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“wow a beautiful hotel”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #53 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Chicago, Illinois
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“wow a beautiful hotel”
Reviewed December 19, 2011

Well, I will start by saying that this all inclusive is a beautiful place, from the minute we walked in, we were taken aback by the colors and overall surroundings.

My wife and I were given a complimentary beverage while they were looking up our reservation, and it was ok, a little sweet for me, but fine. After getting our room keys we had about a 10 minute ealk to our jr. suite, and all we could say was WOW! What a gorgeous room
and being that this hotel had just opened a wek or so before our arrival, we were impressed.

From the jacuzzi tub, as well as the stand-up shower, to the stocked fridge and of coarse the liquor cabinet which had 4 bottles on tap and that was before we walked through the sliding door outside to another jacuzzi which can fit 2. We also had a view to the pool which was nice, but the only thing I can say about the view would be that i guess you have to give some time for the rest of the landscaping to get done.

Food was fantastic compared to the other all inclusive my wife an I had stayed in pryor to this place, as far as the buffets were concerned. What we didnt like was the fact that if you didn't make reservations to any of the other restaurants that day between 7-9 am, you wouldn't be able to have dinner at any of them. It took me 2 1/2 days to make a reservation, because it's hard to get up before 9, this is supposed to be a vacation isn't it?! When I finally did make the reservation, it was because I got fed up and decided to ask one of the managers to make it for me, which he did without hesitation, that was a definite plus!

Aside from that, the staff was ok, I guess they were more robotic here than what we had encountered at the DREAMS. The entertainment was really good, and aside from some unruly people, we definitely enjoyed our stay and will visit another RIU in the future

Room Tip: Jr. suite with a jacuzzi in the vip area would be a good bet. You have a main pool steps from your d...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
43 Thank papisan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Peterborough
Level 4 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2011

Wow! Where do I start. We stumbled upon the add for the grand opening of the Riu Palace Bavaro and were a little leary about booking because reviews said "never go opening week". We researched and found little except a few tourist construction videos. We were both nervous and excited but decided to book anyway, thinking being the first ones there would be pretty neat. This turned out to be a great decision as we had the trip of a lifetime. From the moment we entered the front doors, we were floored. The grand lobby was breathtaking. The colours and style made us say WOW! We were welcomed with the biggest smiles and a tasty cocktail. We were checked in very smoothly but were given a room a little too far for my wife to walk to the beach every day with her bad feet. We inquired about moving a little closer and to our surprise were upgraded to a villa right near the beach and pools. Wow! Riu is not kidding when they say they aim to please. I guess going opening day helped as well as they were not up to capacity. We had a couple of small problems which we were expecting but they were handled promptly. As our room was supposed to be vacant it was not quite ready. The phone was not connected, the bar fridge not turned on, and liquor dispensor empty but all were fixed very quickly. A small inconvenience to stay in paradise. All was forgotten as soon as we looked at the beautiful room and the view from our balcony. We had to pinch ourselves wondering when someone was going to pull the rug out from under us. We did a quick tour of the room then went for a walk to see the rest of this masterpiece resort. We looked past the landscapeing knowing it will be lush very shortly and focused on the layout. The VIP area was superb for a nice relaxing retreat. The Sensimar section was a little different but didn't affect us as there was more than enough other real estate to enjoy.The main pool area was perfectly designed and this is where we spent most of our time anyways. The staff was very friendly and went out of their way to make us feel like royalty. We tried learning a little Spanish and found that they appreciated the effort and we developed a bond very quickly. My favourite experiences of the trip were with the AMAZING annimation team. I can't say enough about their enthusiasm and their neverending desire to make you feel special. It would not have been the same without them! The restaurants were fabulous and the selections were enormous. The food was superb as were the staff who remembered your face everyday and treated you like you were the most important person there. The beach was gorgeous with plenty of mature palms and lots of loungers. The night time entertainment was outstanding with lots of variety and very talented performers. I still can't believe they finished on time and with so few problems. We can't wait to go back so we can have a second trip of a lifetime and meet more amazing friends like we did at the pool and playing all the games with the staff. Great job RIU. Bet you can't top this one!!!!! Gotta go , may write more later.. DAVE from PUNTA CANADA

