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“Not at all what we expected!” 2 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 #46 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Not at all what we expected!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 13, 2013

My husband and I decided to take a vacation here because we read so many wonderful reviews..

I am actually writing this review while still staying here. 3 days in, and I am ready to go home.

We both work so much and we just needed to get away. We were so excited to finally get some alone time, relax and just enjoy this packaged deal. So I regretfully say that we were incredibly disappointed.

I hate complaining, as a matter of fact, my husband I never do complain. I think of it as bad karma. However, we don't make a lot of money, we are an average middle class family. So going on vacation here was a huge deal for us. And we came, solely on the reviews. I would not want another couple spending their hard earned money by deceptions and lies.

The staff: I must say most of the staff is wonderful. They are accommodating, attentive, funny and nice. I have no complaints at all. We did tip just about every staff member that serviced us, may have helped.

The rooms: the rooms are not so bad. There is no wall separating the bath and the sinks. But we didn't mind. Air-conditioning was great! Coffee in room was horrible. I have to mention the bed is terrible!! The sheets are not changed! At least not during our stay. The sheets and pillows smelled incredibly bad. I don't think they actually wash the sheets or change the pillows, ever! I honestly believe that we were sleeping on used sheets from previous vacationers. Pillows were lumpy, beds were extremely stiff.

The FOOD: horrible! I am a picky eater but my husband is not. He tried everything at least once. The fact that my husband had to spit out his food shocked me. He never, ever, says he doesn't like something. So to hear him say that he also didn't like the food just confirmed that it wasn't just me. If your looking to loose weight, this is your place! Yes, the food is that bad.

Room service: choices are 2 salads, 2 sandwiches (come with fries) Naco cheese, and 2 desserts with a fruit platter. NOTHING ELSE! And if you request something specific ( ex. No bacon in the sand which) well, you might as well just pick it off your self. There are no special accommodations in room service. Also expect it to arrive at minimum an hour after ordering.

The drinks: alcohol was just bad. I saw how each bartender made drinks, I've just come to the conclusion that not only do they not know how to make a decent cocktail but the liquor here is just plain bad. The coffee shop in the main lobby made pretty good cappuccinos, lattes and expressos.

I learned actually during our stay that Punta Cana is also considered as "eternal spring" which means they are constantly living in spring. Light showers and cloudy with some sun shinning days. I wish I would have learned that before coming here. I would have stayed at home in Chicago to experience that. "Don't like the weather in Chicago? Wait 15 minutes" lol if your from Chicago, you will understand.

The view is beautiful, but it doesn't make up for everything else.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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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1,937 reviews from our community

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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 (504)
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

My boyfriend and I just arrived home from a wonderful week at this wonderful resort. We stayed from 6/03-06/10. I had family members previously stay at other RIU Resorts and raved about them, so I had high expectations. Also, I have stayed at many other 6 golden apple resorts so I expected the same from the RIU Palace Bavaro. My expectations to say the least were exceeded.

To start out, the food was great! I never went hungry. I was a little nervous when reading the previous reviews, before we got there but there is no need to worry. If you want AUTHENTIC Dominican food, FRESH seafood and wonderful steaks then this place is for you. If you want AMERICAN food then this is not your place. We met many people complaining they didn't have NORMAL American food and my advise to them was to travel only in the United States. Not to mention the coffee was excellent! I had to bring some back with me.

The rooms were always clean. We had a little problem and our air conditioning, but as soon as we complained they immediately switched our room and upgraded our view. They let us make sure the room was to our liking and check it out before we switched.

The pool and beach were beautiful. You will never have to worry about getting a chair. The resort was at full capacity and there were always plenty of seats. The waiters at the pool were great. We never went thirsty. There was constantlyn someone asking if we needed a refill of our drink. I would like to point out David. He was excellent and bringing me a new drink before I could finish my first. Also, even though they say tips are included please tip them! They work 12-14 hour days in 100 degree weather and always are friendly, nice and helpful!

If you are worried about getting bored here then don't. They have something to do every hour of the day if you want or if you want to kick back and relax there you can also as well. The shows in the evening are fun and usually for an hour after the show has finished they play Spanish music where everyone can get up to dance! We did not however go to the disco.

As for the other little miscellaneous things, the wifi is free so you will never have to pay for the Internet which is great and can pretty much get it throughout the entire resort. There are three different wrist bands white which is normal, orange which is VIP and tan which is for the Germans. We had white and honestly didn't mind. The only difference we noticed betweenb orange and white was they had a separate pool and bar. The main pool is large enough and every time we walked past the VIP pool it was so quiet I felt I had to tiptoe.

