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“a detailed review, had a great time”

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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #77 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
22 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“a detailed review, had a great time”
Reviewed March 23, 2014

To begin, just be aware to bring extra $ with you because you'll have to pay $10US upon arrival and $20US leaving Punta Cana tax. We never found the need to use pesos so for anyone who is wondering, just stick with US dollars.

VALUE:
I expected this resort to be at the lower end given the price I paid. You really do pay for what you get. But did I really need to pay another couple of hundreds just to have a prettier lobby like the other Riu Palaces around us? No. Everyone shares the exact same gorgeous beach which really is the #1 thing everyone looks for about Punta Cana and this side of the coast specifically. I find a lot of people's reviews are way out of hand, expecting unrealistic results for the amount they paid.

BEACH/POOL:
Yes, just like the pictures on the promotional magazines. The beach really is that beautiful. Soft white sand, warm and calm water (we went in the middle of crazy March break). I did find the massive amount of seaweeds to be kind of annoying when you're initially getting into the water. Something I hope the resort would deal with. Personally found the setup of Riu Bambu's beach better than the other Riu's surrounding us. The distance between water, beach and resort was much shorter... and also better shading (shorter coconut trees) if you need. We never had a problem finding an empty beach chair, perhaps because of the lower number of guests in this particular resort? There was one bigger pool in the middle of the resort which we didn't use simply because of the March break youngsters who basically took over. If you're into that kind of partying, you're good. There's another small pool and a kid's section as well if you have a family. Often there will be different people selling you things like cigars, segway tours or coconuts for $3 each. Coconut tasted alright, not the best so do it at your own discretion. The coastal beach is huge, you can definitely walk to other resorts besides the Riu's. I do recommend it, it's a nice stroll and the view is awesome.

ROOM/HOUSING:
The Bambu set up is like units of 2 story houses. Exterior is this ugly pink which I hope they will repaint one near day. We were in the 800s so it was a bit of a walk but I like it. I know some people just want everything to be close together but then they'll be complaining about small the resort is. I like the size of Bambu, not too big, not too small, lots of greenery. Our room was clean, by no means absolute perfect but it did its job. I was prepared so I brought all my toiletries with me. They only provide shampoo in a dispenser and bar hand soap, so if you need more than that, make sure to bring your own. We had two mattresses put together so it became "king size" but of course it's annoying when you end up sleeping in the gap. Liquor dispenser and fridge always provided at all Riu's I go to. If you're afraid of the heat, not to worry, the AC is STRONG. We actually needed the extra blanket at night it was that cold. My biggest problem was the electric sockets. It has a this bulky protector on it so sometimes you can't use certain chargers 'cause it gets in the way. Every so often they restock your water/liquor supply but it's a separate guy that does it not the cleaning lady (if you want to tip accordingly). You can always ask for bottles of water at the front desk (and yes you DO NOT drink the tap water in D.R.) We could hear only loud guests sometimes if they're in the hallway (middle of March break, imagine that) but most of the time, it was pretty quiet in the room. There is no free wifi in the room but you can certainly pay for (10US dollar per day if I remember correctly).

FOOD:
Typical resort food. Buffet style, I didn't expect the most amazing quality. Yes you can call it average. It was difficult to eat "clean" if you're at these kinds of resorts but I figured it was my vacation so I indulged a bit on sweets. Stay away from raw foods, just to be safe. I tried a bite of beef carpaccio, ONE bite, and the next day I had the D, not pretty (yeah bring imodium folks). Pineapple was always available. Lots of things are fried in oil. There are a couple of a la carte restaurants. We only liked one, which was the steakhouse because you actually get a decent piece of steak (only medium or well done though). Mexican was meh, Italian was meh, didn't even bother with Asian I know I will hate it. And yes, you will get your wine from a tap, the red was actually tolerable haha. We're not big drinkers, had a decent mojito but general everything is very sugary which I'm not a fan of. My partner actually said the watered down beer was the most tolerable among all the drinks. There's something called mamajuana which is a D.R. concoction rumoured to have effect like viagara or an aphrodisiac? I tried a little bit, smelled like grape drink, tasted pungent.

SERVICE/FACILITIES:
In general, the service was a bit casual. Don't wait around, just direct and ask for help and they will. They're not necessary up front and friendly until you approach them, at least that was our experience. They had the typical resort daily activities you can do from morning to late evening. Water type activities like kayaking you do have to sign up for a time slot. I believe scuba diving lessons are offered but not free. There is a massage place called Eternal Spa next door at Palace Punta Cana, all different types of massages but often on the beach, you'll encounter staff asking if you want one.

