After reading many reviews, I was a bit worried going to this location. My husband and I stayed at the Catalonia Nov. 10-15, 2013. Catalonia is a very nice resort. We could see that they are working on updating rooms, which is much needed. In my opinion, the entire resort needs remodeled, but everything was clean which is always my main concern.
Check-in was a nightmare. The front desk staff was very nice, but compeltely unorganized. We got there an hour before check-in, so they had us go to the buffet. When we checked back, our room still wasn't ready, so they suggested we go to the bar. The third time, a different person waited on us and we finally got our room, three hours later....We were upgraded to a privileged room for free, but did not receive the privileged bracelets and perks. It seems that the front desk could use a manager. All of the workers would leave the front desk and go into a back room for a good five minutes. I watched this happen to every single person who was waiting. All guests were getting frustrated with this process.
Our maid was Dora Holiday and she was awesome! I tipped her from day one and she took wonderful care of our room. When we got there, we had no hammock. She had one there for us within five minutes. She stocked our refrigerator daily and gave us extra bottled water for our coffee maker and brushing our teeth.
I was very disappointed to see vacationers NOT tip. If I receive good service, I always tip, whether my meal was paid for in advance or not. In my opinion, if I can afford to go to Punta Cana, then I can afford to tip my bartender $1 every so many drinks and tip my maid at least $5 per day for taking such good care of our room. The workers were so nice and very appreciative when they receieved a tip. I was always thanked and sometimes even hugged.
We had tiny ants in our bathroom. I noticed them on our sink and on the edge of the bathtub. Once I threw away the pretty flowers Dora left for us every day, I got rid of the ants. There were no bed bugs in our room. I checked daily.
The air conditioning worked in our room just fine. It was very cool. Sometimes at night, it made a ticking sound, but after a day in the sun, we slept like babies and didn't hear a thing.
I did see the Orkin man there several times. While packing, I found a hole in my Sketchers tennis shoes, so I threw them away! When we were leaving, there was a huge tarantula on the grass right outside of our room.
The specialty restaurants were all very good. We received good service in all of them. Mikado was my favorite. I was disappointed though that you could only go to each one once during your stay. We never had trouble by not having a reservation and were always seated right away. The buffet by the pool had good pizza and french fries. The buffet at Gran Caribe had good desserts, but we did not care for the food. The eggs were runny for breakfast. It's open air, so if someone doesn't stay at your table, birds will come down and take food off your plate.
Entertainment was just okay. I like Michael Jackson, but got a ltitle tired of so many MJ performances.
The casino is small, but the slot machines definitely let you play. I won back all of the money I played by the end of the week.
We never had a problem getting a seat, whether we were at the pool or in a restaurant or common area. Maria was our waitress all week near the lobby bar/theatre area. She was an excellant waitress! The beach fills up quickly in the morning. Even if you put a towel down, people will move them and just throw your stuff on the sand, which I thought was extremely rude. If you want to sun on the beach, get there early and keep your butt in your chair! haha. We never had a problem with anyone moving our stuff on the pool lounge chairs.
The guys in the lobby really push for timeshares. They kept telilng us we had to go to a presentation. I told them I'm on vacation and don't have to do anything and if I want a timeshare, I will come see them. They finally stopped asking us on day three.
The locals who hang out on the beach down near the market are VERY pushy and are just downright scary. We actually turned around and went back to the resort and didn't leave the resort the rest of the week. They surround you and touch you, telling you that they are starving and asking you to bring them food. I was sorry to see that, but that was a little too much for me.
I got very sick my second and third day. My husband kept bragging that he had an iron stomach, then he got sick on our way home and was still sick five days after we got home. We are both on antibiotics and are being tested for parasites...
Our last day there, some workers were taking pool water and throwing onto the already slick tiles on the pool deck to wash them down. I slipped and fell and got cuts and scrapes all over both of my legs. I did not report it because I did not sprain or break anything and was able to walk, and nobody there spoke English anyway. At that point, I was just ready go home.
The atmosphere is very nice. We always have fun wherever we go, but I don't think we will be visiting the Dominican Republic anytime soon. It just wasn't for us.
A few tips for anyone traveling to Punta Cana: pack plenty of bug spray, sunscreen, immodium and heartburn medicine! And $40 $1's for tipping. Safe travels!
- 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