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Recommended By Ave price per week Average Rating
83% of reviewers $1,673.20 8.1

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Description: ClubHotel Riu Bambu
Playa Arena Gorda
Punta Cana
Higüey Dominican Republic
Tel. +18092217575 Fax. +1 809 221 7373

Location/General information

Riu Bambu is a friendly, fun hotel located on one of the most beautiful beaches in Punta Cana which features 560 bungalow-style guestrooms with unique amenities such as Riu's renowned minibar and liquor dispenser.
This wonderful resort offers a wide variety of fun-filled activities and sports options. Enjoy the lively atmosphere of nightly outdoor entertainment, night club and casino, while surrounded by inviting swimming pools and tropical vegetation. Includes a choice of fabulous restaurants and bars, plus 24 hour All-Inclusive (snacks and beverage) service.
Riu Bambu will surpass all your expectations with action-filled days and nights.

* Located in Punta Cana
* Situated on Arena Gorda Beach
* Complimentary sun loungers on the beach
* Within the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Taino and Riu Naiboa hotels
* Main building and 1-storey bungalow complex
* Surrounded by 46,000 m2 / 50,300 sq. yards of palm groves, adjacent to the beach

* 50 km / 31 miles from Higüey
* 600 m / 1,980 ft. from Caribbean Street
* 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int’l. Airport
* Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners

More Riu Bambu Information

Miss Kywy

Registered: August 2006
Posts: 0
Review Date: Thu August 24, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The CLUB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Cons: NONE



Registered: August 2006
Posts: 0
Review Date: Fri August 25, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Riu Bambu is great especially the animation team they are great and such a good laugh. missing them all but mostly Lester he was a sweetheart love u xxxxxxxxxx
Cons: there werent any everything was excellent!!!!

I definately recommend it to everyone !!!


Registered: October 2006
Posts: 0
Review Date: Sat October 14, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: all things i lived there was fantastic
Cons: nothing

hi! i´am spsnish and i travaled first time to dominican replublic this october. i´m crazy for return. i love this country , the best, the people. everyday i dream with them


Registered: August 2006
Posts: 1201
Review Date: Tue October 31, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great beach, clean rooms, and easy to get around
Cons: small bathrooms, not enough outlets in the room, Steak House

I traveled to Punta Cana Oct. 22 - 29, 2006. I picked the Bambu to stay because I was traveling with my mom and a friend that had never been to Punta Cana before.

Even though we arrived around noon we were able to go ahead and check into our room. I was worried about having 3 adults in the room, but I worried for nothing! There was the two 3/4 beds together and then also a single bed. Even with the extra single bed in the room we never felt cramped.

If you lose the key to your safe, be ready to pay $50.00 US...

We did two different excursions, Jurassic Safari and Saona Island. Jurassic Safari was a great day out and a great way to see the beautiful countryside. Also it provided the best meal of the week! A true Dominican style meal. It was also good that once you are picked up from your hotel you do not have a long drive before the tour begins. Saono was good, but the transfer to get there and back seem to take forever.

The meals seem to be the same day after day. Breakfast was great, lunch was the worst the same thing everyday. My favorite things were the pizza and ice cream. The dinner buffet did have a lot to choose from, but again was pretty much the same everyday. We did try the Steak House and were VERY disappointed in it. I had the chicken which was ok, but my french fries were cold and seem to old and stale. My mom and Jan had the rib eye, and both were very tough and not cooked to order. Their baked potatoes were also very cold . We couldn't even eat the meal, so we got up and left. To us it was the worst thing all week, and not worth and going to.

We all enjoyed our stay at the Bambu, and would stay again in a heartbeat.


Registered: April 2006
Posts: 0
Review Date: Wed November 1, 2006 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything!! but especially the wedding arrangements and Oliver of the Annimation team.
Cons: Nothing at all!!!

