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“BEST VACATION EVER!!!!” 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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Ranked #36 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“BEST VACATION EVER!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2012

My husband and I got back in Dec 3rd after a week vacation at the Riu Palace Bavaro. We had the best time ever and will be going back to this resort next year for our next vacation to Dominican Republic. We are not the most experienced travellers, and we are also not the pickiest people either. We were just looking for some time away from work, cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and all those other day to day things you need to get away from one in a while, and thats exactly what we got!! This hotel is amazing! Its beautiful, the rooms and the rest of the hotel for that matter are extremely clean, and the people are literally some of the most friendly and outgoing people ive ever met!! Special thanks to Scooby and Bonbon for keeping us well entertained and involved in all the activities!!! The entertainment crew rocks! And thanks to the server Elis I think her name was, for being so nice and keeping our drinks coming :) Hope to see you all there next year!!
We had absolutely no problem with any language barrier and we only speak English. YOU ARE NOT IN AN ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY!!! Just remember that while you are there :) These people try their absolute best and you should not ask for anything more! I seriously cant believe their are people on here that write the service is slow or they are not accommodating or food is bad.... im at a loss for words hearing this.... We loved the food!! We loved the service and the people were more than accommodating. We actually said to each other at one point wow they ask if we want another drink before our last sip is taken from the previous. And at breakfast lunch or dinner anything extra that we needed it was there in a snap! The buffet was sooooo good, even if you are a picky eater you wont have any issues, and if your not, then you will be in shock the amount of food there is to choose from. As for the A La Carte restaurants, Krystels was the best, it was delish! But we mostly stuck to the buffet. As you could eat when you wanted. If you eat at the sushi restaurant stick to the beef or chicken, dont get the fish or deep fried meal, eew.
The rooms were very well maintained but because of the humidity nothing dried properly, so hang your bathing suits outside to dry. And you get new towels everyday. I would bring indoor and outdoor flipflops and shower in your outdoor ones and wear indoor ones inside. I just dont like waking on the floor in my bare feet... Also leave one of your room keys in the slot when you leave to keep the fridge and AC running and the AC switch is not only adjusted with the numbers, if you find it too cold then use the fan level so it doesnt blow out so hard :) The blow dryer sucks like every hotel. Oh and bring pillow cases!! Im so glad o brought my own, the pillows smelt weird....
When you go shopping there are little huts on the beach and beside the hotel where you can buy souvenirs, whatever price they first offer you, pay them one half of that price or less. Also your rep will tell you to go to this really small "mall" to shop, its not a mall at all, and it sucks and they make commission sending you there, research a little more and find a bigger better one...
I think that about all.... HAVE FUN!!!!!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 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
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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 (373)
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English first
Chicago Heights, Illinois
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

i traveled with my friend (both are mid 20s) and we stayed for 1 and a half weeks at this resort the first week of December:

room: big rooms with two beds pushed together. There is a big shower and a jacuzzi bathtop. The bathroom area had everything besides the toothpaste, toothbrush. The housekeeping was good, but we left a dollar on the bed every morning and evening.

entertainment: the entertainment was very boring. Evening shows start at 9pm and end at 11pm. The shows are very similar and after a few days, it gets very boring. The animation staff I would rather not talk about, but there are some shady people working at this resort.

disco: the disco had a 3 dollar entrance fee some nights and the drinks start at 5$. I would rather tip the workers at the resort or the bar instead of paying to enter this disco. There are cabs standing outside the disco for one specific purpose - any guys can get into the disco and entertain the ladies outside the resort. But hey, whatever happens outside the resort, the hotel is not responsible for, this is why some workers try to take you out into the city. sanky panky much? very inappropriate behavior and they can get away with a lot of stuff, but I guess some white trash ladies come to be "entertained" late at night so hence how convinient, the cab is waiting outside for you.

food: the buffet had the BEST food I've had. Their breakfast donuts (althought some mornings, they were not fresh and hard!) and pastries were very tasty! For breakfast you could choose from omelets, oatmeal (yummy), fruit smoothies (the best), egg whites, boiled eggs, lots of american breakfast, like toast. For lunch and dinner, there was also a lot of american food as well as seafood and all kinds of stuff. I really can't list it all. The deserts were amazing btw. The best part of this resort was the buffet

bar/pool bar: the drinks at the pool bar were nasty, sugary, and typical artifical american drinks. But the drinks at the bar at night (by the theater stage) were great! mamajuana and majito--yum.

