Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

RESORT OPTION #3: GRAND BAHIA PRINCIPE RIVIERA MAYA

Three resorts in one

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If you are a typical Canadian, which we suspect you are, at the sight of the first snowfall you began devoting your lunch and coffee breaks to scavenging the internet for the ultimate vacation deal.

You've scrolled through page upon page of hotel listings and now believe every property has the same name and the same inclusions, and you're completely confused by the offerings.

As you click on yet another results page, you step back and ask, "Do any of these offer the best value for our money and could we be getting more for our vacation dollar?"

If this sounds familiar, stop your endless online searching and focus your efforts to one hotel chain in particular: Bahia Principe Clubs and Resorts.

Located in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica, Bahia Principe Clubs and Resorts go hand-in-hand with vacations, value and variety. Offering outstanding properties spread over the most attractive tropical destinations, guests of Bahia Principe will experience first-rate quality and service. Choosing a Bahia as your vacation haven will treat you to:

* An exclusive beachfront location that has been completely integrated into the spectacular natural surroundings

* A room in a quaint, two- or three-storey building

* A wide range of activities and facilities

* A 24-hour-a-day all-inclusive system

Located in the exotic Riviera Maya, the Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya is the ideal prize for the traveller looking for the perfect balance of on-site activities and off-site excursions.

This sprawling vacation complex enjoys a beachfront location near the magnificent Mayan ruins of Tulum (the only oceanfront ruins in Mexico that are open to the public), a fantastic starting point for both land and water adventures.

Xel-Ha is close by, ideal for snorkellers of all levels and offering an interactive Dolphin Experience where you will be able to see these creatures first-hand in a specially designed natural aquarium. For those who prefer dry adventures, there are many opportunities for zip-lining in Mexico's lush jungle nearby.

Renowned for its commitment to attentive service, the Bahia stands out for its ability to adapt to the wants and needs of all types of guests, from families and groups to wedding parties, honeymoons and more. And at more than 2,500 rooms, the Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya is a sprawling vacation oasis. (Don't let the room count scare you -- the resort is actually three sections combined, named Coba, Tulum and Akumal.)

Combined among the three resorts is a myriad of options, where your biggest worry will be which of the seven mega-sized pools you should lounge at each day. Beyond the pools you will find two pool-side Jacuzzis, a fitness centre, spa and beauty salon (charges do apply and reservations are required), five tennis courts, and a watersports centre equipped with catamarans, windsurfers, boogie boards, kayaks and snorkel and dive equipment.

If this doesn't sound like enough to keep you amused for a week, there's also table tennis, volleyball, soccer, a nearby 18-hole golf course, twice-weekly shuttle to Playa Del Carmen and an animation team that organizes games and activities from sunup to sundown.

With 15 restaurants to choose from, dining is anything but boring at the Bahia complex. You will be to select from a range of cuisines including Gourmet International, Seafood, Italian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Mexican and Brazilian. Of course, there's also buffet style for those who can't decide on just one type of culinary delight.

Evenings are just as busy as the days at the Gran Bahia Principe Riviera Maya, which offers a total of 22 bars plus an on-site disco and live shows every night.

When you do finally tire of the endless activities, bars and restaurants, a spacious and comfortable room awaits you. No matter what section of the resort your stay is in, your room will offer air-conditioning, mini-bar, TV, in-room safe (charge may apply) and a private balcony or terrace to unwind on.

In addition to a beachfront location, spacious accommodations and all-inclusive meal and activities plan, your vacation prize includes round-trip airfare from Winnipeg Airport to Cancun International Airport and transfers to and from the resort.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 19, 2009 E6

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