From the moment we arrived everything was great. There were 20 of us for my wedding and we did not feel on top of each other as there were enough things to keep us all amused and different restaurants to split us when required. Magnolia the wedding Co-ordinator was wonderful. I had a stress free day and could not of asked for more. The local photographer made an amazing book of our wedding within 2 days.
Oliver of the annimation team was such a great guy. He always remembered the kids names and seemed to be the life and sole of the team.
We would all go back to the Bambu tomorrow, it was a holiday and wedding of a lifetime. x x


Registered: November 2005
Posts: 8
Review Date: Sun January 7, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? No | Price paid per week?: $3,000.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Anamacion, cleaning and restaurant staff..restaurants, beach, drinks, beautiful grounds
Cons: Impatient and unhelpful front desk, unusable outlets in room, hot refrigerator, power went out for about 6 hours, rude and loud Europeans, unsafe to leave resort area

The front desk clerks did not seem to want to help us with our questions about the reservations for the restaurants or about the seating arrangements. Without explanation they expected us to know everything about how it all works. Although it didn't make any sense to me. I stayed at the Riu Cancun a few years ago but we didn't make any reservations while we were there.

I would go back to Mexico in a heartbeat but not back to Punta Cana unless I stay somewhere else and the environment outside the resort improves. I am sorry but I am not hard to please and my honeymoon kinda sucked because of these problems. I liked the Riu Cancun better and mostly it is because of the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff there. Plus we were able to explore Cancun and go shopping and walking around. Can't do that in Punta Cana.


Registered: December 2006
Posts: 11
Review Date: Tue February 27, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: $256.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Friendly staff, clean rooms, good value for money spent
Cons: Can't think of any

Punta Cana Trip Report – February 4 – 16, 2007

We left Detroit, Michigan at 07:00, Sunday the 4th. The temperature was -2F/-19C and a wind chill of -9F. We landed about 13:30 and the temperature was a glorious 82F/28C. We had no problems clearing customs and after collecting our luggage we found our transport to the RIU Bambu. A short ride (about 30 minutes) and we arrived to a nice creamy drink and a super fast check in. We originally were given a room in the rear of the complex but I requested a closer one due to a weak knee. They were very accommodating and we were moved to a room just around the corner to the reception, pool and beach.

The room was on the first floor and was just great. I had read some horror stories about the rooms and also read some great comments but ours was clean, had a lot of clothes hangers and best of all cold beer. As far as I am concerned we had a great room. No mold, bugs, or smells. The custodial service was excellent. I asked if some wine could be stocked for my wife but was unable to get them to fulfill that request. Not a big deal as we could always bring some back from the bar.

We did not eat at any of the restaurants. My wife is a vegetarian and we did not see anything there she could eat. The buffet was sufficient and she always found some new things she could eat. We spent most of our time around the pool but checked out the beach a few times. Nothing but good things to say about both. I went diving and had a great time. We were not impressed with any of the shopping. It seemed to us that the shirts and towels were made of cheap material and showed a lot of defects, and they were pricy. The staff was great, friendly and very helpful. Although not all could understand English, my limited Spanish skills got us through. The evening shows were fun and entertaining. Apparently the staff work about 16 hours a day 7 days a week or so it seemed. They were every where during the day working the exercise classes and games and then working with the children and then the big evening show.

We saw a lot folks from the Palace hotel at our pool side bar (they wore wrist bands). It seemed to be the place for fun in the evening. We met a lot of folks from Canada and Europe. I noticed a lot of folks tipping the bartenders and wait staff. So I followed there example. The best thing I can say is that after my favorite bartender got use to my tips I started getting my drinks from name bottles such as Jose Cuervo tequila instead of the generic brand. Now of course I can’t tell the difference when I am on my 4 or 5 margarita of the day but it was nice to see him make it special for me. And I usually did not have to ask for another refill, it sometimes/most times appeared as if by magic!

We had one day were it rained in the evening for about 15 minutes. The rest of the time it was sun and warm. All in all we had a great time and will definitely go back in the future.

