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Reviewed 20 August 2009

We loved the Catalonia Royal Resort. We found the atmosphere to be very relaxed, calm and quiet. The pools and beach areas were never crowded as it is a small resort. We never had a problem finding a palapa on the beach. The regular side was far more crowded. The staff was friendly, the service was impeccable; they would always go out of their way to help you, and they made a point to remember you. There was great snorkeling right on-site; make sure to bring your own snorkel mask & tube.

The food at the Thalassa was absolutely amazing, as was the service. We ate at every ala carte restaurant except for the Japanese. The only one we liked was the Mexican; their food was awesome. If you want a change of pace for food (off of the Royal side), the beach buffet on the regular side was pretty good for lunch, and the main buffet on the regular side had far more choices for breakfast. Other than that, don’t bother with the food on the regular side.

The rooms were lovely and spacious. The landscaping on the grounds were the prettiest on the regular side. If you stay here, make sure you walk through the middle of the grounds on the regular side between buildings where there are ponds and gorgeous landscaping. There are lots of places for taking beautiful pictures.

We spent the first 7 nights of our vacation on the regular side and then upgraded for the last 5 nights to the royal side to see if it was worth the price difference. We liked the regular side, but we loved the royal side. It was well worth paying for the upgrade. We especially appreciated the better food on the royal side, as we didn’t care for much of the food on the regular side. We enjoyed the atmosphere of quiet elegance, which was quite relaxing.

Here is a tip that I wish I would have known. You can use the little catamarans for free, but we didn’t know how to sail and were nervous to try. The day before we left, we found out that we could have paid $25 for someone to teach us. By this time, it was too late to reserve a spot. If we would have known, we would have done this at the beginning of our stay, so we could have used these for free during the rest of our stay. As it was, we never used one.

We took 4 tours: Saona Island, Bavaro Runners, Bavaro Splash, and Santo Domingo. All of the tours were excellent. The Bavaro Splash was the best snorkel tour we’ve ever taken. Our guide took pictures of us snorkeling from under the water with our camera. They fed the fish and gave us food to feed the fish, so there were always a lot of fish around.

We would go back in a heartbeat if we liked visiting the same place more than once. However, there is too much in the world to see to go back to the same place twice, so we probably won’t go back. We would go back to the DR though, maybe Puerto Plata or Samana next time. We enjoyed the culture in the DR; the people were happy, friendly, outgoing, and always smiling.

  • Stayed: July 2009, travelled as a couple
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10  Thank craigsuem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 August 2009

We stayed four nights and had a great experience. The rooms are huge and include a balcony with hammock, king-sized bed, large tub in the main room plus shower in the bathroom, flat-screen TV.

The food and service were largely great, and the staff was friendly. We were able to check in early and check out late with no problem or fees. Beware that many staffers speak very little English, so you'll have to practice your Spanish.

I have a few complaints that knock one star off my review, but these were mostly minor issues. First of all, the pools all close at 6 p.m. It's disappointing that there's no night scene at these cool, luxurious pools with swim-up bars, and it remains hot at night and sometimes you're in the mood for a dip. While generally service was great, the staff took a long time to respond when we had issues in the room -- a broken AC and a broken safe. The beach is very nice, but there's quite a bit of seaweed, and you're only allowed to swim out to about three feet of water. Also, I went on a family vacation with my two adult brothers and mother, but the resort was pretty couples-oriented and romantic, and I wish I had known that.

FYI -- Men need long pants and closed toe shoes (sneakers are fine) for the restaurants.

I've read a few reviews about food poisoning, but none of the four of us had any sort of problems with that. Overall, a great experience.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank chinBoston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 August 2009

We stayed at Catalonia Royal for 7 nights and choose this hotel because of many positive reviews on tripadvisor. But we were disappointed!
1. Not friendly staff. For the 7 days stay we only once heard 'hola' from the hotel employee, walking by. All others, just kept mortal silence. 99% of the staff DOES NOT speak English!!!
2.Room. Design of the rooms is good but there is no ventilation system neither in the shower nor in the room, so all the possible humidity just accumulates in the room and all the pillows, linen stinks. This smell exists in the rooms permanently and the conditioner does not help to improve the situation.
3.Food and dining. The worst food ever. There is no good chose of food. There are 5 main meals that repeat every day. The Japanese restaurant Micado is the worst Japanese food experience - grey color smelly shrimps, disgusting rice. During breakfast they also served terrible bacon, which consisted 75% of lard. If you would like to order room service menu – you will have only chose of 3 sandwiches and one of them – vegetarian served without bred))) – kind of ‘sandwich’ a la Catalonia. And finally dinner at Cata Tapa restaurant resulted in severe food poisoning. Both we were sick for 3 days, used our medical insurance and the rest of our vacation were on the pills.
4. Beach and the sea. The sand on the beach is white but the servants of the hotel while picking up the glasses with drinks does not bother recycling them but instead they pour the rest of the drinks from the glasses into the sand near sun-beds, where the glass was found. That is why there is a plenty of wasps. The sea is to shallow and we were not enjoying swimming as it was not possible to do this in 30 centimeters deep water. And one more – all the signs in the hotel states – that it is located at the Caribbean Sea – but look at the map – it’s Atlantic Ocean, so if you expect to see amazing Caribbean color of water – you will be disappointed.
5. General impression. The hotel is certainly sucks.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank travelcos
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 August 2009

I stay at CRB in June, and it was like been one step above haven, the hotel was very calm, the room was huge and very beautifull. the Thalassa restaurant its very very good ( in all meals). i like also the the rodeo restaurant and the mexicano, the italian and the japanese are not to good. if you are looking for relaxing and peace go to the Catalonia Royal Bavaro.

