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Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Ranked #56 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 1 March 2012

We stayed at this new RIU Palace Resort for 8 days at the beginning of February 2012. This resort has a unique design and color palette from other RIUs we have stayed at, it has a modern, bright, shiny and colorful design. Other RIUs are decorated in a Spanish style design.
Reception/Check-in: We did not have any issues and it was done quickly, politely and the staff we dealt with spoke fairly good English. We were offered a beverage while we were getting our package. As it is at all 8 different RIUs we have stayed at you get your room keys, wrist band, towel cards, map and a brief hotel introduction. If you have any questions you just need to ask. I have to say that if the hotel is busy and a large group has just arrived this service may decline in quality as everyone just wants to get to their room and start their vacation. If you are upset about not getting a drink there is always a lobby bar less than 100 feet away. Our bags were brought to the room right away. If it’s busy expect to wait or better yet bring your own bag to the room with you. We travel with a small carry-on bag with the essentials so we can change and go to the beach right away. By the time we get back to our rooms the bags are there.

Rooms: As I said this is a new décor for RIU and is nice but not my favourite. RIU rooms are mostly the same at every resort. Bed (1 king size or 2 doubles). It is not unusual for these to be pushed together to make one bed. It is standard practise and we have seen both. These rooms are different as they have an open design. The Jacuzzi tub is between the sleeping and sink area and there is no privacy wall/curtain. Toilet is separate with a door. The shower is not in a lockable separate room but is very large and you could dress in it easily. The shower door is frosted and very difficult to see through. We had great water pressure and never ran out of hot water. We had one small issue with the toilet but it was looked after quickly when we let the front desk know. Other than that the room is standard; iron/board, coffee maker, couch, balcony, safe, etc. We did not have any issue with bugs or anything like that. Most important each room has a free bar and stocked fridge. It is refilled every 2 days. Use the safe provided, better safe than sorry. We have never had an issue and hope not to. We do not leave valuables out in the open even when at the pool or beach. It is not only the staff you should be concerned about but your fellow vacationers are not always the most honest.

Bars: There are lots of bars. As in the room the choice of liquor is limited somewhat. They do have generic local brand being served but if you ask they will give you the name brand. At the main bar and lobby bar they have the better alcohol. The beer is local Dominican brand. You’re not in the states so don’t expect Buddy light. As for drink strength you get what you ask for you just have to ask. The glasses are small and plastic when served at the pool area. Safety! If you bring your own thermos mug the bartenders will fill it with whatever you want.

Food: The food ranges from great to good. It is hard to please everyone all the time but I would say that this was one of the better buffets we have eaten at. We had everything from lobster (not the Maine kind), shrimp, lots of different fish, whole roasted pig, steak, chicken, goat, all kinds of cheese and the list goes on. Sometimes it was a hit or miss on the temperature but it was not the norm. Great desserts! Perfect two bite size pieces so you can try a little of everything without wasting. There were lots of different fresh fruits available all day long at the different eating areas. The Sports Bar does have sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and Nachos available 24 hours which is the norm at all RIUs and most all-inclusive resorts. Unless you are extremely picky there is always something to eat.

Theme Restaurants: They are what they are. Some are good and some are great it all depends on your taste. Most are part buffet served (entrees, soups, salads) and the main course is served at the table. We didn’t experience any long lines and there was always something open. You can book 2 days at a time. I don’t know what the big deal about dinner reservations are because it is the same at all other RIUs we have stayed at and most of the other All Inclusive Resorts as well. If you are a large party I would plan ahead and be flexible. I think being flexible on seating time and restaurant is key. Now I have seen on a number of occasions where there are empty seats during the sitting time. I thank those wonderful folks who have booked and don’t show up as planned. Maybe too much to drink or didn’t have the forethought to cancel?

Pool: It is a very big pool and there is plenty of seating. We never had an issue finding a seat and there are umbrellas and some areas have a permanent shade structure. We never made it to the pool before 9 and had no issues finding a place. Now if you are really fussy or are in a large group you may have some issues at times. There are other pools but one is not better than the others. The water was cool but refreshing. If you want hot/warm water go have a bath. I always find it interesting to see pool chairs reserved by people who spend their day at the beach and don’t come to the pool until later in the day. Then there are the ones who go on a morning excursion but save seats for when they get back after lunch.

Beach: What a great beach. It is clean, the water is clear and you can walk for miles either way. No shells and only the odd rock to watch out for. At certain times of the day some sea weed does wash up but you will need to complain to Mother Nature not the resort on this one. For all the prudes out there I must warn you that there are topless bathers on the beach. I didn’t see anyone flaunting themselves and most people remained topless at their beach chair area. It’s a freaking boob so get over it already.

Restrooms: They are clean except when the previous guest leaks all over the seat or doesn’t flush. Really! If at the beach the closest one is at the beach side restaurant. I have never seen one on the beach and would hope not to. Like mother says plan ahead.