One comment I would like to make about the hotel desk staff that disturbed me a little. While we checking something there was a woman who was having problems with her phone bill. It seemed she was being charged for calls made from her room while she was at the hospital visiting her husband. He had fallen ill on the first day and had been in the hospital for about 4 days. She needed assistance with finding a room for an extended stay and because she had already used up her stay they told her there was no room available, they were booked solid. She was an elderly lady and could have used some assistance in finding g room elsewhere but the desk clerk was not helpful at all in my opinion. After he told her the charges were valid sorry, and they had no rooms, he just walked off and left her hanging.


Registered: April 2007
Posts: 123
Review Date: Fri July 13, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Closest hotel to the beach, Everything!!
Cons: None

Welcome to my review of the DR and the Riu Bambu resort.
Some advise and tips to your stay in the DR

We booked through Spirit Vacations, everything online. Unfortunately Spirit does not fly non-stop so we had a layover in Florida, we were flying from Atlantic City.
We got into Punta Cana early afternoon walked down the steps to the tarmac to fantastic weather (if you like heat and humidity) and an amazing looking airport terminal. Everything is open, no doors or windows.
We had our picture taken as we arrived and paid the $10 per person to get through the airport and our bags promptly arrived on one of the smallest baggage carousels I have seen.

Tip 1. When leaving the airport baggage carriers wanting to carry your luggage will accost you. It’s only about 25 feet to the rep (we used VIP) and you are already out a couple of bucks. I firm “No” was sufficient and they stopped. (Something I didn’t learn until the way back)

We found our Rep and were promptly taken to an air-conditioned van for our trip to the resort. It took about 35 minutes. The Rep asked if we wanted to stop for beer, I was up for it but no one else on the van seemed to interested so I let it drop.
Now if you have never been to the DR you are going to be shocked by the poverty, we are talking about a third world country now. It was only a couple of minutes into the trip before we saw soldiers (I am assuming) with AK 47’s. Luckily they were the only ones we saw the whole trip. Now we never went through a large town so I don’t know if it’s the same but there is trash everywhere. It almost seems there is no infrastructure. Everyone seems to be doing their own thing. It was amazing how many unfinished projects there were from houses to shops to what looked like major roads.
The resort is in the middle of nowhere and we went through two security checks to get to the complex.
Bambu’s lobby is amazing (I will probably be using that word a lot) Open to the weather, no window or doors. We were greeted with smiles and Ola’s. Check in was 2 minutes max, we were given our key, a lock for the safe an cards to get beach towels and we were off to our room which was close to the lobby (I had emailed a couple of weeks earlier confirming my reservations and requesting a room close to everything.)
Luckily we were on the ground floor and it was wonderfully cool, I don’t think the AC shut off the whole time we were there. It was a little small but that was because there were 3 full size beds, we were sharing with our 2 younger sons.
That was a mini fridge with beer and sodas which I promptly sampled (the beer of course) and a 4 bottle liquor dispenser, which we never used!!
We changed into our bathing suits and then to grab a bite to eat at the snack bar, which was a smaller version of the lunch buffet, still very good with plenty to choice from.
Then off to the beach which was amazing, palm trees everywhere. So you could sit in full sun or shade, which trust me, you will need after a couple of hours. It’s nice to fall asleep in the shade!!
We left the beach around 6.oo and went to the room it took a while to get everyone showered so we sat on the balcony drinking beers, which we soon ran out of. Luckily one of the beverage golf carts went by and we tipped the guy to fill our fridge back up.

Tip 2. Tip everyone, we tipped the maid $2 everyday and we got everything we asked for, extra pillows etc. We tipped the beverage guy $2 everyday, left it in the fridge and it was brimming with beer when we got back off the beach. We also tipped the server, usually $1-$2 Now I am a bartender so naturally I tipped the bartenders, it’s amazing how quick I got my drinks in front of everyone else. My glass was never empty.

