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“This has made us not want to come to Punta Cana again”

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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #75 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“This has made us not want to come to Punta Cana again”
Reviewed 21 April 2011

It is such a shock to come onto this website and see that people are posting positive reviews. Either they have never been to a decent resort in their lifetimes, or perhaps they are referring to a different hotel, which is completely possible. The Riu resort has several "portions" to it that differ in price range. You are allowed to access all the amenities of the pay range lower than yours, but you cannot go to a higher priced hotel (makes sense).

The actual Riu Bambu I went to via Apple Vacations was sub-par at best. The biggest qualms I had was with the service. Never have I felt so unimportant in my life. The workers here carry on conversations with their co-workers as you are speaking to you and grudgingly offer assistance. The bartenders make crude remarks and enjoy your bikini line. We actually had a gardener offer us a coconut that he would cut open with a machete (which we took) and then he prompted us for payment. Out of no where. He works there!

Standard two bed bedroom was small. It wasn't European small; the room itself was just low quality. The shower was surprisingly small and so was the television. For the price I paid, I felt like I was in a motel. There is no wi-fi in the rooms, but the lobby does have a decent signal.

Don't plan on enjoying a high quality meal either. I saw other reviews tackle this, and I agree. The buffet has the same thing every night and calls it "international night". There were occasional good dishes, but they simply recycle them. Literally. Do they think we have no sense of what food is supposed to taste like?? They had restaurants that are supposed to be higher class since you had to make reservations, but this also was a joke. There was an Italian, Japanese, and steak house. I can't understand why they would chose to take on cuisines and not actually learn that particular cuisine. Italian was Dominican with parsley soaked in butter. All appetizers and desserts were the same as in the buffet. Japanese had CostCo style sushi and miso. This is the only thing that was Japanese about it. The main courses were cheap Chinese buffet and again, the same desserts as the regular buffet. I did enjoy the lychee tart and fruit tart that they had out once...but the second time we went (the regular buffet was really getting old), they used pastry that had clearly been sitting out; it was so soggy you couldn't eat it. Steak house was alright, but again, far below average to consider itself a steak house. How about a diner with ribeye? That would be more appropriate. I should also mention that they only have decent coffee in the mornings. The rest of the time, it all comes from a NesCafe machine.

This goes for all hotels in the Riu Bambu: the beach is not clean. It has the Caribbean water, but it appears murky. The beach is long enough to get a good walk in, but it is also so crowded that even if you get seats early in the morning, you are bound to be surrounded by people by noon.

Another side note: If you are not from a European nation and have children that are old enough to want to get dressed in privacy, be forewarned about the nudity on these beaches. Be prepared for a great deal of toplessness, speedos, and thongs.

  • Stayed March 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank luckylindalu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Livingston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
Reviewed 15 April 2011

having read previous negative reviews on the rui bambu i was a bit apprehensive about what to expect on our first carribean holiday...... i should`nt have worried.

we travelled at the start of april for a two week holiday, and on arriving at the dominican republic we were met with beautiful clear skys and 30 degree sunshine and a airport unlike most others with its open air aspect and thatched roofs.
the process through the immigration was quite slow where you had to purchase your tourist cards ($10 each and $20 on departure) but by the time your through your luggage will be waiting on the carousel for you to collect.
transfer to the hotel took approx 30mins on roads that dont seem to have any rules or traffic system (drive very carefully at your own risk).
we arrived at the riu complex which is through a main gate security barrier then through a second security barrier where the road splits and takes you to the 4 riu beach front hotels.

on arrival at the front of the hotel we could see right through the open air reception area the palm tree lined beach and turquoise and blue sea (we couldnt wait)

check in at reception was quick and easy and a porter was on hand to take your luggage to your room and explain to you where everything was, and after a couple of dollars tip and a smile he was of to assist others.

the rooms are easily large enough for 4 to share with 2 queen sized beds and a double sofa bed, plenty storage space, tv with loads of channels, safe in the wardrobe, fridge which was re-stocked every second day with bottles of beer, pepsi, club soda, sprite and 2ltr bottles of water.
you also have the mini bar which has 4 optics of rum, brandy, vodka and whisky and if your inclined to polish these of, they are replaced when required.
the bathroom has bath with decent shower and large vanity area with sink and large mirror and toilet.
there is a hair drier and socket point in the bathroom which has exposed wiring attached and the lack of extra socket points throughout the room in my opinion let it down a bit.
air conditioning is excellent to the extent it had to be turned off at night and we used the ceiling fan.

the pools are a good size and never seem to be crowded and are not so cold it takes you 10mins to get submerged, there are also ample sun loungers and parasols around the pool area, plenty of palm trees for shade too. if you have a favourite spot tip the towel guy and he will reserve you this by putting towels on them for you,(its a towel card system so no need to take your beach towels with you).

