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“Riu Palace Bavaro (Sensimar)”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #53 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Zurich, Switzerland
Level Contributor
32 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
“Riu Palace Bavaro (Sensimar)”
Reviewed 2 July 2012

First of all I rated this resort Excellent because the value is really good. I'm aware that this is not a true 5* resort but for the price you pay it more than delivers.

Second I stayed at the Sensimar section. Sensimar is a Hotel Group from Tour operator TUI. It's adults only and only bookable from Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands and Austria. So everyone is speaking German here. I did not book Sensimar because i wanted to be able to speak German all the time but because they have a soft animation so you can relax and don't have animation screaming around all day.

As a guest of Sensimar you have access to a seperate Pool with a Poolbar (no swim up).
You also have a seperate a la carte called Kulinarium which is excactly the same as Krystal.
Other than that it's pretty much the same. Oh forgot at the Poolbar they have Presidente in cans or bottled so that was nice.

HOTEL
Well it's been said many times that there's a new theme at this Riu Palace. It's very funky but the color combination seems a bit odd. Also the Lobby is extremely cold which makes drinking a coffee at the Coffee bar or sipping a cocktail at the Lobby Bar a bit uncomfortable. Check-in was quick no problems there. Also no language barrier at the reception.

ROOM
At the Sensimar the rooms are exactly the same as at the Riu. Look at the pictures they look excatly like that. Make sure to leave the door open infront of the refrigerator otherwise it does not cool down. They refill the minibar every second day no problems there. Also cleaning was very good and everyday some new creatures made with towels. Also the sinks got decorated and even the curtains.

POOLS
We stayed at the Sensimar pool most of the time because we got to know many other couples and the service was very fast around the pool. Also great that there is no towel game at all at this resort which is a big plus.

BEACH
Gorgeous beach. So wide and never crowded. Always plenty of loungers and so many palm trees to get some shade. Definately the best beach on this stretch of beach (including Iberostar, other Rius, Gran Bahia Complex and the Majestics).

RESTAURANT
We never ate at a a la carte so can't comment on them but heard the steakhouse should be avoided. The others are just fine.
The buffet is spectacular. Nothing you would not find here. Always fresh and they never ran out of something except for the cheese at the pasta station. Service outside is very good not so much if you want to dine inside. Also inside it's very loud so not really suited to have a nice long dinner. Outside smoking is permitted but not a problem.

SERVICE
Service at the Sensimar was very very good but i think it also had to do with the fact that germans do not tipp or only very little so when we gave them some big tipps because we thought the service was very good they brought the drinks bevor we even could ask we were very impressed with that. We were able to speak a bit english with some of the staff and even a bit german or french with Chrismond from Haiti. Ordering was never a problem but some staff really only speak spanish so it was hard to have a longer converstaion with them. But they tried their best to speak with you. I'm aware that spanish is their language so i had no problem with that and since i speak German, French and English i had no problems with conversations. However if you only speak englisch sometimes (only at the poolbar) it can be difficult.

RIU RESORT
We had a look at all the other Rius since we had access to all of them. Avoid the Naiboa it's a dump i'm surprised that Riu can allow themselves to have such a bad hotel in their chain. The other Rius including the Palace Punta Cana also seemed pretty run down and both have a much to small pool for the amount of guests. But i think the Macao will be very nice once it reopens as an adults only.

all in all we recieved very good value for our money and we would recommend this hotel to our friends.

Room Tip: Book VIP section you get the best of both worlds. Relaxing and if you want some action just go to th...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Heise69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
NC
Level Contributor
36 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2012

We traveled June 17-22 2012. When arrived at the hotel and walked into the lobby the stench was horrible. Figured out later that it was just the smell from the jungle around us being sucked into to the building...I think. The pink, purple, mirrored glass decorating was a bit too much...it looked like something from the early 70's....not old looking, new...just outdated themes, unless you like that kind of thing. When they said palace we figured "PALACE". This was our 25th anniversary trip and we were told they were going to make a big deal out of it...never happened. Neals did help us get a nicer room though. The buffett all tastes the same. the breakfast buffett was the best. Eat lunch at Taino and every dinner you can. Steak and Lobster there. To get into the specialty restaraunts you must make your reservation 2-3 days ahead of time....so if your going for a week you won't get to eat at those 4 times. The fridge in the room NEVER got cold. The ocean is blue and just beautiful....though the reefs are grassy with little fish. The Catamaran Cruise is really cheesy but it's a nice day out if you make the best of it. The 2.5 hour bus ride each way to the dock was weird because we ended up on a bus full of Germans. Which brings me to my next thing, this hotel caters to Germans? They actually have an area that you can't even go to if you not a German? I found them stinky, arrogent, and in a foul mood most of the time....especially if you weren't German, ya. Enrique at the front desk was a life saver...he seemed to know the answer to whatever question I came up with no matter how far fetched. DO NOT GET A ROOM ABOVE THE THEATRE! Very loud at night. You have to be very persistent and accurate when making your reservation. Look at all the different style room they have....the Junior Suites with the hot tub outside are nice. Oceanview/front a must...the view is awesome. A free tip...the power in the room goes on and off when you put you room key in...you can use any card that you have with a magnetice strip (eg: old gift card) and put it in facing the way it says and it will keep you power/ac on without having to leave your room key. Works everywhere. We will probably go to a different part of the Caribbean next time......I'm ready to go back and be around some happy Mexicans or Rastafarians! I challenge the DR to change my mind!

