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Reviewed 9 January 2007

Jan. 9, 2007
My family and I wanted to treat ourselves to a Christmas trip so we researched Punta Cana as much as possible. It was a choice between the Princess Bavaro and another - Grande Bahia Principe. We had heard great things about both. In the end, we picked the Princess. We went from Dec. 16 -23.
We have been to many other resorts and always go for the 5 star variety. We were leary of the comments on the food. We read so many reviews, but everyone has their own level of expectation and they varied too much.
We knew that we would be very picky as Canadians, we have come to expect a certain standard.
Although the resort offered several restaurants and buffets, we were disappointed with the food overall. There was a tremendous selection at the main buffet and eventually we found items we could live with, many dishes were unrecognizable and tasted weird. the bread selection was great and tasted good, so did the French fries, burgers are not the greatest but okay.
The resort itself was lovely, our rooms were clean and the marble bathrooms were impressive. On closer inspection, our bath drain worked poorly and we had a small leak in the corner that the maid would address each day by leaving a towel rolled up in the corner.
I would greatly advise buying the upgrade to the Platinum pkg. This allowed us our own check in/out service, computer access and premium brand drinks wherever we went.
We had our own lounge area that we could access drinks and some pastries, buns, cold breakfast, coffee and tea. It was great. There was also a large screen TV that showed American movies so you could sit in there if you wanted to.
We were also able to check out of our rooms and then come back and use a shower before our late night flight home.
The beach is gorgeous, no worries of stepping on something in the water -it is absolutely clear with no debris (except for a bit of seaweed that would roll in at times with the waves)
Boogie boarding is great, the waves were not too high, but enough to give you a good ride. the pool was okay. Grounds were spotless and well looked after. We left a dollar or two every morning for the maid along with some small treats such as crayons/books, Christmas books, candies etc.
As careful as we were not to drink the tap water or over-induldge, we all ended up with Turista, meaning we were scrambling to the bathrooms a few times a day. It was annoying but not enough to ruin the vacation. Make sure to bring as much Immodium etc. as you can.
Entertainment: each evening was not great, sometimes downright hokey. The best night was the disco beach party. There was a disco at the entrance by the casino but we never made it as we were too tired by eleven o'clock and most of the discos didn't open until midnight. Our 22 year old complained that the entertainment wasn't great, but he ended up going to bed before midnight because the days were so hot and long.
Although we have been critical of the food, we realize that our standards are very high, so do not go expecting to get the same quality you are used to at home. On the other hand, for us, food makes the holiday, so although we gave it an above average rating because the place really was nice, I doubt we'd go back.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with family
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11  Thank Travel_lassy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2007

This hotel is a five star resort. The rooms are fabulous. The beach is fantastic. The service is excellent. The food is fresh and the choices of food is diverse. We will definitly go back next year.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with family
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8  Thank nilou1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 January 2007

My girlfriend and I really enjoyed our week in Princess Bavarro.

*Food was quite good, varied, and of course all drinks (including champagne, cocktails, etc) were served for free
*Service was friendly, diligent, and rather efficient,
*We were VERY much impressed by the performance of the entertainment team. Congratulations, guys !
*The room was large, well decorated, with a nice little terrace opened on lush vegetation,
*Beach was large, clean, white sanded, with turquoise waters. *Swimming pool was large and surrounded by vegetation
*Crowd: mostly couples/honeymooners/families, all ages, not that many singles
*The ambiance was romantic, peaceful, friendly

Overall, a fantastic place that I'd recommend strongly.

BUT WHY ON EARTH DO THEY SPOIL THE WHOLE THING BY ASOCIATING WITH “ROYAL VACATIONS” AND THEIR TIME SHARE SCAM?????

While passing through the lobby, occasionally someone will invite you to go to some kind of a showroom where supposedly they will tell you "how to come back to Princess Bavaro next time without passing through a tour operator” (and hence saving your money). I've done the experience with my girlfriend, and what we saw was shocking.

They will put you with a salesperson whose only objective is to have you sign a paper and get your cash. This person will endeavor to lie bluntly, deceive you, and you’re your signature and your credit card number. He’ll invite you to drink liquor and promise you the world: unlimited vacations, the lowest prices, full flexibility to book in any resort in the world, “no hidden charges”, VIP treatment. Ask for it, you got it.

The truth is that all this is BS.
-they will forget to mention the tremendous booking constraints – when you book online or with your travel agent, you are free to go anywhere, not anymore if you sign with Royal vacations
-that their catalog includes less than 200 resorts – on a worldwide basis, that’s little
-the notion of “credits” (you get a certain number of credits per year, for example if you pay 10,000 euro you might get about 10,000 credit; and each resort in their catalog has to be paid with more or less credits depending on the standing and the season);
-that a 10,000 euro “investment” doesn’t even give you enough credit to book at a week per year at princess Bavaro during December…(of course, on top of the credits, you’d have to pay 1200 Euro plus plane tickets, --for a couple to stay there);
-that those reservations come with expensive plane tickets that you’ll have to pay for – check out the price of a plane ticket to punta cana
-that you’ll have to pay management charges, maintenance fees, processing fees, etc;

Try to ask for the contract. You’ll have a hard time! They might even kick you out. I managed to see it after 2 hours of discussion, pretending that I was interested and ready to sign. Funny: one of the first things this contract mentions is that whatever they told you orally is not part of the deal! In case some people might give credit to the salesperson pitch…

Also, they wont mention either the sophisticated way they set up their business with shell companies in tax paradises, and scam friendly jurisdictions (Dominican republic, spain, etc.), the army of lawyers that work for them to cover clients receivables (from those clients who don’t want or cannot pay). Actually they’ll tell you these lawyers work for you!!