the beach streaches for miles which is cleand daily of any seaweed that might be swept up through the night, palm tree lined with plenty of sun loungers and that beautiful green/blue sea to swim in, although shelving, gets deep, and the undertow current could easily knock small children off their feet. its probably the best part of all the beach fronts (have a stroll, you will see for yourselves).

the colonial restaurant (main for breakfast and dinner) is just fantastic, buffet style with enough choice for even the fussiest eaters, the display of food is excellent and the chefs work very hard to keep it ticking over.
the snack bar is a restaurant in its own right, open from 12-5 daily serves everything from steak, fish, chicken, pizza, pasta, chips, salads, fruit and veg, again buffet style so as much or as little as you like.
there are the theamed reasturants - steak house, asian and itialian.
we tried them and to be honest the only differance is, it is waiter service, the food is no different to what is served in the main restaurant, and although optional the waiters expect tips.

the entertainment is mostly within the hotel, the entertainment guys are a bunch of beautiful very talented people who work very hard all day everyday, allways with a smile and a high 5 are exceptional especially with the children, always asking if you want to take part in any of the many activities during the day and the shows the put on at night are excellent.
the shows they do are so varied that you dont see the same one twice, there are also guest acts that come and they are equally amazing, from latin dance troups to circus acts you will love it.

there are plenty of trips/excursions on offer, you will get the guys wandering around the pool asking if you want to do any of them, ok you might save a couple of dollars booking through them but they are not insured the same way if you were to book thruough your rep.
we done the swim with dolphins experience and was truly amazing.
there is a free bus which leaves the riu palace next door every couple of hours that takes you into the centre of punta cana for the shopping centre which has loads of designer shops and places to eat from tapas to sushi and a hard rock cafe.

anyone holidaying here should go home smiling with very happy memories, when your enjoying yourself whistle either sunbathing or larking about in the pool its easy to forget this is a third world country, so although this is a 4 star plus hotel, dont go expecting red carpet, chandeliers and a turn down service, everyone from the gardeners through to the hotel management work extremely hard to make your holiday one to remember.

Room Tip: tipping will get you excellent service.
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
12 Thank yvonneandymel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 14 April 2011

Just got back from a wonderful time in the Punta Cana. Hotel was great. Friendly staff. Food was good, buffet had a variety of food daily. The steak house was so so, but the italian place was very good. Beach is beautiful. The only complaint I had was that we were supposed to be able to go to the other RIU's to the right of the Bambu. This was not true! Also, no blankets in the room but was okay for me as I brought warm pj's.

I was worried from some past bad reviews but found them not to be true.

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank vacation038
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wrexham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 April 2011

This was our third visit to the Riu Bambu and yet again the holiday was outstanding. The aim of our holiday was just to relax and enjoy some time together. I don't think that there is another beach anywhere in the world that compares to this one. It really is picture postcard perfect - but don't let that breeze fool you as I saw a few sunburnt bodies strolling around! The sea is baby blue and as warm as a bath but can get choppy when the wind picks up. There are plenty of sunbeds for everyone and palm trees galore to shade you ( temp was around 36c for the whole fortnight!)Take time out to stroll up to the shacks situated on the far end of the beach as you will experience some great Dominican banter from the locals as they try to sell you their wares ( they are never pushy and don't feel afraid to say "no thanks" if you don't wish to buy).
The pools are always clean but busy. You would need to be up pretty early to secure a sunbed there! Also it can get noisy poolside as this is where most of the daytime activities take place. Personally I didn't use the pool as the beach is so amazing!
The rooms were spotless apart from one cockroach we spotted but that is to be expected in tropical climes. The beds were comfortable but an extra pillow was needed. Also, I found the room freezing with the air con on but boiling with it turned down so I asked for a blanket which solved the problem!
Optics and mini bar in room were very welcome although we drank very little alcohol due to the heat.
Rooms cleaned daily and towels replaced daily.
Staff were amazing and would do anything from you. It is nice to tip now and then but they really do not expect it.
Shower worked very well and the water was always hot.
The food was very good particularly the rib of beef and suckling pork. There is something for everyone to eat with such a big choice.
The Asian restaurant was well worth a visit but book for the 19.00 slot as by the time the 21.00 slot arrives some of the food was not so good!
If you are going to the steakhouse and prefer your steak less fatty then order the beef fillet and not the rib eye as mine was very fatty.
The entertainment in the evening was very good. It can be repetative but they really did try and the dancers are amazing!
There is a shuttle bus that leaves the hotel throughout the day every half hour and takes you to the local market.
If you want to do a trip I would reccomend Saona Island. The journey in the speed boats to get there is great fun and the Island is beautiful althoiugh very commercialised.
There was only one let down this time. It was holiday time for the Argentinian and Canadian students and they arrived en masse! They were pretty lively in the pool during the day but even noisier when returning to their rooms at 05.00am which is no fun when you are trying to sleep.
All in all, if you are going to the Riu Bambu shortly, you are going to love it!! If I win the Euromillions this Friday I will see you all there Saturday!! Enjoy!!