After showers we went to the buffet (we had got in to late to make reservations for the ala-carte restaurants, more on that later)
The food was fantastic, they do themes every couple of nights, and tonight was Mexican. Everything was superb. So much to chose from, the problem with buffets is that you tend to over eat, something I tried my best not to do!!
After dinner we sat down to watch the show which was a little corny but entertaining. A few more Mojitos and it was off early to bed.
OK now this is sounding more like a diary and I don’t know about you but I’m getting bored so I will just go with the highlights now.
We booked all of our excursions through Scuba Caribe. We did the horseback riding on the beach, which was a great deal, $25 and nearly 2 hours in the saddle. If you include travel time and stopping at a roadside stand for a little shopping, rum and beer we were probably gone around 4 hours. They are always after your dollars so it’s up to you if you want to spend them, they took a picture of us on the horse and put it on the cover of a music cd and were selling them for $15.
Next were quads on the beach which the kids wanted to do, I thought was a little expensive $80pp if you each drove or $55pp if you shared. Of course my kids wanted to drive so I was out $320 but they had fun. It was also very informational as our guide was born in NY. His parents were Dominican so he decided to move back. (We think he had to) He gave us some history of the Island, showed us where the Pacific and Caribbean oceans meet, showed us a resort that only made it 6 months before closing and then it was gutted by the disgruntled employees that hadn’t been paid. It was probably worth it for the info. Again around 4 hours including travel time. They made a video this time $35 and they delivered it to our hotel the next day. Still haven’t sat down to watch it yet!
Parasailing was fun; I forget how much it was. I think around $40pp
Now this is where I got a little pissed off, like I said I tip everyone, they came up to me at the end and asked for a tip.
The last thing we booked was the sunset snorkeling, it was really late afternoon, we left around 3pm getting back at around 7pm. This was fun, they took us to a shallow reef and we dove foe around 45 min, lots of fish. Then they took us to what they called a natural pool, which was really a sand bar off the shore around a mile about 3 feet deep and very warm. Once we jumped in the rum started flowing. They were serving from a floating bar. This is probably why it was so warm. (Think about it)
Now on to the restaurants, this is where its gets a little confusing as they have shared duties. The main is the Colonial, which is the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At dinner it shares it’s dining room with the Italian restaurant, didn’t try it as I married an Italian! There was a steak house that shared duties with the smaller buffet that was open when the Colonial wasn’t. Didn’t try that one either, the menu just didn’t look that good. The one I did try was the Caribe Grill, which was at the Palace Macao. It was excellent, right on the beach, again open to the weather. I would thoughly recommend it.
Well that seems to be it, hopefully I didn’t bore you all too much!!
I will finish with some tips, advice and insights.
1. Take small bills. If you buy anything they will give you change back in Pesos.
2. Take an insulated cup; this has already been covered in a lot of other posts. The drinks are small and melt very quickly in the heat. This will help and save time in trips to the bar.
3. Take everything you think you will need, everything is expensive. Even if you bargain and get the price down you will still find it’s more expensive than home.
4. When you do haggle, be prepared to walk away. You will find this helps and they will call you back
5. Be aware of the hats made of palm leaves. We had ours taken away at the airport. They said it was classed as a food product. When we got through we saw another couple with hats, so I don’t know if a little cash would have helped us or not.
6. Book your excursions for the morning, which gives you the rest of the day to relax.
7. Relax, enjoy yourself and don’t try to do too much, especially if you are only staying for a week as we were. Never again, next time will be at least 2 weeks.
8. Take an extension cord, the sockets are a little different, they are set into the wall and as most chargers have the power supply built into the plug its makes it impossible to plug in.
9. Don’t forget to save $10 cash each to leave.
10. You don't have to book through Scuba Caribe, they had 3-4 other companys in the lobby every morning that you can book with.
11. When you get home, throw everything in the washer. It was all damp when we unpacked. Probably from the humidity.
I think that’s it, I don’t think I forgot anything. I hope this helps.


Registered: August 2006
Posts: 1
Review Date: Sat October 6, 2007 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? No | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 4 

Pros: Good beach, Relaxing holiday
Cons: Expensive trips, staff expect tips, little english spoken

We have just returned from two weeks at the Riu Bambu, and were a bit disappointed, having previously gone to Riu hotels in Mexico (I think we were expecting the same good service). I know the following sounds very negative but we did have a good time generally.

