Before you read.....please consider this was our first trip to Punta Cana and with the Riu Resorts. But it still our experience and we felt we must warn others when deciding to go to this resort. We only knew what we were told. We trusted what we were told. But for you....if this is your first time be aware not all things are what they seem. IF you read to the bottom, I explain what happens if you were to get sick (which I did). Go with approved medical insurance!!!!
It was a dispointment to see we were decieved into thinking it was a five star. The quality of service, food, etc was obvious that wasn't.
When we were searching for a FIVE star resort in Punta Cana. Zarvann Kavasji,
Cruise and Vacation Consultant from Red Tag Vacations was give a list of our requests such as: Five star ( a must), within our budget, all inclusive (including tax), and a room by the ocean (or ocean view).
We decided on the Riu Bambu as it was a great price, "FIVE" star and close to the ocean.
After our trip we thought about placing a review on here as this is the place I went to check out reviews of this hotel before chosing it as well. IT was recommended by the consultant to do so before chosing. He did mention that there is good and bad reviews usually with each one just look for common threads. I did not see at that time complaints that RIU Bambu was NOT a five star. But I did watch a u-tube video on the resort that warned it. We just ignored and went ahead. I wish I didn't ignore. Live and Learn.
At first, It was difficult to manuver through the resort check in. When we got there we stood around wondering where do we go first. Finally, we were given instructions, keys and a fruit drink. It was difficult to communicate at times because the staff at the front desk did NOT speak english well. THIS WAS A BEGINNING OF TROUBLES.
-What we requested as a room at the front of the resort, closest to the water as possible. We were given the furtherest room at the back of the resort (near the road coming into the resort). We did NOT get instructions on how to get to our room we had to figure it out on our own. IF you have been there you will know what I mean.
-The smell immediately hit us as we walked up to building where our room was. It continued to the room. IT smelt like sewage. The room was clean for us. BUT the smell was bothersome. We immediately opened windows etc. I sprayed some freshener. We were just relieved to get to our room to unpack and rest before dinner. We had a bar, fridge with drinks, flat screen tv with converter, a/c that worked, outlets at bedside, nice big step in shower, toliet was on its own by front door with no working fan, we had a balcony with chairs. We were pleased for the most part. Front desk answers the phones but once again don't understand english well.
Issues: Not hot water, shower head that could peel your skin off, safe was NOT open, no laundry bags, no instructions on how to get bed sheets cleaned (they say every third day after asked) which was not done!, water did NOT get restocked. NOT done after asked safe several times!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How to resolve: Call, Call, Go to front desk, talk to manager, Call, Go to front desk, wait 48- 72 hrs and still NOT resolved!!!!!!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it!!!!!!!!!!
We had two maintence men (do not speak english) to help resolve the hot water issue.....they said its fine and left. We like warmer water!!!! Maids don't speak english...don't bother and ask them anything. Front desk will tell you it will get done....it didn't. We were there for 7 days!!!
NO instructions or manual on how to manuver in this resort in the room or at front desk. FIND OUT on your own by asking around....
FOOD- Its buffet style so get there while its first made. Same foods usually served. Cooks don't speak english, not always a sign up to explain what that food is. Lots to choose from. But I found it bland and watery. Some meat hard, tons of pasta, bread, cheese, sliced meats, fruit, salad, and vegetables. BEST coffee in am. Coffee at lunch and supper could take rust off a car. Breakfast is early 7 am and dinner is late 7pm. If you want the "special" reservation dinners then its 6:30pm. WHATEVER YOU DO ....do not go to the American one with "steak". We got sick!!! Italian was best. Wine is horrible. Breakfast they serve you fast. Dinner serving was slower. Try to get water filled up was a challenge.
Alcohol -Drink lots and lots of bottled water. The drinks flow freely and plenty. However, can be sugary +++. The water they serve at the bar IS bottled water. Make sure to tip....they will treat you very well.
Resort Allows VENDORS- allows aggressive vendors to sell their products in the hall ways of the resort....on your way to dinner, to the beach, to the bar, on your way to your room. They allow photographers to stand before the dinning room to take pics with you and people dressed in custom. Vendors on the beach. Will come up to you while you relax. Want to sell, sell, sell. The stores in between resorts can be the same type of sale tactics. Over price. ALWAYS bid. Never give them what they ask. They are expecting you to negotiate with them. Don't feel pressured or bad when saying "NO". Everyone wants money there. Watch they don't suck you dry!
