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“Not up to RIU Palce standards yet”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #50 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Duluth,MN
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Not up to RIU Palce standards yet”
Reviewed May 8, 2012

This is our eighth RIU Palace so we do have experiences to compare this to. We were there for a week in April. We have previously stayed the last two times at the Palace Punta Cana but wanted to try the new resort out this time. We booked a jacuzzi suite- Room 302. Nice location top floor- ocean view. There are some good points to this resort and some bad points. The room nice size but only had a hard couch (wood) in the living room. It could have used softer materials and added a chair. Otherwise the rooms are nice. Housekeeping in our section of the resort was lacking. The maid never cleaned the jacuzzi tub on the deck. And no towel art on the bed. Couples we met there said they had wonderful maid service in there area. They had a different towel art object on there bed daily and even one day had the in room jacuzzi filled and rose petals floating in it. These couples never tipped and we did. On to the restaurants that required reservations. All the couples we meet there and ourselves did not like the restaurants. There may have been one or two items from each that we all enjoyed but not enough to go again or recommend to others. We all enjoyed the buffet. At noon do not go to the beach restaurant go to the main restaurant (open from 1-3pm), it is well worth it. The food is much better than the one close to the pool. As for pool service that was sourly lacking. If you managed to catch someone to place an order you may get it or may not . The coffee shop across from the lobby bar was great. Nice place to go after dinner. That should be in all the Palaces. Did take two tours through Apple. The half day buggies is an experience you do not want to miss. The half day Marinarium was ok- we felt it was not worth the 99/pp (skip it) . The last night everyone we meet met up at the bar and talked about the week. The consensus was is was not a place we would come back to. And I asked the others if they would consider another RIU Palace since this was everyone's first time at a RIU. The response was no. I have to saw we are thinking about no more RIU's ourselves. There are better places to go in the RIU line that are better.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
5 Thank MNLynn
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
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English first
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed May 8, 2012

Where do I start? My husband and I just got back last night and I couldn't wait to come on and write a review. I, like all the rest, was a little skeptical reading all the negative reviews HOWEVER, let me just say that not one of those are true! At least not from our experience. We had the best time! The hotel is absolutely breathtaking. From the beautiful decor, to the stunning gardens with the most beautiful flowers. Our room was by far the best room we have ever stayed in. We had an ocean view superior room with a whirlpool jacuzzi bathtub. The maids kept it clean each day for us, and let me tell you it does get alittle dirty and wet especially since the whole room is tile. The pool and beach was beautiful and the staff did an awesome job keeping it clean for all of us. One thing I didn't understand why there were so many negative reviews on the staff not being able to speak English. We had no problem communicating with them, they understood and we understood everything they said. They were so friendly, I did not meet one person who was rude or inconsiderate. Everyone seemed so happy and smiley, the maids even sing while cleaning the rooms! I loved that! There are plenty of activities to do which we loved because we don't like to sit on the beach all day. They offer yoga, aerobics,water aerobics, volleyball, darts,archery,Olympic games, bingo, the list goes on and on. The animators were all very friendly and hilarious! They provided such an energetic atmosphere and weren't pushy with you if you didn't want to do something. They were all very nice and professional. Especially Pikacu, Spaghetti, Beyonce, Veronica, Pablo, and Miguel!! The buffet was also very good and provided a variety of foods. The staff was very friendly there as well and were always there to refill our drinks and even pull out our chairs for us! I have never met so many nice people, honestly! All in all our experience was unforgettable and we cannot wait to go back next year!! I wouldn't listen to the negative reviews because you don't know until you get there what's in store. At least with our experience, I honesty have not one bad thing to say. See you next year Bavaro!!!!

Room Tip: Ocean view junior suite superior
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
9 Thank Olivera B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Shorewood, Illinois, United States
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2012

My husband and I stayed at the RIU the last week of April and enjoyed every minute of our trip!!! We are SO glad we did not listen to any of the negative reviews that we read before we left for our trip. When we arrived we were upgraded to an oceanfront suite at no charge. Our room was beautiful and the maid did a great job of keeping our room tidy everyday. I know people complain about the decor of the resort, but i liked the fresh clean chic look it offered. The VIP area is worth the extra money. There was always plenty of chairs and daybeds around the pool open. The main pool seemed a little more active, so if you are looking for pure relaxation pay for the VIP area. The food for the most part was very good. There is something for everybody. You are in another country so you can't expect five star cuisine. Also, it really gets me when people complain about the "lack of English" being used by the staff.....Hello....you are in a foreign country!!! The staff was wonderful and tried hard to accommodate all of our needs. The beach is beyond beautiful and just like the pictures show. We would return to this resort in a heartbeat! we were sad to leave and can't wait to return in the future!!

Room Tip: Pay extra for VIP.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Brianne L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
nyc
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2012

I have travelled quite a bit, & this was my 3rd time in the Dominican republic & my sister's 8th time. We are pretty loyal to the Riu chain, & weren't overly discouraged by the largely negative reviews. After a 4-day bachelorette party weekend, however, we must agree with many negative things....
Pros--grounds are beautiful & well kept. Rooms are beautiful. Buffet is decent for lunch & dinner & the Japanese restaurant is good. The pool is very nice & clean. Beach is clean & well kept. One particular bartender in the lobby bar-Elise-is extremely pleasant, knew all of our names, what we wanted to drink, & was just a JOY.