beach: the beach was very nice, but small and you want to get there by 10am if you want to find a decent sport. I would recommend getting up to eat breafkast at 8 or 9am before all the good food is gone and then go to the beach. Lunch starts at 12 and ends at 3pm, but I wouldn't wait to have late lunch either. There is a snack bar by the pool, which had worse food than the buffet, but it's still good to snack on stuff in between your swim so that you can raise your metabolism. Also, we had the best experience doing snorkling (we did a bunch of other stuff as well).

gym: the gym is so tiny!!! There is pretty much nothing to do when it rains, but lucky for you, it doesn't rain much in Punta Cana.

cafe/main lobby: main lobby caffe at the left had the best coffee drinks. We had those at least every other day.

overall staff was friendly and hard working so it seemed. I would recommend coming here if you are a couple or if you are here with a bunch of your friends. There is NO night life and the night life at the disco is not a night life at all, but a very shady place with expensive drinks (i didn't buy any btw). This place is too expensive and boring for young adults and I would not recommend it.

THEY SHOULD MAKE IT A NON-SMOKING THEATER AREA

Room Tip: ask for non-smoking
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MA
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

We stayed at Riu Palace Bavaro Dec. 5-12th.
Completely unrelated to the hotel...we arrived at the airport on a Wednesday at 5:30p and there was NO lines. I tried to do the online tourist card before we left, but the site was down. It was not needed anyway because we were literally the first ones of the plane and the first ones in line.

We used "enjoy punta cana" for our transfers & highly recommend them. They were right there when they said they would be, comfortable clean vehicles, and they brought along another person in the car that spoke English. THey really went out of their way make sure we didn't have any questions about the area/pick up time, etc.

Having stayed at a few Rius. (Riu Palace Riviera Maya 5 times), & Riu Palace Aruba...but also spent many a days at Riu Palace Mexico, Yucatan, Playacar and a few hours at tequila I feel that I can compare Riu hotels. In addition berostar & lots & lots of Sandals, Valentin, The Royal (2 times) . I was also at Riu Palace Riviera Maya one month before this trip from Nov. 3-9. So that trip was also fresh in my head.
Riu Palace Bavaro was definitely contemporary, lobby was nice, employees at check in were very nice. I will say however that I put in my reservation our only request was a "quiet room", 10 days prior to check in I emailed the hotel with again the request of "quiet room" . Upon check in I said "the only thing we ask is a quiet room". He says "oh yes, you have a very quiet room". So up to our room we go, look outside the balcony which is right across from the theatre. We were very concerned so we told ourselves we were not going to unpack that night to see how loud it was. We went off to dinner & came back to a quiet room. So the next morning we unpack. That night...yikes!! VERY loud! We had to turn our tv up SO loud just to hear it over the music from the theatre that I was afraid we would be bothering our neighbors (like it would have mattered). I called down to front desk at 11p to ask how much longer the noise would go on & he said midnight. My husband put in earplugs & I put my noise canceling headphones on with my iPod to get to sleep. We could STILL hear the noise! which went on until 12:30a! We hoped it was just a crazy "one night" thing...but the following 2 nights was the same thing. I went down and was able to get a room change. We were reluctant to change rooms because we were all unpacked but we really had to if we wanted to get some sleep before 1am. Yes, it was a hassle, but thankful they gave us a quiet room after that.
The rooms were nice with the open concept bathrooms. Yes, the fridge didn't keep items very cool, but if you leave the wooden cabinet door open, it works much better. (housekeeping kept shutting it, & we kept reopening). Minibar refills are filled every 2 days. Once we switched rooms though at one point we went either 3 or 4 days without being filled. The only thing we really used was the bottled water so we just kept going down to the front desk asking for a few bottles. Yes, rain shower heads in BOTH rooms didn't work but its because they were clogged. My husband stood there in the shower & ran his thumb over the holes and viola.it worked... again..not an issue..only took a few minutes to do, and I'm sure it pleased the people who were checking in after us.
Housekeeping was very good, making dining reservations was very easy. You could make 3 days reservations at a time.
Beach was nice, but there is ALOT of shade around it. Seemed kinda busy & tough to get a spot in the sun since there are so many palm trees. Not a big deal...if we were shaded in the afternoon & couldn't get a sun spot then we went up to the pool. Pool had some music going on, but not much of a breeze there where there was plenty of a breeze at beach. Plenty of chairs available at both pool & beach at all times.

