Debbie's Dominican Travel.com Old Reviews - Barcelo Bavaro Beach & Convention Center
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Kurt 

June 2008
We just came back from a week in this Hotel. From 6/02/08 to 6/08/08. This was to long to stay in this Hotel, after all the beach,eating and drinking there is nothing else to do. Yes the place is nice but take lots of money is not cheep. The people that serve you at the table they were always mad of something I know because I understand the Langue. There was days that this Hotel so full that if you was not on time you will not eat. Sample breakfast from 9AM to 10:30 AM lunch from 12PM to 3:30 PM snack 4:30 PM to 5:30PM dinner from 9PM to 12PM. This hotel does not have a nigh club for the size of it should, you to ride this train and it will take to the other hotel only two Las Canas and Disco Fever (Boom music) and there are only open from 12PM to 3AM. To summaries this trip I will go back, do not stay there more than 3 days. For the talk about this place I could not wait to get back home.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Derek 
Toronto, ON, Canada
February 2008
Arrival - My friend and I just returned from a week at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Hotel. We had originally booked the Barcelo Casino hotel, and the day before our departure our vacation company called to tell us we had been upgraded to the Barcelo Beach hotel. Unfortunately when we arrived at 11:30pm, we were told the hotel was overbooked. After waiting for about half an hour, the staff told us they were calling us a cab and sending us to a totally different hotel for one night (The Catalonia Resort) and bringing us back the next day and upgrading us to the 5 star Palace hotel. We took it all in stride and headed off, even though some people were NOT pleased. My way of thinking is "chill out - there's nothing you can do - take it all in stride". The Catalonia was an extremly nice hotel and we got to spend the entire next day there enjoying it. At 4pm we called a cab and headed back to the Barcelo. We gave them the receipt for the cab and they reimbursed us for the fare.

Rooms - The room was very nice, compared to alot of other places I've stayed. Very clean and up to date. Nice new TV, satellite TV (although you had to pay an extra $20/week for channels other than CNN). Fridge was stocked everyday with beer, soft drinks and water.

Restaurants - The buffet restaurant was the only one we ate it. It was very good. Loved the smoothie & omlette bar in the morning & the pasta station at dinner.

Bars - Bars were pretty good. Often took a while to get them to serve you, but that's the way all things are in the Dominican. No rush on things :)

Beach and Pools - The beach is top notch and the pool is as well. This is where we spent 75% of our time.

Grounds - Grounds are impeccable!

Tours - Took a half day tour to the "Marimarium" - an area off the coast where you snorkel with rays and nurse sharks. It was a great excursion, although quite pricey for 3 hours. $85

Conclusion - I'd definitely recommend this hotel and hope to go back.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Lee  
Pine Grove, PA, USA
June 2007
My family (me-43, my wife-40, sons 13 and 10, daughters-8 and 3 years old) just returned home from after spending 4 days from 6/11, Monday to 6/14, Thursday at this great hotel. This was our second trip to D.R. as we spent a nice one week back in 2003 at that time at a hotel called "Sunscape Grand" in Punta Cana...

We wanted to re-book with Sunscape Grand but this hotel had changed it's name to I believe "Oasis Resort" and eventually we booked a one week stay with Occidental Allegro Punta Cana. We stayed for 4 days with Allegro but decided to check out early morning of our fifth day due to it's so-called Miss Allegro Contest which strongly offended me and my family the night before. It's a shame because my family was having one of our best vacations ever at Allegro until this heppened....

After checking out my family from Allegro, I decided on BAVARO PALACE based on my two conversations with two different taxi drivers...they highly reccomended this resort for my family. I can not thank these gentlemen enough as my family had a great time for the remaining 4 days of our vacation..

In the past 10 years, my wife and I (we take all of our children each and everytime we go anywhere, just our preference ! ) have traveled to other islands/destinations for vacation; Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Cancun/Mexico, major Beach locations throughout Eastern U.S. - Va. Beach, Outer Banks, Myrtle Beach, Ocean City in NJ and MD.etc. and can say without a doubt that Bavaro Palace is one of the BEST resorts one can find period.

When we arrived at the Bavaro Palace Hotel on 6/11 at 10 a.m. without a "reservation", it took me and the Receptionists about 10 minutes to decide on an Ocenview Family Suite located Building #4 on the third floor... Within one hour, we were in our rooms ( basically three gorgeous adjoining rooms with a great view of the Bavaro Beach) and based on what we saw, me, my wife and our kids were jumping up and down with joy!!!! There is so much I can say about this great hotel but this review as I can see is already lengthy enough so let me breakdown the rest of my review as follows:

Beach:
Big, clean and beautiful.. pick a spot for your family, grab enough beach loungers and enjoy! Pool: Big, clean, refreshing with a cold shower jacuzzi nestled near the cul-de-sac big enough for about 15 people - never crowded during our entire stay...

FOOD & BEVERAGE:
There are I think 14 Restaurants and Bars at this huge resort...what more can I say? We enjoyed Buffet Restaurant and the Sefood Restaurant called La Brisa - Grilled Lobsters each and every time... because we had on bracelets that identified my family as CLUB PREMIUM MEMBERS- (extra cost), we had private breakfasts at Chez Palace French Restaurant where the manager, serving staff and the chef completely spoiled us by accomodating anything and everything we wanted.....Oh by the way, I did mention we have 4 kids, right? .. We simply did not have enough time during our stay to check our every resaturant as one can imagine.. but based on what we experienced, we pretty much know the level of service and quality we would have received. VERY NICE!!!

GENERAL / MISC:
The entire resort is absolutely clean and well organized. As CLUB PREMIUM MEMBERS we had complimentary unlimited internet access at the Convention Center and any time access to private Clum Premium Room which is stocked with Premium Brand liquor/spirits, soft drinks, delious ham and cheese hor deouvres, HDTV with Sound system and most comfortable leather sofas and a server who took care of my entire family only while we were waiting for a departure mini-van during our check-out process on 6/14, Thursday. The front desk was professional, friendly and helpful. One night, we went to the Show Tropicalissino / Hotel Bavaro Casino and with the assistance from the front desk person at Bavaro Palace, my family was able to watch this show from the second floor VIP balcony section away from crammed crowd on the first floor. My special thanks to Sorrana and Rathames for their patience and sincere assistance during our stay and of course putting up with me.

One should definitely seek any information needed from the information desk located near the rear section of the Reception area as these young ladies were superb in responding to numerous questions I had about ANYTHING. The Express Trolly service (this huge resort contains 5 hotels with exchange privileges ), basically a mini -train runs every 15-20 minutes, is helpful in traveling around the resort, especially with small children. During peak evening hours ( 7-9 p.m.), this train does fill up pretty quickly and accordingly you do see some vacationers actually "fighting" over space in getting on the train. One night, as the trolly pulled in, me and my kids were about two steps from getting on the train when this young couple (European, based on the language they were speaking) actually ran in front of my children to take the train and cut in fron of us ! To add insult to injury, they actually sat down and gloated over their accomplishment like they had just won a million dollar prize!!!, Not wanting to spend a night in D.R. jail and not having enough time to brush upon my second degree Black belt Karate skills, I did not punch out this ugly & idiotic young jerk but boy I was mad.. Overall, the servers and the staff at this hotel are generally polite, friendly and helpful. There are about 10% of staff that need to pursue other things as they are absolutely miserable but my family truly appreciated the remaining people we came in to contact with and 90% satisfaction rate is pretty good I imagine any where even in Europe...

CHECK-OUT:
Perfect. Took 30 seconds. It helps if you go up to the recption the night before you check out to pay any charges you are responsible for. The gentleman (same person) that took care of our luggage for check-in and check out was one of the nicest people I have ever met and I regret not asking for his name.

In closiing, I want to thank BAVARO PALACE for providing truly a memorable vacation for my family and I will definitely go back to this resort in the very near future.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
The Peebles Family 
Montana USA
April 2007
Wow, what a fantastic vacation to the Dominican Republic - I only wish we would have utilized Peter with “First Class Fishing” during the whole trip! He knows the Dominican area like the back of his hand. Peter and his crew were so honest and accommodating…it made our trip extra special.

We had a party of 8 adults staying at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace from March 11 – 17, 2007. The Barcelo was superb. We have stayed at several all inclusive resorts in Mexico and Antigua and the Barcelo was very nice. We actually enjoyed the food at the Barcelo over the food in Mexico. The grounds were beautiful and the beach was gorgeous. The only downfall was the constant boating in front of the resorts (this happens to all of them in the Bavaro Beach area). We could not get out past the swimming rope because the boat activity was so heavy you fear for your life…literally. This is where Peter with “First Class Fishing” comes in. Be sure to utilize his service from the very beginning of your vacation and you won’t go wrong; our only problem was we didn’t use him for his snorkeling excursions until the end of our trip. Peter’s panga boat driver picked us up right in front of our rooms on the beach at the Barcelo and took us about 4 miles to the most beautiful reef. We stayed there for several hours enjoying all the aquatic life and coral we could take in…his boat driver stayed with us the whole time…truly fabulous.

Now, for the fishing excursions! We booked Peter’s 42 foot charter to ourselves and set out for our 2nd ever deep sea fishing adventure. We were a little skeptical, because the first time we went deep sea fishing the only thing that was caught, was my 21 year old son hooked a giant sea turtle! They picked us up right in the lobby of our hotel and returned us afterward…talk about service! Well, the boat trip started out pretty rocky, although no fault of the captain and his crew…we had 4 men and 4 women aboard and by the first mile out…3 of the women were violently sea sick. We kept on and they slept the rest of the trip. We hooked a while marlin, but couldn’t get the hook completely set. After an hour or so, we got into the Mahi-Mahi and it was so awesome. With 6 lines out, all of them had 25-30 lb. fish on them. It was the coolest thing I’ve seen in fishing. The lines were all mixed up, but the crew managed to untangle them with fineness and we had finally had our first ever fish on board!

We had so much fun the first trip, that we booked a 2nd trip with Peter and First Class Fishing for another afternoon two days later. Although we had several chances to land Marlin, we just couldn’t get it done. The group did get to see their first ever whale, which was really cool.

My husband left $2000 worth of video equipment in Peter’s taxi van and was so worried about not seeing it again, he couldn’t think about fishing, but when he got back to shore is told Peter what had happened, never expecting to see our vacation pictures again, but Peter located his driver; and he found the equipment and delivered it personally to our hotel…what can I say…Peter you and your crew are the best!

If we ever make it back to the Dominican Republic, we will contact you right from the get go…thanks for the wonder memories!
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Marvin 
Clearwater, Florida
March 2007
My wife and I just returned from one week vacation at the Bavaro Palace. I found the reviews at Debbie’s travel very helpful establishing realistic expectations for our trip/experience. Let me start out by saying that my wife and I are in our 60’s, the main purpose for our visit was to see our oldest son get married, relax enjoy our family especially our 2 grandchildren.

