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Catalonia Royal Bavaro
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Reviewed 19 March 2011

Stayed March 03 through 13, Room 4445 Third floor 10 nights. Thanks first to Josep Castellnou
for making our arrival arrangements and check in flawless. Also thanks to Carlos at the pool bar for keeping the mamajuna and drinks flowing, the pool bar gets rocking at about 3:30 PM everyday! Lorenzo at Sea Blue recognized us every day for lunch and a few dinners too. Overall we had a great time and this resort is a great value. Food and drink are as good and sometimes better than other resorts we have been to. This was our 12th trip to Punta Cana and the resort, food, beach, pool, activities are on par with other resorts. What sets this resort aside is the value we got and the fact that it small and personal, you can walk anywhere on the Royal side in 5 minutes or less. We really enjoyed sleeping with our patio door open all night and how quiet it was all around.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Weluvdr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2011

Our 10 day trip was a delight. I must say, the room was a big positive and set the tone…. We had a pool-facing bldg 46, third floor, tall ceiling, large (regular suite?) room. Spotless, great maid service daily, no bugs of any sort – don’t leave any food in the room and you will be ok. Ours was not musty at all.
There was an odd sewage smell from bathroom drains on 2 nights – so if we *did* get a room facing the alley, we’d be a lot less pleased I imagine. Some of the service alleyway does smell funky.
But again, our room was perfect – everything worked well, loved the balcony (folks can get really loud at the main pool, but even the die- hard drunks are out by 6pm so who cares :)

The food: hit and miss here. We are picky Chicago foodies, but never went hungry and always found something good.
Breakfast: nice selection of fruit/pastry (TRY that heavenly braided bread, fillings vary from apple to plum… my favorite), meats are too salty most times but edible in small amounts. Egg dishes are atrocious I must say, and always over-cooked. Sunny side ups were the only edible option for me.

We stayed at Catalonia Royal Tulum and CRT has a much better breakfast buffet (heavenly egg dishes). But the pineapple and mangos are delicious at CRB, and really there is plenty to eat in the morning.

Lunch: good sammies at Sea Blue (but beware, very little meat and tons of carb, like the club or philly). Great chicken quarters and good fried fish. Cali rolls, bad (rice made wrong). Mozzarella sticks – heaven!
Thalassa lunch, sometimes good (turkey pasta/white sauce) sometimes odd or undercooked (beef/fish), but edible.

Dinner: Sea Blue, great ambiance and decent food (rock lobster is just ok, but other entries are very tasty, we tried most). Delicious spring rolls. Good ice cream, WONDERFUL drinks. The setting is to die for – think South Beach/understated chic… Sea Blue at night looks very posh. I loved the ethnic new-agey music they play at Sea Blue also, very sweet.
We loved the service there too, the friendliest, most fun, awesome guys and girls – thank you all, sincerely – many also work breakfast buffet. Staff and service is great, period – we loved all, tipped everyone, no issue. There could be some small delay or miscommunication – don’t fret, they will fix it, just wait 2 minutes. Leave your attitude at home, you’re a guest so be nice to staff and you will be treated well. A little Spanish we speak was also appreciated.

Thalassa dinner, very good as well. Highlights – duck (just try it…. delish), pork medallions and lasagna (which is CRB own – beef tenderloin with light cheese sauce between two sheets of semolina… light carb, high protein option). The snapper in white sauce is great as well. Tuna crocket starter, yum. The five chocolate dessert is good.

Tapas dinner, not good… What a waste of a beautiful setting. No one we spoke with, liked it. The tapas themselves, some bad some almost passable. The main entrees – tasteless or over-salted… the worst were the oil-covered rib eye and the shredded meat stew (I could swear it was canned meat used for camping I had as a kid… anyone who grew up in Eastern Europe would know what I’m talking about).
The only good thing about Tapas were the drinks – strong, and perfect! Especially Mojitos and Mai Tais.
No premium liquor however – the Tapas at Tulum Cat have Gran Marnier and Kettle One, Stoli, Cuervo Gold/Black, etc – and their tapas are oh, about 10 times better.

We didn’t try any sit-downs on the “zoo” side, didn’t sound appealing. Did have a few slices of pizza at their snack bar (good, no big deal) and I tried the chicken (cafeteria style… pass). The entire place seemed loud and stressful, esp. the beach.... crowded, lotsa small kids. It was nice to walk through though – made me so glad we’re staying at the CRB. Cute pond on CRB side with ducks, egrets etc. We did make a friend with a striped kitty there (brought cat treats from home) who is such a lover. Please be kind to him folks - I don’t know if he can see well, his eyes are almost shut, although he appears very healthy and uninjured (likely congenital I guess). But he seems to get around find and is very sweet. Bunch of other folks I met enjoyed the pair of cats as well.

