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ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Ranked #76 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Reviewed 5 August 2014

It certainly wasn't the five star hotel it's made out to be but the staff were on the whole extremely good. Little things added up to make it more like 3 to 4 star. Wobbly, noisy fan in room. Broken washing hanger, 1970's TV etc. Pools and bars were good and the beach location is excellent. One of the bars had a problem with wasps around the drinks dispensers which was not very pleasant. I must have drank about 3. As a previous reviewer has stated the smell of sewage after the sprinklers had been on was not very nice but dissipated quickly. Overall I found it a pleasant place to stay. I would go back but probably to one of the hotels next door.

  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
4  Thank Pete G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 5 August 2014

Although the beach was magnificent, everything else was absolutely disastrous.

Food
The food was atrocious, inedible and made 19 out of 35 people sick. We were dropping like flies. Everything was over or undercooked, bland and cold. The BBQs on the beach were the only good meals we had. My husband and I went to the Italian restaurant on July 29th and had to leave the place without eating. The salmon I had ordered was fowl smelling and reeked of spoiled fish. His steak was overcooked, pan fried, and tough. We had to ask 3 different waiters to open our bottle of wine to no avail (after reading the online reviews, we chose to bring our wine and we are glad we did). On the fourth, very impatient request, they obliged. After smelling the horrible fish, we decided to leave but wanted to politely let them know. After waiting for 10 minutes and never seeing a waiter, we got up and left.

All the "à la carte" restaurants are buffets and the service was terrible. The only nice meal at the Bambu was the steakhouse. My brother-in-law reserved for a family meal for their wedding reception and were charged extra per person for service and an other charge for alcohol (!?)

The main buffet had the same meal every. single. day. The breakfast is their only good meal of the day.

There are no snack bars and once the buffet is closed after supper, the only thing left to eat are old, left over hotdogs and hamburgers from lunch that they put in the sport bar's fridge.

None of the restaurants have air conditioning. It is so unpleasant to eat and be drenched in your own sweat.

Accommodations
There was a mouldy hole in our ceiling. The walls, light switches and bedding were stained or dirty. The pool towels are old, stained and tattered, the minibar was bare and the water bottles were sparse. This certainly does not translate a as luxury and tropical retreat. Note that we paid extra for an "upgraded" deluxe room. Very disappointed.

Their septic tank seemed to be overflowing causing a fowl, putrid stench no one could escape. Guests were literally covering their faces with towels to get to their room. We weren't able to enjoy a nice relaxing morning on our balcony due to the smell or the sound of their chainsaws at 8:00 am.

My sister-in-law's room was infested with ants, which they finally sprayed and then left the dead ants all over the place. They also didn't tell her to leave the room once it had been sprayed.... She left in a coughing fit.

My brother-in-laws's toilette broke and they only came by to fix it 2 days after the original request.

Beach
The beach was great for the most part except for the used syringe we found the day of my brother-in-law's wedding because they didn't rake the sand.

Anniversary
We celebrated our 5th anniversary and they couldn't accommodate us with a reservation at the steakhouse. For 40$ US a head, they were willing to bring as a steak in a small gazebo by the restaurant and we were even supplying our own wine. We spoke to the front desk manager, who referred us to the steakhouse manager, who referred us to the Palace resort next door, who told us we needed a special invitation from the Bambu manager... After 1.5 hour of back and forth, pleading and begging, we finally got a reservation at the Brazilian restaurant at the Palace. By far the best meal we had.

We spoke to the Signature representative who took down everybody's story but we never heard from him again.

This was a truly and utterly disappointing experience that has left us regretting our choice and solemnly swear never to return. After dropping 3000$ for an all inclusive vacation, which is technically rated as a 4.5 star resort, I would have hoped for better service.

Room Tip: The deluxe rooms have wifi and a king bed but that is all. The rooms are not nicer or more luxurious...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
4  Thank Caroline M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2014

It is one of the cleanest and nicest resorts that i have been in Dominican republic. The staff are very helpful and you never feel the obligation to tip...even though they deserved it. The service is always with a smile!!!
The buffet food is average, but then again we did not expect anything more since they have a lot of people to serve everyday. However, the best food we had was at the Chinese restaurant. You have to reserve this as soon as you get there.
The casino was a lot of fun and affordable too!

