We just got back from the Catalonia Royal this past Saturday. We stayed from 06/08 - 06/13. We are a couple in our mid-30's who were looking for a quiet, relaxing place to get away from the stresses of life, and boy did we find it.
The Royal section is a section inside a much larger resort called the Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort. This main resort is for everyone, and it seemed very crowded, the Royal side however (which is adults only) was very quiet and calm and didn't seem crowded the entire week we were there.
Beach/Pool - We were always able to find chairs at the pool and the beach but not always under an umbrella. Beware the towel game was played here heavily all week at the beach and the pool. By the time the pool closed in the afternoons there would still be almost every chair under shade occupied by towels that no one had sat in. We went to the beach most days because there were palm trees there that you could usually move your chairs around to find some shade, but if you are the type of person that needs constant shade, you would need to get up by at least 7:00 am to save an umbrella. The ocean was very clear, warm and calm, no waves where the swimming area was. You could see the waves breaking out on the coral reef (don't know if it's natural or man made?) but it was like 1/2 mile out. The ocean did have some seaweed patches and some floating in the water, so if that's something that really bothers you this might not be the resort for you. It didn't bother us though, and the Royal side of the beach was soooo relaxing. If there was music playing it was always something soothing or with a Caribbean feel and the wind was usually blowing gently to cool you off. This was where we spent most of our time.
Room/grounds - The rooms were very spacious and clean. We were in room 4049 which was just past the pool facing the garden side. It was very beautiful and quiet, and I would recommend a room on the top floor. We didn't have any problems with bugs and our AC and hot water worked great. Just an FYI, there is a big tub beside the bed in the main room but this is not a jacuzzi tub, just a soaking tub. Our refrigerator was stocked every day with two beers, a pepsi, a diet pepsi, a 7up, a Red Rock (local orange soda), and 2 or 3 bottles of water, and if you needed more water there was bottled water at all the restaurants and the bars had bottles to give you. We would leave our room after lunch to go to the beach or pool and put the sign out to make up our room and it was always done when we got back to the room usually around 4:00 or 5:00 pm. My SO's birthday was on Thursday, (our travel agent had commented on that on our reservation although we didn’t know it) and we got back to the room on Wednesday night around 11:00 pm to find a birthday cake with candles lit for him. It was a very nice, thoughtful surprise.
Only negative, the bed and pillows were like a ROCK. Definitely use the pillow service to get a softer pillow and even with the mattress pad that we got from the front desk the mattress was still really hard, by the end of the week our backs were pretty messed up, but the alcohol at night helped with the sleeping.. lol.
Food - The Thalassa Restaurant on the Royal side was the best by far. For breakfast they had a menu that you ordered eggs from (cooked fresh to order) and a buffet for the rest. Fresh fruit, yogurt, meats and cheeses, cerals, pancakes, crepes, doughnuts, sausage & bacon (not like the american versions but still good), pastries, breads, etc. Lunch you ordered off a menu that changed every day, but they had a 'snack' menu that was always the same with burgers, hot dogs, Fried calamari, roasted chicken, etc. I had one of the best meals all week here at lunch, it was a stir fried eggplant and chicken dish with soy and ginger served over rice with crisp vegetables... it was delicious.
Dinner you also ordered off a menu that had a choice for everyone, steaks, seafood, lobster, chicken, pork, soups and salads all fresh and beautifully prepared. We ordered room service several times during the week, and it was always delivered within 30 minutes and the sandwiches were always good, but the negative was that all the sandwiches were served with 'chips' (which were fries) and they were, half the time, cold and soggy. I think they must just cook these up and leave them in big trays waiting to serve, because one night my SO got up at 3:00 am hungry and ordered a sandwich from room service and the fries that came with that were fresh, crisp and hot. (I guess not a huge demand for fries at 3:00 am... lol)
There were also 5 different restaurants on the main resort side and we ate at all of these as well. Our favorite was the Italian, the carpaccio of beef was fabulous as well as their mussel pasta. The Japanese, the only one that required reservations, was ok, although I was expecting a show like the hibachi style restaurants here in the US and there really wasn't one. Just a guy, who very methodically cooked everything, handed it out and left. Also, there wasn't a sushi menu which I was hoping for, they just brought out three pieces of different types of sushi as an appetizer for the meal and you didn't get to choose or pick which ones you wanted. The Mexican was pretty good; they had chicken tacos, fajitas, grilled shrimp, etc. The Rodeo (steakhouse) was our least favorite. The steaks all came WELL DONE no matter how you asked for them... my ribeye was so much like leather I couldn't eat it. My SO's fillet was butterflied to be thinner so it would cook well done quicker and then put back together before it was put on the plate even though he asked for medium rare. After that, anytime we ordered meat, we would make sure they were paying attention and say we wanted it rojo (red) and it would come out med. rare to medium.
The buffet was the only place that we could both eat dinner in shorts and sandals, so this was where we ate the first night we got there after traveling all day. It was pretty good; they had all kinds of cooking stations where you could get cooked to order fish, lamb chops, stir fried beef and pork, and pasta. Also there were all kinds of salads, fruit, cheeses and meats to make panini’s (there were two panini grills you could use), and the usual different vegetables, breads, and already prepared meats, casseroles, etc. There was a lot of variety although it reminded us of cafeteria quality and for the rest of the week we ate at the ala carte restaurants for dinner. Just as an FYI, if you are expecting all the food to be 'Americanized' you will be disappointed. We read all the reviews, and are adventurous with food, so we were very pleased with the selections, but if you are looking for food just like you would find in the US you will be disappointed. But what do you expect; you are in a foreign country!!!
We can't comment on the excursions, shows, casino, or disco because we really didn't partake in any of these. We just enjoyed each other's company, and usually wound up at the piano bar on the Royal side for drinks before going up to our room. Kudos to Louis at the piano bar, he fixed the best drinks and was so nice and personable. All the staff was helpful and accommodating, but it helps if you can speak a little Spanish. My SO spoke just enough so were didn't have any trouble communicating, even though we had to do some pointing... :)
All in all, a wonderful, relaxing vacation. We couldn't have picked a better place for what we wanted from this vacation and I would recommend this resort to anyone who was looking for peace and quiet with a great atmosphere and staff. And if you wanted something livelier you could always go to the other side. Fantastic!!!
- 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
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- Also Known As:
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Hotel Punta Cana
- Catalonia Royal Bavaro Punta Cana
- Royal Catalonia Bavaro