Now the things we were SO not Impressed with:
-food really was horrible. I had a couple of good dinners, my husband had a few that he literally could not eat. & he isn't picky! heck, he eats my cooking! Found plenty of options for breakfast, but really struggled at lunch. I know many of you will read this & think that "so what if a burger is overcooked"...well...the burgers were like hockey pucks! every day. it wasn't that the meat was tough, it was that they over cooked them (probably by 2 hours)lol.. I tried a couple of days eating them thinking maybe they were having an "off" day...but SO many other people were talking about how bad they were & many were left on plates on tables. Pizza was nasty (other riu's were much better). I'm not a big seafood person, but my husband did love the fresh salmon that they were taking off the grill to serve They had a lot of seafood options. One day I felt like my only other option (other than seafood & hockey pucks) was a salad...only they didn't have any salad dressing out!? granted, it was just one day, but it was the day that there was not many other options. At home we eat very clean so vacation is the time for me to eat burgers,pizza,ice-cream & desserts. The desserts looked pretty, but we found ourselves (and many other people we spoke with) all playing the guessing game of "what am I eating"? We stopped even trying to eat dessert after day 3 because you couldn't taste anything. Even the ice-cream..lol. On the positive the french fries were good.. a couple of good meals I had was: Italian-shrimp alfredo, Japapense -beef skillet, Steakhouse- beef tenderloin.

Gym & entertainment was a huge disappointment. We work out a lot at home & since this resort is new I figured it would have new equipment. Now the gym is VERY large, however they only have a combo leg curl/leg extension machine (which doesn't adjust well so I couldn't use it). They had a chest fly machine & a lat. pull down machine. THATS it! no free weights! They had one ball that was so deflated it was the size of a volleyball. No bands or anything else. They had 1 bike, 2 ellipticals, 3 treadmills. According to the entertainment schedule they had step class daily at 4pm, so everyday I'd ask "where is it" then as the days went on I was asking "are you doing it" because every day I would go, or ask & they would say "oh, not today". After day 5, I gave up. We did run on the beach barefoot and got a great workout in. & I came up with my own things to do.

As I write this that I am sounding negative & realize that it really wasn't a great hotel. We are not picky travelers and if it was just the "burger", or just the "loud room", or "the lousy food", or "inadequate gym", etc. it would be nothing to complain about. I think having stayed at SO many all inclusives and knowing what "the norm" is at other RIu's we were disappointed.

Would I stay here again, no. But, that doesn't mean that others wouldn't enjoy themselves. Whats important to one person might not be important to another. There are plenty of fantastic reviews on this property. If anyone has any questions feel free to message me.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

This is one of the better all inclusive resorts but...specialty restaurants are terrible. Service is slow and not accommodating, doors slam and you are awakened early, staff terrible with English not helpful in an emergency. Entertainment at night is always cheap local karaoke just awful!!!! I would come back for the beach, rooms and buffet restaurants but everything else could be much much better!! Very expensive for what you get!!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
New York, New York, United States
1 review
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

NO Complaints!! Best hotel I have ever been to. Staff members were great. Food was great. Ambient and setting was top notch. The rooms were modern and cleaned at least twice a day. Seating's around pool no problem. Definitely coming back again!!!