This resort doesn't have its own gym but as a Riu guest, you can use the other facilities in the other Riu's around. The closest gym was at the Riu Palace Punta Cana and it's only steps away from Bambu, not far. Equipments are OLD. If you're looking to do free weights, the heaviest was only 15lbs. 5 treadmills, 5 ellipticals, and one cable machine and some dirty mats.

There is a maximum of 90 minute free wifi in the lobby. I never use it at night because every single person will be there (before or after dinner) and trust me, you will never log in. Use the internet during the day while everyone's on the beach or at the pool, it's much better.

There is the Caribbean strip which is a tiny streets of vendors selling Punta Cana merchandise and paintings, if you're into that, perfect. Just don't be surprised if you'll be paying for $30 sunscreen.

We flew with Sunwing/Signature vacation, there was always a representative there to help us if we needed to ask about flight information or excursions. Speaking of, D.R. isn't known for too many excursions. But we did the sting ray bay/snorkel with sharks/party on a pirate ship (was kinda entertaining if you're willing to get into the dancing), about $100 for person and also the ocean spa "Dr. Fish" about $150 per person, which we found quite relaxing to do in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. And the staff at these excursions are always very friendly.

LGBT:
Generally we kept to ourselves so we didn't run into any problems. There were a couple of looks here and there from the staff and guests... u know the same two guys hanging around together. It did seem like we were the token gay couple there. D.R. is primarily Catholic I believe. In case anyone is wondering.

Overall it was a great trip. Everything went very smoothly which is always nice. It was my partner's first tropical vacation and he said he will definitely go back. The beautiful beach and clear blue sky are definitely worth it. We had a full week of hot weather but never too humid and never overly hot temperature, always about 29degree celsius, it was kind of perfect.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank baritonekeith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Green Bay
Level Contributor
61 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 175 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2014

Our group of 10 arrived at the Riu Bambu on the 9th of March 2014. We were greeted with a non-alcoholic fruity drink and handed check-in envelopes with info map,towel cards and room keys. Our Apple vacations Rep. Seigfreid took our group picture then off to our rooms we went.
This resort has the older violet painted buildings like in Negril Jamaica. Nice but a little outdated.
Rooms were nice and clean but had a tub shower. Some rooms had recessed outlets so if you have a big end on your plug in device, it would not fit. You can however go to the front desk and get a adapter for a $1.00 U.S. refundable deposit upon return of plug.
Overall this resort is very nice for the budget minded traveler.
Our group would of had no problem staying here but because of the 500 spring breakers overtaking the swim-up bar and pool area, we were offered the chance to switch to the Riu Palace Bavaro. By the way this is the newest hotel in the Riu chain in Punta Cana. How could you say no to that! The next day we made the switch. See the Riu Palace Bavaro for my next review.
Note: Our group did not mind the spring breakers. They were entertaining to say the lest.
The problem was they would swarm the bars and pool so we would not of gotten to enjoy what all the Riu Bambu had to offer.
The food was good and the staff very helpful.
If my review was helpful & you like any of my pics, a helpful vote or thumbs up would be much appreciated. I give you a straight up review with no sugarcoating.
Enjoy your vacation, I did!!

Gerry

Room Tip: If you do not like to walk a long way, ask for a room closer to the beach.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank bikerbuddy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Middlewich
Level Contributor
19 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2014 via mobile

We arrived on 26th February for a 3 week stay after being recommended by people who have visited in the past. When booking we were told by thomson travel shop to avoid Mexico because of the spring break. Therefore we booked Dominican Republic, first 5 days were fine until the hotel was invaded by 400/500 students, we had 3 nights with interrupted sleep, could not go in the pool and the bars were surrounded by students.
The beach bar was removed after 3 days due to the abuse of not only the students but staff filling them with booze. The pool barbecue was removed for the same reason. Changing rooms on the beach were used as a public toilet and language all day and night was disgusting.
Fortunately after complaining to our thomson reps we were moved to the riu palace for our last 8 nights. We would advise anyone not to stay in march for this reason and unfortunately this hotel is certainly not 4 or 5 star. Cannot fault our thomson reps sonny and pinky but unfortunately we think the hotel are at fault.


Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Susan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
brandon,manitoba
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 22, 2014

we always have a great trip where ever we go, we upgraded to a better room upon arrival. we where in the 5000 building. The rooms where very very nice, but so far away from pools and the beach. The food, not the best. The Asian was our favorite. This is our fourth time to PC and i found the staff unfriendly, except the hard working girl (maria) in the morning. The bar tender at the swim up bar are fabulous,,just tip and you will be looked after. I found the games around the pool to be low grade,and sometimes inappropriate. wanted to go to the disco, but it was 5 bucks a drink, hmmm at an all inclusive resort (scratches head). The beach was beautiful and very clean. love PC just won't go back to this resort, moving on lol.

