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“Most Fabulous Punta Cana Holiday” 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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Up to $2000 Resort Credit
Ranked #43 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Mississauga, Ontario
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Most Fabulous Punta Cana Holiday”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

Last month, my husband and I spent a most wonderful two week vacation at the new Riu Palace Bavaro. The resort is breathtaking and very modern. We loved the colours and architecture of the spacious and bright lobby area.

The rooms are spacious, very bright and upscale in design. We had vacationed at the adjacent Rius for ten years now and were anxious to try out the new hotel, which we saw going up last year. We were extremely impressed and will definitely return next year. The layout of the hotel room is very elegant. We enjoyed the large balcony, comfortable bed and rain shower in the large, enclosed shower area. The air conditioning was perfect and adjustable. A nice touch was a small fridge stocked with beverages and small liquor cabinet. The coffee/tea pot was also very much appreciated.

The food at the resort was amazing and beautifully prepared, with an incredible amount of choices. We loved the specialty restaurants as well and the variety of fruit and buffet items at the main buffet restaurant. Breakfast was truly amazing. There was a fresh fruit smoothie station with a variety of fruit used such as watermelon, pineapple, papaya, passionfruit, among others. There was a waffle/pancake/fresh donut station, omelette station and a huge variety of fruit, cold meats, delicious pastries, cheeses and hot buffet items as well. If people couldn't find enough food to delight them, perhaps their taste buds need a major overhaul.

It was very easy to make reservations at the specialty restaurants and they were beautifully modern, elegant and smoke-free. The dishes served at them were also most impressive and delicious. It was nice to sit, relax and enjoy a meal ordering off a menu of very tastefully presented dishes. We loved the Italian, Fusion and Japanese restaurants, but didn't try the steak restaurant.

There were three specialty evenings at the buffet restaurant; Gala Night, Caribbean Night and Mexican Night, which were very enjoyable with again a variety of beautifully presented and delicious dishes. There was really too much to choose from.

Another wonderful discovery was that the entire lobby of the hotel was smoke-free, so we could enjoy spending time relaxing and cooling off at the impressive coffee bar and regular bar areas. The coffee bar made the most delicious variety of coffees with freshly ground beans. There was also a pastry and small sandwich section to enjoy.

The staff of the resort are very friendly and helpful and we had no problems with communication. Everyone at the front desk spoke English, among other languages. The guest services employees were very quick to answer questions and happy to be of service and we felt very welcome at the resort and were always greeted warmly with a smile and willingness to help.

The views from every angle of the hotel are magnificent and the gardens, trees, plants and flowers tended to constantly by gardeners. It's amazing how luscious and green all the plants are and how quickly they have grown since the hotel opened last December.

The resort is kept immaculate and clean and constantly attended to by cleaning staff all over the resort.

The entire beach is very wide and just gorgeous and you could walk for miles and miles in either direction on soft white sand. We loved getting up early and headed to the beach to watch some breathtaking sunrises and went for long walks/jogs along the beach.

The gym was very modern and cool, with several state of the art cardio machines and strength training equipment. I only used it once since it was much more fun exercising outside and swimming in the pool or the ocean.

We loved the shade areas around the pool, as well as the shade provided by beautiful palm trees by the ocean. There were plenty of comfortable loungers available around the pool and at the beach.

There were various activities going on day and you could be entertained and involved as much or as little as you desired. There was a stretching class, aerobic class, pool aerobics, among other activities to participate in. We also enjoyed a lunch beach barbecue one day and had paella on the beach on another day.

Twenty four hour Internet access was available in your room and in the lobby. You just ask for your room code at the front desk when you check in. That was a very nice and welcome perk.

All in all, a most spectacular resort and we can't wait to return next year!

Room Tip: We had a top floor junior suite overlooking the gardens and found it to be perfect and very quiet.
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  • Stayed November 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
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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 (425)
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English first
Tulsa, Oklahoma
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 3, 2012