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
10 Thank Kenders23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kalamazoo, Michigan
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2011

We spent 7 fabulous days/nights at the Riu Bambu in April 2011. Mom, Dad, kids (12 and 16), and grandmother. Everyone had an amazing time!
- POOLS: Two beautiful pools - one with swim up bar and activities and one quieter pool. Not overly crowded and very clean. Also a nice separate kiddie pool area
- CHAIRS: More pool and beach chairs than any other all inclusive we have ever stayd at!
- SERVICE: Never had to wait for drinks or food - plenty of staff to meet your needs
- RESTAURANTS: Asian - very good: Italian - good; Steak - ok; Buffet - very good
- ROOMS - nice, clean; beds were hard though
- ENTERTAINMENT: Evening shows were great. Entertainment staff was fantasic. Pool and beach activities were plentiful and lots of fun.
- BEACH: Spectacular!
- GUESTS: Mostly Europeans; wide range of ages
- SHOPPING: Caribbeam Street (10 min beach walk) had good touisty shopping
- WALKING: All 4 Riu Hotels were located in a row and connected by a lighted walkway along the beach - felt very safe

  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank Cathy1313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2011

I also read some of the previous negative reviews, and can't imagine we stayed at the same hotel. Everything was perfect. The staff was beyond friendly with everyone greeting us with "hola's". The hotel was full but never felt crowded. We never had to "reserve" lounge chairs at either the beach or the pool. The rooms were spotless and without any bed bugs. We asked for a second floor room close to the beach, and that is what we received. Our teenagers stayed in the room next to us, and we never worried about their safety. The food was plentiful and of good quality. We ate in the specialty restaurants most nights and never had a problem getting a reservation. Dioni, the restaurant manager, was a doll and beyond accommodating. We celebrated two birthdays there, and received Champagne and cake at both dinners. (We advised them in advance). Our rooms were decorated too! The front desk staff is available to help you out in any way, especially Gregori, Julio, Ruben and Carlos. My favorite day was the Outback Safari trip. It was a bumpy ride in a jeep, but an unbelievable experience and very cultural. I highly recommend it! My trip did not include horseback riding like the previous reviewer, and the tour guides were Alex and Luis. I went alone and met so many nice people. We met people at the fancier resorts and they had lots of complaints. We had none. I highly recommend it.

Room Tip: We brought inflatable rafts
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  • Stayed April 2011, travelled with family
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Helpful?
6 Thank Travelwithmom86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 7 April 2011

Me and my partner have just returned from the riu bambu a week ago, and I am already looking to book again! Like many others, a few weeks before the holiday I was getting concerned from some of the reviews I had read on the site, but the moment we arrived that was forgotten! The hotel was in a beautiful location and first impressions were WOW! Our room was great, it was spacious, very clean and just what u need to go back to after a day at the beach. The mini bar ws a great touch too, and all free! The beach was breathtaking, white sand, blue sea everything you would expect frm the carribean! However it is very windy, and we both found out the hard way, so defo apply LOTS of suncream! The pools were lovely, it ws quite busy though but we spent most of our time at the beach, pools r the same everywhere but the beach was incredible. Food ws great but did get a little repeatitve. Extra touches like a barbeque on the beach, and mexican grill were lovely after hours of tanning! The entertainment was great fun, always things going on, n activities to do. Credit to the guys, they work so hard! Night time shows were good too, the usual holiday stuff, bt after a few mojitios a gd laugh! Parasailing is definitley a MUSt! Fab to see the island and the beach frm ahigh! I would dewfinitley reccomend this holiday to anyone, it was a holiday I will never forget!

  • Stayed March 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Samsta08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about ClubHotel Riu Bambu

Property: ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Address: Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana 23000, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#65 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#68 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#68 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:3.5 star — ClubHotel Riu Bambu 3.5*
Number of rooms: 740
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located in Punta Cana * Situated on Arena Gorda Beach * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Taino and Riu Naiboa hotels * Main building and 1-story bungalow complex * Surrounded by 46,000 m2 / 50,300 sq. Yards of palm groves, adjacent to the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Higley * 600 m / 1,980 ft. From Caribbean Street * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int€™l. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Riu Bambu Punta Cana
Riu Bambu Dominican Republic

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