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“Great Place but nothing is ever perfect” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic   |  
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Special Offer
Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #41 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Weymouth, MA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Great Place but nothing is ever perfect”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

This was our 8th visit to the Dominican Republic and our 6th to Punta Cana. This is a really nice Resort. We (2 couples) had a great week long stay and never felt like we were not safe nor did any of our personal belongings disappear as I read in past reviews. If there were problems with safety and security they appear to have been resolved.
Prior to arriving at the Resort we had requested 1st floor rooms closest to the beach but we were originally put in rooms on the 2nd floor in the main building. Our interpretation of the 1st floor and theirs is different and we should have asked for the Ground floor not the 1st floor. After I complained and wined a bit they put us on the ground floor in the VIP section. They said that this was a $500 upgrade but we would not be charged for the upgrade. When we booked our trip on JetBlue we were given only two options, standard or superior suites and we chose the superior suites and paid the extra costs. I sent an email to the Resort two weeks prior to our arrival again stating our suite choices and received an email back confirming our reservations and room choices. A special thanks from us to Nathanel and the front desk Manager for resolving our issue.
Once we were moved and got settled in our new rooms we had very little problems for the rest of the week. I definitely recommend the VIP section as it is closer to the beach and you have another pool with a swim-up bar to use. The VIP area is much quieter than the main pool but you get to choose either one but the non VIP’s cannot use the VIP section. The suites were pretty much the same throughout the resort but those in the VIP section are in what they call the Villas section which are closer to the beach and have a hot-tub on the balcony. They were spacious, clean and comfortable. We found no musty smells in any of the rooms which was a complaint I saw in some of the previous reviews.
The Resort is less than a year old and is well maintained as they are continually cleaning everywhere and everything. An issue I had with the resort is that it really did not have much of a Caribbean feel to it due to its modern styling and its glitzy motif. There was no Caribbean music being played and no Steel drum bands. Our experience at the resort would have been a little better if one of us spoke Spanish or more of the staff spoke English. Most of the staff did not speak or understand English other than the staff at the front desk.
The beach is spectacular and they clean it and pick up seaweed daily. There was no problems getting lounge chairs or beach towels at the beach or in the pool area but the resort was not full. There are no huts on the beach for shade but there are plenty of palm & coconut trees so there was no problem if you wanted to get out of the sun. The beach is one continuous stretch but it has three sections to it. The area in front of the VIP is the best. The area in front of the main pool is also good but there seemed to be more seaweed in that area. Between theses two sections is an area that has large rocks on the shore after the sandy area. Be aware of the water in this area as there are also some large rocks in the water that you cannot see. One of people in our group stumbled on a submerged rock and fell. Another individual that we met had a similar encounter with the rocks and she severely injured her foot and toes. There was no waiters/waitress on the beach which would have been nice, so you had to get your own drinks. We walked over to Riu Palace and they had waiter/waitress service on there beach, so maybe that will change at this resort in the future.
The food here is pretty good and there are plenty of restaurants and cuisines to choose from. We tried all but one of them and had no problem finding something we liked. We tried the Italian, the Steakhouse, Oriental, Krystal (gourmet) and the main Buffet (Monti Christo). There is also a Sports Bar open 24 hours and in the Lobby there is a coffee/pastry shop. There is another buffet located next to the main pool for lunch which turns into the Steakhouse for dinner. Just remember that you are in the DR and there cooking is going to be different than you are used to. About the only thing we didn’t like was the lasagna in the Italian restaurant. If you are a dessert lover you will really appreciate the Main Buffet. They had a chocolate fountain and more sweets than you could shake a stick at, I got a sugar high just walking by them. You have to make reservations for all the restaurants except the Buffet between 9 & 11 AM and we had no problems making reservations, but the resort was not full. We have been to Resorts where reservations aren’t needed and I believe this is the way all resorts should be, maybe someday.
We thought we could go to all of the Riu resorts but we tried to go to the Riu Palace Macao next to our resort but they wouldn’t allow any exchange privileges. We had no problem at the Riu Palace a couple of resorts down the beach. Maybe it’s because The Riu Palace Macao switched to adults only on Nov, 1st but we had no kids? The Riu Palace Bavaro is nicer than any other of the Riu resorts so there is really no reason to go to the other resorts but we liked walking the beach and bar hopping at the other resorts along with cooling off in there pools and checking out the other resorts..
The week we were here, most of the guests were Europeans. Americans and English speaking people were by far in the minority. The shows at night were primarily in Spanish but we had fun with them.
The service throughout the resort was exceptional. We tip people when we get good service but very few people, other than us, tipped at all. I can’t say enough good things about the maids, bartenders, waiters/waitresses, bellmen and front desk people that provide us with fantastic service. At times, we may have had problems communicating but they treated us like kings and queens and we grateful for the services. We would recommend this resort and there is a good chance we will return here again.