Shopping: The resort has a small gift shop and the prices are what you would expect and is normal for any resort we have stayed at. Bring your essentials with you or expect to pay 2 to 3 times what you would at home. Souvenirs, cigars, etc. are not badly priced. The prices at the hotel seemed to be better than at Caribbean Street which is a street of vendors found between the RIU resorts. Just down the beach there are a number of local vendors. It is a drink and a half walk from the resort so bring two to be on the safe side. Haggle like crazy and DO NOT pay full price. As an example I bought a necklace for 5 USD which started out at 25. If one place doesn’t give you a good price talk to someone else, they all sell mostly the same stuff.

Cigars: No great deals to be had here. I can buy the same Dominican cigars at home for the same or better price.

Staff: We did not have any issues with staff. They all smiled and seemed very friendly. They work long hours for little pay and still seem to be happy. I hope this doesn’t come off wrong but we have encountered far ruder, uptight, demanding, arrogant guests then staff on our travels. Just because you paid to be there does not give you the right to treat people disrespectfully. Life is about pay back and kindness, understanding and a smile goes a long way.
Entertainment Staff: These guys work hard all day from 9 till well past midnight. They encourage you to participate but do not harass you. It is their job to entertain you. When I say you I mean all guests. Most activities happen around the pool and pool bar so if you don’t want to participate, don’t like loud music and don’t want to have fun the I would suggest you move or pick a lounge chair away from the entertainment area.

Entertainment: This is not the best we have seen. One show was bad and the others were good. They have less audience participation in the preshow then other places we have been at. In general it is fun and passes a few evening hours.

Language: Like any foreign country English is not the primary language. I encourage anyone visiting a foreign country to learn a little before they go. In this case Spanish. That being said most people we dealt with spoke English average or better. However, do not expect to have an in-depth conversation with the maids or ground keepers. Key people spoke enough English to get buy and understand what you are looking for.

Tips: Plan ahead and bring what you need from home. Have fun you are on vacation. You get what you pay for. If you want ocean view then pay for it. If you want to be catered to then ensure the hotel offers this service but expect to pay for it. Check out the Resort website before you book. Use Google earth to see where the resort is to see if it meets your needs for shopping, excursions, restaurants and bars, etc.

No Resort is perfect and [--] happens. No different than at home every employee can have a bad day. I have had bad meals at some of the best restaurants and crappy rooms at some very nice hotels. Have realistic expectations of people and life and you will be much happier.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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20  Thank Ken C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 29 February 2012

The property, although modern in design and not generally my personal taste for an island venue, was beautiful. The beds were comfortable, the hotel rooms beautifully designed and very big. The variety of food was tremendous, and the service from the restaurants to the servers who brought us drinks during the evening entertainment and the pool were extremely attentive. The stretch of beach the hotel is on is beautiful. The evening entertainment at Bavaro was more modern and Americanized than I'd like, but they were well done. We went to a neighboring RIU hotel one night for entertainment and enjoyed the "Africa" show, what I'd call more traditional island entertainment. Although our group of 10 only spoke English, I didn't find language to be an issue; the staff that needed to speak more fluently in English based on their position, could do so. All in all it was a fabulous trip!

Room Tip: The rooms were very soundproof and we were across the street from "Caribbean Street" which...
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank Cheryl F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 February 2012

This must be the ugliest hotel in the the Dominican Republic. A Las Vegas look-alike nightmare! It has no caribbean ambience or atmosphere at all. It is by far NOT a 5 star, I would give it maximum 3 stars. I went with my two kids and my girlfriend who brought her two children. Our first shock was the lobby. The smell is unbearable, damp and rotten, but the decor is even worse. Whoever designed it has no taste at all, or a predilection for kitsch that even kids can't swallow down - even they were horrified and they DO think Disneyland is a masterpiece of art. The hotel is one huge block and the rooms have no privacy at all, being situated around a courtyard which enables everyone to look into everyone's else's rooms. This makes it also very loud, since the bar with its' night entertainment is right below Your window. The hotel is totally over-crowded , there are hords of people (loud people) all over the place. Since the place is newly built there is no vegetation around, no flowers, no palm trees - You feel as if You were dumped in the middle of a concrete desert. The pool is crowded , so is the beach - it takes a miracle to find loungers after 10 am. As for the restaurants: in order to book a specialty restaurant You have to cue for at least 20 minutes in the morning, because that's when they take bookings, so we gave up the second day and ate only at the buffet restaurant. The only good thing about this place are the people working here, nice and friendly - but so are the ones working at other DR hotels.Luckily my friend and her son are golfers, so on the third day of our stay they went golfing and discovered a beautiful beach club 20 mins away from this nightmare of a hotel - the Caleton Beach Club. From then on we would leave the Riu Palace right after breakfast and escape to the beach club where we would stay all day and dine. The escape-plan cost us at least 400 USD daily, but we were willing to pay, only to get away from the RIU Palace. If You are looking for a real 5 star experience , don't even come close to this place. It will only ruin Your vacation and profoundly disturb Your sense of esthetics.

