My husband and I stayed here for a week. The weather was great, warm and sunny but not horribly humid.
Really quick transfer from the airport. We took a taxi on arrival. $30 fixed fare and good quality vehicle with aircon.
Like many other readers have commented, arrival is a bit of a disappointment as the reception area is not very grand. I was aware of this so it was not great surprise. We were greeted with cold towels and a welcome drink and the check in process was swift.
Our room was fine - a good size, and kept clean. We had the musty smell that so many people have mentioned and I coudn't say it was luxury accommodation, but no real problems. I had taken my own shampoo / shower gel etc and was pleased I had done so as the quality and range of toiletries provided was pretty basic. No extraction in the bathroom, and quite a few bugs, especially at night time. The aircon worked well.
The room was cleaned throughly every day and the mini bar generously restocked. We didn't tip daily but did leave a tip for housekeeping at the end of our stay.
Food wise, in my opinion all of the dining options on the Royal side outclass those on the other side. We tried the Mexican, Steak House and Italian but none of them matched the standards at the Royal. The quality of food was fine - not outstanding, but fine and generally the food was well presented. I get the impression that hygiene standards are good.
The resort is set in beautiful, spacious grounds which are well tended.
With regard to golf - the course was never busy and we were always able to walk straight on. The $50 fee for the buggy proves expensive when you only want to play 9 holes each day. The buggies leave a lot to be desired. We played every day and without exception we had a problem with the buggy we were given, either backfiring there way around the course, or running out of battery before we completed our round (given we only played 9 holes i don't hold out much hope for anyone playing the full round). The course is well kept and challenging enough for me.
We spent most of our time at the infinity pool - which is the quieter area with no music blaring. Some of the atmosphere was spoilt by people getting very drunk and noisy, but generally this was a nice area to relax. The beach is also nice and though there are not many parasols available the trees provide some natural shade.
Service was a bit hit or miss - sometimes good, others not.
One word of warning about this hotel - we met two separate couple who'd had wallets / purses stolen from their rooms. We were careful to put our valuables in the safe and had no problems.
One thing I did especially like about this hotel was the choice of outdoor dining in the fresh air or indoor seating with the comfort of air-con. I've been to other resorts which don't have restaurants with air-con and it can be very uncomfortable when the weather is very humid.
In terms of other guests, there were quite a lot of Americans staying at the hotel, along with a wide mix of Europeans. Some guests were pretty raucous but it did not cause us any major problems.
Bear in mind that though a lot of the staff speak some English their first language is Spanish. We sometimes found it quite difficult to communicate anything beyond the most basic requests.
There is a strong tipping culture here. Other AI hotels I have stayed in have requested guests do not tip staff directly but leave a tip at the end of their stay which will be shared amongst the staff. I personally prefer this arrangement and did not want to bother to have to carry money around with me. Some staff clearly expected to be tipped when serving.
I would rate the hotel as 3.5 stars. It certainly isn't my idea of 5 star, even by Caribbean standards, but then again it is less expensive than some of the other hotels in the area - to a large extent you get what you pay for!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Enjoy the authentic Caribbean at an exclusive, adults-only resort. Its small details make big your stay and the personalized service you receive will make you feel as if you were in heaven. Exclusive suites, innovative restaurants, dreamlike swimming pools…relax in this tropical paradise and enjoy the best vacation you’ve ever had. Have an extraordinary experience, and leave the worrying to us; we’ll take care of you. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Hotel Punta Cana
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Punta Cana
- Royal Catalonia Bavaro