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“First Tropical Vacation, Great time”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #53 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Manchester, New Hampshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“First Tropical Vacation, Great time”
Reviewed 25 February 2012

My girlfriend and I traveled here and January and had an amazing trip. It exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend this hotel for those who want to consume great food and drinks and have a relaxing vacation.

Room:

Our room was great. We stayed in a basic room ( I forget what they called it) but it came with everything we needed. It has a flat screen TV, nice bed, awesome lighting, and probably the nicest bathroom I have ever been in. The room is very modern and has a nice clean and new feeling. The best part was having four different bottles of alcohol in a dispenser and a mini fridge stocked with a variety of soda and beer.

Food/Drinks:

As you may have heard, you have to go to the Italian restaurant early in the morning to reserve a seat at any restaurants. On your first morning at the resort, go down no later than 8 am to book all of your reservations for you time there. Every restaurant has two servings I think at 6 and 9. I was only able to book the steakhouse (Taino) and Krystal. They were both good but I highly recommend the buffet. The staff caters to you and the food is great. Don't listen to any negativity about the food. Yes, some things aren't great but overall you have a great selection to be picky about.

The drinks were amazing and there are plenty of bars to go and get drinks. The pool bar was my favorite and I recommend either a Sammy Sosa or tequila sunrise. I am a major beer drinker and enjoy beer that was not available at the resort. If you like beer, drink Presidente. Other than that, they have plenty of good drinks to choose from. Also, be prepared to drink red wine. I am not a huge wine drinker but the red wine was amazing at the buffet.

Beach/Pool:

The beach had nice white sand and beautiful water. The pool was huge but the water is a little cold so not many people were in it which was fine with me because I think cold water is refreshing. Getting chairs on the beach or pool was easy and we never had a problem. Every morning before breakfast I would go get our two towels from the pool (very great system) and then put our towels on two chairs either at the pool or beach. I highly suggest that you decide whether you want to stay at the pool or beach for the day. It might be difficult getting a chair at the pool at noon if you get sick of being on the beach.

Overall this was my best vacation ever. Just make sure you tip occasionally and treat the staff with respect. They are hard workers and cater to you more if you are nice and if you tip. I am jealous of anyone going there in the near future because I didn't want to leave! Don't listen to the negative reviews. Those people think they paid for a ritz hotel with their own private cooks and staff to cater to their individual needs. It is a major resort and they accomodate EVERYONE really well compared to the price. Overall it is a great value and I would've paid even more to stay there if I had to.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
16 Thank Joey H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2012

I have been at RIU Hotels in Puerto Plata before. Riu Palace Bavaro definitely does not deserve 5-star rating in comparison to them. Although the hotel looks magnificent and contemporary, it lacks Dominican flavour. Some of the guys at the Reception are pretty arrogant!!!!! The maintenance is poor. My family got the room which was beautiful and clean, but it took us way too long to get the both sinks to drain...It also took us 3 days, many phone calls and many visits to the lobby to get a hair dryer in the room.
The air conditioning worked, thanks god, but you had to freeze or boil, not much in between.
The maid service was excellent! The laundry facilities were not good at all: dirty pool towels were all too common, and table cloths or nicely folded stained and not too fresh napkins at the Monte Cristi Restaurant were just distastful...The food was abundant and most of the time delicious. Freshly grilled fish was the best, but some cooked dishes gave us stomach problems and bad diarrhea at the end of our stay. I think they use a lot of MSG.The deserts were very sophisticated in appearance but not in taste. The Italian Restaurant was a big disappointment and waist of time...The food at night, available at Sports Bar, was limited to hamburgers, hot dogs and chips only.
The entertainment during the day was OK, in the afternoon not so good, but at night quite poor as for RIU. Mini disco engaged preschoolers only, quite boring, the same songs every night, not much fun for kids. I find it disturbing that plays for kids were based on elimination...It was heartbreaking to see kids beeing excused from the stage after few minutes of the "competition" they hardly understood. They were crying leaving the stage, because they wanted to stay and play with other kids! Too bad, there was nothing for teenagers either!!!
I was quite shocked that there was no Dominican Show at all!!! One violinist was great, but other bands were pretty bad...The Valentine's Day touches around the hotel and restaurants were cute and uplifting, but the night show for that occasion was heavy, long, and boring!!!!!
We had a great time at Safari trip, but we do not recommend buying any DVD's from the trip. Pure rip off!!! And quality of music CD's they offer for sale at the rancho? Forget it. They just want your money! Even though we had a lot of fun, I do not feel I could return to this Hotel. I do not want my friends to go there either. I love Dominican Republic, I will visit it in the future
but at different location. The airport in Punta Cana is very crowded and very inefficient. It's hard to get any reliable information even when you speak Spanish! It is really hard to waist your vacation for standing in long lines for hours! So, no more Riu Palace Bavaro, No more Punta Cana. Adios!!!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
5 Thank jzpwat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level Contributor
60 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2012

