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“Had a good time” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Catalonia Royal Bavaro

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Catalonia Royal Bavaro
4.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playa Bavaro, Punta Cana 837, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #36 of 101 hotels in Punta Cana
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Had a good time”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We had a great time while on this vacation mainly because we made it great, not because this resort was great. This doesn’t mean the resort was bad neither. We stayed here for 6 nights. We originally made reservations for the Catalonia Bavaro, but upgraded to Catalonia Royal Bavaro(“Privileged”-the adults only part of the resort). There are a lot of positives and negatives about this resort.

The good: Staff is accommodating, you can tell they all work really hard…I kind of feel bad for them. Whenever we requested anything, it was done. Lots of restaurants to choose from. The steakhouse was the best of all the places we tried. Swimming pool w/swim up bar was awesome, and was quite a beautiful view from our room. We were right next to the pool. Because we were “Privilieged”(adults only), we had access to all of the resort. The rooms were really spacious, and each had their own balcony. 24/7 room service was available. If you didn’t have your “do not disturb” sign on the door knob, the maids would come by every day to clean your room, and they do an excellent job. They always restocked the towels even though it wasn’t necessary. They even straightened out my shoes for me. I was able to tell every time the room was cleaned. It was nice having room service for breakfast when we didn’t want to wake up too early to get ready to go eat.

The bad: Check in was horrible. We waited forever in line to check in at the Bavaro lobby, then after we took their offer for an upgrade, they sent us over to the Royal Bavaro lobby to go through the whole check in process again. The a/c in our first room did not work, but they moved us as soon as we requested for a different room. Although the staff worked really hard, they were not friendly(probably b/c we’re making them work hard), there were a few friendly ones though. I can tell a lot of them were just tired/overworked…I didn’t really blame them. There were lots of restaurants to choose from but this place is so huge(be prepared to do a lot of walking), we never even found all the restaurants. There are no signs directing you to any of the bars/restaurants. The food wasn’t great but wasn’t bad neither. Most of the specialty restaurants’ food tasted like buffet food. If you want to eat the Japanese restaurant, you have to go right when they open, otherwise they will already be full for the night when it’s only 7:30...and the food didn’t taste like real Japanese food neither, but that was expected. The hibachi guy did a great job with his performance/cooking skills though. Half way into our vacation we finally figured out the hours and locations of most of the restaurants. Wi-Fi sucked, worked like every other day. It was hard getting a hold of room service sometimes. Sometimes, you couldn’t get a hold of them at all, mainly at night time. Also, it’s not required but room service and bell boys do expect tips.

The beach was beautiful, but not as beautiful as I expected from pictures I’ve seen online of Bavaro Beach. I did see a guy cleaning the water of seaweed by the beach, but it was definitely not a one man job. It was also hard to find a nice spot on the beach under a palapa. You would have to wake up early in the morning to save your spot with a towel if you wanted a decent spot.

Beware of “cheapy, cheapy/no compromise”…the pesky vendors with their souvenir tables. They are no joke! They can see you from a mile away and are very aggressive. They seemed to be stationed in different parts of the resort each day. One after another, they will literally grab you to their table. And never buy anything at the initial price they give you. One vendor wanted $95 for 8 shot glasses and a small candle. We eventually haggled him down to $20 for the 8 shot glasses. Nothing is price marked, they tell you whatever price they want to tell you and you’ll just have to judge for yourself if you’re getting a deal or not. To get an idea of how much souvenirs really are, behind the casino in the main Bavaro lobby, there’s a shopping center. We went there to scope out the prices of similar souvenirs so we can have an idea of when the vendors are cheating us.

Overall, it was a great first experience in Punta Cana, but I will spend more money to stay at a nicer resort next time.

Room Tip: There are no ocean view rooms. You will want a room near the lobby since all the main restaurants ar...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (580)
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English first
Louisville, Kentucky
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We have stayed at quite a few all inclusives over the past few years, this one wasn't bad at all, it just wasn't amazing.

Room service menu doesn't have much variety which would be fine if you didn't plan on eating it more than once or twice.

We were harassed by quite a few employees of the Catalonia to go on the Time Share tour, we told one guy no a few times and eventually he told us he had a quota to fulfill and if he didn't he would end up on the street and even motioned by putting his fingers to his head as if it were a gun. Made us very uncomfortable and was a sad ending to our trip.

Food was pretty good at the restaurants. Loved the drinks, they all used fresh squeezed juice.

