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Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort
Ranked #54 of 114 Hotels in Punta Cana
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed January 30, 2013

I am copying and pasting this from the review I posted for my Travel Agencies website:

Booked an extreme last minute (3 days before departure) AI deal on redtag.ca for the Catalonia Bavaro between Jan 10-17, 2013. We paid under $1000/person… thank goodness. I (29) travelled with my mom (59) who had stayed at this resort 4-5 years before. I had never been there before so I was hopeful for good things as my mom loved it last time she was there. I was, however, prepared for the worst after reading numerous reviews on tripadvisor…

We flew on a large Air Transat A330 both ways, which was amazing!! Last time I travelled to the DR was in 2006 so I guess it has become more easily affordable to every income bracket since that time – hence the giant plane full of Canadians. I had previously been to Punta Cana in 2002 and stayed in La Romana in 2006 and had a wonderful time at those resorts and no complaints about anything at either. The Catalonia Bavaro however, was just awful! I can only give it a good rating for the resorts sprawling location on Bavaro Beach, and the beach (playa) itself.

The bad: The rooms are old as sin and run down. When the A/C is not pumping 24/7 it smells musty and like the room is 100 years old. We weren't choosy and stayed in a regular Junior Suite. We toured a privileged room and it wasn't worth the extra money for an upgrade it our opinion. You did NOT get preferential treatment with the privileged section wristband so be forewarned. We sat in the privileged section of all the restaurants by choice and were not once hassled to move as we were only regular guests. Therefore, save the extra money. It is not necessary to upgrade at all for the amount of time one actually spends in the room. The shower is the size of a postage stamp so if you plan on shaving while there, make sure to use the tub for that!! There were no duvet covers, only a sheet and a light blanket (if you would even call it that) on top. The balcony was large, most had hammocks and two rocking chairs with a little table in the centre. Also, there is an umbrella in the closet of every room in case it rains which is a nice feature. Most run of the mill resorts like this don't have such "luxuries" unless it's a 5* like Sandals... but then again, once upon a time, clearly ions ago, the Catalonia Bavaro WAS a 5*... although I can't quite fathom when that was.

The food was, in one word, awful. Fresh fruit was either over or under ripe and inedible. The blenderized fruit juices were all disgusting which is a shame because that is what you are going to the Caribbean for primarily. They put out Passion fruit maybe twice in the dessert section at the dinner buffet at Gran Caribe and you had to pounce on them because they were not restocked once the trays was emptied. Service was okay at best. You had to fill your own glasses of water by the buffet next to the beach. If you didn't know that right from the start as we didn’t, you'd think the staff were purposefully ignoring you which most of the time they were but empty plates were taken away quickly which was good. Everyone understands what you are asking in English so don't believe the reviews you read where they say that you have to have a pretty good grasp of Spanish - that is not at all true. We did the Japanese a la carte and the Italian and they were both awful. The cuts of steak/beef they use at the Catalonia are the most low grade, veiny, car tire rubber kind known to man. Avoid at all costs. The chicken is also average at best and there is honestly no other meat to choose from so hopefully you like carbs, starch, and veggies because the meat selections are abominable. The burgers are not like American burgers and the hotdogs are gross. Luckily, there is a pizzeria and a creperie, so you should be able to find something. My mom and I are NOT choosy eaters and we both stayed away from their meat because it was inedible. One night at the Gran Caribe buffet they had a lady carving Prosciutto off a hock which was wonderful. There was a huge line for it of course because it was the best meat they served all week! I sustained myself on mussels and they had plenty of those so if you like mussels, you are in luck. Other than mussels, some sort of white fish, and tiny little shrimps in certain mixed buffet fare, there was no seafood so don't expect lobster unless you want to pay $20USD extra to get one...ridiculous at an AI resort IMHO. I did not experience problems with cold or luke warm food like others have mentioned on tripadvisor. I found everything to be of the appropriate temperature. Their soups have no substance to them. They are all blenderized like for a small child. Some were okay, but most were awful. The dessert bar was actually decently impressive at Gran Caribe buffet, although I mostly stuck to bowls of ice cream and the nut brownies which were delicious.

