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“Nice ocean, awful food and wine”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #54 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Nice ocean, awful food and wine”
Reviewed August 30, 2012

We booked the Riu Palace Bavaro based upon the many positive reviews we saw on this site. However, it was not exactly what expected from a 4-star resort.

To begin, the food. If your idea of a good meal is a hamburger from McDonalds and good wine comes in a box for you, you will have no complaints about the food here. But, if you are looking for something more akin to a restaurant, and wine that costs more than $10 per bottle, you may want to bring your own food and wine. The food in the main buffet restaurant is obviously not great since it is mass produced. But the variety is awful--it is clearly focused on American ideas of good food (pasta, burgers, fried food) instead of good local food, which is sorely lacking. Fruit consists of pineapple and watermelon. There are many more tropical fruits that are oddly missing. If you book a restaurant requiring a reservation on the resort, you may have high expectations for better food. But it seems the food is identical to what was on the buffet--it just is brought to you by a waiter. And worse still is the wine. They have one kind, a 2003 Italian variety that tastes like dirt. But even in the restaurants, they serve the same wine! In any event, the food is undesirable. And whatever you do, do not eat at the steakhouse. The steak cannot be cut with a chainsaw and the lobster is a mushy concoction of something, but it tastes nothing like lobster.

The resort itself is nice. The ocean is lovely and the pool, while not large, is pleasant. Drinks at the bar are basic, but if quality is unimportant, they certainly have lots to offer.

Upgrades/ VIP - not at all worth it. We paid an extra $500 to be upgraded to VIP. VIP means you are further away from everything and you have a pool that is only accessible by VIP people. Well, no one uses it because it is so far away from everything else. The room is identical to non-VIP rooms and there are no additional services other than internet, which only works in the room itself.

Service - generally good. However, one night they asked us to do an evaluation of the resort and as I was writing comments about the food being awful, the manager looked over my shoulder and began interrogating me about my comments and asking me to write a new one and throw out the old one. Clearly they are not open to criticism.

Finally, don't get the transport service through the hotel. Get a taxi at the airport. The cost is about $25 each way and it is much, much faster than the bus. Also, the bus service company will try to sell you extra tours that you don't need--they are very aggressive. Book tours through the hotel (by the pool) as they are much more respectable and safe.

If you go, go for the water, not for the food or service. I will not return here. This is the end of all-inclusives in my mind.

Have fun!

Room Tip: Don't upgrade.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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6 Thank kevin f
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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ontario
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

First i like to say about bad reviews again ...why do people go to a different country if they only complain. I think they must be miserable to give such a bad report or they paid for a gardenview(which is still a very nice room)but expect to get diamond service (what they get anyway) we have been 2 times there in January and June 2012.Everything was perfect. What you read in the tripadvisor (positive reviews) are true.So please do not believe bad reviews.If you have any questions you can contact me.

Room Tip: all rooms are the same beautiful you can have gardenview or oceanview its only the location
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  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
26 Thank starfishontario
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

I will be very honest in regards to our trip to the Riu Palace Bavaro. The grounds, employees are beyond AMAZING!!! We loved the pool bar and all of the bartenders - Domingo, Auneuri (so sorry if I misspelled it), Modesto, Edmund and just all of them are simply amazing! Honest truth they do indeed speak very little English so thank goddess for my huby who speaks Spanish but still you can understand them if you wanted to and definitely they will go out of their way to make you feel welcomed - and come on people you are in their country so respect that fact... how many languages do they need to know?! There are a lot more Europeans there than Americans so I hated the fact that on of the reviews here said that Americans give them bread - how rude are you and if you don't like it stay in America and don't travel anywhere!!! I hate rude ungrateful people! Anyways coming back to my review - the food was ok - I say that because I am a very pick eater so it was ok to me and it's pretty much the same thing at he buffets every single day - but can't really complain cause I understand they can't please 1,000 people at once from all over the world with all kinds of different taste. The front desk is good the check in was easy and without any problems - but we were not welcomed with any drinks or towels upon arrival which was a bit disappointing. The entertainment team was fun to talk to but the activities by the pool were not great - it was the same thing every single day which was a bit boring (never experienced that in any other resorts we have been to). The night shows were indeed not bad at all. The rooms are ok - beds not so much comfortable - the decorative pillows smelled really bad (like sweat and moisture) we tried to ask for new ones but they said they have no extra one. Also the room service food is ok and we were very disappointed with how little of a choice they had that was not good at all :( As far as the beach goes it's beautiful the only down part was the seaweed all over the sand and in the ocean making it harder to swim - but even though for some reason even with the all the seaweed on the sand it made the beach look beautiful! Absolutely breath taking view which I absolutely miss every single day. We expected a bit more knowing that it is a brand new hotel and especially with the name being a Riu but hopefully these reviews will help them better the hotel and guests expectations. At this point we want to thank you for the week in paradise and like I said in the title vacation is a vacation no matter what!! :) Unfortunately we won't be returning to this particular hotel in the DR but most defiantly we will be back for another vacation/visit in the DR.

