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“Just what we were looking for!”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #53 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
17 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Just what we were looking for!”
Reviewed November 3, 2012

My husband and I go to the DR every year and this was our third trip. We have stayed at two previous hotels that were nice but Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro by far was the nicest and just what we were looking for! We stayed for 7 days and since we only go one time a year for a big vacation, we did splurge on the VIP Ocean Front Villa...it was well worth the money to us as you could just open up your two big windows and see the beautiful ocean! The room was awesome and in the VIP area you had your own pool and pool bar...that did help because it was never too crowded and was a bit more relaxing but still very fun! The villa was spacious with everything that you need...but I will say that if you are a private person, these rooms give you none of that. Although the toilet area has a door, the room echos so you may as well not even have a door...which can sometimes be an issue especially if someone is not feeling good if you know what I mean. But they do provide a huge TV so you can just turn that up! :) Another thing is that our room had an AWESOME A/C and at one point I was wearing my hoodie and lounge pants and still cold because it would get down to 64 in our room. Being from Texas we love that A/C and this room def passed the test! The bed was comfortable and most of all, the room was super clean and our housekeeper did a fantastic job every day to make sure it was nice and clean. She would make these cool towel animals and then decorate them with the flowers growing outside. We did leave her $20 at the end of the week because of how sweet she was and the good job she did. The hotel itself is very nice and modern. They have plenty of restaurants, bars and the coffee shop (which I loved!). You will read in the other reviews about the food not being good but I can tell you that we were never disppointed with any meal! If you only eat the buffet day in and out, it can seem like the same things over and over, but it was still good! We tried out all of the main restaurants and the Japanese was our favorite. You do need to watch the food as one night we ate in the Italian dining and my chicken was cold and pink...but other than that all of the food was great! Also the food is NOT going to be the same as what you eat at home...you need to be open to the foods, tastes, etc. The bars were fun and they have different areas for everyone...so if you want to let loose, watch sports, play games or just relax. That is what we loved about it! Everyone for the most part was nice at the hotel, some more than others but this is their country and we are visitors there. It is helpful if you know the basics of Spanish as it makes them a bit more comfortable and they tend to open up a bit more but it is not required. Back to the VIP villas...we loved that they were far away from all of the main areas where everyone else was at. It made for a more relaxing and quite place so we could just enjoy the ocean and ourselves. We had a very cool patio with two chairs and we would make drinks from the bar in our room and sit out there and stare into the sky. One note: our villa was on the first floor and during the day or end of day when people were out and about, they would stare at you on your patio which was annoying but overall it was very cool! In a lot of the reviews you will read people complaining about the walk from the villas to the other places, but really it is not that far...you just have to choose what is important to you and for us it was being more secluded as we go on vacation to relax, not to be right in the middle of everything or party it up every night. We also did two excursions: the zip line (AWESOME) and the segway tour. The zip line by far was the coolest thing we have done while being in the DR...I was so scared but after you get your first or second line in, it becomes addicting! I highly recommend!!! The segway tour was super cool and it allowed us to see a different area of Punta Cana and native things. Here are some things you need to be sure to take: shoes with a back on them, bug spray (we also had mosquitos in our room and had to spray every time we were in there), sunscreen, a hat to block the sun and if you like to sit on the beach, take a insulated tumbler. The tumbler keeps your drinks so cold and they do sell them in the gift shop but they are $12-20 each and you can get one much cheaper here in the states. There is a street market next to the hotel and we did walk down it but they had the same crap that the others did and they were very marked up...I don't like to buy all of that stuff but if you wanted or needed something, it is right there. When you are on the beach, there are vendors that will come and bother you. If you don't want to be bothered, don't acknowledge them...they are persistant so just say no unless you really are interested. Some sell jewelry, cigars, excursions and fresh coconuts. So do try to take a little cash on the beach if you think you would buy something otherwise they will want to follow you to your room, which is not a good idea. I did buy a bracelet and it was reasonably priced and we also bought a coconut. It was not good but my husband loved it and he even bought another...but don't drink them hot because it will make you sick, like it did him. Be sure to take plenty of cash because if you have to use the ATM, which there is one right by the hotel, it gives you DR money...not American money. We made that mistake last year and will never do that again! Also don't let them talk you into exhanging your money at the airport...it is not necessary and peope in the DR actually prefer American dollars because of the higher exchange rate. A lot of the excursions at the hotel will take either cash or credit cards and they ususally run about $80-125 per person depending on what you do. Last year we did the doon buggie tour and that was fun as well! Oh one other thing, if you stay in the VIP villas you get free wi-fi in your room which was cool and helped me stay in touch for free with our dog sitter instead of being charged crazy fees with AT&T to use my phone. One other thing and I am sorry for jumping around, but we had read reviews about safety and crime at this resort. I can tell you that as my husband being a police officer, we never felt like anything was out of the norm, never had any weird instances and our safe worked properly each day. Overall this was a wonderful resort that we highly recommend! I will say that you need to be open to visiting another country and the way they do things...it is not going to be like being at your home but isn't that why you go on vacation??? To experience and see beautiful things! People just need to relax and go there because it truly is an aweome experience!

