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Reviews (6,429)
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All reviewscolonial restaurantdeluxe roomswim up barpalm treescaribbean streetevery other daythomson repssteakmain restaurantmama juanamini bardominican republicsmaller poolentertainment staffoutback safaribeautiful beachmain pool
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Reviewed 14 March 2012

This was my first all inclusive trip so I don't have anything to compare to... however, the resort was clean, the staff was ultra nice and helpful, the service was spot on, and the beach was close (didn't have to walk very far or take a tram). I went with two other friends, we all shared a room and it was pretty spacious for the the three of us.
If I had to complain about anything I would say the entertainment needs a little help and I wasn't crazy about the food - but I didn't starve!

Room Tip: We had the "Garden View" room... which overlooked a small patch of grass, some bushes and that's about it. For the amount of time we spent in the room... it didn't really matter... we were at the beach most of the time.
  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
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1  Thank ImCrabE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2012

When we arrived at the Riu Bambu on February 18, 2012, we were told that we didn't have a room. They had overbooked approximately 19 rooms. I was shocked as I'd never heard of such a thing happening. We travel every winter to Mexico, Jamaica, and this year to the Dominican Republic. We were told that they were going to put us up in the Riu Naiboa (3 star). After about an hour and a half of haggling with them we agreed to stay our 10 days in a lesser resort and they agreed to give us a 10 day all-inclusive voucher to be used within a year NOT by December as they wanted. After another hour - and refusing the first two rooms at the Riu Naiboa - we were finally able to start our vacation and had a great time. From now on I will ALWAYS call the resort to make sure we have a room when we get there and if not, where they are going to send us, so I can check out the resort on Trip Advisor, see how it's rated, etc.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Service
4  Thank gjondle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 March 2012

Our stay here was our 7th in the Dominican but the first to this resort. Our airport pick up went surprisingly smoothly. On arrival at the hotel a member of reception got on the coach to explain check in process while our bags were unloaded. Check in was very quick and even though the coach was full our bags arrived in a short space of time.

The room was beautifully decked out with flowers and towel arrangements by the maid and this continued for the whole two week stay. We found the beds comfortable, the bathroom adequate and a constant supply of hot water. Never had a problem with the maid arriving too late in the day however to prevent early morning shocks we did put the Do not disturb on the door most nights. The mini bar and optics were replaced when used but this was a bit hit and miss - possibly our fault as I think the minibar was replaced in the early morning and we were often still in the room.

We never had a problem finding food to eat. The range of salads was some of the best we have seen. For anyone who doesn't do "foreign food" there was always pizza, pasta, burgers, chips and hot dogs. The only let down for us was the lack of local food even on Dominican night. We went to the Asiatic and Steak restaurants and enjoyed both of these. We never had a problem getting a table at any time and were always offered water and drinks. We did find that sometimes the drinks from the bar did get a bit mixed up (whisky and coke instead of rum and coke) but as you are all inclusive you only need to get another drink. We found all staff without exception to be very friendly and even though most of them had at least a reasonable command of English they did appreciate the odd word of Spanish - even if we got it wrong!

The entertainment team worked really hard and special mention must go to Chiquita who was hilarious - she is just like the Ever Ready bunny, she never stops! We had some good shows and some average shows but no domincan dancing show which again was a bit disappointing.

It was a bit of a job some days finding sun beds as these were often reserved not just early but I suspect the night before! The beach was beautiful and beds seemed to be a bit easier to get here however the beach was slightly too breezy for us.

Special mention must also go to Thomson / First Choice reps Sonny and Monica both of who were incredibly helpful and friendly (it really does pay to have a local as your rep). We couldn't fault the service we had and the trip to the airport was made all the easier as they stayed with us until we had checked in. I had read the varying reviews before booking and decided to book regardless. I cannot understand the faults people have found with this hotel as we would definitely return.

Room Tip: We were in room 1209 which was at the far end of the resort. although a bit of a trek you got no "passing traffic" late at night.
  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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6  Thank debsussex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2012

We traveled here february 27th to march 5 2012.we paid 1050 dollars pp for this trip. the only complaint i have is the food. I have a friend who also traveled the same time as we did that stayed at the ocean blue who payed 1750 pp. the food at our place was beautifully presented, but we feasted on the cheapest of cheap food. i ate many salads because that was about all i could get down. pasta , which was served at lunch and dinner was over cooked and swollen, one night for dinner there was supposed to be filet mignon with bacon served, never saw it. one night lamb was supposed to be served, never saw that. only served bacon for breakfast twice in the week. mashed potatoes was an everyday option at breakfast. we ordered a pizza 3 days into our trip and it was the best thing we had all week. could not, would not of been able to eat the food one more day. meanwhile my friend at ocean blue feasted on grilled lobster, carving stations with ham and roastbeef. they also had acces to food 24 hours a day. we were told we had 24 access to food, i guess we did. i slept through dinner one night and woke up at 11 30 p.m. ventured out to find something to eat. the only option there was, was small sandwhiches with one thin slice of lunch meat and a tomatoe inside of a plastic to go box. they also had a piece of fruit in a to go box. all of this was stacked in a cooler. meanwhile my friend at ocean blue was able to order food from a menu 24 /7. food is awful at the riu bambu, i guess u really do get what u pay for

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled with family
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Thank 754candycane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2012

