We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.
Nearby Hotels
Reviews (6,739)
Filter reviews
6,739 results
Traveler rating
3,644
1,887
732
261
215
Traveler type
Time of year
LanguageAll languages
More languages
3,644
1,887
732
261
215
Show reviews that mention
All reviews royal side infinity pool piano bar cata tapa thalassa restaurant tapas restaurant the sea blue restaurant tao cat rodeo steak house juice bar royal guests la toscana yuca swim up bar deluxe junior suite sister resort sea grass
Filter
Updating list...
4,046 - 4,051 of 6,739 reviews
Reviewed May 27, 2009

My husband and I have gone back to Catalonia Bavaro (Royal side) about 5-6 times now (our first review is titled: "Don't listen to the Naysayers" and was posted on 5/26/2007.)

They are building additional villas that will each have their own swimming pool. We still like going to this resort, but the maintenance department seems to be lacking. When we were there at Christmas time, we had no hot water. This time the A/C didn't work in our room and we had to move to a new room. Before we moved and after 3 days of complaining, they changed the A/C filter in first room and it was black. The second room was somewhat better but still by no means "cold".

We also had a problem with "mold" on this visit. It had rained and the rooms were very damp due to the high humidity. I have allergies and usually when I go to the Dominican Republic, my symptoms subside; this time my allergies were triggered and within 2 days developed into a full blown cold. Another couple we talked to changed rooms because they said they smelled mold (musty smell).

What keeps bringing us back to this particular resort (and we HAVE been to several others in the Dominican Republic over the years) is the people. This resort has an a particularly outstanding staff -- most of whom are friendly, smiling and very eager to please. Some people who really stood out to us on this visit were:

Basilio - Lobby (Royal side) Bartender. We have known Basilio for a long time and we always enjoy our pre-dinner conversations with him at the Royal bar. He teaches us Spanish and some the geography/history of the Dominican Republic.

Victor - Pool Bartender. We first met Victor at Christmas time when he was working with Basilio in the lobby bar. In December, the hotel was in the process of building a new bar and we had to go without one for a few days. Basilio and Victor were kind enough to figure out a way to bring us an after-dinner drink even though the bar was closed.

Rafael - Thalassa Restaurant. Rafael offered us very friendly and attentive service. Last time we were there, he was working at breakfast time but he's now a waiter/server in the evening.

We met so many other wonderful people at this resort, it's impossible to name them all. Jenny, Marilyn, and Lawra (Japanese restaurant bar) are a few others we remember from other visits and who always treat us nicely.

Bring cash for tips! Our travel package supposedly included tips, but we like to give extra $$ to the exceptional workers.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank DianaMoonTownship
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2009

We stayed at the Majestic Colonial and the Royal Catalonia Bavaro during our trip to Punta Cana. The Royal Catalonia Bavaro blew the Majestic out of the water. Everything was better: food, staff, rooms, treatment, amenities (free wifi versus $5 per 30 mins; free room service versus a charge, etc). Although the Majestic may appear to me nicer (the grounds really are not they look like a tacky Las Vegas hotel), once you stay at both of these two, there is really no comparing to the Royal Catalonia Bavaro. You get gourmet food where you order each dish, not buffet food that sits out for hours unlike other resorts (including the Majestic). The meals are more intricate and complicated with better ingredients and better cooks, the staff more willing to please. By far the best feature of this resort is the fact that there are not that many people! It's quiet, relaxing, but has every amenity and service you could need. A major turn-off to all-inclusives is the way they pack people in like sardines in a can, this is not the case at the Royal side. You have all the space and quiet you need, no loud screaming children, just the right amount of other adults.

