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!
- 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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