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Reviewed 13 January 2012

After reading some previous reviews we had some concerns but these concerns were totally unfounded. No problems at check-in, rooms large, comfortable, spotlessly clean and mini-bar fully stocked. Shower over bath, good pressure and never experienced problems re water running cold. Yes, the pool is small but who cares when the beach is right on your door step running for miles in both directions. However, word of caution, if you do decide to go on a long walk along the beach make sure you pin point where your hotel is, very easy to walk by it as so many of the hotels look the same from the beach!! Food could not be faulted, New Year was, as much as you could eat, lobster, king prawns, caviar, rib-eye steaks and so much more. Staff very helpful, Animation Team worked hard and very professional. All-in-all an excellent holiday but would note that there is no need to take local currency, all $ notes and possibly £5/10/20 notes (English) is all that you will need. The local shops in the resort will not barter, indeed shop staff appear rude and care little if you buy or not.

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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15  Thank madgescotland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 January 2012

Dont' be put off by the bad reviews. Not my favourite hotel but good basic and clean. The staff are great and really friendly and helpful. We were dissapointed with the pool. The photo's are very deceiving the smallest pool I have seen in my life. The picture of the ones with the sunbeds in it is the kiddies pool so very noisy. The other pool was very small. Disappointing that we couldn't use the other hotels which it states you can, apparently they have stopped it now and you can only use the one your booked into now. Overall a good hotel if you can get it cheap enough haggle with the prices and get a good deal like we did.

Room Tip: Rooms away from the bars & restaurants are good we were in 3312 which was a walk but very quiet and not facing the road
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled as a couple
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5  Thank Catherine35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 10 January 2012

Chris Rock is the best!!! We had so much fun and evrything was nice. One thing they can improve is the bedding (not bad but it can be better). You must try everyday Soup... muy rico!!

Room Tip: bring your pillow.
  • Stayed: January 2012, travelled with family
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Thank GianinaPaola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 January 2012

I travelled to the Bambu from the 14th - 28th December 2011 with my children aged 15,12 and 11. We had the most amazing time and can't wait to go back.We had 1 full day of rain and it did rain most nights but the weather was a good 85 every day. Let me start by saying that I am anal when I go on holiday. I go armed with anti bacterial wipes and disposable gloves....sad I know....but I didn't need to use them here!!! The room was cleaned spotlessly every day and the hotel grounds were full of people cleaning all day. The pool area was immaculate. Drinks were never watered down and sometimes were actually so strong I couldn't drink them! My children did the para sailing ,kayaking and had a go on the body boards. The beach is stunning. I don't do sand but this was like talcum powder and again immaculate. The food does get a bit repetitive but we never went hungry. One night we sneaked into the Palace next door for dinner and their food was amazing but it was full of stuffy old people looking down their nose at anyone that had children enjoying themselves.The Bambu is far more relaxed and fun. You don't have to tip because the service is excellent anyway but we like to reward good service and the staff were always grateful (they work long hours for pretty pants pay). We did go on a day trip to Saona Island which was just like paradise. It's a long old day but well worth it. By the end of our second week we were feeling a bit trapped so we got a cab to the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. The service was rubbish but it was sooooo good to eat some junk! There is also a shopping centre which has Armani and Tommy Hilfiger shops to name but a few. We asked the hotel to order our cab and it arrived in seconds and we arranged for the same guy to collect us. Transfers were smooth and easy as was our departure from the DR. The pools are plenty big enough (despite what the moaning minnies say) but you do have to get your towels down early to get a good 'pitch' by the pool. If you prefer the beach there are always plenty of sunbeds.Some people from other countries were very rude and arrogant and liked to move their sunbeds so they were blocking the path and nearly on top of your sunbed...no idea of personal space.If you smoke anything other than Marlboro take cigarettes with you! They are very expensive to buy in the hotel shop. Once you have entered the Riu complex (through a barrier and armed guards) you are very safe. There are people on the beach and around the pool that will try to sell you stuff but just tell them 'No thank you' and they will smile and walk away. At the end of the day if there was something to complain about I would tell you now....but the only people that seem to be complaining are whingers who should just stay at home. (Really who gets on their hands and knees to find mould on the bed and take photos of it)? Honestly the Bambu is not a Platinum or 5 star as advertised because when you compare it with the other Riu next door it is a hell of a lot less superior but for us it was ideal as we had a relaxing family holiday without the snobs and will be going back once we've saved up! Please feel free to mail me if you want to know anything at all!