Cons-when half our group arrived-5 girls-They weren't greeted, and worse, they brought their luggage up on their own-including one of our 6-month prego
friends. The steakhouse was terrible & the service at breakfast & at the steakhouse were terrible. The waiters seemed bothered that everyone didn't know fluent Spanish & made NO attempt to communicate in English, or even slower Spanish. The waiters were often just standing around-not willing to help-and just chatted with each other. If we had to ask them for tea or coffee or silverware, they seemed largely inconvenienced. The worst part? A horrendously rude dj named Pablo. He blatantly insulted 2 of our friends & didn't seem to care that they were upset by his ignorant comments. We complained to the manager. Further, in an all-inclusive, why in the world is there a cover charge for the nightclub, & why are drinks not included? No other Riu does this!!

Overall, other than Elise & the kind reception staff, we were thoroughly disappointed by the service. I'll return to PUNTA Cana again, but never to this Riu.

  • Stayed May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank suman1026
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed May 5, 2012

This place is terrible.
It is apparently brand new but the decor is straight out of the eighties.
One of the worst part of the entire place was the restaurants and food.
The food was so disgusting with no taste to it. I would say at least half of the food was a mystery meat or sauce and it was the same thing every day.
We only went to the buffet because you had to make reservations at all the other restaurants and I heard the food was terrible from other guests.
The beds were rock hard, there was no snacks in the rooms and half the bottled waters they provide already have opened tops. It was an all inclusive trip but you still had to pay for WIFI.
The beaches are great but that has nothing to do with the resort...that was the best part of the trip.
I would never return or recommend this place.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank VWbus-12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scotland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed May 3, 2012

