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Catalonia Royal Bavaro
Ranked #45 of 112 Hotels in Punta Cana
GreenLeadersGold level
Reviewed 28 May 2012

My husband and I stayed at the Catalonia Royal 5/12-19. This was the trip that should not have been. We had a couple other trips planned this year within the States, and really no budget for any Caribbean vacations, but I was playing with pricing and found a great deal. What everyone needs to understand about the Catalonia is that it is not a 5 star resort. It should not be compared to the 5 star resorts. It also does not come with the price tag of a 5 star resort, which is why we chose it. So be sure when doing your research you are comparing apples to apples.

Our criteria:
1.) Adult Only.
2.) We loved the fact there were no limitations on Ala Carte’s (some resorts do limit how many Ala Carte’s you are allowed in a week so again do your research) and there are no reservations required. (no getting up at the crack of dawn to get in line for reservations.)
3.) No charge for using the computers in the Internet Café (again huge, as many places charge per minutes or per day) we do not take a laptop, or have phones with internet, so having free use of computer’s to contact home was a big plus. No safe charges. (Hidden charges give me a bad taste right off the bat). There were none here.
4.) Name brand liquor. I do not care for cheap liquor so I wanted at least name brands did not have to be top shelf again top shelf comes with a price tag not in our budget.

We have been to different areas of Jamaica and Mexico, stayed at other AI’s, so we have a basis of comparisons. Again we had to keep telling ourselves this trip cost us much less than other AI’s we had stayed at. The bang for the buck here is quite good.

Arrival:
We arrived to a cool towel, and some tropical punch, were able to use the computer to email home that we arrived safely while we were waiting for our room. One area I think the resort can improve on is that I feel they need more of an Orientation regarding the resort, and what it has to foffer. We felt there was not much information given at the time of arrival, You were handed a little brochure, and you were left to figure out the rest on your own. I feel it may be helpful to guests to have more of a structured Orientation Program in place.

Room:
We were taken to our room we ended up in Bldg 46 next to the Lobby 3rd floor. We had a basic Superior Room. Our room was just as it appears in pictures we loved the rack on the balcony for hanging suits, I feel every resort should have those, cuts down on the hanging things over the balcony look. It worked beautifully. The bed was firm, but very comfortable, we loved it. We felt the sheets were a good quality as well. We never used the pillow menu which by the way is in the folder provided to you in your room. Our remote did not work, and our refrigerator was full of ice (in need of defrosting) it did not appear to be working well. We called the desk, and they sent someone very quickly who took care of both. The toilet seat was missing a bolt I wished I had included that as well, but was not bothered enough with it to call again, nor was I bothered enough to call on the robes that had no ties which we found strange. There were some chips in the shower floor and I can see many people complaining about these things, but honestly the little stuff does not bother us. When the bellman took us to our room we asked where the thermostat was immediately as it did not feel real cool in there we turned it up and left to explore. We had issues with the A/C later in the week, they came said it was fine, it was not. It was bearable but not comfortable. We should have screamed louder sooner, but did not. It then became an issue of not wanting to pack and move so late into the trip. A friend who has been to the Dominican said their resort required a keycard on the wall next to the entry light swtiches be inserted otherwise your air was on conserve mode. The bellman did not indicate this, nor did the Maintenance man. If Mangement reads this I would like to know if this was required, and if so please make sure guests are made aware. We are only in our rooms to shower/sleep, but I like to be comfortable not hot at night, this was a big deal to me.

