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“Riu bambu fun....Punta Cana...”

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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #79 of 114 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed January 10, 2014 via mobile

This is my first review ....I will try to be as detailed as possible.....booked this vacation through sears travel....they will pricematch any agency. ...trip put on through signature. ..sunwing.ca.....sunwing flights are ok....very tight seats....everything else ok...hotel part of 5 riu resorts about 25 mins from airport in punta cana..I would describe riu bambu as the Fun resort...ratings bellow
STAFF....85% friendly and understanding of what their job is
FOOD.....2 buffets and sports bar...all good but can be a bit bland....but if you cant find lots to eat....you might be too picky....barbeques poolside were fantastic. ...
Ala Cartes....Steak house....good but is in converted buffet
Japanese. ...very good....buffet format so cheap on tip budget for money conscience
Mexican....good...also buffet format
Italian.....excellento;)....buffet and ala carte so feels like an italian 7 course meal..service 5 star

Rooms....very nice...2 storey bungalow format....very spacious. ..showers were hot and lots of pressure.....At the farthest room you are still only 5 minutes walk to beach. ...
The beds however suck....and when I say suck I mean bad....our king was 2 doubles put together and the matresses....well lets just say the floor would be just as comfortable. ..

Entertainment.... this is were this hotel is unmatched....the entertainment staff is the best....they work tirelessly at making sure everyone is having fun...they put on great shows... (lion king done by staff was exceptional) from day one everyone on the entertainment staff impressed me.my wife. And any other guests I talked to ...I am not a very outgoing person. Yet they managed to get me up numerous times dancing. Competing. .. and having fun.....they are one of the main reasons I will not hesitate to bring my family and friends back to this resort....
The other is the beach.....beautiful white sand...turquoise water...palm trees. ...lots of loungers. .....dancing and exercising on the beach daily....

So just to recap would not say this report would be considered luxury. ...it was clean...well run....well organized.....relaxing....but above all it was fun....I will be back to see Travase...Miguel....Wilkin.....Edwardo..and Martha....I will also bring friends;)

Steve ..Kerri
Ontario canada

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
9  Thank Steve A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 9, 2014

First off, I should say that my wife and I (early 30s) had a very enjoyable two weeks here despite some major reservations (see below). Here are the highlights:

- excellent entertainment staff
- beautiful beaches and sea
- very clean and generally well-kept resort
- good access to watersports – some free and some with a (reasonable) charge
- fun cocktails
- easy access to airport
- decent value for money

But as everyone else on Trip Advisor points out, this is not a 5* in a million years! There are several reasons for this, but the main one is the food. In fairness, the breakfasts are nice. But the lunchtime food (all buffet) and the one evening restaurant you don’t need to book (also buffet) are both atrocious. I took a bite out of a burger on day one and threw the rest away. The pizzas were vile and there was a range of other inedible food I dared not try. Okay, after a few days there we began to work out what food was decent and managed to get by. Of course, five star hotels should have better food than just enough to “get by”.

If you queue up before 10am in the mornings you can make a reservation at one of the so-called “a la carte” restaurants. Have you ever had to work so hard to get a reservation for a meal in your own hotel!? You get told off if you arrive late for your booking and it’s not unusual to wait before being seated if you arrive on time. When you finally get past this bureaucracy you might just get some decent food - but it's not generally very relaxed and you shouldn't come here for a romantic getaway for two. Even here, the food is mostly buffet service but quality is varied: the grilled chicken in the steakhouse was sublime, the sushi and duck in the Asian were moderately tasty while the salmon in the Italian was covered in congealed oils – yuk.

Not once during our entire stay did we come across a wine list. Five star? The house wine (red, white or rosé was the full selection) was drinkable but watered down for New Year’s Eve.
Aside from food there were other reasons this hotel is nowhere near 5*:

- Too many broken sunbeds on beach
- The coffee (even from machines) was great but often machines were not working and not available in room
- The minibar in room (all inclusive) was supposed to be restocked every two days – complete joke!
- We had problems with the toilet during our stay.