Our baggage was lost upon arrival to the Dominican and we were told we would have it that night and it would be delivered to the hotel for us. We went to the desk in the lobby to see if they had arrived later that evening and we had a hard time communicating with the woman but, she tried to call for us. When we went down the next morning, luckily our bags were there. We just wonder how long they had been there and why they didn't call us when we arrived.

Rooms were nice, all the pillows had a musty smell and felt damp though. Rooms were cleaned early each day so we were happy to not have to leave the room or be present when they came. No alarm clock in the room so, we found ourselves sleeping a lot later than we normally would.

Beaches/ocean had a lot of seaweed. They try to keep it clean but, there is a lot in the water all day. Have to get to the beach very early to get good seats it seems. We never had any front row seats the entire 5 days.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Witney, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
63 reviews 63 reviews
50 hotel reviews
Reviews in 51 cities Reviews in 51 cities
103 helpful votes 103 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

Just back from two weeks here (2-17 Aug) and can only give 5 stars to this place. So much has already been said about the fantastic staff, big rooms, excellent food, and lovely beach. Service is first class generally, but remember this is the Caribbean so more relaxed than Europe or the US.

For excursions we would recommend Outback Tours, Pro Excursions Eco Tour and Seavis for Saona Island. Booking direct via their website is cheaper than via travel agencies or in the hotel.

To address so of the negative reviews which did concern us before leaving, but were totally unfounded in our opinion:

Language barrier - yes, sometimes the staff may not be fluent in English, but why should they? This is a foreign country and they have guests from many countries - even so, it was never a problem and ways to communicate were always found.

Rooms - if people want 5 star luxury then don't expect to compare a resort in home country with those in a developing country. However, rooms were clean, large, very comfortable beds, air conditioning worked fine (but not freezing like some Americans seem to like)

Beach - beds always available, plenty of shade but did have some seaweed in the mornings, but staff we always clearing it away. Also, how can people expect to be on the beach and not have seaweed?! It really wasn't an issue. Catarmarans and kayak service is good and beach bars are great.

Food - we can't comment on the restaurants on the family side (steak house, Italian) but found all meals at the Royal were superb. Meat was tender, good choices at all restaurants, and never had a problem once with flavour, portion size or poor quality.

It amazes me that people complain about this place. Stomach problems aren't always due to water/food but can be the amount of alcohol consumed, poor hygiene of other guests, temperature etc. etc.

My only complaint were some of the ignorant, loud and arrogant american guests. We were amazed at how few ever said please or thank you, seemed unable to have a conversation that everyone else in the pool could hear, or finding fault with things out of control of the hotel e.g. we overheard the following " I didn't expect rain - it isn't on", "The beach is disgusting, they should make sure there is no sea grass", "I read on trip advisor that people complain about loud Americans, but what the F***, we are on vacation so they should just go s**** themselves", (lovely attitude and no consideration that others are also on vacation too and maybe want a little peace and quiet), "This place just doesn't compare with Vegas or Florida" (why didn't he go there then instead?!)

If you want a quiet resort, but with access to a larger complex 5 minutes away, great beach, good service, friendly staff - then go here. We would return in an instant.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

I have stayed in many 5 star hotels in key west or europe but have to say that this tops them all. I was a little bit afraid of the all inclusive experience since it's our first AI and you can't change anything if it's bad. But it was excelent! :)
Arriving here felt like entry into paradise with the beautiful arranged palm trees and the general tropical setting.
Having the first cocktails at the pool bar in the water just made the impression even better.
So here are the impression of my girlfriends and me (both late 20s) in Detail:
Location: yes it's remote. No other neighboring resort, but that's exactly what we were looking for. It's a rather small resort with maybe around 200 rooms aranged in small apartment buildings with 3 levels. I was looking out for something like that. The beach is naturally beautiful and kept clean everyday from sea grass what my girlfriend really appreciates.

Room: spacious,clean, european standard and very nice interior. we were bounced up a category into a deluxe junior suite with an extra whirlpool but every room has a balcony as i see. Walk in shower and great king size bed. Everything worked as it should and the shower is amazing.

Food: Perfect! It was my greatest fear that in an AI resort the food would only be some nasty buffet mass meal and our greatest relieve when we had fine dining every single day in all of the 4 restaurant options. You can see that the food is not made for masses but that they serve high quality food made individually by great chefs in all restaurants. We haven't been disappointed once! Really don't know what some other reviews talk about when they speak of bad food, but mostly i think they mix it up with the "normal" Catalonia Bavaro next door which is way bigger and made for families. Can't say anything about that sister resort since it's discretly but nicely seperated from the adults only section and we've not been tempted to do more then a sightseeing walk through there.