Having booked this "new" property last year for our Honeymoon we'd been looking forward to the trip for ages - it was our 5th time visiting the Dominican Republic and our 3rd time to the Bavaro area. I want to try and give as honest a review as possible as there are many things that this hotel are getting right but unfortunately (for us at least) there were too many things we just didn't like or enjoy in this "new" approach from the Riu chain.
I'm not going to say it's a 2,3,4 or 5 star hotel as this can be so subjective and sometimes I feel can be a bit unfair, what I will say is that on initial "looks" this hotel on the inside would have an edge on any of the many other hotels we've stayed at in the Caribbean region - all of which have been 4 or 5 star, of course it is a brand new resort so it was always going to look and feel fresh but as you will read shortly "looks" definitely are not everything.
The first thing that hits you when you walk through the doors into reception for the first time is indeed the decor, it's funky, modern and exactly like all of the pictures that are posted on the various websites. Right next to the reception area within the same building/room is the coffee bar and the lounge bar, all of these areas are cocooned air tight away behind double glazed windows and are air conditioned to a coolish +20C. Just like all of the Gourmet/A La Carte restaurants these too are vacuum packed away from the tropical air behind double glazed doors and windows with super cool air conditioning. We're not against air conditioning at all, but very quickly after arrival we felt like we could've been in any city centre hotel in the world. We'd travelled all the way from chilly Scotland and looked forward to feeling a bit of heat!
The ceilings are so high in the restaurants and reception areas that the echo from everyone chatting makes it feel and sound like you are back at school in a noisy canteen, the ambience created is quite simply hellish - loud,cold and certainly not private (more about this later). If you are in a large group then you may not even notice all of this but we travelled as a couple on our honeymoon and were really looking for a romantic and intimate two weeks. Unfortunately the design of the entire hotel does not lend itself very well towards couples or people who want an intimate time. The buffet restaurant tables that are set up for couples are literally 1ft apart, I could if I wanted extend an arm to my right or left and lift the glass off either table, so sitting at night at the buffet next to strangers either side, squashed in like sardines was not my idea of a perfect honeymoon evening. I know many people reading this will probably say "well what do you expect" in an all inclusive buffet but we've done this many, many times and the Buffet layout is just ridiculous here - too many tables too close together, simple. It would be easily remedied by Riu and they may space things out in the future but at the moment it is not good, and it's such a shame because the food at the buffet is brilliant, probably the best All Inclusive buffet we've ever done but until this trip we didn't realise how important the little things like the layout were, we didn't think about being vacuum packed in an air conditioned restaurant and bar every night either (except the Steakhouse Taino and the entertainment area). The other thing that was lacking and which further caused a complete lack of atmosphere was that in none of the bars, A La Carte Restaurants, Buffet Restaurant, Reception areas there was never ever any music playing - nothing except the noisy echoes of chatter. We weren't looking for thumping music but a little bit of merengue background music to remind you that you are far from home and in the tropics would've made such a difference to the atmosphere and would also have softened the endless drone of echoes that every part of the building suffered from. The accommodation blocks were no better - again because of the design everything echoed and from the comfort of your lovely room (and they are lovely rooms) you could here every toilet visit, every step from rooms above you, either side of you and you could also hear every door slamming across the whole building. Why people (not everyone) have to "slam" doors closed is beyond me, I don't mind if they want to slam doors but when it's so loud the entire block is disturbed by it then it begins to become a problem and we found it became really annoying after a few days and nights of constant banging.
Going back to when we originally booked this holiday the "artists" impressions amazed us and I'm glad to say that the rooms are just like we saw, so the rooms certainly shouldn't disappoint. Nothing wrong with any of it, shower was brilliant, bed was fine, balcony fine, jet bath was excellent, air conditioning ;) was good too. However, one major difference since we booked it is that Riu have sold off a huge chunk of what should've been a much larger pool area to Sensimar which is a German time share thing I think, you'll have read about this part of the hotel already I'm sure but the problem is that the main hotel pool (in our opinion and comparing to every other Dominican hotel we've stayed at) is tiny not huge as some people have stated? Each sunbed is quite literally next to each other, touching one another. We never struggled to get a bed as the hotel was only about half full but if you are hoping to while away the hours in an expansive tropical poolside location then forget it because it's not going to happen at this place. Having sold out to Sensimar has impacted greatly on the main pool area and its space, if I had booked a cheap week to Spain (which I sometimes do) then this is what I would expect but certainly not at a top of the line Riu Hotel in the Dominican Republic, this too was a great disappointment to us having spent such a lot of money and time waiting to enjoy our honeymoon. Yes, the pool was clean, yes the poolside bar service was good and yes watch out for the grey tiles as I can also confirm they are a bit slippery but if you've travelled out to this part of the world before and you are "pool" people rather than beach people then I am sure that you will be very disappointed with the pool area at the Riu Palace Bavaro.
Evenings ended up being a disappointment too - the A La Carte restaurants were actually pretty good but again they completely lacked any atmosphere, no music, sometimes deathly silent or the other extreme echoed like a school canteen. I felt that the staff were "going through the motions" in these places and we were never made to feel particularly welcome or comfortable? A lot of staff also had a bad habit of using one of the 3 red wines to top your glass up, so they'd serve you one type of red and come back and have another type of red in on top of the other red before you had a chance to speak. I seen it regularly in all of the restaurants including the buffet - this really shouldn't be happening in a place like this. After dinner in the evening we would normally choose to opt for the lobby bar as we didn't care too much for sitting at the entertainment area but the lobby bar..wait for this...only has just fifteen small tables so the chances of getting a seat in a hotel with 600 rooms and perhaps 1500 guests could at times be just impossible. We'd end up sitting on one of the few seats out in the reception area, how romantic eh?
The more I write here in this review the more I realise how disappointed we were with the entire stay and strangely it was for reasons very different to what you would normally hear people moaning about. Certainly different to any moaning i've ever done.
Recapping I couldn't fault the food, infact the food was very good in general and the drinks were okay too. The rooms were also spot on and very comfortable although the noise from neighbouring rooms could frustrate at times. Cleanliness wasn't an issue either as the maids and ground-staff kept the place immaculate, I did think that the young grounds and trees wouldn't bother me but on spending time at this resort I found that I was wrong and that the lack of lush tropical foliage did impact on the "feel" when walking around the hotel grounds. Only a handful of the waiting staff at lunch and dinner seemed happy going about their day to day work, many of them seemed to be in a trance (perhaps it was all the air conditioning...).
So some of the important things seem to be good or what you'd expect at this hotel but the size of the pool area, the cold echoey restaurants, atmosphereless bars and resaurants, the noisy rooms, the lack of intimacy in the restaurants and buffet, the vacuum packed air conditioned places everywhere were just not for us.
Iberostar next door - whether it's the Dominicana,Punta Cana or the Bavaro suites they are all way ahead in every department (except perhaps the rooms) but overall the experience Iberostar delivers is light years ahead of this Riu.
If you're travelling to the Riu Palace Bavaro as a couple I would seriously look at re-booking if any of the above worries you, we did however have a nice honeymoon and of course Bavaro beach wherever you stay is the same and remains one of the best beaches I've been to but we left last week feeling we'd been cheated out of what should've been a perfect Caribbean honeymoon :(

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank wattenmike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pa
Level Contributor
79 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2012

This new all-inclusive is typical RIU. Ostentatious lobby in purple, gold and hot pink did not appeal to my senses, but the employees of RIU are wonderful. The front desk is polite, even when we didn't get our VIP Junior suite till 4:30. Remember to pack those swinmsuits in your carry on suitcase. The wait was worth it, as our suite direcrly overlooked private pool and ocean. Although initially the bathtub in the middle of the room separating bath area from sleeping area took me back. my friend had a birthday while we were there. The Hotel decorated our room with balloons, bubbles in the bath, flower petals spewn thoughout the room and champagne on ice. Whay special treatment and a wonderful surprise. The food is typical RIU where you should ONLY eat in the Buffet. The 2 restaurants we tried were not half as good as Buffet. Great seafood and fresh fruit were a staple. The entertainment crew was friendly, but nightly shows were lame. I would return here again and again.

Room Tip: Splurge on the junior suite. You get fee wi-fi and large room, private pool, and a wonderful view.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JaneDoePa
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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