We just returned from a splendid week's stay at the Riu Bambu.We found this property on Orbitz and were a bit hesitant at first as we were unfamiliar with Riu properties and with Punta Cana. We were there from 12-29 to 1-4 and celebrated New Year's at the property.
I want to thank everyone who wrote a review as we(two couples that went-ages 27-40) read every review and this really helped to prepare us for the week. Some of my thoughts from the week..
Arrival at Punta Cana-luggage was quick to arrive and airport was surprisingly modern.We took a cab to the property(approx 35 minutes) and paid $30 US dollars.
I have been to several Caribbean islands and I know the drivers are usually crazy and the roads are usually too narrow so the first thing we did when we got in the cab was ask the driver to stop so we could have some beers for the ride to the resort. We picked up dos cervesas(Presidente's) for $2.50 each at the first roadside stand and enjoyed those in the cab on the way to the resort.
Arrival at Riu Bambu-Very quick check in and help with our bags was immediate.We were met with a welcome cocktail on arrival. We were quickly off to our room to get settled.
NOTE-thanks to an earlier review, we called ahead to request a specific bungalow. We wanted something that was closer to the front of the resort and away from the new palace under construction. We also wanted a second floor as we were warned that there would probably be less bugs, etc on the second floor than the first.We were thrilled when they gave us the exact bungalow we had requested.Also, even as we walked around the resort all week, we NEVER heard any of the construction being done at the new palace.
Dining-While we had most of our meals at the Colonial Restaurant, we had no problems finding something to eat on each particular night.We are not the fussiest people so we were certainly able to choose between all the fish, pork, beef, pasta, and salad options each night. We always tried to save room for the ice cream at the end of the night. The dining room was a little warm but not as bad as I had read in an earlier review.There were plenty of fans circulating to help keep things cool.We did eat at the ala carte restaurants on two nights.I would highly reccomend the Caribe restaurant which is in a spectacular location overlooking the water with a great ocean breeze. It is a 5 course meal and it is nice to be waited on after so many buffets. I would not reccomend the Steakhouse which is in the Mamajuana restaurant. Food and service were pretty bland. If I had to bring one thing for dinner(and this is minor), I would have brought my own salad dressing.The salads were great but none of us could find an acceptable dressing we all liked(see, I told you it was minor)
We also had lunch each day at Mamajuanas as opposed to the Colonial.They have a no shoes, no shirt lunch and this was preferred over getting dressed in the middle of a hot afternoon.
Bar/Liquor-There really were 4 liquor dispensers in each room. They were brandy, vodka, gin and rum. They would restock your room fridge every two days.In the fridge is 3- bottled beers, 3- 7-up, 3 diet pepsi, and 3 pepsi's. There is also a 1 gallon bottle of filtered water that is for drinking.Do not drink from the sink in the bathroom.They will refill your fridge and bar every 2 days or whenever you call them and request them to. NOTE-Once in a while, I would go to the convenience store on the property and buy some Bud Lights, Gatorade, and Diet Coke.I am not a big Pepsi fan so having Diet Coke available for a small fee was a huge relief.They also have bottles of Dasani water available and they both cost less than one US dollar.The bartenders were great and would give you whatever you wanted. Be sure to ask for the top shelf stuff like Stoli or you will be served the local liquor.We are big wine drinkers and we didnt expect much and we were still a little dissapointed.They had wine taps in all the restaurants and it was a step below Charles Shaw. It had a very vinegary flavor. While we were there, there was one group from Canada who brought 3 cases of Coors Light.The bartenders were happy to keep the beers behind the bar on ice for them.I wish I had thought of that! The only thing we couldnt find for drinks was Cranberry Juice. If you enjoy Cranberry Juice, you may want to bring your own. From many of the previous reviews, it was mentioned to bring a cooler or thermos. This was the best idea of the trip.I bought two Nissan thermoses on line..
These are the best I have ever owned.I would fill the thermos at lunch and it would still be cold with ice cubes intact 4-5 hours later. This came in very handy throughout the trip. I would fill it up for plane trips, beach trips, etc.
Rooms-Rooms were just average but we spent so little time there. The bathroom door opens backwards into the toilet and we didnt love the two beds pushed together.We would have preferred one queen bed as opposed to two doubles. Probably my biggest complaint of the trip was the firmness of the mattresses. We all thought they were way too firm and some people had trouble sleeping.The pillows are also real thin so some of us requested extra pillows.The AC and the fan kept the room very cool at night. We would have a cocktail on the patio before dinner as well.One nice surprise(for me, not my girlfriend) was the amount of US TV channels in the room.They had ESPN,CNN, ESPN News, TBS, WGN, and a few others.We didnt watch alot of TV but it was nice to be able to catch up on what was going on in the world.I also got to watch the end of the Rose Bowl even though the announcers were speaking Spanish.
*German tourists could be pretty rude at times.We only encountered this twice but I am sure other countries say the same thing about Americans.It just depends on the person.
*Only about 20% of the visitors were US.My guess is that Canadians were another 20% and Europeans were about 60% which leads us to..
*Topless sunbathing-Nothing we had a problem with but you should be forewarned if you have young kids, etc. All the topless bathing was at the beach and not at the pool.Unfortunately, it is usuallly the ones with their tops off that should have them on and vice versa.
*The beaches are spectacular and where we spent most of our time. We were there during a busy week and had to be there by 10:30 or so to insure we could reserve a beach chair
*We also brought about $25 in one dollar bills to tip people.We also left a little something for our maid and our server in the main dining room.
*There is no ATM on the resort so make sure you have what you need.
*We were able to negotiate prices on all jewelry, cigars, etc. Normally, we would negotiate up to 50% of the asking price. We had some nice Cuban cigars on the trip but did not bring them back to the states.I did buy some Romeo&Juliet Dominican cigars at the duty free shop at the airport.
*No one was sick at all the week we were here.We drank the bottled water, ate the fruit, and ate the salad.The harm is not drinking any water and then becoming dehydrated.We also brought our own medical kit from home(Immodium, Nyquil, Aspirin, etc) and were happy that we didnt need it. Guys may want to bring some hydro cortisone as wearing a wet bathing suit all week can lead to chafing or a rash(I learned that one the hard way)
Overall, we had a great trip.The resort is wonderful and the staff is extremely friendly. While I would definitely come here again, my preference would be to try a Riu at another country to experience something different.If you have already booked your trip here, feel confident that you will have a wonderful time.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- * 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-story bungalow complex * Surrounded by 46,000 m2 / 50,300 sq. Yards of palm groves, adjacent to the beach * 50 km / 31 miles from Higley * 600 m / 1,980 ft. From Caribbean Street * 30 km / 19 miles from Punta Cana Intl. Airport * Credit cards accepted: Visa, MasterCard ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Riu Bambu Punta Cana
- Riu Bambu Dominican Republic