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Reviewed November 14, 2017

Our first experience traveling to an AI was at another Catalonia Royal resort. (Tulum) We absolutely fell in love with it and returned a second time because it was so wonderful. This trip we wanted to try a new destination, but wanted to stay with the brand, so we chose the Catalonia Royal Bavaro. It was our first trip to the DR. We arrived October 3, 2017 and left October 11. We were there to celebrate my husband’s birthday with another couple.

THE CATALONIA BRAND:
The first thing we discovered was that all things are not equal when traveling within two different cultures, regardless of the brand. While both locations are really nice, there is a definite shift in the ambiance. Once we were able to get our head around that, it made more sense. We are not snooty or pretentious people by any means. But from the moment we arrived at CRB, we felt differently than when we arrived at CRT. We discovered that in Mexico, the staff seemed more proactive about anticipating needs, wants, and desires. When that is where the initial bar is set, then it’s hard to not expect that same level of service at other Catalonia properties. The vibe in the DR is much more laid back and relaxed…staff seemed to have more of a “let me get around to it” type mentality. At first, it comes across as aloof and disinterested. But as we were there and recognized it was more of a cultural difference, we didn’t see it as much as a lack of service. It’s not a slam, just an observation. We just anticipated that the level of service and attention to detail would be the same at any Catalonia property. The level of service definitely seemed more upscale on the Adult Only side, especially when it came to the dining areas. I will cite some examples in my review below with a (^) for positives and an (v) for negatives.

FRONT DESK/BELLMAN/RESERVATIONS/CONCIERGE:
When we arrived we were greeted right away with a cold drink as we checked in. We did have a very brief wait. Once we were at the front desk we were greeted nicely by Elizabeth. When I asked if any of our previously requested room preferences (NS, King, ground floor, quiet, garden view) were able to be met, she didn’t seem to really acknowledge my questions and we were given a room.(v) It ended up being a 2nd floor room facing the spa. I let it go. She did thoroughly explain our check in packet and overall it was a pleasant check in experience. I made it very clear that we were NOT interested in being bothered by any travel club members during our stay. She told me she would definitely let them know. (^) And for the most part, that was honored. Any time that we were approached it was merely in passing and once we said no thank you it was dropped. During our stay I did visit the concierge desk a few times and they were all relatively helpful. Some, more than others, but I did get the information I was seeking and I did get assistance with setting up a birthday dinner celebration for my husband. Once we were checked in, the bellman drove us to our room via golf cart and got our things into our room. On check out we prearranged a pick up time for luggage and they were very prompt with picking us up and driving us back to the lobby. Check out was quick and effortless.

FOOD SERVICES:
Since we had access to both sides of the resort, adults only and family, we had MANY food options available. We didn’t try every place on the Adults Only side but I will review the ones we did try here. (And I will review the restaurants on the family side in a separate TA review for that resort)

Sea Blue:
We had an afternoon snack at Sea Blue one day and we enjoyed dinner there one evening as well. The afternoon snacks were just ok. We had the Broccoli Cheese Soup, Mozzarella Sticks, a salad and something else. They were all ok…nothing fabulous though. I think sometimes something gets lost in translation (in our expectations taste-wise) when you are ordering things abroad that you would normally order at home. We loved that every day one of the local mama dogs would stroll by looking for a few scraps. They had a bowl of water out for her and it was very touching to see everyone be compassionate to her.

Our meal at dinner was much more enjoyable. We enjoyed the Ham and Cheese Quesadillas and the Portobello Chowder along with the Thick Rib Cab and the Mahi Mahi with baked potatoes. The evening we ate on the patio it had recently rained, but the atmosphere was very comfortable and we enjoyed this meal experience. Men were not required to wear long trousers at dinner.

Sorrento:
This was our afternoon pit stop most days. We enjoyed trying several of the pizza. The Caribbean, The Royal, The Buffalo, and The Four Cheese were our favorites. The Coconut Flan was also very tasty.

Sorrento is where we first met LEONEL!! He was such a fun waiter!! (He also is at Thalassa) He brought the customer service level up to what we had come to love from our time at CRT.(^^^) He remembered us each time he saw us, even around the property in passing. He was very attentive and friendly and seemed to really love his job. On our final day it poured down rain!! He did his best to crank down the awnings and keep the patio area and his guests as dry as possible. He carried his trays covered by an umbrella even though he was getting drenched. He also escorted a number of ladies to and from the bathroom under the umbrellas. At one point as he stood cranking the levers I went out in the rain and covered him with MY umbrella as he worked to keep everyone else dry. And the entire time he did so with a smile. We thoroughly enjoyed him.

Thalassa:
Hands down Thalassa was our favorite dining spot on this vacation! We enjoyed breakfast here most mornings and we enjoyed dinner here twice. The food was always really delicious.