  • Stayed July 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 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Welland, Ontario, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

Fabulous resort! Grounds were kept impeccably clean. Rooms were gorgeous and balconies private. Would recommend spending a few extra dollars to stay in the VIP section (Quiet Pool Area), Rooms 5200 building or 5300 building, best view for sure! Bar service was excellent. We had a problem with our safe the first day we got there and the Manager of the hotel arrived in our room to fix it 20 minutes later. The hairdryer didn't work properly and after calling customer service, they attended our room within 1/2 hour to put a new one in. Plenty of chairs at the pool and beach areas. The beach is cleaned daily by a crew that picks up the seaweed and garbage. We were pleasantly surprised at how friendly the people were. There was never a time when you walked by one of the workers that you weren't acknowledged with ola, or Buenos dias. Went to the steak restaurant twice....steak and lobster to die for! Italian was good but not really an Italian restaurant....chicken, vegetarian lasagna. I have read alot of reviews about Krystals and that the people left hungry. Well first of all it is beautiful and second the food was awesome...serving portions were perfect...all four of us enjoyed it very much! We booked a dune buggy tour that followed with swimming in a fresh water spring inside a cave....loved it. Photogragher on the beach Elaina may approach you to take photos. You do not have to buy them if you don't like them. She took the most amazing pic's of us that I will treasure forever....would highly recommend her (she can also be contacted at the Photo Shop on Caribbean Street, right beside the hotel. They have activities on the beach, darts, bocce, volleyball, horseshoes. They need to work at having these events spread out a bit, rather than running back and forth to play the games. The party pool needs a closer bathroom....these are my only two complaints. Would go back in a heartbeat.....Oh almost forgot, the evening entertainment shows were great....when we travel we usually pass on them as they are pretty bad but these were definately higher end. Enjoy, you won't regret it! :)

  • Stayed December 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 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2012

I am a frequent traveller. Travelled to Far East, Middle East, Euorpe, USA, Canada and South America.
This is the first review I ever wrote.
I visited DR/ Punta Cana December 2011 and stayed at the Magistic Elegance. It was nice (7 out 10).
This year (December 2012) I wanted to go to Elegance again only because I know what to expect and how to make the most out of it... but could not find a suitable package. I am so glad I didn't.
The elegance on tripadvisor is ranked way better thank Riu Palace Bavaro!!!! I don't know how!?!? Maybe because is it less expensive????

Staff at Riu is friendly, knows few English words, and very dedicated to serve you better. My son (12 years) said: it is nice to be treated like a royal king!
while at the Magistic : no one from the staff understand a single English word.
I know it is not their problem, but it is nice if you ask for "water" to get "water".

Food: bcause i am a vegeterian i found food at the riu way better than the Magestic. No local food in both though!
Fresh salads, sea food every day and night, more friuts' options...

Utinsels: I never returned a spoon or a fork because it is dirty at the Riu. While at the elegance (and as a matter of fact in many resorts in the world especially in Canada and the US) I had to change something everyday and every meal.

Cleanness: again: rooms are cleaner at the Riu.

Beach: in both Riu and Magistic beaches are nice. But I found spots to lay down easier at the Riu beach.

Pool: the megistic pool is nicer and bigger BUT my husband who did a scuba diving lesson in both pools, said: the Riu pool at the bottom is cleaner.

-night entertainment almost a "BLAH" in both.

All in all, if you want to be treated as a king/queen go to the Riu.
If you want to feel the Caribbean atmosphere (pros and cons) go to the Magestic.

Few tips:
- don't tip the staff at the Magistic ... It won't make a difference!
- if you have the choice to book a vacation in February, the weather is better than it is in December.
- if you need more beach towels, go to the reception and simply ask for more towel cards.
- you will find a fly every now and then at the Riu... But none at the Magistic
- the gift shops at the Riu are very expensive ... Much cheaper at the Magistic.

I can't make any comments on the alcoholic drinks because both my husband and I don't drink at all.
We however, found fresh juice options at the Riu but could not find anything other than pops at the Magestic.

24 hours room service at the Riu was nice for my lazy boys! Free Internet is also a nice gesture

My experience at the Riu is almost perfect (9 out of 10) ... If I have to come again: I will definitely choose the Riu Palace Bavaro.

In general: I care about cleaness more than anything else and this is why I rank Riu better than the Megistic

Our room was 3107 at the Riu. Garden View.

It is not the Ritz but in the world of all inclusive, the Riu is the Ritz of all inclusive

  • Stayed December 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 #36 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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