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“Nice stay at another Riu property”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #57 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 29 January 2012

My wife & I stayed at the Palace Bavaro Jan 18-25 and based on the experiences there during our week's stay, I do not understand the 1- and 2-star ratings some of the previous reviewers gave this property.

Check-in, housekeeping, bartenders, and waitstaff were all extremely friendly and appeared very happy to be serving us. This trip was our 4th stay at a Riu property and like the others, we were not disappointed with the Riu Palace Bavaro.

As a recently-opened resort, there are a few minor kinks that need to be worked out but none that I feel adversely affected our stay nor created an impression that would cause us not to return there again.

Our room was large, pleasant and spotlessly clean. The furniture was comfortable and the bed was very good. Each room has a balcony but other than going on it to hang bathing suits and sitting out there on our last night, we did not use it too much.

The food was typical of most large-scale, all-inclusives....not 5-star, but certainly passable and a large variety from which to choose. We ate dinner in the main dining room 3 nights and at the 4 specialty restaurants on the other 4 nights. Of the 4 specialty restaurants, I felt that the Italian was the least-impressive, but not bad, and the Japanese (the food of which is not one of my favorites) was the best of the rest. In general, the food and service in all of the specialty restaurants was attentive and we never felt rushed to leave so the waitstaff could get ready for the 2nd seating.

Service at all of the bars was prompt and friendly and I felt that the drinks were a bit better-prepared than at other Riu hotels in Cancun and Playa del Carmen where we have stayed. The only negative regarding drinks was the lack of staff members circulating around the beach asking guests if they wanted drinks. I easily solved that problem but taking the 1-minute walk through the grove of palm trees to the pool bar to get my drinks!

The pool area was well-maintained and never overly crowded. The Riu Entertainment staff ran many activities (games, exercises, etc.) for those that were interested in participating. The beach, where we spent most of our time every day, was excellent with an ample supply of chaise lounges. Palapas would have been nice for those who prefer some shade instead of all-day sun. It is a GREAT beach to walk, and you can walk for miles/kms in either direction. The water was warm and clear and while I would prefer more surf, it was a very good beach for all ages and swimming abilities.

Access to the other Riu properties in the complex was easy by either walking the beach or the service roads connecting the 5 Riu properties.

The only negatives I feel worth mentioning are minor and I list them to make this review as objective and compete as I can. All rooms at the resort have an in-room safe. The safe in our room worked most of the time, but the batteries that powered the keypad & lock mechanism were weak and the I was unable to lock the safe one day. A quick call to the front desk, though, solved the problem with a maintenance man coming to the room with new batteries.

Wireless networking is free but available only in the lobby areas. Access was easy and the network worked with no problems. While there may be in-room internet access for premium or other selected guests, it would certainly be great if Riu would enable in-room wireless access at no-cost as part of the all-inclusive package. If they offer it in the public areas, the cost of routers and other hardware to deliver this access directly to the guestrooms would be a nice plus and the cost to do it not a major capital expenditure.

The only other negative was that some of landscaping, particularly some of the lawn areas, has yet to grow in. This is due to the hotel just opening in December and this "problem" will certainly fix itself in the next few months. All plantings, fountains and other decorations around the property, however, were gorgeous and attended to on a daily basis.

Bottom line.....I would return to the Riu Palace Bavaro again and feel that if the management continues to do things the way the are doing things now, the resort will become the showplace of the Riu complex of resorts in Punta Cana.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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34  Thank Steve A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 January 2012

The Rui Palace Bavaro was an amazing experience for me and my family! The hotel is beautiful, food was excellent at all the restaurants within the resort. The pool area is beautiful!

So many activities going on every day which made it an enjoyable relaxing fun vacation! Great stress relief and lots of laughter. The service was fabulous, everyone was so nice and went out of their way to make sure you were relaxed and having an amazing time. The event staff is the BEST, they coordinate great events each and every day and in the evening for all the guest.

All the servers were fabulous, they wait on you hand and foot to ensure you feel extra special during your stay. Your room is freshened up everyday sometimes twice a day between lunch and dinner as well! Rooms are BEAUTIFUL very modern chic. The staff everyday did special designs with our towels just to enlighten your mood every time you walked into the hotel. Great drinks, coffees etc at all the bars thru out the hotel!

All the bartenders and bar managers were the best. Always checking on you to see if you needed more drinks as well to make sure you were enjoying your stay! They were FABULOUS! Great people and always there to make you smile or laugh and feel important VIP treatment.