There was also a cute black pooch hanging around shops, that’s all – not overrun by animals by any means. The animals looked clean and fed, too (we did see the dog drink the sea water once though, so we dashed to bring it some bottled water…. Hope it’s ok and the vendors give it water. Or give it some if you see it).

Pools – we are not pool people, but enjoyed a few dips in the infinity pool. Beautiful! Lovely lounger beds, too.

Best for last – we loved, LOVED the beach…. Tons of shade, many palapas/palms, wide, vast, plenty of space, quiet, delicious fruit smoothies at MaLoo. Fun to walk as well, just say no to the vendors firmly and they will not pester you much.
The snorkeling – one of the best spots we visited. Very impressed.
Lots of stuff to see aside from the garden variety reg snorkeling fish. Out to the left, in from of the Cat with kids towards the end, was the best. We saw flounder all the time (once large) large fiddler crab, small sting ray, lion fish (first for me). Even a family of cuttlefish! They are amazing to watch, esp. the color change. And a surprise by a large barracuda on our last night around 5pm, very thrilling once you get over the shock hehe (but no worries, I guess we were lucky, they are rarely seen large close to shore).

Spa – make sure not to do your nails there ladies… You will have to go to the family side, which is really messy, plus the staff isn't trained for good nail service. I still paid/tipped the tech for polish change - it looked awful, then walked to the store, purchased a remover and polish, and re-did the whole thing myself.

Two fun events – Beach Party (live singer and DJ, food not great but dancing under the stars sure is… if you like salsa, bachata etc – be there) and paella cook out on the beach at lunch time one day… it was very delicious and a good photo op for you (giant wok), so que up before it’s gone.

All in all, great trip. We will be back. Yes, there are few small things to pick on for some – but honestly, for the money you pay, this is a tremendous value. It’s the least expensive place we’ve been too – and one of the better-liked once. And it has this great low-key non-AI boutique feel, because of fewer buffets and smaller size.

Two suggestions for Mr. Castellnou: Maybe someday a ping pong table could be put in someplace at the Royal side. For the few of us who actually enjoy sports, etc – there was very little to do… The ping-pong table would be inexpensive and fun option. Also, maybe a future gym expansion is in the books… It would be nice to have a small dance/yoga studio area and a few newer machines (abs, quads in particular). One day there was about 7 guests in the TINY CRB gym which was almost dangerous. Few people walked in and walked out because the place was so cramped and had so few equipment pieces.
The sister gym is just as tiny, plus kids always hang around and often inside it… once there was 2 6 yos going ape-crazy on treadmill with no parents in sight. It’s no big deal however, we got most exercise swimming.
Tennis, nice courts, we played twice.

Secondly, the Tapas place… is there a way menu could be changed? Or cook staff retrained; I am not being spiteful, but the quality of food there is plainly bad, and it’s a shame because the location of it is very premium. I’ve had tapas before many times, and these were the most disappointing tapas ever. Especially in comparison to Tapas quality at Catalonia Tulum – which are outstanding, always fresh, bold, imaginative.
Luckily Sea Blue was nearby to rescue us with a better entrée after both unfortunate trips to Tapas.

The funniest thing – we heard so much about water/power outages – there were NONE while we were there, unless it happened between 12-4 pm when we were always out. Also, no bugs – NOTHING, never bitten by anything.

Again, we found that CRB is a phenomenal value for the money even with a few minor quirks. We will definitely return and recommend it.

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank chichick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PuntaCanaCabezaToro, General Manager at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you so much for your comments!

We have taken all your comments with the seriousness that they deserve and this for sure will help us improve to be a better Hotel.

Our team appreciates your kind words and we all look forward to hosting you in the near future!

