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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
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Reviewed June 28, 2012

We traveled June 17-22 2012. When arrived at the hotel and walked into the lobby the stench was horrible. Figured out later that it was just the smell from the jungle around us being sucked into to the building...I think. The pink, purple, mirrored glass decorating was a bit too much...it looked like something from the early 70's....not old looking, new...just outdated themes, unless you like that kind of thing. When they said palace we figured "PALACE". This was our 25th anniversary trip and we were told they were going to make a big deal out of it...never happened. Neals did help us get a nicer room though. The buffett all tastes the same. the breakfast buffett was the best. Eat lunch at Taino and every dinner you can. Steak and Lobster there. To get into the specialty restaraunts you must make your reservation 2-3 days ahead of time....so if your going for a week you won't get to eat at those 4 times. The fridge in the room NEVER got cold. The ocean is blue and just beautiful....though the reefs are grassy with little fish. The Catamaran Cruise is really cheesy but it's a nice day out if you make the best of it. The 2.5 hour bus ride each way to the dock was weird because we ended up on a bus full of Germans. Which brings me to my next thing, this hotel caters to Germans? They actually have an area that you can't even go to if you not a German? I found them stinky, arrogent, and in a foul mood most of the time....especially if you weren't German, ya. Enrique at the front desk was a life saver...he seemed to know the answer to whatever question I came up with no matter how far fetched. DO NOT GET A ROOM ABOVE THE THEATRE! Very loud at night. You have to be very persistent and accurate when making your reservation. Look at all the different style room they have....the Junior Suites with the hot tub outside are nice. Oceanview/front a must...the view is awesome. A free tip...the power in the room goes on and off when you put you room key in...you can use any card that you have with a magnetice strip (eg: old gift card) and put it in facing the way it says and it will keep you power/ac on without having to leave your room key. Works everywhere. We will probably go to a different part of the Caribbean next time......I'm ready to go back and be around some happy Mexicans or Rastafarians! I challenge the DR to change my mind!

Room Tip: Junior suites with the hot tub outside are nice. Be persistent a accurate with you reservation. Look at the different types of rooms and where they are located on the property. Oceanfront/Oceanview a must. No rooms over the theatre...too loud.
  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank yourtravelbargain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

My friend and I just got back from our 5 day stay at the RIU. We were there June 21-June 26.

We arrived well before official check in, but they put us in our room right away. Unfortunately, our suitcases took a good hour to come up to the room--we would have preferred to just bring them ourselves so we can get to the pool!

The resort is really clean and so was the room. We were in 2036 and had a view of the little courtyard fountains. The only con was there was this funky odor throughout the hotel. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I coughed it up to being cigarette smoke since the resort is NOT non-smoking.

The pool was perfect as was the beach. We had a very attentive pool waiter, Angel, who would bring us muy grande pina coladas. There was always plenty of chairs to go around and the pool didn't fill up until past noon. Some days they had a gardner come around with a wheelbarrow filled with coconuts. For a few dollars he'd hack at it with a machete and you'd be able to drink the coconut water. SO yummy! Definitely the only way to drink coconut water. Conservatives might have a bit of a culture shock with the toplessness on the beach and little thong bikinis and speedos, but really should get over it.

As for the food, since it's buffet I recommend getting to the restaurant as soon as it opens. Once the food sat for a long time it started to look gross.

There really was no nightlife. After midnight there is nothing to do. There is a club, Pacha, which is on the street that connects all three resorts. That was fun to dance but it gets super hot - no air conditioning! Our last night we went with some people we met to a club at another resort, Mangu, which was a lot of fun and highly recommend going there as long as you're with someone who speaks good Spanish. We wanted to go to Imagine, the club in the cave, but it is closed on Mondays.

On our last day, we scheduled a noon pick up with VIP car service. I DO NOT recommend them. Instead of leaving all relaxed, I left the room with high blood pressure after getting into a yelling match with the front desk. Apparently we needed to speak to our VIP rep one more time to get the official pick up time. When I saw him after we checked in, he just took my paper and I took that as a confirmation. So at 11:15am we were getting phone calls to the room that the bus was leaving without us. Long story short, we don't recommend using VIP to get to and from the airport.

I don't recommend this resort for singles. There's not a huge single population, we were maybe 2 of 6 20-30 something singles on the resort. It's mostly a couples and family crowd. But we made the best of it!

I highly recommend the RIU if you want to relax, stay by the pool and beach, and just have a good time. Staff is super friendly and they try very hard to communicate in all languages.