Room Tip: Villas are the perfect location, close to beach and pools where you will spend most of your time
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
16 Thank PeterboroughSophie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Quebec, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
42 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed December 15, 2011

Stayed here for a few days during the second week the hotel was open. Have stayed at Riu's in the past in the DR, and this one needs work. Check in was painfully long and the first room we were given was terrible with a view of the garbage area. Finally settled into our room after keys not activated, nice view of beach, but the hallway stank like sewage the whole trip and one elevator was always out of service. Had no bottled water, called the front desk and it arrived promptly....8 hours later when we were sleeping. Oh, the front desk takes bribes for upgrades apparently. Cash only
Hotel is new yes, but fancy no. It was in my mind "cheesy" - purples, pinks, gold, ack! The rooms are big enough, but stark and cold. Beds are very firm and the pillows very flat. The shower in the room is great, nice big rain head and a separate room for the toilet. Toilet paper is another thing you may not have and will have to request some only to have it arrive days later. TV is touch and go, channels 2, 4 and in the 30's are english.
Food all tasted the same, from french fries to chicken to pasta to bacon - it all had the same bland taste. We survived on the the nice fresh fruit all week. My stomach was happy to get back home. The staff in the main dinning room however were attentive and lovely, happy to tip them at the end of our stayed, they earned it. We didn't get involved in any of the "activities" on the resort - dancing lessons, pool aerobics, darts etc, again terribly cheesy. Pool area was roudy, for any kind of relaxation head down to the beach (some topless women, and not the ones you want to see either according to the men!). The beach was windy and filled with seaweek all week long but that's not the hotel's fault.
'Strange' (low?) class of people at this resort...perhaps because of cheap sales during opening month. I saw one woman trying to assault a stranger for no reason. I wouldn't classify it as 5 stars in the least. I suggest going to Jamaica - we are certainly done with the DR. At least I have a nice tan....

Room Tip: Go to another resort
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank LufTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Silver Spring, Maryland
Level 6 Contributor
328 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 163 helpful votes
Reviewed December 13, 2011

We stayed during the first full week of December 2011. We booked the vacation because we wanted to experience an opening of a Riu hotel and it was a great value. I will break out the components of the resort stay that are of importance to me.

CheckIn/Checkout
Process was a bit lengthy, but I will attribute this to being a newly opened resort. I believe the process will improve over time. Customer service was great with an added complimentary beverage when you arrived. Bell hops were friendly and informative. Checkout was smooth and seamless. Staff spoke all languages fluently.

Room
We had a double bed room with a whirlpool tub. We liked the walk in shower with the lilly pad shower head. We did not like the two double beds pushed together and due to the structural design, you could not move the two beds apart. Since I was traveling with a friend, we didn't like the beds being so close together. Major bummer! Although the beds were very firm, we actually slept really well on the beds! We did experience a few mosquitos in the room, but we were not alarmed by the amount. A nice all inclusive feature in the rooms was the bar, where you could pour your own gin, whiskey, etc. We are not big drinkers, but we thought it was a nice feature.

Landscaping
The hotel is still new, so the landscaping still needs significant time to grow into typical resort landscaping. Once the grass, trees and bushes grow, I am sure it will be absolutely beautiful!

Pools/Beach
The pool is lovely! I loved the ramp walk in to the pool for those with disabilities. The pool and pool area were cleaned frequently. Bonus! We did not like the one towel policy. The lounge chairs are sturdy and comfortable. The pool bartenders and wait staff are friendly and engaging. We particularly loved Gregario! He checked on our drinks periodically, regardless of a tip. The beach is a bit rough, but much more well kept than other all inclusive resorts I have visited. The waves crash close to shore and the currents are strong, so keep that in mind if you are planning to swim. Most people were on some type of craft (boat, jet ski, parasail, etc.) on the beach. I did not like that the bathroom wasn't clearly marked, so I ended up using the restroom in the Taino restaurant which is adjacent to the pool area.

