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“Lovely Hotel, Gorgeous Beach & Wonderful, Clean Service. Would Return In A Heartbeat!”

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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #74 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed 22 July 2014

Some of the reviews on here are genuinely too harsh, to stay somewhere for two weeks all inclusive yet expect more food options!? Crazy. Myself & my partner stayed in this hotel for our first trip to the Dominican Republic, we had booked our trip a fair few months in advance and made sure to read up on all the guests reviews on here, they did leave us feeling somewhat apprehensive, however I am so pleased we went with an open mind. We traveled with Thompson having always been very satisfied with their service and once again no complaints, Flights on time and even though very long flying time, very comfortable and great service. Once piece of sound advice would be to bring a small pocket pen in your hand luggage/ handbag....when arriving at Punta Cana airport its like a sweaty circus, with no staff to attempt to help you gather yourselves. You are able to collect your entry forms just before the entrance though as mentioned before, NO Pens!! We were lucky enough to have waited for someone to share theirs....though with the heat from the tarmac you will be grateful you were more prepared. The transfers were very smooth, the Thompson rep was very funny and welcomed us very well. The Hotel is gorgeous!!! At first glance you can see the beach right from reception, what more could you ask for? As we were a young-ish couple, we were grateful to have a room not to close to the actual complex and a bit of a refreshing walk away from the entertainment at night. I will agree with those reviews in saying the entertainment to a certain time is repetitive, though the kids show is very good, they are able to gather the kids up and get them stuck in which is always fun for parents to see. There were some great shows on during our stay, like the Michael Jackson Tribute Night & Circus Show which my partner very much enjoyed. It was nice to know the hotel wanted to make an effort to change it up for those guests staying for some time. The Pools in the daytime are lively, though not disruptive, we were able to get a drink at the swim up bar once day, and have a peaceful sunbathe and swim the next....Always plenty of space and we did not encounter any trouble with the cleanliness of these pools by any means during our stay. Food was nice, I will agree that i do not think the hotel can cater enough tables for all guests who are staying at the hotel during the buffet hours, especially Lunch time though myself & my partner always found something after a little looking! The buffet was never very hot though with such high temperatures outside it was never a big deal, though we did prefer the snack bar menu option with fresh meat and lots of fresh salad with rice. This Snack Bar is the 'MamaJuana' Steak restaurant in the evening. Couldn't agree more with the opinion of the lady 'handling' the restaurants reservations daily, she was miserable to say the least and would become frustrated if we couldn't speak Spanish! She is not a credit to the hotel who have wonderful, polite staff with manners and a great attitude towards our holiday. We tipped staff though not always, after a few days you are able to get an idea of who wants to make your stay enjoyable and who genuinely disliked their job and wants you to know about it. Restaurants during our stay at the hotel: Mexican: Very Nice, great choice of food (Buffet) Italian: Okay, food not very warm and took a while to come out, service very slow (Salad Bar with Set Menu) Steak/MamaJuana: Our Least Favorite, Limited Choice & Small Portions (Set Menu) Beach is stunning, Always space for sun bathing or long walks, sunrise always worthit as its so quiet and great picture opportunity without topless women in the way! Sun can become very high so be sure to cream up as the palm trees to provide great shade though do not completely block out the sunlight should you not wish to burn. Rooms were very clean though many times we would have to vacate the room early as they would want to start cleaning, go back over 4 HOURS later, and they would still be cleaning...ridiculous. We also had one issue where housekeeping would knock at 7:00pm asking to clean our room; which had already been cleaned. With the language barrier and her not wanting to leave our room it became a bit silly and we ended up closing the door on her. Overall though the housemaids were always cheerful and would ask how we are etc! We were happy to tip generously for such a lovely standard of service. We had a beautiful time, can't wait to return and hope others will trust themselves enough to book this hotel and have a wonderful time. Worth every penny and more!!! Please be sure to book the Thompson trip 'Carribean Cruising' which should be on Tues & Thurs....it's incredible, and worth every penny...what an experience that's all i'll say!

Room Tip: We stayed in room 3728 which is ideal for couples, nice walk away from the main complex and lovely...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank EssJay_SJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 19 July 2014

My first piece of advice if you are booking this hotel through Thomson is don't pre-book any trips or excursions because if some thing goes wrong or you are not happy with the excursion, the company who represent Thomson over here in the Dominican Republic informed me that because i booked and paid for them back in the uk that they are unable to resolve any problem. Especially no refunds as the money I paid is in the uk and not here and they would not even offer us an alternative excursion in replacement. My wife and I worked very hard to save for this holiday and excursions and have been told I must now wait until I get back to the uk for my refund. SHAME ON THOMSOM for advising customers to pre- book excursions, when you have no guarantee or customer support when your 3500 miles away from the uk

  • Stayed: July 2014
    • Value
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Thank fishlover1967
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 July 2014

Nice setting and beach lovely, rooms clean but need updating that's the good news now for the bad the food was awfull and our party of four ended up with upset stomachs after approx the fourth day and still the same after being back home in England for 10days awaiting test results from doctors, first time we have been on holiday and lost weight take plenty of imodium with you. The staff on a whole were friendly but no tip in the resturant means no clean table for you the hotel has over 700 rooms but certaintly not enough tables in the resturant to cater for this amount of people. The swim up bar pool/toilet is a deffinate no no as once seated they never left the pool for the duration of it being open. We have stopped in a few Riu Hotels and this is certainly the worse will never return.