The last review by Nordie caught my eye, especially the last sentence. “There are definitely some minor shortcomings that make the difference between a perfect vacation and a nice vacation.”
We had a nice vacation last week. The short comings were:
Our first room the ac did not work, nor did the rain forest shower head, and the refrigerator did not keep the items cold. It took forever to get the front desk to move us. In fact they wanted to push us into a lower category room. You should get what you paid for.
Room two, the ac worked but as several posts state, rooms stay warm during the day even with the patio door closed and the card in the slot to make the ac run. Rain forest shower head did not work in this room either nor did the refrigerator keep the items cold. Ice machine was a 2 minute walk from the room. No fun to come back to a warm room after a fun day at the pool and or beach and can’t enjoy a cold beer, soda, or juice.
Wifi was super fast in first room but not strong enough to make a wifi call or download webmail in the second room.
If your room is over the main restaurant you will hear the chairs before they open at 7:00am to after midnight. Same with being over the main stage and hearing the music from 5:00pm to 11:00pm.
Food is too subjective but will comment that the lobster in the Steakhouse and on the buffet is charbroiled. Not steamed. We were also told the ice cream is ice milk. I have no way of knowing besides we never received cream for our coffee at any restaurant but always milk. Which in Spanish is leche.
I would suggest you learn some simple phrases in Spanish or service can come to a crawl. We would sit down at lunch by the beach and forget to ask for water by saying agua. Same thing for white wine as vino blanco. Our mistake but you do get the attitude. Any time we used Spanish service was very good.
Having stayed at three other Riu Palace resorts, Cabo, Cancun, and Palace Punta Cana, I was expecting a prefect vacation but Rui seems to be taking two steps forward and one step back.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Brunswick, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 2, 2012 via mobile

I spent 6 days at this all inclusive resort. It was a nice vacation. The room was very modern with a somewhat open bathroom design (only shower and toilet were seperated in two extra rooms, the bath tub and the sinks were in the main open living room area). So be careful if you want to share a room with a friend and make sure this is ok. The food was great and there was plenty of it, but after 10 pm your options are very limited. When you go to the pool or beach, you only get one towel per person, which I found to be a little frustrating at times, especially since the the towels do not cover the entire sun chair. The staff was friendly and if you ask they are willing to help. Overall, I found the resort to be good for the money I paid, but there are definitley some minor shortcomings that make the difference between a perfect vacation and a nice vacation.

Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bellmawr, New Jersey
2 reviews
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2012

Myself, my boyfriend, my sister, my niece and two other friends just got back from Riu Palace Bavaro, Punta Cana. Very beautiful and clean resort. Communication with the hotel staff was a little tough. I was not really happy with the food....it was ok...but I expected better. We had a "relaxing massage at the spa"....it was wonderful! We stayed in the VIP section of the resort which was very nice....pool was a lot quieter than the main pool. The refrigerator in the room was not cold.....the room service menu was very limited. All in all, we had a really nice time.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
New York City, New York
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

Every one was very accommodating and very pleasant.. Place was very clean, easy accessible to the restaurants and pool and the beach areas.. The restaurant manager Pasquale made our birthday night more enjoyable by giving us a separate area in the restaurant , and reception
manager Joanna Silverstre arranged our rooms so we can all be together in the same area., made our trip even nicer. Thank you all.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MIA
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

My partner, myself and two other friends just got back from Riu Palace Bavaro.
Will like to start with a special thanks to Joana Silvestre Hotel manager, which it was our first impression; we have originally booked an standard room, and we had an issue with the A/C on our room and Joana was nice enough to give us an upgrade at no charge to a Jr. Suite with sea view, balcony/terrace room # 3025, let me tell you what a view, located on the back of the main building facing the pool and the ocean very nice. Also want to take the opportunity to thank the staff at the buffet restaurant Mr. Mazara and Mr. Pascual restaurant managers, Jose Miguel, Jose Alberto, Elizabeth, and Robles( room bar ) for taking the time to please us, and make that extraordinary service they have giving us. Let me tell you the food at the buffet was the best, they had something different every night, sushi night, gala night, local food night and regular night. We were here for 5 days and the food was never the same, we ate at the buffet mainly every day for breakfast and dinner, only one day we ate at the steak house because we wanted to try the Lobster; the Lobster was good but the sides and appetizer not so good. I liked better the old 1930 or colonial style for the Riu’s Palace with big crystal chandeliers, marvel every were, hand painted roof and wall to wall decoration. ( for example Riu Palace Punta cana)
Positive:
Good deal for the money we paid
Good quality of food at the buffet and Lobster @ steak house
Nice room very modern
Comfortable showers
Comfortable beds
Comfortable room in general
Very nice and helpful service people
Negative:
No presidente beer, they offer a local beer Brahma ( no good ).
They should work on their A/C, on the room we had it at 64, I will said it was about 75-80.
They should work on the water, not much water pressure on showers at night time.
They should be on the lookout at the pool bar, drinks there were altered.
They should have more supervision at the pool area and swim up pool bar, drinking people get a little bit out of control, and jumping on areas that they are not suppose to and bothering other people.
Is not fair that there is only 3 pools at this resort and two of them are for VIP customers only, they should also work on that, because upgrade to VIP are expensive about US 200 and up, depending on the length of your stay. The only quite pools are the VIP.

