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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #75 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Lansing, MI
Level Contributor
38 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Good and Bad”
Reviewed February 11, 2014

This is a hard review for me to write because my husband and I did have a good time at Riu Bambu but there we so many things we wish had been better.

This was a spur of the moment trip just to get out of the cold and snow and it is the first time I have booked a trip using Apple Vacations. The booking process was fine, nothing unexpected and I would probably use Apple for future vacations. Since it was such a snap decision to take this trip I didn't do too much research on the resort so I probably should have been better prepared.

Our room was in a 3 story building at the back of the property right at the road. There was traffic noise in the early morning and late at night. We did get internet access in this room because it was a deluxe room. We asked about getting a room closer to the pools, restaurants, beach etc but were told that it would be a down grade and the room would not have internet access and not be as nice. We did choose to stay in our original room. The room itself was nice with double vanity in the room, large shower and separate room for the toilet. We had a king size bed, which is a great size but it was the hardest bed I have ever tried to sleep on. Neither my husband or I got much sleep it was that uncomfortable.

There was a small fridge stocked every two days with two cans of Presidente beer, two bottles of seltzer water, two bottles of Pepsi and one bottle of diet Pepsi. There was a liquor dispenser on the wall but I'm not really sure what was in it. I'm sure one bottle was Amaretto, not sure of the other three. There are no coffee makers in the room but the coffee dispensers at the restaurants and all the bars are fantastic.

The maids kept the room clean and did some really cute towel art and arranged the shears on the patio door into a fan design with flowers and/or leaves.

To get reservations at the restaurants (other than the buffet) you must line up at the Mexican restaurant early in the morning. We were able to get reservations for each of the four specialty restaurants the first morning we were there. We didn't have to go back each morning to make another reservation. The specialty restaurants are Mexican, Asian, Italian and steak. They are all buffet style except the steak restaurant. The quality of the food was lower than I had expected. The Sports Bar is air conditioned and has a couple of refrigerators with sandwiches and fruit.

The buffet was fine for breakfast with several types of eggs, lots of fruit, a variety of breads, cereals, yogurt, etc. Friday night at the buffet the food was quite good with lots of seafood dishes.

The bars were quite busy but it never took longer than a couple of minutes to get a drink. The bar tenders are quick and attentive at all of the bars. The drink of the day was usually tasty, but the taste would be different depending on which bar you got it at. The wine, no matter where you got it from was horrendous. I am be no means a wine snob but this stuff was undrinkable.

The chairs around the pool get reserved very early in the morning. We are early risers and we didn't have a problem getting a chair at around 7 am but there would be towels on chairs even before that and no one actually using the chair until hours later. There was no hot tub at this resort. The pools were all very busy and there were a lot of children in all of the pools including the swim up bar. I was surprised to see children actually sitting at the bar (or even on the bar).

The activity personnel do a fantastic job of getting people involved in the games around the resort. The pool games are fun to watch and to participate in and there are dart games and golf games at various times.

We didn't stay up late enough to see any of the night time shows because they didn't start until 9:45 pm and we were just too tired to stay up that late. I wish the shows had started earlier.

The beach is beautiful and the water was a fantastic blue. We did have red flag conditions for most of our stay so we didn't try any of the water sports.

I had thought that we could use some of the facilities at the other Riu properties but that is not the case, we were pretty much tied to the Riu Bambu restaurants, bars and pools.

We did have one thing happen that we think is more funny than something to complain about but I'll mention it just so people will know what can and does happen. My husband had brought a box of Ho-Ho's from home and had some cigarettes left in the room. When we returned to the room one afternoon several of his Ho-Ho's, half of his cigarettes and one of the beers from the mini-fridge were gone and the television was on a station we hadn't been watching. We still laugh thinking about someone sitting there watching tv, drinking beer, eating junk food and smoking!