Room Tip: VIP section on ground floor, closer to beach & pool.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (404)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
zanesville, ohio
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2012 via mobile

Wow!! This resort is fantastic. From the moment I stepped on the premises I loved it!! The food was spectacular. I love seafood and riu provided. The staff was excellent. Everywhere you went staff said hola and how are you!! Animacion excelente for sure!! I really loved the day and night activities with animacion; darts archery, aerobics, and of course dance lessons!! I went on vacation alone, but I always felt part of a group. I made friends from all over the world and especially Dominicans!! I can't wait to return!! I lived my exolente vacation. ;)

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 8, 2012 via mobile

This is my second Riu resort and I'm still very happy with the Rius. The food here is better than the Palace in Los Cabos and the people here are very friendly. As for cleanliness i don't think they ever stop cleaning it and I'm a clean freak and they way surpass me in the cleanliness dept.

  • Stayed November 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012 via mobile

I usually stay at the Riu Palace Punta Cana.I must say this resort is actually the most modern of the Rius. The rooms are gorgeous,the staff is very friendly and attentive. I felt very safe at this resort and the food is delicious,if you stay over 2 days its repetitive but they have wonderful theme nights.I recommend the buffet,I ate at the Italian restaurant and must say the shrimp weren't deveined and the food was bland.
The beach is very clean,I was kinda of surprised that they didn't serve drinks on the beach. Bring cash to the beach as you may want to purchase somethings from the local vendors.I bought two starfish for $10.You can definitely negotiate with the locals. The shops at the resort are extremely overpriced. I recommend going to the plaza or local supermarket for liquor and souvenir.FYI the mini fridge in the hotel room do not really cool well,we had it changed twice.Oh and don't exchange your money US $ is more valuable
Overall very beautiful hotel,you will not regret it.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

My husband and I go to the DR every year and this was our third trip. We have stayed at two previous hotels that were nice but Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro by far was the nicest and just what we were looking for! We stayed for 7 days and since we only go one time a year for a big vacation, we did splurge on the VIP Ocean Front Villa...it was well worth the money to us as you could just open up your two big windows and see the beautiful ocean! The room was awesome and in the VIP area you had your own pool and pool bar...that did help because it was never too crowded and was a bit more relaxing but still very fun! The villa was spacious with everything that you need...but I will say that if you are a private person, these rooms give you none of that. Although the toilet area has a door, the room echos so you may as well not even have a door...which can sometimes be an issue especially if someone is not feeling good if you know what I mean. But they do provide a huge TV so you can just turn that up! :) Another thing is that our room had an AWESOME A/C and at one point I was wearing my hoodie and lounge pants and still cold because it would get down to 64 in our room. Being from Texas we love that A/C and this room def passed the test! The bed was comfortable and most of all, the room was super clean and our housekeeper did a fantastic job every day to make sure it was nice and clean. She would make these cool towel animals and then decorate them with the flowers growing outside. We did leave her $20 at the end of the week because of how sweet she was and the good job she did. The hotel itself is very nice and modern. They have plenty of restaurants, bars and the coffee shop (which I loved!). You will read in the other reviews about the food not being good but I can tell you that we were never disppointed with any meal! If you only eat the buffet day in and out, it can seem like the same things over and over, but it was still good! We tried out all of the main restaurants and the Japanese was our favorite. You do need to watch the food as one night we ate in the Italian dining and my chicken was cold and pink...but other than that all of the food was great! Also the food is NOT going to be the same as what you eat at home...you need to be open to the foods, tastes, etc. The bars were fun and they have different areas for everyone...so if you want to let loose, watch sports, play games or just relax. That is what we loved about it! Everyone for the most part was nice at the hotel, some more than others but this is their country and we are visitors there. It is helpful if you know the basics of Spanish as it makes them a bit more comfortable and they tend to open up a bit more but it is not required. Back to the VIP villas...we loved that they were far away from all of the main areas where everyone else was at. It made for a more relaxing and quite place so we could just enjoy the ocean and ourselves. We had a very cool patio with two chairs and we would make drinks from the bar in our room and sit out there and stare into the sky. One note: our villa was on the first floor and during the day or end of day when people were out and about, they would stare at you on your patio which was annoying but overall it was very cool! In a lot of the reviews you will read people complaining about the walk from the villas to the other places, but really it is not that far...you just have to choose what is important to you and for us it was being more secluded as we go on vacation to relax, not to be right in the middle of everything or party it up every night. We also did two excursions: the zip line (AWESOME) and the segway tour. The zip line by far was the coolest thing we have done while being in the DR...I was so scared but after you get your first or second line in, it becomes addicting! I highly recommend!!! The segway tour was super cool and it allowed us to see a different area of Punta Cana and native things. Here are some things you need to be sure to take: shoes with a back on them, bug spray (we also had mosquitos in our room and had to spray every time we were in there), sunscreen, a hat to block the sun and if you like to sit on the beach, take a insulated tumbler. The tumbler keeps your drinks so cold and they do sell them in the gift shop but they are $12-20 each and you can get one much cheaper here in the states. There is a street market next to the hotel and we did walk down it but they had the same crap that the others did and they were very marked up...I don't like to buy all of that stuff but if you wanted or needed something, it is right there. When you are on the beach, there are vendors that will come and bother you. If you don't want to be bothered, don't acknowledge them...they are persistant so just say no unless you really are interested. Some sell jewelry, cigars, excursions and fresh coconuts. So do try to take a little cash on the beach if you think you would buy something otherwise they will want to follow you to your room, which is not a good idea. I did buy a bracelet and it was reasonably priced and we also bought a coconut. It was not good but my husband loved it and he even bought another...but don't drink them hot because it will make you sick, like it did him. Be sure to take plenty of cash because if you have to use the ATM, which there is one right by the hotel, it gives you DR money...not American money. We made that mistake last year and will never do that again! Also don't let them talk you into exhanging your money at the airport...it is not necessary and peope in the DR actually prefer American dollars because of the higher exchange rate. A lot of the excursions at the hotel will take either cash or credit cards and they ususally run about $80-125 per person depending on what you do. Last year we did the doon buggie tour and that was fun as well! Oh one other thing, if you stay in the VIP villas you get free wi-fi in your room which was cool and helped me stay in touch for free with our dog sitter instead of being charged crazy fees with AT&T to use my phone. One other thing and I am sorry for jumping around, but we had read reviews about safety and crime at this resort. I can tell you that as my husband being a police officer, we never felt like anything was out of the norm, never had any weird instances and our safe worked properly each day. Overall this was a wonderful resort that we highly recommend! I will say that you need to be open to visiting another country and the way they do things...it is not going to be like being at your home but isn't that why you go on vacation??? To experience and see beautiful things! People just need to relax and go there because it truly is an aweome experience!