Positives: The beach is as beautiful as everybody says and from our ocean view room, I enjoyed stupendous sunrises each morning. The food is so varied that anyone should be able to find something to suit their palate. Our favorite was La Brisa (seafood rest.). The calamari was excellent as was the grilled lobster and the Pina Coladas were superb. The steak house at the Bavaro Beach resort was very good, also. My son and his new wife went to the Spanish restaurant but weren’t that impressed (it is one of two restaurants that require additional monies be paid). The breakfast buffet had a fantastic spread, our favorites being the made to order omelets and the fruit smoothies. The rooms were always kept neat and clean. The workers were always pleasant and gracious. I always tipped our housekeepers and the wait staff at the restaurants. Did I have to, no but I appreciated the way that they took care of our needs and felt it was the least that I could do. The “little green men” had a set routine that they went through every morning and evening to keep the grounds neat and clean. It was especially fascinating to watch the “little green man” climb the trees to cut undesirable foliage – reminded me a little of Disney, it is always clean but you rarely see the bulk of the clean-up being performed. The activities were varied and numerous. Many of our group went snorkeling and enjoyed it. Those that went to the shows were satisfied. My son and his new wife were very satisfied with the wedding and the assistance that they received from their wedding planner. The pictures and video came out very nice.

Negatives: For non-Spanish speaking people it is very intimidating dealing with workers if there is a problem. Patience is the key but I can also understand where, “let me speak with your supervisor” might be a very effective means of dealing with problems – hopefully the supervisor will understand and speak English. Now for the nuts and bolts. Check-in was every bit as bad as you read about. We were told your room will be ready in 10 minutes the 3 times I went back after waiting 15 minutes. My son and family arrived and my wonderful Spanish-speaking daughter-in-law almost “resolved our problem”. Things still proceeded badly when we were assigned non-ocean view rooms (we had paid for ocean-view). Here is where my daughter-in-law, who speaks fluent Spanish and is in public relations took over. Within ½ hour we were moved to the most beautiful ocean-view room anyone could ask for (2nd Block). We were all on the same floor. Her skill turned our bad experience around, at least until the very end of our stay – our checkout was also confused. Suffice to say that communication is not a strength of the check-in services or those arranging for hotel to airport transportation, but we were not surprised. One last thing and I blame myself for this because I was duly warned. I took several of our party deep-sea fishing. We went with great expectations and returned with our great expectations unfulfilled. I should have known because there is a scarcity of sea birds which suggests a scarcity of bait fish which suggests a scarcity of game-fish. Hey, I was with family so we at least enjoyed each others company.

Would I return, you bet I would as long as I was going with my son, daughter-in-law and grandkids. I thought the over-all value was excellent. This was one of the most relaxing and enjoyable weeks we have ever spent. If you go and do not speak Spanish, I would recommend patience and trying to find a friendly Spanish speaking person to assist you with your problem. Most of the people/guests we met were very friendly. As many of the reviewers stated, you are on vacation, relax and enjoy. Boy, I wish I had one of those Pina Coladas while I was writing this.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Patricia 

March 2007
Just got back from the Palace with husband and kids aged 10 and 12. The hotel is definitely a 4 star and is a notch above the other hotels in the resort. Wandering around the resort you can see that the main difference between the hotels is the age of the clientele between the Palace and the Bavarro beach. The Beach is full of young Spanish and American 20 somethings having a good time, very loudly, whereas the average age at the Palace was around 45. My only real complaint about the Palace is that all the ping pong tables, badminton and games were based at the Beach and Caribe so you had to walk along the beach for 15 minutes to see if they were free or not, and by mid-afternoon they were always dominated by drunk 20 somethings. Also the tennis equipment was really poor, so take your own if you want to play and remember to book at reception in advance.

The food was really good in the buffets, we tried all the buffets and the Palace one was the largest and had the biggest selection. The Mexican was nice but I would not have paid extra for it as some non-Place people had to. The steak house was, well a steak house if you like fries with everything. My favorite was the Bohio at the Palace on the beach, they did gorgeous Dominican stuff at lunchtime, fish in coconut etc and an amazing cheeseburger. Also the waitresses there were singing all the time which was nice. The seafood restaurant on the beach was fantastic for lunch but non-Palace people have to pay, hence it was always quiet and relaxing. The Uva grill at the Golf was awful and the service terrible. The wine is the same everywhere and is outrageously bad but you can buy decent stuff for $20-30, which is fair, or bring your own for a $5 corkage charge.

The rooms and bathrooms are nice and big but you can see that they need a new coat of paint about now, but nothing to be worried about. They should also invest in new towels.

The evening entertainment was ludicrously bad! I have a very high tolerance level for shows and they were the worst I have ever seen. Its funny but we saw them rehearsing and they looked good, but as soon as they put on those silly costumes and false smiles it all fell apart. My abiding memory is of the Alfred Molina look a like singing ‘New York New York’ in a thick Spanish accent.

The beach and pool were great at the Palace, we never had a problem getting chairs whatever the time of day; both looked very crowded at the Beach and Caribe.

The TV only has CNN in English but of course you can buy extras.

All in all a good hotel!
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Carol 
Redcliff, Alberta, Canada
February 2007
My husband and I and another couple just got from the Dominican Republic last week (it was our first trip like this). We spent 14 days at the Bavaro Palace, from Feb 7th - 21, 2007. I read the reviews before leaving and was nervous. We were originally booked in the the Bavaro Beach but the day before we left we received and telephone call asking if we would accept and upgrade to the Palace. Here what I'd like to share with you.

Check In: We arrived at the airport in the early evening, were quickly confirmed by our tourist rep and boarded our bus to the resort. Longest wait in the whole processes was waiting for our luggage. Everything else was smooth and quick. Bus ride to the resort was done in the dark so did not see much along the way. It was a short drive.
Were greeted at the resort by porters who took care of our luggage, a waitress with a tall cold fruit punch at the reception desk, we sipped out drinks as we checked in. Total time checking in about ten minutes. They were checking in several couples at the same time.

Room: Our room was on the second floor. It had two double beds, bar fridge, double sink wash area, tub-shower, toilet area, large closet, two chair dinette, balcony with two chair dinette and drying rack, beds were very firm ( we like them that way ). The room on arrival did smell musty but clean. You are in the tropics with very high humidity it's going to smell that way, open the balconey door and air the room out when you can it helps, take along air freshner, take along fabric softner sheets to place in with your clothes and to hang in the closet. We were very happy with our room it was spacious, sheets and towels were changed daily, bathroom and floors were washed daily. Restocking of your fridge is not done by the maid, it is done by another worker who is only allowed to refill to a set level.

Food: We had thirteen restaurants to pick and choose from.

Breakfast was always eaten at the buffet. (Most of the people at breakfast were already in beach wear with a cover up, shoes of course are a must.) If you like hot chocolate it's served at breakfast and is wonderful. Lots of fresh fruit, breads, cheeses (loved their cream cheese), yogurts, selection of cold cereals, hot items, or custom cooked eggs or omelets. Made to order fruit smoothies. Hot items offered a breakfast were sometimes usual to North American standards but hey that's not where you are. If you are a timid eater you will still find something to satisfy you.

Lunch was usually eaten at La Pina on the beach. (Swim suit, bare feet are the norm very casual beach dining). Serves a selection of salad items. Basic rice and beans as a side or baked potato or french fries. Cooks will then grill you what ever you want, steaks, chops, sausage, hamburger, hot dogs, kabob, chicken breast, several types of fish, fresh calamari or shrimp. Followed up by desert usually for us ice cream (the rum raisin is a must try, especially if you like rum)

Supper was eaten at all the other buffets and or sit down restaurants. Each evening buffet has a large selection of items, soups, salads, and hot items. Once again there are unusual item offered, if adventureous try them if not there is custom made pastas, grilled to order meats. I always found something to eat. If I was disappointed in anything it was the desserts. They were okay not fabulous. Sit down restaurants were enjoyable. Offered a hot or cold appetizer, main entree, dessert. Only restaurant did not enjoy was the Mexican. Steak House, Seafood House, Italian were good. We did not try the French or Spanish as they were and extra cost.

Serve: Was always greeted with a smile and hello. Some servers spoke better english than others. The key is to be patient they really do want to please you. We found the staff friendly if they didn't understand they alway got someone who did. The serve sometimes to North American standards was a little slow, you're on holidays, relax!

Beach: BEAUTIFUL and CLEAN with CALM WATERS. Lots of beach chairs. Sun or shade available. Lots of things to do.

The grounds and whole resort were very clean and beautiful. Bathrooms were alway clean (no paper towel only hot air dryers).

Shopping: On the resort itself prices were higher and not much bartering room, flea market at the end of the beach, offers cigars, rum, coffee, vanilla, jewerly, crafts and trinkets, t-shirts, beach wear, art. Shoppers should compare and bargain hard, walk away if you have to. If you come back they'll remember you and each item you were bargaining one even it it's days later. If one stall has it, all the others pretty well do too. They are there to make a dollar so they can be aggressive.

Keep and open mind. You are not in North America you are in a Third World Country. If you can do any off resort out back country trips I encourage to go, it give a much better understanding. Would I go back to the Palace, yes. Relax and enjoy.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Elizabeth 

December 2006
My boyfriend & I just returned from a one week stay at the Barcelo Palace. We are in our mid-thirties and although I have done a fair bit of travelling, neither of us had ever stayed in an All-Inclusive resort before.

We arrived at midnight and endured a very "rickety" bus ride to our hotel. Check-in was very speedy (as only one other couple was checking in) but we did not find the staff to be very informative or helpful.

Our Room: I had requested an ocean-view room with a king-size bed. The room that we got was not ocean-view, it had 2 double beds, smelled very mouldy and had a fridge that made a horrible noise and leaked all over the floor. The next afternoon we were given a new room. It was ocean-view (obstructed by palm trees) but did not have a king-size bed.

The Food: Most of our breakfasts were eaten at the buffet restaurant at the Palace. The highlight was definitely the fruit smoothies. We tried most of the restaurants and found them to be mediocre. The Pina was nice for lunch...but beware it may be rabbit that you are eating and not chicken! The Steakhouse was quite good although "well-done" does not mean the same in the DR! We found the seafood restaurant to be quite disappointing. The service at the Italian restaurant was quite good and the giant breadsticks & dip were nice. The guacamole at the Mexican restaurant was great, but the buffet was better than the items off the menu.

The Drinks: Our favourite drink was the "CocoLoco". Keep in mind that they do not always put alcohol in unless you specifically ask for it. Although a "Bloody Caesar" is on the "All-Inclusive" menu, they charge you for it and seem to have great difficulty procuring the Clamato. Stay away from the "House" wines. Both the red and the white are vile.

The Beach and the Pools: Both were very clean and we enjoyed both. We had fun with the paddle boats and the kayaks. Excursions: The only time we left the "compound" was to go on a tour of the shopping area, rum factory and cigar factory. We didn't buy much and we could have purchased everything we bought in the open markets on the beach. Make sure you barter with them. They are aggressive and pushy.

Accessing Money: Make sure you bring enough American money with you!

The Airport: Unless you want to pay, ensure you do not go over the 20 kg luggage limit! They will charge you $7 American for every kilo you go over.