The fact is that this this hotel has great potential but the management seriously need to sort out these shortcomings. There is a RIU tagline saying something like “all about you” but actually, the way this hotel is managed is all about efficiency for THEM.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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9  Thank Gary A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 9, 2014

My husband and I, in our late 30s, booked through our travel agent. This was my 2nd all inclusive, my husband's 1st. We had read no reviews prior, and started to get a little worried after having read some of them. While I agree that it may not quite be a 5 star, there were things that were still better than the last 5 star I stayed at. Ultimately, we had a great time and that's what really counts!

We got an upgraded room (recommended by our agent) – these are located towards the back of the resort, but it's still really not all that far. I was located 'close' to the beach at my last resort and it was just as far of a walk. The upgraded rooms also include free wifi, but you can also use 90 minutes free per day in the lobby – which we affectionately deemed the ‘Dead Zone’!

My husband and I love good food – we were not disappointed at all! The buffet had an outstanding variety, and they change it up a bit each night. There didn't seem to be a limit to the number of a la cartes, but we ended up going to 3 of the 4 – Steak House, Italian & Mexican. There are always snacks in the 24 hour sports bar – not the best, but hits the spot after a day & night of drinking!

The animation staff was very high energy! I love that they went around the resort prior to activities to gather participants – sign up, and they show you where to go! On my last trip I missed out on everything because we lost track of time and didn't know where anything was. This time around, you're looking at an Archery Champion (for which you get an actual 'awards' ceremony and certificate for winning activities!) The shows were good, especially the 'Cirque du Soleil' type show they put on. We did not make it out to the disco or casino.

The beach was nice – lots of chairs, and actual palm trees. Unfortunately, the water was red flagged every day we were there so didn't get to spend much time in it. We did go for a nice long walk along the water, and stopped to check out a couple other resorts in the area. A lady we met said she went for a walk every morning along the beach and felt very safe & comfortable on her own. The pools are beautiful and clean. Towel service was slightly lacking – they would sometimes run out of clean towels, and would refuse to exchange wet towels for dry.

There is a clothing store & a convenience store right off the lobby – expect to pay 3 times a regular price for most things. There is a small marketplace right on the resort (convenience store, cigar/rum shop, clothing, souvenirs). They also have tables out at night for more shopping (art, jewellery, alcohol & cigars). Carribean Street is also a short walk away – we went there for a street party and had a fabulous time! Performances, dancing, shopping, drinking – I would say this was the best night!

I went on the Country Express ½ day excursion – fabulous! I appreciated getting off the resort for a day, and seeing/experiencing how the locals live, and learning about the history of the island. I highly recommend it.

Room Tip: First floor rooms attract crawling insects and lizards – wish we had this tip ahead of time!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Danielle M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2014

My family of 5 stayed at the Riu Bambu 23Dec to 28Dec, resort was booked through apple vacations the prior January. I selected this resort as the price outstanding at the time I booked, and also for the promise of a ‘family suite’. You will find more on the family suite below. Basically my goal was to find accommodations for all 5 of us during Christmas week without breaking the bank. I knew this was probably a 3 star resort going in and for my 3 children this was their first AI experience. At the Bambu, you have no reciprocal rights to the other Riu properties located next door (except the naiboa)

More detailed description of our stay:

Apple included transfers to and from PUJ airport, which is one of the reasons I booked with them. As is typical, the transfer services leave much to be desired. It is frustration to have a mini-bus full of people at the airport waiting for a driver that seemingly has little interest in expediting you to the resort. You also grow tired of all the speed bumps leading into all of the resorts, as well as the screeching of the under-maintained Dominican brakes. Final tally: arrived into PUJ @ 1400, arrived Bambu 1630.

Room: Check in was smooth, wristbands were issued right away. Porter was also present and we followed him to our room, which was close to the resort. All the rooms are townhouse style with 4 on the lower level and 4 on the upper. The room was probably the biggest disappointment. I booked a ‘family suite’. To the Bambu this meant: a regular suite + 1 extra bed on rollers. It was very cramped, with the extra bed you had to move slide the beds to access the refrigerator, closet, and the patio. Minibar was initially stocked with water, soda and 2 cans of Presidente. It was to be restocked every other day. I called the front desk for restock on day 3. The self-serve liquor dispensers are watered down swill, and not fit for human consumption. Biggest complaint: No coffee maker in the room. C’mon we are in the Dominican, one of the great coffee producing countries of the world, and there is no Dominican coffee in the room? In general the rooms need a major overhaul. Bed was horribly uncomfortable, at one point I asked a blanket to use as a cushion for this very hard mattress.

