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Reviews (11,088)
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All reviewsgarden grillclub diamonda la carte restaurantsmain buffetkaraoke barbbq restaurantcloser to the beachmain poolguest servicesseafoodthomas cooklarge resortdominican republicsteakbeach poolother resortsel pescador
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Reviewed 4 August 2011

I was pleasantly surprised at how wonderful this vacation was considering the reviews! Just returned after 7 days with 2 children. We had a blast! Beautiful resort, friendly and helpful staff. I actualy thought I may have mistakenly reviewed the wrong resort considering how happy we were! The only con was the food. It was just ok,. BUT, we had 3 dinners at the a la cart restaurants, which were great! And we were able to eat off site 2x during excursions.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank blessedtravelingmom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 August 2011

We were part of a large group attending a wedding at the resort. When the initial reservations were made request were submitted for all 1st floor units as many of us were unable to climb steps and as we came to find out on our arrival, there are no elevators. 80 year old ladies wheel chair bound were assigned rooms on the third floor. I have problems with my knees and repertory problems as well and was assigned a 3rd floor unit. On the first day we requested a change, but were advised we would have to wait till 12:00 PM the next day. At 12:00 PM we were told 1:00 PM; at 1:00 PM we were told 1:30 PM, and at 1:30 we were changed to a 1st floor room. We were assisted with the move and went to the beach for a couple of hours. When we returned to the room the keys would not open the door. My wife went to the front desk and the keys were reloaded. She returned and once again they did not work. I took the keys back and they issued new keys and advised a technician would come by the check out the device. I went back and we were able to gain access. Needless to say, the technician never appeared. That night we went to super and returned to the room at about 10:00 PM. Once again the door would not open....once again my wife went to the front desk, where new keys were issued. She returned and the keys did not work. I went back to the desk and was advised a technician would be sent. I returned to the area of the room and a short time later I saw an individual who looked like a technician across the way. I asked him if he was looking for my unit; he said no, but offered to help. He changed the batteries, but to no avail. He left, stating he would be back in 5 minutes with another technician and additional equipment. By 11:15 PM no one had returned and I went to the desk, where I was informed that they had done all they could. I informed them that I expected that if by 11:45 no one had fixed the door we expected to be issued sleeping quarters, a new room. At 11:45 I went back to the desk to get a new room and a technician arrived. He was able to get the door opened, but could not fix it. We slept with the door ajar as he was unsure he could open it again. A new technician was supposed to arrive at 9:00 AM, but did not arrive till 10. We asked to speak with a manager and were put off, but finally we received a letter that he would meet with us at 6:40 PM; later the time was changed to 7:00 PM. at 7:00 pm a young lady came out and advised the mgr would not be available and she would tend to our problem. And that is the crux of the matter; the reception employees could care less and the mgr is unavailable. I would never recommend this hotel to travelers to DR

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Abueloed70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2011

