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“Amazing beach shame about the food and nightlife”

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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #76 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Twirlie
Level Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Amazing beach shame about the food and nightlife”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 11, 2011

I would like to firstly say that despite any bad comments my partner and I did have an amazing holiday!

Let me start with our plus points:

THE BEACH! It is the winning part of the resort, and literally a minute walk from the apartments. Paradise. White sands, ample waves for my boyfriend! and we never had a problem getting a lounger. Nice and quiet compared to the pool.

The staff seemed really good playing with the kids and there were lots of activities by the pool and a stage on the beach throughout the day, salsa classes, aqua aerobics, mini golf tournaments.

The rooms were spacious and very clean.

OK so now the not so fab points:

Only one pool area which gets very noisy. Imagine the 'crazy frog' song on repeat, I kid you not! some days we had to go to the beach to get away as you just could not relax there the music was SO loud and annoying. People sit and smoke in the the pool bar and chuck their cigarettes into the pool. I love the beach but it would be nice to have a quiet pool to relax and have a dip in.

I sound like my mum now but the beds were so hard that we slept on our sofa bed(we had a family room as they were the only ones left when we booked). My boyfriend got a krick in his neck and I didnt sleep well at all on the other bed.

The food....not great. I'm not that fussy but my boyfriend is veggie and allergic to fish. He lived on pizza and pasta as all the veggies are over cooked or fried and nothing really has any flavour. I didnt really go near the meat as it was dry, overcooked and flavourless. We didnt starve but didn't anticipate dinner each night! The 'a la carte' restaurants arent really that. They are just buffets with less choice than the main buffet. Many people got up and left them. you are better off at the main buffet. more choice and you dont have a set dining time.

It does have a gym but is difficult to find, not air conditioned and very basic. One of every machine. I used the running machine for 15 minutes but had to stop due to the heat. I wasn't too fussed but have seen better gyms out here on the East of DomRep.

The nightlife....hmmmm well some people seemed to love it but we really didnt. There is one area to convene in for the evening. The theatre which leads out to a seating area and bar. The shows each night were by the in house team. Full of energy and talented but the shows were so self indulgent. It is all about them and not the audience. It is like watching a group of children trying to outdo each other. For example some of the shows involve audience participation and when they are up on stage they draw attention away by doing pirrouettes all over the stage trying to upstage the audience members. There is no sense of performance or direction and they are only bothered about showing off themsleves. We were tired watching the shows and ended up leaving half way most nights to go to our room. Sad I know but unfortunately the only other bar to go to is the sports bar, next to the stage which is cold, empty of any people and not much atmosphere. Such a shame they don't keep the pool bar open of a night so there is somewhere to go where you don't have to endure the shows. Due to this we didnt get to meet anybody socially and saw many other couples our age (late 20's/early 30's) in the same situation. A pool/beach bar with some music and nice atmosphere were sorely missed.

Also the bar staff aren't that friendly... they're not rude but kind of indifferent, not looking you in the eye or listening to your orders. Kind of bored. we often got competely wrong drinks from which we had ordered as they walk off as you are asking. We have had amazing experiences in the North of DomRep at a 3* hotel where the staff were fab and on 1st name terms with everyone so this really didn't compare at all.

This is our 3rd time to the Dominican, and though the beach is amazing it is the poorest hotel (the others being 3 and 5 star) It wasn't awful, and we do understand the standards obviously differ to at home, but compared to previous experience it fared the worst.

Ok some excursion info for those who may be interested!

HIGHLY recommend the reef explorer excursion. Highlight of our holiday. You get to swim down and be pulled along by nurse sharks and touch sting rays(sting removed!) Allow some extra cash for pictures after but basic lunch and drinks included and the staff were awesome!

Swimming with dolphins. I have done this in Tortola and Isla Margarita, but here I would say is the best actual dolphin experience. We did the middle choice, explorer, and the american girl we had was awesome, patient and accomodating. Just be aware that the dominican staff will herd you around, rush you and snap their fingers at you. This did stress us out some what but once we were with the dolphins it was by far the best experience. Allow 40 dollars for pictures on dvd after as you cant buy them as print outs but this is worth doing and we are glad we got them.

Last time we were here we did Saona Island - dont bother!! It is a crazy long journey via bus and boats, to an island with a beach not a patch on Bavaro beach. We saw other people who had been and were so disappointed too so really don't waste your money and swim with sharks instead!!

