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“Great Location but bad restaurant service and understaffed bars”
Review of Decameron Baru

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Decameron Baru
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Isla Baru
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 9 July 2012

We were invited to my Sister-in-Law's wedding here and spent 4 days and 3 nights. Unfortunately the trip to the hotel leaves a lot to be desired. Get ready for extremely bad dirt and bumpy roads. Upon arrival we were able to get our bracelets which allowed us to eat and drink until check-in time. Upon check and getting to our room we discovered we were not given what we had reserved, a king sized bed, but instead a 2 double-bed room with a pool/sea view. We called the front desk and arrangements were made for a change of rooms, and that room did have the king bed but absolutely no view. We decided to just stay there since we were not planning on spending that much time in the room anyway. The beach are was nice, plenty of chairs, always had a table at meal times in the buffet restaurant. Much harder to ever get a reservation at the other restaurants, an even if you do, don't expect great service. You would think the servers were all novices who had never served a table before. In fact it was so bad our first night that we were still waiting for them to serve desserts when the next round of guests arrived for the later reservation time. The bars never had enough bartenders working at any time and it took so long to get an order in that we quickly learned to order multiples of whatever we were drinking so that we didn't have to wait the next time. The wedding was great and very beauitful, but again the hotel did not do a great job of keeping other guests away from our private ceremony. Internet service was joke in that you had to be in the lobby area to even be able to use it and then it was only working sporadically. Overall I am glad it was one time visit and would probably not make the trek again. Definitely not for the traveller who is looking for and expecting a high level of service.

Room Tip: Don't be fooled when the website says all rooms have an ocean view, be sure to ask upon check-in...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled with family
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2  Thank ElPrimero001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 June 2012

I had an excellent stay at this resort. It is well built, newer (2 Years old) and in an excellent beach-front location. The facilities are immaculate, the restaurants are outstanding and the rooms are modern and spacious. The attendants make you feel welcome at every turn, real polite and extremely helpful. We were there for 4 nights and had the opportunity to enjoy all of the restaurants on the resort, of which there are 5 including the buffet.
In order to enjoy a meal of each of the a la carte restaurants you need to make reservations starting at 7:00am. You can make 3 reservations at the same time so you don’t need to get up and form the line everyday while there. They serve meals in two rotations: At 6:30pm and 8:30pm. Your choice in meal time depends upon how many activities you decide on doing during the day.
The Buffet restaurant (Portanao) was always very good. It provided a different menu every day with some staples like a omelet made to order cook at breakfast, during lunch and dinner they had many scrumptious selections, the food and breads were always fresh and well prepared. The deserts some were local fare (You need to try them) and some variety to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth. They also had an ice cream and sherbet bar available.
The Eurasia (Asian) restaurant was the most romantic of all the a la carte restaurants. The only complaint for all the restaurants was that they did not chill the wines properly. Sometimes the wines were nice and cold and sometimes not so chilled. However, the food was absolutely delicious. I had the fish and it was really good there.
The Il Forno (Italian restaurant) was also very nicely decorated. It is much bigger than it appears from the outside. The food is excellent, but the deserts were limited (That is the case in all of the a la carte restaurants)
La Pesca del Dia (Catch of the day) was a sea food restaurant. It is on the beachfront which is very nice but the view from the restaurant out to the ocean can be obstructed, so you need to get there early. For an extra fee they can set your table right on the beach if you choose to do so.
There is one more restaurant and bar not mentioned much across the channel to the back-bay where you can go sailing, paddle boating, get snorkeling gear, etc (Part of the all inclusive package). They serve mainly lunch a la carte during the day. There is a ferry to help cross the channel all day but it stops running at 4:00pm. The food was outstanding there also.
The pools, and bars are really great, these are some gigantic pools with ample splash areas for small children and adults alike. They all have a lifeguard on duty (The beach also has a one). However, they pull people out of the water on the beach at 6:00pm and from the pools at 7:00pm.
The fitness center is very nice, but the weighlifting gear, one single nautilus style machine was broken during our visit along with half the cardio equipment. You cannot depend on the fitness center there to stay in shape, it is best to use the many walking paths, pools and the ocean for your fitness needs.
The only drawback is that they turn the water off after 1 or 2 in the morning. That could be a serious inconvenience for the late night owl. Overall, the place provides a enough things to do for those who enjoy the all inclusive experience.

