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“Great experience”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #56 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 22 April 2012

I went with a group (me and 3 couples), The resort was amazing. The staff was the hardest working group of people I may have ever seen. The guests were all very friendly and I believe everyone also had an amazing time.
Rooms:
The rooms were made up perfectly by the housekeeping staff each day. My bed was turned down each night. My in room bar was stocked each day and if I requested something different in my bar, it was changed almost immediatly. I had a garden suite which overlooked the market street. It was quited and fun to see people shopping.
Pools:
There was a regular pool that was very large and accomodated everyone that wanted seats. There was a swim up bar and a walk up bar that were joined. The entertainment group worked very hard to get as many willing people to participate in different games and activities. There is a kiddy pool that is secluded that you only really see if you are looking for it (Which I wasn't but happened to stumble on to it). There is another pool for the VIP people (which I wasn't). The VIP pool didn't seem to have many people at it. Several people I met that had VIP credentials were all in the main swim up bar pool because it was fun. There was also another pool for those who were staying in the villas (also looked empty).
Entertainment:
The entertainment staff was amazing. They worked very hard and long hours. i must mention some of them by name because they made my stay very enjoyable. I don't know what thier real names were but I know what they went by. "Monkey" was a young man learning his way up the ladder. He spoke several languages and took his time to explain himself to you. "Spagetti" was very energetic and a fantastic dancer. "Veronica" was one of the main people who did announcements and could speak fluent in several languages as well. "Wilson" was the boss and you could tell why. He was very well spoken in all languages and had a very good stage presence. They did an outstanding job of getting people involved both day and night.

Restaurants:
While I didn't try them all, I did do the Steakhouse. The Steakhouse was only good not great. The selection was very good and my steak was good, however, my lobster was overcooked.
I ate at the buffet each day with a good variety. My only complaint about any of the food was I couldn't make it spicy. One thing I thought they lacked was mexican food. They did have tortilla chips to make nachos but the cheese was all bland and never heated.

Bars:
The pool bar was fantastic. The staff was creative with the drinks they would make up for you and they were very quick to serve you. Nobody was "tip hungry" howver they really showed appreciation for a tip.
The lobby bar was a very nice set up in the evening as people were waiting to eat dinner. It was nice to see everyone cleaned up after being at the pool or beach all day. The atmosphere was that of a martini bar in an upscale setting.
The plaza bar was where all the entertainement happened at night. They had 2 stages so people would have to keep turning chairs around between live music and a live show.

I hope this helps everyone and I can't wait to plan my next trip to Riu Palace Bavaro!

Jeremy Werner
Grand Ledge, MI
.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Jeremy W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 21 April 2012

We stayed at the resort this past week and just returned home! Had 9 in our family with us and we had a blast! Plenty to do to keep busy or do nothing at all... its entirely up to you! We did parasailing and enjoyed a wonderful massage on the beach. The massage was not near as costly as other resorts and VERY enjoyable. Staff was excellent and there was very little language barriers...
We did have some issues with some of the mixed drinks.. they were not very good at times. Seems some bartenders are better than others and we quickly figured out which ones made the best drinks.
The entertainment was excellent at night. Much better than I expected!
I would truly not pay a great deal of attention to any negative reviews. As I mentioned, we had 9 in our party and NO ONE had any complaints. Enjoy your trip!

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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4  Thank sharynbr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2012

I went with my girlfriend last week. Had an outstanding time. Ive been to many different countries but this was my first all inclusive and thought it was wonderful. What stood out the most was the staff. They were all very nice and very helpful. But they werent "tip hungry". The maid cleaned the room to perfection every morning, even scrubbing the bathtub which was already clean. I liked the layout of the room and the jacuzzi was very nice. Food was fantastic (Japanese & Italian were our favorites). Breakfast had anything you could possibly want to eat. Entertainment staff at the pool was fun but didnt over do it. Beach area was nice with plenty of palm trees for shade. The locals trying to sell you crafts on the beach gets old, but either dont look at them and theyll walk away or just say no. If you smile and browse through their stuff they will bug you for a bit. Of course they all say they will "give you a great deal, cheapy cheapy". But thats a crock. We bought a very nice necklace for $20 which they tried to sell us for $75 originally. Overall, I thought the trip couldnt have gone better and would absolutely go back. Hope this helps.