Room Tip: Try to get a room closer to the beach.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank ArmoCanada
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 August 2014

This is a long review...but I am trying to cover everything for you. I didn't believe the bad reviews before going, and honestly, we didn't have a choice of the hotel, because it was chosen for us because we were guests at a destination wedding.

There were MANY things wrong with this hotel…and it definitely is nowhere near a 5 star location. We were travelling in a group of 36 people for a destination wedding…there were 18 people who fell ill within a few days of arrival and were still sick upon leaving a week later...but that was actually the least of our grievances...everything except the beach was just not up to par!

The following are some of the many issues we had during the course of our stay:

1. The hotel is VERY unclean. Common areas are rarely cleaned and when someone does pass a mop, it is usually a very dirty and very foul smelling mop. They often would use said mop to “clean” floors while we were sitting in the area…example: while sitting to watch a show one evening, there was an employee mopping around the table of people. The dirty mop was sloshing up on our feet and ankles and smelled horrible. The bar areas are always sticky and floors unclean, there was a constant smell of rotting food or vomit in most bar areas and some parts of the restaurants. The food areas were often dirty as were the glasses/mugs at the buffet. The common toilet areas (main lobby and by restaurants) are filthy and often the A/C in the bathroom is turned off, resulting in a stifling heat and smell…toilets were often left full of vomit or feces, and some doors to stalls did not lock. The tables in the restaurants were left unclean and sticky and no tablecloths are provided so tables get quite dirty (especially in the main buffet and secondary resto). The main lobby provides seating but the couches and tables were often dirty or wet.

2. The restaurants and food are in a HORRIBLE state. First big issue is that EVERYTHING is buffet…there is one restaurant that offers an “a la carte” service (the steakhouse), but aside from that all restaurants are buffet, serve yourself, even those which require reservation. There is absolutely NO SERVICE in any of the restaurants and all food must be self served, and even worse, all drink is also self-serve (including the wine and beer which is offered “on tap” at the buffet). If you are lucky and can get the attention of one of the waiters in the dining room, you may be able to get them to bring you a glass of water, a coffee or a glass of wine, but that doesn't happen often, and especially if they know you won't tip them ($$).

The fact it is buffet is bad enough, but the food served is basically not edible…The same food is served every day, with no variety and is put out well in advance of mealtime…there is no “live” cooking station available, however you can see them cooking the buffet food on cooktops behind the buffet line…raw meat is left in large containers in the heat beside the cooktops until the cook is ready to cook it, flies are all over the meat. The salad and dessert bars are kept under heat lamps so that the heat curdles the cream in the desserts and sours the mayo in the salads…cheese cubes are melted in the heat as well. Meat, pasta, potatoes and other hot foods are sitting out so long they go cold. The self-serve beverage stations were very dirty and most of the time you could not even access the juice and water machine because it was covered in swarms of wasps (due to the spilled and dripping juice). It should be noted that we were not picky eaters by far, but still found that there were few "edible" options and we mainly ate cheese sandwiches, hotdogs, white rice and mangoes for the entire week.

As mentioned earlier, in our group of 36, 19 people fell ill as of the second day with diarrhea and vomiting. Whether this was due to the food, or the uncleanliness in general remains unclear, but these factors certainly did not help.

It should also be noted that there are NO air-conditioned areas in this resort...all dining halls, and lobby areas are "open air", and the ocean breeze barely makes it up to the restaurant areas as they are quite a way from the beach...eating in 55 degree heat is difficult enough outside, imagine when you are indoors with windows closed and only a small door open for air (we took it upon ourselves to open the windows in the Chinese restaurant - much to the dismay of the restaurant manager).

The “service” in the restaurants is also not up to a 5 star standard. Drinks are never offered and waiters are rude (unless you pay them)…in the reservation only restaurants, a waiter came to us on two occasions (2 different restaurants) when we had just sat down and ordered us to start the buffet (he said “go buffet NOW…hurry”)…basically they wanted you to eat and get out.

The other thing is that there is no food options between 10PM and 7AM as ALL restaurants are closed…the only thing available is leftover hamburgers and hotdogs from the lunch buffet that are put in plastic containers and left in a small fridge at the entrance to the sports bar…definitely not edible. No snacks are provided.

