We just got back on May 1st and we're still in awe. This resort exceeded our expectations! One week was not long enough! My boyfriend and I are both in our early 40's and we booked our trip back in January. I've read countless reviews for months, both positive & negative for nearly three months prior to our leaving. I can NOT understand for the life of me where the negatives are coming from.
Check in was a breeze. As soon as we stepped off the bus there was a bell hop readily there to take our luggage and walk us to the front desk. The lobby of this resort was massive- definitely a grand impressive entrance. Pictures do it no justice. The floors were so clean they shined like glass! We arrived at 4:00 pm and much to our surprise there was no waiting at all- we were the only ones checking in at that time. A waitress immediately came over with cold towels to pat our foreheads and serve us a delicious cold cocktail. Another pleasant surprise was that even though we did not upgrade to the platinum package we were given a room close to the beach. The only downfall was that this room did not have a king bed, as we requested, but we were told that we could easily get another room near the beach the next day- no problem. He said they would push...We just got back on May 1st and we're still in awe. This resort exceeded our expectations! One week was not long enough! My boyfriend and I are both in our early 40's and we booked our trip back in January. I've read countless reviews for months, both positive & negative for nearly three months prior to our leaving. I can NOT understand for the life of me where the negatives are coming from.
Check in was a breeze. As soon as we stepped off the bus there was a bell hop readily there to take our luggage and walk us to the front desk. The lobby of this resort was massive- definitely a grand impressive entrance. Pictures do it no justice. The floors were so clean they shined like glass! We arrived at 4:00 pm and much to our surprise there was no waiting at all- we were the only ones checking in at that time. A waitress immediately came over with cold towels to pat our foreheads and serve us a delicious cold cocktail. Another pleasant surprise was that even though we did not upgrade to the platinum package we were given a room close to the beach. The only downfall was that this room did not have a king bed, as we requested, but we were told that we could easily get another room near the beach the next day- no problem. He said they would push the beds together for the night and did their best to accommodate us.
Our room was #316 (ground level) and since it was close to the beach it was quite a long ride by trolley from the lobby to get there. The grounds of this resort was absolutely gorgeous- and spotless! Everywhere you looked you could see someone sweeping, washing windows, or tending to the gardens. Lots of peacocks, chickens, and flamingos just wandering about. It took about 5-10 minutes to get to our room by trolley, but it was such a beautiful ride. Transportation around the resort is great-always a trolley coming by (wherever you are) every 5 minutes or so. During the ride to our room we did encounter an odor while driving through the mangrove. We were told by staffers that this was not sewage (as we thought) but the odor was caused by rotted mangos that had fallen from the trees. The smell isn't that bad and it passes quickly as you pass through- also there are no rooms in that area. The rooms are much nicer in person than in pictures. I would assume most rooms are the same- just be sure not to book in the junior suites, as they are in a complex near the lobby. They didn't look as nice as the bungalows. The patio in the suites was spacious and relaxing. The room did have a little musty odor, but that is to be expected in this type of climate. We brought glade plug-ins and spray which did come in handy. AC worked great- we had to keep it on low as it got too chilly otherwise. Plenty of scorching hot water and the shower pressure was GREAT too. Massaging shower heads- it was better than home! At night you couldn't hear a pin drop it was so peaceful sitting out on our patio. We saw absolutely NOT ONE BUG in our entire stay! The people who posted pictures of roaches really perturbs me. I can't even begin to describe how spotless this entire resort was!! As for mosquitoes, there were a few. It is to be expected. So be sure to bring some bug spray, it does help. The suite had marble floors throughout and sometimes they did get a little griddy when coming in & out from the beach. But when we returned later in the day, the maid did a wonderful job mopping and tidying up. We left her a $3 tip (and a gift) everyday before heading to the beach. However, next time I will forgo the gift idea. I saw many maids leaving the rooms with huge bags filled with stuff. We were stunned to see how much stuff they get in one day. So next time I will just leave her cash. That should save on luggage space too!
