My wife and I just returned from staying at the RIU Palace Bavaro March 7 through March 13, 2013. We were very pleased with this all-inclusive resort.
The hotel lobby was very modern and well decorated, and check-in was easy and very fast. The language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but most of the front desk and wait staff speak enough English to get by. This was my fifth trip to the Dominican Republic, and my Spanish vocabulary has definitely grown since my first trip.
This RIU Resort complex has four other sister resorts within this same complex, and the Palace Bavaro was the newest, which just opened two years ago.
We paid extra for a junior suite with a pool view. Our room number was 5323, and I couldn’t have hand-picked a better room on the entire resort. We were on the third floor of this private VIP pool-side villa, which was a center room that over looked the Melao pool and bar, with the added bonus of the ocean only being about 50 yards away. The room had a balcony with two chairs. The pool had a swim-up bar, in-water loungers, plenty of lounge chairs around the pool, canopy day-beds, ample shaded areas, and it was right on the edge of the beach.
Our room was very large and comfortable. The room was approximately 12 ft x 30 ft and a very “open” concept, and the only enclosure in the room was the toilet… the Jacuzzi tub, very large shower with wall shower head and overhead rain head, and double sink were without the confines of walls. The open concept did not bother my wife and me, but some more modest individuals might take exception to this “open” concept. The room was well decorated and the king-size bed was very comfortable. The room was equipped with a 32” flat screen TV, our wireless Internet connection worked fine (you need to ask for the pass code when you check in). There was a mini-refrigerator that was stocked with soft drinks and beer… the refrigerator was inside an enclosed vented cabinet, but we found that the refrigerator cooled things much better if you propped the cabinet door open with one of the water bottles. There is also four full liquor bottles in each room, which consisted of Johnny Walker Red Scotch, Smirnoff Vodka, Beefeater Gin, and a local Dominican Rum. The room had ample closet room with hangers, iron, and ironing board, hair dryer, telephone, alarm clock, and programmable safe large enough to accommodate a 15” lap top. The room also had a couch and a table and chairs, and plenty of drawer space for cloths. The water pressure and hot water capacity in our building was excellent.
The beach was well-kept and every morning the RIU had crews working to keep it impeccably clean. The Riu’s property took up at least of mile of the shore line, and beyond their property in either direction there were other resorts as far as the eye could see. There were always plenty of lounge chairs on the beach. The weather was low 80s in the day and low 70s at night. Since you are near the equator the days and nights are virtually the same length of time… it got light at about 7:00AM and dark at 7:00PM.
The resort’s grounds were beautiful and very well manicured. I had read other reviews of complaints regarding the strong musty smell in the resort… upon our arrival, the lawn sprinkler system was operating and the smell was very musty and unpleasant, but in less than an hour of the sprinklers shutting down, the smell had completely dissipated… I am assuming that the RIU puts to good use their untreated “grey-water” from all the sinks and bath water throughout the facility, and I applaud them for the “Green Effort”.
The resort had a state-of-the-art fitness facility and spa, but we didn’t use either of them.
The bars in this resort were all efficiently stocked, not what I would consider top shelf liquors, but adequate. An example of what they carried includes Jim Beam Bourbon (my poison of choice at home), Jack Daniels Whiskey, Johnny Walker Red Scotch, Smirnoff and Stoli Vodka, Beefeaters and Gordon’s Gin, Jose Cuervo Tequila. The wines were a low-end Chilean and Spanish brands. The only beer offered was “Presidente”, which is a Pilsner beer (in cans and draught), not a bad beer, but I expected more of a variety of beers.
We ate at dinner at the Steak House, Geisha Japanese Restaurant, Krystal Fusion Restaurant, and La Bambola Italian restaurant. The restaurants were all good to very good, but not what I would consider excellent. The restaurants were beautifully decorated, and we were very impressed the wait staff. Our main complaint with these theme restaurants was that the food was never very hot when it was served, not under cooked, but not served as hot as we are accustomed to. We ate at the buffets twice for dinner, and all of our breakfasts and lunches were at the buffets, and the buffets were awesome!!! We really enjoyed the buffets tropical fruits, salads, and the desserts were endless. They offered an excellent variety of fish, such as mahi mahi, perch, gouper, salmon, tuna, and seafood paella daily for lunch. Their meat offerings were pork, beef, lamb, goat, and chicken… the beef was a little tough compared to American standards, but I tried all of the other meats, and they were excellent. The Sports Bars was opens 24-hours a day, and you could get food (ready-made sandwiches mostly) at any time day or night. The night-life was not very good, but to be honest, after a day of drinking, eating, and walking on the beach, we were exhausted by 9:00PM anyway.
I know the word all-inclusive means that gratuities are included, but the housekeepers and wait staff work very hard to please, and you never see them without a smile on their faces…their norm is a twelve 12-hour days, and 3 days off. We tipped our house keeper $10 each day, and $20 our final day. The wait staff at breakfast we left $3 to $5, and the dinner buffets and theme restaurants we tipped $10 to $20, and the bartenders $1 every time they served us a drink, and the towel boy at the pool $2 per day.
The resort only accepts American dollars and DR pesos, but they prefer American dollars, so there is no need to convert your money.
On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best), the overall rating for the facility was a 4. The wait staff 5, rooms and pools 5, theme restaurants 4, buffets restaurants 5, grounds and beach 5, liquor selection 3, and beer and wine selection 2. I would definitely consider staying at this resort again.
We paid extra for a Jr Suite with a pool view, and I could have picked a better room on the entire f...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.