Room Tip: Garden rooms and the VIP section rooms are quieter .
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  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with friends
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13  Thank Hanna091
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

We spent 5 nights and 6 days here and loved it.
The 2 things they need to improve on are drink service on the beach and English classes for their servers.
I have never been to a place that took so much time to clean, they even mopped the outdoor walkways every day!
The food was very good and the alcohol was not watered down.
The rooms were awesome.
They had plenty of nice lounge chairs by the pool and beach. Lots of palm trees to sit around with a lot of space.
Daily entertainment was consistent and not pushy.
We will be back - with our kids next time!

  • Stayed: February 2012
    • Value
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6  Thank mwmark10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2012

First off, I’d like to start out by saying that you SHOULD NOT believe the negative reviews. I have no idea where these people stayed, but it must not have been at the Riu Palace Bavaro.

Immediately from check in things went great; we had spoken to Richard Gonzalez prior to arriving to arrange to upgrade to the VIP Villas (as Expedia did not offer the option) and he was incredibly helpful through email(s) as well as when we arrived.

Our room (5225 -- with a true king bed) was beautiful. While we only had a pool view room it actually had a partial ocean view, which we greatly appreciated and really enjoyed visually and acoustically. As an FYI, rooms in the VIP Villas do not have elevators, which may be annoying to those who may have a difficult time walking up a flight of stairs or two.

I can agree with previous reviews that stated that the floors can be very slippery when wet and we did find ourselves having a hard time walking from our room to the restaurants/main building after even just a light drizzle.

In regards to the restaurants: the main buffet (Montecristo) had something for everyone for dinner while some things were genuinely delicious and some things were just good enough. As far as breakfast and lunch we both found something that we enjoyed and had no problem eating there for 5 days without getting bored.

Making reservations was a bit annoying but I was happy to get up early two mornings of my stay and make them instead of another resort that I had stayed in where you did not need to make reservations and we would wait at least 2 hours before getting seated.

The steakhouse was relatively tasty, it was tasty relative to chain restaurant steaks such as outback steak house but obviously comes no where near Peter Lugers or anything of that sort. We both had the surf and turf and had our meat cooked medium rare (just as we had asked) and the lobster was cooked pretty well (even though I can see how it may easily be overcooked).

Geisha was similar, tasty but no where as good as or as authentic as your favorite japanese restaurant. The soup was as good as my local take out places soup, apps were decent but felt full of salt/msg. For mains, the tempura is not really tempura with panko breading but more of a flour batter which was ok on its own but a bit heavy for my bf . The grouper as a whole was delicious. The dessert here was probably our favorite of the trip, specifically the chilled citrus fruit soup.

Krystal was our least favorite as far as entereas but had some of the best appetizers, such as the beet gazpacho. Do not be afraid to get the beef carpacio it was sliced very thin and tasted very fresh and was proably my bfs favorite plate of the trip. The idea behind all the dishes at krystal sounded great but the execuation was not yet there ( I can imagine that in a month or two it will be).

The Italian restaurant turned out to be one of our favorites. It is not Italian food but rather 'Italian-inspired' food but it had some of the best preparation and I enjoyed that it offered an antipasta (appetizer) bar that was as good as a supermarkets/italian deli's salad/buffet bar. They also offered a similar beef carpaccio as to Krystals appetizer that was as delicious. Notable mention for the Grana Padana cheese wheel for getting your own grated cheese and chucks for tasting and the infused olive oil selection: rosemary and garlic being our favorite.


The pool was beautiful and getting a chair was not difficult at 9:30am, the drink services was a great bonus because it meant that we didn’t have to fight for chairs near the bar.

The hotel was exceptionally clean and there was always someone wiping something down or washing the floors. On one of the days our room wasn't cleaned until 3-4 but to us it wasn't a big deal.

We loved the coffee bar and that all the barristas were so helpful in trying to understand our broken spanish when trying to order a real iced coffee.

I can see why some people didn't enjoy the entertainment and yes some of it was repatitive but the nights were cool and sitting outside while getting drinks delivered to you makes the show enjoybale and if I wanted Broadway I would have went to see a show.

Yes there is a bit of language barrier, but we brought a phrase book with us and both know some basic Spanish. Unlike some people we noticed that a small tip of a buck or two every round or next round and a smile and a gracias goes a long way compared to a loud demands in English and I can say we never waited more than a few minutes to get a servers attention or get served our drinks.


All in all we had a fabulous time and would return!

Room Tip: The VIP Rooms are worth the upgrade
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  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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12  Thank Anna S
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

Address: Playa de Arena Gorda | Higüey - Punta Cana, 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 #56 of 113 Hotels in Punta Cana
Price Range: ₹ 15,954 - ₹ 29,355 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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