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Reviewed 30 May 2004

We spent two weeks at the Bavaro Princess. The first (May 15th - 22nd) with 26 of our closest friends and family. We got married on the 20th and enjoyed the second week (until May 29th) solo.

First off, the beach IS magnificent. The sand is like silk. No shells for any of you shell-seekers. The water is clear. First week was windy and wavy, the second week was calmer. Both were fine, depending on what you like. You can walk forever, or so it seemed.

As everyone says, the grounds are lovely and HUGE. We walked quite a bit (had to work off all the food and booze!) and never waited long when we decided to tram it. The staff are hard-working and very pleasant. Our favourites - Tomas in Bella Pasta (who also took care of us at our wedding), Ramon who sweats his you-know-what off ALL DAY in MacPrincess and our maids. Some speak English well, others poco. Take your dictionary and try. It's fun, you can always figure out a way to communicate and enjoy the beautiful language.

Food was fine. We ate breakfast in El Gaucho a lot. Continental style, but we didn't have to a) get up early or b) go all the way to the lobby for a meal. Think we tried all the restaraunts at least once, except El Pescador. Everything was good. The standouts? Sakura was EXCELLENT (went during our second week when we were tired of buffets and wanted to taste something different). Licey was also great. My new husband had the lobster and said it was yummy, plus service was top-notch.

Our wedding was like a dream. Beautfiul beach as the backdrop. Spanish musicians. Champagne. And then a private beach party with our own DJ, chef and waiter.

I admit, I was on a high for two weeks so am probably not as critical as some. We did have a problem with water pressure. My advice? If you have a problem, tell them. They are quick to fix things. And during the second week, we saw a couple of cucarachas IN our room. Nothing a shoe and quick reflexes couldn't fix.

Would recommend the Bavaro Splash trip if you're a snorkeller. We got our own little motor boat and followed the guide to a coral reef about 20 minutes away. Great view of the coastline and snorkelling was good. One of our group also went diving and said it was ok.

We were in building 34. Right by the beach/restaraunts and the bus stop. (All the 30s seemed like good locations - email the hotel ahead of time). Room was nice and big. Really enjoyed our balcony with the view of the pool (and a little slice of ocean).

Lots of comments on prior reviews re: rude Europeans. I think there can be a language barrier and perhaps cultural differences. (Think about it - Canadians say "excuse me" and "I'm sorry" about every ten minutes - in comparison, everyone seems a bit harsh) but whenever we talked to peple, they were very nice.

Take LOTS of $1 bills (we had trouble getting large bills changed), tip when you feel it's appropriate (we did a lot, but don't think it changes the service), take a walk down the beach either way to the mini markets. VIP is good if you like the goodies (massage, horseback riding, Licey).

Blah, blah, blah. I WILL stop. Go, have fun, try a Banana Mama and the Presidente beer, smile at people, merengue and soak up the wonderful culture.

4  Thank RebeccaE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Paradise, Newfoundland, Canada
15
Reviewed 27 May 2004

We arrived on May 16th and were amazed by how beautiful the resort was. It may be large, but what a nice place to walk through. The "BUS" is always there if you don't want to walk.

Check in was little disappointing. We received our key 2 hours after arriving at the hotel, while our friends received their keys right away. In the defense of the hotel, an election was being held that day and they were short staffed. When we got to our room "315" it had a very musty/mildew smell (ground floor). However, after a little bargaining we got another room the next day. Room "328" on the second floor - no musty smell and always clean with fresh flowers.

For myself the food was excellent. My wife and friends were selective on what they ate, however, they always managed to find something to eat and it was usually good.

Breakfast was always fantastic, lots of variety with made to order eggs, fresh fruit, fruit smoothies, sausage and bacon (a little different but good). However, the juice on the resort was always fruit drink not fruit juice (freshly squeezed organge juice would have been nice).

Lunch was always good at Bella Past or Hispanola Restaurant. In the Evenings we only ate at three restaurants. Licey's - Fantastic, exceptional food and service. El Gaucho - Food and Service okay (they seemed to be understaffed that evening compared to the other restaurants. Hispanola - always a good variety and service great.

