To put a little context behind this review, here is a little about us. This was our 5 year anniversary. We were married at the RIU Palace Macao Punta Cana and a small group of our wedding guests made plans to return to Punta Cana every 5 years. For this trip there were 13 of us with ages ranging from 13 to 65, with most in the 30-40 range.
We chose this hotel because we stayed at the Gran Bahia in Jamaica and loved it.
Since this will be shorter, I will start with the good...
1. The beach and pools are amazing. I don't consider this to be a selling feature of visiting this hotel since I have yet to find a hotel along this stretch of beach that doesn't have an amazing beach or pool.
2. The rooms were very clean. We had a few overly picky people who complained about the cleanliness of the RIU (which I thought was spotless), but even they had nothing to complain about in terms of clean rooms.
3. Resort amenities. It had everything we needed and then some. Like the pools, this isn't really a selling feature since I have yet to find a hotel that didn't have the same high number of amenities.
That about sums up the good parts of the hotel...
As for the bad, there are a lot (in no particular order)...
1. Lack of 24 hour or even late night drinking spots. All lounges close between 11pm-12am. After that point your only option is the excessively loud discotech or beer service at the snack bar. This means that for people who want to sit in a nice comfortable location and have a drink and have a conversation there is absolutely zero options after 12am. This is the single biggest reason I will never come back to this resort. It should be such a simple thing to fix, but even the necessity that I have to write this makes me question the people in charge of this resort. I understand that plenty of people like the excessively loud dance club, but plenty of people also like to relax and converse while having a drink as well.
2. Inconsistent service. We found the staff to be hit or miss. I am not talking about small things like taking a little time getting drinks. I am talking about not even being served while sitting in a lounge. Now I am sure the first thing running through the heads of whoever is reading this is whether or not we tip - and we do tip well. The thing is, there were a couple of nights we weren't even given the chance to tip since the servers ignored us completely. On the flip side, we found the service to be so much better at the Ambar hotel restaurants and pool. The discrepancy between the Ambar and the rest of the resort doesn't seem like a good way to treat your guests if that was an intended difference.
3. Food was weak at best. I've been to several all-inclusive resorts and this was by far the worst food at any of them - including the Gran Bahia in Jamaica. Between our group we hit most a la carte restaurants, but my wife and I personally went to the Tex-mex, the Italian, and the BBQ. Sadly the only thing they did well at all three was the steak. I like trying different things, so at the tex mex I got the meat platter and it was all over cooked to the point that I was shocked they would serve it. The meat was burnt black for fricks sake. At the Italian restaurant I went with the seafood pasta and it had a very fishy smell and the pasta was overcooked and soggy. Fortunately my wife went with steak at each place and I ended up sharing it with her. The buffets were typical. Food sitting out too long and sort of dried. If you happened to get it fresh it was decent, but nothing that really stood out as great. The buffet at the Ambar was much better.
4. While I can't confirm the food was the issue, I see no other common issue than the food. All members except my wife and I got sick. The second day, the 4 people from our group who ate at the buffet were sick. The third day it was the 4 people who ate at the lunch buffet who got sick. The fifth day it was three people who ate at the Tex-Mex restaurant. It just seems to coincidental to ignore.
5. We all booked as a group but the couple who had the 13 year old daughter was given less access to the hotel. They complained to our travel rep who said it was a mistake on the hotels part. He spoke to the manager who said to come back after 2pm to get different bracelets. The mistake was simply that the hotel didn't want them taking their 13 year old to the adults only areas. They went to the front desk after 2pm to get the bracelets and were refused. They, with the help of the rep, complained and fought this for 2 days unsuccessfully before giving up.
6. We stayed in building 72 which is an adults only building. I think someone missed the memo when they gave the room across from us to a family with two toddlers who were awake and playing in the loudly echoed common area. Mind you the parents deserved a nice smack upside the head for allowing that to happen at 7am, but when I complained to the front desk that it was booked specifically to avoid screaming kids waking us up, they seemed to pretend not to understand us. Our travel rep complained on our behalf, but nothing was done. Fortunately that families stay only overlapped ours by two days.
7. Easily fooled room charges. If you get a massage, or a high end drink, or anything else that you can charge to a room, you just need to write your room number. You don't need to verify anything. As two couples in our group realized on check-out, they were charged for drinks they never had. One couple had a $70 USD charge, the other was $30 USD. They discussed with the front desk staff who absolutely refused to believe their staff could charge the wrong room. They refused to remove the charges and those couples eventually had to pay so they could get on their bus. In the few hours it took to argue with hotel staff, I ordered a Corona ($3USD charge) from the bar and charged it to the couple across the hall with the loud kids. Not a problem.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Facilities and services 2 lake-style pools Jacuzzi Sun terraces Lounger, sun umbrella and towel service BAHIA SPA (additional charge) Sports facilities: gym, tennis court, multi-sports court Water activity centre Motorised sports (additional charge) WiFi access in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Meeting and convention room 1 buffet restaurant and 5 speciality restaurants Japanese restaurant 16 bars Wedding gazebo Punta Blanca Golf Club: 18 hole Punta Blanca Golf Club (additional charge) Pueblo Principe: Shopping and Leisure Mall with local craft stores, live music, shows, stores, bars, disco and casino Rooms 756 rooms including two types: Superior Junior Suite and Club Golden Junior Suite Room facilities: King size bed or two full size beds Fully-equipped bathroom with Jacuzzi, hair dryer and a full range of amenities Balcony or terrace Air conditioning Ceiling fan Telephone Satellite TV Coffee-making facilities Mini-bar Safe (additional charge) WiFi (additional charge) Club Golden Junior Suite (See page 18 Club Golden, Club Hacienda). Children Bahia Scouts The hotel is perfect for families, offering a range of facilities tailored especially for children, including the following: Children's pool Mini Club for children aged 4 to 12 Baby Station Bahia Scouts Water Park Fun Area and Adventure Park (additional charge) Teen's club Other Services 24 hour medical service (additional charge) Pharmacy (additional charge) WiFi in the lobby (1h per day free of charge) and in rooms (additional charge) Specialised service for organising weddings, incentive trips, events and anniversaries Personalised menus (for celiacs, diabetics, etc.) Available on request and subject to circumstances ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gran Bahia Principe Punta Cana Hotel Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Gran Bahia Principe