Room Tip: Go to a different hotel, but if you have already booked ask for a quite room top floor
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  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank Sheila B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 July 2014

I have just looked at some of the reviews for the same time that my boyfriend and I were there, I can't believe that they are talking about the same hotel. This is the 3rd time I have stayed in a Riu hotel and I can't help but compare them, I have also stayed in a 5* in Puerto Plata- I preferred this hotel to there.

We travelled with Thomson as we always do, the welcome meeting was very long but they seemed very keen to help out & we were left confident. Although our rep could not be found for 4 days when we wanted to book an excursion which became highly frustrating.

Overall, the room was fine, it was clean and cool which is all I could really ask for- I couldn't care less if the decor was dated on account of me being on holiday and NOT staying in my room long enough to inspect wallpaper.. We tipped the cleaner a small amount on the first day and we had fantastic towel creatures each day- a real effort was made.

There are 4 hotels in the complex altogether, I'd say the Bambu was the 'middle' one, with the palace looking absolutely beautiful with a lovely pool & the restaurants look much nicer- we couldn't use these facilities but we had a nosey. There is also a couples only hotel (looked fine but i'd think it a bit boring) The other one seemed fine also but whilst on an excursion we spoke to other couples from the differing hotels and from what I heard the food/entertainment on offer was similar to ours. From what I can gather, I think the difference in star rating (and cost) is based upon aesthetics & how recently they were done. I'd choose the Bambu again.

The entertainment is typical of all inclusive and can become a bit boring on monotonous, the animation team of the Bambu didn't do any of their own 'performances' (I can't decide if this was a positive or negative as sometimes their efforts can be more funny for all the wrong reasons) there were a number of good shows that involved circus type tricks which were genuinely of a good quality (1 including a dog on a trike- very cute)
One moan, and please don't take it the wrong way- I am not a neanderthal and do not expect them to merely play music popular in England as I am from England. BUT I found the music in the evening both before and after the show very repetitive, it seemed as though the staff were choosing their favourite music & popular/current music for the large amount of Spanish speaking guests (I want to say Puerto Rican) This meant that the majority of the people dancing were that select group of people (it seemed they all knew the specific dances for the correlating songs so i'd feel a bit of a spoon getting up & doing my own thing) I enjoyed the traditional Domincan music and dances of the merengue and bachata but I feel all the guests should be considered.
The sports bar is very cool inside & it played all the world cup matches which was good. Aside from that it had little atmosphere but it serves its purpose and it open 24hr.

There were activities in the day, however like at other Riu's there was no one coming round to see if you wanted to part take and where/ when to be there- again this might be a positive as it can be irritating. We also didn't stay by the 'busy' pool in the day as we preferred the one behind the 'mamajuana' restaurant- it doesn't have a bar but we didn't mind too much.

Staff- we found that sometimes there was an issue getting served at the bar in a poor order & waiting for some time. We also went to book a restaurant for my boyfriends birthday and the woman was very rude. I imagine its a pain working those long hours in the heat with some obnoxious customers so i'm not sure i'd be smiley 24/7 either...

Food- it is all inculsive food which generally isn't overly tasty and can get a bit boring after 2 weeks. BUT there is a variety and there was always something to choose that was enjoyable- people complaining that the food upset their stomachs- I don't believe this was a reflection upon cleanliness or uncooked food but a change in climate and general eating habits (along with alcohol, particularly the coconutty cocktails) It took myself a few days to get used to this, just take stomach tablets (plenty of them) and drink lots of water?
We tended to go to the Mamajuana restaurant at breakfast and dinner as it was a bit quieter and the food choices were similar.
The themed restaurants in order of preference were:
1.Mexican (buffet style)
2.Steak house (set menu)
3.Italian (set menu)
4.Asian (buffet)
I'd recommend making reservations for all of them throughout your stay as it breaks up the main buffet restaurant.

There are *some water sports included in your all inc, we only did the catamaran but it was SO much fun- we were made to pay $29 for a lesson as we didn't know what to do but once we did is was amazing fun, we were sad we didn't do it until the 2nd week or we'd never have been off it. You must book the day before (if not 2)

The beach is beautiful! There are generally some people walking around trying to sell you a massage, segway trip, snorkelling trip or general tit tat. If you aren't interested just a no thanks will do- again no real pestering which is good.