Breakdown by area:
Rooms: Spacious, beautiful, lots of room. Cleaned immaculately daily. Nicer than the Majestic rooms.
Restaurants/Food: The Royal-side only restaurant is wonderful, as was the steak house. The snack bar is also good. We didn't eat at the others, but nothing we ate while we were there was bad, so I imagine these are good, too. Make sure to eat at least one dinner at the Royal-only restaurant.
Treatment: Staff was always eager to please. More staff per person than other resorts so they are not running around all the time, have more time to focus on you. On the royal side, you get pretty much anything you ask for and nothing costs extra: not room service, internet, etc.
Beach: Nice, lots of space on Royal side, nice huts to lay under, Royal-only bar, etc. All in all very good.
Entertainment: We never really used much of it, so I can't say.
Price: We booked our trip at a very reasonable rate, far less than we paid for the Majestic although the two of us agreed we would have paid much more for the Royal Catalonia.
Overall: VERY satisfied, and looking forward to a return trip in the next few years.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank viviannrose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2009

We recently stayed at the Royal Catalonia for our honeymoon May 17th-May25th. Let me start off by saying that I've been obsessed with trip advisor prior to our trip which may have hurt in the long run b/c I made high expectations! The resort was beautiful...very nicely landscaped. There are workers constantly cleaning, planting, and pruning all day. I know I am speaking for myself and I'm sure others have had different experiences but the first few days I felt very out of place I guess you could say. I've been to quite a few places in the caribbean and they all cater to Americans (not to say they don't other countries also, just that Americans are usually one of them!). Here it seemed more towards the Europeans...which is sort of understandable because Europeans speak a lot more spanish than we do! I just got the feeling a few times that once they found out we didn't speak spanish, we were kind of looked over from there on out! Which I'm sure others might not feel the same!
We waited about an hour and a half for our room and were then handed a key and that was the end of it. We waited about 15 minutes to see if someone would help us with our bags or show us the way but after no offers we asked if we could be pointed in the right direction. It took us two trips to get our luggage from the lobby to our room on the 2nd floor in building 46 (thank God it was the first one! Haha!). Both times a bellboy held the door for us but didn't ask to help with our luggage. But, no biggie, we found our room! Tip to future guests...we thought our air conditioner didn't work but you have to have the sliding glass door shut in order for it to work!

Food:
We ate at Thalassa 3 times. Once for breakfast and twice for supper. Now being from the South, we aren't fancy fancy by any means! And I'm sure others aren't going to agree but the food there was a little too fancy for our liking! (I'm not saying it was bad...just not our cup of tea!) Our first night, we ordered pork tenderlion...so hungry and couldn't wait to get the food! They brought out a plate with two quarter size pieces of pork rolled up with a fancy sauce drizzled over them!...big let down! Needless to say, we hit up the buffet after we ate! The ate there our last night to give it one more shot and we waited over 45 minutes for our food. (I know it's the DR and they are on "vacation time"!) It wouldn't have bothered me as much if three other tables around us weren't seated, served, and had eaten before we got our food...all spanish speaking tables. We tried to order the Lobster everyone talks about both time and both times were told we couldn't get that we had to chose something else...strange...
The buffet, our choice for breakfast and lunch just because there is something for everyone there. If you can't find something there to eat, you don't need to eat! Go early when it opens b/c after a while the food gets a little cold. Also, check out the pizza by the regular side pool...awesome! We lived off of this! The room service sandwiches weren't bad...had those about 3 times. Ham (#3) was our favorite! Japanese-so/so, no sauce for your food like here in the states, just dry rice and meat. Italian-pretty good, small portions but good! Mexican- the best! Just like at home! Would have eaten there everyday if we had found out about it sooner! Steakhouse- not bad! The power went out in there during a storm and the roof leaked in the middle of our table but still okay.

Pool:
Very pretty! Not a lot of people swimming though b/c if is very cold! I had assumed that they would either be heated or warm from the sun but were actually a lot chillier than expected! Although after laying in the sun for awhile they did feel good once in awhile. The hot tubs were VERY hot our first day and we tried them again later in the week and they were colder than the pool...weird!

Beach:
Very pretty also! Heads up....the towel chair hogs you've been hearing about were there! Impossible to get a hut with chairs unless you got to the beach before 8am. I'm not going to lie...we did get up one morning at 7:00 just to claim a hut! Hey, it's my honeymoon...I atleast wanted to have my own hut one of the 9 days we were there! WARNING...WARNING...we were not told of the nudity at the beach and were a bit caught of guard our first day! I know in Europe it's probably a regular thing but we don't see a lot of that in the South! So prepare to see a BUNCH of topless sunbathers at the beach!...atleast my husband had a good time! lol! There was quite a bit of seaweed in the water, the beach was kept up by the "seaweed crew" workers. The water was a lot colder than I was expecting also...but refreshing! FYI -very windy! We asked if it was always like this and they replied "Si, very windy country!"