And of course, they will hide that once you sign (under Dominican law), you CANNOT go backwards, and you’re set up for 30 years !

Really, as a business person with some investment and law savvy, I was smiling at the scam and thinking “how can one possibly fall into that?”.

But then entered a young couple. They had signed the contract one week before. They had trusted the guy in front of them. He had promised the company would charge much later but the company in fact had liberally paid itself as soon as they had gotten the credit card number. The couple’s account was negative; they were in deep financial trouble. The lady was crying and going to each of us in the room, urging us not to sign.

They were not the only ones we met that fell in the trap. This is why I decided to write this post.

Princess Bavaro is a great resort, but stay away from Royal Vacations. THEIR DEAL IS A ROTTEN DEAL !
And to the management of the resort: Amigos, please clean your back yard, that wont give you good reputation.

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled as a couple
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21  Thank wwhoami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2007

My friends and I (18, 23, 27) left for the Dominican Dec 19-26. We booked through Air Canada Vacations and received the Platinium Package. Keep in mind, that although I am young (23) I am an experienced traveller who has been to the Dominican 5 plus times, even twice a year!! I find that those who are new tend to give higher ratings as they have really no comparison. So if you are uneasy about whether to book with this resort or not than this review is for you.

I will only discuss the main points..the good, the bad, the ugly...ok so here we go...

The resort is beautiful, large and well maintained, but no comparison to the Bahia Principe (so if you are deciding between the two, than go with the Bahia). Here I begin my rant, BUT KEEP IN MIND ...I am not an anal person, very easy going and very easy to make happy.

Our water pressure was tragic..it was more like a dribble and there was not any hot water...my first shower there was FREEZING...we called to get it fixed, they came shortly, it seemed to be fixed, but no cigar amigo! We called him the next day, same thing, temporarily fixed, but no hot water. Finally we decided to let the water run for about an hour, than VOILA! The water pressure began to get stronger and the water warmer. We decided since it was half way through our vacation that we didn't want to switch rooms.

The food was terrible!!!!!!!!! Never have I been to a resort with such disappointing food. Every resort I have been to has been good to excellent, even the buffets. We all had stomach problems as well. MY FIRST TIME HAVING THIS PROBLEM! The a la cartes were terrible, the service was extremely slow, I understand that we are on Dominican time, but honestly I almost fell asleep. So, I really cannot recommend a restaurant for you because they were all bad. I am not a picky eater, but I honestly thought to myself, do these chefs taste the food that they are making? We were there for the Christmas Eve Dinner, and the set up and decorations were BEAUTIFUL. They did an excellent job, but too bad it didn't taste as good as it looked!

The entertainment was really cheesy lip synching, but the dancers do put in a lot of effort. That's all I can say about that. If you are looking for a nightlife than this resort is not the place to be. You have to venture out to Club Mangu, which is about a 5 minute cab ride, should cost you about a dollar a person. We always went with a large group and that's what it came out to. The music is decent and when you are loaded than everything is amazing!

Of course, the beach was beautiful. I can't deny that.

The only positive thing about the platinum package was that we were close to the beach and the platinum lounge bartender was really awesome. It was dead in there, but we always went there to pre drink before we headed out. Platinum members do receive better alcohol (the only other bonus). You also receive a free 20 minute massage which was pretty good and also free water excursion, but we did not use that voucher.

Believe me, book somewhere else!! That's the honest truth :)

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with friends
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11  Thank LizzyCToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 January 2007

We just returned from a week at the Princess Bavaro and very disappointing. Nowhere near a 5 star hotel. The accommodation provided through Sunwing tours was sub standard and not clearly described. There are 3 levels of accommodation/service and the top being Platinum, one might have a better experience if you are able to book this level. This is a HUGE property and a beautiful one at that , however, the staff were clearly unable to handle the numbers of guests. We found that if you were fluent Spanish you also had a better chance of better, quicker service. We had a medical emergency in our group, and fortunately it was only a "perforated eardrum" and the response to our request for assistance was very upsetting. Had it been anything more serious and you couldn't speak Spanish, it could be very serious consequences. Yes it is a "different country" and reference is continuously made to "DR time" , they are still charging top prices for substandard service. The buffets were adequate but the individual restaurants, Sakura, Pescadora, Chopin, were awful....when we asked for assistance at the Casino the dealer rolled her eyes at us because we weren't able to communicate in Spanish. Clearly not customer focused for all guests.....The beach is beautiful, but it was very crowded and the water was very rough. very windy at this time of year.....however no one makes this clear before you travel..We have been to all but 5 islands in the Carribbean and this experience has been the most disappointing......

  • Stayed: January 2007, travelled with family
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3  Thank canadianToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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