If you want a fun, luxgurious, authentic vacation this place would be the place to go! I was so sad to come home and am already looking to book my next getaway here! Hope this review helped!!!!!

Room Tip: Stay on third floor. We stayed in room 3097
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  • Stayed June 2013, 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.
Charlotte, North Carolina
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

I am a little late writing this as we stayed in 2012. Keep in mind that we are well traveled and had stayed in 5 star resorts. Our biggest problems here were... It felt like "what can you do for yourself?" in other resorts it felt like what can we do for you. Also having to get up early to go wait in a line to make reservation every few days is not my idea of a vacation. I was also shocked at the Asian restaurant (when they had taken one piece of a California roll and sliced it in three) when I asked for a second one they looked at me like I was crazy. They also filled reservations up but the restaurant was basically empty. Our room was a ways away from the pool and restaurant. So the long walk sucked. I see what everyone was talking about with the tile everywhere. I do not think that was a logical decision. The water was very rough and no one really got in it. :-( Snorkeling is not an option here. So we enjoyed the pools. We did book a safari tour and were excited. Until after an hour wait we finally found out that the guy we booked it with gave us the wrong time 8:30 instead of 8. So we had missed it by 15 minutes as we even arrived early. Overall this was not everything we were hoping for. We would not return. But to each their own.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
113 helpful votes 113 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2013

All in all this hotel was the worst i have stayed at in all my travels around the world.... i met many "traveled guests who felt cheated and robbed and stuck in a Caribbean hell hole/ tourist trap... but still trying to make the best of a bad situation. i spent USD 2400 for 6 nights at the RIU Palace bavaro as a VIP guest in a jacuzzi ocean front suite.. which i would literally have been more comfortable stuck camping on the beach in a sleeping bag. For many first time american travelers they may find this hotel a charm and have the wow factor. for any one else. you will be disappointed soon after checking in and discovering slowly how quickly you have been deceived.

MY ADVICE AND SUGGESTION FOR AN ALTERNATIVE HOTEL IS*** IBEROSTAR GRAND BAVARO.**** stayed one night and found the beautiful Caribbean getaway i was looking for...

The Price is absolutely ridiculous for the quality this hotel offers. It is too expensive for what you get! Here is why.

The Food:

Probably the most important aspect as this is an all inclusive Hotel. The food is horrible in terms of quality! firstly the room service is not existent meaning there is literally only 5 items on the menu ( Please see the picture i will be uploading ).

The Hotel focuses purely on presentation of the food, NOT QUALITY.

FOR INSTANCE the salad looks delicious, however it isn't washed and leaves you tasting the dirt particles tossed around in your garden salad. The pizzas use artificial cheese and a tomato past ketchup mix as an alternative to pizza sauce. ( Probably why the gift shop carries anti acid and Pepto Bismol at 18 USD Dollars for the small 4 oz bottle) the fish is obviously frozen! which was the biggest shock seeing we were staying on an island! the beef was mixed with high amounts of fat content which would give the meat a strange gamely after taste which for my on personal taste is terrible.

The hotel restaurants:


cheap liquor served in small portions downed with a cheap juice drink and ice blend... sums it up!

We unfortunately throughout our entire 7 day stay ( keep in mind we were in the VIP Villas which should have entitled us to priority service etc.. which we didn't receive at all throughout the entire hotel. a VIP at this hotel means pay more and we will give you a colorful orange bracelet to wear, that says we robbed you all over it. back to the restaurants which we were turned away from as there were not any availability in the restaurants (reservation only) forcing us for breakfast lunch and dinner to eat at the only food option available which was the hotel main buffet Monte cristo open only at certain times. ( be careful if you don't eat while the buffet is open you will go hungry as the room service takes at least 2 hours (and the options you have are only a Cesar salad, club sandwich, nachos, chocolate cake , and fruit platter. that will literally be your only choices)


Drunks playing bingo at the bar at 11am in a language they don't understand...