Mamajuana para todo.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Pietra A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 28, 2012

I felt compelled to write a review of the RIU Palace Bavaro after reading so many good reviews on Trip Advisor. We went to RIU Bavaro the last week of May 2012. First trip to the Dominican Republic. We have been going to RIU's hotels for the past 12 years and to A.I. resorts for 20 years. Before this trip we never had any problems with RIU hotels.

Arrival at Punta Cana airport: This is a outdoor airport, no windows and no air conditioning. The first thing you do when getting inside of the airport is to pay a $10 per person arrival fee. If the United States did this we might solve the debt problem.

We found our transportation to RIU and got to the hotel.

Check-in: No one met us at the door of the hotel. We went to the front desk and checked in and then took our bags to our room.

Room: Room was decorated in the new decor. We did not care for the open concept. We choose to stay at this property because it was new. We found the room had hair and dirt on the floor. We left tips for house cleaning, but room was not cleaned as well as other RIU property's we have stayed at. When we got to our room it felt like it was about 60 degrees inside. The windows for the sliding glass door were wet from condensation. We tried to turn down the A/C but it was stuck on cold. We called maintenance and they showed us where the breaker box was and how to turn off the A/C. This did not solve the A/C problem. We also had a problem with housekeeping not bringing us towels. We called the desk and they said towels would be brought by. After 45 minutes no towels. We called back and they said the towels should have been delivered. We then went and found a house keeping cart and took towels. After the towel problem and the A/C problem we went to the from desk and asked for the director. We met with the assistant director. He told us he would look into the problem. He did not say he would take care of the problem, he would look into it. We got more towels and the A/C was turned down to the point where it was too hot. Another call to maintenance. Problem fixed after the third call.
We like other guests had staff members knock on our door in the evening and then tell us wrong room. Nothing stolen from room.

Food: Food was good, no complaints.

Beach: Great, no problems. No drink service.

Casino: Don't' waste your time.

Tourism: Diving, snorkeling, tour of kid's school not much else to see.

Other: We did not get scammed at check-in. Some other people we met told us they went to the check-in desk and were told for $180 they could upgrade their room. They said no and were offered the upgrade for $100. They went and looked at the room, went back to the desk and told them they did not want the upgrade. When they were given their room it turned out to be the same room they had looked at for an upgrade. Other people we met also had problems with housekeeping and towels.

When we first started going to A.I. resorts the big sell was everything at one price, no extra costs. Also in big letters on the hotel brochure it said no tipping. We have found that this is not longer true. Everyone in the Dominican Republic expects a tip. Would not go back.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank bill w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2012

We enjoyed the modern decor and clean lines of this facility. Reception staff was great. Epifanio was very friendly and attentive. All the staff was great. We stayed at the VIP area. Enjoyed our room which had a balcony right in front of the beach. Our room was nice and spacious.
The facility was not crowded. We went to some of the themed restaurants. We were at the Krystal when it was my husband´s birthday, and all the crew came to sing and brought a DELICIOUS cake. I would definitely go back. The only thing I missed was the lush vegetation that the Taino used to have (the Taino was torn down to build this one). I suppose it will take some years to grow back.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank NRaquel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2012

This was our first trip to Punta Cana. Our stay was from June 11 -June 18. We traveled with another couple and had a great time. Once we arrived we couldn't check in till 3:00p.m. so we went to eat lunch at the buffet which was great! The check-in process went well. When we checked in our room which was on the ground floor( it was a garden view room) I went to look out on the balcony and the sprinkler system was going and everything was wet. I went and got the room changed with no problem on a higher floor.The room was very nice and big! The bed was very comfortable. Didn't use the bar that was in the room that much but was nice to have anyway.Our room was a good walking distance from the pool, beach and restaurants but I enjoyed the walking especially after eating all the delicious food.

The main pool was great! It was not crowded at all and there were plenty of chairs to sit on. The water was a little warm but otherwise it was wonderful! Love the built in lounge chairs in the pool. The beach was clean and beautiful but spent more time in the pool. It was fun to check out the flea market down the beach.

The buffet was wonderful as well as the a la carte restaurants. All the staff were very friendly and did an excellent job in keeping the hotel and grounds clean. Our waiter Antonio was the best!
Did three excursions : the Marinarium( snorkeling ,saw two large nurse sharks and got to hold a stingray) The party on the boat afterward was a lot of fun! We did ziplining which was awesome! There were twelve total! We also did the Bavarro Runner-all day excursion. It was nice but too long would recommend doing half-day excursions. Our tour guide was Sammy who was great!
Went to the entertainment every night. Could be more variety, but was fun to watch.
Recommendation: More bathrooms by the pool and buffet area. Waiters could be quicker by the pool bringing drinks. Overall I would recommend this hotel and would return.

  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
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4  Thank Nancy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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