Room Tip: Junior suites with the hot tub outside are nice. Be persistent a accurate with you reservation. Look...
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank yourtravelbargain
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2012

My friend and I just got back from our 5 day stay at the RIU. We were there June 21-June 26.

We arrived well before official check in, but they put us in our room right away. Unfortunately, our suitcases took a good hour to come up to the room--we would have preferred to just bring them ourselves so we can get to the pool!

The resort is really clean and so was the room. We were in 2036 and had a view of the little courtyard fountains. The only con was there was this funky odor throughout the hotel. I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I coughed it up to being cigarette smoke since the resort is NOT non-smoking.

The pool was perfect as was the beach. We had a very attentive pool waiter, Angel, who would bring us muy grande pina coladas. There was always plenty of chairs to go around and the pool didn't fill up until past noon. Some days they had a gardner come around with a wheelbarrow filled with coconuts. For a few dollars he'd hack at it with a machete and you'd be able to drink the coconut water. SO yummy! Definitely the only way to drink coconut water. Conservatives might have a bit of a culture shock with the toplessness on the beach and little thong bikinis and speedos, but really should get over it.

As for the food, since it's buffet I recommend getting to the restaurant as soon as it opens. Once the food sat for a long time it started to look gross.

There really was no nightlife. After midnight there is nothing to do. There is a club, Pacha, which is on the street that connects all three resorts. That was fun to dance but it gets super hot - no air conditioning! Our last night we went with some people we met to a club at another resort, Mangu, which was a lot of fun and highly recommend going there as long as you're with someone who speaks good Spanish. We wanted to go to Imagine, the club in the cave, but it is closed on Mondays.

On our last day, we scheduled a noon pick up with VIP car service. I DO NOT recommend them. Instead of leaving all relaxed, I left the room with high blood pressure after getting into a yelling match with the front desk. Apparently we needed to speak to our VIP rep one more time to get the official pick up time. When I saw him after we checked in, he just took my paper and I took that as a confirmation. So at 11:15am we were getting phone calls to the room that the bus was leaving without us. Long story short, we don't recommend using VIP to get to and from the airport.

I don't recommend this resort for singles. There's not a huge single population, we were maybe 2 of 6 20-30 something singles on the resort. It's mostly a couples and family crowd. But we made the best of it!

I highly recommend the RIU if you want to relax, stay by the pool and beach, and just have a good time. Staff is super friendly and they try very hard to communicate in all languages.

Mamajuana para todo.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Pietra A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edmond, Oklahoma
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 June 2012

I felt compelled to write a review of the RIU Palace Bavaro after reading so many good reviews on Trip Advisor. We went to RIU Bavaro the last week of May 2012. First trip to the Dominican Republic. We have been going to RIU's hotels for the past 12 years and to A.I. resorts for 20 years. Before this trip we never had any problems with RIU hotels.

Arrival at Punta Cana airport: This is a outdoor airport, no windows and no air conditioning. The first thing you do when getting inside of the airport is to pay a $10 per person arrival fee. If the United States did this we might solve the debt problem.

We found our transportation to RIU and got to the hotel.

Check-in: No one met us at the door of the hotel. We went to the front desk and checked in and then took our bags to our room.

Room: Room was decorated in the new decor. We did not care for the open concept. We choose to stay at this property because it was new. We found the room had hair and dirt on the floor. We left tips for house cleaning, but room was not cleaned as well as other RIU property's we have stayed at. When we got to our room it felt like it was about 60 degrees inside. The windows for the sliding glass door were wet from condensation. We tried to turn down the A/C but it was stuck on cold. We called maintenance and they showed us where the breaker box was and how to turn off the A/C. This did not solve the A/C problem. We also had a problem with housekeeping not bringing us towels. We called the desk and they said towels would be brought by. After 45 minutes no towels. We called back and they said the towels should have been delivered. We then went and found a house keeping cart and took towels. After the towel problem and the A/C problem we went to the from desk and asked for the director. We met with the assistant director. He told us he would look into the problem. He did not say he would take care of the problem, he would look into it. We got more towels and the A/C was turned down to the point where it was too hot. Another call to maintenance. Problem fixed after the third call.
We like other guests had staff members knock on our door in the evening and then tell us wrong room. Nothing stolen from room.