I literally think this is the saddest part of the hotel. the entertainment is acceptable as being their makes you so bored that you will soon find amusement in guessing which piece of food the fly will land on next at the buffet. To be fair it is somewhat funny, and yest there's some locals banging on a guitar and a metal can with a plastic hair brush trying to sell their next big hit on CD for only 10 bucks. but i was there to relax. The entire country is a tourist trap. and do not think the hotel is any different. tips are expected everywhere. and know 2-3 dollars isn't a tip. they will take it but you will never see them, again... unless you give 20 dollars or more dont expect anything in return. Dont expect to be entertained by more than the beach and the TV in your room...

the service:

Employees here work 16 hour days... and you soon catch the slave labor vibe and hate your self for condoning such inhumane acts by giving the hotel your business!!

The room:

The rooms are spacious... and have good sized balconys... thats it..... the bed DOES NOT come with a cover to use to keep the misquitos and other bugs that are always getting in the rooms from biting you. as well you are only given a bed sheet to use. a paper thin bed sheet that they never change. and this was in the resorts top end suite??? i can only imagine the horrors the other guests may have endured.

The beach is a piece of heaven....

but dont expect to be given towels unless you walk 5-10 minutes to the front desk in the main lobby to get a towel card incase you loose the one you have... towels are a strict rule in this hotel... both in the rooms and on the beach if you are lucky to get one keep it clean as you will not get another regardless of the length of your stay.... or you could just air dry like me,....

***For the hotel reply i may and may not get... ****

I do not accept your apology and or any written form of apology as i did not get one the entire 6 days of complainging at the hotel to help me salvage my trip... and such large cooperations rarely change their ways especially in hospitality.... i want a refund for my money which was stolen from me by staying here for 6 horribile nights... and i pray that more travlers who are searching punta cana do not stay here and take my advice to avoid this hotel at all costs... thank you for making me hate the carribean..... Good day

Room Tip: All the rooms are the same..... and the jacuzzis rooms have such loud jacuzzis on the balcony you tu...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
RiuHotelsandResorts, Social and Community Relations Manager at Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro, responded to this review, June 13, 2013
Dear guest,

Thank you for taking the time to give us your feedback and for expressing your concerns.

We were concerned to note that we failed to live up to your expectations.

We are committed to provide excellent quality of our products and services to our guests. We regret to read that you have left our hotel with an opposite idea in your mind. I have sent your comments to the respective heads of departments involved and actions would be taken to address all your concerns.

We hope you will choose to visit us again, and give us a chance to demonstrate the high standards of Guest Service that are typical at our resorts.

With our best wishes we remain,
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kansas City, Missouri
18 reviews 18 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

My husband and I stayed at Riu Palace Bavaro for 6 nights for our Wedding Anniversary. It was our first trip to the Dominican and we loved it!
Room: Very modern and nicely decorated, lots of space and nice layout, VERY clean...did not see one bug! Housekeepers do an excellent job! Bed is very firm and pillows are horrible, we'll take our own pillows next time. Resort: Pretty landscaping, pool and beach! Plenty of chairs and space around pool and on the beach amongst the tall beautiful palm trees. Bar and waitstaff do a great job at pool bar and around the pool bringing you drinks. Even brought fresh fruit and some other snacks around in the late afternoon. Special lunch was brought out to the beach a couple of days which was really good and fun. Entertainment staff did an excellent job! Lots of activities and games to participate in if you want to. They made sure to inform and invite everyone but were not too pushy. They were very energetic and fun people! We met Spaguety and Miguel and some of the others and they made us feel like we were valued guests. Food: We ate at the Fusion, Japanese and Italian a la cart restaurants and enjoyed everything we ate. We had no problem making reservations when we went down at 8:00am and were able to make reservations for 3 nights at once. The buffet is enormous and there is definitely something for everyone. We thought the food on the buffet was better than other all-inclusive resorts that we've been to. (Breakfast, lunch and dinner.) Check-in and check-out went very well. June is a great time to go; we had beautiful weather. We were told that the winter months are their hot months, very hot, humid and crowded.