The grounds on the Royal side are nice, but the grounds on the Bavaro/Family side are outstanding! The flora and fauna are spectacular. I never tired of walking the grounds over there. Be sure to explore that side completely or you will be missing out! One piece of advice, take pictures of anything you want early on, our camera died on day 3 fortunately we had already taken the room, beach grounds photo’s so most of what we were missing were of ourselves and friends we met.
We decided not to venture out on any excursions this trip (remember it was the trip that should not have been) but we decided to treat ourselves to a Couples Massage at the Spa. It was $144 for 50 min for both of us total which we did not feel was bad. It was a wonderful massage. I have read negative reviews for the Spa, but honestly I wish I remembered their names because the ladies we had we felt were very skilled. We were very happy and would recommend the spa in a heartbeat. The ladies down the beach will try to get you for $40 they gave us a sampling, and there was simply no comparison.
The Pools:
The pools are very nice. Our room was by the pool with the Swim-up Bar, we loved it there, Dominican music, a bit more lively than the Infinity Pool. We did not find it difficult to find chairs ever. In spite of our moving around many times through the day. We even had the covered loungers by the Infinity Pool 2ce. The beach seemed to be more of an issue if you were not out early. Still we were always able to find something or move them slightly to accommodate us. The Infinity Pool water seemed warmer. We also enjoyed the pool on the family side for shade when we got a bit burnt. There is lots of shade around that pool. We truly enjoyed every poo lwithin the complex.

The Beach:
This is the area I was the most disappointed in. The color of the water was not the Caribbean blue I have become accustomed to in other Caribbean destinations. I assumed this being a Caribbean Island it was the Caribbean Sea, but it is actually the Atlantic Ocean which explained the lack of the blue/green water I was expecting. The water was, however, crystal clear. I learned many of the excursions they take you to actually round the corner to different beaches, swimming spots etc which are on the Caribbean Sea. I had read reviews about seaweed, and laughed to myself thinking it is the ocean people, but in all honesty while we were there, there was always seaweed and a lot of it, they were constantly cleaning it, but in spite of their efforts they struggled to keep up with it. We teased some of the workers that they had good job security. The sand is a light beige and very very soft. I have been to destinations with much prettier beaches. Personally I prefer the vibrant Caribbean blue. This being a big reason I doubt we will return to Punta Cana.

Maid Service:
We never once had towel art, which was a little disappointing, however we never lacked towels. The maid service in spite of our tips was very basic we have been much more impressed elsewhere. There were days not even all the dirty glasses were taken. A dollar or two in the mini bar, however, will keep you well stocked in whatever they notice you are using.

Bars:
You would see Smirnoff, Baileys, Johnny Walker, Kahlua, etc at every bar, but if you wanted Smirnoff you needed to ask for it. They make wonderful Mojito’s here, which I’m not usually a fan of, but I became one. Caipirinha’s were our drink of choice. Presidente on tap is one of the better beers on tap, preferred it to Sol in Mexico, or Red Stripe in Jamaica. We were not fans of the house wines on either side, but as others have stated there is a difference from one side to the other the Royal side being better. The bartender's aim to please!!!!

Restaurants:
This is a big area for so many, and it is such a subjective one, being such a matter of personal taste. I do not particularly like buffets anywhere, so the fact that I could come to a 4 star resort and never have dinner at a Buffet, never have to make a reservation was a major deciding factor in choosing this resort. The longest wait we had was maybe an hour. Grab a drink engage in a conversation with your significant other, or make new friends, and relax you are on vacation. Not a huge Breakfast person, but my husband is, everyone should find something they like, I prefer Omelet stations, however rather than their order off the menu system. The Omelet choices were lacking. There is much to choose from otherwise. We enjoyed Sea Blue for lunch, great burgers, my husband loved the Fish & Chips, and we even tried California Rolls here for the first time, and liked them. (An All Inclusive is a great place to try new things). We also went over to the Bavaro side to their grill for the Brick Oven Pizza which was pretty decent.

Dinner, we found that every soup we tried was outstanding! Whether you think you will like it or not, order it. Even the Lime Soup at the Mexican was great! Very flavorful and always served hot!
Our favorite Restaurants:
1.) Tied Japanese & Cata Tapa, we repeated The Japanese, the chef was better the first time, but the company made up for the so so chef the 2nd time. We had guests from Germany, Spain, France, Montreal, and the U.S quite an International , and wonderful experience.
2.) Tied again Thalassa & Rodeo Steakhouse.. Thalassa had an after dinner drink cart that was a very nice touch with premium liquors!
3.) Italian
4.) Mexican we did not care for this dinner at all Lime Soup was the best thing we ordered.
We never ate at Sea Blue for dinner, they started charging $20 for the Lobster and nothing else appealed to us on the menu. We spoke to others who hated Cata Tapa and loved the Mexican, so again a matter of taste and perhaps your entree of choice? For the week we had 4 very good meals, 2 good meals and 1 bad. We never tried the Crepery, or Ice Cream place. From what I hear we missed out.

