Grand Isla Navidad Resort
What We Love
- Access to the beach and the lagoon, plus a swimming pool and a swim-up bar
- The 27-hole championship golf course
- European feel, with spacious rooms and suites, and views of the pool and mountains
What To Know
- A $15 daily service charge will be collected upon checkout from Jetsetter
- Kids club onsite, but the better for couples and older families
- Closest airport is in Manzanillo, about 20 miles away
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
Grand Bay combines Old World charm with unbeatable access to sand and sea. You can sip margaritas, relax on the beach, or take a dip in the protected lagoon or the rollicking Pacific Ocean. Sunsets and sunrises are especially lovely here, and thanks to four restaurants and 199 guestrooms, there’s space for families and couples alike to sprawl out and soak up the sun.
Bed & Bath
A French Provincial look prevails throughout the resort. Painted in peach and terra-cotta, guestrooms are a uniform 516 square feet and have balconies that overlook the lagoon, ocean and nearby mountains. Thoughtful extras include a welcome fruit and candy tray filled with local produce and house-made cookies, and the enormous marble bathrooms have tubs or showers.
The resort’s restaurants range from casual to gourmet and offer European, American and Mexican fare. There’s a flair for dramatic presentation at Antonio’s Restaurant; the tableside creation of the Caesar salad is as much about showmanship as cuisine. As you would expect, seafood is plentiful on the menus, and the soft, sweet Mexican breads and a breakfast of hearty chilaquiles are not to be missed. The center of activity during the hottest parts of the day is the swimming pool, which has a swim-up bar. There’s also a large hot tub at the main pool for adults. For kids there’s also a raft of fun activities at the Club de Niños, including crab hunting, ping-pong, movies and pool volleyball.
How to Get There
If you are looking for a beautiful oasis to relax in Barra, steer waaay clear of this place. Set on a gorgeous, sprawling property with multiple pools and comfortable rooms, Grand Isla is host to a horrifying clientele. We could not find one hour of peace during our five night stay. The sound of children playing is always enjoyable, and we are pretty easy going, but children being allowed to spend hours on end SCREEEEEAMING at the very top of their lungs in the pool, in the lobby, in the halls, even the restaurant, unchecked by parents or staff was beyond outrageous. The wifi, which was unsecured, was pathetic even by 1995 standards. It worked well in the lobby though if you could put up with the drunk family of 15 watching “the game” in the adjacent bar SCREEEEEEAMING as loudly as possible for the entire duration because, you know, the loudest one wins.
If you want to lie by the pool, which is nice, be prepared to roast as there is no shade except for the odd small patch, both of which are commandeered by the same loud groups mentioned above by 9 am and protected for their exclusive use till sunset. We generally would go down to the beach cabanas and walk back up for our swims. Alas, the screaming carries quite well to that area as well.
The breakfast buffet was good and the staff were generally friendly and helpful but this stay will go down as our biggest, and most expensive vacation mistake. We couldn’t wait to leave. It was absolutely horrifying.
This is a difficult review for me. My wife and I would celebrate our anniversary there for several years. The place was relatively new when we started going there and it was owned my a family from Guad. The grounds, then and still are, "are to die for". A meandering pool system with waterfalls and pool swim up bar. quite lagoons and water sports. The twenty-seven hole golf course is wonderful and well kept.
The rooms were well appointed.
Having said all this it is my opinion that a solid 5+ hotel resort has been down graded,
at best to a 3+. Not because of age but the little things. Food in pool restaurant is bad
lights in corridors out, sewage smell in the rooms, etc.
Worth going to just to enjoy the grounds. Keep the visit short.
After reading other reviews of this resort we decided to give it a try for my 60th birthday. We have lived in Mexico for eight years and travel throughout the country.
We checked in Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. We were upgraded to a room on the 9th floor due to being low season and the hotel only had approximately 40 guests. When we arrived in our room, the ceiling fan would not work nor the telephone. We notified maintenance then ate lunch at the restaurant beside the pool.