Staff: Perfect as well. Everyone is nice and outgoing and no matter if it's the bar keepers, the receptionists or the waiters all have a song on their lips and swing when there's a good song running. You can really feel the carribean sunny mood and can actually believe that it's their nature and not the greed for tips.

Drinks: oh my god...drunken all the time :D perfect way of AIing!

Acessibility(location wise): the resort is the first resort coming up from the airport so that ride was really short. But as i said it's rather remote to the other resorts. You need to get a taxi to bring you into bavaro for shopping etc. for about 25$ (20 min) one way. But all the excursion companies pick you up with no extra charge so we always alternated chlling one day at the beach and doing great excursions the other day(mini cooper tour and beach horseback riding were brilliant). But even with after the best tours we were always very glad to return to our private paradise :) specially after seeing those monster resorts while picking up other excursion guests...

All in all it's the perfect spot for couples to chill, relax and have great food and cocktails during their holidays but also to have fun on great excursions.(all booked on the internet and not the local tour people here)
If you like it more busy, closer to nightlife and shopping you should probably choose a resort in the strip farther up the coast.

Thank you Catalonia Bavaro! You made this a perfect getaway for us for which i fear i cannot top again during our next holidays :/

  • Stayed August 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
42 helpful votes 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 days ago NEW

We arrived on aug 12 and left the 15th. It was 11 degrees in Canada so we decided to return. It's our third time here.

The weather was amazing. It was windy for a bit causing seaweed to come on the beach. It's an ocean people not a lake. We took some bread out to feed the little fish which was fun.

The room was in villa 38 third floor. We were facing the pool side as it is much quieter. If you are on the other side you are beside the staff driveway. They start at 7am and no fun listening to that. There isn't an elevator and was not required. Lol

We have been here before so we always choose the main hotel restaurants for availability of different food. We ate one night at the Tuscany restaurant. Luis will be the waiter running around and always smiling. He never served us but we tipped him anyways. It's very rare to see a waiter like that even in Canada.

The Tapa Cata restaurant on the royal side was ok but it was really hot. They need to fix that as we left early and did not stay long.

We ate at the main hotels front and beach restaurants for lunch. Great selection and you get to sit in the " privileged " side. It's quieter.

Getting a chair on the beach was not a problem even at 2pm.

We like a quieter trip which is why we booked on the royal side of the Catalonia. There are no kids allowed which nice.

To bring.

Dryer sheet for the vent. No matter what country we visit down here it helps.
Imodium. Lol. Cause you never know.
If you forget sunscreen, toothpaste it's expensive but available.

Our favorite staff members were still here. Yinny at the front desk came out and gave us a hug. Luis in the Italian restaurant still smiling. Hopefully they get rewarded for their effort.


Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Love, love, love...can't rave enough about this amazing place. We just returned from our second trip of the summer and definitely one of my favorite trips ever. We stayed from Aug 8-13 and when I say that I'm not a fan of visiting the someplace twice just because it's such a big world with so much to see and do what's the point but in this case, I can't wait to go back. The staff of this resort was so amazingly friendly and helpful. From day one they remembered us (my boyfriend, my mother, and myself) and always greeted us with "Hola, mi familia" or a high five, a hug, or something along those lines. We became good friends with the lobby manager named Joan (pronounced Jo-han) and he was such a blessing with all the help and suggestions one could ask for. Angela was one of the front desk attendants and such a sweet person always looking to help out and lastly I can't forget our favorite waiter that always without fail gave us some great laughs. Let me go into this saying that if you're thinking about this resort, just do yourself a favor and book it...you're guaranteed a fantastic experience. Now let me see if I can help you a little:

- if you're looking for a family visit then stay at the Catalonia Bavaro side, if you're looking for a more relaxing, adults only vacation then stay on the Catalonia Royal Bavaro side. It's the same resort just different access. With staying at Royal you'll have access to both sides.
- they accept US dollars everywhere so we didn't have to exchange currency at all BUT make sure you have plenty of smaller bills ($5, $10, $20, etc) for tipping and such. We made the mistake of have $100 bills and finding a place in the resort to get change proved to be a daily challenge.
- oddly enough of all the restaurants on the resort we didn't seem to come across a Dominican restaurant which is what we were craving so we had to go off the resort for that one but they made it extremely easy for us because they gave us the recommendation of where to go and set up transportation for us.
- out of all the restaurants our favorite was Sea Blue. It's an outdoor spot so for dinner make sure you put on your mosquito repellent because I walked away with a million bites but that has nothing to do with the resort so aside from that it was our favorite go to spot for snacks, lunch, and dinner.