Hope this helps! We had a fab time but I do think you can find a hotel in Bavaro with better hotel facilities than this one in the same price range. Hotel 3* Beach 5*

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled as a couple
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3 Thank Twirlie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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DERBYSHIRE
Level Contributor
27 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 9, 2011

It was a 10 day package with Thompson.Flights and transfers were great,but the hotel was outstanding.From room accomodation,bar staff,all the staff,from gardeners to maids were great.Situated on the beach,this hotel has everything,stunning sea views,eat on the terrace looking out,swim up bar,choice of dining restaurants,the quality of all was so good.Only one tiny little complaint,the wine was awful,being a wine drinker,thats my moan,other than that,we both really enjoyed our holiday,and would have no hesitation in going back again.

Room Tip: We asked for,and got a balcony room.
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank BEAMOANDJOYCE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 9, 2011

I found this hotel was very bad for me and my child (8y.o.) Unfortunately the weather was bad and we had to spend most of the time in the resort. There was absolutely nothing to do for the child. Very boring. The show was mostly for adults very much sex oriented. I felt very uncomfortable to allow my child to watch this. No internet access in the room. The doors of next door neighbors were very laud in the morning so we could not sleep longer and had to be out of the room very early. The sweeming pools were filled with top less women. My son kept asking me "why?". We had to basically hide from all this drong, "sexy" people.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
3 Thank Kukushka48
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers are raving about these Punta Cana hotels

SHEFFIELD
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 9, 2011

I hope my honest review is helpful and dont let the bad points put you off too much if you have already booked!
I would recommend to purchase your entry cards online before you go, it just makes it quicker at the airport but do still fill in the visa entry form you are given on the plane as they will take this off you at passport control.
Take Dollars as they are more widely accepted and most things are priced in dollars, get some smaller denominations for tipping i.e 1 dollar notes.
Punta Cana airport can be a little dissorganised and there is really no point in getting a luggage trolly as they will not let you take it outside so for a couple of dollars let the bellboys take it to your coach.
Once you have your luggage make your way outside and you will need to take your ticket book to the Thomson/Firstchoice desk so they can tell you which coach to get on, there can be a slight que but doesnt take too long.
Transfer time is about 30mins not long.
Check in at the Bambu is a bit hectic again its all about queuing to get your envelope with your room key and stickers for your suitcase so they can deliver them to your room if you wish, it is a bit quicker to take them yourself if your wanting to change in to something cooler.
Rooms are spacious and clean although a bigger bathroom can always help but i might sound a little spoilt on that point.
Air conditioning is excellent, but can get a bit chilly when your sleeping so either take a fleecy blanket (only thin to keep you snug) or you can get reception to drop you one in. Hair dryer that is provided is sufficient so dont bother packing one as i never used my own.
Beds are a little hard but i slept fine. Plenty of draw and wardrobe space with hangers.
The resort is clean but when they have the sprinklers on it can smell of sewerage a little.
There is no need to get up early to reserve sunbeds as there are plenty especially on the beach.
There is a choice of 3 pools one with swim up bar, one with loungers in the pool and a children's pool with slides. Could do with a little more attentiveness to cleaning them as there are a few bugs and fag buts floating about.
Alot of guests had the insulated drink mugs which are a really good idea so you don't have to keep going back to the bar, if you don't remember to take them you can buy them from the hotel shop.
The beach is excellent, you can sun bathe all day without getting too hot as there is a cooling breeze, but cream up well as it can be very miss leading!! you will get the best tan from the beach!

Its all about tipping here, not just once continuously if you want good service and to get acknowledged at the bar, otherwise the staff are just unfriendly and not accommodating at all.
The food is very repetitive, yes i know its all inclusive and you do normally get the same kind off stuff , but when they serve mash potato, carrots and fried potato for breakfast, lunch and tea it gets beyond a joke!!
However the muffins, cakes and patisseries for breakfast are really nice! and the fresh pizza at lunch in MamaJuana.
The Alacarte's are not that great, but there inclusive so why not try them.
There was also a lack of ice-cream for the children.
The Sports bar which is 24hr all inclusive for drinks and it does say snacks on the info sheet. There is a fridge full of hotdogs and burgers for you to microwave but once there gone ( around 10pm) there gone and do not get restocked untill the next day.
You can not use the facilities at the Palace's (each side of the Bambu) but you can use the Naibu which is at the top of Carribean street but it s quite run down so we didnt choose to eat or drink there.
Overall I was disappointed by this hotel and the staff and would not class it as a premier 4* plus hotel compared to others i have stayed at, personally i would not recommend this hotel to My family or friends.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank SheffieldHellsbells
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2011

I took a cruise and stay with Thomson Platinum holiday, it was the worst. I paid a lot of money for this long awaited trip. The hotel staff was very rude, I have a disability but they wanted to put me on the 3rd floor. I had to hire a wheelchair, the hotel does not have one in-case of emergencies. u have to get up early every morning and line up to book a table for the Chinese restaurant. which almost everyone did as the main restaurant was infested with flies all over the cooked and uncooked food that they were still cooking. people could smoke anywhere in the complex around all the children (not good) the rooms were OK but the phone and side cabinets were dirty. we had to change hotels after one night. will never ever recommend or go back it is worst than a 2star in London. Thomson should not be using this hotel for a platinum holiday

