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Reviewed 4 February 2012

we have stayed at several RIU Palace properties over the years and have kept coming back to stay again with them. I think this resort given time will grow into an excellent place to visit.

When we started looking at this property, there was not much information out there since it had not opened. All we could find was what the website showed, Was very excited about 4 pools only to find that after they opened that one is for Sensimar only and the other pool for VIP.

After people starting putting information on it was of great assistance. We booked a Superior Jr Suite room, which is what we usually book.

Check in: We were late arriving due to leaving USA late. we arrived closed to 3pm and of course room was not ready which we were prepared for. Front desk was not that busy. when we arrived and went to check in, we were given our bands and told we were not even in the computer yet and to go get something to eat and come back. He just pointed and said to go to buffet. When we got outside, main buffet was closed so one of staff showed us how to get to the pool area.
When we did get back to front desk, we still had to wait while they got the room figured out. I had emailed prior to arrival but had never received a response. When we were given our packet with the room cards, towel cards, map. He just told us what room number was and said to go out the doors and turn left. He did not go over the map or explain anything about the resort. We tried to ask but finally just went on. We did have another staff member outside that showed us where room was.
I feel the front desk needs to be more helpful when you arrive and more friendly.
we did notice that our packet had a room number whited out and another over the top.

Room: We actually did have a good room. we were in rm 1109. I had asked for top floor but this room was fine. looks just like what others have posted. we had plenty of towels and face clothes the 7 days we were there. room was cleaned every morning without incident. Maid did an excellent job and when we would pass them in the halls, they always smiled and spoke to you.
Fridge was filled every 2 days but we always had plenty to drink.
We were on the other side of the theater and you could hear it if we went to room before show was over but it was not extremely loud.
We were very pleased with the room. everything worked. no issues as others have stated

A la Cartes--we had no problem getting 2 nights booked, that was all we wanted. ate at Geisha and LaBambola. They were okay but enjoyed the buffet more. always plenty to pick from.

Pool--the water was cool so we only tried it once. did get in the pool by the swim up bar, but it really got noisy. We always went to the beach and had no problem getting loungers, we usually went out about 8am. did go later one morning after 9 and the choices were more limited. Staff will pull loungers from pool area out for you if needed.

We love the beach here and you can walk both ways for long distance. seaweed was present but they would clean it up every day. no drink service at the beach but get real,, it is just a few steps to the bar. I do agree with others that you do have to go a ways to the rest rooms but that is the same at every RIU we have stayed at.

Buffet---we felt it was excellent. there is always something for everyone. can get quite busy at times. Theme nights 3 times a week

Bars---we spent most of our time at the lobby bar. we had to great bartenders, Yokasta and Marisol. Several other ladies also that would fill in that I do not remember there names. Everyone was very polite and enjoyable to interact with. We felt the drinks had plenty of alcohol in them. Only issue we had was with the beer. Presidente. on night they ran out of bottled Presidente so then used the cans. never had any on tap of the Presidente. We drank more rum, Brugal and Barcelo.
it can get crowded here right before the seatings for the a la cartes. We always had a good time when we at the bar.
Theater Bar we did go out there but when it got busy, it could get very smokey. LOTS of SMOKERS here. don't try to keep their smoke from blowing in your face

Coffee bar---loved this also. very good idea for having this. Loved the iced coffee. has ice cream in it.

We did have one incident with smoking at the lobby bar. it took quite a bit to get this dealt with. Front desk was notified and finally came out and had person leave. Like the idea this area is non smoking and hope they keep it this way

Lobby---It kinda grows on you. Not my style but was colorful. You do notice and odor when you enter the lobby. once you are in there for a while, you no longer notice it.

Overall, we would return here in the future. grounds will be lovely when they have grown in , did not see any wild life, which I did miss. staff always working. resort was clean. did notice already have to do repairs on new resort.
We had no issues with getting staff to understand us. they all seemed to try very hard. everyone worked hard and we tried to give the tips to them.

Would recommend if you come, to get a top floor. I am not sure how much more the cost is for the VIP area. We heard some talking about having issues with people banging on the doors and more partying going on there,
Try to sit in the same area at buffet and then waiters get comfortable with you and service gets better.
feel front desk needs to check with people after they arrive to see if they have any issues by calling the room at some time when you first arrive. We have been at other RIU's and they do this. They also send out a letter to you when you arrive when you are RIU Class member just thanking you for coming. If repeat guests you usually get something else.
Only thing we received from front desk was the night before we left, letting us know what time check out was and what it would cost if did not check out on time.

Just go with open mind, and treat everyone here with respect. They are all hard workers and go well beyond what they have to. would never get this type of individual service at some of our areas at home.