Entertainment/Activities
The resort offers dance classes, water aerobics, cricket, aerobics, stretching and a few others. The problem is that they only have one board which is easily missed which gives you the schedule of activities. I suggest that they print out a weekly schedule and include it during checkin. However, the entertainment crew were lots of fun! I went to aerobics with Freddy which was a good 30 minute workout and went to water aerobics with Spaghetti. Both were a lot of fun and great exercise! We also talked a lot with Matilda and Carolina. At night, the same crew would be the show "minglers," aftter the nightly show. I went to one of the shows and it was pretty decent.

Food
The food was average, with a few hit or misses. I enjoyed the breakfast buffet, but hated that the juices were from concentrate. I loved the traditional Dominican foods and the typical American fare that was provided. The lunch buffet was a bit boring and typical - pasta/pizza, meat dish, chicken dish, sides, hamburgers, fries, etc. The dinner buffet was better, offering several stylized small plates, but unfortunately lacked flavor. The desserts were awful.
The Italian restaurant was ok, but didn't get to try Krystal. I think the dinner reservation process needs to be reviewed because there were many angry people over the dinner reservation process. The alcoholic beverages were weak and below standard. However, overall, the food was much better than some other DR all inclusive resort buffets and a la carte restaurants.

Gym
I thing there needs to be more signage around the property. I would have missed the gym completely, if I didn't run into the spa and ask the staff. Luckily, the gym was located in the spa. Towels were complimentary and the gym was clean. However, I think they should have more than six pieces of cardio equipment because there was almost a line forming for bikes and treadmills. However, great air flow and great airy, open and bright design with a full wall mirror. The strength training equipment was minimal, but effective.

Nightclub
Pacha reminds you of a whole in the wall nightclub, but there is something really attractive about it. The club is for locals and guests and there is no cover fee for guests. The bar is cash bar, but it has it's own character and personality and they play a current song list of American pop, merengue and bachata hits. Nice!

Overall, I think the resort will mature into a very well run, beautiful resort. The resort is not a 5 star, but I don't think it needs to be if it continues to maintain a really cost-efficient price. You will feel like you are in a nice resort and you can visit other Riu resorts in the complex for free when you become bored of your own resort. Very nice overall!

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
31 Thank ElleTraveler21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2011

I stayed at the Riu Palace Bavaro from Dec 4 - Dec 8, 2011. **Note** My review is lengthy but I wanted to give an honest and objective review while highlighting all the major areas of the resort.

Check-In
Upon arriving to the hotel my friends and I were greeted with a welcome drink (Green Peace) which was very delicious. It reminds you of a refreshing lemonade. The lobby, lobby bar, and coffee shop was beautiful and had a modern decor/design which I liked. Check-in was fast and efficient.

Rooms
Unfortuately our problems soon began, when we initially checked-in (Room 2147) we were not given the room that I initially booked. We were immediately given a new room on the first floor (Room 0118) which was nice and clean. Unfortunately by that evening the toilet was not flushing properly. We waited an agonizing 2 hours while maintenance attempted to fix the problem only to be told not to put toilet paper in the toilet. Not only was that unsanitary but absolutely ridiculous. We were assured that the problem would be fixed by the time we returned from dinner. Unfortunately it was not and we had to walk all the way to the lobby to use the restroom in the morning..( we were not happy campers).

The next day our room was changed for the third time to another room on the first floor Room (0093). Upon inspection the door to the refrigerator was broken but maintenance quickly fixed the door before we relocated. By the time we return from our excursion that afternoon we had the pleasure of NO HOT WATER!!! Again I went to the front desk and spoke with the general manager and explained that this was the third room in just a day and a half of being at the resort. He assured me that the hot water would be fixed and gave us an empty room close by for us to use in the meantime.

**Note** When booking a room with double beds you will get a room with the two beds pushed together they are not separated!! The way the headboard was made makes it virtually impossible to separate the beds. The mattresses were also very firm (I'm not sure if this is because the mattresses were brand new but they weren't the most comfortable)

Overall Property
The property was immaculate and very clean. There were always people cleaning in the bathrooms, hotel rooms, lobby, pool, and the grounds. The decor of the hotel is modern and chic with nice pops of rich colors. The main dining room was decorated in oranges, while other common areas were decorated in purples and pinks. The main entertainment area reminds you of a boutique hotel in South Beach Miami. The hotel is also in close proximity to the other Riu properties and all walkable via the beach or street.

