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Reviews (6,621)
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Reviewed 4 June 2011

We have recently returned from a fantastic stay at the Royal Bavaro Catalonia Hotel. We read the reviews on trip advisor before we went and i have to agree that unfortunately the hotel was over booked and we were downgraded from a suite with an infinity dip pool to a deluxe suite which, happened to work out for the better for us being a family of 8, with 4 rooms of 2. We had however booked this through our tour operator and were disappointed on arrival. Dominican was always one of the last places to visit throughout the Caribbean on our list but we were pleasantly surprised. The temperature was fantastic and the rain showers were short but sweet.

The service at the hotel was excellent throughout our whole stay something we could not fault. The rooms were sometimes not cleaned till 4pm, but this was not daily.The shees began to smell after a day or 2 as the air conditioning makes the place feel slightly damp, we asked for the sheets to be changed and they were every other day. The food was excellent on both sides of the resort, especially on the Royal side.

We had a massage in the spa which was fantastic, we also took full advantage of the all inclusive room service and had breakfast on the balcony one morning which was lovely.


We did a day trip to Sanoo island by Catamaran on the way there and speed boat on the way back, it was a full day out but was worth it and we also found they were willing to discount the booking as there were 8 of us - if you dont ask you dont get. Sanoo island is beautiful, real white sands and blue seas, we were also able to find starfish on the way home.

We had a fantastic time there and would definitely go back again. We recommend this to all families aged 18 -65 (there were 8 of us ranging between those ages) as this is the perfect place for everyone to relax.

We have to been to a lot of places within the caribbean and rarely write reports because they have been excellent but we decided its time to get writing as we value other peoples opion and hopefully you will value ours.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank ashleyB_187
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2011

My sister and I travelled for 2 weeks in May for a total chill out trip and we got it, we could have both easily stayed for another week and was sad to leave. We arrived at reception, and were given a welcome drink, room was'nt quite ready so they led us to the piano bar for cocktails while waiting, no problem at all there, as they were delicious! Our room was opposite the spa, great room (in the middle of the infinity and main pool) very clean, cleaning staff do great job, (my one and only critism of the holiday was the strong damp smell in the room, which your in the caribbean so to be expected), we had a minor problem with a leak and was fixed very quickly, so no probs there. The resort itself was lovely, quite small which we loved as tended to meet the same people as time goes by, and we met some very nice people there, from america, holland and england, and made some great friends. The family side next door, the grounds were outstanding, and very nice to walk over there, but also lovely to get back to our side, as thats quite a bit larger and noisier, we did'nt try the evening entertainment over there as appeared to be a bit butlinsy, which may be very unfair because we actually never watched any and were quite happy socialising with the friends we'd made. The food we loved, and I am extremely picky eater, (hate fish), and am now 8 pound heavier!!!!!
The thalassa was lovely, fine dining, loved the food here, breakfasts great, and dinner good, Loved the sea blue for lunch, (you can order several things off the menu that you fancy), loved the mozzarella sticks, ask for them well done if u like them well melted. Dinner at sea blue great too. We often loved going to the bar at sea blue too before going to dinner on family side, staff there were great (loved little nerquat, sorry if her name spelt wrong) all staff there were great. Beach party on thursday nights were great, as wasthe domican lunch buffet at thalassa on sundays! well worth checking out. We had dinner at the tapas restaurant and the ambience etc was fantastic, my sister loved the food there, I preferred the thallassa, but all goes on taste and really need to go to see the beautiful restaurant. On the family side, we tried them all, Italian great, very nice, no wait at all, the mexican was my least favorite of all, very bland and busy and very hot as no air con, the steak house was nice, good food, again very hot in there and busy. Our favorite was the japanese, which I was trying to avoid as assumed would be very fishy, however, I loved it here, no fish till the very end which you can decline, ambience and atmosphere great, best fried rice I've ever tasted, beef and chicken, and all vegetable sushi to start, and all very good food. The pizza at lunch time on family side was great, but still nice to get back to our side. The beach was lovely, could most of the time get a spot, beach bar and service was great, many thanks to Roberto who was great down there, (when they have the fresh coconuts down there, ask them to drain some of the liquid out and they;ll top up with rum, fab!!!! ). Hard to descibe the holiday, but really ignore any negative comments, this place is fab, would go back in a heartbeat, remember as these people do work very hard and always with a smile (and seen some very rude people), if you treat people with respect they will also respect you. Best holiday we've had, and certainly best fully inclusive, book here and you won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled with friends
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6  Thank cagsnewcastle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2011