The only negative is that there is sometimes a language barrier with some of the hotel employees however, this is a third world spanish speaking country. I would recommend at least learning basic spanish before touring to this hotel....however if you speak to management they are all fluent in english!

I will be returning to the resort very soon and would recommend this hotel to ANYONE! Beach is amazing as well! 5 star HOTEL!!!! Was my best vacation ever!!! I didn't wanna leave!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank Amber C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2012

We just got home last night & wish we were still there!!
No mosquitoes, food & drinks are awesome, no problem making reservations for restaurants if you get there early you can make 3 days worth. Rooms are great, in room jacuzzi super! Beach is beautiful, always able to find chairs at beach & pool. No issues with our room, never had to wait more than 15 min for room service or extra water, etc.
Smells here & there but no big deal. And while we were there work on ventilation was being done in lobby, this should help.
As for staff not speaking English, we had no problems, but come on, you are visiting their country, you should attempt to speak their language, it is much appreciated.
And, by the way, we were staying in one of the least expensive rooms, not VIP, and in the back of the resort. Long walk to pool & beach, no big deal. Take everything you need with you, you are on vacation, relax and enjoy!! It will be over way too soon!

  • Stayed: January 2012
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8  Thank Ringaction
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 January 2012

We are frequent and experienced all inclusive vacationers and have been across the Caribbean numerous times, including Jamaica, Aruba, Dominican Republic, besides this trip, Mexico, St. Thomas, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and 3 Cruises to Caribbean.
Our experience at Riu Palace Bavaro was horrible. Before going in to detail, would like to comment on hotel condition. Hotel opened in Dec, 2011 and does have brand new facilities across the resort. Beach, while small, is relatively nice, however lack of chairs and no on-beach drink service was disappointing.
Service in the hotel was our biggest disappointment. Staff does not speak any English. Let me repeat, they do not speak or understand English. When going to buffet style dining for lunch or breakfast expect long wait in getting the coffee and drinks. You ask for Orange Juice and Water, they bring you pineapple juice. It was extremely frustrating to start your day this way.
Food quality was OK, but definitely not on the 5 star levels as advertised. Cooks do not speak English, we had issue ordering eggs over easy, and the cook was not familiar with the dish and did not speak English. The specialized restaurants were a joke. There were 11 of us and originally had problems booking the dinners due to the # of people. Another ridiculous part about the resort, the only way to book specialized dinners you must be at the Main Dining Hall at 8am in person, so lines would form before 8 so one can book the dinners. Also, for the hotel this size 4 restaurants is a small number, generally for 600 rooms should be 6 to 8 based on our experience. Besides the process of booking, the food was at best mediocre, the only dinner we really likes was in Krystal, the stack house and Italian were average at best.
They do not offer premium liquor anywhere on the resort. For 5 star hotels it is an insult. Also, if you do decide to go, bring USD currency, as you cannot get Dollars anywhere on the resort premises. There is an ATM machine, which only dispenses Pesos. The ironic part about this is that in order to purchase in-room Wi-Fi, you need dollars, as the machine excepts only USD, but there is no place to get them. We complained to the front desk, besides the fact that they could barely understand the issue, seemed completely indifferent to our problem. The only recommendation offered was to take a cab to the bank, 15 to 20 minutes away from the hotel and exchange pesos for dollars there.
Towels in this hotel appear to be a second currency after Pesos. For a 5 star resort they give you cards which must be exchanged for towels every day and God forbid one of them get lost. I have never seen such a ridiculous towel exchange policy, if one of the towels get lost, you will be charged $50 upon check out.
Upon arrival they advertised Ice machines conveniently located across the hotels. In the morning, we like a cold drink, so I would go get the ice, first day it was perfect. Second day the ice machine stopped working. Went to the machine on the second floor, was broken as well, on the third floor, same problem, finally on the 4th floor was able to get ice. Day after, machine on the fourth was broken as well. We contacted the front desk they re-assured us it will be fixed shortly. We spend the remainder of our vacation without ice.
Ground keeping would start at 7am. Usually it was relatively quiet, however once or twice a week they spray something on the plants, so around 7am we were woken up by an extremely loud nice right near our balcony. Kids were scared, it was absolutely insane. I ran out to tell the guy to stop, he acknowledged my request, smiled, and continued with his loud machine.
I can probably go on about inconsistent cleaning service, toilet not working during the night, nonexistent room service, boring and repetitive night shows, but I think you get the idea that I do not recommend this hotel and will never return there.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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22  Thank Yan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2012