Restaurants and Bars

Colonial Restaurant: This is the main buffet. We had breakfast here each day, several lunches, and dinner 3 times. The quality of the food was average to good. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the quality. If you are looking for a gourmet experience this is not the resort for you. The Bambu seems to do very well with Mexican and seafood selections. Most of the beef selections are stringy and dry, but this is consistent with most of the Caribbean resorts I have been to. Made to order omelets each morning were a good selection. The Christmas Eve buffet was well done with Lobster, shrimp, pork tenderloin, turkey and many other quality selections. Dry champagne was also served.

Mama Juana Restaurant: Buffet that is open for breakfast and ‘snack’ times. Mostly Pizza, burgers, pasta, and other grab and go type food. If you are desperate for something by the pool this is your stop. Nothing really to go out of your way for, most selections were low quality. At night, this location converts to the ‘Steakhouse’. The reviews were bad enough to keep me away, we skipped this one.

Hibachi Restaurant: Requires reservation. Also buffet. They advertise this one as Asian style. It is more like Chinese take-out. Egg rolls, General Tso, Meat skewers, etc. It was excited to see a sushi spread, I was less excited when I ate it.

Mexican Restaurant: This is not à la carte as the resort advertises. Buffet style again. As mentioned before, this resort does pretty well with Mexican-style dishes. This was one of the better meals I had during my stay.

Bars and Drinks: I had low expectations for the bar service. But they actually were very adequate. Only Beer selection is Presidente, which is decent. The mixed drinks were well done and not too sweet. Mojitos were above average. They do have some name-brand liquour behind the bar, you have to ask and a tip helps. Smirnoff, Stoli, Johnnie Walker Red just to name a few I sampled. The wine was pretty terrible. The red tasted like slightly alcoholic grape juice and the white was lip puckering.

Entertainment: The Riu Animation staff works hard to keep you interested. Many daily activities posted on the main board in the lobby. Beach volleyball had 2 courts and was constantly in use. Nightly shows were held

Overall Impression: This review highlights many of the lacking areas of the Riu Bambu. However in total it really isn’t that bad. The key is to not pay top dollar for this resort. Set your expectations at 3-star level and this resort is more than adequate for most. It is not gourmet, it is not luxury. The beach is probably one of the best in the resort district of Punta Cana. The resort is well maintained and very easy to navigate.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank Nick I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2014

We spent Christmas and New Year at the hotel and had a great time. The hotel, during this time, catered for a lot of US and Canada guests. They were very loud, intrusive and lacked basic manners however, this was not down to the hotel. The food was good and at times very good. This is a hotel that really caters for large groups and couples with young children. The rooms were very clean and great beach. A very basic all inclusive that lacked the personal touch. Evening entertainment definitly for children.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank flowe10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Travellers 53yrs, 42yrs & 15yrs (family of 3)

This hotel was recommended to us at the travel agents. We never read any of the reviews as we have found with all the places and hotels we have been there is good & bad, and no matter where you go a holiday is what you make it. So we went with a open mind.

Flew from Manchester, a long flight as we were delayed on the tarmac before take off as we missed the slot for a hour. It is a long flight and it felt long too.

Punta Cana airport - join a queue to pay the $10 arrival tax, then queued for immigration and passport control. Collected luggage, met thomson rep who told us where to go for the bus.
We landed at 3.15 and left airport at 5.30.
It was bedlam on arrival, I would say we queued for 1.5 hours before collecting luggage.