Room Tip: We stayed near the spa area and it was great.
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank Ethan J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2012

We stayed at the resort for a week in April. The staff was exceptional and went out of their way to make our vacation a memorable one. We stayed in the VIP area and found the pool there to be much less crowded and more relaxing than the main pool. Definitely would recommend staying here!

Room Tip: Superior (VIP) suites are all great!
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with friends
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5  Thank MtnBikeMN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 April 2012

Visited the last weekend in March for a week. Shuttle to the hotel from the airport was a bit mixed up as we sat waiting about 15 minutes in one bus only to be transferred to another - no fault of the hotel, this was on Apple Vacations.

Upon arrival we were greeted with a common "Hola!" We did not receive the complimentary drinks that others arriving did however. The lobby is a bit gaudy with bright yellow and purples - an overall theme of the resort. I am glad we listened to our travel agent and upgraded to the "pool view" rooms in the VIP section. We were on the third floor, so got our exercise as there is no elevator in these sections. Noticed that the balcony on the third floor is the smallest, but it was adequate for just the two of us. The "pool view" was a bit deceiving however. Had to sit way over to one side in order to see it and the ocean, but that was ok too.

The rooms are an open floor plan, and stepping out of the shower does leave you fully exposed. The room was comfortable, and the maid service was splendid. Sheets were turned down each night, fresh towels, and beautiful flower/towel displays daily. Hair dryer did not want to stay in the holder, and for a new room there were some major dings and peeling laminate on the counters.

An advantage to being in the VIP section is the pool. There are cabanas that are available, and we never had a day that there weren't chairs ready and waiting. The towel guy was pleasant, and waiters eager to get you drinks. The beach was also just steps away, and there too, chairs were plenty. Hawkers on the beach got to be a bit much, but the sand, and ocean were gorgeous! We walked down the beach in both directions daily, and never ran out of sandy beach. (compared to the Sandals in Nassau where it is rocky and you're not able to walk far)There are shops down a ways were you can haggle for things from hats, t-shirts, to coffee to mamajuana (the drink:).

We did do two excursions with Apple Vacations. We went on the Zip Line tour and had a fabulous time. Yes, I am petrified of heights, but was only uncomfortable a few times climbing the towers, not on the actual lines. Went on the early morning trip, as by the afternoon things get a bit steamy. The ride wasn't far - 30 minutes or so, and the guide very informative. Interesting to ride throught the small towns and see the actual country. This is a half day trip. We also took the trip to Saona Island. It was an all day affair, and we were exhausted when we returned. It takes longer to get to the island than the actual time you spend on it. Catamaran ride over was enjoyable. Jose and Julie were great ambassadors/guides. The ride back was on a "speed boat". We stopped at a beach area to search for starfish. This was a little hokey and almost seemed like they salted the waters with starfish. Lots of boats stopping here, anad everyone looking for the elusive starfish! Probably would not recommend this trip.

Now for the food. Having been to all inclusives before, we were familiar with the sign up process for the restaurants other than the buffet. We never had a long line to wait in and were there promptly at 8. You were able to sign up for two nights at a time, so this was not an every morning occurance. We enjoyed the Japanese, Italian, and Kristal. The Kristal being our favorite. The snapper is a definate yes there, as is the grouper at the Japanese. I would not recommend the Taino steakhouse. I will say that we did eat here at the later seating, and hopefully this was the reason for the poor service and food. Our appetizer had some slimy thing - I'm not sure what on the platter, and that turned my stomach. The steak was tough as nails, and the lobster dry as bones. It was unnerving to see our waiter running his hind end off while the supervisors (at least 4) were standing over the kitchen waiting for their meals. Actually saw them take meals and sit down before guests were served! A definate "NO"! The buffet for breakfast and lunch was fine. Desserts are a bit bland, but look beautiful!

My husband used the lobby daily for his free wi fi but was disappointed the cappachino bar wasn't open then. He had to get his coffee from the sports bar that is open 24 hours.

I agree with other reviews that the grounds will be nice when the plants grow and that the grey tiles around the pool are extremely slippery. Had to catch myself more than a few times! Did not see any rowdy teens (again, perk of the VIP section?)