Shows were really good. Very entertaining. They start at 9 45 every night and run until about 11pm. The Mr. Catalonia and Perfect Couple shows are great. The lobby bar serves really delicious cappuccino’s so definitely try at least one. I don't even drink cappuccino’s regularly and I had at least one every night before the show started. Ruben from the animation team is just wonderful. The rest of them aren't really all that pleasant or personable, but Ruben is an absolute star!!

The beach is beautiful and it is always easy to obtain a palapa or shade and it isn't super busy. The chairs around the pool always have towels 'reserving' them early in the morning so if that is where you wish you sit, I suggest getting up at 7am to reserve your spots. People would be absent all day from their towels which is very rude but that is a guest problem, not a resort problem. The pool was freezing, but I only swam their once so it wasn't a big deal. I was there for the salt water of the ocean not a chlorine pool which I can get back at home in Canada!

Booze: Average at best. There is no top shelf stuff as you can imagine and if you like strawberry daiquiris or any type of margarita like my mom and I do, the frozen mix they use is generally about 30% frozen at best, at all times. The daiquiris are okay but I was actually pretty disappointed with the booze and I am not a big drinker, so that should tell you a lot about the quality of stuff they put out.

Front desk: People are slow and the most miserable bunch of workers in the entire resort. Make sure that you get a lock for your safe because we were without one for the first two days and had to carry all our valuables with us to the beach and everywhere which is not cool. They only have a certain number of safe locks so be sure you ask for one immediately upon check-in or you'll be visiting them numerous times thereafter as check-out isn't until 12 noon each day. Also, make sure to book a hospitality suite if you are departing late at least the day before you leave. We were not told that you had to "book a time slot" to use this option and got the very last time slot for the hospitality suite at 5:35pm on the day that we were leaving. Lucky for us, our bus didn't leave to the airport until 8pm. The front desk provides you with one clean blue beach towel to towel yourself down with after your shower. There were two clean facecloths in our hospitality room as well.

Guests: Very few Canadians or Americans or people who spoke english! Mostly Russians, Germans, some Mexicans, and Argentinians during our week there.

Overall, this resort, which is still touted as a 5* in the DR, is an American/Canadian 3* at best. It's only saving grace is its location on Bavaro beach and it's curb appeal when you are pulling up. Otherwise, be warned: You totally get what you pay for. I will not be going back nor will I be recommending the Catalonia Bavaro to anyone I know. Stay at the new Hard Rock Resort or Majestic Colonial right next door if you are choosy about your food and are willing to spend a little bit of extra money!!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Jonaners83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 30, 2013

i would like to say this Resort was great!!! the grounds were fantastic, food okay but overall the people and the music was awesome want to big up the dj Jaime Rodriguez ~ you were awesome i dance the night away he is a great DJ >>>looking forward to come back !!!! everybody was so kind and helpful ~

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Chantal K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

The resort itself is very nice. Decent restaurants & bars, nice pool & beach. The rooms however are a joke! We paid the additional $20/night for the privilege upgrade & feel very much like we were completely ripped off. We were not provided with a lock & key for the outdated room safe. They kept insisting they would be able to provide us with one the next day. Why would you not have enough locks to go around? It took two trips to the front desk and one angry phone call to finally get a lock & key. After showering in the tiny outdated shower stall, I attempted to dry my hair with the complimentary hair dryer. It didn't work. I used my own hair dryer which tripped the breaker in the room. After several unsuccessful attempts to call the front desk, I walked to the front desk. They sent maintenance to the room to reset the breaker. I started my hair dryer again & had to reset the breaker ourselves. We called the front desk & they sent someone to our room who said that my hair dryer was too powerful so I would have to use the crappy little supplied dryer. I showed him that it doesn't work. He said, "Uno momento" and left. Thirty minutes or so later we called the front desk to ask when this man would be back & we were told they had no available hair dryers. Their solution to the problem was to use my dryer & just keep resetting the breaker switch! Privileged indeed! The pillows look & feel as though they are stuffed with balled up socks, the ceiling fan squeaks but you can't turn it off because the a/c is completely inadequate. Only one drawer on the bureau could be opened. All in all: ridiculous customer service. I would not recommend this resort to anyone ever! Do yourself a favour & avoid this place!

Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
3  Thank therhonda
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 29, 2013

For me it Was a great experiencia we erre a parte of 8 and all of Us spend a great time in catalonia.

We made some excursiones to saona and buggyes and we had great time and a lot of fun.

Good Was good in all a la carte restauran and the buffet.

Special mention to the animation tema.

For me This hotel is hi recomended.

We' ll Go back.

  • Stayed: November 2012
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Thank Smitht1256
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 28, 2013

I'm not one to normally complain and share my complaints but this place was a huge let down. My husband and I spent a week here in Decemeber and the dissappointment started from the minute we got to the resort.

We paid for Privilege but there was nothing privilege about what we got. We have been to resorts in the Dominican Republic and done privilege and the room and service we got here, was not privilege.

For starters.. we got in at about 3:30/3:45 and our room wasn't ready, even though with privilege theres early check in... that wasn't a big deal we had to wait about 20 minutes. It was after we got to the room when the dissappointment started, and that is the bulk of my complaint
Room:
1. We had no towels in our room at all, even though we had to wait for them to finish our room, it still wasn't done.
2. We didn't have beach towels in our room which is one of the things that is suppose to be included in your "privilege" room.
These were just inconveniences, but what really bothered me was that the room was that it STILL not clean and it was really old and dingy.
The website says that their rooms were recently renovated, well by that they mean that they added caulking around the sink and the tub. But after waiting for our room, the bathtub was still dirty, there was hair in the tub, which means that it wasn't cleaned and when I called, the lady can and ran the shower head over the tub to just rinse the hair out of the tub... I could have done that, but that still doesn't mean it's clean. And then the mirrors weren't wiped... they had finger prints all over there. A little mess doesn't normally bother me if I was the one that made the mess and it just wasn't cleaned, but when I have to see some one else's hair and prints all over a bathroom that I have to use for a week, it just doesn't sit well with me.
Then, we were on the first floor (building 4, room 405) and our bed was directly in front of the sliding glass doors (doors that were also covered in hand prints & really dirty and that weren't wiped down before we came in) The problem here was that the patio had no sort of wall and it faced the pool and you could see from the bed out so you always had to have the blinds closed because if you had them open, people walking down the path that was right outside our doors could see right in. They should have placed the furniture differently.
Then, the shower- the shower is in the same room as the toilet, which is whatever, it is what it is. But, the shower room is really small and you have very little room to move around once your in, making showering a tad difficult. and the other thing is that there was only 1 small light in the shower/toilet room, and it was above the toilet, so the shower was really dark, and if the door opened (it didn't always stay shut) you would be in the dark.
Then, they claim that they have nightly turn down service in privilege rooms, they didn't. It was only turned down 2 nights out of 7... I don't know what the deal was there, I didn't care about that, but don't say its included if its not.
Also, we rarely had wifi service, in our room or in the lobby. It was hit or miss, but very rarely in the room, which they claim they have.

Restaurants/food
There was nothing privilege about this either. They say that you have privilege seating. You really don't. You have to wait in line like everyone else and some times you were waiting for a while before someone noticed you. Also- (and I looked for this before I booked and couldn't find it anywhere) You only have 5 dinners at the restaurants for the duration of your stay. They give you a little coupon booklet and you bring it with you and they punch a hole once you went to the restaurant. There are 4-
The American- food was ok, service crappy- I didn't like it but my husband did.
Mexican- good food
Japanese- also good food, but if you do the habachi table, its all one menu, you can't order anythng, everyone gets the same thing. It was only open every other day tho (it felt like it was closed a lot)
Italian- this place also had really good food. We used our extra coupon here. Great food and service and it was always open
Then there was the buffet where we ate dinner twice. Both times food was ok. I liked that they had this huge area in the middle where they made fresh food in front of you- fish, pasta, tacos, etc. The lunch buffet was the same pretty much every day. We often ate at the one that was closer to the pool instead of the main buffet, because it was closer and had pretty much the same type, just a smaller selection then the main one. (Warning, this place is huge, you WILL be doing a lot of walking)
The pizza place- ummm I think that's what that was by the towel shack- food there was gross. It was always open (I think they might be open all night) but it was always the same food and it felt like if there was some left over from yesterday, they just put it out again the next day so a lot of the times it was dry and just icky looking.
The crepe place was really good and we spent most nights in lobby at the main bar. I must not that we don't drink alcohol so I cannot comment on the alcohol selection- it seemed like they had a lot of stuff and their virgin strawberry daiquiri's were good in the lobby as they used blended lemonade ice instead of just lemonade juice and grenadine which is how the bartender did it on the beach.