Transfer - 30 minutes

Hotel - on arrival met in reception and handed key to room and envelope with map, towel cards, sticker for suitcases to be delivered to room.
Went to find room after a member of staff show you directions.
We booked a family room, 1703, ideal location, far away from evening entertainment so couldn't hear the noise, but only 5 minute walk to pools, beach, restaurants etc.
Room - 2 x three quarter beds (not double) and a sofa bed. Had to push beds together. Fitted wardrobes with safe, fridge with plenty of soft drinks, 2 cans of lager and bottled water and 4 optics (vodka, rum, brandy & gin). As soon as we ran out of soft drink the next day they were replaced.
Bathroom - bath, shower & sink. Water always hot if you got in before 7.30 pm but that understandable everyone getting ready, clean towels daily. Hair dryer worked well too.
As mentioned before have been to many countries over the world, and this room was the cleanliness we have ever stayed in all the 2 weeks. As you can understand a 15 yr old girl, who never put anything away or picked up after herself - the cleaner had her hands full. We tipped her twice 500 pesos the first week and 20 dollars the 2nd. She was outstanding.

Restaurants - food was excellent in all the restaurants, always something different to eat, tasty. Not once did we not find anything or not enjoy it.
The Christmas Eve & New Year's Eve galas were fantastic with so much to choose from.
The service was excellent too, always making sure our drinks were full and plates cleaned straight away.
The restaurants very clean too.

Pool - 1st week no problem finding a sunbed around the pool but as the hotel got fuller, had to be up at 7 to get sun beds wanted, basically sit there until towel hut opened so could put towels on before going for breakfast.
Pool was cleaned regularly, pool bar was clean served pretty quick.

Beach - amazing, beautiful long beach.

Animation - looked on the board in lobby at activities and time but no details of where activities are? About every other day was asked if wanted to join in. Games around main pool at about 4.30 where loudly, funny and stupid brilliant.

Entertainment - enjoyed the Michael Jackson show, magic show and mr & mrs show.
Approx 8pm -kids mini disco - consist of about 3 dances, 1 game and daily winners certificate handout.
Approx 8.30pm - music for animation team to get you to dance
Approx 9.30pm - adult daily winners certificate
Approx 9.45pm - show time mostly dancers on stage, also miming.
Approx 10.30 pm - music for animation team to get you to dance
To be honest we didn't enjoy this as no variety, not into that sort of thing at all. This was the main reason we never gave this hotel 5/5.

Bars - branded drinks, always served in evening in a clean glass. Service from all of the guys excellent.

Hotel is lacking a coffee bar for a decent freshly made coffee. Just machines in restaurants or at bars.

The thomson rep in hotel Pinkie, he is amazing, always helpful. He would go out of his way to help or supply anything - booster for ipad as with our charger took nearly 3 days to get full charge.

Airport departing - bedlam, picked up from hotel at 1.30pm for 4.45 pm flight, gets to airport once again queued to pay $20 exit tax, then queued to get boarding cards and hand luggage over. Please note if luggage is over the luggage allowance you will get charge $27 per kilo. Once you have boarding card you join another queue for immigration, passport control and security. We got through this at 3.55 pm. Our flight was called at 4.15, so never got time to go to the toilet, get a drink or have a good look at the duty free shop.

All in all we really enjoyed our time, and we are going to back.

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with family
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10  Thank Cozzaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

We chose the Riu Bambu after reading several reviews on this website. We were in an upgraded room that was big enough for a kingsized bed and livingroom area, along with the roomiest shower I've ever used :)

The beach is divine, the pools and pooldecks are kept clean and neat, and we spent the bulk of our time at the pool that did not have the swim up bar. It was quieter and less populated! The buffet restaurants offer a variety of choices and are suitably staffed to keep up after people are finished eating. There are 4 a la carte restaurants, Japanese, Mexican, Italian and a Steakhouse option. We didn't try the Japanese, but highly recommend the Italian or the Mexican a la cartes.

I recommend a walk down Caribbean Street, there are lots of shops and the people are friendly.
I also recommend that you bring plenty of sunscreen, as it is priced as high as $29 USD in the giftshop!

Staff are friendly and attentive, especially if you speak the language. All three of us agree that this was a wonderful vacation!

Room Tip: Premium rooms are farthest away from pools/beach/restaurants but the walk is worth it!
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  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank WeLoVeNoVaScOtIa3
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:
#68 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#71 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#71 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $169 - $362 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Bambu 3.5*
Number of rooms: 1000
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 
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Also Known As:
Riu Bambu Punta Cana
Riu Bambu Dominican Republic

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