Overall: Although the resort is considered a "5 Star", I would challenge that. We did have a nice time and would likely return if we got a good deal.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Ron 
New Jersey
August 2006
During the week of July 29 through August 4, 2006, about 300 members and their families from the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police (Law Enforcement Officers from around NJ) went to the Barcelo Resort in Punta Cana for what turned out to be the "CONVENTION FROM HELL"!!!

Besides the fact that between 1/2 and 2/3 of us contracted some type of bacterial infection, the resort employees were no help at all. Our members went into the gift shops to purchase medication to help stem the "flow" of this infection and ended up paying astronomical sums of money for these, i.e. $35.00 a bottle for Pepto Bismal, $5.00 PER PILL for ammodium AD.

To make matters worse, none of the employees spoke English!!! They were extremely rude to our members and families and flagrantly discriminated against Americans, making Americans wait until after they waited on Spanish speaking people, although, in many cases, Americans were first in line.

Everyone that we were at this resort with stated we would never even consider returning to the Barcelo Bavaro resort, even if it was totally free.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
 

July 2006
My husband & I had the best vacation ever the first week of March, 2006. We were booked at the Beach, but upgraded to the Palace. The room had a lovely balcony, and it was very peaceful there. This is our 8th time to the Dominican Republic, and we LOVE it there. We have stayed at the Beach,Caribe and at the Riu Bamboo. The seafood was the best ever, we won on the slots, and the weather was perfect. We traveled via Apple Vacations to/from our home in Cleveland. We go every year. We are "boomers" so just relaxing is our ideal vacation. The only improvement would be improving the quality of the red wine. (We like the beer, and the rum & coke is on the strong side). We will go back again in 2007. If we won the lottery, we would be a long term guests. It's the most beautiful place! The people are friendly, the beach and weather perfect, and the food is good. Wish we could fly down tomorrow! We have never been sick for a minute, but then, we never drink the water.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Disappointed Traveler  

June 2006
We recently visited Barceló Bavaro Palace Resort in Punta Cana June 2–6, 2006. What a disappointment! To say the least.

The all inclusive food was not good. It was either too salty or unsalted. We were looking forward to the food, especially the lobster.

The Lobsters that we ordered were not fresh at all. I had to spit it out in my napkin. What a shame!! We did not go with MK Tours, but 90% of the tourists must have. There were about 90% Cubans in the hotel. I’m Cuban……but these were the ROUDY MIAMI Cubans- non-stop drinking, yelling and carrying on by the pool. Lots of small children running around screaming and crying, etc.

There were 4 of us that went and my daughter’s boyfriend got sooo sick he ended in bed most of the day. By the way we forgot to bring Pepto Bismol and it costs us $15 for a small bottle at the gift shop. They rip you off also in the souvenirs, they are more expensive there than any other Island/country we’ve visited. My daughter and her boyfriend got ripped off in the scuba diving trip. They were guaranteed to see certain things on the dive and they didn’t even come close. They were suppose to dive to 60 feet……………..only dove 17 feet didn’t see anything……….and the underwater camera they sold her was broken and was taking in water. Needless to say my daughter is trying to get her money back.

NOTE: Just because they serve you water from a bottle doesn’t mean it’s bottled water. We witnessed them refilling the empty bottles with tap water!!!!

P.S. To top it off…………..On the day we were returning, June 6, there was no electricity or water in the entire hotel. Could not take a shower or flush the toilet. Had to brush our teeth with a bottle of water that we had in the room. We left the hotel around 11:00 AM and there was still no water or electricity.

The Resort was nice and the workers friendly………………other than that the trip sucked.

Needless to say we will not be visiting the Dominican Republic again.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Andrew 

May 2006
My wife and I stayed at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace last month, and enjoyed it overall. We read Debbie’s Dominican Travel Page extensively before we selected our final resort, and found that the postings of previous guests were extremely helpful.

People’s descriptions of the beach are right on – it’s THE sell of this location. Excellent location in terms of being able to walk north or south in either direction endlessly to other resorts and beaches. Be warned – put sun screen EVERYWHERE and especially on your calves when you walk. The sun there is brutal and it will easily ruin your trip. We saw scores of people who were terribly burned, and were hurting ourselves (the sun will reveal where you were negligent about covering).

The restaurants are what you live for. The beachside, Las Brisas, grilled lobster is a must have (they are very generous here!). Otherwise, the steak house was overrated, and the buffets (Caribe) are probably the best value. There were no real restaurants at the Palace that make it worth paying extra for. If I had to do it over again, we probably would have stayed at a cheaper Barcelo Bavaro property. It sounded like food poisoning was inevitable regardless of what resort you went too, and we were worried about that. It turned out that I had only one incidence of upset stomach towards the end of the trip. Caution: the room service was not free (thought it was everything inclusive, but room service is not).

Sailing is unlimited if you stay at Barcelo Bavaro Palace. Rent the Hobbie Cats! It’s so fun and easy.

We decided on the Barcelo Bavaro Palace primarily because it was 5-star and it was part of a chain. The concept of many resorts located in proximity that we had access too was the main sell. Like most reviews for this place, I agree that the Barcelo Bavaro is far from 5-star.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
James 

May 2006
My stay at Barcelo Bavaro Palace in Dominican Republic in Punta Cana, Bavaro Beach was one of the worst stays I have had in traveling. And to make it worse...it was a very special, my honeymoon. I am really dissapointed and was expecting a five star resort and it was more like a two or three. Believe me I plan on writing every possible travel web sit with opinions, including my own tourist agency about the stay and the way we were treated. Me and my large family have traveled alot throughout the world, and will continue to do so. This was our first time going to a Barcelo hotel and will be the last. Let me begin,

The first thing that really angered me was the fact that an employee was talking dirty to my wife and flirting with her while she went to get us drinks while on the beach. It took every part of me to keep from making a scene. While a majority of the employees were very kind and helpful, there were the few that I cannot believe were even empoyed. There was another employee at the Bavaro Caribe that was rubbing a young drunk girls shoulders and talking about going to her room and smoking marijuana and having sex. I couldnt believe it, an employee in uniform doing this in open. Very dissapointing and unprofessional.

Another major factor was when I complained on the second day about roaches in our room, smoke coming from the neighbors room all night from them partying, and our telephone not working they did nothing about it!!!! I could not order room service, or ask for services. Infact the next few days when I was at the front desk complaining the desk clerk's went to the back and never came back out to talk to me or tell me anything! Finally on the second to last day when I complained about other employees trying to get our money and not letting us ride the sails, along with the problems in the room, all they did was offer us another room. Think about it we were leaving the next day! So for our honeymoon none of the problems were resolved and we had to carry all of our own luggage to the front. Very pathetic.

The trip was all invclusive and the employees working the sails were trying to get fifteen dollars from us to ride it or to use the snorkels close to shore. The next day a guest told us that isnt right so we went back to use them and they told us to come back tomorrow because they were closing and would be open till 6pm the following day. No hours were posted and should I also mention it looked obvious that two of the employees were hung over becuase one was complaining with his head down in Spanish. My wife speaks fluent spanish.

I could also say alot of unpleasant things about Prieto tours and some of their employees, but I since it is not part of your resort I will not comment.

Lastly the cleaning people leave the doors open when they clean which every night we found alot of mosquitos in the room and woke up each with at the least 6 bites.

As well the unfit, outdated rooms need mentioning. Your so-called five star resort rooms were old, rusty, bug infested rooms that had old noisy appliances. The sheets and bed were in pathetic shape, especially for honeymooners. A standard hotel room has had better rooms than your resort.

I understand and know there will always be some sourt of problems while traveling, but in the past, even at a Best Western Hotel, they were quick to fix the problem, showed real concern, and apologized for the problem. That is good customer service! I received none of the above from you resort nor you employees. Very sad indeed. So I hope you see why I will never stay at your hotels and strongly recommend against anyone else staying there throughout the world. It was my honeymoon and was special, and your resort treated me as a spring-breaker. The only nice things to comment was the beach and a few nice employees.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
T.J.  

May 2006
Stayed at Barcelo Bavaro Palace in Feb 2006. First and last time at an all inclusive. Grounds & beach were breathtaking, food palatable although the calamari was the best I've ever had, rooms clean and spacious. Main drawback for me was lack of free or inexpensive activities. It felt very confining staying within the "compound" all week. This is a great place if all you want to do is sit on the beach and read, sleep or drink other than that it can make for a looooong vacation. This is not the place for those who prefer "adventure" in their vacation. It would help to brush up on your Spanish, or at least the basic words and phrases as the majority of the staff speak little if any English.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
John and Janet 
Welland, Ontario, Canada
March 2006
We were booked into the Barcelo Bavaro Beach resort in February of 2006. Upon arrival at the airport and boarding the bus we were informed that the Beach resort had been overbooked and we had been upgraded to the Palace, the 5 star resort of the group. This essentially was the tone for the whole week. We had a fantastic week in all needless to say and I really can't think of any serious negative issue. The food at the palace was great. We tried some of the other restaurants, noteably the steak house at the Beach resort and the italian restaurant at the Golf resort and suffice it to say that we enjoyed the rest of our meals at the Caribe buffet at the Palace. The beach is fantastic and the weather was superb. I am a little surprised given the number of english speaking tourists that visit there that more english is not spoken and have wondered if that is by design as it is difficult to address any issue that may arise, however our efforts at speaking Spanish were for the most part appreciated. The rooms were excellent. My only caution to everyone attending is DO NOT TAKE ANY U.S. $ TRAVELLERS CHEQUES. We could not cash them at the resort unless we wanted to convert them into peso's. This conversion included a local "tax" and the rate was not impressive. In addition, any peso's left over were essentially souveniers. The shops at the resort would not take travellers cheques so they were a real problem. We did find one way to cash them however. If you go to the casino they will take U.S. $ travellers cheques for casino cash. You can then turn the casino cash back into U.S. $...a little convoluted but it does work. I liked the idea from this site when I was previewing messages before heading down regards taking your own cooler cup. I took a nice stainless steel cup and it was great for the beach as the little plastic cups don’t' go far in keeping your drink cool while lounging. We did spend the extra $30 per person one eveing to eat at the French restaurant at the palace ( actually it was my Valentines day treat to my honey!!) and it was well worth it. Very nice atmosphere and great food. If you are looking forward to evening entertainment, don't bother. It is the poorest aspect of the resort however one that did not affect our trip at all. By that time in the evening we much preferred an open air cocktail and moonlight over the beach to anything that could have presented itself on a stage. Even their highly touted "Tropicallisimo" while being fairly high calibre, was just " more of the same" and not something I would see again..we acutally didn't stay till the end anyways. We had ample opportunity to check out the other hotels in the Barcelo group and while we were originally booked into the beach resort we agreed that we would spend the extra money next time to book into the Palace. The Beach resort is nice, but becoming dated and while it may have been the week we booked, there were line-ups for all meals, something we never encountered at the Palace. In addition, there was no comparision regards the swimming pool. All in all…we had a great trip and I would go again. Thanks to this site for some great tips.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
 
Indiana
February 2006
We just returned from a wonderful week at the Palace. Would I go back?