We arrived 2 days after the opening in Dec 2011, so didn't expect perfection. The landscaping was unfinished, lots of mud, brown grass and a few shrubs, but after 2 weeks it was a big improvement.
The biggest surprise was the ultra-modern design of the complex and the rooms, not the traditional style of the other Riu hotels in Punta Cana.
The beach had very little shade, so we reserved our spot at 8am under a tiny group of trees. The hotel was only about half full because the rooms weren't all completed yet, so the situation could have been worse. I had to wear shoes on the beach sand to walk back to the pool bar, because there was a lot of small chunks of concrete and sharp stones in the sand, which was a hardpacked sand towards the resort, near the beach was ok.
The Pool: Plenty of umbrellas and also canopied areas for entire shade. Also plenty of sun.
The dining was on par with other Riu Palaces, we ate all our meals outdoors where there was plenty of seating. If you want non-smoking, you have to go indoors.
I loved the room, huge shower room with both overhead ceiling rain shower and regular detachable adjustable height shower as well.
In another year, I would expect beach improvement and completed landscaping and I'll go back for sure.
The service was perfection.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Tequita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Everywhere
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2012

First off I would like to say that this was my 4th time in Dominican Republic and my third stay at a RIU resort.

Check in:
Check in went very smooth. The front desk staff are very welcoming and can understand and comprehend the English language. They will present you with an envelope with your name on it with your room cards and towel cards. It also contains information about check-in / out times.

Room:
Our room was on the 3rd floor and over and looked Caribbean St. We did not pay for an upgraded view/room so we were not expecting to have the best view or location. That being said the view was fine and Caribbean St. was not loud at night or in the morning. There were not any smells and we were able to sit out on the balcony in both the morning and night without being disturbed. The water in the shower was always warm without fluctuating, the AC was very quite and the beds were comfortable. The TV has HDMI and VGA on it so if you have a laptop you can hook it up to watch a movie if you desire. The tub was jetted and was very nice. Although I do not take baths my wife said it was very nice.

Maid Services:
Our room was always cleaned promptly and properly. Floors mopped. Toilet paper refreshed. Fridge stocked with water everyday. sinks cleaned and flowers with laid around the room. We tipped the maid $2 each visit and had the room cleaned a total of 4 times over the 7days, One day we forgot to take the "Do Not Disturb" tag off the door and we realized later that night at about 8PM when we returned to the room. We asked the front desk if we could have the room cleaned and they sent someone up immediately (at 9PM) to have the room cleaned, no questions asked.

Room Service:
Room service was great. Although the menu for food lacks slightly there were still plenty of options and the quality of what was being delivered was always fresh, It took on average about 15 minutes for the items to be delivered. We ordered a variety of items including bottles of Baileys and Champagne at 330AM. All of which was delivered. we always tipped $2.

Buffet:
If you enjoy eating REAL FOOD while you're at home then this buffet is for you. Fresh Fish, Steak, Chicken, Shrimp, Lobster, Pink Salmon LUNCH, BREAKFAST, DINNER all of which is cooked properly. I take my diet at home very seriously as I am an athlete so eating properly is a must. I figure if I ate as much meat at home as I did here over the week it would have cost me $500-$600 dollars. Fresh rice and vegetables, Eggs cooked any way you like. Omelets cook just the way you like each morning. A variety of juices and milkshakes. Fruit (Pineapple, Banana, strawberries, mango, watermelon, oranges) every single meal. A variety of oatmeal. You can get yogurt, Many different flavors including plain!

Buffet Staff:
Our waiter was incredible (MARTINEZ). I tipped $5 a meal usually excluding lunch. Our table was made up just for us each day, with special cloths and flowers unique from any other table. Service was immediate. you won't even have to pull your chair out from the table if you tip and pay respect to these hard workers as each and everyone of you should. These people make $175USD a MONTH! Tip properly. The staff isn't as fluent in the understanding of English as the front desk staff BUT they do understand most of what you say to them you just need to work a little harder to understand what they say.

Specialty Restaurants:
We went to Krystal and the Steak House. Again if you enjoy eating REAL FOOD you will like these Restaurants. All of the meat is cooked as you request (rare, medium rare, medium ETC.) I found the service wasn't as prompt as the buffet. If you don't enjoy seafood you will more than likely not like the sides these meals come with. but I enjoyed everything at each restaurant. QUALITY FOOD AT ITS FINEST.

