Wife and I booked through Apple vacations, we had a direct flight from Chicago. We came for a week, spent two nights so far and five to go! Pool and beach are amazing. Rooms are very nice. We experienced no mustiness or bug problems other have posted. We had a 230PM flight arrival, and by the time we cleared customs and got to the resort is was 330PM. Check in was easy, but we were starving after a long flight and having been up since 5AM. Buffet closes at 3PM until 630. Very disappointing that the only food the resort had to offer was a refrigerator/cooler located in the sports bar with pre-made burgers, hot dogs, ham and cheese sandwiches and nacho chips with cheese. Re-heating pre-cooked sandwiches on buns in only ONE microwave with Spanish control buttons was unacceptable! This cooler is the source for the lame room service, so if you are hungry just walk to the sports bar and pick up your own snack. I suggest RIU have a panini press and have employee making sandwiches to order and provide single serving bags of chips for arriving guests from North America. I get it, Europeans have morning arrival and with the time difference can make it to lunch. Geez, people were backed up waiting for a turn to reheat a chilled sandwich. Check in time is 3PM, so if you arrive close to 3, try to get right to the buffet before you go to the room.
All the seated specialty restaurants are arranged in advance. So our first night we went right to the buffet at 630PM after eating a microwave hamburger and 3 or 4 drinks. The evening buffet was disappointing. This whole resort caters to Germans, the Sensimar section of this resort is is German only and all the restaurants aim to please that demographic. I'm first generation German, so I know German cuisines and the evening buffet has several varieties of boiled potatoes, pickled beets, lunch meats,salami, speck and many cheeses, hard rolls, European bitter salads, weird salad dressings. The carving station had carved pork shank. I like schweina hoxen,(sp) but it is a fatty roast pork leg. They did have a pasta made to order station that was pretty good. I wanted a basic chicken or beef with rice.
The breakfast buffet is fantastic. eggs to order, waffles, french toast sweets and fruits. Of course they also have the lunchmeat variety too, Germans dig their hard rolls mit speck!
The first morning we got in dinner reservation line right at 8AM and the line was 10 deep! get there at 745AM if you want to beat out the Germans:) You can arrange for that evening and two more consecutive nights. By 830AM all reservations are gone for that night, and one restaurant is closed the following night. One Can't schedule a meal more than 3 days out. Maybe its the low season, but every night one restaurant is closed on a rotation basis. BTW, there also Sensimar German only restaurant right next to the Italian, French and Japanese restaurants. So Sensimar gets there own restaurant, private pool, (like the VIP area) and compete for rare restaurant reservations when they have a restaurant just for them!
Buffet lunch is at the steak house restaurant, and quite good. grilled chicken, burgers, pizza, pastas.
Good bar service, tip your bartender and leave a single on the table when at the buffet! I gave a buck or two every round and they are very attentive. Before I left i got $65 in one's.
As for the booze factor, they will use cheap rail booze if you do not request a brand. The good rum they have is Brugal. Ask for their good stuff and tip the bartender. If you think its too weak, ask them to make it a double.
Bring your own plastic cups from home, they use these 8oz plastic juice cups for every beverage request, so if you have a souvenir beer cup bring it. Also bring your own beach towels from home. I am afraid to lose a towel and getting charged $40 to replace the lost towel card. We forgot to do that. Also if you are a smoker, bring them from home. I thought a pack of cigs would be cheaper here than home, but its not, $7 per pack! I gotta quit, but in Cancun it was like $4 or $5/pack and figured it would be cheaper here.
Ignore the weather channel! We were really bummed that the Punta Cana forecast had five days in a row with 40-60% chance of continuous rain showers in their ten day forecast.
Tonight we are going to the sushi place, and tomorrow the steak house, and then the french.
More to come
- 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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