Room Tip: Try to get a room away from the road. There are no rooms with a beach or ocean view.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank belvajoan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Regina, Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2014

We stayed at this resort end of January 2014 and have no complaints. The people that complain about this are probably people that complain about everything and don't know what a tip is. Very clean, staff are awesome and the food was great! Are there bugs? Yes! The resort is not in a bubble and if you leave your screen door open bugs and lizards may get in...this can happen anywhere you stay. We have stayed in 5 star resorts that have cost 3x what this cost per person and our trip was just as good as the trips prior. No the resort is not new so you may find a cracked tile in your room...big deal! At a place like this I find little time is spent in the room anyway. I would go back here in a heartbeat...

Room Tip: Rooms that are in the middle of the resort are quieter and try to get one that faces into the centre...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
12 Thank Karfil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Horsens, Danmark
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed February 10, 2014

we went too the Dominican at the end of januar 2014 2 adults 1 child 5 years and a baby 6 months. this was our third trip too the dominican . we choose a hotel with a lot of activities for the kids. the hotel is located in punta cana ( the only place too go in the dominican )
the hotel has a very good bufet, and some okay retaurants.
the staff was the best, always smiling and happy. the rooms where clean and nice.
there are different pools for the kids- adults and swim up bar for the party people......
i can recomend this hotel for everybody, and we will proberly go there again.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank mkh24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
109 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
Reviewed February 9, 2014

We loved it.
One of the many big resorts along the sands of the Playa Agorda in Bavaro, Punta Cana. We could not meet the complaints we read about the place on trip advisor before getting there. Rooms were very clean, staff kind and welcoming.
Indeed one could notice the following shortcomings:
a) the all-in formula is good but the quality of beverages (a part from Pepsi) is just below average. The mini-bar into the rooms comprises a once-every-other-day refill of four types of liqueurs and some soft drinks, two vans of beer. Liqueurs are budget type. As well, the fountains into the restos give out cheap wines.
b) quite a number of rooms are located on the external part of the resort, facing the service all-around road that is used by the intense logistics as of the every early hours of the morning. An important hint is therefore, when booking, to ask to be given a differently-centrally located room (if possible). No rooms with ocean view: from the residential area, made of series of two-storey soft-tone painted buildings in a palm-tree garden, the ocean is some tens of meters away and this spec is occupied by common spaces, rests, swimming pools, etc.
c) perceived hygiene all around is very good. Gardens, swimming pools and common spaces are serviced regularly. Indeed it's a tropical climate area and little bugs can be around. In our case it was simply ok. Nothing particularly disturbing.
d) the place hosts people in the thousand(s) so it can be "crowded". A wise management of the timing to go to the restaurants or by using the every efficient reservation system for the thematic restaurants (five available in the resort plus others in the entire Riu area "scheme" comprising other resorts close-by). The beach is just "huge" so crowd there is not an issue.
e) the room was quite small for five people (two adults, three kids) with two queen-siwe beds (the three kids) and one sofa-lit solution (the two of us): not really the solution to get to 100 percent relax...

Pros:
a) good to very good quality food of many types and many food points to enjoy it (including a 24/24 food point with hamburgers, hot dogs, soft drinks and fruits).
b) good safety perception. Private guards do quietly patrol the area 24/24.
c) in-resort shopping with all first necessity stuff (including self-medications drugs) with reasonable prices;
d) animation is intense but not invasive, for all ages. Staff is kind and sympathetic. Shows in the evenings can be fun. Good fitness area albeit with in-need-of-maintainace gear.
e) many extra opportunities offered by travel agencies or, on the spot, by agreed (and not...) personnel. Prices are high, credit cards are all accepted. The quality of the extra excursion we did was good, especially for kids.
f) chase the very kind gardeners in the early afternoons: for one US dollar you will enjoy a super-fresh cocoa nut, sliced-open with a machete, to "drink" or "eaty"...

All in all a good all-in price-to-quality ratio solution especially when travelling with three kids in the under-teens age. We could relax and enjoy the service but we acknowledge and could understand those who do not appreciate (this is why we say "or hate it") the overall.
The place, in fact, is just very nice albeit not "blue lagoon" intimate...