Absolutely!! This was my first trip outside the U.S. and I was so amazed at the sheer beauty of the D.R. I've been to many beaches in the states and I can't think of one that even compares to Bavaro Beach. We've only been home a few days and I'm already trying to figure out when we can return, this time with the children.

We are in our late 30's and this resort was perfect for us. This time we were childless so we had at least one night at the Discotecque with way too much alcohol, but way too much fun too :-D , but most nights we were in bed by midnight so that we could be up early as not to miss the beautiful sunrise! That was the beauty of this resort, I think it has something for everyone.

*Grounds:cleanliness:* I am a clean freak and I don't think I keep my own home as clean as they keep this whole resort! There is someone mopping or trimming something all the time!

*Grounds: **safety: *We walked the grounds at all hours of the night and never felt unsafe. The Palace security guards, or what we referred to them as the "Billy Club Boys", are on what seems like every path all night long, they were there when we walked the beach at midnight or back to our room from a late night party at 3am. or going to have coffee on the beach at 5:30 am .They are so nice, you can never pass them without an Hola and a smile. Very photogenic also, ask them if you can take their picture and they love to ham it up !!

*Pool: *Honestly we never made it to the pool. It was big and looked spotless but with a beach like this, sitting at the pool never crossed my mind! We were fortunate to have beautiful weather so we never had to leave the beach.

*Beach: *I cannot say enough about the beach!!!! The most beautiful place I have ever been in my life. Enough said, because I could not even begin to do it justice!

*Rooms: *Rooms were large, never felt cramped. We had a king size bed which was pretty hard but we were always so tired from playing all day it sure didn't keep us from sleeping well. Mini-fridge was kept stocked daily, and the room was done daily. A couple of dollars for the maid and barservice person each day meant we never had to ask for anything. Not that you have to tip, I'm sure you would get the same service otherwise, we just felt like if a couple of bucks could make someone else's day a little brighter then why not, beside these people work so hard!!! *Food: *This would be the only negative part of our trip. It is very plentiful and the presentation is always very beautiful, however after day two you begin to taste some spice that they use in everything and it got to the point that the smell of that spice made my stomach turn. And, the cheese, it's on everything too, and I'm not sure if it's goat cheese or exactly what it is but I really couldn't take that taste either.
Honestly, I think it's just an American thing though, because we seemed to be the only one's complaining. However it is a big complaint. We finally found an "American Steakhouse" at the Beach hotel that didn't use this spice or cheese and we felt like we won a challenge on Survivor!! :-D We finally ate !!

*Excursions: *We took the Outback Jungle Safari and I would definately recommend it to everyone. You will have wonderful guides who tell you all about the Dominican people and their country, and you will see first hand just how different their life is from ours.It was an eye-opening experience to say the least. I cannot wait to take my children next time, this is an educational (and fun) experience that they could never receive in a classroom! My next trip I will designate a whole suitcase to school supplies for the Dominican children, they need these very badly, and to see their faces when you drop these items off at the school house is priceless. The things we take for granted......... :'(

Anyway to finally end this, it was an awesome trip and yes, I can't wait to return!!!!!!! :-)
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Marie 

February 2006
Everything I read on this site about our hotel was true - beautiful beaches, warm pleasant weather, blue water. Mediocre food. Fruit and vegetables were good. Beef was awful, except for one cut at the steak house. Most staff did not speak or understand English well, stick with the bottled water for drinking and brushing teeth, There is a lack of anything to do outside of resort area. Tips are really appreciated by staff and in most cases got your better service though I dont think the service was poor. Topless beaches, but mostly shapely women went topless and there were not as many as you may think. Search out the staff that speak good English and go to them for your questions. Tip them too.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Alex 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
January 2006
Flight
Had an early 6:15 am flight with Sky Service. Our pre-assigned seats were not available going down or coming back? This has happened several times on previous trips. I don’t understand why such a simple thing can’t go to plan. Everyone assures us that we can get a refund but that’s not the point! Providing good customer service is the issue. We had a tough crew at check in with strict adherence to the 20kg checked bag weight limit. They were also fussy about the 5kg limit for carry on which we barely made. Thank goodness as many had to pay surcharges. Take these weight restrictions seriously! Otherwise, the flight went smoothly.

Transport
Upon arrival we needed to fill in even more forms before going through DR customs. (Could these have not been provided on the aircraft?) The bus ride to the resort lasted ½ hr. and it was interesting to see the hustle and bustle of some of the small villages.

Hotel
About 5 groups arrived at the Palace on our bus and waited patiently for check in. A little slow but then we were still on a mission and had not relaxed yet. We had sent down some requests through e-mail for an ocean view and were happy to see them acknowledge these and provide what we asked for. In fact, as we have stayed at the Beach and Caribe on 3 previous occasions, we were given a “suite” on the 3rd floor of building 1. It was nicely set up and very clean without any mildew odors that sometimes are found in tropical climates. Beautiful view of the ocean.

Food
Good variety and some excellent places to eat. My favorite was the “La Pina” restaurant located in the sand at the farthest east point of the grounds beside the beach vendors buildings. I had the most delicious filet minion, strip steaks, chicken and hamburgers made fresh on the grill in front of you. A great spot for lunch without the need to dress up after a relaxing morning on the beach. My wife enjoyed “La Brisa” seafood rest. Overall, the food was definitely better than at the Beach or Caribe, which is what I was hoping for at the Palace. We did get an invite to eat at the French rest. “Chez Palace” which is normally not included. Food was good and service was exquisite. Good wine list at this and other rest. Priced between $18 - $50. There was a good Mondavi Woodbridge cab at $23!

Grounds
Well manicured and was lit with tiny lights around the palm trees for the Christmas season. Beautiful to look at especially when driving around on the shuttle. The Casino has seen some upgrades since the last time we were here (2 years) and was very busy all week. Mini golf was fun with some challenging holes.

Beach
This is why we keep coming back to Bavaro beach! The best white sand, no rocks or coral and the reef that breaks up the ocean rollers. We stayed at the PCP and Grand Flamenco in the last year and found the waves a lot higher to the point where they knock you down. This can be fun for a while but for me a calm peaceful “bob” in the ocean is my idea of heaven. Palace guests get to use the small hobie sailboats free, which provides a lot more stability with the twin hulls. I sailed most days and as the wind picked up through the week, managed to get it to ‘fly” across the bay, a lot of fun and my kind of exercise.

Return Trip
Our week flew by and we left the hotel at 8:40am. Thankfully and surprisingly, we were spared the inquisition on weights at check in. This is where I expected trouble based on reviews and a friends experience coming back just before Christmas. Make sure you wait in the air-conditioned section of the airport, as it is a long wait. There are a few good shops for jewelry and duty free in case you did not get enough shopping in all week long! Other than the assigned seat issue, we had a good return flight.

I can certainly recommend the Barcelo Palace. We were lucky to get a good deal on a “wild Wednesday” special so that made our trip even better.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Ninon 

August 2005
My extended family of 17 and I spent a week at the Palace in early July 2005. Having stayed at numerous all-inclusive resorts, I believe I have a good idea of what constitutes a 5 star resort and what doesn't. Trust me when I say that the Palace is definitely not a 5 star.

AIRLINES
If traveling with MK Tours out of Miami, beware!!! MK uses Falcon Air to transport their customers and this airline is not known for their punctuality. Our Falcon Air flight was scheduled to leave at 8 AM but didn't actually leave until 11:45. We were sequestered in Falcon Air's part of the Miami terminal which has two food carts but no restaurants. Although I was impatient and uncomfortable waiting all those hours without anything substantial to eat, I really felt sorry for those with small children. After a couple of hours, passengers were getting very testy and lots of arguments were breaking out among them and the Falcon Air staff. The staff's only excuse for the delay was that the plane was late getting into Miami from its return flight from the Dominican. If this is true, then why does this seem to happen to Falcon Air on most of their trips? I spoke to many passengers who had previously traveled on Falcon Air, and they reported that this had happened on their previous trip. We booked through MK because of their prices. One certainly gets what one pays for!

Those in our group who flew with American Airlines didn't have any problems and arrived on schedule.

TRANSPORTATION FROM AIRPORT TO HOTEL
The travel problems continued. There were three buses waiting for our plane to arrive, but only two and a half buses filled up with passengers. Since the third bus was not filled to capacity, those on that bus (me included) were told that we would have to wait for the next plane to arrive before we could be shuttled to the hotel. When asked how long that would be, the MK representative stated that it shouldn't be anymore than an hour or two. At this time, I thought there would be a mass mutiny. A few men left the bus, found the MK representative and used their powers of persuasion to convince her that it would be in the company's best interest to shuttle these passengers immediately. Thank heavens for these men because we left the airport shortly thereafter.

CHECK-IN
What a mess! There wasn't any semblance of order whatsoever. Whoever was the pushiest was served first. We waited for an hour and a half to be given our room. Barcelo needs to investigate this problem and make corrections to their current system.

ROOMS
We were all given rooms in Block 3. While this is a wonderful location, two couples had to move rooms because of problems. Both of the problem rooms were on the 2nd floor, so if you can, request a different floor. I would recommend the 3rd floor rooms. These rooms didn't smell musty and had working air conditioning.

I requested a different room because my room was so musty and humid that the floors were constantly damp and the odor was overwhelming. The humidity was so bad that our clothes, bath towels and bed sheets were damp and uncomfortable. After wasting an entire day of requesting this change, the hotel staff came through for us and gave us a room in Block 4.

On the night before we left the hotel, four first floor rooms in Block 3 were damaged when their ceiling tiles and drywall collapsed onto their rooms. Luckily, no one was injured, but I think this gives a good indication of the humidity that exists in these rooms and the lack of maintenance.

FOOD
If people can't find something good to eat, then they're not trying very hard. Again, we had 18 people traveling together and all of us were able to find something we liked. The buffet was wonderful. There were two cook-to-order stations. One with pasta and one with beef, poultry and fish. If this wasn't enough, the actual buffet had many meat choices.

We ate at the two specialty restaurants (Spanish and French) and they were both wonderful. The Steak House was okay, but the service was slow. The Mexican was good, but the margaritas were horrible. The Dominican restaurant (I forgot its name) is the only restaurant I would not recommend. The food was overcooked, the choices very limited, and the service awful.

ILLNESS
All of us had some degree of illness throughout our trip. Three members of our group lost two days of their vacations due to not being able to leave the hotel room. Whether it was the food or the water I don't know since I wasn't with them 24/7 to monitor if they used bottled water for tooth brushing. The one thing I can state is that my daughter started getting sick towards the end of the trip, and she was extremely careful about the water. Five weeks later, she's still sick. Without going into graphic details, she has had all sorts of tests run but nothing conclusive has been found. She's going in for more tests this week.

GROUNDS AND BEACH
Beautiful! The grounds were well maintained. The beach was awesome. Plenty of chairs, white sand, crystal clear blue water...what more can a person ask?

EXCURSIONS
Do not go on the Swim with the Dolphins tour that is right off the beach of the hotel. We paid $80 per person and were not permitted to get into the pen with the dolphins. We were only able to dangle our feet into the tank and pet the dolphins. What a total rip off!

