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“Not terrible, but definitely not a 4-5 star!”

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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #75 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed August 13, 2012

My boyfriend and I travelled to Punta Cana from July 2-July 9, 2012. Just a pre-cursor to this review...it's only our opinion and it's based on our personal expectations. We are in our mid-late 30's and have no kids.
Here goes...
If we were to spend our entire vacation at Riu Bambu, we would have second guessed coming back to Punta Cana. We stayed at the Bambu for 2 nights before we upgraded to the Riu Palace PC. (Thursday until Sunday paid an extra $50 per person per night CAD. Well worth it!)
We were contemplating the Bambu or Riu Palace pc before we booked and since the ratings on the site we booked from classified the Bambu as a 5 star, we thought it would be what we were looking for, but there is no comparison. We definitely agree with the 3 star rating on trip advisor.

The palace is much more superior. Definitely 5 star. Food- more selection, greater variety. Times of restaurants - more flexibility. Friendlier atmosphere. Most if not all staff speak English. Rooms, Beds better quality. Cleaner pools. Less kids, more relaxed atmosphere. Service on the beach and at the pool. (not offered at Bambu) No deposit required for a spare key. (Bambu -$10 US) Entertainment - better quality. Bambu - cheaper, food is still good but, not as good as the palace.

In our opinion the Bambu is suited more for someone who doesn't need the extras or mind a busier hotel or are not particularly affected by a less friendlier staff. However, koodos to the entertainment staff in both resorts.

We really don't have any complaints per se, it's just that we expected a 5 star and it wasn't. It's a bit decieving when you are booking online. We met a family from Argentina when we were there and they were disappointed as well.

Our other issue is that our flight was delayed over 8 hours on the way there and so, we lost a day of our vacation. We purposely booked the flight on the 2nd instead of the 3rd (paid more) and then lost that day. We arrived around 7pm and since there isn't daylight savings time in PC, we got there in the dark. We are currently trying to get refunded for one day through Sunwing, but, they are claiming they have no "legal responsibility" for a delay. If anyone has experienced difficulty with a delayed flight or dealing with an airline in this matter, we'd really appreciate some advice!
Thanks

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank realdeal29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 13, 2012

Visited Riu Bambu with our family Aug 8 thru the 12th 2012. Traveled with 4 adults, two kids. 3 and 8. For the value Riu Bambu is Great. And excellent if u have kids. Very kid friendly. If your a couple w/out kids and want a little more upscale resort, then that would be Riu Palace next door. But if you want the most friendliest and most energetic staff, then that would be Bambu. Here are the tips and do's & dont's in quick successions. Ladies, bring your own bath products. Nothing sensual about opening paper bath packages. Bring plenty of small bills like ones and fives. Leave the 100 bills at home. Kinda useless. Please attend your vacation tour meeting. Good tips also. Do not rent a motorcycle and tour the downtown area. If you don't get killed by a bus or car, u will surely get robbed or killed by the locals. Tip generously in the beginning. $1 to $3 dollars each time is good. U will get much better treatment. Ex. recognizing you as u walk into a bar and someone is already pouring ur fav drink before u even order. Don't lose ur towel cards, don't leave open food in ur room. Ants can take over. Don't convert ur money to Dominican Pesos. And most importantly, Don't drink the tap water. Now the good stuff. Had a Blast at Bambu. Do not miss the Michael Jackson show on Wed only and the Majician show on Sat. All the shows at night are top quality and worth keeping the kids up for the 9:30 shows. A must! Take the time and money ($99 per person) for the Apple Vacations etc....Snorkling tour. You swim with safe sharks and sting rays. The boat ride is so lively and fun and then they take you to the most amazing natural swiming pool on the ocean. Crystal clear! dont 4get to tip well on this trip. The staffers work really hard. At least $20. Biggest dissapointment was the excessive seaweed. It was all over but beaches are beautiful. Highly recommend Riu Bambu with kids. Also make your reservations for the Japanese, Steak and Italian as early as possible. Can only be made in person and the day of...with hostes of the breakfast restuarant . Only 7 and 9 o'clock seattings Got more to say but tired and going to bed. Some topless nudity on the open beach. Might initially freak out your teenage sons. :-) J & B.

Room Tip: Chose a room in the 100-400's. Makes it a much easier track from the lobby and dining rooms to y...
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with friends
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8  Thank JandB0619
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2012

This was a family vacation and the resort was fine. It isn't too plush or too bad. The front staff made sure we had rooms side by side which was nice. The first thing they tell you when you land is don't drink the water. The hotel provided 2 bottles of water the first two days then we had to search it out. I asked the front desk about it and it never showed up. The front desk is nice and friendly but not too much english so never really helpful. Very few staff has enough english. Our mini bar wasn't restocked after the 2nd day. The food is plentiful put basically the same every day. The Riu next door was under construction so we could never get reservations at the restaurants. The other Riu's resorts can eat at Bambu but Bambu can't eat any where else. There were a couple of things to stay away from. The taco meat on Mexican night was not good -had a weird and disgusting taste. The lasagna was so bad I couldn't even take but a very small bite and passed it off. Lots of kid friendly food. The grilled fish was awesome and we ate it every day. The pool/beach area bar was nice. Junior (who appeared in charge) was terrific and very friendly. The whole staff out at the bar were very nice and helpful and never had an attitude helping you out. The beach is beautiful but as the mother of a boy- wasn't totally prepared for the topless sunbathing. He loved it though. The other people we met at the airport from different resorts has similar experiences so I don't think the Bambu is the worst place but don't expect 5 star.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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7  Thank Lisaball_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