Casino:
Very small! Only played slots...we won $60...we were happy!

Mini Market:
Very expensive! Sunblock is $36 US dollars...don't forget it!

Bar:
Drinks are all pretty good! Take a shot of some MamaJuana...more than a few can be deadly! Lol! Although I did notice at the some of the bars that it took a while for us the get waited on...spanish speakers would come and go and we still be standing there. But then again I guess is would be quicker for them to wait on them first and then try and understand us! FYI- I asked if they had Miller Lite...I got a milk! Lol!

Rooms:
Very large and cozy! People say the beds were hard but I slept fine! People say the pillows are lumpy but you get like a thousand on your bed so we were able to find atleast one that we could make work! It's vacation...if you wanted a comfy soft bed and pillow like you have at home....stay home! And beds are huge. We didn't have a humidifier in our room and didn't ask for one either. The room didn't seem humid at all to us and our air conditioner ran great! We never had a problem with hot water in the shower except for a few occasions where we didn't have hot water in the sink or tub. We figured it was a busy "shower time" for our building so waited until later and it worked fine. The maids were great! They clean twice a day and make cute little towel animals! (Forget it...you can't learn to make them! It must be a skill you are born with! Lol!) They place fresh flowers around the room everyday but be on the lookout...some have little microscopic bugs hiding in them that we found running around on our bathroom counter so we got rid of a lot of the flowers!

Activities:
We did the speedboats offered there on the beach. It's $150 a couple and well worth the money. They said it was a 2 hour tour but if you go with a small group you can make it last a lot longer and make your own stops a long the way. They are two seater boats so you get to drive yourself, you follow a guide boat and speed a long the shore all the way along the island (about a 30 minute boat ride). You get to see all the other resorts, some yachts, a wrecked ship...careful though, when you get to the other side of the island then water is really rough and can easily flip your boat...big waves! We stopped a swimming area along a deserted area of the beach and the water is so clear (more clear than the water infront of the resort)! Then we stopped at an on the beach flea market and got to walk around and look in the shops (but we didnt go in but a few b/c the people are soooo pushy to buy things...its sort of scary at times!) We then drove the boats out to a coral reef in the middle of the ocean and snorkled around for about a half hour and then headed back to the resort! We highly recommend the speedboats! Would do them again if we had the chance!

Finally...the Local Shops:
If you walk down the beach to the left or right you will find local shops set up to buy little gifts. There is only one shop to the left and about 15 to the right. BEWARE....the people are so pushy! When they see you coming down the beach they will come get you and bring you up to the shops (whether you like it or not! LOL!) They all come at you wanting you to look in "their shop". "Cheapy Cheapy almost Free!" We tried looking in them but word of warning...don't make eye contact with a certain object for too long and don't ask how much something is unless you are acutally going to buy it...or you will end up buying it! I bought a pretty carved bowl, a wooden figurine, and a magent. The guy wanted $78 US for it...we said no thanks and walked away...we ended up getting them for $30! They will bargain...it's time consuming and frustrating but most will! Although we only had $9 left and a guy wanted $10 for a picture frame...he wouldn't let us have it for $9! FYI- a lot of their things might seem like your getting a better deal but we found that the gift shop at the resort had the exact same stuff for like 1/2 what they wanted! Beach market picture frame-$25, same resort picture frame-$11. Whatever you do...don't use the excuse you have no money but will come back when you go get some...b/c they watch! If they see you buy something from someone else...they are not happy campers! Scary! They come to resort and set up by the buffet on Fridays.