Ok so if you are planning to stay at either the Catalonia Bavaro or the Royal side of the resort please do your homework as the website is very vague and doesn't provide a lot of information. Guys, you MUST wear closed toes shoes and long pants to any dinner that's not a buffet. I heard a few gentlemen complaining that they were not aware of this therefore they had not packed accordingly.

SERVICE- The service at the Royal overall was very hospitable. One thing to think about is there is definitely a language barrier with the staff as this resort is primarly catered to spanish speaking individuals. The only problem we ran into was when we were ordering drinks or at the restaurant. For example my friend asked for a latte and they misconstrued it as hot tea.

Value- The room was very nice. We had a beautiful view from our balcony of the pool and pool bar so it was fun to people watch. The beaches are amazing as well and the staff kept the sand and landscape (in general) looking very lovely. There were a few problems that we observed that would keep me from staying there again. First, the power for the whole resort went out about four times during our one week stay. Once was while I was in the shower and it was extremely inconveinent. In addition, there was also a few times when we ran out of hot water for our showers. It was especially frustrating when we went to the spa and were covered in oatmeal scrub and had to shower off with freezing water.

Sleep Quality- The beds in the room were hard (in my opinion) but my boyfriend actually found it to be comfortable. The TV remote didn't work consistently. A couple of times we had to take the batteries out and shake it before it would cooperate. Since we stayed on the Royal side we didn't have any problem with noise and the room temperature was fine as long as the balcony door stayed shut. The heavier blanket had a moldy smell to it but other than that I sleep just fine!

Cleanliness- Room cleanliness did not seem to be a problem. The only complaint would be that the hibscus flowers that were used to decorate the room contained small black bugs, but what can you really expect when they are fresh picked flowers? We did encounted a horrifying experience at the Rodeo Restaurant where a cockroach was found climbing up onto one of my friend's water glass. Needless to say we quickly got up and walked out.

Restaurant- Overall the restaurants were nice, our favorite was the Tapas and the Italian, went to both twice. At the rodeo restaurant mentioned above our experience was not a satisfying. When the time came to order appetizers my boyfriend ordered a "ceasar salad without the anchoives" and was instead brought a plate of plain iceberg lettuce. In addition, the "md style crabcakes" contained imitation crab meat and was cold, similar to the consistency of a quiche.

Room Service- Room Service was efficent. The hamburgers were good, but the salads are NOT. They use shreaded lettuce and overall everything tastes like mush.

Spa- The spa experience was interesting. They are not like your typical spa experience from the states, you are completely naked with the exception of a tiny tiny thong for girls and what looks like see-through plastic underwear for boys. The biggest complaint about the spa was the lack of hot water in the shower to rinse off our oatmeal scrub and our aloe wrap. The rooms we were in were FREEZING, so it made it very hard to relax and enjoy the exfoliation. The facial and massages were my favorite. However, we were put in the very last room, closest to the outdoor hot tubs and we had to listen to a very foul conversation occuring in the hot tub.

Swimming Pool- The swimming pools were AMAZING! Hands down the most enjoyable part of thye vacation! The pool bar is lovely and Carlos is an amazing bar tender!

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank agregory219
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 June 2011

This was our first trip to the DR and the first completely AI experience for my partner and I. We chose the DR because it seemed like a safer choice for us compared to most of the rest of the Caribbean. Overall we had a nice trip, but I would probably not return to CRB, and probably won't return to the DR for some time. The highlight of our trip were some of the other guests we happened to meet.

For those interested, a taxi to and from the airport runs $30USD. Also, it wasn't clear to me there was a fee to enter the country ($10/pp). You'll pay this before you even get to immigration.

