Our travel agent recommended this resort. We traveled there on February 22 till March 9/13. It was a great place to go. Very hot & can get muggy, average of 31C to 38C felt like 41C to 48C, every day for the 2 weeks we were there. It is a bus ride from the airport in Cartagena to the resort. Be prepared for a rough ride, after your bus crosses the man made river. You cross on a vehicle ferry. No washroom on the bus for the ride to the resort and the unbelievable long wait and ride back to the airport. My only complaint is no washroom on the bus.
Lots of stairs and ramps, at this 3 story resort. 3 pools (1 activities pool & 2 quiet pools), 2 pool bars & the lobby bar.
2 snack bars at the ocean, 1 private island area with food & bar, & the other is on the resort it was a snack bar during the day & the sea food a la carte in the evening, and it was also the snack bar from 11pm to 2am. Bring your own insulated mug during the day around the pools, but I’d recommend leaving it in your room during the evening as the bar tenders seem to ignore you if you have your own mugs. Also for some reason at the lobby bar at 11:00pm they start cleaning up and putting away the premium alcohol, serving only the basics & draft beer till 2:30am closing time. And at the pool bars the bar tenders start to clean up 10 minutes before the 6:00pm closing time and if you haven’t got your last call drink then you’re out of luck.
The bars definitely need bus boys to clear up and keep the glasses clean. Each bar could use with an automated dishwasher to keep up. Pool side servers would also be helpful. Hopefully as more Canadians go to this resort, the DeCameron management will incorporate these ideas.
We do like to tip for great service and more of the employees that work for this resort would benefit. Also it would be a better idea for the lobby bar to stock more than one box of red & white wine for the evening crowd. Our bartenders spent precious work time running to the stock room to get one box of wine or another, when all they needed to do was bring 4 or 5 boxes with their other stock and that would save a great deal of time.
Asian a la carte was the best in my opinion others in our group of 6 enjoyed the Mexican a la carte. Both were very good, & reservations are needed. The wines were a product of Chile and Columbia. Red & white wine available and they were very good.
My husband, brother-in-law & nephew brought and wore long pants one evening and we noticed other men in the a la carte restaurants in dress short and nice sandals. That was better for the men because as I mentioned above it is very hot there.
Service in the a la carte's are where most of the wait staff that are able to work quickly and efficiently are stationed. Note **** there is not a lot of English speaking staff here...the wait staff that do know some English (and I mean some) are in key positions such as front desk, lobby bar, & a la carte restaurants as managers or a supervisor of some sort.
The buffet was very good, different theme days, and a very nice variety. There was always a great selection of vegetables, salads, meats, pasta, desserts & cold drinks. Breakfast was from 7 to 10:30 and it was the best buffet of the day, cereals, breads, juices, eggs, omelets, vegetables, beans, etc. Lunch was available from 11 to 3:00, again a fantastic assortment of choices. Buffet had Panini sandwich area (my favorite lunch), pasta station, french-fries or fried banana slices, cold meats & breads etc. And the beach snack bar had the regular burgers, hot dog, fish, fries, and cold drinks. The buffet dinner started at 6:30 & mostly what was left over at breakfast & lunch was somehow incorporated into a soup or stir fry, again theme meals & lots of variety of vegetables, salads, pasta & hot meats to choose from.
The spa & gym were very nice. The spa massage people need to be a bit more consistant I had a fantastic 60 minute massage that actually lasted 50 minutes because the massage girl was 10 minutes late bringing me to the massage room. So I guess she made up for her being late by cutting short my 60 minute massage. Then the hot stone massage was mediocure for me. She did not have the stones preheated and spent time draging all the equipment she needed to use into place while I was laying on my stomach waiting for her to start. This massage also was cut short by 5 minutes while we were waiting for the stones to heat up, and her to get ready. But my sister & cousin had a great hot stone massage. So it depended on which massage person you had.
The gym had all the great machines but most of them did not work for the first week, but after the time share owners came to the resort the machines were fixed and working. Which was a bonus for the guests that wanted to use the gym.
The evening shows started each evening around 9:00pm and are audience interactive every other evening and had the entertainers put on shows on the other evenings. Very entertaining!