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
6 Thank Kasiek10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ankeny, Iowa
Level 3 Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed August 27, 2012

My wife and I stayed here for 10 days back in May. The resort is very nice. Our initial room was nice but we asked for an upgrade and moved to a VIP villa for a very small fee. The VIP option got us access to the VIP pool where we spent all of our time and free wifi in our room which was accessible at the pool. Staying at the Palace Bavaro gets you access to all of the other resorts in the Riu complex. When we were there they had just started remodeling the Macao next door. I ventured down to the Palace Punta Cana one morning but I liked the Bavaro better. The beach was not the cleanest (brush and leaves not trash) but it didn't bother us too much. The Sensimar section was a little odd since it was in the middle of the resort and some of the best real estate. Overall, we really enjoyed our stay and would go back anytime.

Room Tip: Ask to see a villa and negotiate the upgrade fee.
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
9 Thank treksapekul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hamilton
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed August 25, 2012

I stayed at this property back end of May. Its so beautiful. Nice and clean. Great food. Staff is so friendly and helpful. Beach is amazing. Dont forget to try the iced coffee in the cafe lobby. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
12 Thank Debbie79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2012

Best vacation ever!
We stayed August 12th-19th… Had a wonderful time. Everything was beautiful. Check in and check out was a breeze. There is a language barrier with some of the staff but it wasn’t anything major we couldn’t overcome…and remember you are in THIER country. The staff was always so eager to help us with anything we needed. I was really worried after we booked because I read some bad reviews that had come in but I’m so glad we didn’t listen and stayed there anyways. It was amazing. The food in the specialty restaurants was fabulous. We ate at all of them. They were all wonderful. The buffet had a HUGE selection and also served the best ham I’ve ever had in my life! The grounds are immaculate. The staff works around the clock. Our room was beautiful and so clean. We stayed in room 5225 in the VIP section. Our room had a “pool view” but we could also see the ocean!!! Which was wonderful, we weren't expecting that!!! It was so beautiful. We did have problems with the fridge in the room. It wasn’t cooling enough. But if you leave the cabinet door open it worked fine. The problem is the mini fridges are in cabinets without proper ventilation. …they’re basically “cooking” themselves. Anyways, leave the cabinet door open and it will work correctly. BEST VACATION EVER!!! This is a very poor country; please bring a little extra to tip the hard working staff.

On a side note, we took a look and see at the other Riu properties there…They all were nice but I feel compelled to warn others The Riu Palace Punta Cana was horrible! They are repairing the fountains..BIG mess and noise everywhere. We walked around and I couldn’t believe how dirty it was. There was actually vomit on the staircase going up into the lobby!!!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank leslie c
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orlando, Florida
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed August 22, 2012

I stayed at this beautiful property from 8-10 through 8-17, 2012 and I must say I have nothing negative to say about the resort or the staff. The staff was very welcoming, friendly, and accommodating to our needs. The a la carte restaurants and the buffets were both top notch. Their food has been the best we've had from ANY of the other all inclusive resorts we've even stayed in before. The beach was beautiful and relaxing and so was the pool area. The shows that took place every night were professional and entertaining. The cleanliness of our room and the amenities were unsurpassed by any other resort we've visited, perhaps the fact that this resort is brand new. Overall, our experience was outstanding. We will most definitely be back sometime in the near future. Also, if you're thinking of having a beach photo session I highly recommend Antillana Foto. Our photographer was very professional and the pictures are absolutely beautiful. Again, do not listen to the other negative reviews on here. There will always be bitter individuals whom will never be happy with anything.

Room Tip: If you want to retire to bed early ask for a room far away from Pacha, their nightclub.
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  • Stayed August 2012, traveled with family
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Helpful?
17 Thank Dee G
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 #54 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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