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“OK but won't go back!!!” 4 of 5 stars
Review of ClubHotel Riu Bambu

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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic   |  
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Ranked #67 of 101 Hotels in Punta Cana
Richibucto, New Brunswick, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“OK but won't go back!!!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

Food - Not a big selection but their is something for everyone. I really did enjoy the omelette station for breakfast, they were delicious!! Service at the buffet restaurant, well let's put it this way, if you waited a little, the waiters would come up to you and asked you if you wanted something to drink. No you don't get waited on like other places but these waiters were there from morning service to dinner service and no big break in between because you would find them in the bars to help out!

Beach - Excellent!! 5 stars just for the beach!!

Pool - way too crowded and LOUD!! Except the newer pool next to the kids play area, only thing was if you wanted to get away from loud obnoxious persons at the pool bar and wanted to go to the pool you had to hear kids screaming instead...

Room - We had the new Deluxe Rooms, no complains about that!! The only thing that really bugged us is that we wanted more beer in our fridge, we asked but don't expect to get much, you get only 2 cans of beer for 3 days!!!

Bars - Never had a problem, drinks were great!!

I have 2 major complaints 1. How can they have a big resort like that have no washrooms?? Once at the lobby you have one set of 5 washrooms each then some at the Mamajuana Restaurant. If you have at least 1000 people at once that is not enough washrooms! Especially when someone is sick! 2. Parents, why do you bring your young children in a sports bar??!! It's a bar, people are smoking and drinking, it's not a place for a 1-2 year old neither for a 6-7 year old, I know that if my kids were there with me, they would never had a chance to be in there, there is nothing there for them anyways!!!

Room Tip: We had the new Deluxe Rooms bloc 5000, very nice and very modern!!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 4, 2013

but the rest is average. We did have a wonderful time on the beach. Room was average size but the bathroom was small. We couldn't open the door without hitting the toilet. The food choices in the cafeteria never really changed and there is no where else to eat breakfast or lunch. And the food quality was average at best. At least it kept us from overeating while on vacation. Drinks were good and plentiful. We had stayed at the Riu Palace next door a couple years ago and liked it much better.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Wisconsin
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
188 helpful votes 188 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

We booked an Apple Vacations 5 Apple Square Deal and the Riu Bambu is the resort chosen for us. We were at the Riu Bambu Feb 18-25. The beach at this resort is one of the best in this area. As we walked the beach in either direction some resorts had their chairs so close together you could not put a glass down. The Riu’s beach was very spacious with palm trees providing natural shade as needed. There were always chairs available. Not so at the pool. That was the famous “chair save game”. The pool area was very crowded and noisy and very little breeze. There was no bar on the beach, and the restrooms were quite a hike from the beach. The only bathrooms were next to MamaJuana restaurant, so these were used by the pool, beach and restaurant guests.
We had room 505 which was a ground floor room with a patio. Excellent location. Close to the beach, and close to lobby, theatre, restaurants and bar. Room had a bed, a small round table, two chairs, and a dresser and nightstands. The closet contained the digital safe (no charge) and a generous amount of hangers. Always hot water no matter what time it was. One day the toilet was not running properly and upon reporting it, they responded immediately and corrected the problem. Bath gel and shampoo packets provided. No washcloths even with a note left requesting this. Mini bar included with room. No coffee pot. That would have been a nice touch. The bed was very firm. Only a sheet and the dirty looking drab spread. No blanket. With the AC as cold as it was, a blanket would have been welcome. If you wanted an extra key for your room, just go to front desk and pay a $10 deposit which is refunded upon returning the key. Maids usually cleaned the room in the morning.
Food: Buffets always provided a generous array of foods. Always hot and always refilled. Great service The one thing I noticed is that there were two egg stations in the AM but only one would make omelets and the other egg station did not make eggs per your request. He just kept frying eggs and putting them in the warming pans, some over easy, some sunny side up, some scrambled. The alacart restaurants required you to reserve at 7am that day. Crazy to have to set an alarm just to make a reservation. We did one day for the steak house and it was ok, but would not bother to do so again. No snack bar at pool as so many resorts have. MamaJuana was open air, but under a roof and people were in swim attire in there which was acceptable.
WIFI free in lobby-90 min per day. User name and password is on the wall behind the front desk.
Entertainment staff was always busy with games on the beach and at the pool. Never pushy. We only saw a few of the shows at night, pretty much the same as you see at other resorts. Marino at the Plaza bar was the best. Lots of children at the resort. Massages were $60 for 55 minutes. There was a flea market about a mile down the beach. Easy walking.
One thing we were not informed of was that you had to pay $10 per person to enter the country.
One of the most negative things at this resort was the way they handled the beach towels. As the day went on, you could not get a clean beach towel. We like to exchange our towels for clean ones and take the towels to the room with us. They would not give you a clean one. And as the week went on, they wouldn’t even let you take the dirty one to the room. They actually posted Towel Guards on the walkways to catch you. In our case all I wanted the clean towel for was to use as a blanket because the AC was so cold. We found that by going along the walkway over by the kiddie area, there were no towel guards over there. It is a shame they treat guests like this at a 5 star resort.
The resort was clean and the service was good. There was constant grooming of the landscape and cleaning and painting of buildings. We heard there were some rooms that had been refurbished and were really nice. The water was not drinkable. Bottle water was provided in your mini bar. If you are looking for a resort with a small footprint, with a beautiful beach then this is the resort for you. Note the beach waters are a bit rough, not the calm waters you can float in as in some areas of the Dominican.

