We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Exceeded Expectations” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

Save Saved
You added Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro to your Saves list
Best prices for your stay
Enter dates for best prices
Check In mm/dd/yyyy Check Out mm/dd/yyyy
Show Prices
Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
4.0 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa de Arena Gorda | Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel website
  |  
Hotel packages
  |  
Hotel deals
  |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #36 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Little Rock, Arkansas
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Exceeded Expectations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

This was my first trip to the DR and my first time at a Riu resort. I was nervous after reading negative reviews here on Trip Advisor, but I couldn't have been happier with this vacation.

Check in: Quick and easy. We upgraded to a VIP villa. That was easily accommodated. Front desk staff spoke good English and were very friendly. We were offered fruit punch to drink, and it was very delicious. I did not notice an upleasant odor that others have described. Although I didn't care for the decor, it was very nicely kept and clean.

Lobby bar/Coffee bar: Great service at both bars. The coffee drinks were delicious. We often had pre-dinner drinks at the lobby bar every night. It was usually very lively and busy, but we always found a place to sit and enjoy a beverage.

Room: We stayed in a ground-level VIP villa. It was definitely worth the $80/night upgrade. Our villa had a spacious patio w/a private hot tub. We used it on the evenings/afternoons when it was raining and it was so relaxing. Our room was also spacious and very clean. The air conditioning was cold!! Our room was kept clean and the mini bar was kept stocked. We read reports of the beds being too hard to sleep in. I did note that the mattress was very firm, but I slept soundly every night. We loved our room location. It was very close to the VIP pool and the beach. If it started raining, we could easily get back to our room and into the hot tub. The room safe worked perfectly, and we had nothing stolen from us.

Room Service: extremely limited menu. We tried the nachos (not good, basically what you would get at a sporting event), raspberry cheesecake (OK), and chocolate cake (really, really good).

Krystal Restaurant: we ate here twice. It was my favorite of the restaurants. Starters: mixed reviews. About half our group liked the tuna tataki. Few liked the beet gazpacho, but a couple of us (myself included) really liked it. Appetizers: soup was really good and the mini lettuce rolls were great. Entrees: the shrimp and the lamb were both really good. Desserts: the apple pie was OK, didn't care for the others.

Steakhouse: Starters were OK, but the octopus ceviche was great. Ribeye, not great; tenderloin, good; pork ribs were great. Dessert was OK.

Geisha Restaurant (Japanese): sushi was good. The restaurant was not full, so we asked if they had extra sushi platters. They did, and they brought them out. Soup was OK. I had shrimp tempura for dinner, was good. Did not care for dessert.

Italian restaurant: Starters were served buffet style. Some were good and some were not. Entrees were hit and miss. The pasta was prawns was good.

Monte Cristo buffet: overwhelming selection @all meals. Loved the sunny-side-up eggs in salsa at bkst. Other high points: croissants; pasta made to order at lunch; ice cream/gelato at lunch; pizza at lunch; great selection of colds meats and cheeses at all meals.

Overall food: I was pleased w/the food. There was a huge selection. Since most of the clientele appears to be European, the food was not highly "American". This was fine w/me, I like to try new things. I would say the food was a step above cruise ship food.

Bar service: The actual service was good. Limited beer choice, but I could live w/that b/c I am not a big beer drinker. I mainly drank pina coladas (really good), daiquiris (good), rum punch (good), and rum and coke (or in this case Pepsi). I had no complaints w/my drinks. The wines are not great, but we found one red one that we really liked. It was a cabernet savignon and the label said "Regio".

Beach: beautiful!!!!! I didn't notice a problem w/seaweed. Plenty of chairs available and plenty of palm trees and shade.

Pools: we spent most of our time at the VIP pool. I loved it there. It was quieter, but still fun. The bar staff was very nice. Plenty of seating (lounge chairs and beds) and plenty of shade (if desired).

Overall impression: I loved the Riu Palace Bavaro. I would not hesitate to come back to this facility and I would definitely go to another Riu Resort.

Room Tip: VIP villas are close to pool and beach, lower levels have private hot tubs on the patio.
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,314 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
    683
    391
    135
    59
    46
See reviews for
305
659
12
11
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 (373)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Kansas City, MO
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2012

I just spent the last week at Riu Palace Bavaro and had such a great, relaxing vacation! My husband and I traveled with 10 other people and everyone had a great trip! The rooms and grounds are very well kept up and very clean! Keep in mind it is very humid so if the air is not turned on in your room, it can get a mildew smell - once the air started running again, the smell went away. Service was great- we called a couple times to get our fridge re-stocked and they took care of this very quickly. We did tip some but never felt pressured to. The staff was always very friedly.
We ate at all of the restaurants and did not have problems with any of them. Our favorites were Krystal and Geisha. We did not love the buffets but were able to find something we would eat. You just have to keep in mind it's not Americanized - if you don't like something, don't eat it and go find something you do!
The beach was beautiful - there was some seaweed and the waves could get a little rough but it was not so bad that you don't want to get in! We split our time between the beach and the pool every day!
We did venture to the casino and "discoteque" - drinks were free if you were gambling but other than that, you were required to pay for drinks at both. From the glimpse of the other Riu resorts, Palace Bavaro is the nicest choice!
I would recommened this resort to a friend!

Room Tip: We stayed in a garden view room and had no issues with it - we were in our room very little!
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Mansfield, Texas
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

Just got back from the RIU Palace Bavaro, It was an excellent trip again as usual. This is my third visit to a RIU Palace, the first two being in Cancun and Los Cabos. The staff is as friendly as ever, and they are always busy either greeting you or cleaning the resort. There is a VIP section, but if you get a Villa, you are automatically a VIP person. There is only one benefit to being the VIP and that is that you get a more secluded pool that is way less crowded than the standard pool. I would highly recommend the Geisha restaurant, it was WAY too much food, but the taste was fantastic. The buffet could be hit or miss depending on what they were making. Other than that, this one is the first one with Wi-Fi in the rooms, which was a BIG plus.

Room Tip: If you want the VIP access from the start, get one of the villas, plus they are closer to the beach...
See more room tips
  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Little Rock, Arkansas
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012 via mobile

I have read so many bad reviews of this place that i was really scared about the fun and rooms, well they were wrong.

Room

We stayed in the VIP section with a hot tub and it was worth the extra ~500ish. Room was great and the hot tub was great for the rainy days.

Pool

Pool was great with a bar and they would bring drinks to you in the VIP section.

Beach

There was some seaweed but it was really good.

Food

No issues with the food.

We used the funjet transfers to get to and from the airport. No issues.

Why so many bad reviews?

Most of the reviews are americans with little travel experience. The resort is less than 50% American, imo. Most of the bad reviews have one or two posts on trip advisor.

Due to that you need to know some spanish and some German would help you. There are plenty of russians here to.

$3000 with airfare from the states does not get you 5 star dining. This is on the level of cruise ship dining and nothing more should be expected for the price.

I was not pressed for trips but did give some the staff was really good to me.

The most peaceful place i have been in years and a lot better than Jamaica or mexico.

Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weymouth, MA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
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.
See more room tips
  • 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.
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.

Been to Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

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 #36 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
Reservation Options:
TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Orbitz, Expedia, Hotels.com, Tingo, Otel and Agoda so you can book your Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 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.

Owners: What's your side of the story?

If you own or manage Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.