Room Tip: The closer you are to the beach the quiter the area...also some of the rooms are located in direct v...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
12 Thank Sunsoaker13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Franklin, Tennessee
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed November 3, 2012

We spent 5 days at the Riu with another couple from Oct 5th thru the 12th. The hotel is definately designed differently from the typical "caribbean themed" resort, with more of a contemporary Miami Beach feel. It is amazing and colorful but doesnt appeal to everone's taste, but the decor isn't the main attraction here, it's the warm Domonican sun, beach and ocean. Like the other Riu property we have visited, the Palace Bavaro offers excellent service in an exteremly clean environment. Employees are constantly cleaning, landscaping, and working on general maintanance with very little dispruption to guests. Employees will stop working when guests approach and will smile and greet them.........a very positive touch!
We read some negative reviews about the food choices on Trip Advisor before we arrived, but generally found our selections at the buffets to be varied and delicious. If you are willing to try new things, each meal can be an interesting and enjoyable food journey. We never ate at any of the specialty restaurants (hate standing in lines to sign up for reservations), but learned that the same food is served in the main buffet. This allowed us to eat when we choose to, rather than at a specific time.
Room tip, upgrade to the Villa Suites if you like a quieter experience. with it's own pool and pool bar, it was definately a great place to relax after a day on the beach! Plus 24 hour free wifi is included in your room price. If serenity isn't for you, then any where in the main building around the main pool/entertainment areas will keep you entertained all day and evening.
As noted in our previous reviews, a pleasant attitude will help you navigate throughout the property, the employees from the front desk, buffets, room service, pool, beach and maintanance crews are more than willing to help you if you are pleasant and respectful. I know it can be hard to remember this while you are on vacation, but you are a guest in their country. Learn some basic Spanish, por favor, gracias....please and thank you, can help make your Riu experience as amazing as ours was!

Thanks Riu and Delta Vacations for another great vacation!

Room Tip: Upgrade to the Villa Suites, well worth the additional cost. Take an old gift card from home (the ki...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank springerhall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2012

My wife and I stayed for two weeks in September, I can only say one thing aboutb this hotel its fantastic.
In all the years ive been going on holiday i have never returned to a hotel twice, I will without a shadow of doubt be returning to the Riu Bavero.

A big thanks to all the managment and staff for making our holiday so fantastic

  • Stayed October 2012
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank helnik68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2012

My boyfriend & I stayed at the Riu Palace Bavaro in October 2012 and absolutely loved it. A lot of reviews on Trip Advisor complained about the food, but we thought the food was excellent, especially at the buffets. The Italian restaurant (Bambola) was also very good. Geisha (Japanese restaurant) was my least favorite - the shrimp & vegetable tempura dish is extremely fried, and the sushi didn't seem too fresh (but then again, who goes to the Dominican Republic to eat Japanese food?). The staff were very friendly, and the grounds were beautiful. A lot of the staff didn't speak English very well (if at all), but for the most part we could communicate with them well enough to get by.

My only real complaint with this hotel is that it was very difficult to climate control our room. With the air conditioning on the room was absolutely freezing, making it hard to sleep at night (there was only a thin sheet for a blanket, but no real comforter). However, with the air conditioning off the room would become extremely stuffy/humid - the staff even tell you to make sure that you don't leave your balcony door open for an extended period of time, because if you do everything in the room will become damp/wet. So this was kind of annoying, but definitely not something we couldn't deal with.

I would definitely stay here again if I ever find myself in Punta Cana again. Great job, Riu!!!