Room Tip: Bottom floors unless you want to climb stairs.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Southampton, United Kingdom
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

My girlfriend and I have recently arrived home from the Rui Bambu (12th - 26th February 2013), I must admit we were slighly worried by some of the reviews but we still booked based on instinct and also we read a fair amount of positive things. We were not disappointed and we had an excellent break that will live long in the memory.

Firstly, the main reason we chose the area was for the beach. We were not disappointed. The area is beautiful, the water is crystal clear and there is the option of talking lazy walks along the beach, relax in the numerous sun beds or indulge in some watersports (or para-sailing for the more adventurous). There a quite a few guys trying to sell stuff on the beach, but if you politely decline they are no bother.

There are two pools, the main pool which the resort uses in many of the brochure photos is nice enough, but it gets very busy and noisey. Many of our American friends tend to set up camp in close proximity to the swim up bar and don't really move. When we wanted a break from the beach we opted for the other pool, which is smaller but is a lot more pleasant and chilled. It depends what you like, the main pool can be vibrant in the afternoons when the entertainment staff get in full flow, this will appeal to some people.

We thought the staff were all excellent! We actually got angry when we read negative comments about any of the staff. Obviously everyone is entitled to their opinion and people have different experiences, but we thought the people made the resort. Our cleaning lady was very friendly, we tipped her, gave her a few gifts and we showed her that she appreciated her hard work. You have to realise that these people are not our slaves, they need to be respected, they work extremely hard and get paid very little. The reception always dealt with everything we asked and had no problems with language barriers that a few people complained about! Everything we asked of the staff was done with upmost efficiency - a quick mention about our rep, he was top notch and was always there for us. The bar staff at the main bar really were great and made our holiday! Ramon, the barman, became our friend and all the bar people were very friendly. He greeted us everyday with 'my family' with a big smile on his face. To me small touches like this are far more important than people worrying about how much choice there is at a buffet and what the beer is like. We actually sat talking to the bar staff and had a really enjoyable time. Yes the drinks were not always first class, there was no consistency in the drinks but that is the charm of the place. People who want better - pay to go to a better resort!! In fact I don't want to be rude and tarnish a whole population, but a main negative was not the resort but was the attitude of the Americans who were there. We found them to be rude, arrogant to the extent they thought they were better than the staff, impolite and just taking over the place. I don't think in all the time we sat at the bar we heard a 'please' or 'thank you', it was more like demands shouted at the staff. I have read reviews saying that 'the staff don't seem to like Americans', is it any wonder they don't! Again this could be cultural, but we didn't like it so I will mention it. I'm not an American hater, I have many American friends across the pond, it could be that the hospitality industry is so strong in the US, this cannot be replicated elsewhere.

