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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!!!!
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!
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.
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.
- 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