Honestly, there's not anything negative that I can say about this gem of a place. The grounds are beautiful, all the staff were genuinely wonderful, the rooms were beyond our expectations, the spa was phenominal, the pools, bars, on site activities, shows, just everything you can think of was just perfect and I couldn't have asked for anything more. Everything about this vacation truly exceeded my expectations and I just can't wait to go back for a visit. Looks like I may be having Christmas in the Dominican Republic this year :)

Stop thinking about it and book your trip. Tell them Lydia says hi, lol.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stuart, Florida, United States
1 review
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

Let me break this up into fair categories:

Staff - EXCEPTIONAL. I swear there was a ratio of one staff for every two guests. Amazing ability to understand many languages - french, english, spanish, and many more. Helpful and caring.

Rooms - okay. Not what I would consider a 3 star but nice. They were large rooms, beautifully decorated with a very Caribbean taste. Air conditioning at it's lowest setting was roughly 76 degrees, lobby and shared common areas that were air-conditioned were no better. Prepare to sweat profusely. Profusely being if you are relatively fit, enjoy 95 degrees with 60% humidity and no AC. Our room was pretty but I must say a third floor room with no elevator gets old after two weeks and no working AC when you did get to your room.

Food - HORRIBLE. I'm not even sure where to start. When we checked in we were notified that the faucet water was not drinkable but all water served in the restaurants was. This was not the case. There is an issue with there filters. Consumption of water at restaurants caused significant intestinal issues. So we started only drinking bottled water and no water in restaurants etc. This helped significantly; however any food that was rinsed or prepared using water not reaching a certain temp would render us violently ill. Now let me back up to the food. The food that we tried not only made us sick but tasted off for what it was. Take the Italian restaurant all noodle dishes were cooked probably 30 minutes past done leaving them as congealed disasters. The steak house - although not bad - not what I would call a good steak. A chef needs to come in and set the hotel up with some dishes that are true to the themed cuisines. The only one that was spot on was the Japanese restaurant. This left us with the 10 days left of our trip eating bread, fries, and pizza - not food we normally eat under any circumstance. We generally eat a seafood and vegetable diet. All of there seafood was either fried beyond recognition or served raw. Just a heads up Grouper is not good raw.

Location - When you arrive at the hotel you are told if you want to leave you must only use one cab company otherwise they can't be responsible for your safety. You are very much stuck in the resort. It's a fancy prison. The beach is okay - if you have ever been to california or florida you will be greatly disappointed. If you are expecting a standard caribean beach like the bahamas you will cry when you get there. Lots of sandstone and sea weed. Small beach so many people and no option to walk up the beach as you would be off the property.

Hotel Itself - I was incredibly disappointed that the hotel had a time share person stationed in the main lobby. We were harassed every time we went through and ultimately started avoiding the lobby. I cannot believe a hotel trying to be a destination allows it's guests - who say no - to be continually harassed. We were harassed to the extent of the individual begging us to do it and telling us how much he made per person he took through. It's disgusting. Next up. There were vendors on Friday on the other side of the property and saturday on the royal side. They were so aggressive that there was no way to enjoy your time without avoiding them completely. They would stop you put jewelry and trinkets on you and insist you were in some way diminishing there value by not purchasing something. The word no to them just meant to try harder. It was horrible.

When you go to an all inclusive this is the last experience you plan to have.

I am from the United States - originally from Seattle currently living in southeastern Florida. If you enjoy traveling and local culture AVOID the Dominican Republic as a whole. If you are looking for a nice all inclusive try a different resort than this one and pay attention to food reviews. If you just want to get drunk beyond belief and don't care where you are and don't plan on eating it's a great place for a decent bed with no ac and endless liquor.

I can eat off the carts in mexico and have been to many many countries and never had this horrible of an experience.

Room Tip: wifi did not work reliably in any area of the hotel. The service was great, rooms okay, and food HO...
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
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Additional Information about Catalonia Royal Bavaro

Address: Playa Bavaro, Punta Cana 837, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#15 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#16 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#17 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#26 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#30 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
#30 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Catalonia Royal Bavaro 4.5*
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Also Known As:
Catalonia Royal Bavaro Hotel Punta Cana
Catalonia Royal Bavaro Punta Cana
Royal Catalonia Bavaro

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