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“Worst all inclusive experience!!!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #50 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
New Haven, Connecticut
Level Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Worst all inclusive experience!!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 29, 2012

We are frequent and experienced all inclusive vacationers and have been across the Caribbean numerous times, including Jamaica, Aruba, Dominican Republic, besides this trip, Mexico, St. Thomas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and 3 Cruises to Caribbean.
Our experience at Riu Palace Bavaro was horrible. Before going in to detail, would like to comment on hotel condition. Hotel opened in Dec, 2011 and does have brand new facilities across the resort. Beach, while small, is relatively nice, however lack of chairs and no on-beach drink service was disappointing.
Service in the hotel was our biggest disappointment. Staff does not speak any English. Let me repeat, they do not speak or understand English. When going to buffet style dining for lunch or breakfast expect long wait in getting the coffee and drinks. You ask for Orange Juice and Water, they bring you pineapple juice. It was extremely frustrating to start your day this way.
Food quality was OK, but definitely not on the 5 star levels as advertised. Cooks do not speak English, we had issue ordering eggs over easy, and the cook was not familiar with the dish and did not speak English. The specialized restaurants were a joke. There were 11 of us and originally had problems booking the dinners due to the # of people. Another ridiculous part about the resort, the only way to book specialized dinners you must be at the Main Dining Hall at 8am in person, so lines would form before 8 so one can book the dinners. Also, for the hotel this size 4 restaurants is a small number, generally for 600 rooms should be 6 to 8 based on our experience. Besides the process of booking, the food was at best mediocre, the only dinner we really likes was in Krystal, the stack house and Italian were average at best.
They do not offer premium liquor anywhere on the resort. For 5 star hotels it is an insult. Also, if you do decide to go, bring USD currency, as you cannot get Dollars anywhere on the resort premises. There is an ATM machine, which only dispenses Pesos. The ironic part about this is that in order to purchase in-room Wi-Fi, you need dollars, as the machine excepts only USD, but there is no place to get them. We complained to the front desk, besides the fact that they could barely understand the issue, seemed completely indifferent to our problem. The only recommendation offered was to take a cab to the bank, 15 to 20 minutes away from the hotel and exchange pesos for dollars there.
Towels in this hotel appear to be a second currency after Pesos. For a 5 star resort they give you cards which must be exchanged for towels every day and God forbid one of them get lost. I have never seen such a ridiculous towel exchange policy, if one of the towels get lost, you will be charged $50 upon check out.
Upon arrival they advertised Ice machines conveniently located across the hotels. In the morning, we like a cold drink, so I would go get the ice, first day it was perfect. Second day the ice machine stopped working. Went to the machine on the second floor, was broken as well, on the third floor, same problem, finally on the 4th floor was able to get ice. Day after, machine on the fourth was broken as well. We contacted the front desk they re-assured us it will be fixed shortly. We spend the remainder of our vacation without ice.
Ground keeping would start at 7am. Usually it was relatively quiet, however once or twice a week they spray something on the plants, so around 7am we were woken up by an extremely loud nice right near our balcony. Kids were scared, it was absolutely insane. I ran out to tell the guy to stop, he acknowledged my request, smiled, and continued with his loud machine.
I can probably go on about inconsistent cleaning service, toilet not working during the night, nonexistent room service, boring and repetitive night shows, but I think you get the idea that I do not recommend this hotel and will never return there.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank Yan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (734)
Date | Rating
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2012

My husband and I stayed at Riu Bavaro Jan 6-15. What we were told was this was a luxury all-inclusive resort. We went with high hopes. Let me just start by saying that if you don't speak Spanish you are out of luck! The hotel staff maybe speak 5 words of English. We wanted to take advantage of the 24 hr room service so we went to order and the gentlemen that answered the phone could not understand what we were trying to order so he could not help us. We tried a different time and same problem. Very frustrating!!!!
Also be aware there is A LOT of children at this hotel. So if you are looking for a romantic getaway this is not for you.
The food was very good. However if you are thinking that you will get a reservation at one of the restaurants be advised that it is very hard, this hotel is usually booked at 100% so if u don't get there at 9 in the a.m. u will not get a reservation.
The rooms were fine but nothing great. On a scale 1-5 I would rate this hotel a 1.
Also the beaches had a lot of topless woman. Very crowded and stressful trying to get a chair to sit in. Also the hotel staff expected to be tipped every time they helped u. So as far as being a all-inclusive.....not so much!

