The Bavaro Princess is a stellar resort. Beautiful grounds, very well maintained, and considering how many people traffic through there daily, extremely clean. Yes, it is a massive property so if you’re looking for cute and quaint, this isn’t the place. Free-roaming birds, peacocks, bunnies and other assorted creatures give it a nice touch. The ecological area was a quiet tropical setting but there wasn’t much to see. The lobby is one of the most beautiful open-air buildings anywhere, and HUGE so no matter how many people lingering about, it never feels crowded.
I’ll break down my review by category.
Rooms: You will not find ocean view rooms at this resort. All the suites are in 2-story bungalow/villa style buildings dotted around the resort. Each bungalow/villa holds 4 rooms and there are 80+ bungalows. This style allows each room to be significantly larger than your standard hotel room. The privacy and peacefulness is excellent, and you can sit on your private balcony and not see a single soul depending on where your villa is located. The cleanliness of the rooms is excellent. Those having issues with stained grout or chips on the décor need a serious reality check – you are in a dirt poor country, leave your Westernized expectations at home. The air con runs on a motion sensor so when you leave the room, it turns to “heat” but don’t worry, it’s not really heating. The thermostat is adjustable but seems to settle at about 22 degrees no matter what you set it too. Nights can be cool, just ask for extra blankets. We were upgraded to a platinum room, within walking distance to the beach which was a sweet deal. There are “standard” rooms over by the lobby area, but I didn’t actually see this area occupied. Download a resort map before you go so you get the lay of the land.
Food: People going the all-inclusive route need to remember than you can’t expect the quality of food to be the same when their kitchens are feeding thousands of guests a day. In the buffets, the variety of food was average, and often repetitive, but you will always find something to eat. They are trying to please many different cultures, so what looks disgusting to you, is appealing to someone else. The 2 breakfast/lunch buffets have similar offerings but La Hispaniola is larger and has the crepe station, donut station and pasta station. It has a different theme every dinner. El Gaucho lunch buffet usually has a seafood station outside on the patio, one day serving paella which was good. The a-la-carte restaurants on the other hand, were above average, with good selection and very tasty meals (if a little more salty than I’m used to.) The Bella Pasta and El Gaucho Steakhouse in particular rival many of the restaurants we have at home. The El Pescador and Chopin didn’t appeal to me as much, but were still enjoyable. If you go hungry here, it’s your own darn fault. Keep in mind that whatever times they give for service in the restaurants is not necessarily followed. They open and close when they are good and ready, not by what the clock says.
Staff: Some more friendly than others, and service at the restaurants in particular can be spotty, but no more different than anywhere else. A smile and learning basic Spanish goes a long way. Basically you reap what you sow. If you are nice to them, they return back in spades. My biggest problem was with how rude some of the guests were. This is deplorable. Why people think they are more special than everyone else is a mystery not to be solved anytime soon. These staff work some long hours, I wouldn’t put up with half the crap these poor, hardworking people have to put up with. Many staff speak English, French and Spanish. Others only Spanish. You are in THEIR country, learn some basic Spanish for gawd's sake! Respect goes a LONG WAY, didn't your momma teach you any manners?
Beach: Very wide and one of the most beautiful in the Bavaro area. Sand is super fine, no rocks or anything to step on in the ocean. The occasional weed is brought in by the surf. The surf is quite large in this area, great for wave jumping but no leisurely swimming here. Not really suitable for small kids either, which might explain why most were at the pool. Every morning a group of workers diligently clean the beach. Lots of shade, and beach chairs available. Beach vendors can be annoying at times but this is a fact anywhere in the Caribbean. They have mouths to feed too. Cut them some slack. If you ignore them, they leave you alone. Over at the Paradisus there was considerably more seaweed in the water.
Pool: The main pool by the beach is where the action is at. It is plenty large and sometimes finding chairs or shade can be an issue. The water is reasonably clean and swim up bar is always bustling. There is lots of activity here. The smaller pool by the lobby is the place to go for more R&R.
Activation Staff: These guys and girls are the busiest of the bunch and put up with a lot of annoying drunken idiots being completely inappropriate and impeding on their turf. Just let them do their jobs, will ya? You can be as little or as much involved in the activities as you like, but they are always entertaining. Until about 3 pm, they are busy organizing activities by the beach, afterward they move to the main pool area. Yes, the music can be loud sometimes but if there wasn’t any music, guests would be complaining how dull it was.
Entertainment: There was a live show every night about 9:30. Prior to this, not a lot going on. Some of the shows were good, some cheesy. Some never existed, like the beach party that wasn’t. All day they announced a beach party at 9 pm, but it never happened. There is a disco offsite and a casino, but otherwise not much in the way of nightlife.
Bars: Everywhere. Serving any drink imaginable. Bottled water readily available, you just have to ask. The beach bar has a self-serve water area, but you will need to ask for ice. Remember that all water coming from the bars or restaurants are safe to drink. Do not drink the tap water. Use the bottled water in the mini bar to brush your teeth. They do replenish, but just get more bottled water at the bars before heading to your room if you think you might run out. They also do provide 2 each of beer, sprite and coke in the mini-bar.
Internet: There is a “café” of sorts which has a few PCs. WiFi was a rip off at $15/day, which can only be accessed in the lobby area – very iffy, and easy to lose a connection. If you wanted to buy minutes, you have to use their own PCs, but may not have what you need, ie) Skype. If you plan on doing any major surfing, upgrade to platinum and you get unlimited WiFi, including in their private lounge area. I was told there were WiFi hot spots outside the resort but never confirmed this. A note on the phones, any call you make from your room gets a $2 USD "connection" fee including the actual cost of the call. I found this out the hard way.
Overall, a fantastic trip. This is a 4 to 4.5 star resort with one of the best beaches in the world. Go here if you want to leave your worries at home and enjoy the warm ocean and tropical breezes with cold bevie in hand. Would recommend to anyone and the only reason I wouldn’t go back is because I’d rather try something different than return to the same place twice. Enjoy, and don’t sweat the small stuff!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.