Wifi- you get 15-30 minutes free per day in the lobby/bar. You can pay extra for internet which extends to the whole of the Bambu resort $10 for a day or $20 for 3, there is a $50 option which I *think was for 10 days. It says you can only use it on 1 device- we used it on 3 sooo...

I would go here again and had an amazing time overall, I preferred it to Puerto Plata as its a bit more scenic & you don't have the issue of local people getting a cheap deal & invading at the weekend.
Please take the negative reviews with a pinch of salt, you'll have a fabulous time!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
7  Thank Emily K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014

This is not just somebody moaning about a hotel for he sake of it before people start to moan. This is well and turkey money wasted down the drain DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS HOTEL! Two of us stayed in July, the hotel was not the cleanest and the staff were rude and ignorant. We only got 3 bottles of water every 2 days in the room and we asked me more water on 4 separate occasions to be taken to our room and it never happened! After the first day we both suffered with sickness and diarrhea which lasted until we got home. We used all our tablets after a few days And the nearby pharmacy didn't have anything other than shampoo and baby wipes, useless! We presumed this was down to the food and we cut vertually everything out of our diet and it still permitted. We heard that other people at the hotel were ill and one couple mentioned that a cockroach was in the water tank! Thomson reps were useless never at the hotel when they said they would be there. Things got soo bad we tried to come home 1 week early but no flights were available. We decided to walk out the hotel and go hard rock hotel for 3 nights which was amazing definately recommend 100% but we had to pay extra money as thomson wouldn't move us.
Overall worst hotel we've ever stopped in and Thomson will be
getting a letter in the very near future.

  • Stayed: July 2014
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6  Thank Hayleymichael
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2014

We had a wonderful experience at the Riu Bambu from start to finish. From the moment our bus arrived from the airport til time for departure there was always someone very friendly at the front desk with smile and eager to answer any questions.

First thing we noticed...how CLEAN these people are! The staff are constantly cleaning, inside and out. Room was clean and comfortable -our bed was a little more firm than I'm used to, but I could've asked to be switched to another room. Mini fridge was stocked with bottled water, cola and beer everyday. Shower was awesome! Looks newly renovated, as it is huge, and the pressure was great. Pretty balcony, great view. We spent most of our time outside the room, however. Which is the best part...

Beaches...AMAZING. Pool...also AMAZING. Poolside bar and tables, music, dancing, very very lively and fun atmosphere. The entertainment staff were so great at initiating pool games (for those interested) and poolside activities like dance lessons, etc. However, for those just wanting to relax at the pool, these activities were unobtrusive. You could easily enjoy your drink with plenty of space around you, as it was never overly crowded or too loud. I also liked how it was 99% families, so no loud or unruly teens. Also, the kids have a separate pool area so we were able to enjoy the pools with total relaxation.

The beaches were impeccable, as was the entire resort. No trash anywhere. They were constantly spraying and cleaning pathways, wiping tables, picking up trash. Bathrooms were impeccable. These people are CLEAN.

They are also very friendly. My husband and I do not speak spanish, however, most of the staff know some english, and most know several other languages such as German, Italian and French. They were extremely
sweet and helpful trying to understand us and when they couldn't, they would find someone who would.

I highly recommend this resort for families and couples alike. We went as a couple as a getaway and the fact that there were families there did not impede on our time at all. This resort didn't feel crowded at all. Plenty of space at the beach, pool, wherever.

Thank you, to all the staff at Riu Bambu and our agent Karim who was with Sunwing...he was AWESOME and incredibly helpful. Sunwing's excursions are awesome, by the way. Particularly the excursion to the island of Saona. Swimming in a lagoon with starfish was amazing.

We love you and will be back!!!

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Angela P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 July 2014

The pictures are not what all the room look like. The rooms we were put in were not updated at all .They were 1980's rooms . Mold every were very dirty rooms. sand on the bathroom door and in the bed, curtains very dirty. They would not let you talk to the manager. Very rude at front desk.
Apple vacation rep. was great we booked tours. This is not a 5 apple hotel. Don't know who rates them but they need to go back and stay in rooms by the basketball courts. Show were not good nothing like they were at other hotels. There were 11 of us and we had 5 rooms. After they moved us the rooms were better. but we lost a day by the time they moved us they wanted you to move at 2 pm right in the middle of your day. Nothing to do at night at this hotel. Stay at the Iberostar I have stayed at them all. they were clean and nice.

Room Tip: Do not stay here. No one was happy there.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
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4  Thank tashaohio
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

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:
#64 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#68 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#68 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: £114 - £299 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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 Intl. 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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