The kids went on the banana boat. They loved it, but parents need to beware of the dangers. One man broke his nose on this ride.

The excursions offered by the independent vendors next to the hotel are a lot less expensive then booking through the hotel. We even bartered for better prices. We had good luck with the independent vendors, but be aware that they are not affiliated with the hotel and the hotel doesn't guarantee their service. I guess I wouldn't be too worried about this since the Swim with the Dolphins excursion we went on was through the hotel and nothing was done when we all complained about false advertisement.

SPANISH vs. ENGLISH
The front desk and entertainment staff we came in contact with were fluent in both languages. The wait staff knew enough English to get by, but the maids did not know English. Overall, language was not a problem.

TIPPING
We tipped, but I don't know how much good it did us. Some of the restaurant staff was wonderful and others were pathetic...just like in the States. I don't think the tipping affected the quality of service we received in the restaurants.

BAR SERVICE
You need to be pushy to get a drink. Being polite Midwestern folks, we sat back and waited our turns. Unfortunately, not everyone believes in waiting for a turn. Numerous people butted in ahead of us. We hated to resort to rude behavior, but we were forced to in order to get served.

ENTERTAINMENT
Very lame, but having been at other all-inclusives, this didn't surprise me.

CHECK-OUT
Almost as hectic as check-in, but with more stress since we didn't want to miss our shuttle. Again, the Barcelo Coporation needs to improve in this area.

RETURN FLIGHT
Staying true to form, Falcon Air departed Punta Cana Airport 2 and a half hours late! Worse part is that the airport is not air conditioned.

WOULD I RETURN?
No way!!!!!!!!!!!!! This hotel is extremely over-rated and over-priced for what is offered.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Veronica 
Tampa, Florida
August 2005
my name is veronica and i live in tampa florida. i just want to say that i would never return to this place again. i was so looking forward to this vacation, and i had nothing but upset. it began w/ our date of departure our plane was suppose to leave tampa intle airport on sunday at 2:45 pm and we did not leave the airport till 1:30 in the am on monday. needless to say when you have three children under the age of 9 sitting in an airport for 11 hours is not my idea of fun. we arrived to our hotel room (the palace) in the dominican republic at 5:00 am on monday, aside from being aggravated and exhausted i just wanted to go to my room and lay in a nice comfortable bed for a few hours. when we opened the door to our room to our dismay we find another family sleeping in our bed!!! that hotel is so unorganized!!! that when we went to check out we had a phone bill of $800 american dollars that were billed to our room but belonged to someone else. the rooms are adequate and clean, but by far it is not a five star hotel as advertized. the property was very well kept and the beach was beautiful, but that is still not enough for me to ever come back to this Godforsaken country. the employees were rude and lazy, if you asked a waiter or waitress for a glass of water you will die of thirst, and if you dont flash hard cold cash you will be ignored. they will try to rip you off any chance they get. on one occasion we took the snorkeling tour from the palace we asked the gentleman how much and he said $15 per person we were billed $25 per person to our hotel room, ok i could let that slide (even though the reef was dead.) but my sister paid $500 to go deep sea fishing all they did was go around in circles trolling and never even got one nibble, the guy just said oh well no luck today. we came to find out days later at the front desk that we could have gotten half the money back since we did not catch any fish. the food was not at all good. even simple things like mashed potatoes did not taste like mashed potatoes. perhaps the mishaps we had w/our tour company and travel agent soured our trip somewhat but the resort in itself left much to be desired. again i would not recommend this vacation to anyone.!!!!!
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
 

July 2005
I highly recommend this resort. My family and I vacationed at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace the last week in June. We were very lucky to have beautiful weather. The resort is beautiful. We stayed in rooms 3307 and 3309 overlooking the pool and some of the beach. The rooms were spotless, plenty of water and towels. This resort is the best one to stay at out of the 5 because you have access to all the other resorts. My children are 22 and 18 and had a blast. We went snorkeling, swimming, and ate all day. The buffet's were great, but the restaurants were very slow in service. Sometimes we didn't get our drinks until we were done with our meal. Our favorite restaurant was the Brisas at the Palace. The staff was very friendly there and the lobster was delicious. Do not go to the Italian restaurant, the food was horrible and the service was worse. They bought us the wrong orders of food and practically threw it at us all at the same time. Again, no drinks - we waited until we were almost done with our meal. The steak house was okay, but they overcook the meat and the wait was 2 hours. I found the best food was the chicken, any way they cooked it, it was delicious. The staff at the bars were very friendly. I tipped them constantly and they were very grateful and remembered to add more rum to my drink every time they saw me. I tipped our maid every day a few dollars as well and always found extra water, towels, etc. The beach is spectacular, plenty of chairs and room on the beach to have privacy if you prefer. There are huts on the beach offering massages for $25.00 and it was wonderful, very relaxing, worth getting one. I also had my hair braided for $60.00. The local women were very friendly. Every night we hit the disco that opened at 11:00 p.m. Same music every night but my kids had a blast. They met new friends and danced all night until 5:00 am. If you are a couple looking for romance, this is not the resort to go. I have never seen so many families at one resort in my life. Kids screaming and yelling, running around, etc. All from Europe, no one hardly spoke English. Luckily my family and I did not get sick, but we were very cautious. Brush your teeth with bottled water and keep your mouth closed when taking a shower. Also, try to limit eating the seafood, it cause parasites and bring bug spray for the mosquito's. We had a great experience and would go back again.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
 

July 2005
We just arrived home after a eight day stay at the Barcelo Barvaro Palace. Where do I begin?... The front desk, where no one spoke ENGLISH. We stood there for about an hour and a half while two old spanish ladies fought with personell at the desk. finally, we are being taken care of by a female that does not speak any English, but smiles alot. She gave us our room key cards and that was all. No map of the grounds or any other information. It was us against them! We managed to find our selves to a restaurant, a seafood place where we waited for about 2 hours to get waited on! The food was horrible! The lobster was looking at me! It still had its head and eyeballs!!!!! not something I want to see as I eat! So much for dinner.

The next few days were hard, we muddled around and made our way. I wanted to go home! the wait staff was very rude. As soon as they would hear English coming out of your mouth they would not help you or serve you. But they knew how to take your TIP!!!!!!!! We met some american people there that really seemed to help. We had someone to talk to and see what there experience had been thus far...

Our nites were pretty boring, there was not to much to do. The casino was fairly small and the disco tech, if your into that, well the nites were lame. The beach was beautiful, we spent most of our time snorkeling. My boyfriend got sick the first night there, the stomache started making noise and he became pretty sick. Could not get off the toilet most of the night. Finally went down to the front lobby and spoke to tour representative and explained that he was sick. They took him to the bar and made a drink for him only after he had to eat breakfast first. It was called the La- Bombe. It was made of lime juice and salt and club soda. they told him to drink it down quick, it worked. He was feeling better in about an hour. DO NOT USE THE WATER! The bottled water is there for a reason use it!

Our room, the ceiling started leaking after being there a couple of days, we were not going to complain, we did not want to go through what we did on day one! The chair cushion was soaked, our bed was being dripped on.Puddles of water on the floor by the sliding glass doors to the balcony which I did not see. I almost slipped. Our sliding glass doors, the locking system on this was a metal pin about the diameter of a pencil that you put in a hole drilled in the frame of the door. This was at a premium Hotel. I was scolded because I put my feet up on what I thought was a foot ottoman in the front lobby and was yelled at by wait staff which told me they were for sitting on not to put your feet on! You are in a premium hotel she said to me! I nearly died! what a joke these little stools were filthy for one. Well, our stay was a learning experience and I hope if anyone is contemplating going to Punta Cana at least know the language. We knew the basics but could not carry on a conversation. This I would say would be the only way I would ever go back if I could speak fluent spanish so you can understand waht is going on! I never realized the things we take for granted! like clean running water and communication!
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
 

July 2005
We just came back from five days at Barcelo Bavaro Palace.The resort was just beautiful. The rooms were large and clean.The refigerator was kept well stocked. The beach was kept very clean and was never crowded. There were plenty of chairs at the beach and also at the pool, which was huge and had a swim up pool bar. We ate most of our meals at the buffet, which always had a large variety of food - Mexican, Italian, Japanese, cook to order grill, etc., along with plenty of seafood. There were eighteen of us traveling together and ALL of us came home with stomach cramps and diarrhea. Some got it sooner than others, so we couldn't pinpoint it to something we all ate. If It weren't for that, I would highly recommend the resort.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Elaine  
Weehawken, NJ
July 2005
My husband & I had the great misfortune of choosing this resort for our annual Caribbean vacation. We travel to the Carib. at least once a year. Many times on all-inclusives. Aside from the beach and ocean, which were typically beautiful, and the resort itself, which was quite lovely, I can't find any reason to return. The staff was extremely rude, uncaring, and generally un-welcoming. They went out of their way to ignore us and our needs, despite the tips we always left, the smiles we tried to exchange with them, and our constant attempts at polite conversation! This was the first time that we did not make a single "friend' in the entire staff. Not for lack of trying. The food was sub-standard. Keep in mind that we never expect anything short of average in all-inclusives, but this time it was almost inedible! My husband became very ill after lunch one day. This left us fearful of eating for the remainder of our time there. That's where the $8.00 US bag of chips and the free popcorn came in handy. We have been to Spanish-speaking countries before and never had any real problems communicating with the people, and even had fun learning the language and teaching them our English. In fact, I took 6 years of Spanish in school and always enjoy learning more. This did not impress anyone at this hotel and the other Barcelo hotels we visited. Needless to say, we won't be returning to this place, nor will we be recommending it to others!
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
 

June 2005
We just got back yesterday from Punta Cana, we stayed at the Baravo Palace. where we spent 4 days and three nights starting on May 27th. This was everyone first time visit and I was super worried from reading all the reviews that were posted, far from those bad reviews, we had a wonderful time. From the moment when we got there, at the hotel the accomodations that Fabiola got us, we were all very happy. I called ahead of time, didn't leave it to the travel agents. I guess thats the the way that I am, I didn't rely on them. Of all the the good things I remember, thr best is the dominican people, they went out of their way so that everyone had a good time.

The group consisted of my mother who is 74 years old, my kids, 32, & 27, & 21 a 21 year old friend of my son and me a middle age. so that everybody had different taste and needs.

Our major complaint was how hot it was between 10 a.m. in the morning to about 4 p.m. it was pretty hot and lots of humidity, even though we are used to that, this was very unbearable, so we thought. It wa supposed to rain all that weekend but not one simgle drop of rain actually the weather was very nice, so don't rely on those forecast....

The pool, gardens, and beach was postcard perfect, I never seen anything as beautiful as the Palace resort, it was extraordinary. The rooms had a tropical flair, but very musty and damp odor and cold at nights, we solved this inconvience by spraying a fruity body mist and asked the cleaning lady, Jackeline. the sweetest " cleaning lady in the world " who worked very hard and which we gave everyday a tip which was very appreciated. When we tipped we noticed the difference even though it was supposed to be included.

