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Catalonia Royal Bavaro
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Reviewed 15 February 2009

Our Stay Feb 6 thru Feb 13 2009, Catalonia Royal Bavaro aka Royal Catalonia (resort reviews on TA are posted under both names?????)

Hola! We arrived Friday during the “monsoon”. Unfortunately, the cloudy-rainy weather did not clear until Wednesday (only two sunny beach-days for us). We mostly lounged at the pool and hid under the palapas or the pool bar during the heavy rain. It was fun to watch everyone dash out from under the huts when the sun came out just to catch a few rays. Needless to say we spent a lot of time drinking, playing games we brought and chatting/laughing with the other guests. Also ,while it rained we spent time in the outdoor Jacuzzi (asked for temp to be turned up and, ta-da…it was hot). We tried to go to the beach a few times during the “no-rain but cloudy” periods, but the wind was too strong. Poor Roberto at the beach bar was so alone down there…..but we tried to keep him company for a little while:) Some days, a chef is stationed at the beach bar and prepares wonderful snacks trays with bruschetta (regular tomato-mozarella kind and some other unusual combinations), procuitto and other meats, cheese, crackers and these spicy olive-pickle-peppers on a toothpick that I just loved! (no hors d’oeuvres on our two sunny days at the beach???)

We arrived Friday before noon, and our room was ready!!! Front desk staff very accommodating (I wanted an upper floor). We had second floor in bldg 42 with view of walkway instead of pool or spa which was fine. The room was musty at first, but we had a dehumidifier and needed to empty twice per day (we were very happy to have a dehumidifier since it was not hot outside you did not want to use air conditioner full blast). Thankfully, also provided is a large golf umbrella in the room so we were able to keep dry walking to and fro….we used it a lot! Luckily we had hot water all the time, but our friends did not. Also heard other guests complain as well.

There were 8 in our group. We made all of our dinner reservations on Friday afternoon. We could not get into al’a’carte restaurants (other than Thalassa) until Sunday….but we booked Sun - Mexican, Mon - Japanese, Tue - Steakhouse, Wed- Italian …we weren’t allowed to book anymore until another day – and then we could not get anything but Thalassa. This is important to note…many guests did not get a chance to book every al’a’carte restaurant so they only had choice of Thalassa and buffet for dinner several nights (I, personally, would not have been happy about this). Some people did the “money slip” to the host/hostess to get into a table at an a’la’carte. Only the Japanese was busy (they escorted us to another room for dessert) so I’m not sure why the resort do not allow more reservations for al' a'carte. I do feel the Thalassa food was very good, the service wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t smooth most of the time. I believe the problem is not enough trained waiters (many “servers” for water/drinks, plate/silverware, bread) but more people need to be “in charge” to make sure each course arrives hot, and timely. Being a table of 8 could have caused some issue, but the other a’la’cartes did a much better job than Thalassa as far as service goes.

To summarize
Rooms – adequate, bed could be more comfortable. Ask for dehumidifier.
Food – Thalassa good food, improve on service (they try), nice setting. Catalonia side average AI food. Did not care for buffets (not buffet fans anyway.)
Beach – Marvelous – don’t worry about seaweed, the beach is still beautiful. Plenty of lounge chairs and shade. Beach bar very nice, clean bathroom.
Pool - Nice loungers and attentive bar staff (Domingo and Juan Carlos) who will come around occasionally to take your drink order or bring fruit.
Catalonia Side – beautiful grounds and beach. Pizza – yes it is good! Nice to be able to visit over there for a change of pace.
Upgrade to Royal side (with Apple Vacations was $240 per couple) – worth it!

So many factors make it difficult to compare resorts, i.e., cost, time of year, destination. I can say we prefer adult only and prefer the smaller AI (350 rooms or less). Some exceptional adult-only resorts where we have stayed are Secrets Capri in MX, Couples Negril in Jamaica and Excellence in Punta Cana. The Catalonia Royal ranks below, but still "fits the bill" and costs less. With the new Tapas restaurant, pool area, snack and smoothie bar near the beach (to be ready by June) I’m sure the Royal Catalonia will even be better!!!

We will be going to Catalonia Royal Tulum (MX) in April for my b-day so stay tuned.

Celia & Tim in Ohio
Please feel free to PM with questions.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank derekmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2009

Wow! What a culture difference! After vacationing in Mexico many previous times, the DR and Catalonia itself proved to be a worthy vacation.
My wife and I stayed at the Catalonia during the last week of January 09. Being very skeptical, from the open air airport to the transfer ride to the Royal side of Catalonia Bavaro, we were greeted with a smile and a golf cart ride to our room almost immediately.
The rooms were clean enough to pass a military inspection, with fresh flower petals scattered throughout the room. Though we did not have a pool side room, the view on the opposite side of the grounds were beautiful.
The food was mostly thumbs up. We really enjoyed the Steak House, and the buffets always had something of delight. If you enjoy a good hamburger, do try the hamburger at the Thalassa for lunch! And of course, we also, loved the pizza at the snack bar for a quick bite.
The pool area was very clean and relaxing. I was impressed with the attention to detail every morning and throughout the day that the pool staff did. The beach also was beautiful and cleaned all day long. I do recomend to kayak out to the reef. Also grab some snorkel gear and some bread and feed the fish. Its a really neat experience.
For a little taste of the local culture, take a taxi to the Bavaro Shopping center, and make sure to have a beer at Steves Bar!

