Friday, April 13, 2012

Gran Bahia Principe: buffets and bars

As I mentioned in my previous post, all non ala carte meals at Gran Bahia Principe are served at the buffets and snack bars. Snack bars are open 24 hours and serve basic things like pizza, burgers, fruit and drinks.  So if you want a cerveza at 3 am, they've got you covered.  I only had one meal here and it was enjoyable.  I liked the service as well as the burger.  It surprisingly hit the spot when we had an early checkout and were hungry.

This beverage was called "capuccino". I don't care. It was delicious.

I can't remember if I took picts at breakfast or lunch. That kind of looks like bacon....

Bread station. Carb Central.

Nope, still can't tell if it's lunch of dinner. Does it matter? :-)

The buffet we went to the most was the smaller, quieter one called the Cozumel at the Akumal Premier lobby.  This buffet was about a quarter the size of the main buffets but offered a good selection of food. I truly enjoyed the grilled tomatoes and ceviche. They also had fresh fruit, veggies and salad fixings.  And things like burgers at lunch and dinner, and an omlette station for breakfast.  I appreciated them having my favorite breakfast food: porridge/oatmeal. Nom! They also desserts.  And, of course, a fully open bar at all times.

I totally stole this decoration off the buffet.  Who can resist a chocolate bowl filled with fresh whipped cream, kiwi, strawberry and figs?  Totally worth the caloric hit.

Lovely dining room for a buffet.

Speaking of which, every lobby had a bar.  We spent most of the time at the quieter one at the Akumal Premier and really enjoyed the bartender's service and skill behind the bar. His mojitos were amazing.  And he made this unusual shot concoction called "Mexican Guiness".  Not sure what was in it but it did taste like Guiness.  In a cute little 1.5 oz shot.

Belly up to the bar, young man.

There were also bars on the beach. Every guest had wristbands.  Some wristbands restricted whether or not the guest could be served alcohol. I didn't get a look-see if this guy had a restricted band or not. I just thought it was kind of funny to see a kid at the bar. They serve softdrinks and non-alcoholic versions of things like pina coladas in addition to the normal stuff.  And, yes, they had cerveza. Before you say all Mexican beer sucks, let me remind you of Modelo Negro.  It's not too shabby.

If you look at online reviews of GBP you'll see lots of complaints about the food and service at the buffets. But, honestly, I don't know what these people were eating. I was always able to find something I liked. And the service was unhurried and quite good.  Even with servers I hadn't met or tipped before.  All of the fruits and veggies were super fresh.  Sure some stuff had sat on the buffet too long, but that's a problem with all buffets, everywhere. Go for the stuff that can't be ruined on a steam table. Especially veggies. The best proteins, in my opinion, were the ceviches.  They aren't ruined by sitting too long, because that's how they "cook".  The fish stays tender as long as it's in the citrus.

Here's a pro-tip: learn some Spanish. You don't have to be fluent but learn to say good morning, hello, thank you, please, etc. It'll help establish a connection with the people around you. You are, after all, in a Spanish speaking country. The least you can do is try to learn the bare minimum of language and culture when you visit.  So many people there also speak English so there's easy rescue if you forget a word. Just say "como se dice en Espanol [word]?"  It's pronounced co-mo say dee-say een es-pan-nole. It means "how do you say in Spanish [word]".  Nothing beats learning new vocabulary from a native speaker. 

Also, the Lonely Planet phrasebook on Mexican Spanish is quite good, although there are problems with literal translations that shouldn't be quite so literal with some phrases.  Here in Texas Spanish is mashed up with English somewhat randomly. The phrasebook helps iron out some of the mixed phrases into something that makes sense to a native speaker.  But, yea, watch out for the literal translations.

1 comment:

  1. Many culinary teams also viewed the buffet as a great opportunity to express their creativity; chef garde mangers and pastry chefs, along with their teams, really had the opportunity to shine. Not only was there an abundance of food, but the centerpieces and garnishes were considered equally important to the whole buffet.