My daughter and I just returned from our 3rd visit from Oct 2 - Oct 9 2012 and I must say I think this was the best of them all. The week zipped by so fast and wish we could have stayed a while longer. We stayed in a Deluxe suite in building 36 upon arrival. We upgraded to a swimming pool villa for our last 2 nights. I highly recommend either accommodation depending on your budget. If you can afford the swimming pool suite go for it but don't feel it is necessary if you can't.
There are many subjective aspects of a vacation spot. I can only relay my personal experiences. We thought the food improved from past visits with the exception of Sea Blue which I felt was not as good as before. It wasn't bad, just the quality seemed to be less than before. Cata Tapa was outstanding. You'd be hard pressed to find better in any fine dining establishment in Toronto. Thalassa offers decent fare for almost anyone. We didn't bother with the restaurants on the Bavaro side. The only comment about food I will make is there is something for everyone. If someone claims they lived on french fries all week that tells you something about their regular diet back home. Fast food junkies. The room service menu is limited and unchanged from previous visits. This is one area I would like to see improved.
Bed comfort was much better this time. I normally like my bed a bit on the softer side rather than hard as a rock. I slept very well this trip. Rooms are kept spotless. Never saw any critters inside our room. Guests are told to place room service plates outside their door after eating for a reason. As long as guests do so there won't be any problems inside the rooms.
As usual the staff are wonderful. Sorry, I don't name names. I can't think of a single staff member who didn't give their best to make our stay pleasant. Kudos to every single one of them. If they get special points for recognition then put ALL their names down for me. One thing that blew me away this time was the English language comprehension. Those English classes the hotel sponsors "in house" are working. Yes there are a few, such as some of the maids ,who lack comprehension but we never had a problem making needs known. Front desk, bell hops, room service guys and the vast majority of the wait staff are just fine.
The beach is amazing as always. There has been an unusual amount of seagrass coming into shore right up the PC coast. The hard working fellas on the beach do a fine job of keeping it cleared up. We noticed more palapas have been built since our last visit. Never a problem finding loungers and shade without rising early to go "reserve" a spot. Everyone is well spaced and not on top of one another, unlike some of the larger resorts in PC where you can sometimes feel like a sardine in a can. The sea is always calm even on the windiest of days. Although the water is shallow, swimming is possible during high tide. Guessing water depth about 5 - 6 feet deep. Catalonia Royal has the best snorkelling from shore in the Punta Cana area.
There's a couple of things I need to address from what I read in previous reviews. The first is about tipping. You absolutely do not need to tip to get good service. That's pure hogwash. A friendly demeanour goes much further than a dollar in your hand. We saw some guests very rude and with sour faces for who I doubt any amount of tip would get them better service. We do tip after we receive a service and whether it's a dollar or five it is gratefully accepted equally. I know some Europeans like to tip at the end of vacation but the problem with doing so is the staff rotate days off so the workers who made your stay special may not be there on your departure day. It's best to tip as you go.
My second beef was a recent comment about the hotel shops. Firstly, these shops are not owned by the hotel. They are private businesses who lease space from the hotel. (same with casino, not hotel run) The complaint was about prices. These shops have the least expensive items I have ever seen in a hotel. An example was a fairly decent quality sleeveless Punta Cana man's shirt for $10. This is expensive??? The coffee and rum is a better price than most of the off site vendors. Sun screen is expensive everywhere in DR but these shops don't rob you compared to most.
The biggest improvement from our last visit was the free WiFi. It was excellent most of the week. There were very brief periods where the signal was weak but mostly it was strong enough to chat Facetime on your iPhone or iPad or do a video Skype chat. I even updated my FB page while standing 10 ft from the shore near the beach bar.
To sum up, Cat Royal still offers the best value. It's very all inclusive. The ambience is amazing if you just want to chill. Music played in resort is tasteful. There is no animation team to bother you. If you do want a change and would like to get involved in some activities they are all available immediately next door at Catalonia Bavaro. It is nice to have the option depending on your mood. While the majority of guests are couples there are a number of single adults too. Ages are from early 20's to 80's. This hotel is ideal for honeymooners or any adult looking for a relaxing vacation.
We'll be back. :-)
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy the authentic Caribbean at an exclusive, adults-only resort. Its small details make big your stay and the personalized service you receive will make you feel as if you were in heaven. Exclusive suites, innovative restaurants, dreamlike swimming pools…relax in this tropical paradise and enjoy the best vacation you’ve ever had. Have an extraordinary experience, and leave the worrying to us; we’ll take care of you. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Hotel Punta Cana
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Punta Cana
- Royal Catalonia Bavaro