Room Tip: The closer you are to the beach the quiter the area...also some of the rooms are located in direct v...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Franklin, Tennessee
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 3, 2012

We spent 5 days at the Riu with another couple from Oct 5th thru the 12th. The hotel is definately designed differently from the typical "caribbean themed" resort, with more of a contemporary Miami Beach feel. It is amazing and colorful but doesnt appeal to everone's taste, but the decor isn't the main attraction here, it's the warm Domonican sun, beach and ocean. Like the other Riu property we have visited, the Palace Bavaro offers excellent service in an exteremly clean environment. Employees are constantly cleaning, landscaping, and working on general maintanance with very little dispruption to guests. Employees will stop working when guests approach and will smile and greet them.........a very positive touch!
We read some negative reviews about the food choices on Trip Advisor before we arrived, but generally found our selections at the buffets to be varied and delicious. If you are willing to try new things, each meal can be an interesting and enjoyable food journey. We never ate at any of the specialty restaurants (hate standing in lines to sign up for reservations), but learned that the same food is served in the main buffet. This allowed us to eat when we choose to, rather than at a specific time.
Room tip, upgrade to the Villa Suites if you like a quieter experience. with it's own pool and pool bar, it was definately a great place to relax after a day on the beach! Plus 24 hour free wifi is included in your room price. If serenity isn't for you, then any where in the main building around the main pool/entertainment areas will keep you entertained all day and evening.
As noted in our previous reviews, a pleasant attitude will help you navigate throughout the property, the employees from the front desk, buffets, room service, pool, beach and maintanance crews are more than willing to help you if you are pleasant and respectful. I know it can be hard to remember this while you are on vacation, but you are a guest in their country. Learn some basic Spanish, por favor, gracias....please and thank you, can help make your Riu experience as amazing as ours was!

Thanks Riu and Delta Vacations for another great vacation!

Room Tip: Upgrade to the Villa Suites, well worth the additional cost. Take an old gift card from home (the ki...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2012 via mobile

My wife and I stayed for two weeks in September, I can only say one thing aboutb this hotel its fantastic.
In all the years ive been going on holiday i have never returned to a hotel twice, I will without a shadow of doubt be returning to the Riu Bavero.

A big thanks to all the managment and staff for making our holiday so fantastic

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

Address: Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #41 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
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