Room Tip: Higher floors because the entertainment was very loud and you could hear from your room.
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Amy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Des Miones, IA
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 28, 2012

My wife and I are checking out today Jan. 28th 2012......sad to go but it's time. We had a wonderful stay, we stayed in the villas and had a hot tub suite( hot tub on the balcony) right next to the VIP pool.
The only thing we had an issue with was the hot tub suites are all on the ground level unless you have an ocean front villas.
It seamed like every night we went to get in the hot tub we became the center of attention, people on their balcony grabbing their popcorn and getting their front row seats.....as if we were going to put on a show for them.......not so private is what I'm trying to say.
our room was a corner room, if your getting the hot tub suite I would suggest you get one in the center of the building and not one of the outer rooms. The villas are 5 rooms wide and 3 stories tall ( pick one of the 3 center rooms, a little more private).
One of the nice things about the villas as well is the in room wireless internet (free in the villas), great service and I was able to use my VOIP phone without any issues .....big plus to do some work when required.
All in all we would suggest this hotel to anyone, just remember to bring money for tips, it seams like a lot of people demand great service and want and need this and that...then they forget to TIP.....you would be amazed what a couple dollars will get you. We spent about $20.00 a day in tips...... we never had any issues getting our room cleaned, our room fridge stocked as requested.
We also read a lot about the staff not speaking english.....the staff does a good job, they try their best and will do almost anything to make sure your stay here is the best. If you have a issue with understanding them, maybe you should look in the mirror and take some of that blame...learn to speak spanish and don't forget your enjoying their country....just a suggestion if that's an issue.
My wife and I speak a tiny bit of spanish and we went off the resort to several places higuey included and had no issues. I would suggest you use your travel rep. in the hotel for that type of travel tho.
If your a cigar smoker you can find good cigars 20 minutes away from the hotel at Don Lucas as well as seeing rollers work. If you go 40 miuntes away you can go to Higuey and find the cigar museum as well as a lot of other brands of cigars. If you try to buy cigars on the beach or at the beach huts I would suggest you really know your brand and know what a good quality cigar is as you can find knock offs every place........

My wife and I enjoyed the food in the buffet more than any of the other restaurants, no reservations, more selections, we never went hungry I'll say that. They also had a mexican food night WOW off the!
I can't forget to mention "Mello" our favorite server. Mello is great, he's always happy to see you and extends a warm welcome very time you see him.

I could go on and on with great stuff but I think you'll get the gist....we are happy and we would have no problem coming back here next year, by that time the plants & grass should be growing like crazy and it will green everywhere.....

In closing...WATCH THE GREY TILE EVERY PLACE...VERY SLICK WHEN WET!

Enjoy your time here......TIP TIP ENJOY!

Room Tip: read what I wrote
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
22 Thank WDMCPLE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2012

Well let me start by saying that my husband and i both had a great time.We stayed the week of the 17th and were a little nervous after redaing some of the reviews.....DONT LISTEN TO THEM...This resort was great, the food,beach and the people were awsome.The rooms look exactly like the pics and the beds were really not that hard and the pillows were heavenly :) We hung out at the V.I.P pool as it was more quite and relaxing.Definatly go to this Resort you won't be dissapointed!!!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
33 Thank crippler1313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waterloo Ontario Canada
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2012

Im here now... first off Ill say matter of factly that this is -not- a 5 star place. Is it "ok" yes... but nothing great. The rooms are just ok as well, the grout in the tiles is so poorly done that the rooms look like they are 10 years old, they look so dirty. The food has been good so far ( just been to the buffet ). we made a la carte reservations today and the earliest we can get for each of tne next 3 days in 9pm !! thats just a joke. Nobody speaks english here, its frustrating.....

