My family just returned from the resort, having spent Thanksgiving there. Our group included my daughter, husband, and two young children (5 and just under 4), my son and daughter in law, and my wife and me.
I travel extensively on business (every week, including a large number of international trips), and my wife and I vacation regularly. We typically only stay at five star resorts (such as Four Seasons), just put this into perspective.
We knew exactly what we were getting into by choosing an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, which meant mediocre food, better than average facilities, non-branded alcoholic beverages, and extensive resort amenities. We got precisely what we anticipated, and anyone that leaves such a place angry or disappointed simply had no idea what they were getting when they booked the place.
1) We were traveling with young children, so we selected this place as family friendly. It had a water park, laser tag, miniature golf, children's activities, multiple children's pools, a good beach (and this beach is excellent, and does not have waves on this side of the island), and a wide variety of kid-friendly food. We got exactly what we expected. If anything, the facilities exceeded our expectations.
2) The rooms were spacious and clean. Yes, you're going to get occasional insects in any DR resort, as this is a tropical island, and that's what you're going to see. But...the rooms were clean, the daily tip left ensured that we got good room service, and we were more than satisfied. We stayed in three separate rooms, so if we were three for three, the people complaining are just looking for something to complain about.
3) Typical of all-inclusive resorts, the food is not great. It's abundant, but the quality is going to be lacking. It was fine. It wasn't great, but aside from some joking, we never went hungry. If I wanted better food, and wanted to pay three times as much for my family, I'd have done so. I got EXACTLY what I expected.
4) If you haven't been at an all inclusive recently, they all play the same game. This means a large buffet or two, and a plethora of specialty restaurants. The restaurants are typically beautifully decorated, the service slowish (to add to the experience), and the food a pinch below decent. If I were to eat out at a restaurant with this quality, I wouldn't return, but the truth is, that's exactly what you get in an AI. Deal with it, people. It was good enough. Some restaurants were okay, some less so.
5) They had a spa. We love spas, and to be honest, this was fine for an AI, but we've stayed at some of the best, and this cannot compare, and I didn't expect it to.
6) Their main pool was out of this world. Much better than I ever expected. Frankly, I was blown away, as I was with the beach.
7) They had what appeared to be a good golf course, but I am not a golfer.
8) They had nightly shows, and I've been there at other similar resorts, and I had no interest.
9) They had a casino. Sorry, but I'm a vegas kind of guy. I had zero interest, but there were people there gambling. Good for them. I hope they won.
10) The activities area was well attended, and people seemed to be having a great time.
11) DR is hot any time of the year. This is the comfortable season, and it was hot as far as I could tell, but I'm from southern CA, and we don't have this kind of humidity.
12) We went on a dune buggy excursion. I had a blast, but if I'm being honest, typical of this type of resort area, the buggy's weren't serviced properly, and it was probably a health risk. The excursion was given by an outside company, so don't blame the resort.
13) They had a wide selection of water vehicles that were included. We didn't partake, but other people did and they seemed to have fun.
14) The resort also has an adults-only section, and we walked it and weren't impressed. I thought the family area was better. If that's your choice, I suggest going to a different place.
15) All these AI places are pretty comparable. If not, some of them would have trouble booking, and from what I see, that's not the case. They all likely are very similar. Pick one, and go with it.
16) The staff were locals and spoke little English. It isn't a problem. Deal with it, people. You know enough Spanish to get by.
17) The resort population was surprisingly international. I thought the majority of people were Russian. I loved that. It greatly improved my people watching. What does that mean? If you have any common sense, if the staff is taught another language, it's NOT going to be English. Once again, deal with it.
18) I laugh at anyone that complains about check in and check out. Big deal. You spend perhaps an hour, maybe two doing both, and the rest of the time you're having fun. Anyone that wastes time complaining about that is in serious need of therapy. Who cares?
19) All things considered, you get what you pay for, and this isn't what I would call an expensive vacation. For the money, it's a good value.
This is the type of place where I'd take my two kids and their families, but NOT the place my wife and I would go to if we were on a nice trip. I'd compare it to a Carnival Cruise, with more to do, but with food that's slightly worse.
And...I'm not a Carnival Cruise kind of guy. It is what it is.
If you're seeking a multi-generation family trip, do it.
Have fun traveling.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe*****, a unique and unrepeatable location on the best beach of Punta Cana, protected by a coral reef that converts the sea into a natural swimming pool. This an all-inclusive luxury gastronomic hotel is a new concept in luxury on the best beach in Punta Cana. All the rooms have terrace and sea views (front or partial) and jacuzzi for two persons with hydrotherapy, Well-being of the latest generation. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe Hotel Punta Cana