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“Poor service, old and harsh towels, no shampoo, cheap food, terrible coffee” 1 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
New York, NY
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Poor service, old and harsh towels, no shampoo, cheap food, terrible coffee”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

This hotel is located about 1:40minutes driving private bus transfer from Cartagena city

The hotel architecture and design is superb, pools are nice and the rooms are really good,

The food is more below average compared to other resorts. The wine is below a table wine and very cheap. The coffee super bad and we got abdominal cramps everyday.

The only way to get an espresso or cappuccino is to go to the bar near the reception the other do not have the espresso machine

There was no shampoo provided on the second day, we asked for extra towels and never got them and the towels are super old and already becoming gray

Poor service and POOR MANAGEMENT and they need more personal keeping in mind that they have around 330 rooms and they are fully booked with people from South America . If every room has an average of 3 people there are around 1000 people in the resort, so if they are saving one dollar per person everyday they would save 360,000 $ a year so that is the reason for everything

We paid around 150$ per persona and 125 for our toddler, pretty expensive for the poor service and cheap food we got it

I would never travel there again and/or recommend it

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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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 (61)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Medellin, Colombia
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 22, 2013

I used to love decameron but after some visits to different hotels you found there is a lot of other options that would exceed your expectations for less money, this hotel is located far from Cartagena city about 1:30 private transfer shuttle, the hotel infraestructure is superb, pools are nice and the rooms are really good, we booked trough hotels.com and found there the room we booked was not available, we almost got into a fight with the hotel manager since he just wanted us steep aside and agree with everything they wanted. I recommend to get a room on the 3rd or 4th block since the hotel is big and you don't want to spend your time walking to get into your room or any of the other services. Beach is narrow but clean, anyway if you don't like to be cramped you can take a small ferry that pass your trough a southern part of the beach where you can find more space and beach chairs to relax. The food is average compared to other resorts. Anyway i would not return to this hotel and i recommend it for someone who just want to enjoy a beautiful hotel building but poor service.

Room Tip: Try to get a Deluxe Room, those are oceanfront and would be central to everything.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

Beautiful resort but does not live up to promises when comes to weddings only thing we got that we asked for was wedding on beach they screwed up everything else,wedding cake was ruined flowers were wrong and they did not keep other guests away from we doing and party so all pictures were screwed up Bcus people standing in background in bathing suits! Again beautiful all inclusive resort but not good place for weddings! And don't waste money on massages weak and short not worth money

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
stoneycreek
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 7, 2013

Traveled to this resort week of march 15- 22/13 with another couple and loved the resort. The resort is relatively new and this was apparent by the condition of the rooms, the pool and deck chairs, restaurants, beach area, meaning that all were in excellent condition. Any pictures posted on any website are very accurate- the place is beautiful.We were surprised by how lush and mature all the vegetation was and seemed as if the place had been open for many years. They are still planting on the grounds and at the island/ beach area which will make it even more beautiful. As in most other reviews it is HOT but the breeze made it tolerable around the pool and there were plenty of umbrellas available. I think we were there at a low time because it seemed like the chairs at the pools were always empty and we had choices every day or simply because there are 3 large pools to choose from. Many locals and South Americans were at the resort and they seemed to prefer the beach which may have contributed to the excess spaces at the pool. We found it cooler by the pool as it seemed that the beach did not receive the breeze.Overall the food was good for an AI, plenty of choices and always hot and I actually prefered the buffet to the a la cartes and of course the coffee- delicious. The resort is built on the side of a hill and therefore many stairs- we didn't mind, needed to work off the food we ate- but for those with mobility issues or small childen it would prove difficult. They do have ramps as an alternate but less convenient than the location of the stairs. The island/ beach area that is a 30 second boat/ferry ride is a must if you want to walk a beautiful beach, Playa Blanca, and just a word of warning, it is not part of the resort so you are required to sign out and in with security when exiting the resort property. There are alot of hostels and stalls and therefore peddlers on Playa Blanca so it makes for an interesting walk. Snorkelling at the resort is best done by the rock breakwalls- beautiful fish- we did this instead of taking the day trip and it was enough for us. We took a trip into old Cartegena by way of the "shuttle bus" run from the hotel, $25.00 return and it dropped us off right outside the old city. We had a bit of "communication" issue with the Nolitours rep who insisted this wasn't and option and tried to sell us their 180.00/person boat and tour trip. Check with the front desk Decameron Explorer people and they can set up the do it yourself trip- this all depends on what day they are going to the airport to pick up people and we were told we could only do this on the tuesday but heard from other guests they went on wednesday- the story changed every day so check often. The nice part is that Decameron Explorer has a concierge office in the old city and you can go there to cool off (and you will need to!), get a drink, use the washroom and get a map and directions from the staff there- very convenient. The people at the resort and in the city are lovely, very open, and more than willing to talk about themselves when asked (and help with our very minimal spanish). Getting to the resort is a bit of a trip but interesting scenery once you are outside of the city, rough roads for some parts, small ferry, and of course the time it takes all depends on the traffic. The trip in to the resort was 1.5 hours (was at night) and the trip out was 2 hours- all because of the time of day and the wait for the ferry. Just bring snacks and you are all set. Remember the distance away also makes the resort more appealing, i.e. quiet, crystal clear water that you can swim in (heard that you cannot go in the water at the resorts in the city). Overall, a fantastic trip and would go back in a heartbeat.

Room Tip: Most rooms face the water in blocks 6, 7, 8. Block 6 is on the same level as the diningroom and has...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 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
    • 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.
Bradford Ontario
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarnia, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
64 helpful votes 64 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
57 helpful votes 57 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.

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Additional Information about Royal Decameron Baru

Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Baru Hotel Isla Baru
Royal Decameron Baru Hotel
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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