We did make it to the Beach Party on the Family side for a short time, but we did not make it to ours it rained that night so we assumed it was cancelled, but it was moved inside. Kind of sorry we did not walk down there. Long days in the sun we were in bed early most nights so we did not see any other Entertainment. We did enjoy the Piano Bar on the Royal side most evenings to chat with other guests and have a nightcap or Cappuccino.

Staff:
The staff did a good job making sure you were happy. Maria in Thalassa really stood out to us as the most friendly and Jombie (sp) one of the watier's at Thalassa was outstanding. There is more of a language barrier in the Domincan than Mexico, or Costa Rica. If you can brush up on your Spanish before leaving it is not a bad idea.


Again realize this is not a 5 star resort, you are also not paying for a 5 star resort. When reading reviews make sure you are also price them to fairly compare resorts. For the money Catalonia is a great value considering what you get!!! No reservations, no restrictions on the number of ala carte's, name brand liquor, no charge for computer or safe use, double the pleasure having access to the Royal and Bavaro side, beautiful pools, grounds, and Adult Only. In spite of the hiccups here and there I would recommend it.

Room Tip: We had a 3rd floor which could have made the air more of an issue, may want a 1st or 2nd floor room
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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7  Thank mzambo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 May 2012

My husband and I stayed at this resort for a week. We would highly recommend getting one of the suites with the pools if possible. Staying in one of those suites made our stay even better and even more relaxing,

Overall the resort was great. It was very well maintained and the staff was friendly. The only complaint we would have is the food wasn't as good as we would have liked, however we would still go back regardless. The beach was kept very clean and there were always staff cleaning up empty drink glasses. There are sand flies so bring some bug spray if you want to prevent being bitten. There is good snorkeling just off the beach- we saw sting rays, lion fish, sea urchins, sea snakes and lots of fish!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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1  Thank Marebuck
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CataloniaRoyalBavaro, Management Assistant at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded 29 May 2012

Dear guest,

Thank you for posting your review on Trip Advisor.
We are content to read your recommendations of our Resort. You comment lets us know you have enjoyed a fantastic holiday at Catalonia Royal. Also your feedback about our services, are much appreciated.

We look forward to your next holidays.

Best regards!

Ysabel Sosa
Management Assistant

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2012

We stayed at Cat Royal from May 5 until May 12. This was our....(15th or so I guess) trip to the DR and first to the Catalonia. I will break down my review in "sections":

- Check-in-- fast and efficient, without any particular hiccups.

- Room-- we stayed in a "regular" room (superior jr suite) in villa 40 on the second floor. Room was a bit dated and somewhat dark. Beds were a tad hard for my liking. Other than that, it was totally acceptable.

- Beach-- absolutely amazing. The only miniscule negative is the sea is a little shallow on the Royal side. In regards to sea grass, yes it's there....BUT the amount of this sea grass is kept to a minimum (thanks to never-stop-working beach cleaning crew). Other than that-excellent!

-Service-- very good to outstanding! All staff personnel are extremely polite, professional and friendly. Vast majority speaks VERY decent English (including waiter, bartenders, bus boys, etc, etc.) Concierges are extremely helpful and professional (extra kudos to Boris @concierge desk). Bars' and restaurants' staff are totally excellent (across the board)! Also, if (walking) distance is of any issue (i.e. getting to the family side or to/from beach to room ), front desk folks will promptly dispatch your "personal taxi" (golf cart)--great touch as well!

- Food/Drinks--hmm....a little tough question. Overall the food was good. Presentation and service (read above) were great. Food quality was not always consistent. Please, don't get me wrong- food was totally edible, but inconsistent in taste and a little bland. Breakfasts were almost always very good. Lunches and dinners were somewhat hit or miss. .. Drinks were excellent, with top/midshelf liquor brands available at all bars.