Food
The food was always at the appropriate temperatures and there was plenty of variety for all travelers in my party. None of us were extremely picky eaters so we were always able to find something to eat from the selections offered. Each day they had signature cocktails in the main dining restaurant Montecristo.

Staff Efficiency/Friendliness
You were alway greeted with an Hola or Buenos Dias and a smile. Despite the language barrier the staff made attempts to meet all our requests or they would find someone that actually spoke English in our case. Note to future travellers if you don't know any Spanish it would be good to brush up on basic phrases before you go.

Pool/Activities
The entertainment crew (Spaghetti, Freddy Kruger) were hysterical. For instant laughs I highly recommend Spaghetti's water aerobics class in the pool at noon. The shows in the evening were also very entertaining as well. The pool was great it wasn't overly crowded and you didn't have to worry about other guests trying to monopolize all the sun chairs. You actually are not allowed to reserve sun chairs at this resort its first come first serve. There is also a separate pool area for children that includes a water slide and an oversized mushroom waterfall The sand on the beach was nice and cool although there was quite a bit of seaweed that washed up onto the sand.

Overall
My evaluation is 3.5 stars and that's only because of all the issues we had with the rooms and having to switch so many times within a short span of time. Other than that the service was great. Had it not been for our issues with the rooms I would have definitely giving this hotel 5 stars. I think in a few months once they work all the kinks out it will truly be the 5 star caliber that it is currently rated as. In comparison to the other RIU properties this by far is the best with RIU Punta Cana following in second place. I would definitely return to this property when returning to Punta Cana.

Quick Tip: Book your transfers through Book It's affiliate VIP Travel Service. It was worth the $20 we spent. Upon arrival there was a representative with a sign for all Book It Travelers. We were transported in a nice air-conditioned coach bus with 30-40 minutes we already at our hotel.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
23 Thank DSTDiva1102
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Florence, New Jersey
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2011

Just got back yesterday from a seven day stay for our honeymoon- knowing this hotel was just opening, we didn't expect things to be perfect but we also didn't anticipated the issues we had. When we checked in, the room we were given was actually already occupied- we walked in and someone else was obviously staying in the room (suitcase out, floor wet). They didn't believe us right away when we told the front desk staff this very unhappily but we were given another room in the VIP area of the hotel, which would have been a nice upgrade except that we booked a room with a jacuzzi suite and even the second time, were not given a room with a jacuzzi. However, when we saw the rooms with jacuzzi suites- most were on the first floor with zero privacy- we were fine keeping our new room although we are still in the process of getting reimbursed and properly charged for our nonjacuzze suite room.

In general, the facilities are very nice and modern- the lobby, restaurants, bar areas, pools, beach area, and rooms are gorgeous. That being said, it was very frustrating because even from day one we had mosquitos in our room. Expect to be on the watch for them- there was one afternoon I killed 4 in about 15 minutes and there were still some flying around! *Very frustrating!* This is our first time visiting punta cana and perhaps it is like this at other hotels too but in my opinion this is unacceptable at a 5 star resort. The maids leave the doors to the room open everyday when they clean, letting more in, so it's a never-ending battle. Seeing this, we only had the maid come every other day. Make sure you bring bug spray and maybe something to even spray the sheets with.

Another issue we had with our room was that we booked a king bed and were given two double beds pushed together. They were not even made with king sheets- it was literally 2 double beds, separately made, pushed together. If you happened to be in the middle of 2, the 2 beds would kind of separate. Honeymoon bummer! Basically we slept in a double bed.

Other than the bugs and the bed, we loved the room. We had a gorgeous view in the VIP area and having access to a smaller and quieter pool was great. The shower and jetted tub in the room were great. One other issue was that anytime you run hot water in the room for any length of time (filling the tub, taking a shower), all the mirrors and glass surfaces would be covered with condensation and it would take a considerable amount of time for that to go away (several hours!).