One thing we noticed was that you would see the same staff early in the morning to late in the night. They work very long hours and everybody I mean everybody that we encountered tried their hardest to make you happy.

The animation staff will try to keep you active. It was always fun to do the beach/water aerobics, table tennis, volleyball, water polo, etc..

Loved the pool especially the swim up bar. Very friendly staff. Beach was beautiful but very windy some days.

The nightly entertainment at the stage was nice. Get involved, you'll have more fun. Disco was good but started late evening (around midnight) too tired to enjoy it.

Parasailing was great - would definitely recommend even it you have a weak stomach but try not to swallow any seawater.

The massage was fantastic. Get one, you'll like it!!!

Never got sick by eating and drinking as much as I wanted except for the evening I drank 2.5 bottles of wine. It was good!!!

We enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Time seemed to stand still. I would recommend this resort. Keep an open mind and if you're not happy about something ask the staff they will do their best to fix it with a smile.


5  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
Montreal, Canada
17
Reviewed 18 May 2004

Just got back sunday may 16. I feel bad that I read all the negative reviews and lost my time doing so. After all, it's a 4.5 star, isn't it? I think people are dishonest because this place is HEAVEN ON EARTH!!! We lived the life of the rich and famous for one week. The people are so friendly. They smile all the time. One advise: You can get the VIP room near the beach with a supplement of 10$ per day. You don't need to buy the VIP plan. You can get your rhum bottles across the street for 6$ (the best brand) and you have access to 6 restaurants, plus a buffet on the beach two days per week. The food was great at all the restaurants. The flamingos and the peacocks (we saw 5 plus babies) eat right in your hands. The landcape is breathless. We had our 7 months old bay and the staff did every thing to accomodate us. They even brought a little bed without us asking for it. The fridge is always full of beer , water and sodas. Enough said, I wish I would have stayed another week.