  • Stayed June 2013, 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

We are a couple in our thirties from the UK. We stayed in the Riu Palace Bavaro at the end of May 2013 for a two week holiday and for our wedding. There were 25 in our party including 4 children.
This was my fifth all inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic and my second time in this Riu Resort having stayed at the Riu Bambu back in 2004.
The hotel and resort did not disappoint and I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Before we arrived we saw weather reports saying there would be rain every day, I think they just report this because of the chance of a storm in the evening, which happened most nights but was not a problem and actually quite a relief from the heat! The weather was great during the day, hot, sunny with scattered clouds.
The beach is beautiful with a constant breeze coming in from the sea, the only shade is under the palm trees which means moving your sun lounger around regularly, but great if you enjoy soaking up the sun.
The main pool is lovely and big with plenty of beds in the shade or sun. The pool bar is great and gets very lively around 4/5pm. The only down side is that some personal items of our party were taken from the pool area including a t-shirt and some ray ban sunglasses, this was disappointing.
The rooms are spacious and modern, we were upgraded from a standard suite to the VIP area. Our standard room was fine and overlooked the courtyard with the sandy area, hammocks etc. The VIP room was a different layout with a little more space, but the main benefit was the view from the balcony. We had a jacuzzi suite right on the beach. Breath taking!
The VIP pool was lovely, just like a smaller version of the main pool but quieter and with four poster sun loungers. The four post beds are so comfortable but put you mostly in the shade which is a shame if you want a bit of sun. We used this pool a few times and enjoyed our time there, but the majority of our large party were not in VIP so we often found ourselves joining them on the beach or by the main pool. The only disappointing thing in the VIP area was a loud group of people arrived a few days before the end of our holiday and took over the place a bit, at one point they were listening to a sports game on their own radio which was really loud and disturbing other people. I found this group to be rather inconsiderate.
The buffet restaurant was my favourite as it had everything you can imagine and the service was great. We generally ate here for breakfast and for some of our evening meals.
For lunch we ate at the Steakhouse which laid on a buffet. You can go to this restaurant in your swimwear providing you have shoes on as it is open air. The selection was great here, one day we tried the main buffet for lunch and got dressed especially but it was much the same as the Steakhouse, so why bother.
We tried all of the speciality restaurants. My favourite was the Italian which had a buffet starter and then a small menu for main and dessert. My family's favourite was the Fushion restaurant which I agree had top quality food. We were mostly disappointed with the Japanese restaurant, not because of the quality but more down to individual taste.
The lobby bar was great, we met there every evening for pre-dinner drinks. It was nice and cool, attractive looking bar, good selection of drinks and great service. The lobby coffee bar was also great for coffee, milkshakes, little sandwiches and cakes.
The evening entertainment/stage area was nice and most of our group congregated here after dinner. I did find the entertainment boring and often found it a struggle to stay up and watch it. The entertainment staff work tirelessly at this but I feel it needs revamping. I have been to cheaper resorts in the north coast of DR 15 years ago that had better entertainment.
I didn't go in the Sports Bar but I know the men in our group did and you are also able to microwave burgers and hotdogs in here late at night to soak up those cocktails!
We went to the casino once which I enjoyed, we only spent a small amount in there and lost it on the slot machines and black jack table but I enjoyed the experience.
We went to Pacha night club a couple of times. Some of our group enjoyed it there whilst others didn't like it. I would have preferred it to play more Dominican music but it seemed to be mostly American stuff. It is supposed to be free entry but we were charged $3 each on one of the nights. Drinks are similar prices to the UK.
As for the wedding, there was some mis-communication with the wedding coordinator which meant us attending a bit of a panicky meeting and having to make some rash decisions. I was surprised at how much detail there was such as white chair covers and coloured bows etc. the day went well except for a glitch with our chosen music, but this was quickly dealt with. We chose the cheap photographer package (60 photos on disc) and would highly recommend this as the photos are great.
We only did one trip on this occasion as we had such a lot going on. We went on the Outback Safari. I would recommend this to anyone as it shows a bit of the real Country and it's people.
Overall I think this hotel was beautiful, the positives far outway the negatives and the staff are very attentive. We would definitely return.

Room Tip: Room 5413 is a fantastic room in the VIP section right on the beach with jacuzzi on 1st floor.
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  • Stayed May 2013, 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 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2013

My friend and I spent five days, May 24 - May 29 at this Resort. From the minute we stepped into the lobby, it was a wonderful experience. The resort is just as beautiful as the online pictures. The welcome punch while checking in was a nice plus and so was the very nice young man who checked us in. He was very attentive to us the entire time we spent at the resort. Our junior suite was fantastic, the service was awesome. The food in the buffet restaurant as well as the 3 other restaurants we dined in was fantastic. EVERYONE was very friendly!!! The water was absolutely beautiful; great time and service at poolside. The nightly entertainment was great!!!! We were not ready to leave and have definitely shared pictures and highly recommended this resort to family, friends, co-workers.

Kudos to everyone associated with Riu Palace Bavaro during our vacation; EXCELLENT!!!!

  • Stayed May 2013, 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 4
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
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 Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #46 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
Number of rooms: 610
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