Room Tip: Buildings 1 (Expensive), 2 and 3 had excellent views of the ocean and were close to the reception, b...
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  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Alexander1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 June 2012

We are a family of 4, two kids under the age of 7, my husband is from England, and I am Colombian. The hotel is very, very nice. The food is great and the ALWAYS offer a great variety; the buffet restaurant is very good. You always have always to try; there is pasta, meat (pork, fish, and beef), lots of fruits and very well prepared salads. The rooms are very nice, spacious and always clean. The hotel is almost new, so I don’t understand how people complaint about toilets not working. You can see that facilities are new. I was in block 1 with sea view and it was perfect. Again, I don’t understand how people complaint about the distance from some blocks to the amenities. Please! Is a big resort, do people expect to go on holidays and have a train or a car to take them for very small distances?? If people go on holidays is to walk and to enjoy. The hotel is very nice. We had to walk every night from block 1 to the show area (show for kids at 8 pm), it takes you 6 to 10 minutes but you enjoy the walking after dinner, you can hear the frogs, grasshoppers, etc.
The staff is local people, and probably with no major training in hospitality. I am Colombian so I can understand that, they are very friendly if you treat them friendly. As another reviewer mentioned, the key is simple: be POLITE, smile, ask for things nicely, always use please and thank you. I noticed the treatment some people give them and it’s simply unacceptable. To be honest, my trip operator said the tips were included; we forgot to take some cash and therefore were in the uncomfortable position of not having money to tip. Yet, the staff was always very, very polite because we were very polite. Beach is perfect for relax and perfect for kids, the enjoyed very much and you can see the fishes. The entertainment staff was fantastic, activities for kids, aerobics, aqua aerobics, dance lessons, shows, etc. They were great! Overall for an all inclusive hotel, this resort is very good.
My complaint goes to the hotel directly and to other fellow travellers. To the hotel, please invest of staff training, surely they will get better if they got some training, invest on the local community. PLEASE, you need a SMOKERS policy. The area of the beach was not very big; we spent my week with other two families with kids. So many other people smoking on the beach!!! It’s a public space, so the hotel should address this issue. PLUS these smokers were throwing the cigarettes and filters in the coral, in the water and in the beach. As my husband said: “totally unnecessary” the bins were just there! And they did not bother. I was really upset and walking down and up the beach I did a little research, unfortunately the Colombians guess were not smokers. So PLEASE, don’t go and put rubbish in such a beautiful place. Please respect the destination, the locals, the beach and other travellers. IT is absolutely unacceptable that you are visiting another country and you don’t respect the environment and other travellers who are not smokers.

Room Tip: Depends, if you want a front view pay more and ask for a room in block 1. But the hotel overall is v...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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9  Thank Vipin_1112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 May 2012

this is a paradaise island on the Colombian Caribean, Itook my family to a relaxed vacation. The resort has everything you need, Its a 1 hour drive from the Cartagena´s airport, transportation was provided by the hotel in a bus. You'll enjoy the beach which has al water sports included, (non motor) and 4 huge swiming pools. They have a giant buffet cafeteria but also you can make reservatiosn on 3 international restaurants, which are included. My children are 9 and 11 and they had a great time, there´s animation provided by the hotel for the children which gave my wife and I pleanty of alone time to have coctails and relax by the pool.

This is a great experience a must-do if you like family beach resorts

Room Tip: All rooms have a View you can choose ocean view or pool view
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  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with family
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5  Thank TrujilloLuis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 May 2012