The food, we had no compalints, we noticed the best was at the Steak House. (The Beach Hotel) and the Brisas (the Palace) The excursions, are very various is really up to your taste, we went to the Isla de Saona, and Altos de Chavon, which was great...we enjoyed the natural pool, where we took pictures of a star fish......really something else....

I would highly recommend this trip, if you like the sea and outdoors, theres really plenty to do and people to meet. The most important thing as long as you have a positive outlook things will work out just fine. All my family loved it and want to come back and wished we could stay longer, this is truly a paradise. Should eveyone have any questions, you can email me at idaliadobao@aol.com
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Linda and Gene 
Ontario Canada
June 2005
We went in April, it was ABSOLUTELY wonderful. The resort is beautiful, the people great, the room almost too cold.... such a lovely place, and having access to all 5 resorts, gave us the variety that I miss when you go to one only all inclusive resort.

We golfed 3 times.. we gambled, we ate, we drank.. we sunned ourselves, we took some excursions, it was divine.

I would like to ask anyone if they have had a strange occurrence since being in the D. R. Someone scammed my Visa Gold card... all of a sudden, over 7000.00 was charged in Florida, so a duplicate must have been made. My husband used his Visa (different bank visa) once only in the D.R. and his was compromised within a week....... the DR is the only place we can think of that both of us used our Visa cards. As a rule we only use mine to get points.

If anyone has had similar experience - please email me duvalxr@sympatico.ca please. Perhaps we can "sherlock holmes" a solution and help out other travellers.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Jim 
North Carolina
May 2005
Just got back from 4 days at the Barcelo Palace in Punta Cana. During that time I visited the other hotels and facilities within the Barcelo complex as well. The thing that struck me most was how the atmosphere could change from day to day, and from hotel to hotel within the resort – depending on what groups were staying there and/or what conventions were going on. The first couple of days there were many groups of teenagers at the Beach and Golf hotels (and at the main resort disco at night) – felt like a college freshmen dorm… thankfully I was at the Palace. The last couple of days there was a United Nations organization meeting at the convention center so the atmosphere was very different.

The Palace is the most expensive of the hotels in the Barcelo complex and is next to the convention center, so it attracts a more adult and more upscale crowd. The president and vice president of the D.R. were there during my stay, so I guess that’s a good sign (though all the security, police and soldiers around was a bit distracting).

I found the food to be very good and there was plenty of variety. The house red and white wines were also better than I expected. The main buffet at the Palace has huge selections and variety all day long, with some ‘cooked-to-order’ bars as well. The Palace also has a beachside restaurant specializing in seafood (guests of other complex hotels must pay a surcharge here) – I ordered grouper and they brought me 2 lobster tails instead and said “wouldn’t you really rather have these”… since they looked good I took them and they were excellent!... they then brought me another one!). The Beach hotel has a steakhouse that served good tenderloin fillets, though I heard some guests say they weren’t impressed with the other steaks.

The biggest disappointment for me was the golf course. Although the layout is good, they obviously are keeping the maintenance budget to a minimum. The fairway grass was not well maintained, hat lots of weeds, and the rough was mostly weeds! The bunkers had rocks in them, and the balls at the driving range were very old. Fortunately they know what is most important and the Bermuda greens weren’t bad – though a bit slow. The clubhouse could also use a remodel. Since most of the resort guests were non-golfing Latin Americans and Europeans (I practically had the course to myself), I guess the course isn’t a priority for management. I also played the Melia Cocotol course, the Punta Cana Resort course and Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog during my stay, and they were all maintained to ‘world class’ levels – what a contrast!

The fitness facility was also poorly maintained and had outdated equipment.

The beach is very nice, so if lounging on the beach and/or watersports are high on your agenda, you’ll be happy here.

Service throughout the resort was mixed. Some staff members were great, some good and some just seemed to be going through the motions.

Since I played golf every day, I didn’t participate in the organized group activities, though there were many and everyone seemed to be having a good time.

The evening shows were good, with lots of singing and dancing (by very fit dancers wearing very little!). The casino has about a zillion slot machines plus enough blackjack, roulette and poker tables to make sure you have every opportunity to lose as much as you want.

There are three discos. The disco at the Palace is small and more laid back, and wasn’t very busy during my stay. It opens at about 9pm and closes at 1am. The main disco is in the center of the complex, opens at 11, gets busy around midnight, and goes to the wee hours. It is large, with a full blown sound system, two bars, good size dance floor, stage area, and two platforms where scantily clad ladies strut their stuff (these are the same dancers that participate in the evening shows at the hotels). I was surprised that they admitted teenagers, and the place was filled with them my first two nights. But then those groups apparently departed the resort and it was a mainly 20-35 crowd Saturday night. The other disco/nightclub is in the shopping arcade between the Golf hotel and the Casino complex. It has a Latin theme with Latin music and dancing, and is open from midnight until 3am – staff members are permitted to party here, and male staff members dominated the crowd the night I visited.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Bob & Sue 
Calgary Alberta
April 2005
Vacationed at the Barcelo Bavaro Palace March 31 through to April 14th.

We stayed in Bloque 6 Ocean front ground floor (room 6019). Was a great location, very private and quiet, close to the beach, bar and restaurant. The room we were first assigned was on the second floor of Bloque 6 (room 6016) but was not the ocean front room we had booked. We inquired at the front desk the next morning regarding the ocean front view. Took them two days to make the change- but not without requesting to speak to the hotel manager. The room mysteriously became available, complete with a bottle of complimentary rum and a fruit tray! Incidentally for the two days our room @ 6016 was not cleaned, no fresh towels, mini bar not stocked. Attempted to communicate with the cleaning staff but could not. Calls to the front desk did little or nothing. But once in room 6019 "Rosa" our cleaning lady did an excellent job in cleaning our room and providing fresh towels. We were glad to leave this lady a tip every day as with the fellow that stocked our mini bar.

The Beach was just magnificent! Quiet. Guards kept vendors and non-vacationers off the beach. Palm trees and the odd cloud provided just enough shade to get relief from the DR sun that shone constantly. Generally not crowded. Lots of blue canvas lounges to choose from. Two to three times a day a group of groundsmen raked and removed the wash-up - felt sorry for these guys in their full- bodied green coveralls and black gum-rubber boots! Had to be pitifully hot! The only complaint about the beach area was our swimming area was very small (marked off by buoys) and the amount of boat traffic running back and forth all day from motor boat adventures to partying catamarans to parasailing etc etc etc. The snorkeling in this marked off area was rather boring but would have been foolish venturing beyond the buoys with all the boat traffic.

We read up on the travel advisory re: malaria and decided to take some malaria pills (Chloroquine Phosphate)- I think for the entire trip we saw maybe 2 or 3 mosquitoes. Wouldn't advise not taking them as I'm sure the mosquito concern is real at times and in some places.

We read that the food in the DR was "spicy". As spicy food lovers it is not! The resort had a very wide variety of foods to try. Just outside Bloque 6 is the restaurant "La Pina" - some fares were already cooked but many cooked to your liking on the grill. Special thanks to "Alvin" our waiter (most days) - looked after us extremely well. Most of the staff (including the great cooks!) there were courteous and responsive. The downside (if there was one) was that the restaurant and adjacent bar closed at 5:00pm! Heck at 5 our alcohol content was still at a dangerously low level!!!

The Buffet Caribe was huge, well stocked, but seldom was it over-crowded. Local fare, Japanese, Italian, Mexican......If there was a complaint here it was that that much of the pre-prepared food was over-cooked.

We did eat at the Restaurant Frances Chez Palace - only because the gal at the service center gave us a "complimentary" dinner there. Thankyou "Bauni". There was a $30US ea. charge to eat there! Goes against our grain to have to pay extra to eat at an all inclusive resort! We did not eat at the restaurant "Espanol La Fuente" as there was a $20 per head charge there as well.
To rate each alacarte restaurant...................(stars out of 5)
Rest. La Brisa ****
Rest. La Pina ****
Rest. Rincon Dominicano **(fare not wonderful - greasy smell!)
Rest. Frances Chez Palace * (only because of the $30ea charge)
Rest. Bavaro Steak House ** (steaks are thin & tough)
Rest. Italiano Los Pinos * (probably our poorest meal)

Golf was part of our all-inclusive. A call to 1835 brought a cart to your door to pick you up. Carts were stocked with "agua" (water) on ice - nice touch. You should substitute the "agua" with "cervasa" at nine. Course was okay. Greens were half decent but tee boxes were not. On a scale of 1 - 10 this course was a "5.5". The downside..............$50US for a rather dirty cart! Heck, wasn't this an "all-inclusive"? Bring extra agua as there are guards on every hole and they seem to be v. hot.......we sure were

Don't leave home without sufficient sunscreen, snacks etc. A bottle of SPF 8 will run you $30US! A tube of Pringles $9US!! And things get worse from there!!! If you think that you can get some "Ambar" (resin c/w a bug) cheap.....forget it! Attempted to buy some ear rings (with the 'bug') and they wouldn't go below $380US, many $500US and above. Heck 'real' stones (aka diamonds) here in Canada cost less!

Took the Jurasic Safari trip. Was truly entertaining, thanks to our tour guide "Roberto". Speaks 5 languages fluently (wow!), was thoroughly entertaining, and can make you a "cuba libra" traveling on a very bumpy road pouring from bottle-to-bottle without spilling a drop! Got to see how the "non-tourists" live. The "home-cooked meal" out in the boonies was great! Rivaled our Buffet Caribe! A definite "to do".

We did not find the entire staff all that pleasant. "Smiles" did not seem part of their job descriptions. Many seem rather bored with their jobs. "Us tourists" seemed to be an inconvenience to them? We found it hard to tip because of this. Of course some of the ones we have mentioned plus a number of others we did not mention did not fall into this category but many did. Still bring a lot of $1US for tipping..........there are many who appreciate recognition of their good service. We seemed to have a terrible time communicating with many of the resort folks. Mostly our fault as we did not possess a lot of Spanish. Tough to compliment them when they (we) do not understand! Lesson Learned..........brush up on your Spanish phrases

Been to Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba. Would we go back to DR? Yes, but probably not the Barcelo Bavaro Palace.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Kim 
Ohio, USA
April 2005
Just returned from our second visit to the Palace - me, my husband, and two boys, 13 and 16. All in all a great vacation - this is paradise no matter what little inconveniences happen to occur. Our first visit to the palace was in 2001. The only noticeable change was the number of guests. There were definitely more guests in 2001 - especially more Americans. I think the newer, more Americanized, resorts have had an impact. Anyway, my husband and I didn't mind - we don't like crowds. If we needed a little "action" we just walked down to the Beach resort. My sons on the other hand are always looking for the action.

TEENS:
This is, by far, the biggest "complaint" that we have with the resorts we've visited. They do little to nothing for the teenagers - especially at night. They are bored with most of the evening shows. Yes, there is plenty to do during the day. But, my boys see each other every day - they want to meet other people on vacation. They definitely don't want to hang around mom and dad - thank goodness. It takes about two to three days for my kids to feel comfortable enough to walk up to strangers and ask them if they want to play putt-putt, or whatever. We arrived Monday, and by Thursday, they had a gang together. If they had some kind of "meet and greet night" or something, the gang would've been formed by Monday night. They finally just "took over" the tiny Arieto Disco at the palace for their evening entertainment. Practically NOBODY uses it. It was empty in 2001 also. The bartender seemed a little confused, but he just served them soft drinks and didn't complain. The ! kids had a great time just hanging out and dancing a little. No trouble, and we knew where they were.