7  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2004

Just thought I would write my own review as we just returned on Friday April 30 and it was the most magnificent 7 days of my life, next to my wedding and the birth of my children of course. We booked thru a Canadian (Ft Erie) travel agent, we live in Buffalo, NY. Only my husband and I went- this trip was to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary.
Airport: We flew out of Toronto into Punta Cana International and let me tell you, the pictures we saw on the web do not do it justice. Hatch roof, open air, very tropical. After going thru customs, very easy if you have a passport and your tourist card already filled out. These cost $10US, hopefully whom every you book thru has them in your package already. You claim your luggage and head for the outside. There they have lots of men with signs showing several Travel groups, they tell you the number of your bus to your resort. Cross the parking lot, find your bus, check in with your travel guide, watch your luggage get put on, then take a seat. Our guide made a "CERVESA"(BEER) run to get cold, ice, cold El Presidente, the beer of chose in DR. Then its off to the resort. We did have to drop off people at 2 other resorts. They looked very nice, but none compared to what we were about to see.
Check-In: the people-OH so very friendly. Check in went well, as well as any check-in can be. Told them our name, received cold tropical fruit drinks while in line. Had everything explained to us in English-pleasently surprised after all the negitive reviews about the language difficulties. Informed due to the time we arrived Noon our room would not be ready until 3pm, changed into our other cloths (swimsuits & shorts-packed in our carry on- thanks for the tip) we had lunch -Hisponola-buffet, they open @ 1pm. Then, because we opted for VIP,(very wise chose) we asked if we could get our key now, since we were heading for the beach and didn't want to have to come all the way back to the lobby in a couple of hours. The front desk guy was great-"Hansel", he handed over the keys without even getting a tip- but we tipped him anyway. They make so little.
Room: the pictures on line or even in the brochures do not do it justice. Beautiful, full stocked refrigerator, CERVESA, & cold soda & water, even diet soda! Fresh flowers, our maid even made the towels into ducks/swains and a heart on the bed. We did leave her little gifts after the first day, I got that as a tip from another website, but we also left a couple US dollars too. Next time I think I'll just leave US dollars, the gifts made our luggage extra heavy. They even had a cake delivered on the first day stating "Feliz Annivesario". We thought that was a nice touch. *** Remember to pack the colored wash cloths-another tip we got***
Beach: Beautiful, wonderful, magnificent, more than enough chairs & hunts for shade, even if you don't go out @ 8am to leave a towel on the chair-which to me seems lame, since the people who do this do not even show up to lay out and enjoy the beach until well into the afternoon.
Pools: As pools go I guess they are good, but I didn't come all that way to sit by the pool. We lounge by it the first day, then it was the beach. But I do have to say the swim up bar is very cool.
Food: never got sick, not even a little and my husband & I are lactose intolerant and we ate ice cream. We did as our Sunwing agent-Yessy said, stayed away from the coconut milk-natural laxative. So when I had a fresh fruit smoothy-pineapple every morning it was made with OJ instead of coconut milk and NO PINA COLADAS. But that was OK the food was great.
El Gaucico- Steak house- good, not great, no steak sauce, so if your an A1 guy or gal bring your own
MacPrincess- beach hunt, burger joint- great, chicken burgers, hamburgers, french fries-ketchup is different-kind of vinegary but OK if you only eat Heinz or Hunts or only like that kind of taste-bring your own
Bella Pasta- just what the name implies-Italian, Great! pizza, pasta, steak, lasagna-great!
El Pescador- Seafood-had the very first night-wonderful, lobster does not taste like Maine lobster but good just the same.
Sakura- Japenese theme-Asian flair- good but keep in mind your in DR not Japan-try the pisctascio ice cream-to die for.
Chopin- great- buffet style, so something for everyone. Make sure you book for after around 8:30pm, thats when the piano boat signer sings 20 minutes-very nice.
Licey- gourmet-very, very nice. Atmosphere very romantic, had a bottle of Champange with dinner along with "VINO", food was OK, glad it was included in the VIP, I don't think I would have been as happy if I had to pay the $25 per person charge. The "Princess Lobster" was different than what I was expecting but my husband had steak and he thought it was great!
Hisponola- I think by far the best buffet I have ever been too. We went Thursday night, which is Dominican night. Shots of "MAMA JUANA" greet you at the door. Then the selection of food is amazing, all the delicacies of DR are on display including but not limited to the roasted pig-full body, of course.
What can I say the food was great, I ate well every day. Breakfast was the main buffet-Hisponola-eggs made to order, fresh made fruit smoothies, waffles, doughnuts. Heard-Chopin also had breakfast but never made it there for breakfast.
VIP: well worth the extra money, didn't do the horseback riding, but the Bottle of Rum-delicious, cigars, gourmet dinner and massage-WHICH WAS THE BEST ONE I HAVE EVER RECEIVED, was well worth it!
PARASAILING: wonderful-and I'm afraid of heights-I don't even take my kids on the ferris wheel. But I did it 250- 300ft in the air, the company that took us out even dropped us off at the beach of our resort like a water taxi. Cost $75 for the two of us to go up together for about 15-20 minutes-GREAT!
Shopping: Across the street or down the beach-BARGAIN, do not settle for the price they give you, move on if they do not give in, someone else will.
PEOPLE: The Dominican people are the most friendly people I have every met. "HOLA" was all we ever heard from everyone we came across. The Europeans-Spanish, in particular are rude. They seemed to act as if not only was it the staffs every desire to fulfill all their wishes and commands but for all other guest to bow down to their feet also.

All in all this was the greatest trip and best resort we have ever been to, but since this is the first resort we have been too, don't take my advise, check it out yourself!

Mike & Monique Johnson, Buffalo, NY

17  Thank MJohnson71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
holland landing, ontario
13
Reviewed 5 May 2004

My husband and I just returned from our vacation on May 2, 2004. We spent a week at this resort. It was heaven. I have read a lot of reviews and was alittle nervous, but everything was perfect. Our checkin went smoothly, the food and staff were great. The grounds and beach were out of this world. The worst thing about the trip was leaving. We would recommend this hotel to anyone and will return.

3  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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