Other then that, the resort is kinda pretty and there is shade everywhere. There are palm trees everywhere, often at the beach we would find ourselves constantly shifting our chairs because they were blocked with shade by the palm trees. I should also note that there were quite a few topless women at the beach, all the time and it seemed to be the norm (thought I would mention this if you were considering going with kids). You will do a lot of walking as everything is really spread apart. The beach was really clean (there were guys out there cleaning everyday) and there was always chairs available no matter what time of day we went.

Thats about it. Once I got over my dissappointment about the dingyness of our room (I called to complain about it at least 3 times and I even went back to the privilege office right after we checked in, and they didn't really do anything about it) I ended up enjoying myself and we had an overall good time.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this hotel to my family or friends and I definitely wouldn't recommend privilege.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Claudia M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 27, 2013

First of all we went as privilege travellers . room was dirty and we could not turn around in the shower so we washed using the hand held shower in the tub . food was disgusting and tasteless in the buffet restaurants. they could not even prepare an omelet properly. A la carte restos were pretty good though. After 10 pm the only food you could get was at poolside but they served the same junk every night, hot dogs, hamburgers , pizza or fried chicken or you can order room service which takes forever to get. Service in the buffet restos was absolutely horrible and most of the serving staff were rude, I even got one of them fired when she called me "crazy" because I complained about how many time she forgot to bring cream for my coffee until I went to get it myself . The eating are was full of bird doodoo and so were the tables and chairs, see photos and yep, sometimes in the food because the birds would just fly around anywhere. no protection. The nightly entertainment was very good though.

Room Tip: don't go there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank SUNYGUYPC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2013

I have a family that is very well travelled and have extremely high expectations when it comes to resorts, so I was very worried about what they would think of the resort I chose for my destination wedding. Everyone had a fantastic time with very minimal complaints! The two complaints that I heard were the steakhouse was not very good compared to the other a la cartes and the priveledged upgrade was not worth it at all. The beach was beautiful and it was pretty far away from all the other resorts so there were no merchants on the beach which was nice. It was great resort for big groups because it was small enough so that people could find eachother easily but there were a lot of activities for everyone to do. The wedding co ordinator was fantastic and my wedding day was PERFECT!! The rooms are definitely not the newest and could certainly use a little sprucing up but who spends time in their room on vacation anyway :)

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Sheila C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort

Address: Playas De Bavaro | Cabeza de Toro, Punta Cana 2062, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#14 Green Hotel in Punta Cana
#34 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#47 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#47 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#48 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#50 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#50 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: $160 - $521 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 711
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A magnificent hotel resort with exclusive, white sandy beaches, crystalline Caribbean waters, palm trees lining the coast and abundant vegetation throughout the complex. Coral reefs along the beach allow guests to enjoy the rich marine life of the Caribbean Sea. It is located in Playa Cabeza de Toro (Punta Cana), one of the best beach areas in the Dominican Republic. The complex is situated 20 km from the International Airport of Punta Cana and 47 km from Higuey. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catalonia Bavaro Beach Hotel
Catalonia Punta Cana
Catalonia Bavaro Beach Golf & Casino Resort
Catalonia Bavaro Punta Cana
Punta Cana Catalonia Bavaro
Catalonia Bavaro Beach Resort
Catalonia Bavaro Resort Punta Cana
Catalonia Hotel Punta Cana
Catalonia Resort Punta Cana
Catalonia Bavaro Hotel

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