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Hotel Riu Bambu
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Reviewed January 2, 2014

From the moment the doors came off the plane I knew we were in for an experience. The air smelled sweet and incredible. The airport wasn't great but it is a 3rd world country.

We stayed in the older part of Riu Bambu it was close to the pools and the room was cute, they do have sockets that you can charge your phone. The people are friendly and speak Spanish, and French mostly, but the do also speak English in most places.

The beaches are clean and the sand is soft and white really beautiful, it is truly paradise and I look forward to going back some day. One caution for travelers to the area if you buy items stick to coffee and liquor, cigars are illegal to take into the US and more than likely they will be fake. Most of the other items are also fake like shirts, jewlery, etc. Just proceed with caution and be sure to try snorkeling while you are there it is amazing.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Tyler W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2014

Just returned from a great family Christmas holiday, I can not understand the reviews for this hotel!! the accommodation was good, the food was excellent, the beach was fantastic!!
(My only down and it is a small one, the hotel allows the locals to book rooms at the weekends??? it makes for quite noisy times around the pools)

Room Tip: I emailed the hotel prior to travelling and asked for my room to furthest from the main part of the hotel, it made for a lovely walk in the morning prior to breakfast and no noise from the entertainment at night
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Sean T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2014

Our stay: December 18-25, 2013
Traveling from: Saskatchewan, Canada
Traveling with: Sunwing
Who: Young couple (age 22&23) - girlfriend is writing this (age 22)

Why could we absolutely look back and hate this vacation?
I have travelled to all inclusive vacations quite a few times; however, this was my boyfriends first trip out of North America. Two days into our trip, he became extremely ill - vomit, diarrhea, fever, chills, no appetite. We went to the 24 hour clinic at the hotel, who had excellent service and helped us tremendously. Unfortunately, we were not prepared for them to send us to Hospiten Bavaro in Punta Cana where we ended up staying a night there. Wow, can't say I would chalk up an experience like that! Readers, keep in mind that I was completely fine and felt great. So we stayed the night in the hospital which was kind of unsettling for both of us English speaking people with no Spanish. He received a diagnosis of a gastro-infection in his intestines and severe dehydration. They said the infection would have come from food and/or drink most likely. We were very cautious and never once drank tap water so something came from our hotel food/drink. We ended up cancelling both excursions we had planned (easily refunded) and he was ill for the remaining part of the trip.

But HEY, I personally have gotten severe food poisoning from a local Subway restaurant in Saskatchewan so it can happen absolutely anywhere.

What kept our spirits high and our attitudes positive? Where to begin...

Service - absolutely phenomenal. Everyone went above and beyond to help whether it were dealing with his illness or getting us some extra water bottles. The staff at this hotel consistently smile and work so incredibly hard to make your vacation the best it can be. Guess what, we don't care about our scenario when we compare it to the hospitality and the welcoming people to us in THEIR country. People have really changed over the years and I'm only 22. I appreciate more than anything positive interactions among strangers and we got that from the staff.

Food - the feast they put on for Xmas Eve was like no other. Wow, they worked so incredibly hard to create a Xmas Eve that we could all consider special, and it was. The food was great! Selections galore. Breakfast had a smoothie station which was delicious and really cool, plus much more. Lunch was always great and in a perfect location close to the pool and ocean. A quick bite was all we wanted, why be away from that ocean for too long? The A La Carte's (spelling?) were very dedicated and delicious. They were a buffet style a La Carte which was different from what I have previously seen else where. We went to a Japanese night, Mexican and Steakhouse. All were great. My boyfriend came to all meals with me, even though he couldn't eat he really wanted to eat all the beautiful food they had. He couldn't eat because his 24/7 uneasy stomach, not because he was scared to eat the food.