Room Tip: ours was 3025, if you could pay the extra for the VIP will be nicier, same food and drinks but bette...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

I booked the trip via LivingSocial and Apple Vacations for a quick November getaway. This was my first stay in the DR, and after reading some of the other reviews, I did not know what to expect. The grounds on the property were beautiful, and guests can tell how much time is spent by the staff in ensuring that everything is clean and immaculate. The floors are being consistently mopped, the beaches are raked clean of debris and fallen leaves, groundskeepers chipping off old paint and putting on a fresh coat, etc.

Check-in: The only downside to my trip was that I was due to have a guaranteed upgrade to the villas section of the resort per the package that I bought, yet it was not honored when I checked into the hotel. Whereas it was the fault of the travel agent for any miscommunication, it did take a lot of convincing and many phone calls before the staff allowed my friends and i to "upgrade" to an ocean view room. While it was still not what I paid for, I don't think it should've warranted 2 hours from the time of check-in to present a solution.

Rooms: Rooms are exactly how they are represented in the photos. Open concept and extremely spacious, and the A/C system did a great job in decreasing the amount of humidity in the rooms, however, it never went below 65 degrees F. We did notice that the air may shut off automatically if it detects the balcony doors being opened though. The only downside is that I was really looking forward to the rain shower, but the one that was in my room (Room 2021) was clogged. There's a normal shower though, which worked just as well!

Room Service: The room service is extremely limited. Unless you're clamming for a sandwich at 3am, I would not encourage you to get room service. You'll get more variety and better quality in the buffet areas of the resort.

Pool: The pool was great, and the staff working were extremely accommodating. They were a lot of recreational activities for guests to partake in including- dance lessons, water aerobics, bingo, archery, etc. The hotel got a bit more crowded towards the weekend, and the staff started playing drinking games with the guests. Not really my cup of tea, and I was happy to move to a chair on the beach where it was quieter.

Beach: This property definitely occupies one of the nicest areas of the beach. The staff is really attentive to the cleanliness of beach, and the vendors don't really bother the guests. A simple, "no gracias" and a smile was enough to have them leave you alone. With the hotel being booked at 70% capacity, there were always more than enough chairs and tables for guests to relax in. Side note: the waiters don't really come to the beach, so I would recommend being a tumbler or a water bottle with a koozie to keep your drink cold.

Food: The food overall was ok, but then again, I didn't have high expectations going to an all-inclusive resort. There was a supervisor/chef that was always roaming the restaurants and buffets to ensure the quality of food was met, but my only gripe was that the cold bar (with fruit, seafood, ceviche, cheeses, etc.) was not up to the quality that any food service establishment should have. Instead of having packed ice underneath the bowls and platters, there was a thin sheet of ice, which did not cool the food. In addition, there was a lamp on each station, which made the food hotter than it was supposed to be. I probably sound really nit-picky, but I come from years of experience doing hospitality marketing, this was not sanitary. However, I will say, that all the other hot stations were great. Very accommodating with the palettes of their guests. I would say the food skewed European/American, and there was a lack of Latin food. Montecristo Buffet was better than the a la carte restaurants, and there was such variety. I loved going there for breakfast. I had the opportunity to eat at Krystal and Geisha. Geisha was pretty mediocre, but then again, I didn't travel to the Caribbean to eat Japanese food. Krystal was interesting. I think they were trying to go the molecular gastronomy route, and I applaud the chef for their attempts. The beef carpaccio, beet shooter, fish, and lamb were pretty tasty. The service was terrible. My friends and I ended up serving ourselves (luckily there was a bucket of drinks at each table).

Renova Spa: The spa was a delight. My friend and I booked the 80 minute relaxation massage, and boy was it relaxing! Prices were normal- $135 for 80 minutes and the team was really attentive. It was nice to go away to a candle lit room, plop in some Enya and relax.

Water: All the water is filtered, so ice and water in the restaurants are good to drink! They do provide a caution sign in the bathrooms for guests who are brushing their teeth.

Tips: Staff don't expect a tip from you, but do reward them for their good service if you are receiving it. I did notice not a lot of people were tipping, and the staff were very appreciative when you do. I would say, you got even better service from the ones you gave a few dollars to! Also, leave a tip in your room every morning for the cleaning staff. Not all the cleaning staff are assigned to the same room.

Overall, the resort met my expectations, and the staff (they will always greet you with a smile) really made the stay extremely enjoyable. Free wifi was a huge plus!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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 Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #43 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
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