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“lOne of the best resorts ever visited” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Royal Decameron Baru

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Royal Decameron Baru
3.5 of 5 Resort   |   Isla Baru, Colombia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Isla Baru
Bradford Ontario
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“lOne of the best resorts ever visited”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 1, 2013

This resort is absolutely outstanding in every respect. Beautiful clean beach and ocean, friendly and helpful people, good restaurants, live music, many big swimming pools, and mature and well kept landscaping. Although the resort was full, we never felt crowded. For both me and my wife it truly felt like paradise. Planning to come back next season.

Room Tip: Our room was located on the ground floor of building 4 and was big, comfortable and silent, includin...
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  • Stayed March 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (67)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Sarnia, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
65 helpful votes 65 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

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!

Room Tip: If your English speaking then I would recommend a Spanish translation app or book is very helpful he...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
61 helpful votes 61 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 17, 2013

We have just returned after 1 week's vacation at this hotel. So here we are with the good stuff:

Beautiful and well maintained grounds
Large room - conformable bed - great view - very quiet area (block 7 - 3rd floor)
Small but very nice and clean beach - lots of chairs to be either in sun or shade
3 nice pools - pool #2 is where all fun activities are happening- again lots of chairs
Specialty restaurant - Italian and Thai were very good.
Animation team - lots of activities done by this group - very energetic and very talented group of people

now for the adequate stuff;

Buffet - very ordinary food at the buffet - but you will always find something that will suit you. Although lots of canadians (was told 1/3 of their customers are canadians) they have not 'canadianized' any of their menu (example- no bacon in the morning!!)

now for the not so good stuff but hey one can survive:

white wine - in their mind, it is ok to serve the white wine ...at room temperature (we are in Colombia- it is hot-hot hot there!) So after trying to get it 'frio', we just gave up and ordered 2 glasses of ice along with our 2 glasses of white wine..
Lack of service at restaurant; we do not blame the staff - we blame the management for not training them properly on a regular basis. From what we saw, they were trained to clear the tables - not to serve their customers by offering water, wine or coffee. But do take the time to engage in a conversation with the staff - ask for their names-talk about the great weather, some will remember you next time you go in and will try to engage a conversation. We did and ended up getting great service with Ana, Alexander and Juan Carlos. At our last dinner, we told them they should introduce themselves and keep on smiling when greeting customers! And yes the conversation is not easy unless you speak spanish very well (which we do not) but they do appreciate the effort. And by the way, we did give out tip all week long when getting good service. They are not use to that - we only saw canadians doing this.

Would we return? No - it is a long ride from the airport- took us 1h30 but over 2h when returning because of the wait at the ferry - (if we can call this thing a ferry!) We knew that going in, we are glad we went, but will look for a new destination for our next vacation! And FYI - at the airport - once you crossed security-if you are planning on having lunch there - beware that there is only one small shop with 4 tables selling coffee - sandwiches -beer...

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guelph, Canada
1 review
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 16, 2013

My husband and I just returned from our trip to Baru. He has travelled to many all inclusive resorts in Cuba and Mexico over the years and said it was hands down the nicest resort he has ever been to. First of all, the food was fantastic. We ate breakfast at the buffet every morning, and there was a HUGE number of options. I usually filled up on the fresh fruit, there were so many types to choose from! Fresh fruit juice as well! My husband tried almost every hot breakfast option, and raved about the bread choices and omelettes. Lunches were always different...but the best part was the ice cream! There were always at least 5 flavours to choose from, many were exotic fruit flavours. We ate dinner at 2 of the 3 a la carte restaurants during our stay (an allergy to fish made the seafood restaurant out of the question) and our favourite was the asian restaurant, we went back more than once. Dinner at the buffet was also delicious, they never had the same theme twice, and we both really enjoyed the "typical colombian" dish when they served it. They did a great job of labelling the food at the buffet and on the menus in 2 languages for those who were a bit wary of exotic foods. Service in the restaurants was ok, sometimes had to wait for a refill on drinks in the buffet but it was a beautiful building and atmosphere so we hardly noticed. The only complaint we had was that after 6pm there is only 1 bar open in the whole resort, and they only had 2 staff working at it. We went there while waiting for our reservations each night, and often after dinner as well...as did everyone else. 2 staff for a hundred people was very slow. Not to mention that was the bar that had the cappuccino machine so it took 5 minutes to make some of the drinks. The staff also didn't seem to work on a first come first served basis either, so we quickly learned to hold a few thousand pesos in our hand in plain sight and they would come a bit faster to serve us! Don't forget your travel mugs from home either, the cups for beer and mixed drinks are quite small which leads to more trips back with the wait time.
The grounds were immaculate. Gardens were watered, pools were clean, no garbage on the ground, beaches clean and raked. As long as you got to the beach at a decent time, there were many chairs available. We went over to the other beach as well and it was never busy, no matter what time of day. The main pool was busy in the afternoon with activities but we just went to pool 3 in the afternoons and there were rarely more than 20 other people there, and it was very quiet.
The room was great, we originally had 2 double beds but switched after the first night to a king size. It was a honeymoon trip for us and they brought us a nice fruit tray and champagne which was very nice.
It is important to consider that this is not an english speaking country. The staff speaks spanish. Bring a little dictionary if you want, it will come in handy. Learn to say things like please and thank you, my room number is..., coffee, water, beach, towel, pool, excuse me, where is, how much, can you, etc. Some of the staff know how to say these things in english, but it is a spanish speaking resort. We had a great Nolitours representative to help us translate a health question, but we both enjoyed practicing our spanish, and the staff seemed to appreciate it, often helping us with pronunciation. We found it a great part of our Colombian experience.
We did a snorkelling trip one morning with the Nautilus dive shop and it was fantastic. The guide got in the water too and pointed out different things for us, which was great...very different than snorkelling trips we've been on. We also went on the Rosario Islands tour. The excursions were quite expensive, but this one was well worth it! The boat trip out there was fun, the islands beautiful, the aquarium was neat to see, and Playa Blanca (public beach) was beautiful once you got past the group of locals selling things. We were warned of that happening though so we just said "no gracias" and continued on our way. No different than experiences in Mexico or Cuba.
Overall it was a fantastic experience, the weather was beautiful, and the resort was beautiful. I recommend this resort for couples, or families, looking for something out of the ordinary! Bring your sunscreen and camera!