All in all, a great stay. No great shopping, so may try Puerta Plata next year for the bigger city nearby.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the VIP!
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank pkofmi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2012

This is the 2nd Riu experience, with the first being the older review (next door) in Punta Cana. I know this has only been opened for 4 months, and have discounted my statements in recognition that they are still getting the wrinkles out. They surprisingly have accomplished this in my observation of the operation during this past week. Here goes, and hopefully you find this helpful.....

1. - Food at the resort buffets was bland (thank God) compared to the salty experience of the last year stay at the older Riu in Punta Cana. You add the spices accordingly, which is a safer bet for all. Desserts were "ok"...and helped me to stay away....mission accomplished :-).
2. - Hard to serve a "packed, capacity crowd", and they did a good job in doing this. The service on balance is absolutely fantastic!!!! Minimal if any flaws, and simple "Hola" from the service was very present, pleasant, and warm. I love Latino culture for this reason, very warm, genuine and hard working on balance. It shows at this property from every employee when walking the hallway, lobby, buffets, bars, etc.. Combination of good training, and cultural norms blends very well here.
3. - The build quality of the hotel is "nice", however things break in the room that shouldn't with such a new hotel. Stupid little things, like the hair dryer, handle of sliding closet door kept popping off, silver arm of the "suitcase" holder on the tabletop when taking the suitcase down. Stupid things that were annoyances at best.....however the use of substitute materials was noticeable, i.e. panel painted wood in the buffet's which looked good from a distance, but up close was "cheap" vs. the other Rui. Would it stop me from going back, no! Was it noticeable? Yes, and still not a major issue, just warrants mention. What was noticeable however was the elevator.....see below for example.
4. - Bathroom/room combination is a bit odd. If you are not with your spouse, and plan on going with a friend or two, the shower is right in the view of the bedroom. Only a small door to the shower, but when you step out, you are bare naked in front of the sinks/bedroom. Zero privacy.
5. - Toilet is behind a closed solid door, no glass, no windows. It is like you are in a closet (as a matter of fact....you are) :-).
6. - At first the property is gorgeous, but you can clearly tell where they cut corners vs. the other Riu. As I mentioned in #3 above, the elevator on the first floor 'button" when pushed did not summon the elevator for 4 - 5 days (No I didn't stand waiting all of this time :-) ). They finally fixed it, but for the 2 seniors on the trip, it was a hassle having to go to the first floor, summon the elevator, take it to the "0" floor pick them up and then go up 4 floors. Just should have been a consideration and dealt with immediately.
7. - Entertainment was sometimes pretty good (Michael Jackson tribute show), two shows pulling people out of the audience for the funniest contests that I have ever seen in an amateur show. However, ........
8. - The hired on the ground entertainers are sometimes funny, most times genuine, but at times take it over the top. Their job is to mix it up, and that they do well. However, when not in the mood for mixing .....they can get a bit annoying. They say things that are not appropriate in my view to folks, making fun of their weight, or not so appropriate statements to females that would never, and "should never" go over in the USA. This is not what my parents taught me to ever say, and besides wasn't a bit funny in my view. It broke any cultural rules, and was at times tasteless. I am not a prude, but I had to raise my eyebrows a couple of times as to what I was hearing, seeing and ultimately thinking about this.
9. - Entertainment may have been tasteless "at times", not "all of the time", but I felt comfortable being a city guy and knowing how to deal with this stuff effectively. However, imagine the person that just doesn't get it, and is embarrassed in front of all of these people? They probably wouldn't subject themselves to this again according to my thinking. Was it enough to avoid going again....not really, but something you should be aware of and stay away from, especially the bar side of the pool. The beach doesn't have any of this, and is peaceful, quiet and nice like a paradise. So there are plenty of ways to avoid this.
10. - I was very sad to observe the "non guarded" group of children that were at the resort....mostly 16 - 19 years of age. They were Americans, and I as a US born American was surprised at the drinking, wild inappropriate behavior by these kids. They were drunk loudmouths, cursing up a storm, giving folks around the world a bad image of us Americans. I was disgusted, and the Riu should consider pulling back on feeding these kids any liquor. It is damaging to their image, and more than just an opinion. They put the hotel, people around it, and themselves in danger. WHERE THE HELL ARE THE PARENTS, is what we asked ourselves over and over. One 15' ish" year old guy called me something that if I wasn't in a foreign country, I would have given him something to remember me by. After he was hanging all over a "young girl" roughly his age, with drinks in hand, drunk and slobbering all over he stepped on my foot "from behind". He staggered and said ....."excuse me senor" in a very mocking way. I said I am not senor, and you should slow down on your drinking and not step on people as a result of having too much. He walks by with his arms all over this girl and I read him say to her that I was an "blanking blank hole". Nice, and I blame the resort for feeding these kids this much alcohol. the booze itself, and definitely....the lack of parenting or adult supervision of these wild bucks!
11. - At one point a no more than senior in high school girl from some school in the NY area was behind the bar making drinks and playing bartender. This was repulsive to us, and once again the bad behavior being folks from my country. I was "shocked", but ....it was in this case the hotel allowing her behind the bar in the first place. Wasn't a bit cute, especially to guests who have to drink the drinks and shy away from this young person and her friends at the bar. The hotel was well aware of this, as 3 people at different times looked but did not act. Surprising to me for sure, but then again I thought in accord with US rules, which is my first mistake (not better or worse, just rules that differ). It is what it is.
12. - Pool wasn't as nice as the vintage Rui....., however they did a great job sectioning off the bar/pool area for those who didn't want to be exposed to it and just relax. Not too deep at any point, so therefore safer for kids. Ramp to get into the pool is very slippery....be careful.
13. - Grounds were extremely well kept! These folks work hard at this and should be proud of the result. Very nice and inviting.
14. - This palace tries really hard, and needs to continue to do this. They have potential and is a great "all inclusive" that I am on balance impreased with.
15. - THE SERVICE WAS SPECTACULAR!!!
16. - Never a shortage of chairs, towels etc., and not the same silly tricks of people covering chairs all day "just in case" and not showing up. Enough for everybody!!! Nice job on this Rui.