Sincerely,

Josep Castellnou
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 March 2011

I wanted to get away and just relax and this fit the bill nicely. The all-adults side was definitely nicer, quieter and more refined. The restaurants were all in all very good with excellent service, but I found it very difficult to get a seat at the specialty restaurants on the other side…at least 45 minute wait so I ate mainly on the adult side…no great loss from what I heard from others (you can’t make reservations in the AM, but need to line up at 6:15 for 7 PM opening). The restaurant near the beach was casual and grilled lobster with no up-charge nearly every day ($20 up-charge elsewhere). Restaurant in lobby was never crowded and some dishes were excellent (seafood black pasta). Golf courses were in decent shape, quite narrow, pro shop minimal (not even balls – but one of the ground crew was eager to sell used balls). Clubs were OK at the 9 hole (Cobra irons, older woods generic driver) better at the 18 (Taylormade burner for $40 rental). Deluxe room includes green fees but cart mandatory which was over priced at $35.
Only real negative was the internet connection which was slow to totally unavailable at times….this was irritating as they advertise free internet….it isn’t free if it is unavailable.
Overall, service was great, people very friendly, never a problem finding a lounge at the pool (although several were broken on the beach – these need to be removed – NOTE TO MANAGEMENT - ). Solid 4 out of 5, I would consider returning…very good value for the money.

  • Stayed: March 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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5  Thank dono4126
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2011

A little late but never too late right !!!
Our friends recommended this resort and was well recommended by TRIPADVISOR. So after looking at it for two years we went Feb 27th -Mar 6th , for our 19th Anniversary. Our travel agent Nancy At CAA in Hamilton, hooked us up by noting that this was our anniversary . Upon arrival we had "Happy Anniversary" banner on our front door and a phone call request to do something more , we chose champagne in room, WOW they even brought fresh cut fruits.. NICE touch.
What can we say...
1. GROUNDS - well kept.
2. PROPERTY - well maintained. EXCEPT our room Room 4426 had a leak in our shower. Every time the people above us used their shower it leaked and splashed in our bathroom hence we used excessive amount of towel NOT good environmentally. Ok my failure but our room was such a great location I did not want to cause a fuss and probably it would not have been fixed until after we left anyways. Perhaps next time,
3. ADULT vs. FAMILY side ---- exceptional . The price difference showed what we paid for. We are not in fussing over and certainly don't want to be hustled for tips. So... ( Adult ) ROYAL staff realizes this and did well with us . I like my Wine and Rum NEAT AND in Glass and Royal staff recognized and respected that at all time by piano bar and sometimes by SEA BLUE restaurant.
4. NO ROWDINESS - except for the occasional American being American with too much alcohol by poolside. Pool side service stops by 1800 and you really need to get ready for dinner for that night for 1900 and not before.
5. RESTAURANTS- Several to choose from we did more but in order of our preference SEA BLUE, CATATAPS, MEXICAN THALASSA and of occurs JAPANESE. Nothing outrageous in menu selection except the option of getting the Caribbean Lobster <Crab> every night at the Sea blue, BBQ and well done in presentation.

Notable staff that we encountered:

Franklin - At Thalassa - young man looked after us well and Mimosas
Emanuel - Piano Bar - Excellent memory for my wife's Strawberry daiquiri and my NEAT Barceló Añejo
Maria- Maître d at Sea blue always found us table for TWO ONLY out of the way.
Lorenzo - Know our gastronomy cadence and kept our Wine GLASS full
Joseph from Spain? head Chef, bottle washer and an excellent ambassadors for the resort kudos - AMAZING memory Joseph, met my wife once and remember her name. By chance encounter later that day Joseph remembered her name ... I am impressed by the details and the enormous effort that the staff went and goes through to make us feel welcomed.

WELL DONE
Nav and Ava

  • Stayed: February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank JustNav
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2011

i LOVED the place and the staff. Nobody bugged us for anything. Very polite staff and i dont think they expect tips that much. I say that because it was our first "all-inclusive" trip for both, my husband and I, and we didint know that you should tip the bartender sometimes. (oops!) we did tip last day but none of the staff looked upset when we didnt! Beautiful place and resort. We went through Sun-wing and it was our honeymoon. :)

Note :
1.We booked the aduld side of the resort and there were no vendors to sell anything to us. We were left alone the whole time
2. The restaurant on the little pond like area was beautiful - a must go!
3. room service was amazing!
4. food - amazing a of variety
5. Cute room and very clean.

Only thing that bugged me was the Japanese restaurant. If you are expecting sushi at a japanese restaurant then dont go to their japanese restaurant. They only have stir-fry there.

I miss that place so much that i cant wait to go back there...;)

  • Stayed: July 2010, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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3  Thank laila_toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
PuntaCanaCabezaToro, General Manager at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded 19 March 2011

Dear Guest,

Thank you for staying with us and allowing us to provide you with a excellent experience!

We really appreciate your recommendation and we hope to see you again next time you visit Punta Cana.

Sincerely,

Josep Castellnou
General Manager

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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