Room Tip: I highly recommend upgrading to the VIP package - for just $100 or so more per person, you get a muc...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank provis4439
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arkansas
Level Contributor
66 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 64 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2012

My wife and I stayed here from October 21-26th 2012 with this being our 3rd time to the Dominican Republic. This is our 10th all inclusive (7 in Mexico) and that means a lenghty review because these vacations aren't cheap. I apologize in advance but I will format it so you can skip over sections that don't interest you.
Check In: Front desk was very friendly and fast. We were given a welcome drink which was hit or miss by reading past reviews.
Rooms: We stayed in the main building (room 134) with a view looking out to their main street which is for the Riu guests. Our beds were very firm. Not to our liking. Because of travel day, the first morning is never a problem because we could have fallen asleep on the floor and woke us refreshed. Every morning afterwards greeted us with sore backs. I guess it's a cost issue but I would say at least 7-8 of the all inclusives we stayed in had very hard beds.
The room was very tastefully furnished and laid out. It was one of the larger rooms we stayed in.
As far as the amenities, we didn't need for anything . For a complete list you can look at their website. I wlll add the minisafe was able to accomodate my 15" macbook. No extra towels were provided but a simple request is all that is necessary.
Gym: Very very disappointed with the size and lack of free weights. The gym had 3 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, 1 bike and a hybrid elliptical/stepper. They did have 3 combination machines and If you knew your way around a gym you could make do but the size of the gym made it very hard to get to them. I would have thought that a new opened resort would have place alittle more emphasis on their fitness center.
Grounds/Pool: Very beautiful and maintained well. All of the reviews about having plenty of sun and shade were right on. I had no issues finding shade and my wife had no issues worshipping the sun gods :) We didn't go into the ocean so I can't comment on the lack of or presence of seaweed/seagrass
Food: The only specialty restaurants we ate in were the Japanese "Geisha" and Grill and Steakhouse "Taino". We were very happy with either for different reasons.
The Lobster was almost black and extremely tough with a rubbery texture. I apologize for not thinking of taking a picture because unless you had that expereince, some of you may think that these reviews are exaggerated. I did think however to take photos of our steak. I ordered medium well and my wife ordered hers well done. We did not order the same meal so the sizes were different. The baked potatoes came at different temperatures. Hers was hot while mine was a tad luke warm. Im not a wine drinker so I requested something from the bar. I guess because the restaurant doubles as the pool restaurant during the day they weren't equipped to offer drinks other than the wine or soda. My wife didn't have an issue with the taste of her wine.
The Japanese restaurant was also disappointing. We got there at 6:30 and left at 8:00. We saw at least 3 other couple arrive 10-15 minutes after us and left before us.. We sat there for 20 minutes before our server approached us with an offer of wine while EVERY other couple received multiple trips to their tables. My wife was just a few minutes away from walking out. When our server did arrive she offered an apology which placated my wife for the time being. The menu was for wok fried grouper but the grouper was broiled. The food was good but took way too long. There was a couple who sat behind my wife who had a major issue as several staff members came to their table to offer apologies. I had only wished I spoke to them to find out what the problem was. I have a couple of theories as to why we were treated the way we were but I will keep those to myself. I will also end this with past Japanese restaurants were always Hibachi style which would have definitely eliminated the problems we faced.
After those 2 experiences we decided to have the rest of our dinners in the Monte Cristo and were a lot happier. Almost every all inclusive offer mostly the same items from day to day so that was never an issue. They did offer theme nights so even though you may have been given some of the same food, the presentation was a nice change up. Everyone's taste buds are different so for me to say something tasted good or bad is purely my opinion. What can't be argued is the temperature of the food or the degree of toughness and we did find a lot of inconsistencies from meal to meal with respect to the chicken and beef. Some meals they were cooked properly and other times they were not.
Drinks: Our best bet was to order cocktails as we found the iced mixed drinks were also too inconsistent. Too runny or too icy or the ice wasn't fully blended.
Stuff You Should Also Know: They offer 90 minutes free wifi in the lobby but you have to use all 90 minutes at once. I thought we could break the minutes up. The good thing is is you bring multiple devices you would have multiple sessions. After the 2nd day I would use 90 minutes on my smartphone and the other 90 minutes on my tablet. The Riu employees offering coconut water by the pool....that is not free. I saw some guests a bit shocked and I would have been as well. A free shuttle is offered from the hotel a shopping plaza called Palma Real..check front desk for times. If you want to exchange your currency, the lobby offered the best rates...better than the airport (which you should never go in the first place), the shopping plaza and even than their sister property right next door. They will even make change but will not exchange back from Dominican Pesos to your native currency. There is smoking allowed in the sports bar which is unfortunate. The tip about leaving your minifridge cabinet door open was spot on. We left it closed once and noticed how warm the drinks were. Leaving your extra room key in the light pocket by the door was also good advice.
We did walk over to the Macao and the Naioba and this resort is definitely the cream of the crop.
Every staff member we encountered was very friendly and hard working.
So for this reviewer, a larger gym with more equipment, more consistency with the food and drink and more comfortable beds would have merited an excellent ranking.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jerseytraveller_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Worksop
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2012

