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“"Revised" Wish the food were better”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #56 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed March 16, 2013

tripadvisor does not allow editing so I had to pull my review and then re-enter it.

I feel it necessary to comment on the reviewer who paid $5 for wifi. The hotel website lists "in room wifi" as one of the all inclusive features. A friend went last year right after they opened and the wifi was only available in the lobby. We were there March 6-12, 2013 and had excellent free wifi in our room. Now back to the original review:

Excellent beach, plenty of shade if desired, and at least when we were there lounge chairs were always available, no need to rush down early and put your towel on one.

Liquor was good and continuously flowing. Bartenders & wait staff didn't want your glass to be empty. Many mixed drinks were terrible i.e. bloody mary/margarita, BUT Lumumba & chocolate martini were great. We're straight drinkers & scotch/rum/vodka/gin were all name brands, mid-shelf and tasted authentic. Try the Brugal Anejo rum straight, excellent. I regret not bringing some home (a shop on Caribbean St. next door had it for $13/bottle - the airport Duty Free was $35) but we were not checking luggage trying to catch a short connection at JFK, which we did make.

The room was very nice, contemporary in shades of gray; interesting that there is no wall between bedroom and bathroom, the Jacuzzi tub was the divider, makes for much cheaper construction and not a problem for us; huge shower, enough space for a foursome if so inclined.

All of the public spaces are very high ceilinged and NOISY, sounds echo like crazy.
The gym needs more equipment, there is more than ample floor space available but the 7 pieces of aerobic equipment were often filled with people standing around waiting. The weight machines (no free weights) were also too few and often filled. We always do the gym thing early so didn’t have to wait but by 9-10 am (7 to 7 are the hours) it was full. The room is a huge echo chamber, somewhat annoying.

With a few exceptions (there always are) the staff at all levels were pleasant, friendly and accommodating.

The food was less than mediocre. Don't bother going to the specialty restaurants with either a 6:30 or 8:30-8: seating. The linguine with shrimp in a white wine/garlic sauce was an Alfredo sauce and the top was dried out having sat under a heat lamp too long. The rib eye int he steat house was too tough to cut with the knives provided.

The main restaurant is buffet, huge selections but really not very good. Either overcooked, or cool/cold rather than hot. Inconsistencies abound. The steak hou8se is also open for lunch buffet with very good green leaf and romaine lettuce. However at dinner in the main restaurant the lettuce was white ice berg with fewer side fixings than at lunch. At lunch in the steak house also are 2 coffee machines making espresso/caramel cappucino/etc/etc. but those machines are not in the dinner buffet restaurant so if you want that coffee at night you have to suffer through the steak house dinner.

Breakfast as is often the case was the best meal of the day with freshly made omelets and they loaves of bread avaiilable to slice yourself when toasted was very good. OH YES, they have 3 different kinds of "butter", all of which stunk, it was more like bad margerine. Every other Caribbean island we've been to (at least 10) have had butter from New Zealand/UK/France which has been excellent.

We signed up on line with the reservations for the "hotelbeds" van from and to the airport. From the airport was excellent, we were the only passengers and from walking off the plane to the Riu was 30 min total. HOWEVER, returning to the airport they screwed up so badly I finally got the front desk to call us a cab, I was concerned about missing our flight.

The entertainment at night generally sucked, but the last night we were there they did a Cirque de Solei type of show and it was really quite good considering these are all amatures.

Several afternoons there was a sewage odor her and there on the grounds. Couldn't determine if they were using waste water in the sprinklers or working on the undergound tanks if that's what they have. Not a big deal but want to report it here.

Had the food been better I could probably have given the place a 5 * rating.

Room Tip: Room Tip: When making the reservation I asked for a room far from any noise and 1130 was just that...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank BMH993
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed March 15, 2013

I would not change this place at all. It was completely perfect and we had an amazing time.
Everything was exactly the way it was shown on the web site and brochures.
The food was amazing the service was over the top and the staff at the hotel were fab.
Everyone we met was friendly and ready to help in every way.

Room Tip: Tip your staff and they will really show you that they are grateful.
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank UKLover77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

My wife and I just returned from staying at the RIU Palace Bavaro March 7 through March 13, 2013. We were very pleased with this all-inclusive resort.

The hotel lobby was very modern and well decorated, and check-in was easy and very fast. The language spoken in the Dominican Republic is Spanish, but most of the front desk and wait staff speak enough English to get by. This was my fifth trip to the Dominican Republic, and my Spanish vocabulary has definitely grown since my first trip.

This RIU Resort complex has four other sister resorts within this same complex, and the Palace Bavaro was the newest, which just opened two years ago.