Cleanliness - always spotless. The maids were great, we took little gifts to leave on our pillows every morning. My advice, leave that extra shirt/pants at home because you really don't need it.. instead, bring a few gifts for those hard-working maids (little lotions, perfumes, socks, pencils, pens, tip $). Represent your country by being thankful for the hospitality, because they are representing their country by comforting your stay to the best they possibly can. The beds were really hard; however, my boyfriend and I couldn't have slept better! Maybe we have it all wrong with these plush beds in Canada... :)

It's a big hotel, you will get a little something I like to call "exercise" which I was very thankful for after all the great food I ate. My number could be wrong but I think there are 5 Riu hotels side by side and Bambu seemed to be right in the middle.

TIP: The only ATM was a few hotels away (approx. 8-10 min walk, or a shuttle bus every 20 min that could take you there). Plan your spending $ well so you don't have to make that ATM trip often. No big deal though.

Wow this is getting long and all over the place, sorry but I hope it is helpful.
Excursions - "Caribbean Festival" we ended up cancelling and moved to another day. He was still somewhat ill but we decided to go. Glad we did, great day swimming with the sharks and stingrays, snorkling and enjoying a touristy but relaxing afternoon. Great for families, couples, kids.. maybe not older couples (that's ok though, there was many selections for excursions)! - booked through Sunwing ($94 per person)

To wrap it up, I guess what I'm getting at is yes, there were some bumps in the road for our trip. I'm young so yes, I probably haven't been to some of these elaborate 5 Stars that some of you are comparing Bambu to. It was a great trip, my boyfriend and I can't complain. It could happen to anyone, and we talked to many people and no one was ill except him. Luck of the draw! We would definitely go back.

Room Tip: *see review for ATM tip* Photography - at the hotel they have photographers (kind of pricey) but we had pictures taken that were AMAZING. Bring 30 bucks and have some professional pictures taken, you won't regret it and it is a great keepsake. The "photoshoot" is free and you buy the pictures only if you like them. Be positive. Be kind to one another.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jillian R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2013

Returned from Riu Bambu Punta Cana December 14th. 2013. After reading bunch of reviews before booking we didn’t expect five star resort at all so we were not disappointed. Customs at the airport was smooth and fast. Transfer from the airport as well. We arrived at Riu Bambu around 4 pm local time and check-in was swift. Our luggage was in the room (#3627 on the third floor about ten minutes walk) in no time.. Room (I believe recently renovated) was nice and clean but with unorthodox placement of shower room and sinks. Programmable safety box at no extra charge.. Maids didn’t provide top notch service but no major complain there. All grounds are well taken care of. Main pool with swim up bar is very busy. There is one pool at south side of the resort which is much quieter. Mixed drinks are very inconsistent sweet and mostly unidentifiable Beautiful long white sand beach as far as eye can see with plenty of beech furniture. There are few vendors on the beach but with low profile and polite. Stuff is mostly nice but little disorganized in buffet area.. Food in buffet is fresh plentiful and regularly replenished. Variety is good and consistent with other 3.5 stars resorts. No way I could go through all variety in a week time. I tend to get sick from food at buffet but didn’t get sick this time. Only issue I had in buffet was coffee machine, constantly down and some guests picking throughout the food without any consideration for others. Can’t comment on restaurants because we didn’t book for any. Entertainment was except two days mediocre. By no means this trip was disaster but there is certainly room for improvement. Remember that in Dominican Republic there is $10 US arrival tax grab and $20 US departure tax grab. If you drink cuban rum get it at the airport in duty free. It is $9 US a liter. I wouldn’t mind to visit this resort again but too many other places to see first. In mind that this is not 5 but 3.5 stars resort I would consider recommending it. We had decent time there providing we didn’t encounter any serious problem there and there for don’t know how it would be dealt with.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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8  Thank etmfxp
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2013

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.

Room Tip: Our third-floor room was up two flights of stairs as far from the resort as you can get, but it was more modern than most and was quieter, allowing us to sleep with the sliding porch door open so we could avoid the moldy, frigid air-conditioner.
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Peter M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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