  • Stayed: June 2009, travelled with friends
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5  Thank Joy_Cardozzo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 July 2009

We stayed at the Catalonia Royal Bavaro from June 18th to thr 25th & had an excellent time! We're in our early 30's, no kids yet, & it was wonderful to stay on the Royal side where it is adults only- very relaxing.

Check- in: We were greeted with cocktail upon arrival, had to wait about 30 mins for our room to be ready, & had a few drinks while waiting. About 30 mins after we got to the room they delivered a fresh fruit basket & a bottle of Rum- yummy!

Beach: It was awesome. Crystal clear water, nice fine sand, (no rocks), alot of seaweed on some days though, (it cleared up the last few days of the vacation). You could feed the fish & snorkel right off the beach! Had a bar on the beach, great service. You could kayak for free that was cool.

Pool: Was pretty nice, although we didn't use it much since we were always on the beach. It was super humid & the beach has a nice breeze off of it. Had a good swim up bar- great service.

Rooms: They were really nice. I would however suggest requesting a first floor though, (since heat rises, we were on the 3rd floor) We had problems with our A/C, had to have someone come out 4 nights in a row to fix it (put freon in it- guess there was a leak or something). I asked for a dehumidifier, thinking that would help, they told me 2 or 3 days that we would get one the next day because they were out of them, & it never happened, so I gave up. Also, make sure that the ceiling fan is going the right way because ours was going backwards & that could of helped to cool us off a little if we would have noticed it before the last night we were there- lol. The A/C not working very well was our only complaint. The beds were pretty ok, firm but still soft, nothing like the beds we've slept on in Mexico. It has a mini fridge filled with water, soda's & beer, but no bottle opener to open the beer, so you need to ask for that. Big tub in the room, flat screen tv, & a safe. Oh, the blowdryer doesn't work very well, so ladies, don't forget to bring your own, my hair literally never dried, because it was sooo humid, & humid in the room because of the poor A/C & by the time I would get half way done I was way, way too hot to finish drying it! House keeping did a great job & either made little towel animals & or decorated our bed almost everyday with flowers.

Restaurants: We ate a Thalassa for breakfast once, it was ok, lunch was good, dinner was good. The Italian restarant was good. Mexican was ok. Steakhouse was ok. Buffet on the regular side was amazingly great, it really had alot to choose from. We didn't try the Japanese. Creperie was yummy. Restaurant on the beach on the regular side was alright, we ate for lunch once. Oh, and the snack bar at the pool on the regular side had fresh brick oven pizza- sooo delicious! Who knew we had to go all the way to the DR for the best brick oven pizza- lol!

Entertainment: The nightly shows were pretty ok, they tried really hard & they got the audience involved in most of them, which made for a fun time. They have a disco on the regular side, we went once. Was lots of fun, no music in english, we still liked dancing to it though. They have a Casino, but we didn't go.

Bars: Good. Loved the lobby / piano bar on the royal side, the bartenders there were awesome! All other bartenders & servers were great too. Drinks were good, definitely not underpoured.

Service: Wonderful. All of the staff always had a smile on there faces & a friendly "hola". We did tip throughout the week because they deserved it & we never had bad service once. Although, I'm sure we would have gotten great service even if we didn't tip. Best service we've had on vacation.

Random: Try the Mamajuana- it is awesome- very tasty! We did one excursion, the Marinarium which was snorkeling & swimming with the sharks & the stingrays, it was a great experience, although, I did feel sorry for them being all cooped up in the enclosure, but, it seemed like they treated them nice. Don't forget the sunblock because it is $25 at the giftshop. They have vendors that they allow to sell things on the regular side one day a week, & I think you can get some ok deals if you wanted to buy something, we didn't, but everytime we walked over there that day, we got annoyed with people trying to sell us stuff. Roomservice was ok, just basic sandwiches & salads & a contenital breakfast, didn't have to wait very long for them to deliever it. We were definitely the minority, being english speakers, however, the lobby staff & bartenders spoke ok english. We did not have too many problems communicating. I tried my hand at speaking spanish & it was awful, & they were amused, but it seemed like they appreicated it. Lots of smoking everywhere, but not a really super smokey place by any means. Lots of topless sunbathing & speedos- pretty different & amusing! lol

Overall: Super great experience, we would totally go back to the DR & to this resort, I would just ask for a room on the bottom floor for the A/C issues! I would recommend this resort to anyone & the royal side to anyone who wanted a super relaxing vacation.

I think that covers everything, If anyone has any questions please feel free to email me!

Stayed: June 2009, travelled as a couple
9  Thank tuckrage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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