Room Tip: stay in the 5000 if you can!
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank cindyloohoo33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
corner brook ,nl
Level Contributor
23 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed March 21, 2014

Read All the reviews before booking ,must were pretty right on. Resort is dated and in need of a overall ( stuck in the early 90's) .It is far from a 5 star more closer to a 4. So lets begin my views of this place.
The okay-- Check in was quick and room was ready on time. Easy to fine rooms(I just had a standard), room was very clean and kept this way ever day. No ac smell or damp smell in room probably due to ac not turning off like in most resorts due to manual operation (no card slot)since room door has a key (door also has no dead bolt once inside).water pressure good and no lack of hot water any time. Beds as mention were hard but still slept okay. Only soap in the room and some sort of shower gel dispenser so bring your own shampoo and face cloths. Iron and extra blankets missing from room, some people have some not. a lot of English channels on TV if need.
Food at both buffets tasty and hot but always the same - no changeover from day to day. Done 5 lacarts .(all staff here very good) Very easy to book at the Mexican restaurant in the mornings from 7-10 am. done Steakhouse 2 times-steak was very good ,steak house in same place as daytime buffet - open air
Asia very good and restaurant had the best atmosphere and had AC .
Italian good also and had a nice layout with excellent staff and had AC
Mexican was okay . it was a open air restaurant that looked at a section of buildings and very plain.
Note NO long pants or closed shoes are needed at any restaurants just a collar shirt.(First time I seen this).Some wore them(pants) more did not.

As for drinks everything came out of a vending machine, coffee and all. So the bar drinks even the ones they try to make were the worst we had ever had in all out years of travel(its 1 of the things we always look forward too in this type of vacation)Very very poor I rate this as a 1 only.

As for the pools the main 1 was useable only till 130pm then the swarms of younger spring breakers took over and filled it till it closed. If you watched none left the pool for hours and by 7 pm the pool every evening had a scum on the whole surface. I seen the pool being scrubbed a few times but could never smell any type of chemicals that I smelled many many times at other resorts when you walked about in the evening so this made me not want to use it.
the other 2 smaller pools were much cleaner when you walked by. So I give the maintenance a very poor rating here.
Next on my list was the beach .very nice and wide. loads of chairs but the only shade was the palms themselves this was okay but there could of been some sort of table to but your bag on. also very few garbage containers which led to people leaving there smoke butts in the sand every were. Water during the week was pretty rough and there ARE NO LIFEGUARDS present anywhere on the RIU resorts. All other resorts on both sides of the Riu complex had lifeguards and stations. So this is something to keep in mine especially with the undertow in this area.
Next beach Issue is you had to walk back to the resort to use the washroom or get a drink which when you are on vacation you need to do quite often. . Most other resorts had a beach bar and washrooms on it. This was a disappointment . PS this whole resort has only 2 SETS of public washrooms which none in near a lot of restaurant's so you know about people habits with this.

90 minutes of free internet in the lobby area a day worked fine for most people or you could by a 1or 3 day pass in the lobby to use in your room or elsewhere.

As for shopping the prices are the same as the airport but if you walk 20 mins towards the right there is a pile of vender huts on the edge of the Iberostar complex which will save you at least %50 off the resort prices.. ps Canadian booze at the airport is cheaper than what you can buy the local liquor for anywhere. About $16 can for a 1 litre Bacardi rum product.
would I go back No ,there are so many better resorts out there so why would anyone want to do the same resort twice anyway???????. Hope this review helps you in booking or not this resort.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank newfie212
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
51 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2014

The RIU chain has four hotels on this site with the Bambu being the "third" best in terms of renovation and exclusitivity. That said, it is actually the best of the lot on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. It is best as the scale of the property is perfect in terms of the proximity to the beach, restaurants and pools. There is no fighting for tables or lounge chairs. The food and service is probably an 8 out of 10 but is consistently an 8 with no exceptions. The rooms are fine with the interesting feature of the wash basins being open to the room which may sound umappealing but in fact was quire convienient and fun. The bed was top notch. The soaps mediocre but who cares as it is easy to bring your own quality bar soap and shampoo. The beach is spectacular and the RUI properties do not clutter it with palapas - just palm trees! All the dining and entertainment is open air so you can enjoy the beuatiful, nearly perfect DR climate! Cant wait to book my next visit.

Room Tip: Ask for a second floor room!
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank HappyCanadian144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pembroke, Canada
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed March 20, 2014

excellent trip/ hotel very clean / grounds beautiful / food for all tastes great / very well displayed / deluxe room were huge but with no bath tub / in room fridge was restocked every other day / room was made up daily/ people from all around the world / three pools all clean / beach beautiful / the only thing that was not acceptable was the gym area limited equipment and a very small room / all staff very friendly / we would definitely return

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank billt44
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:
#66 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#69 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#70 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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