We paid extra for a junior suite with a pool view. Our room number was 5323, and I couldn’t have hand-picked a better room on the entire resort. We were on the third floor of this private VIP pool-side villa, which was a center room that over looked the Melao pool and bar, with the added bonus of the ocean only being about 50 yards away. The room had a balcony with two chairs. The pool had a swim-up bar, in-water loungers, plenty of lounge chairs around the pool, canopy day-beds, ample shaded areas, and it was right on the edge of the beach.
Our room was very large and comfortable. The room was approximately 12 ft x 30 ft and a very “open” concept, and the only enclosure in the room was the toilet… the Jacuzzi tub, very large shower with wall shower head and overhead rain head, and double sink were without the confines of walls. The open concept did not bother my wife and me, but some more modest individuals might take exception to this “open” concept. The room was well decorated and the king-size bed was very comfortable. The room was equipped with a 32” flat screen TV, our wireless Internet connection worked fine (you need to ask for the pass code when you check in). There was a mini-refrigerator that was stocked with soft drinks and beer… the refrigerator was inside an enclosed vented cabinet, but we found that the refrigerator cooled things much better if you propped the cabinet door open with one of the water bottles. There is also four full liquor bottles in each room, which consisted of Johnny Walker Red Scotch, Smirnoff Vodka, Beefeater Gin, and a local Dominican Rum. The room had ample closet room with hangers, iron, and ironing board, hair dryer, telephone, alarm clock, and programmable safe large enough to accommodate a 15” lap top. The room also had a couch and a table and chairs, and plenty of drawer space for cloths. The water pressure and hot water capacity in our building was excellent.

The beach was well-kept and every morning the RIU had crews working to keep it impeccably clean. The Riu’s property took up at least of mile of the shore line, and beyond their property in either direction there were other resorts as far as the eye could see. There were always plenty of lounge chairs on the beach. The weather was low 80s in the day and low 70s at night. Since you are near the equator the days and nights are virtually the same length of time… it got light at about 7:00AM and dark at 7:00PM.

The resort’s grounds were beautiful and very well manicured. I had read other reviews of complaints regarding the strong musty smell in the resort… upon our arrival, the lawn sprinkler system was operating and the smell was very musty and unpleasant, but in less than an hour of the sprinklers shutting down, the smell had completely dissipated… I am assuming that the RIU puts to good use their untreated “grey-water” from all the sinks and bath water throughout the facility, and I applaud them for the “Green Effort”.

The resort had a state-of-the-art fitness facility and spa, but we didn’t use either of them.
The bars in this resort were all efficiently stocked, not what I would consider top shelf liquors, but adequate. An example of what they carried includes Jim Beam Bourbon (my poison of choice at home), Jack Daniels Whiskey, Johnny Walker Red Scotch, Smirnoff and Stoli Vodka, Beefeaters and Gordon’s Gin, Jose Cuervo Tequila. The wines were a low-end Chilean and Spanish brands. The only beer offered was “Presidente”, which is a Pilsner beer (in cans and draught), not a bad beer, but I expected more of a variety of beers.

We ate at dinner at the Steak House, Geisha Japanese Restaurant, Krystal Fusion Restaurant, and La Bambola Italian restaurant. The restaurants were all good to very good, but not what I would consider excellent. The restaurants were beautifully decorated, and we were very impressed the wait staff. Our main complaint with these theme restaurants was that the food was never very hot when it was served, not under cooked, but not served as hot as we are accustomed to. We ate at the buffets twice for dinner, and all of our breakfasts and lunches were at the buffets, and the buffets were awesome!!! We really enjoyed the buffets tropical fruits, salads, and the desserts were endless. They offered an excellent variety of fish, such as mahi mahi, perch, gouper, salmon, tuna, and seafood paella daily for lunch. Their meat offerings were pork, beef, lamb, goat, and chicken… the beef was a little tough compared to American standards, but I tried all of the other meats, and they were excellent. The Sports Bars was opens 24-hours a day, and you could get food (ready-made sandwiches mostly) at any time day or night. The night-life was not very good, but to be honest, after a day of drinking, eating, and walking on the beach, we were exhausted by 9:00PM anyway.

I know the word all-inclusive means that gratuities are included, but the housekeepers and wait staff work very hard to please, and you never see them without a smile on their faces…their norm is a twelve 12-hour days, and 3 days off. We tipped our house keeper $10 each day, and $20 our final day. The wait staff at breakfast we left $3 to $5, and the dinner buffets and theme restaurants we tipped $10 to $20, and the bartenders $1 every time they served us a drink, and the towel boy at the pool $2 per day.

The resort only accepts American dollars and DR pesos, but they prefer American dollars, so there is no need to convert your money.

On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best), the overall rating for the facility was a 4. The wait staff 5, rooms and pools 5, theme restaurants 4, buffets restaurants 5, grounds and beach 5, liquor selection 3, and beer and wine selection 2. I would definitely consider staying at this resort again.