The food is expensive. We order two margaritas. When the waiter delivered them he informed us they used Siete Luguas tequila without asking. This is expensive tequila and should have been asked prior as to our preference of tequila. Not off to a good start. We had one order of fish tacos, one order of nachos, four margaritas (the next two with less expensive tequila) and the bill totaled almost $50 USD. First and last time we ate at the hotel with the exception of breakfast which we had included in our package.
Upon returning to our room I unpacked while waiting for maintenance. He tried for a long time to repair the fan to no avail. We were then told we could move to a room on the 8th floor. Therefore, unpack, repack and we had to move ourselves. The air conditioner did not work in this "new" room, the patio door was stuck and would not open plus a light bulb was out in the bathroom. After notifying the desk about the problems they promptly sent someone to the room. It took him 30 minutes to get the air working and finally got the patio door open. After requesting the replacement of the light bulb which was over the sink and makeup mirror four times during the evening and next day it was finally replaced. Had it been anywhere else it would not have mattered.
Wednesday it rained all day due to a tropical storm off of the coast. Problems we ran into then was all of the floors of the hotel were wet and slippery due to being tile. There was standing water in places we had to walk in which the water almost came over the top of our shoes. Water was leaking in the hallways from the ceiling, walls and electrical outlets, and I do not mean on the top floor. A little disconcerting to say the least.
Thursday morning around 4:00 a.m. the power went out in our room. We assumed they would get it repaired and went back to sleep. We awoke at 6:30 still without power. My husband called the front desk to inquire about the status. They said all power was back on. My husband had to tell them they were incorrect, we were on the 8th floor and still no power. They ultimately had no clue we were without power. My husband opened the door to our room and you could immediately tell there had been an electrical fire somewhere close due to the acrid odor. We did not see a fire, nor was there a fire alarm of any kind. Upon the arrival of maintenance they were concerned.
In the meantime my husband had walked down to the lobby to request a room for us to get ready to go to the golf course. We are on the 8th floor in a separate building from the 6th floor down. You have to take two elevators and a bridge to get to this part of the hotel. He had to find an alternate route to take to the lobby. The room they offered us to use was on the farthest end of the hotel from where we were on the 2nd floor. Remember the hotel only has approximately 40 guests. We would have had to try to gather our toiletries in the dark then walk to the other end of the hotel and back. I declined and used my phone flashlight to wash my face, brush my teeth and put a hat on my head.
When leaving for the golf course the front desk told us we would have to move to another room when we returned. The electrical problem could not be repaired. When we returned they were relocating us to a room on the 6th floor. Third move in four days. My husband was not feeling well so he went ahead to the "new" room. I told the desk I would need help in moving and to please have someone come up right away since it would not take me long to repack. I had to use my phone flashlight to pack out toiletries. Forty five minutes later I was still waiting and still smelling the fumes from the fire. Contacted the desk and they finally sent someone to help me.
In our third room, several drawers of the amoires would not open and the TV picture was more snow than picture. I tried tightening the cable only to figure out the problem was in the wall, on the other side of a built in armoire. By this time I am exhausted, discouraged, deflated and in tears. My husband went down to speak with the manager of the hotel and explained our problem. We decided to cut our trip short and return home Friday morning instead of Saturday. The hotel gave us two nights refund.
The hotel was built in 1992. At one time you could tell it was a beautiful and grand hotel. But throughout the years and lack of maintenance it has gone downhill dramatically. There are cracks and broken concrete throughout the hotel, half of the lights in the hallways do not work, water leaks from the ceiling air conditioning system and also from the light fixtures in the lobby where it drips on the furniture and people trying to relax in the area. We have stayed in much older hotels throughout Mexico that are in much better shape. I am not speaking of the hotel decor which is stuck in the early 90's and never been updated, just overall structural issues. Lack of general everyday maintenance has ruined this grand structure. We walked throughout the hotel and the deterioration is disheartening. We will not return. Our vacation and my 60th birthday celebration, which was Friday the 30th, was a total disaster.
