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Reviews Views Date of last review
1 6405 Mon November 5, 2012
Recommended By Ave price per week Average Rating
No recommendations None indicated 5.0




Description: Hotel Riu Palace Bavaro
Playa de Arena Gorda
- Punta Cana
Telephone: 001 809 221 2290
Fax: 001 809 686 5917

Location/General information

* Opened in December 2011
* Located on Arena Gorda Beach in Punta Cana ( 18.718419N 68.453808W )
* Inside the Riu Resort, along with the Riu Palace Punta Cana, Riu Palace Macao, Riu Naiboa and the ClubHotel Riu Bambu
* 4-storey main building and two groups of exclusive 3-storey villas each with a reserved pool
* Extensive, lush gardens
* Complimentary sun loungers on the beach
* 50 km / 31 miles from Higüey (local town)
* 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Int'l. Airport
* Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard

Bob E
Riu Ambassador

Registered: September 2007
Posts: 617
Review Date: Mon November 5, 2012 Would you recommend this Riu Resort? No | Price paid per week?: None indicated | Rating: 5 

Pros: Clean, modern and spacious.
Cons: Not a palace, fly’s on food, minimal soft furnishings for both comfort and reduction of noise.

Well we are back from our visit to Punta Cana and the Riu Palace Bavaro. As I said to my Facebook friends, the owners of this hotel must have been smoking something very strong when they designed this place! This hotel is not a Palace as we know it. The word “palace”, in my opinion, conjures up thoughts of grandness, finery, palatial, plush and perhaps somewhere to aspire to live, well I wouldn’t want to live in anything like this! Personally I would not have been so disappointed with the hotel itself if had not been called a palace, perhaps a good name for this hotel is the Riu Concept Bavaro.

The hotel has three sections, the main building, the VIP section and the Sensimar section all of which have their own swimming pools. (Sensimar is a holiday brand mainly, I think, available to the Germans.) VIP and “standard” guests were not allowed into the Sensimar section and they were not allowed into the VIP section. However both the VIPs and Sensimar guest could use the rest of the hotels facilities. The exception to this was a special restaurant, serving similar if not the same as the Krystal restaurant that was exclusive to the Sensimar guests. Free Wi-Fi existed for both the VIPs and Sensimar guests, the strange anomaly was that the Sensimar guests had no swim up bar in their “private” pool. (Perhaps the Germans don’t drink in the wet!)

We travelled as a party of two couples staying 9th October (2012) for two weeks. As a Riu Class Card holder we were lucky enough to be upgraded to the VIP section and were given a full Jacuzzi suite located right on the beach. Our friends were in a junior suite. Both rooms were the modern open plan type’s which you could see straight into the bathrooms. This new style is very modern and clean but in my opinion is rather sterile and cold looking. In this hotel and the Riu hotels that are being upgraded, I think the management have gone too far with modernisation. Rooms, although you only sleep in them, should feel comfortable and restful. The rooms are no longer a pleasant environment to return too. The only soft furnishings were the curtains and bedding, the couch, a two sealer, comprised of hard stuffed sponge cushions with hard armrests. The furniture’s overall appearance looked very cheap and really not in line with Palace standards. Even the “art” was constructed out of some sort of hard materials which were then fixed into illuminated alcoves. The rooms have electronic entry key cards, very good air conditioning, stocked mini fridge, 4 sprit optics, coffee machine and keypad safe.

The site of the hotel is fairly large and the area that we were located was some distance from reception. The “speciality restaurants” were located along with the main buffet restaurant in one area near the reception of the main hotel. (The exception was the steakhouse which was the pool restaurant during the day.) They were all rather utilitarian, rather cold looking and with minimalist furnishings and atmosphere. The menu was new in the Krystal, again rather disappointing and my party also thought the new Italian restaurant’s menu was also rather disappointing. (We all preferred to have two go’s at the starter buffet if we were to go again!)

Throughout the whole of this hotel, I did not see one piece of carpet therefore all the restaurants, reception areas, lobby bar and coffee shop all had this clattering background noise that a carpet would muffle or at least reduce. The food displays were outstanding in the main buffet restaurant although I dread to think of the wastage due to the fact that you just didn’t know what you were picking up. For example I thought one of the little shot glasses full of an orange substance would either be sweet or carroty but it was cold lobster bisque! The main dishes however were labelled but again some of the labelling was with licence. It was upsetting to see that a lot of the cold food offerings and displays had fly’s landing on them; surely in this day and age there are ways to avoid this. Personally I was out of commission for a day and a half due to being sick, something that rarely happens, the last time being the Riu Tequila back in 2001. One of the new facilities worth mentioning was the coffee shop. We used it nearly every day and would walk up of a late afternoon for coffees or a lovely cup of English style tea! There was also a selection of delicate sweet treats or a small savoury selection to tide you over until dinner time.

If you stay at the Riu Palace Bavaro you are allowed to visit all the other Riu hotels in the resort with the exception of the newly refurbished Riu Palace Macao which is now “Adults Only”. It is a nice walk along the beach promenade path to look into the other hotels and, where allowed, have a drink or two along the way. The reciprocation of visiting other hotels does not work the other way here. For example, as I believe forum member peterhr explained, from the Bavaro you can visit all but the Macao. The Palace Punta Cana though cannot visit the Bavaro or again the Macao. The Palace Punta Cana can visit the Bambu and the Naiboa. The Macao can only visit the Bambu and the Naiboa and both of these hotels can only visit each other. All however can visit the casino located in the grounds of the Macao! Complicated or what?

During the visit we did however walk through the Riu Palace Macao as we had stayed in this hotel 3 times prior. The hotel has been refurbished and I now believe the rooms are the new open style. However the communal areas were refurbished keeping the original features but looking rather cold and utilitarian what with the new white, grey, black and silver colours. The lighting didn’t help either with the cold feeling as this was now all low energy therefore giving an office/industrial feel. The Macao’s bar, lobby, coffee shop and lounge areas remain open-air and therefore very warm along with the outside temperatures. In my honest opinion I think this new colour palate is how the Riu Palace Mexico will end up.

While staying in Punta Cana before, one of the main dissatisfactions was the staff either not being able to communicate in English, or sometimes rude or uninterested. Well fortunately this does appear to have improved slightly but most were kind, cautious and fun. It’s surely the manager’s fault of putting boys or girls to do a man or woman’s work, however in some instances some staff still just do not have a clue!

Would I go again to any of the Punta Cana hotels, only now to the Riu Palace Punta Cana as this is what I personally call a “proper palace”. We had a couple of good meals there and the staff have improved considerably since our last visit. Have fun!




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