I went back and forth on giving this place 3 and 4 stars, but I landed on 4. I will give the pros and cons and what I think they did great, and not so great.
First of all, I’ve been to Punta Cana before and stayed at another resort, Excellence. That is a 5 star, hands down. This place is not even close to the same level (even the beach there is far superior).
The resort location is relatively close to the airport (so not a long drive), certainly under 30 minutes even stopping at other resorts along the way. There are two pools: the larger one is closer to the reception area that was the lively pool (music, swim up bar, etc), the other was an infinitely pool right next to the beach that was the “chill” pool. Very relaxing and not much activity. Both had plenty of chairs, I didn’t see an issue finding a spot to spend your time. The beach was another story. Now, I’m not a beach person but every time we walked on the beach, every single chair had a towel on it (and there weren’t that many chairs to begin with). So you must have to get up at like 5am to secure a spot on the beach. All in all, the grounds were nicely maintained and a solid 4 stars. You could walk in either direction on the beach (which had a lot of sea grass.... A LOT). There is grouping of shops to the right of the resort and they will try and sell you everything but their first born. It gets obnoxious because we were just beach walking each day.
The rooms. We booked the basic room (Superior Junior Suite) which is not superior. That rate gets you the ground floor rooms that are in dire need of updating. They just have that ocean “funk” smell to them. The bed was terribly uncomfortable and the pillows were like little pancakes. We were in building 38 and it was just dark in the room…not like you’re on an island. Our little patio had some shrubs that shielded us from basically the walkway between our resort and the Catalonia one that allows kids (I’ll discuss that place too). I believe that if you upgraded, you could get a higher floor and those were remodeled rooms. We upgraded to the suites with their own endless pool and that was the best thing (and money spent) that we did the entire trip. If you upgrade at the resort (if available) you can negotiate the rates (which we did). Those rooms are amazing. Better beds, better linens, better everything! My best piece of advice is to get one of these rooms. I know some people say that you aren't in a room enough, but with these upgraded suites you have your own pool. No need to leave the room!!!!
The food. I’ll pretty much eat anything and you have to remember when you visit an all-inclusive resort with a steak house, this isn’t going to be Morton’s ! If you read complaints on the food, those people are just unrealistic on their expectations. Their food is different than what we expect in the US, so you just have to go with it. What I was thoroughly disappointed in, that was NOT clear in the resort website, was that the majority of the restaurants are at the other Catalonia, next door, with kids. NOT what I signed up for. We wanted adults-only for a reason, but if you want the steakhouse, Italian, Mexican or Japanese places – you are going into kiddie hell. Even if you go late (which we tried), nope – the kids are in the restaurants past 9. I’m not a kid-hater, just didn’t expect that when we paid for an adults-only resort. Your dinner choices on the adult side is the Thai place (outdoor dining), the beach grille which serves a mix of dishes at dinner (also outside), the Tapas place (which was my least favorite menu and food – my only “yuck” moment) which was indoor and the other indoor place that did the breakfast buffet every day. Their menu was also more eclectic. We ventured to the “other side” once, and the steak place was good but I repeat, it’s not an American steakhouse so don’t go expecting that! We tried the Japanese place twice, but once was a 90 minute wait and the other time there was no one there….so we gave up. The kid-friendly sister resort was cheaper, and it showed. There were lines for the bars, restaurants, etc. Not worth the effort to walk there.
Entertainment. There is none at this resort, which is fine by me. There is however nightly entertainment at the other resort, but it’s definitely that “cheesy” cruise ship type entertainment. Frankly, I go on vacation to chill and don’t need to be entertained.
I will give you one strong word on caution regarding the time share/sales pitch. They suckered us in by what we thought was the concierge. She was overly nice, and I guess I should have seen it coming. “Oh you get a free gift” and “Oh it helps me. You don’t have to do anything, just listen to them and I get credit.” Three hours later, my boyfriend literally left me standing there with this sales guy. Frankly, I’m glad he stormed off because it gave me an excuse to leave (he had our room key!!) We played good cop/bad cop and finally escaped. It’s not a “time share” per say, but you invest a large sum of money to buy “discounted vacations”. It’s very salesy and pretty close to impossible to escape. What’s your free gift?? A small bottle of rum, coffee, some vanilla, and a couple cinnamon sticks. Not worth the time by any stretch of the imagination.
Would I return to this resort? Probably not because there are other places I would like to visit. Would I recommend this resort? I would, but with the caveats I mentioned. As always, it depends on what's important to you and what you're looking for.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Expedia, BookIt.com, TripOnline SA and Hotels.com so you can book your Catalonia Royal 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.
- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Hotel Punta Cana
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Punta Cana
- Royal Catalonia Bavaro