First the bad bits….
The Dining room staff seem to be always on the lookout for tips, and just about every mealtime we found that the table had not been set completely. There does not seem to be any organisation where waiters should look after dedicated tables. It seemed like there could be two or three waiters looking after one table and none on the next table to it.
The food in the main restaurant is generally pretty good, but it does get to be much the same each day. We went to the Steak House one night and had to ask three times for a menu in English (the third time a waiter asked if we were German for some reason). The steak was quite good, although the vegetables were cold.
Several people went down with upset stomachs, but I guess that can happen anywhere. The cocktail drinks at the bars (Banana Mama etc.) were so sweet that we just couldn’t drink them – even the self serve Pepsi and 7up dispenser was very sweet. Most people that we spoke to said that they mixed in plain soda water to reduce the sweetness.
The gardeners collect the Coconuts and sell them on the beach, and when we told him we didn’t have change for twenty dollars he promptly brought out a bundle of cash – I think he must have had one hundred dollars in change. One morning when my wife was sitting on our balcony, the same gardener brought her a flower arrangement (a Flowerpot with a few leaves and flowers placed in it), and asked for a two dollar tip. It did brighten up the day for us though and gave us a laugh at his cheek.

The trips are expensive compared to other places that we have been too, but we booked the Monster Truck Safari and really enjoyed it. I’m afraid the cynical side of me has to ask what the children want with all the pencils and paper that we are told to take for them. They must have more than enough with one donation a week, but the Monster trucks travel much the same route every day. Anyway yet again, the children were asking for “Dollar” more than anything. It also felt uncomfortable being told that we could photograph the children taking lessons; I would not want my children to be put on show to a bunch of tourists in this way.

There is not anywhere to go “off site” by yourself locally unless you take a taxi, but then I’m not sure we would feel that safe anyway.

Now the good bits…..
The beach is a very good standard, is wide and goes on for miles in either direction. We took a walk along the beach one morning to the “Flea Market” which is a row of huts where locals sell their goods. You can buy anything here from Cigars to Spirits and wooden goods to jewellery – don’t forget to barter though.

The beach towels are free (as is usual) and the sun beds are good quality, we didn’t see any that had been broken.
The Pool’s we very clean and appeared to be well looked after.

The room that we had was cleaned every day and plenty of fresh towels were provided (although some people complained that they did not get fresh ones very often). The room bar was kept well stocked, but we did not use this too much anyway.

All in all a good holiday if you just want to relax in the Riu complex, but for us it did not come anywhere near Riu Yucatan in Playacar Mexico – we will not be going back to the Riu Bambu.

Tom & Kelly

Registered: January 2008
Posts: 4
Review Date: Sun March 2, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 7 

Pros: Great place for a wedding
Cons: Getting up early to reserve dinners and HARD beds

We went to Riu Bambu because the wedding of our dear friends was scheduled there on February 25, 2008. This a a wonderful place to have a wedding in their charming gazebo. The pictures there and at the beach were spectacular.

We did not expect to have mostly "tourist" type food each day. There was only one buffet night that featured Dominican cuisine.

It was nice to have cold bottled beer in the rooms and the liquor bar. We were mostly pleased to have sodas that are sweetened with sugar as the products in the US and Canada are now contaminated with the KILLER "High Fructose Corn Syrup".

The beds were incredibly hard and although we requested a king bed, it appears that all of the rooms have two twins pushed together and made separately. This is not very conduscive to "connubial bliss".

It ws our first trip to this island. We think that if we returned that we would look into staying at a resort that had more local type food. We don't travel to other countires to eat steaks, french fries and the like. We noted that every coconut tree was LADEN with fruit and that there was no use of coconut in the prepared dishes as one might expect from island cuisine.