The rooms are adequate for what is needed whilst in the Dominican, you don't go all that way to sit in your room. Do not expect 5* luxury as the rooms are quite dated, although was exactly how we expected. The food is not to everyone's taste, you cannot expect out of the world food in buffet style restaurants, but there is lots of choice and we had some very enjoyable meals. The flexibility with the second buffet restaurant was great as you could grab a bite to eat from the morning until around 5pm, you could often get tables with glourious views of the beach.

Overall we would agree with people that this shouldn't be a 5* but a solid 4* or just below. You need to pick your resort carefully, pay more money and you can stay at a better Rui resort if you want real luxury. We paid a reasonable price for a resort at an excellent location with friendly staff. The gardens are beautiful, the rooms are comfortable, but dated, it is not luxury but if you want a great holiday with great people on a superb beach then please don't miss out on this resort!!

Oh yes room location! We did ask to be moved as we were close to the entertainment areas (room 2115 I think), but we were moved to a room in the 800s and this was nice and quiet. Also don't listen to people saying some rooms are too far from the beach/resort, the furthest walk will take 3-4 minutes through beautiful gardens, does this seem like a chore to you!

I hope this review helps, enjoy your holiday!!

Room Tip: Rooms at right at the back are superior so this will be your location if you are in these rooms. If...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Port Hope, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

had a great time at the bambu our room was nicely done. we found the staff that looked after our hotel section were very friendly and looked after any request we had.my wife and i found the pools to be clean,the grounds were very well maintained,the beach was very well kept considering the amount of people on the beach we felt it cosy not crouded and for the most part the people were frienly as well.we felt the sellers were a little too agressive but if you were polite with them then no problems. The food was also very good one would have to be a very picky eater to not find something to eat , while ther we also tried the steak house and italian restaurants my wife and i though the meals and staff were very good again lots to eat . You neede to get up for 7 to book a table at the restaurants becausee they book fast but i,m an early riser so that wasnt an issue. we took the saona island full day trip and we would highly recommend that one it was a fantastic time again though the sales people getting to the boats can be a little agressive. after the trip our bus broke down in the parking lot and we had to wait for a new one which took an hour ,we felt that wasnt too bad ,some people were a little disgruntled but that stuff happens and if you are on vacation you should be relaxing anyway.any how back to the hotel i would recomend this place based on our experience one really cant complain when thw sun is shining the beer is could and the oceans roar in the back ground ,. nice place

Room Tip: our room was the newest at the very back , very clean, although a good walk to the beach 5mins tops...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, NC
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
97 helpful votes 97 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

We traveled to Riu Bambu in January 2013 for a short birthday trip. We have never been to the Dominican Republic before and booking with Riu appealed to us because of the large compound style resort with five separate Riu's together with it's own shopping, casino and night club. The 24 hour medical available was also a plus. We had read on Tripadvisor that the Riu portion of the Beach was one of the most beautiful in the area. We did not venture past the Riu property so I could not give you a comparison but the Beach at the Riu was beautiful and large. We always found a perfect place to lounge.

Before booking, I read the reviews to the Riu. It is unfortunate that so many people are unhappy with their visits. It is true that I would not consider the Riu a 5 star resort but I would call it a 3+ - 4 star. These ratings are usually based on the amount of amenities, which they have many -especially adding the ones that the other Riu's make available to you. I think that people should read reviews BEFORE they go instead of being upset afterword. We experienced exactly what we expected from pictures and reviews and even more.

First off, we e-mailed the resort in advance, requesting a building close to the beach. We received a prompt and courteous reply stating that they would try to honor our request but it would depend on availability.

We pre-booked with Dominican Airport Transfers to drive us to the Riu. They were also prompt and informative on our ride the the resort and our representative, Susan offered excursions and recommendations for shopping.

While checking in at the resort early (prior to check in time) we were given great service and our room (in the building closest to the beach!! I had been worried because of all the reviews talking about having very few people that spoke English at the resort. We never once had a problem communicating with employees at the Riu.

Our room was exactly as pictured in tripadvisors professional photos. The buildings furthest from the beach have been updated. Our room was clean and exactly what we expected. There are 4 types of liquor above the room fridge and the fridge is stocked. I think the liquors in the bottles are watered down... I think all of the liquors were - I think that is why the bartenders poor so heavily. Our bed was large and did have a very hard mattress (as others have reported in their reviews) the pillows were small and thin and the room could get cool at night. We requested extra pillows and blankets and received them quickly after the first request. The old plugs in the rooms were inset circles and made it difficult or impossible to plug in things with blocky square plugs like camera chargers and such..