The beach was absolute paradise! Lush beach grass and an abundance of enormous palm trees. Plenty of shade under the grass umbrellas or under a palm. We never had a problem finding a chair- no matter what time of day. However, if you wanted one of the grass umbrellas you did have to get up the crack of dawn to reserve one- but that did have it's perks. Every morning I would walk down the beach before the sun came up and got to watch to most breathtaking sunrise. The sky glowed all colors and I took lots of pictures. The beach was clean and the sand was literally like flour. Soft & white. Not even the smallest rock or shell to be found. The water was a sparkling aqua blue- it was even bluer than the pool water!! The waves were awesome- but sometimes they were big enough to knock you off your feet. The beach shack offered free boggy boards which were great to ride the waves into shore. They also offered free non-motorized sports equipment but we just wanted to relax. There was para sailing right in the front of the resort. The BP had so much going on all day. Thumping music, dancing, aerobics, tug or war, volleyball, all kind of funny games going on. Even if you didn't want to participate it was fun to watch. There were two cozy beach bars right on the beach in the sand with plenty of available table & chairs to enjoy your lunch. The one in the front of the resort offered hamburgers, hot dogs & fries- but with a huge buffet inside at ElGoucho with plenty of variety, we didn't eat at the grill at all. My boyfriend and I took many walks up the beach and discovered that of all the dozens of resorts the Bavaro Princess had the most beautiful beach front of all. It was extremely wide and spacious. We noticed that as you ventured up the beach, it narrowed quite drastically. It's no wonder the other resorts have such a shortage of beach chairs. Also we found that there was not much going on for activities on the beach at other resorts. No music or anything and most people at other resorts looked mildly bored. At the BP beach there were lots of venders walking around trying to sell excursions or jewelry. They were only allowed on the beach. The security guards maintained a strict boundary into the resort itself. I have to say that it was sometimes frustrating trying to read a book when they approached us every 5 minutes. It was annoying, but eventually I figured if you pretended you were sleeping (or were topless) they would leave you alone. ;-) Yes there are topless women here. But far & few in between. After your first day you don't even notice them (and sometimes lose your inhibitions!) One day we walked to the left up the beach and found no venders. The next day we walked to the right (about 15-20 minutes) and there were venders galore! Unprepared, we brought no money. As we approached the market they began cat-calling us, some even running up to us and grabbing our arms trying to get us into their shops. 'Cheapy cheapy' they'd say. When we tried to tell them we had no money they say 'Looky looky' and still try to pull us into their shops. At first it was kind of funny, but then it became annoying, sometimes even scary. They really mean no harm though. The venders actually compete with each other for your business. If they weren't so pushy we would've gone back, but decided not to. Also, we left our valuable belongings and money unattended in our beach bag by our loungers almost every day while swimming or walking around- and nothing was ever stolen!
The pools were also very nice. Humongous & clean. They were picturesque and curved around the resort like a lagoon. Although we really didn't spend much time by the pool as we'd rather be at the beach, but there were plenty of unshaded chairs to be found there- although grass umbrellas had to be reserved early in the morning. I have to say that I had one experience with theft there. Early in the morning I had reserved two chairs by the beach and another two chairs by the pool. Since I used both our towels to reserve the beach chairs, on my way back to our room I reserved the chairs by the pool with my sweatshirt. Later in the afternoon when we went to the chairs we reserved by the pool, my sweatshirt was gone and there was a family sitting in the spot I reserved. When I asked them about it, they conveniently they did not speak English. My sweatshirt was never recovered. Oh well, no big loss. The swim up bar was almost always busy all day. We were lucky to find two seats there for an hour during our entire stay- but like I said, no biggie as the beach beckoned us most of the day. On the other side of the swim up bar there is also the pool bar- where we enjoyed many drinks there in the afternoon. They offered fresh fruit kabobs there- scrumptious!
Now even though we did not upgrade to the platinum package we were served top shelf liquor all week. The drinks were not watered down at all and were very strong. The mammajuana shots are definitely something to try. People were drinking them a lot! The locals call this drink the Dominican 'Viagra'. So you can assume what that means ;-) It's definitely an 'acquired' taste though- bitter sweet- almost like tequila. Bartenders were great- never had a problem with waiting. We tipped a dollar every time we ordered a drink. However, I noticed that even those who didn't tip were served just as quickly. It's always good to bring a lot of one dollar bills. We brought $250 in singles and even though we tipped well, we still brought money home with us. The staff seemed as though they didn't expect it and always seemed surprised to get a tip. I feel that it's always good to show your appreciation of good service- these people work very hard.
The food was fabulous! However, for us it was a little bit of a culture shock our first day. We ate at La Hispaniola in the main lobby our first day (the main buffet). Every night there's a different theme, on that night it was Dominican night. Lots of different foods I never had before. I was starving so I tried almost everything. Some things were good, some not so good. Later in the night I did get a little sick- I was in the bathroom every 10 minutes all night long. I thought it was the food, but the next day we had an apple vacations orientation (which was very informative). I was told that the sickness was due to dehydration. Too much alcohol and not enough water. I took Immodium and drank lots of water that day and my sickness was quickly rectified. Never had a problem the rest of the week. Most people did dress up at night- which was fun! Men have to wear collared shirts, closed in shoes, pants, the women wore dresses & heels most times. My ankles did get a little swollen due to too much marange' in high heels! As far as the best restaurant goes it was a toss up between Chopin and Tanuki (the japanese). We didn't have the platinum package but found there to be more than enough restaurants to chose from. Chopin was absolutely the most romantic of them all. Tables set exquisitely by soft candlelight surrounded by a lagoon. The evening entertainment there is something not to miss. We had early reservations (6:30) and the entertainment did not begin till 8:30. The waitress here was GREAT! She let us wait and served us TWO bottles of mammajuana! We tipped her well. At 8:30 the serenading began. A boat drifted by while you dined with a man playing the piano on it!! The ambiance & atmosphere here was spectacular! Tanuki was great too. The chef cooks right in front of you. Our chef was so funny and was extremely entertaining. The food here was the best! We were so stuffed we could barely walk out. That's another thing. They serve you such big quantiles you almost feel bad not being able to eat it all. Breakfast was unbelievable!! Everything you can think of. There are two buffets (one at the lobby and one by the beach- ElGoucho). Since our room was so close to the beach we ate at ElGoucho every day. There's a chef there that will whip up costume made omletes- they were so good! For three days we were a little disappointed that they didn't have any orange juice but had just about every other kind of juice. Then on our third day we found the gourmet juice dispenser located near the bar- and loe & behold- there was the OJ! We heard that the main breakfast buffet at the lobby was far better than the one by the beach. But we had no complaints whatsoever.