When we pulled up to the hotel, I had a sinking feeling. The lobby entrance did not seem "Royal" to me. We arrived after 3pm, however our room was not ready. I don't believe we made it to the room until around 4pm, maybe after. The front desk appeared to rush things when they realized we were getting tired of waiting, because we arrived at the room as the maid was still finishing up. After we got a bit settled, we went to use the water and found there was none. I figured we would have to change rooms, so I tried to call the front desk, but it just rang. Called the concierge instead who told me there was a plumbing issue for the whole resort and it would be back in 20 minutes. This is not a good first impression after traveling over 12 hours to get here. Grrr... However, we were in building 38 which was the one closest to the beach, but we had a room facing the other side of the resort. The service road is more like a big sidewalk which electric service vehicles apparently use to make deliveries. We met a couple who were in building 36 and had to move to ours because of a gas leak.

We really aren't on board with the whole pants & dress shoes thing, but we made sure to take appropriate dinner clothes. I don't think you have to worry too much though, we noticed someone in a Dallas Cowboys tshirt at the first dinner we did at Thalassa. I wouldn't want to be "that guy" though. In the end, the dresscode was not a big deal. We took lightweight pants, some linen, and we lived. I don't think it was as humid here as we have experienced in Mexico.

We ate breakfast every day at Thalassa, we did not try to do the buffet on the other side. The only food from the other side that we tried was the pizza, which seemed like a nice change of pace. Overall, we didn't really enjoy the food choices, but the Hibachi was the one bright spot. I think my main comment about the food is that it was consistently bland. Maybe I just chose the safe/bland options, though.

The beach is nice and the view is beautiful. There is sea grass floating and constantly piling up on the beach, but it wasn't a big deal for us. We were happy to be able to walk right out and snorkel. Saw a ray, some eels, and many fish. If you want a front row chair, you'll have to be out before 8am though. They could definitely stand to have some more palapas, it was sometimes hard to get shade under the very tall palm trees. We didn't really use the pool except for cooling off.

One thing that almost everyone we met agreed on was that they were disappointed with the quality of service. Looking back, I give high marks to the bartenders and the morning staff at Thalassa. The service at Sea Blue for lunch was pretty lackluster - servers walking around looking at tables but not really attending to anything like empty glasses. The service at the Steakhouse (Rodeo) was truly awful the night we went, and it was also the worst meal we had. The strange thing was that we were given surveys as we were seated, and still proceeded to get bad service. Perhaps these people have given up on getting tips, but we always tip for good service.

We decided to do the canopy zipline tour, which was $79/pp from the hotel rep. We were told it was "an hour 25" on the bus to get there, but this actually turned out to be more like 125 minutes. Just be aware. It was definitely fun, and if you want to see parts of DR you would not normally see, you may want to do it.

Our last day, we went to shower before leaving and there was no hot water. Everyone joked that they didn't understand why the rooms had alarm clocks when the power apparently went out often enough that they were blinking most of the time. ;-)

Even with all these negatives, I had a great time. This is mostly because I wanted to enjoy it, and I know vacation is really what you make of it. I don't like to focus on the negatives, although I think they need to be pointed out here so the hotel can make improvements.

I was hoping that we would find DR to be a destination we would come back to again on future trips, however I don't see us doing that anytime soon.

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
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Thank jaydfwtx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2011

left there yesterday! loved this place! angel(manager), luis(restaurant manager) maria and jstacey were wonderful to us. its extremely hot in punta cana. the resort is just beautiful and beach and ;pools as well. restaurants NO AIR, as well as casino. ladies NO HEELS, alot of walking and ended up wearing flip flops. seablue was the best restaurant and was across from our room. steakhouse was 2nd best. BIG COMMUNICATION problem there. BIG! even if u know some spanish. adult side where we stayed was quiet. other side is where activities are going on. loved the beach barbeque, it was yards from our room! if u like coors, u have to buy it in the store on premise, and no jack daniels either. ask for cold real milk (not powdered). dont overpack . men have to wear pants in rest , ladies VERY VERY CASUAL, I WAS SHOCKED. i would go back if i could get the same room i had. internet works at various times, and not alot

  • Stayed: May 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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3  Thank smile3570
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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