ILLNESS
This was the first time any of us got sick to the point of being bed-ridden. We've been to the Palace twice, Melia Caribe-Tropical (Punta Cana), and Barcelo's Riviera Maya(Mexico) Beach Resort and also have been on several cruises. My oldest son and I were laid up for 1 - 2 days, just able to walk from bed to bathroom and back. The maid sympathetically left a few extra rolls of toilet paper. We cannot pinpoint the source of our "discomfort". We are, and were, on Malarone for Malaria prevention since we tend to get a few bites even with 40% Deet. But, I doubt it was a side-effect since our symptoms did not appear for over 3 days. My Apple Travel Agent did not inform us of the Malaria risk. We found out just before we left and had to scramble for the medication. Now, I will always check the CDC website before booking and before the travel date, and I won't be using that agent again. They should have this kind of information available!

OTHER
Food - If I don't have to cook it - the food is good! 'Nuff said!
Beach - Gorgeous!
Service - As expected and adequate for our needs.
Cleanliness - They are always cleaning something, but in the tropics, spotless is close to impossible. It was as clean as it could probably get.
Pool - Gorgeous!
Golf - Son and husband went three times - they loved it. (We always look for resorts with golf included.)
Scuba - Not as vibrant as Mexico but they all enjoyed it.
Mini-bar and Maid - We always got what we needed by simply leaving a note (in "look it up in the dictionary" Spanish) with a couple of dollars. One note in the mini-bar (Por favor, 3 agua, gracias!), and one on the dirty towels in the tub (Por favor, 4 toallas (bano) y 2 toallas (mano), y una mas almohada (mi esposo tiene hombros grande), gracias!) Far from perfect Spanish, but they got it right every time. Don't be afraid to use your "look it up in the dictionary" Spanish! ( Of course, be sure to take your Spanish dictionary)

Bottom Line: Beautiful, quiet and peaceful. And if you only expect the bare necessities, you will be thrilled with what you actually get.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Susan 

March 2005
We returned from Punta Cana this week. We were overbooked at the "beach" and ended up at the "palace"...what a treat! Lots of different people from lots of places. The food was quite good , the pool lovely, and the staff delightful. I found here as I have found everywhere that the nicer you are to the staff the nicer they are to you. The reviews I read here were very helpful for me. I would only add that we saw no malaria, a few mosquitoes of a much smaller size than we are used to in Wisconsin. No one got sick. Bring books, sunscreen, a couple of beach coverups and you are good to go. The people of the Dominican are desperately poor. We brought a large bundle of one dollar bills and tried to tip everyone. It was so appreciated. We also brought books, pencils, stickers, and quarters for the kids. You would have thought it was Christmas. We gave some items to kids we ran into and gave some items to the maids and groundskeepers for their kids. If you can adjust yourself to "Dominican Time" you will have a slendid time. Enjoy!!!!!!! We had a blast!
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Brian and Donna 
Nova Scotia, Canada
March 2005
We went to the Barcelo Bavaro Palace Feb. 28 to March 7. We have to say it was a great time. The resort was spotless, our rooms were kept very clean and well supplied with everything. The food was very good. We cannot say enough about this resort. The only complaint I have is that we should have booked for two weeks, one was certainly not long enough at this nice resort. The beach was so calm great for swimming. The staff very pleasant, and a joy to tip and give gifts to. We would certainly come back here another year and we would rate it a 5.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Chuck 

February 2005
Having returned from our 5th trip in 6 years, I'm compelled to write the review. We have always recommended this resort to everyone we talked with, and quite a few of our friends have come down with us.

Flight... Typical

Check in: Being a repeat customer, I e-mailed the resort with my request for ocean front in building's 3,4 or 6. When I checked in they had me in Building 2 way in the back... Unacceptable! After explaining that we have been their before we finally got Building 3 room (Ocean and pool view), All 3 of the other couples were placed toward the back of their buildings.

Room: These rooms need to be updated, and repaired. A new fridge and TV just don't cut it! We had electrical outlets hanging from the walls, and you would not believe the dust in the AC vents, Looks like they haven't cleaned in years.

Beach: The best!!!!!!

Grounds: Very good.

Food: The beach restaurant La Pina. When we first started going here, we would get lobster, shrimp....etc. very good. This year beef and chicken with some seafood. Very disappointing.. Buffet Typical but with a noted exception.. With the cutback in STAFF very hard to find a clean table. Never have we waited for a clean table previous years. Seafood La Brisa...sorry excuse for a restaurant.. Steakhouse and the Mexican were very good. La Bohio nice update as they now serve american food for lunch by pool...
By being a repeat customer in the past we were given a comp to the french restaurant with out ever having to say anything.. This year we had to ask, and they finally gave us one.. Only this year we could not bring anybody with us like in the past. Food was good.

Staff: With the cutbacks they were overworked... Nice to see some of the staff that we became friends with are still there..

Overall: If you are a first time traveler to this resort, you will like it. If you have been there before, Like us you will second guess your choice. I would save money and book the beach/caribe...

Remember this review is based on 5 trips, not just one.. We will be looking for a new resort next year, as we really love Punta Cana........

Interesting sidelight:: Barcelo does not use the star system like the other resorts. They use there own system and only compare thier resorts to themselves... Translobal has recently changed the palace to a 4 star. I would lower it to 3 based on our experince.
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Al 
Canada
January 2005
My family and I left for the Dominican on January 21st 2005 and returned on the 28th.

Our first surprise when we landed was finding out we were upgraded from the Caribe resort to the Palace Hotel. (A very good bonus)

We arrived at the resort around noon and were greeted with a glass of punch while we waited to be checked in.

The check in did take a bit of time but by 1pm we were hanging out around the pool drinking Pina Coloda’a

The first thing we noticed was how clean the resort was. The beach was clean and there were plenty of staff around and helping out.

I read before we left that people found the staff at these resorts to be unmotivated and rude. We found this to be the opposite, everyone we dealt with always smiled and returned our greetings. The service at the bars and restaurants was great and our glasses were always full of bottled water. The maid service was excellent. When we asked for anything extra that we needed they responded immediately.

As for any concerns about sickness, we had none at all and did not see or hear of anyone that was ill. There were no mosquitoes and we did not have to use any repellant at all.

The Food
We tried all of the available restaurants within the 5 resorts. The only one that we did not prefer was the Mexican restaurant at the Beach resort. It was very greasy and the spices used tasted very different. It could just be us, others may like it. As for the rest of the restaurants they are great. The steakhouse is amazing. I should mention that the Seafood restaurant is only available to the Palace guest, they served a great grilled lobster.

The buffets are great. There is lots to choose from . We did not try the buffet at the Caribe or Beach resort because the Palace Buffet had everything we needed. We did view them and they appeared to have most of the same items.

There is also a pizza shack and you can also get hot dogs and fries.

One thing to remember about the food here is that a lot of the meat is not salted and it has a different taste. I didn’t care for the hotdogs or ham. The beef and pork were excellent. If you are picky on undercooked meat, make sure you tell them to cook it well done. The restaurants all have great menus and offer different deserts at each one.

The buffets have plenty of fresh fruit, salads, breads and deserts. The breakfast buffet at the Palace had an amazing fruit shake bar. Lots of fruit, lime juice, ice...mmm excellent.

I should add that all the restaurants offer great service. Plenty of staff to assist. They are always clearing you plates as soon as you are finished and they kept our water full. They are always replacing utensils with clean ones and cloth napkins all the time.

Activities
There are plenty of things to do at the resorts.
Kayaking, Snorkeling, paddle boats, games, volleyball,

There is lots of stuff to do which cost. My daughter and I took the Caribbean Festival Snorkeling Cruise, where we also swam with the sharks and stingrays. It was $72 for me and $36 for my daughter. It was fun and although expensive I feel it was worth it. Most of the activities are between $30-$70 US..

There are lots of lounge chairs on the beach. We never had any trouble finding 4. The chairs around the pool are limited but we always found some.

Shopping.
Don’t bother! If you can resist you will be better off financially.
Saying that, it is a vacation and you should plan to spend some money but I did warn you.
Here are some examples of prices at the resort.
Large bag of chips $10 US
Regular Bottle of Suntan Lotion--$28US (yes that is correct)
Chocolate Bars $4US (if you stay at the palace they give you two in your fridge everyday)
1 Pound of coffee $8US
There are the vendors at the beach outside the resort. They are a bit cheaper but are very aggressive.

Services
Most of the shops take Credit Cards,US cash or RD dollars.
The bank Machines only dispense RD dollars.
You cannot get any US dollars at the resort. (you have to take a taxi into town to go to the bank for them)
There are no payphones. I used my bell calling card through the hotel operator. It cost me $7 US for two phone calls plus whatever long distant charges I receive.

Leaving.
For Canadians. It is $20 each departure tax and if your check in luggage is over 20 kgs expect to pay $5 US for each kilo over.
Overall this was a great experience for my family and I . We will look here again for our next trip.
I hope this helps
If you have any questions feel free to contact me and I will try to assist.
gallantal@mountaincable.net Some of my photos can be seen at
http://community.webshots.com/user/algallant101
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Patty Annette 
Calgary, AB
January 2005
I returned a few weeks ago from a one week trip to the Barcelo Bavaro Palace. I went with a large group for my sister's wedding the last week of November. We booked our trip with Air Canada Vacations, which went as smooth as one could expect. The lady from Air Canada Vacations who met us in Punta Cana was born in Canada and therefore there wasn't a language barrier. She is a good resource to use if you have any burning questions.

Check-in at the Hotel
Depending on what time you arrive at the hotel, you may have a bit of a wait before you check in. Check-in is between 3-4pm, however, most of the rooms will be ready before then. Our luggage was watched by the bellmen in the front entrance to the hotel, which gave us plenty of freedom to roam around the resort. You will get your bracelet as soon as you get to the hotel, so you are free to go anywhere on the resort that you want. We chose to have a drink and get some lunch as we arrived shortly after 1:00pm. There are bathrooms in the lobby so you can change into your swimwear and enjoy the beach activities immediately if you want.

My advice would be "be patient". If your room is not ready when you arrive, the standard answer is "it will be ready in one hour", which actually means, "we have no idea when it will be ready, stop asking". I would suggest counting on not getting your room until 4:00pm and start your vacation the second you get there.

Air Canada Vacations had a "welcome to the resort" meeting the next morning. If your agent provides this, I would strongly recommend going. The information provided was excellent and it allowed us an opportunity to plan out our week.

Rooms
The rooms were quite large and open. We had a king size bed, which was comfortable to sleep on. We found the hotel to be very quiet and met all of our needs.

The mini bar is filled daily. We left tips a few days and found that our fridge was left overflowing with chocolate bars and coke. Otherwise, they provide a few bottles of soda, two large bottles of water and a chocolate treat every day. If you run out of an item, a phone call to the front desk will replenish any item you need.