We recently completed an 8 day / 7 night stay at the Riu Bambu, Punta Cana, DR. The hotel overall is beautiful. The rooms are located in smaller buildings that look almost new. The grounds are very well kept. Our room was clean and fresh. There were a few small insects of some type crawling around on the tile floor, but a request to our housekeeping lady for some insecticide did the trick. We did not see this as a big problem because you are staying in the tropics after all. The hairdryer in the room did not work properly and one mention of that to the front desk staff resulted in it being replaced with a brand new unit within 20 minutes – I don’t get all the complainers on here, the staff was great. The hotel staff was very friendly and spoke English very well. Most of the staff also spoke German and French in addition to English and their native Spanish. The Animation staff (activity personnel and hotel ambassadors) were very friendly and always had a smile. Contrary to some of the reviews here, the evening entertainment was quite good. Some of the dancers have true talent and all of them worked their tails off to give their best performance every night. The beach at the Riu Bambu is probably the best and prettiest stretch in the area – we walked the coast quite a bit. The palm trees are everywhere and provide plenty of shade from the very strong tropical sun. The water is AMAZING and clear as gin. Speaking of gin, the drinks are pretty good and plenty strong if you ask for them that way. Our favorite was the Coco Loco – a real sip of heaven. Skip the wine and beer in the restaurants – it is cheap, tacky and TERRIBLE. The only thing that was less than great was the food. For the most part, it was mediocre. Mexican night was terrible – skip it, trust me. We wondered if they are trying to make visitors think that is what Mexican food really taste like so they will not go to Cancun or Cozumel – one of the Dominican’s biggest competitors….lol. The best night was Dominican night with roasted suckling pig – almost as good as Kalua pork in Hawaii. The separate restaurants that you have to make reservations for are only average as well. In addition to the average food, at best, we were disappointed that the staff did not enforce the dress code – come on people, how hard is it to wear a pair of Dockers for dinner? Many people came in their swimsuits and still had sand on their feet. Try a reservation for a night or two and you’ll be back to eating the buffet – trust me. Overall, we had an amazing time, especially for the deal we got for the week with direct airfare. Like the title says, you can trust TripAdvisor ratings as a whole because we were very happy with everything except the food, which is exactly what most people said. Go there and have a great time.

Room Tip: Try to get a room in one of the buildings closer to the hotel lobby and beach.
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank JGandMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 6, 2012

We went on holiday here in November for my birthday and had an absolutely amazing time. It was booked through Thomson for a week ( we both wished it was for longer though). The staff were brilliant, very polite and remembered us throughout the week. The gardens were immaculate and rooms were cleaned well every day. Restaurants and food were varied with plenty of choice & the themed nights for food in the main restaurant were a great idea. Everything felt quite luxurious. Rooms had great air con too so very easy to sleep at night. We are both 20 something's but it could easily be great for families and older couples. There is something for everyone. Massages in huts by the beach too! We can't wait to go back again.

Room Tip: We had a standard room further away from the beach so enjoyed daily walks through the gardens. These...
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  • Stayed: November 2011, traveled as a couple
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10  Thank Hannah W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 5, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Bambu with our 2 year old and our 1 year old in May 2012.

Our expectations were quite high as we have stayed at several RIU hotels in the Dominican Republic and have always been pleased. I have broken down the main points for clarity on each.

Rooms - good standard in general - a little dated. - Maid service every day. There are no coffee / tea facilities in your room. TIP - sports bar is 24 hours so have a wander down in the morning if your up before breakfast.

Mini Bar - stocked every 2 days with mixers/beers and optics in the room refilled - good but they would just put 1 beer or 1 coke in to last 2 days, we had to ask a couple of times for a refill

Pools - The main pool with the swim up bar was nice and has a jaccuzi at one side. Gets very busy.
There is a smaller pool which is much better if you want to relax.
The kids pool is a HAZARD! The water level in the children's pool is so high that it fills the tubular slide up to half way. In other words - your children are under water in the slides.

Restaurants - staff were excellent - food was good - not fantastic but always something to choose from. High chairs were like gold dust. One negative thing I would say about the restaurants are - you are not allowed to take pushchairs in. The restaurant didn't open until 7pm so we would feed our children at the snack bar at 5pm. After action packed days and by the time it got to 7pm our children had fell asleep. We couldn't leave them outside the restaurant so there were a few evenings when My husband and I had to dine from the sports cafe fridge. It is 24 hour all inclusive however after the restaurant closes the food available are hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches - all pre made and put in the fridge. There is a microwave to heat the food up.

Evening Entertainment was fine - not exactly broadway but as expected - caberet style.
Daytime entertainment was of plenty for all ages. - Animation team are fantastic - must work 15 hours a day and still remained the most friendly staff in the whole hotel.

The beach is - OUT OF THIS WORLD. It is the best beach by far we have been on in the Dominican.

I feel this is a 4 star hotel but only just and give a year or two will be only a 3 star.

Room Tip: The family style rooms are worth the extra bit of money - we paid £84 extra in total and that gave u...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank JulieL1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2012

We were assured by our agent this was a 5 star hotel, never the less once there we were very, very disappointed.
1)Bed comforters were dirty
2)Room towels did not smell good , and even worst beach towels that seemed to be they only dry them for next day to be used again.
3)according to my agent, room bar was replenish everyday, not true they only do it every other day.
4)Breakfast..same everyday, omelettes or eggs under cooked
5)Lunch same thing everyday....
6)Dinner just a "little different" everyday
7)Overall food is over salted!!!!
8)Drinks at bars are served with low quality alcohol....unless you ask for specific brand they will serve you local brand(bad quality)
9)There is only two public washrooms in the hole complex, near the lobby and at one of the restaurants (Mama Juana)
10)Restaurants a la carte are so so.

Room Tip: Rooms at south side are quieter, rooms close to the main isle are noisy.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank M U
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

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:
#64 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#69 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#69 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $158 - $395 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Intl. 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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