All in all we had a great time! Would I go back...probably not...not that it was a bad experience, just felt a little out of place! I realize that it's a Spanish speaking country and I chose to go there but I guess I figured it was going to be like a lot of the other places I've been and there be more English-American people and speakers. I guess you could say at times we felt like we were "burdens" on the staff for not speaking spanish...I know it probably wasn't that at all but it's the best way I could explain it! But it was fun and very relaxing....just took a little extra time to flag down a waiter and explain what you needed! Would I recommend it to a friend if they were going to the DR?...I would probably mention this hotel just b/c it was by far the prettiest resort from the water while we were on our boat tour! But if you are looking for a relaxing getaway to lounge on the beach from sunup to sundown...and know a little spanish...then this would be a great place for you to try!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank MayMay10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2009

Me and my boyfriend staying at the resort the week of May 16-23. Our last trip was in Mexico at the Excellence Mayan Rivera which was by far the best resort we've been to. We knew this resort wouldnt be the same but we were hoping it wouldnt be too far off. First of all in the description it says that there is a dvd player in the room, there isnt. We had to request a dvd player from the front desk and it took 3days to get the dvd player. The staff dont communicate to each other so everytime we requested the dvd player to a staff, that staff had no idea that it was requested. So the previous staff that we had asked didnt do anything about and just said "it will b in your room when u go back after lunch". two other staff said the same thing. Then finally the last staff actually radio someone while were standing there and was then given a dvd player. That was just one example of how disorganized the staff can be but there were a couple of things that were kinda annoying to deal with.

This is the adult side of the resort and I would ONLY recommend the adult side. We decided to check on the restaurants on the Bavaro side one day. We went to the beach restaurant which is a buffet. When we entered the restaurant we immediately saw a bird flying into the buffet and eating one of the desserts. I dont know about you but i definetely dont wanna eat anything that was touched by a bird..that is just disgusting. How is that healthy for anyone?. Then we went to the other buffet that was also on the bavaro side but was away from the beach, and we saw birds flying everywhere by the food. It was sooo gross!. The dinner restaurants were good which were the Italian restuarant and the Japense restaurant. We went to the Japanese Restaurant because we heard they have a hibachi table. But the only thing is they dont do ANY tricks they basically jus cook the food on the hibachi table. So dont expect to go there and see anything fancy!

On the Royal side there is only one restaurant which was really good and the doors are kept close so NO birds can get in! The breakfast was a buffet and you can have a menu to order eggs the way you want it (there are many omelette to choose from but they dont cook it properly unless you like your eggs runny which I dont) The lunch menu was pretty good and the dinner menu was the best. The food at dinner was really really good. They had lobster tail and cuttlefish spaghetti with pieces of lobster and more. The appetizers were really good too! and some nights they have a special menu which is an al acarte menu. The resort also has room service but the room service only has a continental breakfast and for dinner and lunch only sandwiches which were pretty good if you wanna stay in.

The bars at this resort had really good drinks especially the mijotos!. The only thing was it kinda took awhile to get a drink after your first drink was finish. They dont come around as often to see if you want a refill.

The beach was amazing. It was really clear water and shallow. It was one of the best beaches I have seen, its beautiful!

The rooms were very nice we had one morning where the water wasnt running but thats another story. In the end it was fine. The balcony is very clean with a hammock. I didnt notice any bugs around which was nice. The pillows were the worse pillows Ive ever slept on and Im usually able to sleep on anything..It was very lumpy and just uncomfortable. They do have a pillow menu in which you can call front desk and order a specific pillow. We did that one night and ended up getting the pillow the next morning and they were the WRONG pillows. They were better though! In the pictures it looks like there is a jaccuzi but its not...its just a bath tub so theres no bubbles or anything

Overall I wouldnt recommend this hotel right now. I think its fairly new seeing how they are still doing construction and the organization of the resort really needs a lot of work. If you dont mind the organization part then it can be a nice resort to go to. Its very quiet the beach is beautiful and the food was pretty good if u stay on the royal side. I dont think I would go back only because there were some little things that just annoyed me.

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank TweetyBIrd5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2009

We stayed from May 15th to May 22nd - it was by far the BEST all inclusive trip we ever took. The resort is very poular amoung European and Canadian travelers.
I will break my review down into sections:

Rooms
The rooms were spacious, comfortable and very clean. Kings size bed, 2 person tub, marble shower, sitting area, balcony with chairs and hammock, flat scren tv, desk and large closet with safe. The bed was a bit hard, however we asked for an aditional comforter and pillows - all were brought up immediately. They have a pilow menu - you can order soft, memory foam and a selction of others. The room was a bit humid upon arrival, so we also requested a dehumidifier. We were in villa 46 - close to the lobby and pool. I would reccomend requesting a room in villa 46 or 44, close to the pool and lobby!

