In February of 2013, I went on a trip to the Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, in Punta Cana, DR. I spent 7 days and nights at the resort, and tried out the various offerings that the facility has to offer.
Location: This hotel sits right on Bavaro Beach, and is only about 20 minutes away from the airport. The view from the lounge chairs on the beach is absolutely breathtaking. The color of the water is, indeed, just like in pictures, and the sand is soft and white. You can choose to be in the sun (which is incredibly strong and will burn you in 5 minutes with no sun screen), or take cover under some palm trees. I would recommend finding a good spot on the beach early, since at about 10:00 AM, the beach chairs will all be taken. The beach is very close to the rooms, and free ground transportation is available for those with rooms that are farther from the pools and water sports area.
Rooms: In the first 5 minutes or so, the rooms appear to be fabulous. They are mostly clean, the beds are comfortable, and most rooms come with a private outdoor jacuzzi. The rooms appear to be new as well, and nothing seems to peel away or fall apart. However, if privacy is one of your concerns, I recommend choosing another hotel. The bathroom doors are made of translucent sliding glass doors, which do not lock, (let alone close all the way), and have a 6x2 inch hole in them, as a handle. The only way to get around this issue is to tape luggage tags to cover the openings, though housekeeping will likely remove it the following day. Also, if you plan on using the outdoor jacuzzi, keep in mind that you are visible from all of the balconies in that complex. One last issue which is worth noting is that the in-room air conditioning will only work if the balcony door is closed, so don't leave it open, even a bit, and expect the room to cool off. The concerns with privacy have a higher than expected impact on the stay, and I would highly recommend considering whether this is a problem to you or not, before booking a stay. 2/5
Food: For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are two restaurants that serve a buffet. There is an enormous selection of food, and unlimited quantity, but the quality is very poor. Many things appear to be tempting at first, but once they are tasted, the temptation goes away. I would say that the best meal out of all 3 is breakfast, followed by dinner, and then lunch. Even the simplest things such as salads and omelette taste dreadful. There were only a few things worth eating: the custom-made pasta, freshly-squeezed melon, watermelon, and pineapple juice, and the incredible fresh papayas and exotic fruits. I would have to give the food 2/5 stars, because most of it is absolutely non-edible. It seems as if the hotel tries to cut costs by using cheaper ingredients, and trust me, it shows...
Service: The service in this hotel is very average. The staff themselves, for the most part, are very nice people, who appreciate their jobs, and the guests. However, the service they give does not exactly match the price. I had to wait for my room for 2 hours before it was ready, despite the fact that my flight was delayed by 2 hours, yet there was barely an apology. Also, many of the staff have trouble speaking English, so those who don't know Spanish should learn a bit. 3/5
Other useful information: I recommend bringing about $100 in $1 and $5 bills, since tips are widely appreciated, and often deserved. Also, activities like kayaking and windsurfing are free, but activities like waterskiing require additional charges.
I would really hesitate on whether to recommend this hotel to a friend, simply because I think that if food, rooms, and service are not as important as location, to that friend, then this would be a great hotel for him/her. However, the pricing is incredibly high, and the value for money is pretty low (unless all you want to do is take photos of the beautiful beach).
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.