Was a positive visit and just feel it will get better with time. Still finding itself and how to handle things. Have always had great time when we stay at RIU. Sorry this is so long
JUST GO AND ENJOY> WOULD RECOMMEND IT

Room Tip: get upper floor if possible. do not get room over the theater. will be very loud.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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20  Thank buminj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 1 February 2012

First let me say this..,..I read alot of reviews before I tripped there last week, and I have to say..some reviews we agreed with, but most,.. not.
With that said...there are just a few issues we felt need addressing..one: the pool needs a bathroom that is closer so you're not walking a mile to get to it..it's a very large pool area....second: the indoor buildings, lobby, bar, sports bar, cafe, all the al la carte restuarnts need some sort of heavy fabric,( either curtains or cloth on the walls ) to help abosrb the noises. They have very high ceilings everywhere, and it was extremley L-O-U-D throughout.
Otherwise, our stay was great....the food was much better than past experiances, the staff in the D.R. go above and beyond...
( they are very humble people there)
What disappointed me most....were the travelers...not the hotel or staff!
Some travelers seem to have the idea in mind that just because they spent money on a trip, that they didn't have to adhere to the rules and regulations set up by the RIU HOTEL.
The pool area had signs that clearly stated " no rubber, or plastic rafts, balls, etc in the pool"....visitors did that anyway.
There also seemed to a mindset among people with small toddlers, babies and families, that because they are using strollers, and insist on bringing along every imanginable item they could carry, that all other visitors need to heed to them, when walking or at the pool. I found this very disrespectful on their part.
I thought RIU put in a children's pool /play area...for C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N ????? I didn't see many children nor their families at the said "CHILDREN'S POOL AREA".
One more thing about the pool...the area outside the pool does get slippery when wet...I don't know how they can fix that, short of replacing tiles, which given the size of the pool area would be extremley cost affective.
Other rules I noticed that were not adhered to were, people bringing food out to the pool area from the TAINO dining hall, on glass plates, and then expecting the pool staff to pick it all up after them....food is not to be brought outdoors and left poolside....it is not safe to have glass there, and if food is left outdoors it will bring rodents and ants, flies, etc.
I suppose those same people didn't feel obligated to bring their dirty plastic glassware back to the swimup bar, when they finished a drink, could t behey expected then to bring their dirty glass plates back to the dining hall ??? NOT!
When people start wondering how come trips like this cost so much....they only need to look at themselves to see why....it cost money to staff a dining hall, and swim up bar , and the staff who make clean up AFTER YOU...and make YOUR stay comfortable.
The other issue I had pertaining to other visitors....people who take their children with them on vacation ...NEED TO WATCH YOUR OWN CHILDREN......not sit around drinking and not paying attention to what your children are up to...I saw children, pre-teens, maybe 9, 10, 11 yrs.-old, playing in the pool area with balloons, filling them with water, dropping them in the sand and them rinsing them off in the pool....where are their parents???? no where to be found...such a shame.
Now that I've given my review, I hope others will learn from it, I like to vacation as much as the next person, but I do my best not to disrespect others while I'm on vacation. Be it other vacationers out there along with me, or the hotel and it staff!
The RIU ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORTS do their utmost best, to try to make your vacation a very enjoyable experiance!
Thank you, Beverly Stapley, NH

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled as a couple
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39  Thank Beverly S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

The good:
the grounds were very big
the decor was BEAUTIFUL
the pool was big and modern and the pool bar was fantastic
the lobby was grand, and big and had WIFI
the room was gorgeous, great decor, lots of space, and a cool jacuzzi right in the middle of the room. The fridge was always stocked, and the cleaning lady did a great job in the morning and turned down the beds at night.
the beach was really nice, no rocks and lots of shade

The Bad:
the food was not good at all. It was all bland. All the restaurants were books 2-3 days in advance and we couldn't get reservations for a few days. All the restaurants have a different variation of the same food that is served at the buffet. The waiters were not very nice or helpful and barely spoke english.
the room that we orders was suppose to be a king size bed but ended up being 2 full size beds put together , which went apart from each other every time you moved in the bed, therefore me and my significant other could not sleep together because of the big gap in the middle of the bed.
the towel card process was really annoying
the show was kid friendly and not very advanced (Although i have high expectations because I'm from NYC)

All in all its worth the money if you don't care much about the quality of food and entertainment.

  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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12  Thank Anna P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 January 2012

Travelled January 20-27th

-only 30 minutes from the airport
-check-in was literally less than 5 minutes, bags delivered to the room immediately
-room was spacious and no issues with plumbing, beds, AC, etc
-buffet was fantastic---loads of variety, fresh fish daily, attentive service
-pools were never crowded, always plenty of lounge chairs
-beautiful beach, loads of chairs and clean, warm water
-the resort never felt crowded
-we had our kids with us, but there weren't very many children---just enough for them to make a few friends

This was our 3rd family trip to the DR, and this was by far the best of the resorts we have visited there. Those who criticize the staff for not speaking English should perhaps consider travelling to a country where the mother tongue is English (maybe Jamaica or Bahamas?). Our experience with the staff was excellent--our room was always clean with extra towels, the desk reception called our room twice during the week to ask if everything was OK, every time we sat down anywhere on the premises we were approached by staff to ask if we wanted a drink. We celebrated both my husband's and our daughter's birthday while there, and the staff went out of their way to decorate our dining table, sing to them, even a gift for my daughter. Yes, we tipped, but given the cost of your vacation, what's a couple of dollars to us when they earn only a few hundred dollars a month? We would definitely return to this resort--especially as it will be very beautiful in a few years once the vegetation fills in.

Room Tip: Do be careful of grey tiles, especially by the pool, as they are super slippery.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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21  Thank soleila
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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