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“First Time At A Riu”

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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #52 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Maryland
Level Contributor
45 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“First Time At A Riu”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 February 2012

My fiance and I just returned from a 7 day trip. Our first time at a Riu property.The beach is absolutely beautiful and never had any trouble with getting lounge chairs.The hotel property is large but our room ,1113, was within easy walking distance to the beach and main hotel. The room and the hotel are spotless. The staff works constantly to keep it that way. They are all very friendly and have a smile and a greeting every time you see them. The variety of food at the buffet is amazing. If you can't find something to eat or go away hungry-it's your fault. We also tried the Italian and the Japanese specialty restaurants and they were good. No problem making reservations but we weren't asking for the same night either. You could make a reservation from 8 to 11 in the morning.The entertainment staff is on duty all day and half the night doing their best to get everyone involved and entertained. Don't know how they maintain that energy. Went to the Spa for a massage and that left something to be desired. The first time ever that I have not been shown around the spa area and offered use of the facilites.I was simply taken to the treatment room. Was supposed to get an 80 minute massage of 5 different types of massage and it wasn't. No relaxing music so you clearly hear everything going on outside. Don't waste your money.The only other thing to complain about was the king bed was actually two doubles pushed together.The entire hotel was without hot water one day but that can happen anywhere. Be careful of the the rum drinks! I've been to other resorts where you couldn't taste the alcohol so we asked for double in our frozen drinks. That was a mistake that we didn't repeat over the following days. Overall had exactly the type of vacation that we wanted-very relaxing.

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
8 Thank TonyandPat28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (734)
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English first
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2012

Just returned from riu palace bavaro. Having stayed at the majestic elegance two years ago, I would say this new riu is only slightly less better than the ME. Overall though, we had a great time. The resort is gorgeous - huge rooms, awesome beach, very potent drinks, superb staff that are soooo friendly and constantly cleaning! The buffet is the best one we've ever seen. If you can't find something there, you must be the pickiest eater on the planet. If I had to list some minor downsides, they are as follows:

A la carts are not great- try Krystal and order the beef- its good. Taino is second best, but rest are not good
Red wine is not good anywhere, so drink white
Pool bar area is very busy- not the spot to be if you want quiet. However, if you want to party-this is the spot to go!
One day there was no hot water
Our friends did not have a working fridge for 3 days
The toilet in our room sometimes did not flush - had to wiggle the handle
Pacha disco-extremely loud and smokey. Drinks not included and on pricey side


That's it!! Otherwise, everything was great and would recommend.

  • Stayed February 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Jennifer K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, New Hampshire
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 February 2012

My girlfriend and I traveled here and January and had an amazing trip. It exceeded our expectations and I highly recommend this hotel for those who want to consume great food and drinks and have a relaxing vacation.

Room:

Our room was great. We stayed in a basic room ( I forget what they called it) but it came with everything we needed. It has a flat screen TV, nice bed, awesome lighting, and probably the nicest bathroom I have ever been in. The room is very modern and has a nice clean and new feeling. The best part was having four different bottles of alcohol in a dispenser and a mini fridge stocked with a variety of soda and beer.

Food/Drinks:

As you may have heard, you have to go to the Italian restaurant early in the morning to reserve a seat at any restaurants. On your first morning at the resort, go down no later than 8 am to book all of your reservations for you time there. Every restaurant has two servings I think at 6 and 9. I was only able to book the steakhouse (Taino) and Krystal. They were both good but I highly recommend the buffet. The staff caters to you and the food is great. Don't listen to any negativity about the food. Yes, some things aren't great but overall you have a great selection to be picky about.

The drinks were amazing and there are plenty of bars to go and get drinks. The pool bar was my favorite and I recommend either a Sammy Sosa or tequila sunrise. I am a major beer drinker and enjoy beer that was not available at the resort. If you like beer, drink Presidente. Other than that, they have plenty of good drinks to choose from. Also, be prepared to drink red wine. I am not a huge wine drinker but the red wine was amazing at the buffet.

Beach/Pool:

The beach had nice white sand and beautiful water. The pool was huge but the water is a little cold so not many people were in it which was fine with me because I think cold water is refreshing. Getting chairs on the beach or pool was easy and we never had a problem. Every morning before breakfast I would go get our two towels from the pool (very great system) and then put our towels on two chairs either at the pool or beach. I highly suggest that you decide whether you want to stay at the pool or beach for the day. It might be difficult getting a chair at the pool at noon if you get sick of being on the beach.