GRISMERY and DOMINGA were usually the hostesses at Thalassa. They were both very sweet and welcoming! Grismery remembered us from night one and was always very pleasant. She quickly remembered which servers we liked best (Railin and Leonel) and always made an effort to seat us with them. (^) She was also always willing to be our photographer! (^) Dominga noticed right away when we appeared to breakfast without our friends who had to leave before us. She asked us about them and always seemed interested in talking with us. (^) It was these sorts of gestures that we appreciated very much. It made us feel welcome and special.

In the mornings we used the buffet. There was plenty of selection available to please both American and European tastes. At breakfast we liked to have a mimosa or two. Most mornings it was brought to us by a server. On our final morning though, we asked for one and the server pointed and said “They are over there”. (v) As I went over to start to make my own, (which, I’m not above doing but had grown accustomed to it being something I assumed the staff was supposed to do) YENNIFER, who was not even our server, approached and told me she’d be happy to make it and bring it to our table for us. (^) Again, it’s not that I demand to be waited on hand and foot; but when it’s been done all week you kinda get used to it. One other thing I noticed between CRB & CRT was the way the assortment of breakfast condiments was set up. Things like syrup and other toppings for waffles, pancakes and French toast… At CRT each item was in a small syrup pitcher which was nice and sanitary. However, at CRB, each of these was in a jar type container with a spoon almost as short as the container was deep. The spoons were of course sticky and the cross contamination opportunity was quite high. Multiple hands touching the same sticky spoon was just a bit much for this germaphobe to handle. (VVV) It would be nice to see this practice changed.

Aside from LEONEL, RAILIN was our other favorite server. He was very personable and charming. The 1st night we ate dinner at Thalassa was on my husband’s birthday. The entire staff made it a memorable evening thanks to my planning with the concierge desk. We had a preset reservation and a table was set with balloons. They also baked him a special (delicious) birthday cake and there was a big production made when they presented it along with champagne to him…both the typical American version followed by a more Dominican version. (^) The dinners were really great at Thalassa. The Onion soup was just ok. The Ham & Cheese Croquettes, and the Mushroom and Vegetable Risotto were really good. The Beef Wellington was great. The Lamb was simply amazing! Men ARE required to wear long trousers and collared shirts to dinner at this restaurant.

We did not get a chance to try Tao Cat, Cata Tapa, or Barcelona Origens on the Adult Only side. Nor did we ever use room service.

BARS:
We used the Beach Bar most of all. On occasion we also went to Margarita’s Pool Bar while we were at the Thalassa Pool and the Barcelona Origens Bar one evening after dinner.

DALQUI was our favorite server at the Beach Bar. She was cheerful and remembered what we liked to order. She even serenaded my husband for his birthday. We enjoyed soooo many Coco Locos and Pina Coladas! The beach service was MUCH slower and less available at CRB compared to CRT (v) Not a huge issue, but noticeable. Of course we LOVED Tuesday on the beach when they made huge Coco Locos served right in the coconut. After 2, I couldn’t feel my face for a while. LOL

HOUSEKEEPING:
Our room was always very clean and fresh smelling. Somehow our beach towel population continued to grow but we would rather have too many than not enough. Our fridge was always well stocked. The small details were lacking though. It was nothing that made our stay any less enjoyable, but the special touches like the flowers and tied curtains and towel creations being set up…all that was definitely hit or miss. Only two days of eight was anything special done. And on some days our friends’ room looked like a honeymoon suite while ours was not decorated at all. (v) One day the bed scarf was left inside the bathtub too. Oops…
Just another way that CRT outshines CRB for us.

BEACH and POOL:
We enjoyed spending time at all three spots. The beach offered many chaises under palapas and palm trees. There were also Balinese beds and hammocks too. It never felt crowded. We were able to use the family side as well…but didn’t want to be around the kids so we never did. The week we were there was about a week and a half after Hurricane Maria came through so the beach was still trying to recover from the storm debris and erosion. They tirelessly worked at clean up and the whole time we were there they were replacing the barricade for the swim area. I was a bit disappointed that the snorkeling was no good right at the resort. The water was very milky and there wasn’t much to see.

The Thalassa Pool near the lobby and buildings 46 and 44 were the livelier of the 2 pools. The Infinity Pool was much more relaxed and peaceful. It was right off the beach and the privileged suites. Both were enjoyable in their own way. Both had chaises and Balinese beds to relax on.