I like to try and be fair when writing reviews but also try not to take too much notice of the very negative views people have as in my previous experience they are often unfounded. And so to a fair review:
We stayed here for two weeks returning last week. We had two rooms next door to each other, my two daughters aged 22 and 15 travelling with us. We were in the standard punta cana bit of the hotel. Didn't upgrade as felt paid enough for the holiday and they wanted an extra 30 dollars per person per day to upgrade which would have been a fortune for 4 people for 2 weeks. However not upgrading did leave us with a feeling of being the "poor relations" at the hotel which I didn't like.
The rooms were very spacious and cleaned very well. The bathroom with the spa bath was also well equipped and clean.
You are allowed three reservations per week at the speciality restaurants which I found annoying. Why? When we did go to the speciality places they were half full whereas the buffet was packed with queues of people waiting to get a table! The process of booking the restaurants was annoying with one person taking reservations and long queues of people waiting to book. It was better if you left it until the evening to book.
Restaurants- Japanese and Italian excellent, steak house good, didn't like the mexican but thats just personal taste and French was disappointing- I was ill all night after eating there.
Pools- variety scattered around resort, the one near the beach was lively and fulll of people who sat at the pool bar all day drinking in their murky water! Not for us.
Beach- we used the beach every day. Due to the size of the resort it was overcrowded at the hotel area. If you walked along the beach by the Riu hotels they were noticably quieter and didn't have guests on top of each other. Sand was nice, water crowded with people who churned up the sand, again if you walked outside the hotel area the water was clear and beautiful.
Having taken our 15 year old to Dreams last year where they offered specific teenage activities she was very disappointed there was nothing for teenagers here. Due to the size of the hotel you rarely saw the same people twice and so she was bored and only found someone her own age in the last two days. She did make use of the free internet activity in the lobby and was able to use facebook but it would have been good for her to have had some other activities to keep her amused.
Some of the staff were lovely, the waitresses in the lobby worked hard to keep your drinks coming, they deserve the extra in tips they make. However the staff at the beach bar were rude and ignored you resuting in us sticking to the water and juice which was self service. A hotel of allegedly superior service should have beach service but there isn't any.
The grounds were beautiful and the place kept very clean as were the food areas.
My husband got bitten on the legs during the night but I didn't so do not think bed bugs were the problem, more likely a stray mossie took a liking to him!
The trolley/tram transport was very hit and miss. We were about half way up the complex so walked the majority of time. You would get on one, it would wait until it was full then still wait again before moving! At busy times ie teatime around the beach when people wanted to go in a nd shower there were few trolleys yet all the privilage club cars/buggies were whizzing about all the time with no-one in them, but if you didn't have the right wrist band you were ignored!
Overall we did have a very relaxing holiday, there were some very good points to this hotel and some not so good. For us it was too big with the beach area too crowded and you had to get up at 7am to reserve a shaded area. Because it was so big it has no personal touch and you felt like second class citizens at times.
Some stafff were lovely, but not all, the rooms were spacious and comfortable and the food was good. No activities for teenagers and the beach was crowded.
If we were to return would choose a Riu as less crowded.

Room Tip: Upgrading if you are going for a short stay may work out economically sound but expensive for 2 weeks.
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
11  Thank Helensm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 July 2011

In the months preceding our vacation, I read with great trepidation the reviews about this resort. I dreaded that the negative reviews were correct, meaning our vacation would be wasted. In total, the vacation wasn’t ruined, but there are areas that this resort can definitely improve upon. The trip took place between July 20 - July 27 2011.

The Flight:
We flew to the DR on USA 3000. We’ve flown them for the last 5 years, and frankly, while they’ve grown, they also haven’t improved. The check in at the counters is often very slow, taking a minimum of 20 minutes. This timeframe increases exponentially with the number of people in your particular group. We traveled with 6 people, checking 6 bags. At O’hare, the check in took about 20 minutes. At Punta Cana, the ordeal was over 40 minutes. This could be alleviated if the bellhops at Punta Cana would stop moving people to the front of the line in exchange for being tipped. Additionally, USA 3000 occupies multiple counters in Punta Cana, each dedicated to a different destination city. Although there was no one checking in for those other cities, the staff was not reallocated to expedite the other passengers. If you have seven workers present and only 3 are working, you really don’t need the other four workers.
While I’m on the Punta Cana airport, be prepared for an archaic system. There’s a random search of the bags near the check in counter, and there’s a drug sniffing dog that pokes around your bags (he looked hot and disinterested, but that’s just my observation). Once you clear that hurdle, and get to your gate, they begin the “pre-flight” process, where your carry-on baggage is searched, and you are given a manual pat down. Then you are ushered to a non-cooled holding area on the tarmac (I’m surprised people are not passing out here regularly). One really odd thing was that they ushered us to gate 3 for takeoff, but the plane was parked 5 or 6 planes away. All the passengers had to walk the tarmac to get to the plane. Why they just didn’t send us to a gate closer to the plane is anyone’s guess.
I’d also tell you to have your life insurance paid up and current. On our approach to Punta Cana, we were in our descent approach when we quickly broke off the landing and circled back over the ocean. The pilot came on the intercom after we were over the ocean to let us know that a plane had not cleared the runway that we were about to land on. Probably not the fault of USA 3000, but definitely something to keep in mind.