Food
The food was excellent! Much better than the standard all inclusive fare. In addition, you were able to make selections from a menu or buffet. Breakfast featured eggs / toast / cereal / fruits / yogurt / fench toast / meats / cheeses and assorted condiments. Lunch featured burgers / salads / seafood / nachos / ceviche and on Sunday an outdoor BBQ with many new and delicious grilled meats and seafood. Dinner featured lobster / steaks / pork chops / fresh seafood / salads / soups and desserts. My only complaint about the food was that at times it was a bit salty. We did visit several of the themed restaurants on the other side of the resort. The Mexican was the best! The Steakhouse was also good. The Italian was closed and the Japanese was overbooked. We also visited their buffet. Not as impressive as the selections or quality on the Royal side.

Service
The service was fast and curtious at ALL times. These people work very hard and deserve an enormous amount of respect. We tipped them as much as we could - because they deserved it! The room was kept clean and well maintained. The fridge was stocked every afternoon. At 7pm daily they came to collect beach towels and leave new ones. Room service took about 30min to prepare, but was always prompt and delicious. Angel at the pool bar is FABULOUS. We enjoyed his creations and spent many afternoons chatting with him.

Other Accomodations
Piano Bar off main lobby was a great place to relax at night. 2 jacuzzi tubs near the spa. Comfortable lobby with plenty of sitting room. Internet access with 2 computers. Beautiful grounds that were very well maintained and easy to explore. On the other side of the resort they had a little shopping area with cigars / clothing / jewelry and other gift items. They also had an outdoor cafe that served cofee and crepes nightly.

Beach
The Royal beach was very quiet; with a sitting area and chairs as well as plenty of beach chairs and a bar. Yes there was seaweed, but they swept the beach of it multiple times a day. The water was clear and shallow - perfect for snorkeling or wading. The seaweed did NOT bother us at all.

Construction
They are building an entire section of Villas on the Royal side. Each will have multi-level accomodations and private pools and siiting areas. These will be finished in 3 months and will add another loobby, bar and restaurant to the Royal side. The construction did NOT bother us and was very quiet.

Excursions
We visited Santo Domingo - this was a FULL day trip, from 7am to 8pm. It was a great day and included lunch. I would highly reccomend the excursion to see old and new Santo Domingo. We also did the Coral Reef explorer - which included snorkeling, swiming with sharks and sting rays and kayaking! We were taken by boat out to a dock in the middle of the sea where all of these activities were located. A very good afternoon!

Entertainment
There is little entertainment on the Royal side, other than the piano bar. We walked to the other side nightly for the shows - which were pretty bad. They usually involved 4 men, who couldn't dance or sing. They relied on audience participation and disco music. On the other hand the Palmera main bar had a jazz and reggae band on most nights..they were fabulous!

Weather
Very cloudy with SEVERE storms every night. We had only 2 afternoons of sun. The clouds rolled in daily at 3pm....storms developed nightly at 7pm. 3 out of the 6 nights the shows were cancelled due to the heavy rain. In addition, there is no drainage system - so the walkways on the grounds were usually under 3-4" of water. By morning all the puddles were gone. We would not visit in May again - due to the rain and cloudiness. We had read that showers didn't last long - that wasn't the case. The rain lasted 2-4hrs, in most cases.

Other
We booked through American Express, who is aligned with Prieto Tours. They provide all transport and excursions. They were horrible! We confirmed our arrival 2 days before arrival - yet there was no one waiting at the airport for us when we arrived. We had to wait for a pick-up. Then were were told to confirm our excursions and departure through their on-site Catalonia representative - Francis. Francis was rude, never on time and lied to us about the price of an excursion we inquired about. I actualy called American Express to complain about them. We wound up going through another rep to book things because we didn't trust him. He showed up 2hrs late for our appointment and our pick-up to the airport was 30 min late. In addition, there were roaches in the transport van to the hotel.

With the exception of Prieto tours who had NOTHING to do with The Royal Catalonia - it was a WONDERFUL and RELAXING trip. We are definitely going back next year!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank dustty09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
View more reviews