We were only staying 5 days so we did not book any excursions or spa treatments. We did book the Mexican restaurant the second night there and enjoyed it very much. We booked the Japanese/ Asian the next night and the food there was delicious! Service at both was wonderful and they even put flowers on our table, gave us a personal chocolate birthday cake and sang to us. When we returned to our room that evening they had shaped towels to form 40 40 with balloons as we both turned forty on the same evening. Tips are not expected but are very much appreciated - we tipped everyone that gave us good service, but I never once noticed anyone else tipping while we were there.

The buffet restaurant was bigger than I expected and beautiful. They had many choices available and we always found lots of variety that we could enjoy. Food was hot and fresh and we never once felt sick during our stay and we drank water at dinner and tried many things including some of their "local dishes". One thing I noticed there was that guests there were from every corner of the world. There was not a majority of any particular region so the buffet had to appeal to many, many different preferences. We did not try the Italian place or the steak house, although, we walked through and the plates of steak and potatoes looked appealing.

The bar staff at the swim up bar was more helpful and fun than the other bar. They remembered your preferences and tried to make your visit fun. We brought our own large insulated cups to reduce trips there while on the beach and they filled them up for us happily. As i stated before they poured heavily, so I think the liquor bottles are watered down and then "name brand" may not contain what is advertises. We had fun with the Mamjuana shots. I have seen posters complain about the bartenders taking shots with guests. Many of them would - I think they are encouraged to, but I also caught them spitting it out while guests tipped their shots back. We booked our trip at a very reasonable price so none of the complaints others had bothered us. The drinks were super syrupy and the beer was not drinkable. The wine truly did taste like vinegar. But I expect high end alcohol when I pay high end costs to stay somewhere. I knew this was not going to be that type of trip. This trip was, however, very relaxing, safe and enjoyable. Our room was always clean and we always had lots of great food to eat. We would return to the Riu, happily and we would recommend the Bambu to anyone looking for an inexpensive all-inclusive with great service and gorgeous grounds and beach.

Room Tip: Request either a room closest to the beach and resorts or a new room farther away, based on what is...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whitby, Ontario, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

I just got back yesturday from 7 days at the Riu Bambu. Let me start by saying this was the best vacation ever! From the amazing staff that work night and day to please everyone to the white sand beaches this place will be a repeat spot for us.

Deluxe room- I loved this hotel room, we were on the second floor and had a gorgeous veiw of lush green coconut trees, palm trees and the morning sunise. The fride was always stocked with Beer, 7up, Pepsi, sparkling water, Lemonade, and 3 just 1.5L jugs of water. As well as the famous Riu liquor dispensor /mini bar.

Staff- the staff were very friendly and took great care of us. They worked very hard and were happy doing it. They totally made me feel apart of the Riu Bambu family.

Beach- White sugar sand with blue turquiose water. not a peice of litter in site, the staff was on top of everything!

Food- food was top notce if you ask me, the buffet was awesome and very nice, to much food to choose from haha. they had something for every taste bud. The sushi and Steak house were great.

Pool- the pool bar was good times, lots of laughing and fun for everyone.

By staying at this place for a week I have noticed that the only people that have any complaints are the super ignorant assh*les that cant mingle with anyone. I WILL be a repeat guest at this resort 100%
Im already planning to bring some friends in October, as theyve been missing out on this great place.
If you have any questions about my vacation here this week just send me a msg and ill try to answer the best i can. PS our excursion ( country express) was amazing!!!!

Room Tip: they love canadians!
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Bambu

Address: Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#45 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#56 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#59 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Bambu 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located in Punta Cana * Situated on Arena Gorda Beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Taino and Riu Naiboa hotels * Main building and 1-story bungalow complex * Surrounded by 46,000 m2 / 50,300 sq. yards of palm groves, adjacent to the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Higley * 600 m / 1,980 ft. from Caribbean Street * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int€™l. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Bambu Punta Cana
Riu Bambu Dominican Republic

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