-Grounds-- immaculate! Foliage is even more mature and beautiful on the Family side.

-Pools-- we are not pool ppl so to speak, but both pools looked great with lovely linen covered double-loungers at the infinity pool and lively swim-up bar at the main pool.

- Family (Bavaro) side-- we ventured onto the Bavaro side several times. Main lobby and overall grounds are impressive. Disco was fun. Main buffet was...meh. Beach buffet was pretty bad, with mozzies and birds flying though and munching on food......At the main pool/swim-up bar there was a constant smell of sewage.

-Side notes-- we found a "hidden gem"--Creperie Bretonne in the shopping plaza (50 yds from the Royal lobby)-tasty French-styled crepes, coffees, teas, etc. Also, we flew on the flying boat- an amazing, unique experience (once on the beach, walk to the right (about 100yds) to the "shopping village"). Well worth $65.00!

Overall, we really enjoyed the vacation in spite of some minor annoyances and hiccups. Manage your expectations accordingly (it's a solid 4* by North America/European standards) and you should greatly enjoy your trip!!!

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled with family
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6  Thank totallyi2009
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
CataloniaRoyalBavaro, Management Assistant at Catalonia Royal Bavaro, responded to this reviewResponded 29 May 2012

Dear guest,

Thank you for taking your time to post on Trip Advisor.
We are content to read your kind opinion about the different services of our Resort. Thank you for your excellent comments about our staff, they were delighted to assist you during your stay. It’s a pleasure to read you were impressed and enjoyed our grounds. Also we apologize for any setback, and thank you for all the feedback provided, which helps us consistently to improve our services.

Receive warms regards from all our staff.

Ysabel Sosa
Management Assistant

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 May 2012

My wife and I came to the Catalonia Royal this past May, returning to a resort for the first time ever based on our previous experience. The a la carte restaurants (we only ate there as we try to stay away from buffets) were good, the best being the two on the Royal side. The Japanese restaurant can use improvement as the rooms are small and enclosed and get very warm, with the chef constantly sweating around the food. The beach party on Thursday night, which we enjoyed tremendously last year was a disaster this time due to mosquito's hovering and attacking by the hundreds (BRING REPELLANT, it is vital, almost as important as sunscreen); I got bitten at least 10 times in the first five minutes, and we had to escape out of there right away. There was a funny story of one guest running away, with a staff member chasing the mosqito's chasing her. The Pallela on the beach on Friday was great, a very authentic dish prepared in a huge pan over an open fire. The beach was nice except that there are no waves, as it is surrounded by a barrier-reef a couple of hundred metres out, and it is a bit grassy on the shore, although there are staff constantly cleaning it; we never had trouble getting a palepa right on the beach, although you do have to go out early (6 am) and put your towels and belongings on some chairs to reserve your spot. The juice bar on the beach is a wonderful extra, with fresh juices prepared to order from all kinds of exotic tropical fruits, my favourite was called Kiin, made with passion fruit and pineapple. The two best bars are the beach bar and the bar in the lobby, with good quality drinks, and great cuppacino in the lobby-bar. The Ocean Blue restaurant is a perfect place for lunch, with a great view of the beach and with good food. The resort was still as nice, with good food, great drinks, and friendly staff for the most part, with a couple of exceptions. The water sports area appears to have been taken over by a private company, and if you are not there to sign up for an activity which requires payment then they are almost rude in their responses. I was looking just for a mask and snorkle and more often than not they did not have one available, and were very short with their response of "come back later, maybe have one". The maid service was good, in the first few days we had a turn-down sevice freshening the beds at night, as well as the daily service, but after one night when we were still in the room when they came for the service, they stopped doing it for a few days (no big deal). All of the maids and cleaning staff were very friendly, and we made sure to leave a tip and some chocolates every day. My one (small) complaint is that I emailed the head office of the Catalonia chain requesting the possibility of a room in a Villa closer to the the beach this time (we stayed in 36 last time), and were put in Villa 42, which is actually further away, but the room was nice and clean, with no musky smell that you get some times due to the humidity. It had a king bed, with a slightly too hard mattress, and was on the ground floor, where we like it. As it is a small resort, nothing is too far away, so we were happy. Whenever we wanted to participate in activities such as water aerobics, we went over to the Catalonia side.  Overall, I would reccommend this resort if you are looking for a quiet, relaxing holiday with good food, ok beach, and good staff and accomodations.