Ill send more updates as the vacation progresses. I sure hope things get better. I can say this... the reviews here on TA were BANG on, the negative reviews are something i take with a grain of salt usually, but in this case they were bang on.

The odour in the front lobby, and in the rooms is terrible... very chemically smelling....

I wont return, this is my 2nd RUI experaince, and neither was good....

Room Tip: pick a room @ another resort
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank PhilEBuster
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 24, 2012

Ok, let me first start off by saying that by reading a lot of negative reviews that people posted here are written by people who were either fighting with their spouse/significant other, having a bad day, or just people who will never be satisfied by anything. I stayed here with my girlfriend from January 17-24th and it was amazing. A lot of people complain that the food in the buffet isn't all that great, well we are from New York City where different varieties of good food are the norm for us and we could not wait to go to the buffet every day and pig out.(the buffet is mostly where you will be eating since it really does have the best food and doe not require reservations). The pool area is really nice with a lot of chairs and beautiful design. The swim up bar is a real plus. The mixed drinks around the three bars are very good and are served by very lively and friendly bartenders. *TIP* If you tip the bartenders now and again they will take care of you by creating "secret" mixed drinks for you to try without even asking and make sure you will get taken care of first when the bar gets hectic. You might find yourself at the sports bar pretty often since it is open 24/7 and has a great atmosphere. The staff do lack English language skills and sometimes it may be frustrating, but they always keep a positive attitude and are very, very friendly which makes up for their language since no intellectual conversation is really required. When the hotel staff walks by you they always say hello and this creates a very warm feeling. The excursions are amazing, Dolphin Swimming and Speed Boating are a definite must. Do not be scared about taking excursions on buses outside of the Casino. The locals you may interact with love tourists and do not try to kidnap or mug you. The room is amazing and looks exactly the way it is on the website. *TIP* If you throw the front desk an extra $50-$100 at check in you have a chance of getting a room with a better view. The bed, despite what some people might say is really great. We enjoyed Bavaro so much that we didn't bother going to any of the other resorts except Macao for the casino (stay away from blackjack dealer Ramon)
For anyone that was like us and began getting scared after reading some of these nasty reviews before we took off, don't be. If you are the type of person who isn't easily impressed but at the same time isn't the Prince of Whales you will have an amazing time here and be treated like Royalty. A few tips:

Don't be rude and you will get treated very well by the staff and they will take care of you even if you don't tip them

Try to catch the housekeeping lady and give her a couple of bucks and tell her you want extra towels

Avoid Ramon at the casino, he is a blackjack dealer that really knows how to make you lose all your money. I have seen a full table of happy gamblers winning hands now and again but as soon as dealers switch and Ramon takes over the table becomes empty in 5 minutes.

GO ON EXCURSIONS. Depending on if you booked with a travel agency or not the right excursion guy for you will be in the pool area in a little house by the bar or in the lobby at 11am.

WAKE UP EARLY!!! Reservations to a la carte restaurants need to be made before 11am and if you aren't making any make sure you are out and about before 1pm to grab a seat at the pool and get towels because they run out quick.

When buying gifts at stores on carribean street, haggle the merchant down to whatever you want to pay. Don't be scared to leave. I was trying to purchase 3 lighters, a shot glass, 2 magnets, and a little chain. The guy told me he will give me special price and typed up "$175" on his little calculator, but said for me he will do i for $115. I told him he must be joking and sooner than later I ended up leaving with paying $25 for all the items.

Room Tip: Tip off the front desk
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Stayed January 2012, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
34 Thank Edwin S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 22, 2012

Just came back - we were staying in Riu Bavaro from 01/14 to 01/21. Everything was excellent, variety and quality of food, the service, and the place itself was all clean, modern, and shiny. Can not wait to come back!!!

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
32 Thank Eric1818
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, 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 #50 of 110 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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