3. The room we had was just OK…definitely not a 5 star accommodation, but a simple basic room. The 2 bed option is infact 2 double beds that are pushed together into one big bed with one large headboard…there are no blankets or comforters on the bed, only a very thin sheet. We asked for blankets but never received a response. The bathroom is very small and not super clean. There is no ventilation fan in the bathroom so it gets very hot and humid when taking a shower (the deluxe rooms also have no bathroom fan). The door to our room had no lock other than the key in the doorknob…there was no deadbolt or slider lock. We used a heavy chair to block the door at night. Only one key is given per room, there is a 10$ charge for a second key. Our in-room safe would not work at one point and all our stuff was locked inside, we could not access anything. We went to the front desk to ask for assistance and they told us it is normal and that a manager would come at 11AM to fix it…we waited until 11:45AM and then called the front desk because nobody had come….we were told “we have no time, but will come at 1PM”…we had to argue with them and finally someone came 5 minutes later…they opened the lock with a key and kicked the door 2 times and told us it was fine now…very unprofessional. The maids start working at 6:30AM and are very loud, talking with the other staff and using walkie-talkies right outside the rooms…just another annoyance.

4. The Beach is very nice, and is basically the only thing that saves this hotel…however, even though it is beautiful, it was never raked clean of garbage and debris the entire week. When walking in the sand, it was normal to step on pieces of broken chairs (sharp plastic) or plastic cups…we even found a syringe in the sand right beside where the beach wedding was taking place (wonderful considering we were all barefoot and had many children with us)…when we informed a staff member of the syringe, he just shrugged and picked it up and put it in the regular trash can.

The pools were very dirty and were never cleaned, there was a thick film of sunscreen and other debris floating on the pool at night…all pools close at 6:30PM for “chemical monitoring” and remain closed until the next morning.

5. The staff overall is rude and very unaccommodating, they rarely respond to your request and are not friendly. At the bar, you will get no service unless you speak Spanish or wave money at them. The front desk employees are very rude and do not understand when you ask a question. When we checked out, the man took our key and said “OK, you can go” and that was all…they did not even cut off our bracelet when we left, and we had to find a way to rip them off ourselves.

When we were given review cards at dinner one evening, we were approached by a waiter who demanded to read our "confidential" review card...he questioned why we did not write "very good" for everything...he remained next to us and insisted we change our answers...he put his hand on our arm and insisted we indicate that everything was "excellent"...he did not leave until we changed our responses...we felt very uneasy...

6. Any women travelling alone should also be careful at this resort, we were accosted on my occasions by staff and locals (locals have access to the hotel from Friday night to Sunday night)…we were leered at and verbally assaulted numerous times. Our drinks were “spiked” on one occasion with an unknown substance, which made us quite ill...luckily we realized quickly and avoided disaster, though we were pretty out of it for the rest of the night.

I would not recommend this resort to anyone...spend a few extra dollars and go to another chain of resorts. We still managed to have an OK time because of the sun and beach, and the people we were with, but it was not without suffering through the food, filth and rudeness...and I am still sick today (2 days after returning home)...

This is definitely a budget hotel...3 star maximum...be forewarned!

Room Tip: ask for second floor (insect problems) don't waste money on deluxe room, they are no better tha...
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
4  Thank Montrealgirl79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

Great place to stay for beach vacation. Room and pools very clean. Staff is extremely nice. Julio at front desk and Farlyn at MammaJuanas are very polite and helpful. Food is above average. Best advice is to make dinner reservations as soon as you get there and bring a wash cloth cause there is not one in the rooms. Also, get the deluxe room if available.

