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*
- 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