You will have a lot of fun there, especially if you sign up and pay for some dolphin swimming, and horseback riding!! At night you can be entertained and swill down "toddy for the body" (SMILE)


Registered: March 2008
Posts: 1
Review Date: Thu March 13, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: animacion
Cons: none

i was at the bambu a few days ago (25 feb 08- 10 mar 08) i went with my mum and her 20 month old twins, we went 4 my 21st birthday i had an amazing time and would advise everyone to go!

the people who really made my holiday very special are the animacion team (entertainment team) they are amazing people and they work so hard the holiday wud have not bin the same without them!!!!!

we loved it that much that we are going to the resort again at the end of may 08!

i wish i was still there i miss it so much :-(

but as i sed 2 everyone that works there i will be back XxXxXxXxX


Registered: February 2008
Posts: 8
Review Date: Tue April 8, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: staff, beach, a la carte restaurants, theme nights and many more!!!
Cons: lunch buffet

My fiance and me have been to the Riu Bambu from 6th March untill 21th March 2008. The 13th March was my 22nd birthday, so we celebrated my birthday in the caribean for a change Wink. (Without asking for it, at the day of my birthday they decorated our whole room with towel art and with balloons.)

Right from our arrival the RIU resort looked and felt great! The weather was perfect (sunny and 30 degrees celsius) and the hotel room was great. (we could even see the sea from our room!) The minibar was stocked almost every day and our room was cleaned every day (even if we didn't put the sign on the door)
On our second night there we got a gift from the front desk delivered to our doorstep. (a bottle of rum and a dominican puppet)

We have spent our days walking along the beach and lounging at the pool and at the poolbar Wink. We also went on a trip to Saona, which is really worth spending your money on! At night we went to the a la carte restaurants or to the buffet. The a la carte restaurants were great (the only thing is that you have to stand in line at 6.45 a.m!!). The buffet was good as well, especially when there was a team night. We liked the Mexian nights the best! After that we went walking across the beach (you can really see the moon and stars much better there than in Europe!!!).

The caribean street is also nice to go strolling around at night (we bought a lot of presents for family there)

The only negative point I experienced at the RIU Bambu was the Lunch buffet. The pizza's were always gone very fast and salads every day is not very varied. I wish they would have normal sandwiches with ham, cheese and other stuff.

But other than that, I really recommend going to this resort! I wish we were still there!!! Sad Sad Sad


Registered: September 2005
Posts: 530
Review Date: Sat July 26, 2008 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Fantastic Beach lots of natural shade
Cons: Cuts in staff numbers?

Posted: Today, at 1:57 pm Post subject: Back from Bambu
Subject description: Animation and some comparisons


We arrived back from Riu Bambu yesterday.
All in all we had another fantastic holiday. The beachfront setting (oh what a beach!!) was just the best.
The hotel itself was fine. There were just a few of the "little touches" I noticed were missing from the other Riu's I have been to.
I am always determined to enjoy my holiday no matter what, but thought that I would mention these things, for others to know about.
The staff at this end of the Island were quite different in nature to the people of the Puerto Plata. Not quite so friendly. We were speaking to Sexy Belly (formerly of Merengue and Bachata) and he said the same it was not my imagination. The animation at times seemed more intent on enjoying themselves (especially at night) rather than concentrating on the guests. Sexy Belly said that in POP they were actively encouraged to sit and chat with the guests but not so here in the Bambu.
One thing about the entertainment was the inappropriate "mock sex acts" that the animation and guests were encouraged to join in. This would have been more fun in a adults only resort, but not in a family one.
There was dancing most nights with either a live group or taped music, this was set up right in the middle of the seating area. I thought this was a great idea, as people of all nationalities were encouraged to join in. Much better than only having the club dances performed on the stage.
It was not very clear who was "in charge" of animation, they seemed just to get on with things themselves.
We found the breakfast service at times to be very slow. Waiting for tea or coffee took ages as did clearing the tables. Whilst I did not mind getting my own drinks or clearing a table myself, this then seemed to upset some of the waiters.
I was wondering whether the increase in food, fuel and other commodities etc. has caused a cutback in some areas? Staff seemed to be fewer.
I did not witness the waitresses, gardeners, or barstaff doing any demonstrations in the pool area, as in other years. Towel and napkin folding, fruit carving or plant displays etc.
Also in the other Rius we had huge paellas and chinese noodle cooking for poolside lunches, giving even more choices for eating.
In the past we were treated to impromtu "entertainments" such as traditionally dressed Domincan dancers, early evening or the restaurant staff marching along at 6pm with musical instruments singing and dancing.
These are some of the "little things" that just did not happen.
For the price we paid and what we actually got, I still thought it was an amazing holiday and would recommend this picturesque setting to anyone.
To anyone that has not experienced the Riu service in other resorts, they would not know what these little extra touches have been in the past.
I would be interested to know if these "extras" still go on in the Riu's in the POP.
I saw maids still cleaning rooms at 7 in the evening, I felt so sorry for the extra long hours they seemed to be working, again could this be due to cutbacks?
We found the reception staff, to be most helpful and friendly.
Any questions please ask.


