We were a group of 8. 4 couples ages 23-33. Stayed here for a week and LOVED it. If you like to eat, drink and just relax then this place is perfect! We checked out the neighboring properties and were so glad we picked Bavaro. We also took a cab to the Hard Rock, and although it is beautiful, you are doubling the price.
I was really nervous about the food, especially after reading reviews on here, and it was AMAZING. Even with two very picky eaters, they always found more than enough to eat. We could've ate at the buffet all week. Awesome homemade chips and salsa, crazy amount of desserts, the freshest fruit, made to order omelets and pasta, pizza, burgers, tacos and authentic Dominican food. I didn't have a bad thing to eat all week. All of the speciality restaurants are delicious. My favorite was probably Geisha. Least favorite was Krystal. Just wasn't to my taste but you can check out all the menus before you make reservations. Make reservations at the Italian restaurant when you get there for up to 3 days out. It's really not that big of a deal as people make it.
The drinks are NOT weak or watered down at all. More than half the time, they were TOO strong. The bartenders are great and like to have a good time with you. Small tips go a long way. DEFINITELY bring some kind of large travel cup/mug. We got them at Wal Mart and saw a lot of others with them. Those that didn't have them were bummed out to be stuck with the small cups. The Mama Juana is STRONG! Tastes almost like whiskey. But you have to give it a try.
Shower was always hot, rooms were always cleaned. Be sure to keep your patio door shut and locked or you will get a ton of condensation in the room. The language barrier wasn't as bad as I thought. The housekeeping staff is probably the hardest to communicate with but we didn't have much interaction with them. Everywhere is spotless throughout the hotel. Yes, the tiles are slippy. But what tiles near a pool aren't? We had no problems.
The entertainment staff work their butts off. Cocoa and Bon Bon are two you won't forget. We talked to them for a little and they work from 9AM-2AM sometimes. The shows aren't Vegas worthy, no, but we enjoyed the Ideal Couple, Michael Jackson, and watching them dance. Our room wasn't too far from the stage but we didn't have any issues sleeping when shows were going on. You're so exhausted after a long day in the sun it doesn't matter.
There isn't a ton of nightlife. The sports bar was our spot. We were a group that were fine with hanging in one spot and having drinks. The nachos were our late night snack. Yes, the cheese was cold. Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds and they're amazing. Ask for a to go box behind the bar.
Wouldn't recommend the free water sports. We heard that from a few people. The parasailers are either getting slammed into the water or floating above you almost in the palm trees. We decided to do an excursion through our Apple Rep to Sonoa Island. Cost about $100. We had a nice time. You take a catamaran with rum and cokes, music and enough room to move around. You spend about 2-3 hours on the island drinking, swimming into crystal clear water that you can go out very far with no waves and having a BBQ. Then you go to a natural pool and look for starfish. Worst part was the 2 hour bus ride to the boat and then doing it again on the way home after a long day. I also had a massage on the beach through the hotel. It was $40 for a half hour right on the beach and it was as good as any massage I've had in the USA.
All in all, I don't think I had any complaints. A few people had stomach issues but I personally had none. Don't drink the water. They always give you plenty of bottled water. The hotel staff gives you all these tips when you check in. Bring a TON of sunscreen. We had to spend $30 on a new bottle because our group ran out. The sun is STRONG. I thought my skin would be fine and I burnt to a crisp without lotion on. Wouldn't recommend this as a spot for someone with kids. We saw a lot of families and wondered what they did all day/night because it is more adult-oriented. Yes, there is a kids pool we didn't check out but in the evening I don't see much going on for young children. My cousin and I were looking for everything to go wrong after reading the reviews but couldn't wait to get back and write our own about how wrong some were. Great spot! :)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The 24-hour All Inclusive Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro opens all year round and is located directly on the beautiful Playa Arena Gorda beach. RIU Palace is the most elegant category in the RIU hotel chain, with hotels that meet the highest standards in terms of luxury, excellence and sophistication, creating a unique experience. The location is ideal due to its proximity to Punta Cana Airport PUJ (25 km) and El Cortecito (10 km) and invites you to explore the area. The hotel has 610 cozily furnished rooms with free Wi-Fi and offers many amenities. Relax in our spa or get in shape at the fitness center. 4 outdoor pools, 1 children's pool. Day and evening entertainment, as well as our Pacha Discotheque. For lovers of gastronomy, we offer live cooking stations at our main buffet restaurant, Japanese and Italian specialty, Fusion, Culinary restaurants, Steakhouse, as well as 6 bars and another 2 bars exclusively for villa clients. ... more less
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