Overall this was my best vacation ever. Just make sure you tip occasionally and treat the staff with respect. They are hard workers and cater to you more if you are nice and if you tip. I am jealous of anyone going there in the near future because I didn't want to leave! Don't listen to the negative reviews. Those people think they paid for a ritz hotel with their own private cooks and staff to cater to their individual needs. It is a major resort and they accomodate EVERYONE really well compared to the price. Overall it is a great value and I would've paid even more to stay there if I had to.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
16 Thank Joey H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New York City, New York
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 February 2012

I have been at RIU Hotels in Puerto Plata before. Riu Palace Bavaro definitely does not deserve 5-star rating in comparison to them. Although the hotel looks magnificent and contemporary, it lacks Dominican flavour. Some of the guys at the Reception are pretty arrogant!!!!! The maintenance is poor. My family got the room which was beautiful and clean, but it took us way too long to get the both sinks to drain...It also took us 3 days, many phone calls and many visits to the lobby to get a hair dryer in the room.
The air conditioning worked, thanks god, but you had to freeze or boil, not much in between.
The maid service was excellent! The laundry facilities were not good at all: dirty pool towels were all too common, and table cloths or nicely folded stained and not too fresh napkins at the Monte Cristi Restaurant were just distastful...The food was abundant and most of the time delicious. Freshly grilled fish was the best, but some cooked dishes gave us stomach problems and bad diarrhea at the end of our stay. I think they use a lot of MSG.The deserts were very sophisticated in appearance but not in taste. The Italian Restaurant was a big disappointment and waist of time...The food at night, available at Sports Bar, was limited to hamburgers, hot dogs and chips only.
The entertainment during the day was OK, in the afternoon not so good, but at night quite poor as for RIU. Mini disco engaged preschoolers only, quite boring, the same songs every night, not much fun for kids. I find it disturbing that plays for kids were based on elimination...It was heartbreaking to see kids beeing excused from the stage after few minutes of the "competition" they hardly understood. They were crying leaving the stage, because they wanted to stay and play with other kids! Too bad, there was nothing for teenagers either!!!
I was quite shocked that there was no Dominican Show at all!!! One violinist was great, but other bands were pretty bad...The Valentine's Day touches around the hotel and restaurants were cute and uplifting, but the night show for that occasion was heavy, long, and boring!!!!!
We had a great time at Safari trip, but we do not recommend buying any DVD's from the trip. Pure rip off!!! And quality of music CD's they offer for sale at the rancho? Forget it. They just want your money! Even though we had a lot of fun, I do not feel I could return to this Hotel. I do not want my friends to go there either. I love Dominican Republic, I will visit it in the future
but at different location. The airport in Punta Cana is very crowded and very inefficient. It's hard to get any reliable information even when you speak Spanish! It is really hard to waist your vacation for standing in long lines for hours! So, no more Riu Palace Bavaro, No more Punta Cana. Adios!!!

  • Stayed February 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank jzpwat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto
Level Contributor
59 reviews
15 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 February 2012

We arrived 2 days after the opening in Dec 2011, so didn't expect perfection. The landscaping was unfinished, lots of mud, brown grass and a few shrubs, but after 2 weeks it was a big improvement.
The biggest surprise was the ultra-modern design of the complex and the rooms, not the traditional style of the other Riu hotels in Punta Cana.
The beach had very little shade, so we reserved our spot at 8am under a tiny group of trees. The hotel was only about half full because the rooms weren't all completed yet, so the situation could have been worse. I had to wear shoes on the beach sand to walk back to the pool bar, because there was a lot of small chunks of concrete and sharp stones in the sand, which was a hardpacked sand towards the resort, near the beach was ok.
The Pool: Plenty of umbrellas and also canopied areas for entire shade. Also plenty of sun.
The dining was on par with other Riu Palaces, we ate all our meals outdoors where there was plenty of seating. If you want non-smoking, you have to go indoors.
I loved the room, huge shower room with both overhead ceiling rain shower and regular detachable adjustable height shower as well.
In another year, I would expect beach improvement and completed landscaping and I'll go back for sure.
The service was perfection.

  • Stayed December 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank Tequita
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro

Property: Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Address: Playa de Arena Gorda, Punta Cana 74100, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #52 of 110 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price range (per night): $294 - $564
Hotel Class:4 star — Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro 4*
Number of rooms: 610
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana * Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Naiboa hotels and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu * The Splash Water World will be opened from 1st November 2016 * 4-story building * Surrounded by 63,000 m2 / 75,000 sq. Yards of lush gardens * Complimentary sun loungers on the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Higuey * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Intl. Airport ... more   less 
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