Registered: December 2007
Posts: 6
Review Date: Thu March 12, 2009 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? Yes | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Beach, Staff
Cons: hot in main restaurant

We were at the Riu Bambu Feb 21st – March 2nd, 2009. We are a couple in our fifties and have been to the Dominican three times previously. This time our 20 something year old daughter joined us.

Complex: The Riu Bambu has 560 rooms in 2-story bungalow style buildings spread out over a nicely landscaped lot directly on a beautiful beach in “resort row” in Punta Cana. The resort is one of five adjacent Riu Hotels within the Riu complex and guests can avail themselves of services at the other hotels except for food and drink which must be had at your own resort.
There is a large beautiful open-air lobby with adjacent entertainment stage, a small group of shops with souvenirs, beach needs, cigars, clothing etc., lots of seating for casual drinks, two bars in addition to the beach and pool bars, a large buffet restaurant and another beachfront restaurant that is split in half and serves as two “specialty” restaurants in the evening. A minor complaint about the large buffet restaurant; it got quite warm in there most evenings as they did not open the large doors to let in any fresh air, (I assume to keep out mosquitoes). There is also a kids club set off by itself from the main buildings. All rooms look out at a garden area and are a short walk to the beach. There are no beachfront rooms.
The pool has two main areas; kids mostly occupy one with an area for daily scuba lessons as well as the volleyball net. The other features the swim-up bar and is where the Animation Team conducts daily water aerobics and pool games. There is a bar adjacent to the large pool area and a buffet restaurant for lunch adjacent to the smaller pool. Both pools are just a few steps from the gorgeous beach. The beach has a nice grove of palm trees with plenty of loungers available in both the sun and the shade. Yes, people do play the early morning towel game here, but securing a spot on the beach was never a problem. If you want to be by the pool though, you will need to get down there early, (7AM or so), to secure a poolside lounger.
Everything was clean and well maintained. The pool did seem sandy by days’ end from all the traffic, but was always cleaned up and sparkling the next morning. My only complaint about the grounds was the odor given off by the lawn sprinkler system. It sometimes smelled like sewage, I can only assume they use some sort of “gray water” to irrigate with. This was only evident in a couple of areas and was not noticeable all the time, just on occasion as we walked past.

Staff: Guest services were consistently superior. We checked-in in about 5 minutes and our bags were delivered to our room within ten. Bartenders, waitstaff, cooks, desk clerks, in short all the staff were consistently cheerful, friendly and accommodating. Once, when we wanted another bottle of water, we stopped by the desk on the way back from the beach and requested it. About a half hour later the desk called our room to see if we had received our water yet. When told we had not, they got quite concerned and someone showed up with the water at our room within 2 minutes.

Rooms: Our room was on the ground floor with a balcony looking out over a lawn/garden area. It was about the size you would expect from a Holiday Inn, not especially large or small, certainly adequate for our purposes. The beds were a bit firm, but certainly sleepable The maids cleaned immaculately every day and left many examples of the ubiquitous “towel art”. The resort is about 15 years old and our room showed a few signs of age, such as a couple of repaired spots in the tub and a cracked tile in the bathroom. No problem as everything worked well. There is a mini fridge, which is stocked daily with beer and soft drinks as well as a four-bottle liquor dispenser in every room. The only thing missing was some ice that you needed to get at one of the restaurants. We did note that the room smelled a bit musty when we first returned after a day at the beach, but this was quickly dispelled when we turned on the AC. Temp was in the eighties while there with high humidity, so I guess this was to be expected.