We did not have any problems getting reservations at the specialty restaurants but perhaps that is because when we arrived the hotel was not as crowded as it was when we left. We were able to eat at each one at least once. Krystal was our favorite- the steakhouse and asian place were okay at best and the italian restaurant was alright but it's nice because they also have a buffet. Don't expect to get beef cooked medium, every time I requested medium steak I was given medium-well to well meat (disappointing!). If you can only go to one, check out Krystal. Also, they had better wines at the specialty restaurants. The regular wine they served at the buffet and bars was pretty awful. The buffet restaurant is okay too- don't have expectations for 5 star food though. If you've ever stayed at any of the other riu's the food is comparable. I liked the pasta station and the hamburgers were very good too for lunch and dinner. There is a lot of variety but most of the food I tried I would describe as average at best. Wait staff at all the restaurants were very pleasant.

Drinks were okay once we figured out what was good to order. If you are from the US, make sure you order your mojitos without bitters. Bartenders are very pleasant though and will remember you. Ask for a coconut shake- nonalcoholic but delicious. We frequently asked for extra alcohol in our blended drinks as they tended to be weak but this was not a problem.

We went to the renova spa on site and had a very nice couples massage while there. I'd definitely recommend checking out the spa if you are looking for relaxation- treatment rooms are a little cold but very nice. We did have some issues with hotel staff at the spa and front desk though. At the spa, we were told we had to call our bank because there was a problem with the credit card when actually their machine said ethernet error (no problem with the card at all). Luckily we had cash to pay them but I don't think it's the customers problem that their credit card machine was not working. At the font desk, they made various excuses about us not having a jacuzzi suite (saying it was the travel agents fault although my husband was the travel agent and it was not his fault, saying we booked a VIP suite when we never did, saying there is nothing they can do to refund us, etc). It's hard to say if it's a language barrier or just poor customer service but either way- this is a 5 star resort and we had higher expectations.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining- we loved our vacation but certain issues we had were disappointing. Check out the dolphin explorer expedition- we did the excellence tour and had an incredible time.We loved the time we spent at the pool and beach but there were issues with our room that should have been able to be resolved but weren't. I probably would not come back to this hotel again nor would I recommend it to other honeymooners- at least until they get their mosquito and customer service problems straightened out, there are nicer places you can stay in the Carribean.

Room Tip: try to get a room in the VIP area if possible!
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
22 Thank Jodi B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nutley, New Jersey, United States
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed December 12, 2011

We got there on December 2nd which was opening day and despite some minor details such as a remote or unfinished liquor cabinet (both of which were finished within 20 minutes of us being there) we had the most amazing trip of our lives along with a free upgrade to a villa with a pool and ocean view!!! We met lifelong friends including with the staff. They were some of the friendliest people we have ever met and fully intend on going back next year. The place was stunningly beautiful and completely exceeded our expectations. The views from our hotel room were indescribable and we truly feel that we got our moneys worth. The staff was always eager to get us a drink or anything we needed, tip or no tip. We felt that with such great service and friendly staff it was only right to tip a dollar or so here and there and it was certainly appreciated. The food was amazing, 4 a la carte's and 2 buffets. We tried all the a la carte's except krystal and were wowed by each, my favorite was Taino's beef Tenderloin and lobster tail !!! YUMMMM !! Geisha was equally delicious along with their fresh sushi appetizer as well as La Bambola (Italian) with their beef dish. The main buffet Montecristo was my favorite for breakfast as i looked forward to the fresh crepes with fresh fruit jam every morning served with mimosas. There were bars everywhere you turn, from martini bars to sports bar to swim up bar and we just loved it. I recommend bringing your own cup, like an insulated cup or mug, passing on great advice from another trip advisor blogger. The cups they give you are small and they seemed much happier to fill up a big cup 4 times a day than give you 15 small drinks. Also a must try, a signature alcohol made in DR is mama Juana, ask for it and try it over ice, you won't be disappointed. The evening shows were so much fun, my favorites being the Circus Show and the Mr Riu Palace show. They were so interactive and so much fun to watch. We are most definitely go back to Riu Palace Bavaro !

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
13 Thank StephanieGencarelli
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Address: Playa de Arena Gorda | Higüey - Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access 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
Hotel Style:
Ranked #53 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
Number of rooms: 610
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana * Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu * The Splash Water World will be opened from 1st November 2016 * 4-story building * Surrounded by 63,000 m2 / 75,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Higuey * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Intl. Airport ... more   less 
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