I am happy with this trip, spent a fantastic week with my entire family and type this with the summary as follows. Take the above as just a specific set of things to keep in mind. Most would happen at any all inclusive....and therefore just know how to deal with it, recognize it, and not let it bother your trip. It didn't bother mine....just a mere set of data points that I observed. Besides, what do you want for the price you pay here...very reasonable.

People at the Riu Bavaro are nice and genuine....trained well, and go out of there way to give you a great experience. Top flight, Latino culture.....MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!!

Room Tip: Get a room that has more privacy regarding shower/bathroom/bedroom "exposure" :-) Not sur...
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  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
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13  Thank Slojotaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 April 2012

2 adults and 3 kids (11, 9, and 6 years olds). Just returened from Riu Palace Bavaro. Stayed from April 7th to April 14th.

1. New resort, so every facility is clean and nice. But the plants needs to grow more.

2. I made reservation on all 5 speciality restaurants. The frond desk explains to me that the guests can make reservation in Italian restaruant from 8 o'clock to 11 o'clock every morning. But you have to be in line before 8:00. People are alreday waiting before 8:00, so the door opens around 7:10 or 7:20. If you go before 8:00, you have no difficulty to make reservation to any restaurant. In my opinion, The Kristal is best, and the steak house and Japanese is not good.

3. The Coffee and Ice cream bar, The Capuchino in the lobby is great. I really enjoy drinking cappuccino every day, and my kids like their milkshakes.

4. Be careful at the black tiles in the pool areas. It is really slippery at the wet feet.

5. The stores next to resort are really expensive. I bought Coconut oil there with $10.00. The owner asked me $13.00 at first, then I negociated it as $ 10.00 But I found out that it was just $ 5.00 outside the resort.

5. We did three excursions- Outback Safari, Stingray bay at Carribbean Festival, and Saona Island. Kids really love Stringray bay. You can pet Stingray, nurse shark, and go snorkelling at coral reef. The Tour of Saona Island took really long time. We departed from resort at 7:05 am and returned at 7:20 pm. We just spend about 2-3 hours at the beach in the Saona Island.

6. We did a parachute sailing at the beach in the resort. My husband paid $85.00 for two at the watersports center in the resort, But I paid just $65.00 at the man at the beach. There are several men who selling water sports acticities much cheaper at the beach than in the resort.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
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5  Thank ek1974
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 #56 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range: £165 - £378 (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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