Pools and Pool Bars:
If the sun is shining than the pools are very comfortable to sit back and relax in. although the Ocean was definitely warmer than the pools. but this just has to do with time of year. The drinks were good and there was a menu to order from so if you don't know your drinks don't worry just order off the menu. There was staff who would walk around the pool that you could order drinks from as well so if you don't like getting up you do not have to.

Beach:
PERFECT. Plenty of comfortable loungers, security staff walking the beach keeping others from entering the upper part of the beach to the resort. Enough said.

Nightly Entertainment at the Theatre:
As long as it is the hired outside performance crew doing the show than you will enjoy it with out one doubt. The shows we watched was a Broadway Show, a cirque du soleil style show, Micheal Jackson Show and another Circus style show with fire breathing, uni cycles, ladder balancing acts and juggling. The RIU employed "entertainment staff" (Guys in red shirts) on the other hand are terrible.

Hotel Architecture and interior modelling and decorating:
INCREDIBLE. Tall ceilings everywhere 30 foot+ ceilings. Granite tiled flooring (Buffet, Lobby, specialty restaurants) Huge modern style Chandeliers everywhere. Granite tops on the outdoor buffet tables. Small tile work around pool bars was amazing. Granite wall behind the check in counter. Glass under lit floor at the Lobby bar. Professional style oriented pictures in each major location (Lobby bar, Lobby bakery, specialty restaurants, Buffet). Marble flooring in the stand up showers in the rooms. Granite counter tops every where. Public Bathrooms have breath taking style and design as well. (Granite dividers between urinals). Ceilings are multiple leveled with under lighting. Waterfall style granite fountains on the paths through the resort.

Final Thoughts:
If you Enjoy fine dining, REAL FOOD and a great time with lots to do than this place is for you. It is worth every penny. Tip when it's appropriate to tip. the crowd at the resort seems for the most part to be upper middle class, 35+. Very few children and every person we met at the resort were friendly and easy to talk to. The gym at the resort does not have free weights but it does offer your standard treadmills and machine style weight training units. All of which are brand new. My Fiance and I are in our mid 20s and the reason why we decided to come here was to avoid students, excessive drinking and loud noises, We got exactly that and WILL RETURN in the near future.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
20 Thank LookingCloser C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Detroit, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2012

It has taken me a long time to put into words how awful this stay has really been. This has been the worst vacation I have ever had. I have spent hours crying in the lobby while the managers were making fun of me in Spanish. I booked this hotel for my wedding. We are all paid in full months ago. We were looking forward to a special time half of my wedding party was moved to another hotel. The hotel they were sent to was a 2 star old hotel with view of the staff quarters. Some of the couples even got stuck with twin beds in their rooms. As of right now, they are still paying the Riu Palace Bavaro price of around 400 a night (for both people) for this crappy 2 star dump. I dont yell, I dont carry on and scream and threaten (like I have seen some other guests do during this stay). We aren't the only one who have been treated badly there are a lot of unhappy people here). I have been yelled at and screamed at by the managers. I didnt want to get married, because I didnt want these to be the memories I had for the rest of my life. It has ruined my wedding and the vacation of 25 other people. The worst part is that the management and the corporate offices do not care. Please do not come here.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
23 Thank M C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Akron, Ohio
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2012

We just got back on the 21st of February.

The hotel was extremely clean. Service was awesome.

The food was okay, you didn't go hungry. It is just not what we are use to in the states. Drinks no problem. If it was not strong enough for your taste you could have them pour more. They did not have scotch, which I believe at a 5 star they should offer it - when they did have it for sell in the little store. They only had one kind of rum. Which, stayed at a Dreams before and they have more rums to offer. Back to the food, the presentation was nothing special, been to several other RIU'S and presentation was beautiful. Missed not getting grilled fresh hamburgs or hot dogs - like have had at other locations in the Dominican. Stayed before at the Riu Merengue Puerto Plata it was only rated a 4 star. The food was much better and even late in the evening you could always get food. I just thought a palace 5 star would be much better for the difference in price. I am sure we were paying for the pretty Caribbean Sea instead of the Atlantic. At other resorts they do one special day of a Barbecue style lunch or evening outside they didn't do anything like that or if they did they didn't tell you about it and at lunch you wouldn't been able to miss it.

Entertainment daily was about the same thing daily. Evening was so,so. They had some live music for some evenings that was very good, but only for a short time. Would of enjoyed more of that. It would of been nice to sit out in the evening and listened to island music. They were excellent and very organized in the evening giving you service for your drinks.

The room was awesome. Maid service the best. Pool bar fellows excellent. The waiters and waitress were all outstanding. No problem with any language barriers, I thought they spoke English very well.

