Stayed here from January 15-22, 2015. I booked this hotel last minute for me and my 10yr old daughter to go on a quick get-a-way. I had read all the reviews, both positive and negative. It wasn't the cheapest place, but far from being the most expensive. Just right for my budget.
The location is excellent. Only 20 mins from the airport, and is in the middle of one of the nicest stretch of beach I have seen. We checked in about 9pm without any hassle. I had pre-paid for the site wide WiFi, but when i asked at the desk, they said the manager has to authorize it and that he was gone for the night and they told me to come back in the morning. I just paid a few bucks in the vending machine for a days access and was online instantly. The next morning without even having to stop by the desk, the access password was slipped under my room door and all is good.
I got a standard room on the 3rd floor in 5000 Block. Close to the beach, and close to the main pool, close to everything. It's not a new hotel, buildings are older, furniture is old, but the room was very clean, always had hot water, good shower head & pressure, hair dyer worked, Pillows were very nice, beds were hard, but I still slept perfectly on them, plus we had each brought a small fleece blanket in our carry-on for added comfort. We didn't come to Punta Cana to stay in our room, we were gone before 8am every day and didn't go back (unless to quickly change clothes) until at least 10PM. So, for our purpose they were just right. I never even turned on the TV. We brought our own shampoo, soap, etc. so even if it was supplied, i wouldn't have used it. One unique thing about the room is that for the lights and air conditioner to work, you have to insert your room key (only one given) into a slot on the wall. So when we got there late at night the room was a little warm and muggy and the air conditioner was more of a fan than a cooling unit, but by morning the room was just about perfect. There is also a switch on the patio door to shut the air off when the door is open. Good for power savings but a tad annoying. With the door open, you could hear the music from the beach (which I actually enjoyed), but once closed it was very quiet.
The food is buffet food. There has not been a buffet that I have ever really fully enjoyed in my life, so this was no different. The presentation of food was very nice. You definitely had to be pretty selective with what you chose. Mornings I stuck to the omelettes and french toast. My daughter had either cereal or fruits. The self-serve coffee "vending machine" actually produced what I thought was incredible delicious coffee. We only went for lunch a few times, and it was average. Had supper the 1st night and it was also average. We got reservations for the Italian, Mexican & Gourmet restaurants the following nights. They were all tasty and satisfying but nothing too special either. Stopped by the snack bar a few times during the day and again late at night for ice cream and coffee. Tried the fries and burger there too, once again not bad, but not the best either. Overall I think the food is ok but not quite up to my standards. I heard there is a good, fancier restaurant a little way down the beach but we never found it.
Bar service was always good. I always got what I ordered. I wasn't there to start a conversation with the servers so language really wasn't a barrier. Everyone was polite. Even when I needed something from the other staff, I was able to relay what I wanted and I always got what they were saying, even if I didn't know the words. Never had any real contact or need to communicate with the staff but when I did, there was never a problem.
The beach is a bit crowded, If you’re not there early, finding a chair in the perfect spots can be tough, most of the sunny spots are taken, leaving only the shaded areas, but you can always drag your chair to another spot quite easily. Never were very many people in the warm water, so was always good for a quick dip. Be prepared to get bugged by the locals walking by selling sunglasses, or trinkets. A simple “No” and they’re on their way. The others working on commission selling excursion packages are a bit harder to get rid of, but at the same time I did buy a couple, and they were very polite & helpful. When we went parasailing there was a guy on the boat taking pictures, I agreed to pay for them and he said he’ld meet me at the resort entrance that evening at 6pm to give us the CD. He didn’t show up, the next day I mentioned it to one of the “salesmen”, he ran off to search and within 10min, the pictures were in my hands. Depending on if you want their services or not, it can be either helpful or a nuisance.
The 3 pools were nice. We only used the main pool. They were never busy, just a couple swimmers at most, or the odd group of a few people taking scuba lessons on the far end. The thing I really didn’t like is that they close the fully lit pools down when it gets dark at 7pm? We were on the beach or on excursions until at least that time every night, so didn’t have a chance to take advantage of them. My daughter loves the water and would have loved to go swimming in the evening after supper. I would have joined her too or sat by the pool enjoying a drink while shew swam. Unfortunately when we did try one night she was asked politely to get out.
There were shows put on every night beside the main buffet area. We did walk by and watch a couple minutes, but never did stay to see a full show. What I did see seemed like it could be fairly entertaining. There were always other activities scheduled every day: volleyball, dance lessons, soccer, games, exercise classes etc. I didn’t attend any one of them so really can’t comment on those. All I know is that they existed. I also never saw any of the advertised non-motorized water sport equipment? There is a booth by the beach but it appeared that all they wanted to do is sell you lessons or excursions?
Overall I think this is an adequate resort. Nothing too fancy but not a dump either. I don’t normally like to stay at the same resort on every trip I take. I always like trying different places, sometimes better, sometimes worse, but I wouldn’t hesitate to stay here again. At least I know what to expect.
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- Also Known As:
- Carabela Beach Hotel Punta Cana
- Carabela Beach Resort And Casino
- Carabela Bavaro Hotel
- Carabela Bavaro Punta Cana