My husband and I, and our 3 sons, aged 16, 13 and 4 stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe from March 1st - March 8th. We had a wonderful time!
Punta Cana airport - yikes! After a lengthy 7 hour flight, we arrived in Punta Cana to beautiful weather. The airport was crowded, as there were about 3 or 4 other flights arriving at the same time as us. We made our booking through Air Transat and were provided with tourist cards prior to disembarking from the plane. Massive confusion - some travellers had cards, some did not, and should have been separated into two lines. It was not clear which line people were to get into and airport staff were not overly helpful. If you were a first time traveller, I could see this being very confusing. We did not have to wait at all for our luggage, and quickly hopped on the bus to be transferred to our resort. It took about an hour to get through the airport and onto the bus, and only about 20 minutes to the resort.
Check in - quick and efficient. The friendly staff at the front desk all speak English very well, and were able to answer many of our questions. We were greeted with a drink and a bellboy took us to our room. Within 10 minutes we were in our room.
Rooms - our room was located in the family section and was spacious and well appointed. The room was separated into two sleeping quarters and a common bathroom. Each bedroom has its own balcony, and one balcony has its own little hot tub. Balconies also have towel racks for drying bathing suits and towels, etc. Bedding, and fixtures are modern and rooms are very clean. Our room was thoroughly cleaned (swept, mopped, tub cleaned, sheets every few days etc.) on a daily basis and fridge and snacks were restocked daily as well. Thank you Yemis! There is no bathtub in the room, so if you are planning on bathing toddlers, or infants, you would have to do so outside. The shower has a wall mounted dispenser for shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.
Beach and pools - the beach was very nice, not one of the most beautiful I've ever been to, but about an 8/10. The beach has very soft white sand, but the water is kind of weedy, and drops off a little more quickly that other beaches I've been to. There is no shortage of chairs, and many palm trees for those seeking shade. We were told by other travellers that because the Barcelo was one of the first hotels built in Punta Cana, they were able to secure so much beach frontage. The resort spans parallel to the beach, as opposed to perpendicular, like other resorts in the area. It would be nice to have a grill at the beach, and a beach bar, but the walk to the pool bar is not far. The pool area is built directly behind the beach, and is huge. It features a relaxing pool, and lap pool, and some whirlpools, as well as a small kids area. There is also an adults only pool and a pool in the family area with waterslides. There is another larger waterpark, with a small admission fee - we did not spend time there. Many afternoons were spent at the pool in the family area. It was awesome and my 4 year old loved it - the teenagers found it to be a bit baby-ish. Fabulous bar area in the family section, and we would love to thank our warm and friendly bartenders, Marilin and Leonidas, for making us up such fabulous drinks and for visiting with us. We truly enjoyed the wonderful service!
Activities - many things to do at this resort. We played a little mini-golf as a family ($ after 6 pm), and our sons played the real thing. The boys were only able to play 9 holes, but had a great time and found the course to be very beautiful. The mini-golf course was lots of fun. There is a disco, which we never went to, and a teen disco, which our older boys went to. The teen disco is not well attended, which is unfortunate, because they said it was actually pretty cool inside. The teen disco is located beside the mini-golf and laser tag area, and no alcoholic drinks are served in this section. We attended a few shows and were impressed. The auditorium is beautiful. Our sons also logged quite a few hours in the evening playing pool in the sports bar.
Food and drinks - all very good. There is a very good selection of food at this resort - the buffets are great, the la carte restaurants are also very good, and the food in the sports bar is perfect for anyone who is "fussy" and prefers more North American style food. Drinks are also great, and if you prefer a certain type of spirit, bartenders are happy to accommodate your requests. As mentioned previously, it would be nice to have a beach bar and grill for more casual eating.
Service - wonderful, wonderful service. I cannot say enough about the fabulous staff at this resort. Having previously worked in the restaurant/bar industry, my husband and I are always very polite to staff, and are very generous tippers. We find that it really makes no difference - those who do not tip receive the same courteous service from staff at this resort. Just about zero wait time for a table at the buffet or a drink at the bar. Everyone we spoke with had excellent command of the English language, and it was never a problem having our requests answered. There are some very rude travellers out there – we often felt embarrassed at the way some guests treated staff members, or constantly griped very loudly about seemingly small things. Vacationing is expensive, and while it is important that you feel that you are receiving good value for your money, it is not fair to take out your grievances on the wait staff and bartenders. A simple smile and a thank you goes a long way.
Cleanliness - this resort is soooo clean. Grounds are meticulously kept. Some mornings, we would see staff cleaning the tiles of the pool, or sweeping and mopping the pathways, and I'm certain that there is a full-time glass cleaner. The resort was recently renovated and it shines. The beach is also very tidy, and is raked on a daily or twice daily basis.
Advice - bring some nicer clothes for night time. Some decent heels and a cocktail dress or two, as flip flops and a sundress don't really quite cut it at night. I packed mostly casual items and felt pretty underdressed most of the time. Many tourists are European, and are very well-dressed at night. Pack lots of sunscreen, it, as well as other pharmacy related items, is pricey at the gift shop. Smile and say thanks! Vacations are supposed to be fun!
All in all, we had a wonderful time and would certainly return to this resort. It is a great place to travel as a family, but would also be suitable for groups of friends, or couples.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.