We are writing this with great disappointment in our trip booked through Apple Vacations to the Bavaro Princess Hotel in Punta Cana. Please take the time to read these recent reviews as they are true. We have no idea how this was rated 5 Golden Apples. We contacted Apple with this exact detailed story letting them know about our disappointment in our stay. We finally heard back after 35 days and they offered us $100 each in Apple gift certificates and recommended we try again at another resort better suited to our standards. Our standards were that we were staying at a 5 Golden Apple resort on a scale of 3 to 6. Do yourself a favor and read the details below and make sure to find specific details on food and quality of the rooms at another resort. Do not stay here!
The details of our 7 night stay:
Every morning we took the train ride (which is an old car hauling 2 carts with seats) to the lobby where we started our day at the breakfast buffet. The omelet station was tolerable, but the layer of visible humidity on the ham, cheese, and onions that were to be added to the omelet was an appalling site as we stood in line, dripping of sweat while waiting for the omelets to be made one at a time. We quickly came to find that every day the buffet had a new theme, for example "French Buffet", "Mexican Buffet" and "American Buffet", yet every day the same food consisting of baked beans, a form of tasteless potato, and runny eggs were back again on the buffet. The sausage did change as it was a different color each day. One day the sausage was fire-engine red, the next it was black and titled "blood sausage". There was no real variety and we were only able to eat toasted bread and butter the entire week!
For lunch we would eat at the buffet again where it was the same exact experience only this time we could only tolerate the pasta. Again, we were dripping sweat the entire time because there was no air conditioning or air flow, only stagnant air and hot grills/toasters. If we arrived an hour before lunch ended, we could only eat fruit and bread as everything else was already put away.
The only other option for lunch was to eat food from the "McPrincess", which even mentioning the name of this place still makes us cringe. The options there were hamburgers, hot dogs, and french fries. We watched the staff deliver the unfrozen, exposed hamburger patties on trays to the open kitchen of the McPrincess where they sat in the sun all day. When we went to order one, the cook had to swat away the flies before pulling out a patty and putting it on the grill to cook. The condiments and vegetable toppings sat all day covered in luke warm metal containers also sitting in the sun the entire day. After seeing all of this we chose to order fries. So, at this point in the day we had eaten bread and pasta or bread and fries so we were really looking forward to the different dinner restaurant options each night.
Our first dinner experience was at the Chinese restaurant called Sakura. We actually wanted to eat at the Japanese Steakhouse but it was closed our first night, so we put in our name at Sakura. This restaurant opened at 6pm and we got there at 6:15. We did not get seated until 8:30!!! We had to sit there and wait the entire time because there was no method to page you when a table was ready. We obviously had no cell phone service and wireless service was not an option so we had the option to sit and wait. Once inside, the restaurant was far from classy. The curtains looked like tablecloths, the wallpaper was cheesy, and there were only about 12 tables inside. This would not matter to us if the food were tolerable, but it was not. We ordered wine, sushi, eggrolls, and chicken and rice. We sat there waiting for our food for another hour before actually eating. During this time a had a mariachi band sing to us at our table that we were forced to tip before even receiving the sushi. We waited for 40 minutes at our table before even seeing the waiter again to bring us this sushi. The sushi was made of mostly rice and something red resembling caviar, but it was NOT caviar. We took a bite and sent it back. We were then eventually brought our eggrolls that were so hard we could not even cut with a knife or bite with our teeth. It was actually comical at this point. Clearly, we did not eat these because we couldn't even take a bite. Finally, were received our chicken and rice main course. There were 2 small pieces of chicken on our plates. The rest consisted of rice, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, and onions. Very strange. So now, having waited hours, we were leaving disappointed around 10:30 pm and still starving.
We went to bed early only to wake up to do it all again the next day, only this time we tried out the Japanese Steakhouse. Again, the restaurant opened at 6 and we got there at 6:05 because we did not want this to take up our entire night again. The hostess told us that 60 people were already ahead of us, which to this day is unbelievable. We sat in an open area beside stagnant water for 3 hours waiting. It was not until 9:15 our name was called to be seated inside. While waiting by this mosquito infested stagnant water our legs and feet were covered in mosquito bites. While we were still waiting to be seated, we actually heard the hostess say they were no longer taking names on the list for anyone else to be served that night. We were again starving and first seated at a table with many other people and served sushi exactly the same of which we tried the night before (...still disappointing). We were then herded to the actual dinner table they would be cooking our food. The cook piled chicken, "beef", and rice with vegetables on the table all at the same time, which all was magically done at the same time. Lastly, the cook took a large plastic bag of assorted pieces of seafood and dumped it on the grill. We asked the cook what each thing was because there were clearly different sizes and colored pieces in this bag that were not fish or shrimp. The only response the cook had when asked multiple times and multiple different ways was that it was fish. We took pictures of this meal and it looked like either tongue or stomach. There were a couple small shelled shrimp thrown in the mix as well among other mysterious "fish" pieces. Again, we were highly disappointed and left abruptly. This dining experience took up the entire night yet again and only left us feeling hungry and mad.