Room Tip: We were on the ground floor in a family room. (0603) It was very quiet and about 1 minute from reception.
  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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3  Thank superhoopsLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 January 2012

This is my fourth stay at a Riu resort this year - first time in the DR. We traveled with 2 families - 4 adults and 5 kids in total. I would rank this as my least favourite of the Riu family resorts but NOT a complete disaster. Don't be put off by the really bad reviews - sunny skies, 30 degree weather, fantastic beaches make up for some of the short falls from the hotel. However, I would rank this closer to a 4 resort than a 5*.

Transfer from the airport and check in was relatively smooth and pain free. Upon arrival, we were greeted with some delicious drinks and strolled through the open concept lobby. Lots of vendors selling all sorts of trinkets, paintings, cigars, etc.

In terms of the rooms - if you look at it as simply a place to sleep in the evenings, then you won't have a problem. Absolutely no luxury to the rooms - but this again was expected based on my prior experiences. Very small space, hard mattresses, soft pillows (although this is the same at every Riu resort I've stayed at). The maid service is very good. Rooms are generally clean, saw no bugs during our stay. Had to ask for my fridge to be replinished with water and cold beer on several occaisions but upon request this was taken care of quickly.

Food - what you would expect from a large chain all inclusive resort. There is no flash to the buffet - pretty much large selection of foods to choose from. One of the guests we went with was sick for a few days - but this could be from anything. I did find the lunch buffet area less sanitary than I would have liked. Also, they ran out of beer at the lunch buffet one day - another small inconvenience for beachgoers that fancy a cold beer during lunch after a few hours in the sun. Not the end of the world as the pool bar is a few steps away - but something that you don't expect to happen while on vacation and does cause a bit of inconvenience.

The food does get quite redundant so we decided to leave the resort on several occaisions for a nice dinner (and explore a bit of the local spots). If you really fancy leaving for a meal - you have to go to D'Angelo's restaurant (local Italian spot - Angelo the chef is from Italy and has been living on the island for 12 years). The food is amazing - as authentic as Italian food will get on a Carribean island.

There were some nits along the way during our stay - running out of towels at 10AM in the morning so our kids had to play and sit on the beach without any towels for about 2 hours (overall not a big deal right? However, something this small could be quite annoying when trying to relax). As I mentioned earlier - mini bar, water, etc was not refilled automatically. I had to ask twice in the 7 day stay for this to be taken care of (again, not the end of the word but these small details seperate a 5* from a 4* or less).

In terms of staff - generally very friendly and upbeat. Some of the staff in the main buffet and front desk were less enthusiastic but everyone has a bad day now and again. If you are eating in the main buffet - ask for Carmen - she is absolutely wonderful, always smiling, given we were with a big group - she would have our table ready every morning with fresh flowers sprinkled across the table.

We didn't make use of the kids club or entertainment during the day - but it seemed from observation that the Riu animation team were always hard at work (even with rain showers) to ensure people were always entertained. There was a great little kids pool with waterslides that worked well for a few hours every afternoon to keep the kids busy and a change from the beach.

Evening entertainment - not my thing but my younger daughters (4 and 6) loved it and really kept them entertained. The entertainment team put alot of work into their routines but at the end of the day, the performances are rather amateurish.

Lastly, the beach. Very nice beach - can go for long walks, vendors are not pushy, the sand is pristine, plenty of beach chairs and shade if you need it. There is no bar on the beach so have to continuously go back to pool bar for drinks - but a nice way to stretch the legs. Lots of activities if you choose. I found the water to be very clean however given the time of year it was very rough (but the resort will loan you boggieboards for a $10 deposit each) - which we had everyday and made riding the waves alot of fun.

Bottom line - I probably would not choose to stay at this resort again (and likely will not choose a Riu chain again unless it was a Riu Palace).

Oh yeah - almost forgot - you can visit the other 3 Riu properties - they are all connected. The two Riu Palace resorts seem very nice and extravagent where the Riu Bambu and Riu Naobi have a more "Carribean" open air flavour to them. I recommend you look at the new Riu Palace that opened up in December 2011 (they looked very posh and the rooms are almost beach front).

  • Stayed: December 2011, travelled with family
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8  Thank Enzo_from_TO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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