The resort itself was good, we enjoyed ourselves and had a good time. Was there from January 18-28. The beach was fantastic and as a few people who had walked down from their resort commented, the Catalonia Bavaro Beach was the best slice of the beach that they had seen.
Overcrowded, there was a lot of furniture, we had our King Size bed which was firm but comfortable, we had a loveseat, a chair, a TV, the mini bar, a desk, a tub that fit both of us and we are not small you could fit a starting 5 in the tub, but you couldn't fit much more than a child in the shower, and lastly we had a single bed, don't know why but it was there. The rooms are not sound proof, and you can hear everyone who is on your floor or upstairs. We had paid for the privileged package, but did not get much of what was promised with that. They did not deliver towels upon arrival as promised, there was no Wifi in the room and this was the common thread for everyone in that section that we spoke to. There was no pillow menu, no slippers, no robes as promised ( not that we wanted to use it but it should of been there). The Wifi in the room was the major detraction as we wanted to be in touch with our kids and we couldn't do that in the room like we wanted. International calling is $1.49/min . The room service was ok, we only took advantage of it once for a late afternoon pizza after a nap. Housekeeping was good, they gave us decorative sculptures with the towels and fresh flowers a couple times during our week, they were pleasant to speak to and they worked hard. Just FYI we didn't get fresh towels but heard others did in there buildings. Also you are entitled to late check out til 3 pm if there is availability which we did get but you have to go the day before and for an extra $30 you can have the 6 a`clock check out that we paid as we were leaving after 8 pm
The Beach: It was fabulous but it was also open to the public. This of course meant vendors for excursions, remember the phrase "The King is the Best" cause he will come visit you. Everyday whether you are at the beach or at the pool. Yes there was seedweed and some days the ocena was cloudy because of high winds but there was nothing you can do over mother nature. There was a consent crew of trying to clean it up.
The Bars: Fantastic service, did not need to tip to get great service, but they were so friendly and welcoming, they were the highlight of this resort, and it did not matter what bar, they were all great. They were having as good a time as the guests, but they never stopped working. If they weren't making drinks they were cleaning, and I mean cleaning anything and everything. They were the best. The pool bar the one day had coconuts to drink from my wife enjoyed that.
The Restaurants: The Steak House -- The best service of all the restaurants by far, and the food was very enjoyable, we liked our steaks, the buffalo chicken wings were not buffalo chicken wings but they were delicious just like the steak.
The Italian: The food was good, the service was absolutely horrendous. You get two small courses and while it was delicious (although the Minestrone tasted like it came from a Campbell's plant) but word of advice go have some crepes afterwards, you won't be full. In terms of service, after the food and drinks were initially brought they never visited our table again. They forgot about us and there was no excuse as there were 8 servers for about 20 tables.
The Mexican: Bad service and the food was not good either. The stuffed chicken was not stuffed it came with a sauce that somewhat matched the stuffing that was described. The taco taco was good but fiery hot, sensitive stomachs should not try this one, I enjoyed it but spicy food doesn't typically bother me. The service, there was a mix of excellent and downright awful here. There was one server who was quite short, he was absolutely fabulous, going around to all the tables, he was entertaining, engaging, giving high 5s etc, and making sure your drinks were full, that you had what you wanted. He wasn't even our server but he did a great job serving us. So much so that we walked by our server to give him a tip, this guy needs to be a trainer for the other servers. The menu was not accurate, the nachos do not say anything about meat, but there was meat on them, which was a very big disappointment for my wife who wanted the nachos and ordered them because there was no mention of meat of any kind. The resort needs to learn here, this can be extremely dangerous, people order off a menu based on what they want and can eat, there are too many food allergies out there to go putting stuff in the food that isn't described on the menu.
The Japanese: The food was excellent, the chefs were good, although they could use some more training, some of the chefs we've seen at other resorts were better, but the 2nd chef we had was entertaining and engaging, he posed for pictures and other stuff along the way. The service was good and bad, both times that we were there, we along with the other 10 people were unceremoniously told to leave immediately after we were done our food and told we could have dessert in another room. Not good customer service but still better than the Italian.
The Creperie: Not much to say here, best service and great food, the chef doesn't usually get tipped but we made it a point to tip both the server and the chef. The chef made me a special order the first time we went, we gave him a tip both times we visited and he was incredibly appreciative. The server was friendly, engaged in conversation with us and was just basically one of the best parts of the resort, this is another gentleman who should be training the serving staff.
The Buffets (two of them): Service was better at the beach than at the lobby. At the lobby you could go through a meal without seeing a server or a busser. At the beach, watch your plates, they will take them prematurely if you get up to get something. Just a warning if you pay for the privileged again there is suppose to special seating based on this (a section) , they put anyone in there and again the service was not great in there.
The Towel Guys: A tale of two cities here, the best of times was the heavy set guy, great to talk to friendly and helpful. The taller, thinner guy not so much. He was condescending and not very agreeable.
The front desk for check in was awful and didn't even know their own rules about towels and other stuff. No separate check in for privileged either. They didn't"t give us towel cards because he said we didn't need them due to the bracelets we had on, and when that next morning when we went to get towels for the beach we were told NO TOWELS with NO CARDS. We explained that the front lobby person said we didn't need it, and it was a pain going back to get the cards and delaying our morning.
Overall, don't believe all the bad things, but don't bother paying for the privileged, it was not worth the 120 per week for each of us. The one good thing, they will upgrade you to the privileged for free on subsequent visits so that you can get next to nothing of what they advertise.
Don't get me wrong we had a blast, but we paid extra for things we found to be attractive and worth the extra money but we did not get those items. I hate to say it, but compared to the Cofresi Palm Beach and Spa where we stayed two years ago with a lower star rating, this resort did not compete on any of the following, service, food, animation staff. If the Cofresi was located in Punta Cana and had the beach that the Catalonia had it would have been incredible. The staff needs to do better, and the food service management needs to do better with the food. Great time though and although we didn't get what we were looking for we did enjoy ourselves and had a great vacation that could have easily been just that much better.
The tips I can give,
1.) first ask for your pasta or omelets cooked well done which they will do
2 The best internet service is by the pool going towards the beach and buffet
3. bring a power bar for extra plugs as you get two one on the desk wall and one in the bathroom
4. get your towels in the morning they seem to run out during the day
5. the shops are not that expensive compared to the airport, they will charge everything to your room make sure you keep all receipts
6. there is a mini vendors to the right of the beach they are pushy but there you can bargain down
be persistent, they are pushy in trying to sale you things but say no thanks or i don't wear jewellery that seemed to work, i even said a limit i was willing to spend so on a bracelet i said 3.00 he said 7, I said three he came back 5 and I said nope three is what I have and he said fine 3.00. They will push you to each vendor but be polite look and enjoy the experience.
7. Pay a taxi to leave early to get to the airport, we split with a couple who was on our plane so for $15 each couple we got there early and didnt have as long of a line to wait in.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.