My husband and I stayed at Riu Bavaro Jan 6-15. What we were told was this was a luxury all-inclusive resort. We went with high hopes. Let me just start by saying that if you don't speak Spanish you are out of luck! The hotel staff maybe speak 5 words of English. We wanted to take advantage of the 24 hr room service so we went to order and the gentlemen that answered the phone could not understand what we were trying to order so he could not help us. We tried a different time and same problem. Very frustrating!!!!
Also be aware there is A LOT of children at this hotel. So if you are looking for a romantic getaway this is not for you.
The food was very good. However if you are thinking that you will get a reservation at one of the restaurants be advised that it is very hard, this hotel is usually booked at 100% so if u don't get there at 9 in the a.m. u will not get a reservation.
The rooms were fine but nothing great. On a scale 1-5 I would rate this hotel a 1.
Also the beaches had a lot of topless woman. Very crowded and stressful trying to get a chair to sit in. Also the hotel staff expected to be tipped every time they helped u. So as far as being a all-inclusive.....not so much!

Room Tip: Higher floors because the entertainment was very loud and you could hear from your room.
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Amy B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2012

My wife and I are checking out today Jan. 28th 2012......sad to go but it's time. We had a wonderful stay, we stayed in the villas and had a hot tub suite( hot tub on the balcony) right next to the VIP pool.
The only thing we had an issue with was the hot tub suites are all on the ground level unless you have an ocean front villas.
It seamed like every night we went to get in the hot tub we became the center of attention, people on their balcony grabbing their popcorn and getting their front row seats.....as if we were going to put on a show for them.......not so private is what I'm trying to say.
our room was a corner room, if your getting the hot tub suite I would suggest you get one in the center of the building and not one of the outer rooms. The villas are 5 rooms wide and 3 stories tall ( pick one of the 3 center rooms, a little more private).
One of the nice things about the villas as well is the in room wireless internet (free in the villas), great service and I was able to use my VOIP phone without any issues .....big plus to do some work when required.
All in all we would suggest this hotel to anyone, just remember to bring money for tips, it seams like a lot of people demand great service and want and need this and that...then they forget to TIP.....you would be amazed what a couple dollars will get you. We spent about $20.00 a day in tips...... we never had any issues getting our room cleaned, our room fridge stocked as requested.
We also read a lot about the staff not speaking english.....the staff does a good job, they try their best and will do almost anything to make sure your stay here is the best. If you have a issue with understanding them, maybe you should look in the mirror and take some of that blame...learn to speak spanish and don't forget your enjoying their country....just a suggestion if that's an issue.
My wife and I speak a tiny bit of spanish and we went off the resort to several places higuey included and had no issues. I would suggest you use your travel rep. in the hotel for that type of travel tho.
If your a cigar smoker you can find good cigars 20 minutes away from the hotel at Don Lucas as well as seeing rollers work. If you go 40 miuntes away you can go to Higuey and find the cigar museum as well as a lot of other brands of cigars. If you try to buy cigars on the beach or at the beach huts I would suggest you really know your brand and know what a good quality cigar is as you can find knock offs every place........

My wife and I enjoyed the food in the buffet more than any of the other restaurants, no reservations, more selections, we never went hungry I'll say that. They also had a mexican food night WOW off the!
I can't forget to mention "Mello" our favorite server. Mello is great, he's always happy to see you and extends a warm welcome very time you see him.

I could go on and on with great stuff but I think you'll get the gist....we are happy and we would have no problem coming back here next year, by that time the plants & grass should be growing like crazy and it will green everywhere.....

In closing...WATCH THE GREY TILE EVERY PLACE...VERY SLICK WHEN WET!

Enjoy your time here......TIP TIP ENJOY!

Room Tip: read what I wrote
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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22  Thank WDMCPLE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 January 2012

Well let me start by saying that my husband and i both had a great time.We stayed the week of the 17th and were a little nervous after redaing some of the reviews.....DONT LISTEN TO THEM...This resort was great, the food,beach and the people were awsome.The rooms look exactly like the pics and the beds were really not that hard and the pillows were heavenly :) We hung out at the V.I.P pool as it was more quite and relaxing.Definatly go to this Resort you won't be dissapointed!!!

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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33  Thank crippler1313
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

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 #57 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range: £182 - £334 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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