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Alfces
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wisconsin
Level Contributor
77 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
Reviewed February 8, 2014

First, I would like to say that we did enjoy our vacation at what we feel is a 3/4 star resort. Nothing we did or had was awful, or anything to ruin the beautiful weather and relaxation.
We stayed here in 2009 and just feel that the overall quality has gone down. Maybe the current economy or the competition with the higher end resorts they felt the need to cut corners in order to cut price. We got a good deal so we returned, normally we like to try different places.

Reception: Excellent, we traveled from airport with Conexion, again they were right there waiting at airport. Whisked away to hotel within 30 min. Ana checked us in, we were suppose to be in a deluxe room in back or resort, but we asked to switch to the front so we had a standard room. She had the bellman bring our luggage asap.

FOOD:
Buffet: Selection was not near as it had been in the past. The things we ate were OK, didn't starve, but nothing to rave about. Even the salad bar had only one dressing we ate the salad with salsa, it was ok that way (less calories too).
Ala Cartes: Italian was by far the best for taste and excellent service. Steakhouse was pretty good for food, service was the worst in this restaurant. We wouldn't have gone back if the food was out of this world. Mexican was OK, Hibachi was OK.
Sports Bar: Sandwiches, OK can heat up a hot dog or hamburger as well. Nacho chips and fruit available.

Staff: As any other place we have been the staff work very hard. A shout out to the pool area bar staff. Victor was as pleasant as ever which showed in the staff that was working under him. Bravo for your great service. Junior at the plaza bar and I didn't get the woman's name in the sports bar (came in around 7-8 am) very friendly and great attitude for customer service.
The entertainment staff were fantastic. Tried very hard to include everyone in the activities and the laughter. Maids/grounds/waitstafff all worked endlessly.

Room: We were in room 0213 had a view of the beach was also close to most everything. I have to say that the bed was AWFUL. Hard as a rock, we changed from a deluxe updated room to be closer so we knew the beds weren't going to be as good.

Pools: Pool bar was quite lively (grossed out by how many people never got out, drinking all day) I have seen this at many resorts. They did allow kids, some were very annoying, some parents were never watching them, if they had they would have noticed them putting the nasty water in their mouths and spitting all over people that were sitting at the bar. Throwing balls around and hitting people. That was all wrong, kids should not be allowed in this area at all.
Another pool with lounge chairs and volleyball net, quiet pool and a small children pool with some slides and playground nearby.

Public bathrooms were scarce 1 by lobby and 1 by the Mamajuana restaurant. Perhap's they should build one closer to the pool bar to encourage those to get out.

Chairs: I am an early riser. I was at my chair by 6 am with a cappachino and my book light. I was always the first out there, 7-7:30 people were out saving chairs by 9:30-10 the chairs were slim pickings by the pools. Beach was full, just not sure what time they all filled up.

Beach: Beautiful, soft white sand and aqua blue water, we did have a lot of wind the week we were there so the water was rough. It did help keep you cooler in the hot sun. If you walk down the beach to the right you will run into the flea market area, not to far. To the left is a nice public beach bar/grill which also serves seafood. Other side of RIU Palace Punta Cana.

Bars (Best to worst) Pool bar upper and lower-great service. Sports bar-great gal in the morning, wish it was a non-smoking I smoke but hate the smell of stale cigarettes, it's weird the only enclosed bar and people smoke in it. Plaza-great service, no bar stools though, Hola Junior. Theater Bar-has stools but lacking in pleasant service. Theater waitstaff for tables-overall pretty good. AVOID the disco for more reasons than one, YUK!!!

We never witnessed bugs. I was scared by someone mentioning roaches so I was making sure I watched for them. None what-so-ever, thank God!!! A few bees or very small ants by pool area, nothing in the rooms.

To sum it up:
Overall Service- A-
Food- C-
Resort Cleanliness- A+
Beach- A+
Pools- A- (only because some guests didn't get out of pool bar)
Rooms: B+ (only because the beds were terribly hard in the standard unremodeled rooms)

Would we stay again? Only if we got a steal of a deal, our main reason was the terribly hard bed and the lack of food choices for us, although my waistline didn't mind though :)

If you have made reservations go and have fun, we read the reviews before we left so we knew what our expectations would be. Some people can never be pleased no matter what, this place is not a 5 star, but for the price we paid we expected some negatives. We feel more positive then negative just wanted to post our honest opinion.

