We (my wife and daughter [age 12] and my sister and her two sons [ages 8 and 10] went to this resort in January 2013. It was my first time in DR and my wife and sister had been to the north side of the island only.
The week that we were at the resort seemed to be only moderately busy (last week of January) so I would say this is a great week to go because you won't need to worry about lots of lines.
The only thing that bothered us at all was our check-in. We had read reviews on Trip Advisor about the Platinum upgrades costing around $300 for each of our two families. When we asked about it we were told that it would cost $800 for the week and there was no haggling to bring that down. So, we were a little disappointed. Because of that the check-in person agreed to upgrade us to the bungalow suites (our travel agent had book a Junior Suite in the main 'hotel' building). He said we would be very happy. He said it was normally $12/day/person but gave it to us for free. I suspect the place was not packed so they gave us a free upgrade simply because they had the space. I won't complain because it was a great room.
The room was a nice size. There were two options - King bed + pull-out sofa or two twin beds plus another single bed in the room. Either way, 3 people can stay comfortably in the room. The beds were very firm and 5 of the 6 of us said the beds were not that comfortable but none of us suffered from sleep deprivation so they were just not like at home. We did need to request blankets since the room was somewhat cool at night from the A/C during the day.
There is a fridge in the room with water, soda pop and some beer. They stock it daily. What they don't tell you is that, if you request additional supplies they can charge you. Your best bet is to talk to the staff servicing the rooms and tip them as you won't likely incur any charges then. If you want any sode like "Diet Coke" (Coke Light) they you have to ask each day or you will just receive regular Coke and Sprite or 7up.
I've seen people complaining about the transportation through the resort. We only ran into issues once but the place was obviously not full so not sure if that would have made a difference. It would be great to have a room near the beach but I think we only went back to the room once during the entire stay so not a huge problem anyway. We usually went to lunch back at the main building so we had to take transport back. We could have had lunch at the beach but, at first, we were confused about where we could eat and where we could not - it did not seem clear and some space was reserved for Platinum people. Others were similarly confused when we tried to find out what they thought.
The food at the buffet really was pretty good. I was surprised as I had read a lot of reviews from people who said it was not good. I guess it really depends on your tastes. If you are pretty open with food and tend to like a lot more than you dislike you will likely be fine. In the worst case, there is always bread, pasta, rice, ice cream, soups, fruit, etc. We ate every night at the buffet because we were not sure how the younger boys would do at the a la carte. No one starved. The staff were very attentive most of the time.
The "theme" nights were certainly interesting and, quite often, provided a nice change. If you are not at all adventurous, some of the theme nights may limit your choices. They are posted though so you can plan to have an a la carte night if needed.
Water - we ate salad, drank coffee, water in the restaurants, etc. Never had any issues with the water. We did not drink the tap water.
The pools and the beach are a nice size and we did not have any major issues with finding space - not always able to find the perfect spot, but we found spots. Most people seemed to drop their towels off early (before 9am) to get the prime spots. There is a rule that if you leave your stuff for 30 minutes it is considered abandoned but everyone was doing it. We often left our towels for an hour, with a book on at least one chair, and had no issues, generally. One day we had a prime spot by luck and someone stole some of our chairs saying we were gone for a long time when we had been gone barely 30 minutes. Not a huge deal.
Claudio, at the swim-up bar, was great. Although he could not always bring drinks to us, he was always friendly and great to talk to.
Francine (sp?) was our most common server in the buffet restaurant. She was great and quickly figured out what we like to drink and would get us what we wanted. She even went to the bar to get drinks for us. She seemed to have a great rapport with many people in the restaurant.
There are lots of photo opportunities with birds, reptiles and monkeys. If you buy them individually they are $15 per picture. If you wait 4 days and then collect them all up you can get them for $9 each and get a CD with the pictures on it. They won't go any lower than that.
One night there was a "market" on the terrace and there were lots of local jewellery, art, clothes etc. The vendors were very pushy and quick to grab you. I would suggest being careful. One vendor swore that the jewellery sold on the beach was mafia controlled and his stuff was real. There's no way to validate this though.
The ocean water was very warm at this time of year but it was very windy most of the week so the sand was flying quite a bit. The waves were nice for having fun and a great change from the pool.
Wifi - there is Wifi for Platinum members. If you want it otherwise you need to pay $15 per day and use it in the main lobby. My sister tried and had a very poor experience - could receive email but never was able to send. She opted to use the business center which is $5 for 15 minutes. The computer is not great and she had to rewrite emails a few times which really limited how much she could do. If you are expecting to 'work' while you are on vacation you might have issues.
Safety / security - there was never a time that we did not feel safe. As a family, we were never up after 11am and walking around though. The safe is the room worked out well, no issues with anything being taken.
Kids activities - our kids were more concerned about the pool and did not want to do any of the activities. They were approached once. If you want to join in, you need to make the effort to join in.
Overall, I would go back here any time. I was very pleased with the resort overall and would not hesitate to recommend it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel Bavaro Princess, situated in the Dominican Republic in an area renowned for its incomparable beauty, the quality of the sand and the clarity of the water on the famous Bavaro Beach. Accommodation at this prestigious resort more than meets the expectations of the most demanding of customers.136 splendid Platinum Suites, 16 Honeymoon Spa Suites, 82 functional Junior Suites, or the 572 spacious and fully equipped Bungalow Suites, provide the ideal added value to enjoy an unforgettable holiday. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Bavaro Princess Punta Cana
- Bavaro Princess Resort Punta Cana
- Bavaro Princess Hotel Punta Cana
- Hotel Bavaro Princess
- Punta Cana Bavaro Princess Hotel Resort
- Princess Bavaro
- Bavaro Princess Dominican Republic
- Bavaro Princess Hotel Dominican Republic
- Bavaro Princess All Suites Resort Spa & Casino
- Princess Hotel Punta Cana