To sum it up, it was a wonderful time at the Catalonia. The staff from the maids to the bartenders were very friendly and helpful. We met many very friendly people from other parts of the world.
I would never hesitate to go back, and relax in the sunshine.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank MichiganSnowman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2009

WE HAVE JUST RETURNED FROM A WEEK AT THE ROYAL CATALONIA Let me first start by saying that overall it was a fairly pleasant stay. All the staff were friendly except for the check in clerk for some reason, but lacked a bit in English skills so bring a spanish trans-dictionary. Getting a drink that was not on their little cards proved almost impossible most of the time.

Rooms were above average but I was staying in the newly finished building #38. Others there had complaints about ac and water, but mine was fine.

My biggest complaint was that this was sold as an adult ''resort'', in fact it is 5 adult buildings in a family resort with your own adult pool and beach. For most buffets and 4 out of five a'la'cartes you have to go to the family side. All entertainment was also on the family side of the resort and family oriented. :( Be carefull on excursions.Safety standards are not up there.On the

Bravaro runners tour you are 16 people sitting on makeshft seats on the back of a flatbed truck, roling down the highway at 60 miles per hour ,with only a roll cage and canvas roof, and luggage staps being used as seatbelts.

The rest of the stuff was good,and should be for 4.5 *. Would I go back? probably not, kids there you can avoid them by limiting your food and entertaiment,but not what I paid for. Extensive construction is still going on but not too noisy.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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4  Thank electric
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 February 2009

The resort is excellent if you prefer an all inclusive vacation. We had a large room with balcony. The cleaning was great, and the room maids decorated the room and bathroom with fresh flowers every day. There are some very good restaurants to choose from, but also a couple where we didn`t want to return.
The staff is great and friendly, but except for the reception staff, they dont speak very much english. It is a good idea to learn some useful spanish phrases before you go.
The beach is a bit crowded. There is a free shuttle bus to the 18 hole golf course, and the 9 hole course is just a few minutes walk away. Both courses are good.
This was my first all inlusive trip, and I really enjoyed the stay at Catalonia Royal Bavaro resort.
-+

  • Stayed: November 2008, travelled with family
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3  Thank Holsfjorden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 February 2009

My wife & I vacationed at the Royal Catalonia Bavaro (adult side)from Jan. 23 to Feb. 4, 2009. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! Check in went relatively smooth (staff should be able to understand you a little better). Room was exactly what I had anticipated. Very nice, clean & comfortable. No water pressure or temperature problems that other people have reported. Cleaning staff was very efficient & kept the room up to par. Only thing is, they drop off beach towels for use the next day any time between 9:30 pm & 11:00 pm at night. Wouldn't recommend the Thalassa restaurant for dinner. Poor service. The first night we where there, we ordered our dinner at 8:00 pm & didn't get it until almost 9:30 pm. Even after asking repeatedly where the order was it took that long & it was cold to boot. Breakfast & lunch at the Thalassa was very good, service okay.
On Catalonia Bavaro Beach Resort side, beach buffet was okay, nothing spectacular. Location was its selling point. The Gran Caribe, main buffet, was excellent for all meals. Plenty of choices for everyone, but just remember, the food is not the same as you get at home. That being said, it was very good. Pool snack & pizza bar was good. All the a la carte restaurants were very good, except for the Mexican rest., it was so, so (go figure!). The creperie was a pleasant surprise! Not in the best of locations, but good non the less. All the bars, except for the main bar (Bar Palmeral - very busy at night, difficult getting a drink at times & drinks were weak) where very efficient & no problem ordering & getting drinks. Beach party on Tuesday nights was a great time as well. Not golfers, but heard that the golfing was good & course looked well kept up.
As I said earlier, we stayed on the adult side. Excellent choice for us. Bavaro Beach side is very busy & at times noisy. Royal side was very relaxing & quiet. Never overcrowded & the beach bar was great. Snacks at the bar & bar staff brought around fruit on a stick & drinks right to your lounge chair. Use of kayaks & catamarans was great. Pool was also very relaxing & the bar & staff where great.
Beach itself was very nice & could walk in both directions for a good distance. On windy days, lot of sea grass floating in water & on beach. Staff did come by several times a day to clean it up though. Water was shallow for some distance & many fish to see & feed. Location of resort was great. No other resorts really near by, so nobody trying to sell you trinkets, etc. on the beach. Only people "selling" anything where those approved by resort & it was for excursions.
Now the other side of the coin. Wouldn't recommend the Bavaro Runner's Tour. Not as great as it sounds. Equipment in gym on Royal side needs to be updated. If you are going to pay for anything with a credit card, make sure you bring VISA . Royal side wouldn't accept MasterCard or AE Traveler's Checks! No problems with misuse of card as other's have mentioned.
Overall, would recommend this resort to anyone. Definitely would go back. Plenty of things to do & plenty of nothing to do!
Came home tanned, warm, relaxed & happy!!!

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank lfdmas51
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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