Again this resort is just starting to get English speaking tourists, and some employees are very keen to learn how to communicate with those of us who only speak English. The staff is very friendly, and some have stepped up their level of service after they realized that we consistently tipped. The group of 3 servers at our table for breakfast & lunch were very interested in learning how to speak English. As I've noted in other reviews that we tip for great service and we were treated wonderfully by 5 separate employees that understood that remembering & acknowledging us, speaking, smiling and moving quickly to look after us was all that we asked.
The resort was very quiet our first week and no chair games were played, until they had to close the beach because of rough water, then all the beach people were looking for chairs, this lasted for 2 days. Then when the beach reopened all was slow again. Our bartender Pepe at the quiet pool was one of the few who understood what was needed to get a tip. The bartenders share only if they have help by another bartender at their bar. The servers at the buffet share their tips between the 3 wait staff in their section. If you want to tip a cook or chef at the buffet they don't share. At the a la carte restaurants they split with everyone that works in the restaurant. So some guests don't tip and others do. We were told that the Canadian's are the best then the Columbians and then the South Americans, and the others don't.
On Thursday thru to the end of the weekend, the South Americans that own a time share at the Royal DeCameron arrive for their 3 or 4 night break. So the activities pool livens up with the party guests & the quiet pools have the families with small children. Also for some reason there was a group of 3 young men that zipped about the party pool area on skateboards. Not sure that was a wise idea for management to allow that. Who would be responsible if a tourist is run into and injured?
This resort is on the National Park Island of Baru and has its own private beach. If you are looking for trinkets & hats the locals are there with their wares. And after a walk thru the mangrove bush you catch the ferry to the private island beach. It has a pool in the ocean with a lunch snack bar and bar. Also at the area that you catch the ferry you can use the water crafts, such as a sail board & small sail boats.
We did the boat trip to the old city of Cartagena, Emily (a Canadian from Montreal) the Nolitour rep. is fantastic, she is in charge of the tour guides. We had Rafael Lara a history teacher in real life. He was so interesting to listen too, he loves his country and it shows in his speeches. Part of this tour is seeing the fort, & emerald factory. Their history books show the Spanish Christopher Columbus and others as pirates that attacked their home & raided, killed & stole from the indigenous peoples. Bringing the African slaves to dig & build new water canals so that the Spanish could take their ship into the interior to make it easier to steal the gold, silver & emeralds.
Other members of our group went on the boat tour to an island that had areas for different fish species that are endangered. They also had a great guide.
Our room was very nice; we had two double beds that were very comfortable. There was a large closet with dresser drawers to unpack into and a flat screen TV. Also we had a large balcony that we could see the pool & the ocean. The bathroom had a private toilet enclosure & large shower, but only one sink in a huge bathroom counter. Also the water was shut off in our building #5 every morning from 2am to around 4:30am so no toilet flushing or hand washing from the tap during that time period. We then had to use up our bottled water during the night for hand washing. The bathroom could use with a bit more light or a makeup mirror with a light on it.
We had to pay for our room safe key, and we had to request a small bar fridge at a cost. It depends on who you get at the front desk as what the cost of the fridge could be. Our brother-in-law got one delivered and it was free. We were quoted $10.00 a day at first, but after a lot of gesturing and asking to speak with the manager we finally got it for $10. and we had it for a week and a half. Others we met had one already in their room. Also we were disappointed that there was no coffee maker in the room. We were in the coffee capital of the world and to be able to try out different Colombian coffee in your room in the mornings would have been wonderful. It would certainly help with the coffee sales by the tourists for sure.
I would definitely recommend this resort and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Not many Canadians there yet but we are starting to travel there so it will just be a matter of time before we have more than just one flight from Toronto and one flight from Montreal each week from Canada. Nice that it is a direct flight for us.
Remember take note that again there is not a lot of English spoken there yet!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the Baru Island, the hotel Royal Decameron Baru is characterized by its beautiful white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters surrounded by lagoons, exotic mangroves and the most spectacular multicolored coral reef. All these factors make the Royal Decameron Baru an exquisite location to rest, enjoy yourself, sunbathe, practice water sports and much more. The Hotel design is modern tropical style, blending in with the natural environment of the zone. This resort is located on Baru Island and only 90 minutes from Cartagena City International Airport. With 4 restaurants, 5 bars, 3 swimming pools, State-of-the-art Convention Center with capacity for 700 people and a business center. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Royal Decameron Baru Hotel Isla Baru