Dinner night number 3 we tried Bella Pasta. The pasta was served cold but was edible and we decided we would go there again the next night. We had asked the Apple representative if we were able to dine in the same restaurant twice and he told us yes we could, we just needed to get a new card to be stamped from the front desk. We went to the front desk that morning before going back to Bella Pasta and the front desk employee refused and said that is not there policy we were only allowed to go to each restaurant once throughout our stay. They then had to get a manager to reluctantly get us a new card. The manager said they do not usually do this, but would go ahead and give us one just this time. We still do not understand why we could only eat at each restaurant once the entire trip and this was definitely not the expectation set by our resortApple representative, our travel agent at Roys Travel, or the resort website.
The 6th night there we decided to eat at the Mexican buffet with some friends we had made from Pittsburgh, PA. We all had chicken tacos and cheese quesadillas. The chicken in the tacos had bones in it that we had to sit and pick out before being able to eat. We made plans with them to meet at the beach early in the morning to get chairs by each other. We were up at least 6 times each that night to use the restroom. We barely slept. We received a phone call from them early that morning informing us that they would not be able to join us on the beach due to sudden violent sickness and that they had been up puking all night.
We talked to another couple we had met from New Jersey the next morning before they were flying home and they were also very sick! We had similar conversations with many couples that couldn't believe the terrible quality of food and living conditions.
The conditions of these restaurants and buffets were also very unbelievable. All of these were unairconditioned and unventilated. The lobby buffet was very open with animals and birds freely roaming. A couple at the table next to us finished their meal and left their plates on the table to be picked up by the staff. Because they were not cleaned right away, a crow actually jumped up on the table and pulled down some food to the floor where it remained standing to eat. Employees passed by several times without even taking notice. Along with the birds flying around while eating, we were completely drenched in sweat at every restaurant and buffet. Can you picture this as a relaxing and luxurious vacation?
Lobby restrooms - The restrooms were tiny, crowded, and extremely hot and humid with absolutely no air flow coming from anywhere. We were constantly here because we were always sick from the food. The stalls were so small, my boyfriend's shoulders touched each wall. The lady constantly cleaning the restrooms even mopped over his feet while he was sitting in the stall. There was no air flow and each time we went in there we came out drenched in sweat.
Rooms - It smelled like a dark, molding basement and had a very awkward layout. All of the yellowed lamp shades showed very noticeable signs of rust and the restroom floor had a gaping crack which water leaked through. When arriving home we were told we smelled terribly musty and that we needed to make sure everything was washed thoroughly. I took the activity book given to us by the Apple representative at the hotel to my parents to see all of the available activities and they immediately noticed a strong, musty smell when flipping through the pages of the book. We were forced to wash all of our clothes multiple times before getting this smell out. Our suitcases still smell musty. Every morning we also woke up to strange flies sitting in our sink and shower. Beds were hard and pillows were flat.
Apple Vacations On-Resort Representative - Agent was helpful at first when we had our 20 minute meeting the first full day we were there, however he was wrong about us being able to visit each restaurant more than once. However, we went to talk with him later in the week to explore what free activity options were included with our apple vacation package he said "it wasn’t worth checking out” and picked up his phone and ignored the fact the we were still standing there. VERY RUDE. We were supposed to be able to windsurf, snorkel, etc. Because we weren't interested in paying another $200 for other activities he wasn't interested in helping us.
Overall, it was an extremely disappointing vacation and I would never recommend anyone stay at the Bavaro Princess Hotel in Punta Cana and I'm shocked that Apple Vacations would offer this resort as an option at such a high apple rating. Food is usually a part of the excitement of a vacation and to only be able to eat toast, pasta, and french fries the entire vacation was more than a let down. We were actually sick due to the lack of variety/quality of food and because we felt sick, it was hard to relax and enjoy our time doing ANYTHING on vacation. It was a terrible feeling to always feel hungry from the minute we woke up to the minute we went to bed and almost impossible to enjoy ourselves when feeling this way. We were constantly hungry, sweating, or breathing in the musty/moldy room in which we stayed for 7 nights. Our stomachs were still sick 3 weeks after arriving home too.
After this experience, it was a slap in the face for Apple to only offer us $100 each towards another vacation. We hope to warn anyone else of this experience before booking and especially do no book a honeymoon here.
Bottom floor rooms may have flooded at some point. Musty and rusty.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.