So, first off, I give this 4 stars because of comparative places I have visited in the Carribean - and no, it would never be a 4 star hotel in North America. Second, folks, you are on vacation - if you are worried about some tiles being loose in a bathroom, saw a cockroach somewhere, the food wasn't fine dining and this bothers you terribly, suggest you stay in a nice hotel in your local city. This was excellent value (I paid just over $1000 pp in the middle of March break) for a Punta Cana resort. So very happy with my choice.
Beach - gorgeous....150 yards or so deep of lovely soft white sand with well spread out Palm trees. Lots of chairs (resort was full) and several palapas (you need to be out no later than 7:30 am) but if you didn't get one, lots of trees for shade. Only drawback was that there are grassbeds in the water (lots of area without though), but the grass detaches and they have to sweep every day and there are some floating stuff in the water in places. A reef breaks up the waves about a half mile from shore so nice calm water. Very little watersports - very little coming and going from dive shop, a very occasional banana boat ride...short and infrequent so not an issue. Topless? Yelp, my son and I went topless, my wife did not...place was full, some university kids. 6-12 women a day would be topless...big deal. I'm pretty sure my 13 year old son does not need therapy. Just a non-issue.
Pool - very nice, water nice temperature, pool bar. Have seen fancier ones and I suppose some tiles could be painted but not noticeably. Lots of chairs, trees and palapas for shade, good snack bar (better than I've seen even at the Bahia Principe in Mexico).
Drinks - quite good. Almost as good as my experiences in Mexico and ten times better than Cuba. Beer was very decent and very cold. The Bar at the lobby was particularly good and a nice "bar feel" at that bar. No issues at all at the pool or beach bar. Lots of mint and limes on hand. Very decent margaritas...my wife even was okay with the restaurant wine...better again than Mexico or Cuba.
Food. My expectations were low given it was the DR but pleasantly surprised. Nothing to write home about but very decent quality and selection. I especially liked the cheese bar...a guy does nothing but stand there and cut up what kind of cheese you want...lots of choices..and that is at the buffet. Did all 4 a la cartes...Japanese was somewhat entertaining - quite social - but very poor teppanaki - overcooked. Mexican was actually very decent and lovely restaurant theme inside and out. Steakhouse was a nice theme as well, very relaxing, lots of choices - again, this isn't the Keg so don't expect a thick cut of beef, but it was good. Italian was the best - try the Ossobucco. Lovely atmosphere and amazing service. Lastly, but not least, I think most people didn't realize there is a Creperie (included) after 4 pm till 11pm. We would often walk around the boardwalk shops and sit at a nice outside table on the boardwalk and have a delicious crepe - lots of choices of toppings...and very few people were ever there despite the resort being full. Good friendly service too.
Rooms - quite nice, spacious, Panasonic flat screen TV, huge tub, small shower stall, kept very clean, most comfortable bed I have had in all my trips to the carribean. Had a ground floor which I wasn't thrilled about but turned out to be great. And...no cost for the safe which is nice. Again, this isn't the Marriot in New York. If you want something fancy and better then stay in the US or pay much more $$$ and go to another resort...again, beautiful beach - great value here.
Service - almost everybody was very friendly, very helpful and language was never a problem. The gymnasium guy seemed a bit unfriendly when borrowing ping pong paddles and the like but that is pretty minor. No complaints on service. Estesia that greeted us was fantastic and made us feel at home.
Vendors - Was never bothered by a vendor on the beach to buy stuff EXCEPT excursion people...they were constant but most simply walked by if you said "no thank you". They would wait for you outside the buffet restaurant by the beach in the morning..you had to walk past about 4 of them from at least 2 different companies. Resort should not allow them within a certain distance of restaurants or bars. One night there were several vendors allowed to have tables up near the lobby with cigars, rum, jewellery (mostly) and paintings...they were a little pushy but not terrible.
Entertainment - wasn't impressed with the night shows I saw...Miss Catalonia was terrible, just 4 young women from the audience having to do certain things. Shaw the Musical Show dancing...they tried hard but very poor compared to shows I'd seen in Mexico and Cuba...not good. Activity people weren't very pushy for darts, archery, yoga, dance exercises...etc. which was good. Note though that resort photographers are out every day kind of pushy to take posed pictures for you and your family...you can go see them on the boardwalk at night and purchase them...we actually surprisingly did this...very good photos.
Excursions - did the parasailing - booked at the resort dive shop but happens in front of the Barcelo and Melia (what a zoo that area is with boat traffice - terrible). Parasailing...okay I guess, experience not great as the parasailing van dropped us off in the care of a guy who runs a souvenier shop that claims they aren't ready for you so you stay in the store. Even though we were only a 10 minute drive away, the van was 20 min late picking us up and it turned out that a 10 minute parasail burned 3 hours of the afternoon. Also did the zipline - booked through our vacation provider Transat...a good experience,12 lines, well run, interesting drive in the country (40 min).
NB. not that it matters but clientele mid March was mainly Canadian, European with several Russians and only some Americans...lots of the Americans were students on March break...pretty well behaved.
hope this helps - remember, beautiful beach, not far from the airport, very little boat traffic, calm water (although some floating grass that comes in), decent food, very decent drinks, fair price.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A magnificent hotel resort with exclusive, white sandy beaches, crystalline Caribbean waters, palm trees lining the coast and abundant vegetation throughout the complex. Coral reefs along the beach allow guests to enjoy the rich marine life of the Caribbean Sea. It is located in Playa Bavaro (Punta Cana), one of the best beach areas in the Dominican Republic. The complex is situated 20 km from the International Airport of Punta Cana and 47 km from Higuey. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Caribbean Online Mgt Corp., Agoda, Otel, Orbitz, BookIt.com and Odigeo so you can book your Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Bavaro Beach Hotel
- Catalonia Punta Cana
- Catalonia Bavaro Beach Golf & Casino Resort
- Catalonia Bavaro Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Catalonia Bavaro
- Catalonia Bavaro Beach Resort
- Catalonia Bavaro Resort Punta Cana
- Catalonia Hotel Punta Cana
- Catalonia Resort Punta Cana
- Catalonia Bavaro Hotel