Food: The buffets had a wide variety of good, well-prepared food for every meal. Breakfast featured all kinds of eggs, pancakes, rolls, meats, and cheeses, made to order omelets, cereals, fruits, coffee, etc.; really whatever you want. We always ate lunch at the beachfront restaurant, which had salads, burgers, pizza, hot dogs, and three of four different hot meats daily. The evening buffet always had three or four different types of fish, three or four different meats, lots of fresh fruit, salads, pasta dishes, side dishes, pastries, rolls, bread, cold cuts, desserts, a different Dominican specialty every night and special nights like Mexican Night which featured an assortment of Mexican specialties. The food was well prepared, there was a wide variety, the buffets were constantly refilled and you could always find something you wanted. It was fascinating to see the widely varied approaches people had to the various meals. For example at breakfast Englishmen assembled traditional “English Breakfast”, Germans had lots of breads and cold cuts and Canadians and Americans queued up for an omelet. It was fun to try out different foods that we do not usually have at home. Certainly all was not perfect; I would have liked real orange juice instead of the Tang like drink they served, the wine available at dinner was mediocre, at best and their approach to bacon is considerably different than I an used to. All in all though, that is nit picking. The food is different than we are accustomed to in the US, but it is varied, of good quality and well prepared. By the way, only one of the three of us experienced some stomach upset and that was attributed to the increased amount of fresh fruit and her usually delicate digestion. It was easily remedied with some Pepto.

Entertainment: The animation team at the Riu Bambu does a terrific job of involving the guests who want to be involved in many varied activities throughout the day. They are truly one of the things that make the Riu a fun place to go. If you want to do aerobics, learn a dance, play horseshoes, play a silly pool game, or just watch other do so, they will be sure to bring a smile to your face and you will have some fun. If you want to ignore them, just go down to the beach or sit around the smaller pool and after the first call to action for the various activities, they wont bother you.
We are very much beach people, and this is a terrific beach. We still found ourselves heading up to the pool at various times every day to have some laughs at whatever the animation staff was doing.
In the evening the animation team puts on shows at a big stage adjacent to the main lobby. These shows are sometimes of the “embarrass the audience” type, sometimes elaborate dance shows such as their Michael Jackson, Africa or Dominican shows and always feature the team dancing. It’s not Vegas, but they are fun and the drinks flow freely. Be sure to go the Carribean Street for their street party on Thursday nights. It is lots of fun.
A special thanks to Francesca who we met last year st the Riu Merengue. He was a really fun guy to be around.

Odds and Ends:
The online weather forecast for the week we were there was for scattered showers every day. I was stressed about this but it turned out that it rained for a half hour prior to breakfast one day and for an hour or so during the entertainment show one evening. The rest of the time there were beautiful bright, mostly sunny days. I only mention this to give you an idea of what their weather forecast really means.
We did not do any excursions this year, but have gone on the Outback tour in the past and I highly recommend it.
You will see some beach vendors, (jewelry, conch shells, sunglasses, cigars, etc.), just shake your head no, and they wont bother you. There is also a flea market of beach huts just down the beach to the right, (looking at the ocean) past the Iberostar Resorts. Just remember if shopping there, they expect you to bargain. Pay no more than 1/3 –1/2 of their starting price and always be ready to walk away. The next hut is carrying the same stuff. By the way, the cigars at those huts are all counterfeits.

Summary: Often how much you enjoy a vacation is based upon your preconceived expectations. This is a nice resort but it is not the Ritz. There are no butlers, the booze is mostly local stuff, the shows are not from Vegas, there is no room service and the food is not gourmet quality. At the Riu Bambu what you can expect is a great beach, clean rooms, a well maintained beautiful resort complex, decent rooms, good and varied food, free flowing drinks, a friendly staff, a lively and energetic animation team, fun loving guests from all over the world and lots of fun. There are a lot of fancier, higher priced resorts in Punta Cana with gourmet food, butlers, people bringing you drinks on the beach, and more posh amenities, but you will have just as good a time if not better at the Riu Bambu.

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