This was an 8-day vacation with my wife, and we did actually have a decent time, but the RIU Bambu is nowhere near a real all-inclusive resort and certainly isn't a five-star property.
This RIU Bambu resort came recommended by Southwest Airlines Vacations due mainly to proximity to the ocean. In that respect, it satisfied with a great beach. The RIU Bambu sits between two other RIU resorts and in theory you have some reciprocal privileges with them, but in reality you don't. You can't eat or drink any place but the Bambu. The check-in staff kept telling us about the all-inclusive benefits, but frankly there weren't any that we could see.
We arrived at the resort at 8:30 p.m. The RIU stops serving dinner at 9 p.m. and offers NO dining options after that. They have a two-door refrigerated case of dehydrated hot dogs that can be microwaved in your room, but that's not dining. You can't even get a bag of pretzels, so after a long day of travel, we went to bed without eating. We hoped to find something in the room, but our "mini-bar" (actually a mini refrigerator) was empty (not even bottled water, and you cannot drink the tap water). Several calls to the front desk revealed that the one person who stocks the room refrigerators had left at 9 p.m. so we could not get anything that night. Note that nothing gets resolved at the RIU on the first call. You have to be persistent. Our room was finally stocked the third day we were there, and only after yet another visit to the front desk. Five-stars? No.
As all-inclusives go, this is far from a five-star resort. Everything is buffet, including the specialty restaurants where, if you desire a reservation, you must get up early in the morning and stand in a line where one employee takes reservations for all five specialty restaurants. You can waste an hour doing this, and all you end up getting is a limited buffet with many of the same items you get in the main dining areas. You cannot order room service, and this alone makes me wonder how in the world this resort gets a five-star rating from some reviewers.
The bars are busy and noisy, and the liquor for the most part is very low-end. Only one beer is offered and wine is either red or white, served warm in plastic pitchers or on tap (?). Drinks are made very weak and very, very sweet.
On the plus side, the room we had was clean. We avoided using the central air conditioning as there seemed to be a lot of mold and there is no way to control the temperature. The room froze when it was on (others reported the same problem, and no blankets are available). Our room hair dryer died and it took three calls and two days to get it replaced. Note that no shampoo, conditioner or moisturizers are provided; just some sort of all-purpose liquid in a wall dispenser. Five star????
Don't be fooled -- this is NOT a real all-inclusive resort as most people know them. No room service, limited dining hours and low-end drinks that you must seek out. No one ever asks you if you need anything -- you must fend for yourself. There are many, many better options than the RIU Bambu.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The All Inclusive ClubHotel Riu Bambu is open all year round, is located in holiday area Punta Cana on the Dominican Republic's eastern coast (on the Playa Arena Gorda beach) and it is part of RIU Resort with 4 sister hotels. The Caribbean Street is 600 m away, next village Cortecito (10km) and Punta Cana International (PUJ) is 25 km away. The hotel has 1000 comfortably furnished rooms and offers modern amenities. Relax with a massage at our Beauty Salon or get in shape at our gym. 5 outdoor pools, 2 children’s pool as well as Water park "Splash Water World" at Riu Punta Cana. For the youngest guests, there is the RiuLand Kids Club(for children from 4 to 7 years & 8 to 12 years old), Riu4U (for teenagers ages 13 to 17) and for adults, day and evening entertainment as well as Riu Pacha discotheque, many water sports activities. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main buffet as well as Mexican, Italian, Asian, Steakhouse, Gourmet and Spanish cuisine, 6 bars. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Bambu Punta Cana
- Riu Bambu Dominican Republic