The only word to describe this hotel is amazing.
I have stopped in 5 different Riu hotels including the Riu Palace Punta Cana and this is by far the best.
The reception is like a blend of Vegas meets the Caribbean a mix of the old and the new.
The rooms are modern and well furnished and very clean.
The pool area is constantly being cleaned enough beds and parasols for everybody.
The restaurants are also very clean and tidy something for everybody in the buffet restaurant.
Try and avoid the rib eye steak at the steak house unless you have brought a chain saw to cut the meat lol.
The other 3 restaurants are fantastic's have the shrimp at the Japanese trust me.
Crystal has great food and also the Italian.

If you are a beer drinker the beer comes in cans around the pools and in your rooms and can be asked for in the restaurants and the cocktail bar. (better than the draft).
All main line spirits including Jack Daniel, Brugal, Smirnoff etc etc.

The beach is beautiful the sea is a little rough which makes it a little hard for first time wind surfers and Kats but at least its red hot water when you fall in lol.

A few tips on how to make your holiday better.

1. Money talks make sure you tip the guys in white around the pool they will make sure the beds you want are always available ;-).
2. Tip the waiters around the pool you will never have an empty glass.
3. Tip the maids trust me the mini bar will never be empty.
4. Don't book your trips through your travel agents we went on trips with people that had paid 3x more then we had by booking with the guys around the pool.
5. Eat the shrimp at the Japanese.
6. Get the WIFI from the machine in the lobby I paid for 1 day and got 14.
7. Don't go VIP they were more VIP in the main pool than there own. We also checked out the VIP rooms and they are no better than in the main block.
8. Try the little shot glasses of food in the main buffet restaurant you never know what it is but there are amazing.
9. Walk up the beach and have a look at the other Riu hotels and the Iberistar to appreciate where you are staying.
10. Sit back relax and eat and drink your body weight.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
11 Thank no1djpj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jamesburg, New Jersey, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed October 28, 2012

My husband and I never had a honeymoon so went to see a travel agent who just came back from this resort with her family. The service was great staff is amazing especially Mello at the buffet and Mr. Gil at the sports bar-he remembered our drinks and had them ready for us as soon as we walked in the second day!
The room and everything was beautiful and cleaned however the lack of alcohol choices, horrible food quality, and lack of music and things to do without paying extra really disappointed us. Yes, we were happy to be away for a week without the hustle and bustle of NJ, but it was not what we expected.
The only vodka they offer is Smirnoff or Stoli for me and my husband, a rum drinker, only had a choice of Bacardi or the local, Brugal. The restaurants have the same items to eat just cooked differently, not worth booking, the steakhouse was ok-lobster was the best part of my meal there. We ended up eating at the buffet every night because they at least had different theme nights. Food is not available 24/7...couldn't believe we arrived and were starving but since it was 3:30 only 1 buffet was open for the next half an hour so everything was disgusting had already been sitting out for however many hours. You should know to go to breakfast when it opens or at least before things get gross at 9. Lunch should be eaten definitely before 2:30 and dinner before 8.
Couldn't believe only activities available during the day were yoga, dancing lessons, and the very poor sports-pool volleyball, darts, & horseshoes.
Nightly shows were not our thing the best was the Michael Jackson impersonator, night club was dead only played local music, and provided a hang out for the staff not really for tourists.

Room Tip: All room walls seemed paper thin, my husband woke up two days in a row because someone above us dran...
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  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Kimberly 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 #53 of 111 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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