Room Tip: We paid extra for a Jr Suite with a pool view, and I could have picked a better room on the entire f...
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
8  Thank RixEz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2013

This is by far the best hotel I have stayed at in the Caribbean! The staff was friendly, hotel was very clean, food was delicious and plenty of choices. 5 restaurants at the resort, all really good. We especially enjoyed the Sushi and Italian restaurants. Every type of beverage you could ask for!! The have a great espresso and latte bar in the hotel's lobby. Free wi-fi! I recommend this hotel to everyone.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank wantottravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2013

me and the wife was a little skeptical about staying at this property at first but read some reviews which helped my decision. we stayed march 7-11th. i purchased a "jr villa suite with an ocean view", get to my room 5010 and i had no view and a jacuzzi on the patio. the hotel server thought thought he was hooking me up, but as he saw i wasnt for any games he quickly moved me to room 5224. it was on the top level, room was very nice, vip villas are new, but dont have an elevator, they only go to 3 floors. the room had a few small bugs in the room but nothing to harm you. they were bout the size of a pin tip.

Hotel staff was very nice. they spoke little to no english at all so please be prepared for this. if you know the basics of good morning, thank you, and hello, you will be fine. they kept everything made up in the bar and drinks in fridge were fully stocked. in the room you will have a johhny walker, a local rum, smirnoff , and a beefeater gin. fridge was local beer called presidente, club soda, and pepsi. the fridge didnt get too cold but kept drink cool.

The food was not that great so please dont have high expectations. the breakfast buffet was the best but the other meals in the buffet needed some work. the special restaurants where you had to dress up a little to attend was a little better. room service food was quick, fast, and again not that great.

wifi in the room was decent speed but if you dont get a slip at the front desk that has the login id and password, be prepared to walk back down to the desk and get one. reason being because the is a language barrier and imagine someone giving you like KE37453fh DeGER583 over the phone that doesnt speak good english!

the pool was nice and the beds in the morning was easy to grab even if you dont get up until noon. pool bar was never crowded and also a very short walk to the beach. there were no problems getting beach chairs once we got down there. can easily order and take drink on the beach

Room Tip: book vip villa with ocean view rm 5224
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  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank keviny868
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 12, 2013

My husband and I traveled with another couple 1-26 thru 2-2 to the Riu Palace Bavaro and let me say we were pleasantly surprised! We have stayed at a Riu in Playa Del Carmen and were not pleased so I was hesitant to try another one but I am glad we did. The front desk staff were very accommodating, we where thirsty and wanted drink and Nathaniel called the bar to have and we had beer's within minutes! We where able together right into our rooms which were beautiful and well cleaned everyday with cute towel animals and a well stock fridge even though it didn't really Work that great but the was an ice machine down the hall.
The pool area was beautiful and never a shortage of chairs but if you had issues finding something the pool guys would get some for you no questions asked. Angel was the server we bonded with, gave him some cash and he had cocktails for you before you even sat down and if you we're half empty, he had another round coming! I wish we could have brought him home with us....
The entertainment staff was great, always getting people involved and having fun.
Food was typical all inclusive food but the Japanese and steakhouse were both really good and never a shortage of choices.
The beach was beautiful and always clean and the water was amazing....the market at the end of the beach was cool to walk to it lots of hustling so if you aren't comfortable with it, don't go. The water also Comes almost into the shops so if you aren't stable with walking it probably isn't a great idea either. There are stores right next to the hotel which are nice to walk through but a little spendy, you can barter with them sometimes.
Pros: pool, service, rooms, location and access to a few other Riu properties.
Cons: none

Room Tip: Rooms on the back side across from the Iberostar hotel were quite and away from the entertainment ar...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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    • Service
1  Thank PunkinMinnesota
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 11, 2013

We stayed at the Riu Palace Bavaro on 2/28/13-3/10/13. We received an upgrade since my husband lost his luggage. A passenger mistakenly took his luggage but was able to retrieve it the following day. The room that has been assigned to us is on the second floor facing the ocean. However, the room is not sound proof you could hear footsteps on the 3rd floor. I requested to move to the third floor. I went to the reception desk and ask the manager (Nelson) for the move. I explained why I wanted to move but he is not too accomodating. He wanted to move me to another room but still on the second floor. I was persistent enough and annoyed to tell him the second time that i wanted a third floor.
The a la carte was a big dissapointment. The food in the buffet is better than the food in the a la carte. Made a reservation to Krystal, the appetizer smoke salmon is way too salty. There were 5 shrimps and a few noodles for shrimp linguini (dinner) unacceptable. You can only order one main dish unfortunately. My husband was still hungry and not happy about the situation. They don't have a shuttle bus to get to the other RIU resort. They suggest for us to walk from RIU Palace to get to RIU Punta Cana which is about a 10 minutes walk. I don't know about this but honestly, if they can provide a shuttle bus for the Casino Macao why not at the other RIU resorts.
AMENITIES: You have to pay $5.00 US currency for 30 minutes using the internet (too much)Billiard $1.00 charge. Unnecessary charges.
ENTERTAINMENT: The choreography are pretty much the same. It gets boring seeing the same steps over and over again. The music is way too fast and the dancers dance as if they are in a rush to finish the show.

Room Tip: Get a room on the third floor
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  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
2  Thank karen p
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

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 #56 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range: $250 - $460 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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