The Bus Ride to the hotel:
The apple rep was outside the airport, so we had to fend for ourselves inside, brushing off the timeshare people and the hustlers that attempt to take your bags to the bus for tips. Once outside, we were pointed in the general direction of the buses, but had to figure out which one was ours. Typically when we travel we book private transfers to and from the resort. This is not to be antisocial, but to save time as in most cases the buses crisscross the island going from hotel to hotel dropping off passengers. In this case, we booked what was described to us as a “direct” transfer. In all reality, the GBP Bavaro is the first stop anyway, so there’s no sense in paying extra for this “direct” transfer.
As usual, there’s some poor sap telling bad jokes in broken English that is listed as our “tour director”, and he will make the obligatory first request for tips for the bus driver. Tips are greatly appreciated, but after 6 hours in transit, the last thing I need is anyone sticking their hand out for a gratuity, or for that matter, someone trying to be a cheerleader. Just get me to the resort, the quicker the better.
Upon arrival at the hotel, the bus driver dropped us off at the GBP Bavaro main lobby, and unloaded the suitcases from the bus. This is where the hotel really dropped the ball.

Apple Rep Onsite:
Just a stupid question: How often do people book a round trip to a destination and then not leave on the appointed day?
Every single resort requests that you attend a meeting with the tour operator the day after you arrive to “secure” your return trip information. Wasn’t that already on my itinerary? In fact, they want to talk you up to take their overpriced tours to destinations you probably don’t want see anyway. This is just a shameless attempt to extract additional monies from you, and Apple should drop the practice.

Check In At The GBP:
Upon arrival, we scurried to get the suitcases together (all six of them), and got them into the hotel lobby (I didn’t see a bell hop or any hotel employee moving the luggage). While corralling the luggage, we were pointed to follow a person to what appeared to be a large meeting room. I didn’t follow her at first because it seemed to be setup for a timeshare pitch meeting, but after being reassured that we really belonged there, we went in.
At this meeting, the hotel staffer attempted to tell us all about the resort in 5 minutes or less, after handing out a packet containing our check in forms, room keys, towel cards, and a small map. They collected our check in forms, placed the party bands on our wrists, and told us that none of our rooms are ready, so we should go get something to eat in the resort, and check back in at the front desk when we were done eating. So off we go, tired and sore from a day of travel, to find food. We completed our meal, and returned to the desk to find out that the rooms were still not ready (mind you, it was past 3:00, which is their stated check in time). We hung around in the lobby for another hour, and checked back with the front desk. Of the three rooms we were waiting for, only one room was available. They assured us the rooms would be ready soon. In fact, a fellow at the front desk told us he had our room numbers, and would call us over when they were ready.
Another 30 minutes went by, with this shiftless fellow avoiding eye contact with my steadily increasing angry glare. I contacted another staff member who checked and informed me that the second room was ready, but mine wasn’t. When questioned about how long it would be, I was informed that it would be another 45 minutes until the room might be ready. At this point, I’d had it with the wait. I told her the wait was unacceptable and she was either to get the room ready right now or get me another room. At that point, she suggested that I could take the bags to the room while the maid finished. Not that a bellhop or a staffer could possibly help us find our room, or transport our bags.
I was so furious that I grabbed our bags and marched to the villa to find that the reasons that the rooms aren’t ready are numerous:
Check out is at 12:00, so the maids have 3 hours to clean and restock three floors of rooms, or 12-15 rooms per building. While I know there’s a mañana attitude in the Caribbean, there was no rush to get the rooms ready. I’m sure the novelas that were running on the TV certainly weren’t speeding up the process.
The resort knows what days of the week check out and check in times are typically heavy. Why more personnel are not assigned to prep these rooms on these days is a mystery to me. Additionally, if these “Check In” packets were ready, why didn’t the apple rep on the bus just hand them out, rather than wasting our time with lame jokes?