The nightly entertainment (I found) to be far from corny. Every night there was a different show that was quite enjoyable. Before the show began, there was a house band that played Latin style music in the open plaza located near the stage. My boyfriend and I headed here after dinner every night. We had a blast! The tables were adorned in linen cloths, candlelit, fountains nearby. It was very romantic. People were dancing and having a lot of fun there. We met lots of other couples and made fast friends. Waitresses gave top-notch service, always coming by to take empty glasses and get you another drink. Very rarely did we have to go to the bar. At about 9:30 the stage lights went on and everyone left the plaza to get seats for the show. Watch out if you sit up front though- you might get called to the stage for a pre-show comedy skit. We never laughed so hard when they dressed up a bunch of guys in the audience like show girls and made them do a routine! Too funny. The shows were great. One night they did Phantom of the Opera, another night they did the Loin King. The dancers really did well coordinating. The fire and special effects on stage (I thought) were excellent. After the show everyone congregated back in the plaza for more drinks and music. We went to the casino one night, which was fun. There's a trolley to take you there from the lobby & back- but also a short walk if you chose. There's also a night club in the casino which was fun & lively but not overly crowded. They played mostly 80's-90's hip hop music- which was right up our alley!
As far as service goes... well, I would consider this resort a 5 star! The staff was SO friendly and did everything to make our stay enjoyable. One night we arrived 30 minutes late for our reservations at Bella Pasta, and even though in fine print on your card it says that your reservation would be canceled if you were 15 minutes late- they were still very kind and seated us quickly. We were always served quickly and in a timely manner. Also it seemed that no matter where you were in this resort, whether it was the gardener, the maid, or the rest of the staff, these people went out of their way to say; 'Hola' to us- always smiling faces and extremely polite.
Sadly, we only went on one excursion- Saona Island. I wish we had done more. But this island was SPECTACULAR. It was too beautiful to even describe. The water is even bluer than Bavaro beach. We took a catermaran to the island where they served us endless rum & cokes. The island itself was beyond anyones imagination! They had a huge buffet and open bar all day. Music and loco girls entertainment. The way back we took a 500 hp speedboat. The boat stopped into this swimming area in the middle of the Caribbean- we all jumped off the boat and found starfish! Again, the rum & cokes kept on coming! A trip not to miss!! This was by far the best day of our holiday!! The only sad thing was that we had to take a bus ride to LaRomana port there and back (which is an hour 1/2 bus ride) each way. I will tell you- this bus ride was quite sad (but educational). Our tour guide on the bus gave us an extraordinary lesson in the Dominican culture. But all you had to do was look out the window to get a glimpse of what the true country consists of. They say if you never leave your resort, you can not say you went to the DR- how true!
The negatives... LOL. Well, not everything was perfect- no. I actually had to think real hard to find something. But honestly, there was no cream for coffee, only milk. I'm a big coffee drinker so this was a slight bummer. Another thing, there were no face cloths in our rooms. But again no biggie as there were plenty of bath towels to suffice. On the third day I went to wash out my 'bubba keg' in the kitchen sink area and discovered that the faucet wasn't even attached to the fixture and didn't work! But no biggie, I just used the faucet in the bathroom. The first night was a nightmare for me. Although the resort did put the two beds together I kept falling into the crack in the middle all night! My boyfriend & I were at odds because he refused to change rooms. So I wound up sleeping on one side and he on the other. A few nights he fell in the crack and I laughed and refused to hear him complain! ;-) Also there are no alarm clocks in the room. The day we had to go to Saona Island we had to be at the lobby at 7 am sharp and was afraid we would miss the bus. So bring your watch!
All & all this was an absolutely beautiful resort!! There were people of all ages here, young/old- all happy & satisfied. Everyone we talked to was having a great time- all of whom insisted they would go back in a heart beat! Many had been to several other places in the Carribean but all said that this resort was by far the best!! Sometimes I wonder if the people who are posting these bad reviews- just don't want this place to get over booked!! Because I almost thought to do the same thing! ;-) We stayed here 7 days and we didn't want to leave! There's so much more to do and see that we missed. We didn't even get a chance to walk through the mangrove. For the price we paid for this trip; $900 p/p it sure was a STEAL! Of all the restaurants (10 in all) we only had enough time to experience 4 of them. So with that said, no doubt that we'll definitely have to go back again real soon!! I'm already looking.... ;-)
PS- I've got 300 photos to post-- yikes!! LOLMore
- Free Parking
- Breakfast included