Room Tip: Villa's 34 to 42 close enough to beach, but far enough from "party-pool" to avoid nois...
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  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank Twith3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2012 via mobile

My husband and I and a couple of friends stayed at the Catalonia Royal Bavaro resort May 8th through the 16th of 2012 and could not have been happier! After a decent amount of research online and checking through countless reviews, we chose this resort and it was a perfect choice! From the minute we arrived, we were greeted with cool towels, fresh cocktails, and smiles from all of the staff. Our flight had arrived around 1pm and since check-in was at 3, the front desk suggested having some drinks and lunch or head to the pool/beach while they held our bags. We headed to lunch at the Sea Bar Bistro - delish! After check-in, we were escorted by golf cart to our room ( section 40 - in between the main pool and fountains). Great spot and the rooms were beautiful! Bathrooms could use some updates to the shower, more specifically, but definitely a great value for a suite. The couple we had vacationed with got engaged the first night and we ordered champagne to the room to celebrate (was in our room in about 30 minutes). We werent overly familiar with the resort just yet, so we headed to Thalassa for dinner - so glad that we did! A big Kudos goes out to Franklin and Dario who took great care of us and our friends!! Amazing reviews to both of them! Throughout our stay we saw Franklin multiple times and he always made us feel like old friends - cant say enough about his sincere and genuine personality! Throughout the week we spent countless hours between the pool, the beach, and the swim up pool bar with Carlos. He was our other favorite at the resort - always had the best bachata and merengue music playing. There was a song that had something about "da da da de loca" in it that we loved!! Wish we knew the name... But all week we went to the swim up bar and Carlos would just know what we wanted...dos or quatro - he would say - he was really great as well!! We also tried 2 of the excursions..best excursions we've been on - we booked them through the gentleman near the front desk on day 2 of our trip. We did the speedboats on the first one with some snorkeling - kind of older boats but a great time all in all! The second was a 1/2 day catamaran cruise with a visit to the Dolphin Marine park - very cool! Held a parrot, swam with sting rays and sharks, got a kiss from a sea lion, and took a catamaran ride to and from a snorkeling area and natural pool. That was a blast! The snorkeling off of the beach was so much fun and BBQ Beach Party was great as well! Great music, dancing, the food was just okay for that. We had tried the Mexican, Italian, hibachi, and buffet over on the Bavaro side - Italian was best, and loved Thalassa for breakfast and dinner. Our friends said that Cata Tapas was fabulous but my husband and I had a little too much sun that day and stayed in for room service. Overall we had a great time there and we're all missing it only weeks later! Definitely bummed that I don't have more vacation time left to go back! Everyone in the staff was really great and the location is absolutely beautiful!! Thank you all so much for making our vacation more amazing than we could've asked for!

  • Stayed: May 2012
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Meredith L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Catalonia Royal Bavaro

Address: Cabeza de Toro, Punta Cana 837, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Region: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Casino and Gambling Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#17 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#19 Green Hotel in Punta Cana
#26 Casino Hotel in Punta Cana
#38 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#41 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#42 Luxury Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range: €183 - €550 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Catalonia Royal Bavaro 4.5*
Number of rooms: 255
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Enjoy the authentic Caribbean at an exclusive, adults-only resort. Its small details make big your stay and the personalized service you receive will make you feel as if you were in heaven. Exclusive suites, innovative restaurants, dreamlike swimming pools…relax in this tropical paradise and enjoy the best vacation you’ve ever had. Have an extraordinary experience, and leave the worrying to us; we’ll take care of you ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Catalonia Royal Bavaro Hotel Punta Cana
Catalonia Royal Bavaro Punta Cana
Royal Catalonia Bavaro

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