Beach is beautiful. Nice pool. You meet and mingle with very nice people fun during the day.
One thing they should of done made a restroom closer to the pool bar.

All and all it was an excellent trip. Our taste we just would of enjoyed more to do in the evening. The gambling over at the casino did not offer enough - so that was disappointing.

If you want a very clean resort, beautiful beach this is your place.

Room Tip: We were on the 3rd floor not a problem. If your older or have any walking problems, you would was t...
See more room tips
  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Spank765
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ohio
Level Contributor
31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 February 2012

Just got back from our trip yesterday. Went with 3 other couples. First I want to say that we had a great time. You can make anyplace fun as its all what you are willing to put into it. However, when you pay a hefty price for a Riu Palace Hotel, you expect certain things.

Here are the good things.
Very Modern hotel
Very nice rooms (tubs and bathroom are not closed off to room)
Very Comfortable King size beds
Staff is EXCELLENT!!
Drinks were good and plentiful
Buffet was decent
Beach is wonderful
Rooms were cleaned nicely everyday
Steakhouse (Taino) very good.

Disappointments
Specialty Restaurants Geisha, Krystal and Italian
Geisha is just ok. Italian appetizers are good (they have pasta on the appetizer bar) but the main courses of chicken and beef are not good. Grouper and Shrimp with Linguini are good.
Krystal we never went to because we heard from others at the resort that it was awful.
Taino Steakhouse is very good but we tried to get on our last evening and it was closed for a wedding. Weddings should not be booked in restaurants that are for all guests. Use another area.

You still have to make reservations in the morning for specialty restaurants and you can only make them 2 days in advance. So if you go on an excursion you will miss making reservations for the following evening as we did. The Riu should get on board with other resorts and do away with the reservations.
Only 4 restaurants. You cannot use the other Riu specialty restaurants for dinner or use their buffet for dinner.
The Palace Bavaro buffet is like a cafeteria. It is not like the other Riu Palace's on the property. I had stayed in the Palace Macao years ago and walked in again. You will find a beautiful buffet with nice furniture and better food and seriously better desserts. They had whole cakes and cheesecakes to take a slice of. We had little tiny desserts that all tasted pretty much the same...very bland. We did enjoy a piece of cake at lunch at the Palace Macao and it was delicious. The Palace Bavaro had nothing like this in any restaurant.

Pools or lack of. The listing says 4 pools and there is 4 however it does not tell you that you cannot use them as 1 is for VIP 1 is for Sensimar guests (whoever they are) that leaves 1 pool with cold water and one very small swim up area that is not connected to the pool but next to the pool. No palapas only umbrellas and if you did not go early it was difficult to get a good seat as the pool is not very big.

Our room was supposed to be upgraded. We paid for this but ended in the first building attached to the lobby. We looked out of our balcony at tiny little plants and dirt and the front of our room faced the Ru Naiboa's entertainment area. If we tried to go to bed early we were kept up by the entertainment at both the Riu Naiboa and our resort.

Room Service consisted of 3 sandwich choices, 2 or 3 salads and 3 desserts. That is it throughout the day and evening. A few more choices for breakfast are offered between 7am and 11 am. This is unacceptable for a hotel with a high rating. And from what I have seen 24 hour room service is what gets a hotel a higher rating. This was awful compared to other hotels I have stayed in with room service.

No notifications on when the hotel has their beach bbq. I heard they may have had it on Wednesday when we went to Saona but since there was no notification we dont know if they did or did not have it during our stay. Also no notification on the street parade. Its typically on Thursday but this time it was cancelled. We all got dressed and met at Caribbean street and when we got there nobody was there to tell us why they cancelled.

Again I want to state that we had a very good time. However this Riu Palace is clearly unlike the other Riu Palace's I have stayed in and should be given only a 4 apple rating. It cannot compare to the other two on the property If the Riu would dress up the buffet and get better food in the specialty restaurants and have a a few other type specialty restaurants say a Mexican and a Hibachi type restaurant and have more than 1 nice pool for its guests then sure rate it higher. But this hotel does not offer these amenities and Apple does not rate it correctly. My dissatisfaction is the price we paid and what we received. I would have rather spent that money on a better hotel that deserves the rating.

This was my 6th stay in the Dominican and I have also stayed in Cancun, Riviera Maya and Jamaica. I have stayed in the Riu resorts 3 other times and they were fine. All the other resorts including the RIU I have written reviews on this site. This is my first review that the negatives outweighed the positives. Would not stay here again unless the price was cut in half.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
18 Thank Mary L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Address: Playa de Arena Gorda | Higüey - Punta Cana, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #53 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
Number of rooms: 610
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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