Room Tip: no tip just go some where else the Palladium hotel
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  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank sexy-lor01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
mid wales Powys
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 7, 2011

Fabulous complex with everything you can imagine. looked after like a queen and ate and drank til my hearts content!!! Lush strawberry Daquiries to my hearts content. Entertainment team brilliant and involved you if you wanted. Met excellent people over the 10 days i was there and they made the holiday even better. Food amazing at all restaurants and so much choice throughout the day!! (a stone heavier on return!!) Rooms tastefully decorated and spotless.
Reccomend " Outback safari " trip for real taste of Dominican life. Excellent day had by family of 4 including 2 teenagers!! Visiting the school was my highlight and i only wish i'd taken lots of pens, rubbers, stickers etc to give to them.
Fantastic holiday and saving hard to return in the near future. If your booked to go to this hotel you're going to hav yhe best holiday you can imagine... so enjoy!!

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank happyhappy03
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 5, 2011

I went to the Riu Bambu Punta Cana in March, with a large group of all ages, from toddlers to an 80 year old - two of our party were getting married.
Now, I've travelled far and wide, and experienced everything from sleeping on the beach whilst backpacking, to staying in the best 5 star hotels in India - so I know what's good, and what ain't! I was absolutely dreading going to Dom.Rep, and worse, I was dreading even more staying at the Riu Bambu. I had read with growing horror the reviews being posted about the Bambu, but the holiday was booked and paid for....so I decided, that IF the hotel was as bad as reported, then I would consume as much alcohol as possible..and stay drunk for the duration - that way, I wouldn't notice, and would care even less how bad the hotel was!! This option WAS ABSOLUTELY NOT NECESSARY!
All the public areas of the hotel are clean, tidy, and well presented. The rooms are perfectly adequate, though maybe not 5 star, and I was seriously impressed - from the moment of arrival.
I'm a very fussy eater, but there was more than enough choice for anyone - I fail to understand how anyone could complain about the choices. Okay, , the quality of the bacon was pretty poor - but there were (at the very least) a dozen other choices. All meals were self service, but the waiters/waitresses always brought fresh coffee, wine, beer, iced water and soft drinks. But you could also serve yourself with these too. For me, having wine and beer on tap, self service was brilliant - no waiting for someone to serve you! The only thing they didn't bring to the table were spirits - and most people brought them into the dining room with them if that's what they wanted - for Gods sake, you had to pass the bar to get to the dining room!!!
Besides.....these people aren't lackeys... give them a break. And, remember,if you smile, and are pleasant, then the pleasantness is usually returned! It costs nothing to be polite.

The wedding was fantastic - I could not fault it, and I think I speak for our whole party!

One of the whingers on this site moaned about lack of washcloths,,,,why? Isn't that something that most people take with them. Buy a pack of 3 for about a quid (about 2 dollars) ! and chuck them away when you finish with them. Will hardly break the bank, will it? Oh yes, another moan about fag ends on the beach... mmm ... there were fag ends on the beach - but you can't blame the hotel for that - it's the smokers who have no respect for others who dump their fag ends, there we're bins and ashtrays dotted all over the place. We saw a beach cleaner every day, but be fair, they can't clean up after every litterer!!

There are hundreds of loungers around the pool, and even more on the beach, so there should be no problem about finding somewhere to stack out!! Yes, there is a bit of a distance between the bar and the beach - and it took all of......3 minutes to walk from beach to bar. !! Good idea.....I recommend you take one of those thermos cups with you to take cold drinks to the beach - we found it invaluable. And the bar staff will even wash them out for you between drinks - plus you get bigger measures!! Result!

So to sum up, from a very fussy woman, I had a fab holiday, and so did the rest of our group...I found nothing to complain about...and I would return in a heartbeat. I can recommend The Riu Bambu to anyone. (except of course lazy, tightfisted whingers, who want to moan about anything and everything!!)

Hope you enjoy your holiday as much as we all did!

Stayed March 2011
Helpful?
10 Thank SunworshipperBristol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Bambu

Property: ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Address: Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#65 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#69 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#69 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Bambu 3.5*
Number of rooms: 740
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located in Punta Cana * Situated on Arena Gorda Beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Taino and Riu Naiboa hotels * Main building and 1-story bungalow complex * Surrounded by 46,000 m2 / 50,300 sq. Yards of palm groves, adjacent to the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Higley * 600 m / 1,980 ft. From Caribbean Street * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int€™l. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Bambu Punta Cana
Riu Bambu Dominican Republic

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