Room Tip: Rooms to the front of resort were closer to everything, rooms in the way back were updated.
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Daveann11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2014

This was our first time in Punta Cana and the first time staying at a Riu location. My husband and I had a wonderful time and are looking forward to returning in the near future. You do have to keep an open mind when you travel, star ratings are based on the country you are visiting and not your home country. We really enjoyed staying at the Riu Bambu, the pictures you see on the internet and in brochures are a true likeness of the hotel.
The rooms are very clean, we stayed in a standard room as we go to our room to shower and sleep so if you can spend the extra money for a more comfortable room.
Fruits and vegetables were always fresh good, fish was delicious, meat not that great. Didn't like to booking process for a la carte, we didn't have a choice as to which restaurant we could choose and 2 were not a la carte. Mexican was terrible, Asian was fair, the steakhouse was a surprise, I ordered a steak to be cooked medium and it was cooked to order and hot off the grill.

The beach and pools were great. If you liked noise and entertainment the main pool was the place to be, great play area and activities.

Quite a few activities, the staff tried there best to get people involved, although it may appear that they are being pushy at times, please bear in mind that they are only doing their job and continued employment can be dependent on how well they can get people to participate, it's also a great way to start conversations with other vacationers.

My husband and I are not big drinkers but we strongly believe in supporting the local economy in the hotel description it does say local products so when you order a drink, taste it before you walk away from the bar and if you find that it tastes weak just ask the the bartender to add more alcohol.

Quality of service was dependent on the staff person, some loved their job more than others.

Overall we had a really great time.

Room Tip: Garden view is quieter, we stayed on the 2nd floor. If you can upgrade to better room as beds altho...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Elena02022014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
E. St. Louie
Level Contributor
202 reviews
58 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed February 7, 2014

We have returned from a week's stay. We went with a group of 12 friends and al had a good time.
This is a large resort. By that I mean you waqlk a lot. I don't think it is a good idea for handicap persons.
The housing is in two storied bungalows. 16 units to a building. Two of our couples were on the second floor of their building and switched to a ground floor room because the stairs were a little too much for them. (We are all seniors,even thought I don't like that term) Our buildings we are about two city blocks from the main building and two and a half from the beach.
The rooms were very clean and big enough for us. Room was made up daily with fresh towels.
Mini-bar and refrig with beer and soda in the room. BIG beds. Two full size beds pushed together. FREE safe in room (no charge)..
As usual in most resorts, the hallways echo and resound with doors closing and loud talking in the hall ways. This is not a fault of the resort but it would help if guests would be more considerate and respectfull of other guests. (The disco closed at 4:00 AM but it only reulted in One very noisey night at 4"30 AM for us)
Good food. Main buffet was in a BIG room ( Think Army base bid ) Table cloths, silver ware, lots of staff. Very good.
Small buffet (Mamajuana Room) was more casual and open air. Still a lot of staff.
Specialty resturants: Italian, very good with menu and table service. Oriental:good with buffet style. Mexican okay with buffet service. Steak house very good but don't expect form tender steaks. Menu style with table service.
Bars were good with a lot of bartenders. Very little waiter service either at bars and none around pools.
Not of lot of USA guests, lots of Canadian and a lot of Germans, Russians, French, Brits.
Lots of cigarette smoking which seems funny to us with such strict smoking laws (in Illinois and US)
Staff is very attentive. The wait staff is mainly busing the tables but they will bring a carafe of coffee if asked.
The beach is great, huge and well kept. Lots of people walking the beach at all daylight hours.
Grounds are Very well kept.. Beautifull palms , plants, flowers.
Drink choices: good standard drinks for resorts, fruity, etc, bloody marys range from spicy to TOO hot depending on the bartender. No bourbon, only scotch for whiskey. Only after dinner drink was cream de mint or brandy.

Room Tip: Get a ground floor room. 800, 900, 1000 rooms are about two city blocks from the main building but...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank EStLouiesmokey
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

Property: 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:
#65 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#68 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#68 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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 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

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