PROPERTY LAYOUT
The property itself is attractive. The landscaping is kept in immaculate condition and is breathtaking...even after the hurricane. The lobby area has a few bars and Thalassa and Origens restaurants. Buildings 46 and 44 are right outside the lobby and overlook Thalassa pool. Each building has three floors and rooms face front and back of the building. The front of the building will face the pool or a walkway through the common area. The back of the building will face garden areas and the service path. It’s not unattractive by any means and is nice and quiet. Just beyond that service pathway is the dividing line between the adult and family side. Never once did we hear any family noise though. Buildings 42 and 40 are across from the Margarita Bar and Sorrento Pizzeria also the Spa and putting green. 38 and 36 are part of the privileged area and are closest to the beach area. This is also where the exclusive swimming suites begin across the walkway through the common area. There are 2 large fountain pools before you get to the Infinity pool and area where the rest of the restaurants are. Just beyond the Infinity pool is the beach and Beach Bar area. The basic layout at both CRB & CRT were similar. And ladies…just like at CRT, the main walkways and natural stone and are NOT high heel friendly. Leave them at home and take pretty flats and sandals instead. Especially if you plan to visit the family side for more dining options, as it is does involve a good bit of walking.

When we were leaving, they had begun a construction project on building 40. It appeared to be a total remodel project. The good news is the rooms will be freshly redone. The bad news is that it IS really noisy! They did their best to stay out of the guest areas and they were constructing a plywood wall around the project to keep the visual and noise issues to a minimum. I would imagine by now it’s likely completed as they were working quickly.

By the end of the week we grew fonder of CRB than our initial impression had us feeling. Would we return? Probably, eventually. But it wasn’t our favorite resort. We will likely try new destinations and resorts before considering a repeat stay here.

  • Stayed: October 2017, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
6  Thank Mechlingdom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Catalonia_Caribbean, Gerente at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded November 21, 2017

Dear Guest,

Thanks for staying with us and for your review. We are glad that overall you enjoyed your stay with us. We will share your comments with the involved department. Thanks for your observations. This is your home and we hope to welcome you back anytime soon.

Best regards.

General Manager.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2017

We are currently at the resort and would definitely not waste the extra money on " Privelege" or this "5" star again. The staff are inattentive and generally the wait staff and bartenders are too busy conversing with one another to tend the guests. Clearly Spanish speaking guests receive better service as well. We have been to many all inclusive resorts, often 3 & 4 star which are superior to this one in many ways. While the hotel itself is lovely and clean, the suites are spacious. Food options are laughable, thankfully you have access to the sister resort for meals if you don't mind a long walk. The beach and infinity pool are nice but there is quite abit of seaweed and the water is not the beautiful turquoise depicted in the ads. This is our first review as we have never felt the need to " complain" about any of the other 25+ resorts we have visited. Just wanted to let you know that for the money it's not worth it.

Stayed: November 2017, traveled as a couple
3  Thank JackieontheMove2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Catalonia_Caribbean, Gerente at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2017

Dear Guest,

Thanks for staying with us and for your review. We are glad that overall you are enjoying your stay with us. We will share your comments with the involved department. Thanks for your observations. This is your home and we hope to welcome you back anytime soon.

Best regards.

General Manager.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 14, 2017

Wouldn't have changed a thing with this resort. The room was spectacular, the food was amazing, the weather was on our side, and the staff were wonderfully accommodating. One of our best trips ever. Yay.

Stayed: November 2017, traveled as a couple
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank 815heather
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Catalonia_Caribbean, Gerente at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2017

Dear Guest,

Thank you for staying with us and for your review. We are glad to know that you had a great stay with us and that you enjoyed our friendly service. This is your home and we look forward to welcoming you again.

Best regards.

General Manager.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 13, 2017

Great concept loved it, great food, great location,great value of money, great decor, loved the flamingo, liked the daily activities, awsome beach beds, nice music in the evening but staff can smile more and be more friendly

  • Stayed: October 2017, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel
1  Thank 323mirelan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Catalonia_Caribbean, Gerente at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded November 16, 2017

Dear Guest,

Thank you for staying with us and for your review. We are glad to know that you had a great stay with us and that you enjoyed our friendly service. We will share your kind comments with everyone, specially the ones you have mentioned. This is your home and we look forward to welcoming you again.

Best regards.

General Manager.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2017

Loved this place. So much to do, so much entertainment. Nice beaches, pools, food, etc. Staff is great. My 1 yr old daughter absolutely loved it, along with my wife and I. There are so many restaurants, and activities to do here. You will not be bored. We did new year 2017 here...was very happy. The Michael Jackson show was amazing as well.

Stayed: December 2016, traveled with family
1  Thank BoussHog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Catalonia_Caribbean, Gerente at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded November 11, 2017

Dear Guest,

Thank you for staying with us and for your review. We are glad to know that you had a great stay with us and that you enjoyed our friendly service. This is your home and we look forward to welcoming you again.

Best regards.

General Manager.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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