Activities- The entertainment was amateur, later on in the evening and not as exciting as the pictures. I found it boring. I was expecting much more. Live and learn.
Annoying activities on beach that interfers with relaxation- beach workouts, loud music and loud announcements. Would wanted an option to decide where to sit to avoided that.
Day excurtions- not all what you pay for. but worth the experience. rough rides. bring your bug spay and if it looks like rain bring a rain jacket. the drive can be wet. The tourist was the best "Johnny Bravo" on Country Express...he spoke three to four languages. This trip was worth it. You saw plantation where coffee, chocolate, vanilla, coconut, and cigar rolling. You got to experience a local school, home and their beach. Remember to watch for vendors on their beach as just as aggressive. Make sure you are careful to bring anything for the childern as they WILL swarm you (childern outside of the school that is). Drivers want tips.
The shark/sting ray excurtion was interesting. Good experience. Short and sweet. Water is beautiful. The snorkle etc is not yours ...they provide....becareful. They have a pics with sting ray. but ask you not to take your own with them. Bring a underwater camera, your guide will take pics for you of the sharks, fish, you, etc. Floating bar was fun...the dock the boat, put on music and you can go out in the water to swim. They serve drinks and swim around to check on you. Very nice.
While your there do take advantage of the day trips. They are worth it. The water activities look fun. I watched. Night time walks were good as long as you stayed on the path with lights and walk with your partner. NEVER alone.
I did end up getting sick and staying in the local hospital. It was a big learning experience. My ear had swelling and pain, throat hurt etc. Went to the clinic on the resort. Nurse didn't speak english but doctor did. What I didn't know was he could have came to my hotel room!!!!!!!!!!! But anyways, He sent me off the resort by taxi to the closest hospital in Bavaro. Not like what you expect. 20 mins away. You have to stand outside to give all insurance information. I wasn't told at the clinic on the resort that I needed a file number. I had to call and get one. Which there is a process. Had to struggle with this first. Then go in to bed. Men with guns standing at desk by rooms. Hospital is not clean. Watch that they clean their hands. They didn't when they came to do care on me. They did wear gloves. The doctor spoke english. I had to delay my flight due to middle ear trauma. I was also dehydrated from diarrhea. I had infection in my throat as well. So, I was given iv fluids, admitted and sent to a room upstairs. No instructions. No nurse to meet me. I actually had to go find my nurse after an hour to find out when i was going to start my antibiotics etc. She gave my meds too quickly and I got side effects, she left my gravity IV hanging and didn't come to check on me to see if was done. I had to close the clamp before i got air in my veins. I couldnt' sleep. Nurses forgot my meds, gravity iv hanging worried me it would run out while I sleep because nurses weren't checking on me on time, they didn't tell me what meds I was getting, dinner was at 7pm, cold. Bathroom dirty. No doctor in am. Had to go downstairs to outpt to see my doctor who didn't clear me to fly. Discharged me to resort but wanted to see me three days later. Knowing resort will charge us for everything again. Money was running out.
Infections of the ear, nose and throat are common as you swim, snorkle and dive! Becareful as it could interfer with your flight home like it did mine. The travel insurance we paid through sun wing did not get recongized at the hospital and so luckily we had our own. The insurance doesn't pay upfront your taxi rides, hotel or flight home. All have to be paid for up front. Hotel will charge you 2 dollars/min for any calls outside. The ATMs didn't take our cards like the company told us they would. They told my boyfriend that he could make "complimentary" call and then end up charging him. They said the only way to pay was cash. He ran out and he was told he could get some at the casino if he first plays. He lost money playing but got money .
It was a mess to get home. So be prepared before you leave to go to a third world country.
Hope this helps you plan your vacation better. We learned alot from ours....making us wiser. Hope we saved you a few complications along your travels. Thank God for sites like this. Because at least you can say you were warned!!!!
know when you request you don't always get. Make sure you mention non-smoking if your a non smok...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.