I recently went to this resort and is was just an incredible experience . The location is far from Cartagena .One hour and a half from the airport so be ready top nap in the bus .The minute you get there you will see an amazing view .The lobby is crowded for registration because everybody gets there at the same time but the registration process is fast . The rooms are nice and big. Not noisy. I went with a group for a reunion and they did the best to meet our specific demands beyond our expectations. They have snacks and after a night of partying and we were served food about 130 am at a place located close to the spa.They gave us a very good chicken soup .They also offer hot dogs and burgers .The drinks are OK but not out the ordinary.They serve coffee also in the bar ..it is very good.Service is good in the bar but a little tip would speed up the process. Ask for the Baileys mix.
Food is OK .Breakfast is good .Lunch is good .Worth trying local food for a change .The buffet area gets crowded at times.Dot expect the waitress to come back to you and ask how is everything .Remember you are not in the states . Sometimes if you want more drinks you have to get them yourself .They have good variety of juices. If you want to go to the restaurants you have to make a reservation ahead of time early in the morning .Dont be late otherwise you will loose your spot. I recommend Asia Asia. Portions are average size.I do not recommend to share .You should have 3 courses.
The beach is really nice ,and the view can be breathtaking .The disco is nice but can get crowded ,specially in the weekends .The swimming pools are good they don't get really crowded because everybody goes to the beach.
For those who want to take a tour to the city remember to do the right currency conversion because many people gets confused and think that the price they are given is in dollars.
Overall I rate my experience as very good ...I wish I knew before about this place before. I will definitely will go there again .Only thing I was not so excited was the distance and crossing in the mini-ferry but everything else was very good....

Room Tip: Choose a room in buildings 4 or 5 .They are close to the main swimming pool. Building 10 are to far...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with friends
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9  Thank labe7000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2012

My huddy and I went to this resort for 1 week in April. We had never been to Colombia before or even thought of going. We choose this place because we got a good deal and read some good reviews. I just want to tell everyone that this hotel it spectacular, we loved every minute there. This is the type of hotel where you can do lots of activities swim in the ocean all day, snorkel or lounge by any of the 4 pools around this resort. It is a very large property built on a hill, so if you have mobility problems, dont go here. We loved it and didnt mind all the stairs and ramps. The staff are friendly and the food is great. We ate at 2 of the al la cartes, both were good. There are lots of iguanas and smaller lizards to see arounf the resort.
We took the 1/2 day trip to the aquarium and small islands, absolutly great, and we also took the cheaper shuttle bus into the old city. It was very safe, we walked around all day and did some shopping, and I bought my self a lovely emerald ring that my jeweller from home is in love with :)
I would 200% recommend this place and we are hoping to go back. Some of the staff dont speak great english but they try really hard, and they try to help you learn a little spanish, I loved that and will be trying to learn more on my own before we go back.

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank smacclennan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2012

The hotel is great, the staff always give their best to suit your needs, and there are plenty of activities to do during the day!
If you want or need peace and love being surrounded by nature this is the place to be!
Only bad thing is that the all inclusive will probably mean some extra weight and the end of your trip

  • Stayed: April 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank Juan A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Decameron Baru

Address: Baru Km 7 | Sector Portonaito, Isla Baru 130017, Colombia
Region: Colombia > Bolivar Department > Cartagena District > Isla Baru
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 Hotels in Isla Baru
Price Range: £205 - £491 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Decameron Baru 3.5*
Number of rooms: 366
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located at the paradisiac Baru peninsula, 75 minutes from Cartagena and member of the TripAdvisor ‘Hall of Fame’ for its certified excellence during 5 consecutive years, the Decameron Baru allows guests to enter a magical experience that will disconnect them from the outside world. The resort is located amidst a tropical forest and its architectural design intermingles with an ecological environment surrounded by many beaches, among which is the popular ‘Playa Blanca’, considered one of the best beaches of the Colombian Caribbean, and the luxurious ‘Playa Puntilla’ beach, where our travellers may enjoy a private club and several sports such as kayaking, rowing, scuba and snorkeling. Partying and enjoyment are guaranteed, enlivened with the rhythms from the countries of the great Caribbean basin such as ‘champeta’, a genre that mixes African and Colombian Indigenous sounds and that introduces travellers to the local culture. As a complement to pleasure, you may sharpen your senses with the delicacies of typical and renowned Colombian Caribbean cuisine. From this destination you may explore Cartagena’s colonial history and visit other important cities from Colombia’s northern territory such as Barranquilla, a commercial, river and sea port and seat of the multitudinous Carnival, as well as historic Santa Marta, considered the most beautiful bay in America. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Royal Decameron Baru Hotel Isla Baru

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