Tips
We were told that most of the hotel staff only make a few dollars per day for their salary (plus tips), and that $1US was an acceptable tip. Anything above $5US was not appropriate as that is a considerable amount of money.

We tipped our maid $1US per day.

When you eat at the buffet, there is no one serving you, so tips are not necessary. If you do go to one of the restaurants, we usually tipped $1US per couple.

Evening Entertainment
Most of the entertainment got going after 8:00pm. Each of the hotels had their own shows in the evening and they often get the audience involved, especially with the dancing parts of the show. You can participate if you want, but there is no pressure to do some. Some evenings there are shows such as Cats and Grease, which is put on by the staff at the resort. Great quality of entertainment and you don't need to book your seat in advance.

The Tropicallisimo show at the Casino hotel was wonderful. It is a true Vegas style show with wonderful costumes and dancing. You need to reserve your seats for the show through your hotel. No cost for the show. Rum and coke was provided at your table, but nothing non-alcoholic. I would suggest bringing something from your room if you're not a rum drinker.

Excursions
We did the jungle safari and the trip to Santo Domingo.

The Jungle Safari was absolutely amazing. You get to drive your own Tracker and you follow a guide through the country side. It is a real taste of what it is like on the island. We toured a sugar cane plantation and learned a lot about the difference between the Dominican and Hatian people. We then tracked through the mountains; the sights were breathtaking. We went through several small villages and spent some time with a family in the mountains where we learned how to make hot chocolate from a cocoa plant. We toured their home and saw how they live and cook and how they work their land. The most amazing part of this entire journey was the 2 hours spent at Playa de Cocoa (Coconut point). It was paradise. The beach was more beautiful than anything we had ever seem. We had a great meal, swam in the ocean, and slept in the hamocks. There was also horseback riding available, however, we opted out for a nap.

This trip is a full day. We returned to the resort around 6:00. We found it very tiring, but worth every minute of it. I would recommend this trip to everyone who goes and will likely do it again. The only thing that I have to warn you about, is the driving. It turns out that road rules (such as stoppin at red lights, driving on your side of the road, etc.) are mearly suggestions. It took a while to get used to the way they drive; lukily, my husband slipped into it quite easily as I would probably have been to nervous to drive there.

The trip to Santo Domingo was an interesting experience. It is a 12-14 hr day, and it takes 3-4 hours to get to Santo Domingo (depending on the traffic). We stopped in La Romana, which was a very beuatiful town, but we didn't do any sightseeing hear. In Santo Domingo, the main focus was Christopher Columbus (the Dominican people love three things: baseball, women with large backsides, and Christopher Columbus!!!) We visited the light house monument to him and his home, an enormous cave, as well as the Cathedral. We ate lunch at a very modern restaurant and had approximately one hour to shop. The city is amazing; over 4 million people and a lot of hustle and bustle. It reminded me very much of Rome.

We found the trip to be very long and drawn out, with very little excitement (remember that 2/3 of your day is on a bus). At the end, I was glad that I went, but I was even happier that the excursion was finally over. In hindishgt, I would have preferred to go and stay overnight so that there wasn't so much driving in one day.

Shopping
There is a plaza on the resort (at the caribe, I believe). It has great items, but it is quite pricy.

There is a small shop in the same plaza as the internet cafe that seemed to have fairly reasonably priced items such as t-shirts, hats, sarongs, etc.

The best deal, is the public plaza, which is just off the resort boundary, on the other side of the Palacve hotel block 6. It is divided into different sections. Up front are the tobacco products, alcohol and jewellry. These men are very pushy and can make you feel quite uncomfortable with the amount of pressure they put on you. We found that, saying no, dropping your head and keep walking was the best way to get through. The jewellry dealers will give you a free gift, if you get close enough to them; a small beaded necklace for the women and a tiki pendent for the men.

The next row of shops has your typical souvenirs; t-shirts, drums, painted objects, carving, etc.

The back row has tons of paintings. They are all done on canvas, but they are not original works. You may be able to get a better deal if you go from one shop to the other, but the men who work there do keep a close eye on what is going on around them, so they are hard to fool. We bought a painting for $152US, that they initially were asking $850US for.

When shopping at these markets, you should be able to get an item for 1/3 the price that they initially ask. It all depends on how badly you want the item and how good your negotiating skills are. The only other thing is that they will tell you that you can have the item "on credit", meaning you will pay for it another day, or in some cases, the next time you come back to the island. I don't know anyone who took the vendors up on this, but it doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

Overall, there are not a lot of different shops available, but there wasn't anything in Santo Domingo that I couldn't find within walking distance of our hotel.

If you are looking at getting your hair beaded, I would recommend going to the little shop in front of the public market. You will be able to negotiate a good price. The ladies at the hotel that do this, charge $1US per braid. I had the top of my head done for a whopping $40 US, while a friend had hers done off the reosrt for $55US for her entire head.

Food
It's nearly impossible to rate the food, as it really depends on what you like. We had some individuals in our group that couldn't find anything, and other people thought the food was great.

The breakfast at the buffets were very good. They had eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, pancakes, french toast and an omlete station, as well as many other items. There really wasn't much missing and it tasted just like the food you would get a Denny's.

Lunch and supper at the buffets were not bad either. I found that the seasoning they used got a little sickening after a while and I got sick of the food. We did not eat any fruits or vegetables that were not cooked, or if fresh, they had to be something you could peel. As a result, I found myself craving apples and carrots which were not available.

The restuarants were very good. Pretty much what you would expect from a Steak House or Mexican place.

There is a pizza/hot dog/fries shack at the Beach hotel. The pizza was good, but I don't think it was made with cow milk cheese. There is another take out pizza place attached to the Italian restaurant and that pizza tasted just like the ones you get at home. A definite must if you get sick of the food.

I guess that the most important thing to remember is that you are in another country and they are trying to prepare American food, with the ingredients and cooking styles that they have available to them. I'll sum it up by saying Chinese food bought in a restaurant in Canada, doesn't even come close to the food they eat in China, and the same applies here!

I didn't eat in the gourmet restaruants, however, some of our group did and said it was delicious. You have to make reservations ahead of time, so I would suggest doing that as soon as you get there.

Extra Info
The language is spanish and although most of the staff that you will need to communicate with do speak some english, don't expect them to understand every word you say. The cleaning staff and grounds crew do not speak much english at all. I would recommend bringing a spanish/english dictionary with you, in case you are stuck for words.

If you have any questions, please e-mail me at annetteWiseman84@hotmail.com
Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Patty Cyndi 
Sudbury, Ontario. Canada
January 2005
Stayed at this resort Dec23/04 to Dec30/04. Fabulous resort. Someone was always cleaning inside or outside. For those of you wondering about Malaria. I would say that you should still get the anti-malaria medication (2 pills once a week) 2 weeks before, during your stay and four weeks after you come back. They are very inexpensive as well. We paid $26. for the both of us 14 pills each. I must say that I went there expecting to see hoards of mosquitos, but saw only a few here and there. The pool at this resort is beautiful, irregularly shaped with a whirlpool at one end, shallow end and a lovely bridge walkway over the pool and a wonderful swim up bar. We brought a gift for the chamber maid for Christmas Eve and one for Christmas Day, plus we left her $10 US Christmas Day. All of the other days we left her $2.00. I hope she appreciated it, but never did she attempt to let us know, even though she did see us go in and out of our room. Kind of makes you think about the tipping thing. I can't say she did anything out of the ordinary for us....but I would never not tip seeing that they work 12 hour shifts, get only 3 days a month off and earn $150 per month.

The waitresses at the outside restaurant were extremely delighted to receive any tip. We enjoyed Maria very much. The beach is magnificant, cool powder sand and never a shortage of shade if you wanted it. We did go around to the other resorts since you can eat etc. at the other resorts but they can't at the Palace. We originally were going to stay at the Bavaro Beach Resort and when we walked around and saw the dingy hallways to the rooms, we were more than pleased with our choice of the Palace. All of the rooms (6 blocks of them with 100 per block) are entered from the outside but covered. We stayed in room 5085 in Bloque 5 and it was peaceful and quiet, super clean and had an oceanview. What you read about the air conditioning is true. There is no way you can regulate the air - it is either very cold or you have to shut it off. We left it on when we were out and shut it off at night and that was perfect. We brought a scented candle because there was a musty ordor in the room when we arrived and this helped.

There was a hair dryer, magnifying mirror, iron and ironing board in our room as with all of the others. The beds are firm. Televisions are new with excellent reception. Many English stations such as TBS Superstation, WGN, CNN and USA just to name a few. Everyday between 12 and 1pm there is a crew of 10 workers that come and rake the beach, bag it and take it away. One day when the beach was busy, security came and told the locals and people from the other 4 resorts to leave so there would be enough lounge chairs for the Palace visitors. Walking down the beach, even the lounge chairs are upgraded at the Palace. We, along with another couple took a 1 hour boat ride along the coastline and saw the Riu Resorts, Flamingo etc. Very nice. As far as the food...if you love fish and seafood then this is the place for you. I basically lived on salads during the day and bacon & eggs in the morning, but there is an extreme variety to choose from and ALWAYS fresh. Next time, I am going to see if I can bring a few bottle of wine with me to drink because their house wine is like home made wine that was opened too soon - both red & white. If you want "real" wine you must purchase it. There was a French Restaurant "Chez Palace" but in order to eat there you had to make a reservation and pay $30 US per person. Internet service is available. Just slip in a dollar bill and the machine will indicate how much time you have so it was nice to write home. The service was excellent in the Caribe Buffet restaurant, however, they are very quick to remove any dishes that aren't being touched. If you wonder about clothing to bring. Put your bathing suit on in the morning with a coverup or put shorts & t-shirt over top, stay in that until you are finished on the beach for the day - eat at any of the outdoor restaurants and then shower and change for supper. They prefer men to wear long pants and shirts at night and it was nice to dress up a bit. There is nightly entertainment, but the "cats" musical didn't happen during the Christmas week, but they had many other shows happening - audience participation, dance contests. For you towels for the beach, when you first arrive they give you two plastic cards and the attendant at the pool will take the cards and give you your towels and return the cards when you bring the towels back. If you have a late flight out, you must be out of your room by noon and the hotel will put your luggage in a secure room. Keep your carryone with a change of clothing and about 3 or 4 hours before you are to leave they will let you use a courtesy room to shower and change, but they only allow about 20 minutes or so. The vendors just located off the resort property probably speak more English than anyone at the hotel and it is a hoot to barter with them. Don't be afraid to haggle with them - they expect it and start VERY high and come down VERY low. I was too intimidated to go by myself because I liken it to being lured into the devils den. They swarm all around you. When my husband came with me, I was braver and stood my ground. They really seemed to like Canadians. Peace of advise....don't be afraid to talk to other people. It is the only way to meet them. When I noticed someone speaking English (a rarity) I just asked them where they were from and the conversation started and I met some very wonderful people from Canada and the States. There were many people from France, Germany, Holland and Spain. All in all I would highly recommend staying at the Palace - it is definately worth the difference in price and I would go back there again.