Accommodations:
Grade B-.We were upgraded to the Diamond Hacienda section of the hotel. What this upgrade actually entailed is beyond me, as the rooms were similar to the rooms we had at the Bahia in Mexico. There were some amenities (beach towels, bath robes and slippers), but all in all, a standard room. The TV was a 19 inch tube television with a broken power button (it required the remote to turn on and off). Neither of my kids rooms had a functioning remote despite reporting the problem to guest services, and it was never rectified across the seven days at the resort.
While I didn’t have an issue with it, there were complaints about the firmness of the mattresses.
On day two, we woke to discover a large puddle on the floor near my bed. We reported the leak, but it took two days for someone to fix the issue, which was obviously the air conditioner condensation leaking into the room.
Included in the room is a mini bar, which is supposed to be filled daily with water, soda and for some strange reason, exactly 2 cans of local beer. This was refilled infrequently. The maid did replenish the bottled water in the room frequently, as the tap water is not drinkable.
The rooms were cleaned daily. However, you never knew when they were going to get around to it. It might be early (they cleaned one day at 8:00 AM) or late (they didn’t get to our room once until after 4:00 PM).

Restaurants:
We usually ate at the Buffet in the Bavaro lobby, as you are restricted to three a la carte restaurants per 7 day stay(if it’s all inclusive, why the limitation? The a la carte restaurants are never full). The buffet is actually quite good, with some repetition. The a la carte restaurants we dined at were the Maiko (Japanese), the Il Cappricio (Italian) and at a Gourmet restaurant (avoid the blue welcome cocktail if they offer it. It tasted like NyQuil). The Maiko was surprisingly good (the food didn’t taste like rock salt, as is the case in most of the vacation spot Tepanyaki restaurants). The only complaint there was that the chef didn’t do the touristy show, which I gladly traded for edible food. The other restaurants were similarly good. Glaringly missing from the menu at all restaurants and buffets was local cuisine. This is not just at this Bahia, but at the resort in Mexico as well.

The only issue with the buffet restaurants is that larger groups are seated in out of the way locations. As we had a party of six, we were often in a distant corner of the restaurant or behind pillars. This obstructed the view of the beverage servers, meaning that you either didn’t get served beverages or never got refills unless you flagged down a server. Additionally, the Bavaro didn’t serve mixed drinks in their restaurants, unlike the GBP in Mexico. In fact, margaritas were not on any drink menu at the swim up bars either. The only location in the Bavaro that had margaritas was the lobby bar, but it was at an additional cost (I guess tequila doesn’t exist in the DR).
Overall, the restaurant experience I’d grade at a B-. They could improve their grades by more closely matching the service extended at the Mexican Bahia resorts.