This was the first vacation my boyfriend and I have taken together, and we had heard that CheapCaribbean.com was a good way to go, and got a good price for the amount of time (7 nights). We also noticed fairly good reviews for the Riu Bambu. Never having stayed in a Caribbean resort before, we made the assumption that anywhere we went would be a good, quality vacation for the money spent. Unfortunately, we could not have been any more naive.
When we got to the airport and found our pre-arranged transportation to the resort, we were told that a representative from Olympus tours (the service CheapCaribbean.com uses) would meet us in the lobby at 2pm the next day, to discuss any excursions or activities we may be interested in. However, the next day we waited for him for about 30 minutes and he never showed. He finally called us in our room on the fifth day of our stay and insisted on meeting with us then, which at that point, served no purpose. He told us a representative would be in the lobby between 2-3pm the next day, and we were to meet with him to finalize our accommodations back to the airport. He didn’t show up, either. Thankfully the night before we were going home somebody finally had the good sense to leave us a note under the door telling us what time the van was coming for us. Our entire stay, we never saw ONE representative from Olympus Tours at our resort, among the many other company representatives we noticed.
The biggest problem was that THE FOOD WAS TERRIBLE. I am a vegetarian and had a very limited selection to choose from, but my boyfriend, who eats almost anything, also had a difficult time finding anything decent to eat. The pasta alfredo, which was present at every meal, was basically pasta with cheese-water poured over it. There was tortellini and ravioli, and unfortunately for me, it contained meat. I found this out the hard way, as they were not labeled. My boyfriend said the meat was dry and rubbery. NOTHING seemed fresh. The selection was very limited for us both and it was the same thing day after day. Not to mention the chaos in the dining hall. Children were running amok, people cutting ahead of you in line, and workers taking your plate if you took your eyes off of it for two seconds. We had to go in shifts to get drinks and refills for fear somebody would clear the table.
Our second day we made reservations for the “Italian A-La-Carte” restaurant, thinking we would have better luck, but no. The three entrees offered all contained meat and the buffet beforehand was an insult to Italian food. There was something labeled “Eggplant parmesan” but looked like dehydrated sliced eggplant…with no cheese OR sauce. The tomato and mozzarella contained tomatoes that looked 4 months old with slices of cheese that appeared to crack upon pouring balsamic vinaigrette on it. The white wine tasted like bad beer. The meat in the entrée was bland, and not seasoned or marinated whatsoever. At this point, we knew we were in for a long, hungry week.
Breakfast was decent, despite the lack of bacon on most days. You had to plan a strategy if you wanted butter on your pancakes or French toast, as the butter was kept 500 feet away from the food and syrup. The syrup was in a jar with a spoon, and never got refilled, so you got quite sticky trying to tip the jar over, and it was a mess. We got excited one day when we saw a man approaching with a container, figuring he was finally there to refill the syrup, but for some reason he chose to refill the three-quarter full honey jar instead. The “juice” dispenser was a joke – I don’t think it contained so much as a seed’s worth of real fruit. It had a funny taste, and seven times out of ten only water came out, which happened to be the best thing in the dispenser to begin with. And the glasses are ridiculously small. I guess they figure if they’re giving you everything all-inclusive, you’re going to have to work for it and make six trips back to get drink refills, only adding to the aforementioned chaos.
Then there was Mamajuana’s, which was the more casual of the dining areas, next to the pool. They had continental breakfast from 10-12 and then lunch from 12 on. We stopped in to get a drink and noticed them putting the lunch items out after what was a sad display of breakfast, and silly me tried to take some French fries at 11:55 and was YELLED AT by a worker, telling me I had to wait 5 minutes until noon. And I had already put the food on my plate. They, too, had the same stuff every day. We were happy to see they had pizza, until we realized that they made about 3 pizzas with toppings to every plain pie they made… and of course the plain was the first to go leaving nothing but pizza with corn or chicken on it. Yes, I said corn. (We’re from New York, so this was a bit of a mystery to us).
There was no dress code at all in this dining area, and there were a lot of people who did not feel the need to cover up when they were going to eat. Including young female children with no bathing suit tops on. It just seemed a bit inappropriate for somewhere where people are eating.
In addition to all of this, we found the service was not very good. The people working there did not seem happy to help you and did not make ANY effort to understand what you were asking, even when we attempted to speak in our limited Spanish. Everywhere you go in the main part of the resort there are merchants hassling you. A few of them did it good-naturedly but some of them were really irritating, yelling things at you as you walked away. The pool situation was annoying at times, children splashing around at the swim up bar, jumping into the pool, and naked babies in the pool who were probably peeing. The room was comfortable and adequate with a few things worth mentioning. All of the outlets are recessed, which basically means if you have an AC adaptor or plug which is bulky (i.e. cell phone charger or hairdryer), you may as well leave those things at home. Also, it took them 4 days to refill our minibar which was supposed to be refilled every other day. The room phone didn’t work to call out and when we called the front desk for help, they did nothing. The alarm clock in the room kept resetting, as it was connected to the main power switch for the room, and the cleaning staff kept shutting it off. The stairs and walkways through the villas were really slippery and an elderly lady slipped and was on the ground moaning about her aching tailbone. If you’re staying at the Riu Bambu and want to gamble at the casino in the Palace Macao be prepared to pay for your drinks, which is nonsense. The one and only night club there also requires you to pay for your drinks and is open to the locals. If you don’t like hearing only Latin music all night or getting approached by aggressive prostitutes, once again you’re out of luck. Other than that, there is nothing to do at night, except watch the show that the resort puts on, which I believe is all in Spanish and didn’t appear too entertaining to people in the twenty to thirty-something age bracket. This resort may be more tolerable for families with children than couples and singles.
All in all, aside from the beautiful beach and fun swim-up bar, this resort needs SERIOUS improvement. Put out the extra money and enjoy your vacation elsewhere.

  • Stayed: February 2012, travelled as a couple
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8  Thank Flood-Mason
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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