Room Tip: We were in block 6 which was central, but far enough away from the reception building to avoid the n...
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  • Stayed March 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

February 22, 2013 - March 8, 2013 I was at the Royal Decameron Baru with my husband. This is a beautiful resort. The food at the buffet is good and it changes every night. The red wine is not that good but I did not expect to have a high end wine at an all inclusive resort. The breakfast is wonderul as there is a great selection of fresh fruit every morning. We were in Building 3 and it was a great location to beach, pool, and lobby. The rooms are a nice size with beds being very comfortable. The maids do a wonderul job cleaning and providing towels every day. The beach is nice but small. If you like walking the beach, you will have to go Playa Blanca. It takes about one hour to reach the end of the beach. A very nice two hour walk on a very gorgeous beach. There is a boat to take you to the beac , which is part of the Royal Decameron. - very short ride. Once you leave the resort, a guard will ask you to sign out and then sign back in. The food and drinks at the Beach are all included. They only allow 99 people on the beach so go early. My husband and I were going over to have lunch, which serves the best fish, and we were turned away as they have reached the limit. This is my favorite beach as it is quiet and the drinks and food are really good. The vendors can be annoying but will go away once you say no gracis.There is nothing to buy at the airpost once you leave buy what you need in Cartegena. The trip by boat to Cartegena is expensive about $200 each but very worth it. I Wish that we could have spent more time in the walled city. Would go back in a heart beat. Wonderful place to spend your vacation. The Bus ride to the resort is long but worth it once you are at the beach!

Room Tip: Choose the Ocean View as you will receive a fridge in your room and a great view of the ocean. Thes...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2013

I went with my family to the Royal Decameron Baru Beach Resort in early March. Overall, our visit was very good. Everything was clean in the rooms, except one of the air conditioners in one of the rooms leaked a little. Other than that, the rooms and beds were very comfortable. The selection of food was excellent, and there was a vast amount of fruits to choose at breakfast, but there were none at dinner. The dinner always had something new every night, with live music every evening at the buffet.The drink selection at the bar was also good. The swimming pools were great and clean, but only open from 10 am to 6pm. The beach was excellent. It was always being cleaned and there were several lifeguards at all times. The sand was very clean and the water was quite clear. There were also great snorkeling spots near the rocks placed nearby. There is also another beach nearby that a ferry will take you across. We only went there once, but it was more rocky than the main one. The property and scenery of the resort were some of the best we have seen as well. We also went for the Cartagena guided tour for the day. It was quite expensive ($208 USD per person), The city was beautiful, but there were a lot of street vendors at every place pressuring you to buy the same cheap things. Our biggest problem was communication with the staff. Only a few of the staff knew English, making orders was difficult with people who only knew Spanish. Our trip back was three hours long because of a ferry delay. In the airport, the duty free was very scarce, and had no coffee at a reasonable price, and no Colombian rum or souvenirs at all. If you do want to buy anything, get it either at the gift shop in the resort or buy it in Cartagena (there's also a $20 bus that just takes you to the city). Also make sure to not exceed the luggage weight, as it's $15/kilo extra. Overall, Colombia was a great destination with lots to do, but there are are a lot of other places with that as well for much less.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Cornwall, Canada
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

My sister and I stayed at this resort from Feb. 8 - Feb. 22, 2013. The price was good because we were part of a large group tour. A fantastic rep greeted us at the airport and she made sure that everyone was on the right bus. The bumpy 90 minute ride from the airport to the resort was an experience that I will not forget. Also, the barge that is used to cross the canal made me nervous. When the bus arrived at the resort, I saw a dramatic change in the surrounding vegetation. The check-in process was very efficient. Our luggage was delivered to our room before we got there. The room, located in bloc 3, was large, very clean and well decorated. It was on the third floor so we had a good view of the pool and the ocean. There are many stairs and ramps that lead to the ocean, buffet, lobby and bars. The long treks up and down were difficult so we made our steps count. The heat was oppressive from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm, so we were swimming or under cover. We had to use a lot of sunscreen and we both peeled within a couple of days. The service at the buffet was poor at times almost to the point of serving yourself. By the end of our vacation, we knew whose section to sit in. The language barrier was difficult because we speak mostly English. The Cartagena and Rosario tours were good, but very rushed. We have travelled to Punta Cana on three different vacations, and enjoyed ourselves much more. It was an experience to visit Colombia, but I will never return.

Room Tip: Rooms in bloc 3 are closer to the buffet and the lobby. Higher floors have a better view.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.

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Additional Information about Royal Decameron Baru

Address: Isla Baru, Colombia
Location: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Isla Baru
Amenities:
Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 hotels in Isla Baru
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Royal Decameron Baru 3.5*
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Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Baru Hotel Isla Baru

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