Food: Food was good, no complaints.

Beach: Great, no problems. No drink service.

Casino: Don't' waste your time.

Tourism: Diving, snorkeling, tour of kid's school not much else to see.

Other: We did not get scammed at check-in. Some other people we met told us they went to the check-in desk and were told for $180 they could upgrade their room. They said no and were offered the upgrade for $100. They went and looked at the room, went back to the desk and told them they did not want the upgrade. When they were given their room it turned out to be the same room they had looked at for an upgrade. Other people we met also had problems with housekeeping and towels.

When we first started going to A.I. resorts the big sell was everything at one price, no extra costs. Also in big letters on the hotel brochure it said no tipping. We have found that this is not longer true. Everyone in the Dominican Republic expects a tip. Would not go back.

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank bill w
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Apopka, Florida
Level Contributor
45 reviews
32 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2012

We enjoyed the modern decor and clean lines of this facility. Reception staff was great. Epifanio was very friendly and attentive. All the staff was great. We stayed at the VIP area. Enjoyed our room which had a balcony right in front of the beach. Our room was nice and spacious.
The facility was not crowded. We went to some of the themed restaurants. We were at the Krystal when it was my husband´s birthday, and all the crew came to sing and brought a DELICIOUS cake. I would definitely go back. The only thing I missed was the lush vegetation that the Taino used to have (the Taino was torn down to build this one). I suppose it will take some years to grow back.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank NRaquel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Naperville, Illinois
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 June 2012

This was our first trip to Punta Cana. Our stay was from June 11 -June 18. We traveled with another couple and had a great time. Once we arrived we couldn't check in till 3:00p.m. so we went to eat lunch at the buffet which was great! The check-in process went well. When we checked in our room which was on the ground floor( it was a garden view room) I went to look out on the balcony and the sprinkler system was going and everything was wet. I went and got the room changed with no problem on a higher floor.The room was very nice and big! The bed was very comfortable. Didn't use the bar that was in the room that much but was nice to have anyway.Our room was a good walking distance from the pool, beach and restaurants but I enjoyed the walking especially after eating all the delicious food.

The main pool was great! It was not crowded at all and there were plenty of chairs to sit on. The water was a little warm but otherwise it was wonderful! Love the built in lounge chairs in the pool. The beach was clean and beautiful but spent more time in the pool. It was fun to check out the flea market down the beach.

The buffet was wonderful as well as the a la carte restaurants. All the staff were very friendly and did an excellent job in keeping the hotel and grounds clean. Our waiter Antonio was the best!
Did three excursions : the Marinarium( snorkeling ,saw two large nurse sharks and got to hold a stingray) The party on the boat afterward was a lot of fun! We did ziplining which was awesome! There were twelve total! We also did the Bavarro Runner-all day excursion. It was nice but too long would recommend doing half-day excursions. Our tour guide was Sammy who was great!
Went to the entertainment every night. Could be more variety, but was fun to watch.
Recommendation: More bathrooms by the pool and buffet area. Waiters could be quicker by the pool bringing drinks. Overall I would recommend this hotel and would return.

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Nancy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2012

Ok we had a great time and food and drinks were great. The resort was clean and they really did everything they could to please you for the most part. They even go into your safe and take your money, but to make it so it isn't noticable they take the inside bill and they only take bills that are 50 or 100's. Or they go through all you empty bags. Or bags that appear to be empty and take your cell phone from one bag and the battery from another bag. O that wasn't all the also took our camera that had the wedding pictures on it from the wedding we were their for. In all over 6 out o 14 rooms that we had were missing over 1500 usd and a cell phone and camera. We placed a complant at the front desk and they told us we had to go to the police. We were 1 hour from our shuttle to the airport to pick us up, which we were told if we went we would miss our flight. So 2 of our party went to place a report. I did find it strange that we would get radom knocks at the door during the shows and dinner and if we ddn't answer because we were sleeping they would just enter the room and when we jumped up they said o just checking on you and your family. Several people in our group that had items missing returned to their rooms and found the safe open and all doors locked. In one instance we had one staff waiting outside the building and the other person just leaving our room. We thought nothing of it until items went missing. It is very sad because we are frequent travelers (3 time yearly) and the first time ever we ran into this problem and until this we would have recommened this resort to anyone. It was that nice, but after paying over 5000 for a family of 4 and having that happen it isn't worth it. So many more places that respect your privacy and do not take your hard earn money and personal belongings. My 8 year old daughter received communion and got a 100$ bill that was taken from her wallet. It was obviously a kids wallet and to have that even taken was crazy. It was all taken the night before us checking out. So it was very hard to even address it once it was realized. It is just sad to have lost the wedding pictures and the pictures from the entire trip too. As of now we have had no resolution to the problem. I am hoping I will hear from the resort but as of now I have not. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Stayed June 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
38 Thank KMellody
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

Property: 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 #53 of 111 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
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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