Room Tip: Building 40 or 50 in the back are the best.
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  • Stayed: August 2014, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank escrowe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014

I have been to several resorts including a couple of Riu's. This was my first Apple square vacation booked and will be the last. I will still use Apple but not for a square deal based on this supposed 5 Apple pick which was a 3 at best. The grounds smelt like raw sewage near the rooms especially in the morning when the watering was going on. The other guests there with the exception of the FEW Americans that we ran into were very rude. Lines meant nothing if they wanted something you were in line for they just went ahead and got what they wanted. This happened just about daily. I would say this was definitely the least favorite of any trip that I have taken. It started off on the wrong foot when we arrived about an hour late (4pm) it took about an hour for the orientation (keys, room assignments etc.) So at about 5pm we were very hungry all buffets were closed transitioning for dinner the only food was fruit in a container and microwave yes I said microwave sandwiches in the sports bar. So we preceded to the pool instead which we were told sorry no clean towels come back tomorrow. So what does this mean both hungry and hot with no solution to either. The food was fair at best, the resort wasn't very clean.. From what I could see they had 2 people picking up at all of the pools which is clearly not enough considering the amount of people on site. The rooms were fair beds were rock hard, quite a musty smell, mold in the bathroom grout.Our toilet would flush after 4 attempts maintenance came said it was fixed but it clearly wasn't so we dealt with it. The drinks that were supposed to be frozen were watery. No waiters or waitresses at the shows or poolside had to walk to any of the bars to get your own drinks which is ok but every other resort would bring them to you. Another huge downfall, understood I am in a Spanish speaking country, but 90% of the staff understood just about 0 English which was frustrating when questions needed to be asked.The shows weren't all that great primarily spoke in Spanish and when English was spoken very hard to understand. The first night was almost pornographic, it really wasn't a show at all but how couples could pop balloons in sexual positions etc... Enough to see with my kids to walk away uncomfortable. Two good shows were the acrobatic and magic other than that find something else to do because it wasn't worth wasting an hour and half of my time. Another very large downfall people can smoke anywhere in the resort at the pool, in the restaurants all near kids!!! Lunch in the buffet don't worry about bringing coverups bathing suits ,thongs no tops all acceptable while eating at the table ohh and don't forget your cigarettes because they are OK to. It was the same food over and over again. Also if you want egg whites(blanco) don't go to the breakfast buffet from 07-10 go to Mamajuna they will at least go out of their way to walk to the other buffet line to get eggs to make them. I was told no at the other place so we had to eat at Mamajuna every morning. This is supposed to be a kid friendly place Ha!!! fooled me on that one. It may kid friendly for small kids where they have a kids club for the very young but early teens had no extra accommodations. I will say the 3 people that made the experience worth while would be Chavo in the entertainment portion very friendly to our party and speaks good English. Amin at the front desk did his best as well. Got reservations for us when we were told NO. Finally Victor at the pool bar did his best to make the drinks as perfect as possible for us, and always smiled when trying. All in all pay the extra to upgrade to a better resort, book where you want to go not where you can go to save money. Saving money wasn't worth it I would have rather paid the extra 1500 to go elsewhere from day one. APPLE needs to reclassify this resort to a lower class and remove it from the square deal.

Room Tip: Choose a different resort for a better room!!!
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank george184
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 August 2014 via mobile

We visited July 23rd - August 2nd, 2014. We booked through the 5 Apple Square Deal. For those unfamiliar, you pay the price and Apple Vacations selects your resort which is supposed to be a 5 star or higher. Of course, you don't know where you are staying until you get to the apple counter at the air port That was our first mistake and we don't recommend anyone doing this! We contacted our travel agent and found out that Apple booked all 5 Apple Square Deals for that week at the Riu Bambu. Will take this up separate with Apple. On to the review of the Riu Bambu. For starters, the pictures of this resort are not up to date. This Riu resort is not well maintained. There is no ocean views, most rooms are in blocks of 8 to 12 rooms. Be prepared to do lots of walking to get anywhere. We had to walk 3/4 of a mile to get to the beach everyday and most people there did the same. The rooms are no more than 3.5 star at best. My wife and I have stayed at the 3.5 star Vik Arena Blanca and the Riu Bambu is very comparative. The food is average. They have 5 restaurants, 4 of them A la carte, which reservations have to be made in advance and the resort controls the amount of guest for 2 time slots. The restaurants are not even half full. Yes, they control the food services! They force most people to go to the Colonial buffet. How ridicules. My advice to everyone, stay away from the Riu resorts!
On the other hand, the only thing good about the Riu Bambu is the servers. Most are very willing to please! We always tip these people cause they only make about $12. - $15 a day and they really deserve it and show their appreciation in there repeated service.

Stayed: July 2014
Thank Anthony M
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:
#65 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#69 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#70 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: £126 - £285 (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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