessons and a DJ. We handed out or travel mugs and “wedding week survival kits” and then headed to the disco (the first time of many trips to come!).

    #2 KRama

    KRama
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      Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:06 PM

      The Room

      Click the image to open in full size.

      Our room was all done up with towel art, rose petals, a fruit basket and champagne when we arrived. I had read that there was supposed to me a letter from Karla in our room but there wasn’t so we just phoned down and the front desk told us when and where to meet Karla the next day.

      The only issue we had with the room was that our air conditioner and mini fridge did not work very well and although the ceiling fan helped and Eduardo came by to fix it, it was not very cool and we had a few sweaty nights (and I don’t mean the fun kind!).

      The Resort

      This resort is MASSIVE but they have shuttles that drive you anywhere you need to go and you never have to wait long. The grounds are immaculate, the beach is spectacular and the pools are amazing.

      Click the image to open in full size.

      Coba Pool
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      Coba Beach
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      As a Coba guest you can eat at all of the al a carte restaurants throughout the three resorts however you’re supposed to eat only at your resort’s buffet. The buffet had a HUGE selection of food and every night was a different theme even though we didn’t really see anything different. It was all very good.

      We ate at Mikado (Japanese) and Tortuga (Brazilian) and both were amazing. Other guests tried out the gourmet (great reviews) and the Mexican (not so great reviews) al a cartes.

      The snack bars are open 24 hours and we spent a lot of time here eating chicken nuggets, fries, burgers and taquitos!

      #3 KRama

      KRama
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        Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:08 PM

        THE WEDDING!

        I’ll start out by saying that our wedding was everything I ever dreamed of. The whole day was absolutely perfect and I can honestly say it was one of the most relaxing and fun days of my entire life!

        The Spa

        Click the image to open in full size.

        My mom, sister (MOH) and I got our hair done at the Bahia Spa starting at 10:30 AM (ceremony at 4). I didn’t want to be rushed so we made sure we had plenty of time to relax and get ready throughout the day. The salon is in a closed off area so we didn’t have to worry about being quiet and disturbing other spa-goers.

        My mom absolutely loved her hair. My sister and I liked ours although both looked nothing like the pictures we brought. My hair lasted the entire day and night. I was very impressed!

        My mom had a mani/pedi the weekend before and she was very happy with the results.

        We spent the afternoon in my room getting ready. A friend of mine did my make up for me and it turned out beautifully.

        Flowers

        Jazmin delivered my flowers. I didn’t really like any of the options they provided for flowers but I had brought a few pictures with me and Karla picked one out that she said they could do for no extra cost. They turned out EXACTLY like the picture!

        The picture I gave Karla
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        My bouquet
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        The bridesmaid’s bouquets were a smaller version of this. I had a wrist corsage for my mom and MOG and boutonni¨res for the guys, our dads and our ushers/MC’s.

        #4 KRama

        KRama
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          Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:10 PM

          Ceremony

          Karla told us to instruct our group to meet in the Coba lobby at 3:30 PM and a private tram would take them to the ceremony site. When everything was ready, another tram would pick up me and the girls.

          The tram picking us up was a little late and then he wasn’t expecting so many of us! Me, 4 BM’s, MOB, 3 photogs and a videographer! We all fit but the cart was super sluggish and the poor driver said they didn’t charge the battery enough the night before. He kept assuring me we’d get there and I could hear Jazmin on the walkie talkie checking in to see where we were every two minutes! We made it without incident but I felt bad for our poor guests baking in the sun for 20 minutes!

          The Tulum gazebo was breath taking. It occurred to me when we got there that I hadn’t even bothered to go look at it until that moment!

          Click the image to open in full size.

          I don’t remember much about the ceremony itself but it was definitely more religious than we would have wanted. We didn’t write any vows or have any kind of script prepared. We had decided to just go with whatever happened! I loved it though and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house!

          We were supposed to praying here but we’re both peeking at each other!
          Click the image to open in full size.

          After the ceremony, the staff handed out champagne to everyone and we did some group photos.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.

          And then the wedding party headed to the beach for more photos!

          Click the image to open in full size.

          Click the image to open in full size.

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          (I actually got that mark on my arm that morning! My sister left the iron on the counter and of course I turned and seared my arm on it!)

          Photography

          My very good friend did our photos for us. Julie is just starting to build her business and did our photos for a fraction of the cost. We absolutely loved her work!