Pools and Grounds:
Grade B-. The pools are immaculate, with multiple pools to choose from. The resort does not act to stop the idiotic reserving of the chaise lounges, however. By 7:00AM, almost all of the pool chairs are claimed, and all of the covered palapas are gone. This exists despite there being only 1 or 2 people actually in or near the pool. Beaches resorts confiscates these towels, and makes it difficult for the persons responsible to get another towel. Perhaps it’s time for the GBP to do the same (there is a stated $20 fee for lost towels, and if enforced, could put an end to this practice). A two strike rule would probably work to end the practice as well.
The grounds were cleaned constantly, as were all of the public areas. The landscaping was beautiful as well (Grade A+).
The only other area that deserved an A+ was the bar service at the Pool. Wilson did an outstanding job of keeping up with the orders and keeping the guests (both adults and children) happy and entertained. Great job! Previous reviewers had commented on the strength of the drinks served at the resort, though I don’t know why. Unless your usual libation is moonshine, the drinks are plenty strong. They do not typically have top shelf liquor (the only name liquor I spotted was Tanqueray). The rest was Normandy brand. Incidentally, the Bahia house wine was dramatically better at this resort than the resort in Mexico.
There’s also no supervision at the pool to stop dangerous practices. The pools range from a depth of 0.0 feet to about 4 feet deep at the centers. There’s no diving signs posted, but no enforcement. I observed children and adults diving into the pool (in fact, one of their “crazy games” involved adults diving into the pool head first) from the pool side. There were also children diving from the small garden islands into the pool, or wrestling and throwing each other into the pool.
Another issue at the pools was the lack of replacement towels. There appears to be very few times during the day that clean towels are supplied to the pools. This time is extended by the distance of the pool from the entrance to the resort. For example, I took a trip to the largest pool, which was also the pool closest to the beach, and furthest from the resort entrance (incidentally, this pool was extremely overcrowded. Perhaps, as it was a Saturday, does the resort allow locals in for a day pass?). The towel shack was out of towels. The shack operator called to find out when the towels would be delivered. The person on the other end of the line responded 20 to 30 minutes. The shack operator asked if this was actual 20 to 30 minutes or Dominican 20 to 30 minutes (Get used to it. Dominican time has no correlation to actual clock time). This occurs daily at all towel shacks, so get there early or forget about getting a dry towel.
One other issue is with the topless sunbathing at the pool. There are signs prohibiting it in every language, but no enforcement.

Entertainment:
Grade A+. The resort does a good job here, with live music in the lobby and nightly shows at the theater. The animation team does a lively job at the pool (Thanks Panda!).

Sports Complex:
The resort has several tennis courts and a mini golf area on premises (barely). They are located near the entrance to the resort, a good 10 to 15 minute walk, and there are no shuttles that service this area. In the mini golf area, they will only assign two putters per four people, despite having a large amount of putters available.

Worst Elements of the trip?
Several things:
The annoying timeshare/condo people. These people are wearing GBP polo shirts, so they are staff. They attempt to get you to go to their Timeshare presentation every chance they get, following people around. We only encountered them the last two days that we were at the resort, but they were a pain. Get tough upfront if you’re not interested. I waived them off when they attempted, but they are persistent. GBP, people at the resort are on vacation, and paid you dearly for the opportunity. The last thing they need is pushy staff attempting to rape them with a timeshare. Call them off!

Smoking:

While I realize the hotel caters to Europeans, the last thing I want to smell is cigarette or cigar smoke everywhere I go. Limit the smoker’s areas.

Vendors in the Pueblo and at the Hotel:

The hotel has a small vendor area called the pueblo. The site is ringed by small stores, and in the center are hawkers that accost you every time you are within earshot. Frankly, if I was interested in their trinkets, I’d be there buying. Having people attempt to pull you to their particular pushcart selling the same junk as everyone else gets tiresome quickly, and is not permitted in the Mexico properties. It’s time for GBP to put an end to this annoyance.

All in all, was the resort as bad as the negative reviews? I'd say no, but they do have a long way to go to make to the 5 apple rating they claim to be.

Room Tip: E-mail your A La Carte restaurants choices to customer relations prior to your trip.
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank jtuomi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 July 2011

Although we enjoyed our stay we wont be going back! We made the most of our stay, however was hard getting around this hotel as it is huge! To get to the front desk or to the main eating restaurant to our room it was a hike! They have these trollies, but they take a while to come. Food was good I do have to say. We dined one nt at the Mexican, was great! Went with husband and my nine yr old, none of us got sick! Rooms were mediocre. I recommend you go if your in great shape or in need of getting in shape.

Stayed: July 2011, travelled with family
2  Thank Cumfytraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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