We stayed for a week beginning September 15 through September 22. We were fortunate to be upgraded to a Parlor Suite by the hotel based upon our status with our online travel agent. Overall, I would give four stars for this resort. The grounds and rooms are excellent but have to deduct a star since the property and rooms could use some renovations. The lobby shows a plaque which I believe commemorates the opening of this hotel back in 1992. Based upon the set up in the rooms, I can see that the design and technology is from that era. There were a lot of dings and scratches on the doors and furniture, along with some minor things, such as light bulbs not working, a pillow smelling very damp and somewhat moldy or one of the TV remotes not working. That said, those things didn’t detract from our stay, and would still highly recommend this resort.
Our Parlor suite was a one-bedroom suite with a living room, a bedroom, two full baths and a kitchen nook. The master bath had a separate shower and large bathtub with dual sinks. A separate room had a toilet and a bidet. The handle for the cold water on the bidet could not be turned, only the hot. The kitchen nook had nothing except a locked honor bar refrigerator.
I echo the thoughts of a past reviewer that the use of the refrigerator should be open to all. You can go down and put a deposit on your credit card to get someone to unlock the refrigerator. If you do not take any of the drinks you are not charged. It shouldn’t be this difficult.
The grounds and the Marina were excellent, except there were two boarded up half abandoned buildings by the tennis courts. There are three small main pools with two slides connecting them. Don’t get excited about the slides, they are short and need more water to push you. There is the adults pool up on the highest level by the Presidential suites. There is also a small hidden pool at a lower level by/behind the marina stores. There was no one in either pool.
Wifi was not available in our room, available in the lobby and bar area. To our surprise the wifi worked by the main pool across from the bar which in reality was 2 floors right below the lobby.
One of the reasons we really enjoyed our stay was that it was low season. No exaggeration, from Monday through Friday, this 199 room resort probably had about 20 guests. It was almost kind of spooky like a warm version of “The Shining”. A large resort with almost no one around. But that also made it so peaceful for us. During the week there were only a few of us at breakfast, if not just the two of us and there might have been only 6 people in the three pools the entire afternoon we were there a few days during the week. Eighty percent of the time it was just us two guests in or around the pool with 2 or 3 workers at the bar, about 5 people in La Plazuela and 1 or 2 people at the towel desk. I really think there were more people working there than guests. Weekends there were more from nearby areas who checked-in.
A downside was that although they had a small building (approaching the ferry dock) touting their available watersports, there was never anyone in that building. We could see the wave runners, sailboats and kayaks beached on the lagoon, but no one seemed responsible for them except on our last day, a person at the pool towel hut asked us if we had any interest. Although I am fairly certain that had we asked, they would have found someone.
Another downside to the low season was that basically it was only La Plazuela restaurant that was open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. During the weekend Grand Café was also open. We only did breakfast at the hotel since it was included in the package and it went from 6am to noon. On the weekends, there was a good breakfast buffet in the Grand Café, while during the week our breakfast was ordered off a menu with about 12 items which was excellent. Would say that the buffet was 4 stars, while ordering off the menu was 4.5 stars.
In terms of service, the people were generally very friendly. No one I can remember was dour. Would say service was very good to excellent, nothing I can think of was negative, from the front desk, wait staff, housekeeping, pool personnel and the boat shuttle attendant.
It is a short 30 peso roundtrip ride to Barra, maybe two minutes across. Although there is a small convenience store in the marina, their prices are somewhat higher, but in US dollars a one liter bottle is maybe 50 cents more than in Barra. Would recommend, Simona’s and El Manglito in Barra for food. Pancho’s for a cheap drink and snack for sunset viewing.
Overall would highly recommend, but can’t give it more than four stars as it could use a refurbishment and update.
Hard to imagine anything, anywhere, better than this! A moderately priced top class Resort in the most beautiful coastal area imaginable located 35 miles north of Manzanillo. Three swimming pools, tennis courts, a gym, 27 hole championship golf course, wonderful service, and excellent food, amid a secluded and breath taking setting. Catch water taxi's (they come into the Marina every 5 minutes), for a short ride across the estuary to Barra de Navidad, and experience true Mexican coastal town living, where buses (local and long distance) will take you anywhere you wish to visit in Mexico.