          We had 10 free photos from the resort photographer included in our package (which we didn’t know until we got there). He did a great job and he ended up giving us 13 for free since I couldn’t narrow it down!

          We hired the videographer as well since we wanted to show everyone back home and we’re very happy we did. The video is a little cheesy but the quality is great and we’re happy to have the keepsake. The only glitch – she put the wrong wedding date at the end of the video and we didn’t have the heart to tell her. It’s just something we’ll laugh about in the future.

          We only spent about 45 minutes taking pictures on the beach and around the gazebo. There wasn’t a lot of time and we were anxious to get to the party. If pictures after your ceremony are important to you and you want to get in lots of different locations, definitely have your ceremony earlier in the day.

          #5 KRama

          KRama
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            Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:11 PM

            Dinner

            We had our dinner at the Portofino al a carte restaurant. Part of the reason we chose this resort was so we didn’t have to pay per head for the wedding dinner. DH was very adamant that he did not like the idea of paying for food at an all-inclusive. We were told that the restaurant would be semi-private but it turns out they didn’t book any reservations until after we were done at 8 PM so we had the whole place to ourselves!

            We had 4 tables of 10 and they used the floral arrangement from the ceremony as the centerpiece on the head table.

            Click the image to open in full size.

            The rest of the tables had birds of paradise and candles. Each place setting had a personalized menu. I’m so glad I didn’t bother with table d©cor because everything looked amazing as it was. The only thing I brought down were table cards that a friend made so guests knew where to sit.

            Click the image to open in full size.

            The food was amazing. We had the appetizer buffet that was full of salads and other delicious things, mushroom soup that was the best I’ve ever had, the choice between chicken gorgonzola or salmon, and an ice cream pastry for dessert. By the time my entr©e came, I physically had no more room in my dress and gave the rest of my food away!

            After dessert, they brought a table in and they made a special dessert for hubby and I. They saut©ed papaya in liqueur, lit it on fire and served it over ice cream. So good!

            After that, they brought in the cake table. We chose the chocolate cake and didn’t bother to upgrade the size since dessert was included with our meal. I’m glad we did that because hardly anyone had any. They moved the cake to our reception after just in case anyone wanted more.

            Click the image to open in full size.

            #6 KRama

            KRama
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              Posted 17 June 2010 - 12:13 PM

              Reception

              We chose the private poolside reception that’s at the small Arrecife Jacuzzi pool located right outside the Portofino and within steps to our room. There’s a private bar and they set up cocktail tables and chairs and a small dance floor. This was definitely worth it for our group!

              When planning, I scored this forum for pics of the set up so I hope I can give you a good idea of what it looks like:

              Click the image to open in full size.

              Click the image to open in full size.

              We hired the DJ and all of our guests were up dancing all night and we had an absolute blast! We ended up dancing in the pool (there are shallow ankle-deep parts) and before we knew it there were a few people right IN the pool! 11:00 came way too fast so we ended up changing and heading to the disco.

              I don’t want to spoil the surprise by describing the room d©cor when we returned to our suite but it was very cute!

              The only not-so-good thing

              Out of 40 people almost HALF of the group got sick with some sort of stomach issue over the week. We think two of them were heat stroke from golfing and drinking (silly boys) but the remaining had to be food related. We think our Canadian bodies just aren’t used the way they prepare and cook foods there let alone eating and drinking until our hearts content! It was nothing major and for the most part Pepto and Imodium solved the problems but definitely not something you want to experience on vacation!

              Hindsight is 20/20

              The only thing I may not do if I did it all over again is hire the DJ. We had two friends MC for us and the DJ spent the entire night playing requests from our group so I think we could have saved a bit of money renting the equipment and using our iPod.

              All in all…

              We had an absolutely AMAZING time! Everyone is saying they want to do a reunion trip next year…I’m all for it!

              If there’s anything you need to know that I didn’t provide, please ask!!

              #7 msamanda

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                Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:06 PM

                Great review. Thanks for sharing. Your pics look great! Did you have any issues bringing in an outside photographer as a guest? We are looking at doing this and I am a bit nervous considering the new rules that have been implemented.

                #8 KarenM

                KarenM
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                  Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:10 PM

                  Great review Kayley! So glad everything turned out so perfectly!! Congrats!

                  #9 Cindy*

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                    Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:14 PM

                    Great review. Everything looks beautiful, congrats.

                    #10 Lady_Di

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                      Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:38 PM

                      great review! sorry to hear that half of your group got sick! the picture of the ceremony is breathtaking. :)




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