Hello, Travel Bugs; we’re Jhon and Ari, and last week we stayed in the Barceló Bavaro Palace all-inlcusive resort in Punta Cana. This is our honest review to help you decide if this is the right hotel for your vacation.
We arrived at the complex around 11:30 AM and parked in the onsite parking lot. We then headed to the front desk in the lobby for check-in, which was fast and smooth.
Check-in time is 3 PM, so we knew our room wouldn’t be ready until then. Still, after you get your bracelets laced on your wrist, you can begin enjoying the hotel’s facilities.
A clever thing the Bavaro Palace does is give you a pager that notifies you when your room is ready; this was the first time we’ve seen this in any Punta Cana resort, and it was very convenient.
At check-in, we were advised to book the restaurant we wanted to have dinner at that night before they ran out of space, so we went to guest service to make our dinner reservations.
Only the Spanish and seafood restaurants were available that night; after checking their menus, we booked the seafood place for 7:45 PM. We also booked the Mexican restaurant for the next night at 6:45 PM.
We then went downstairs to the main buffet restaurant to eat lunch, but the opening time was 12:30, so we decided to have a drink at the Carey lobby bar upstairs while we waited.
This bar was beautifully decorated, with lovely piano music playing in the background, friendly staff, and, most importantly, the drinks were very good. After waiting about 30 minutes, we went back downstairs for lunch.
The doors to the buffet were still closed about 10 minutes after 12:30, and we thought they were running late, but we later discovered we were waiting by the wrong door.
There are two different buffet restaurants, Bohío Dominicano and Miramar; the first opened at 12:30, while the latter opened half an hour later.
The two buffets communicate on the inside. From what we could tell, apart from opening time, the difference between the two was the decoration.
The buffet was busy, the busiest we’ve encountered in a resort. However, even though there were many people, it flowed smoothly.
The food options were many; it was heavy on Dominican-style food and a little light on international cuisine dishes. It was notable how much variety of sweets there was; they even had a soft ice cream machine.
The food tasted delicious, and we were delighted with our first food experience in the Barcelo Bavaro Palace.
Exploring the Resort
After stuffing ourselves in the all-you-can-eat buffet, we decided to tour the hotel grounds, and a great way to do this was to climb on the train.
You can board the train in the lower lobby, which takes you around the entire property. Its primary purpose is transporting guests from one point in the resort to another. Still, it was perfect to get a sense of where everything was located.
We ended our trip where we started, in the lower lobby. This area has many small shops for souvenirs, cigars, rum, clothing, etc. Many resorts have shopping areas, but this one was massive.
You’ll also find an escape room open from 10 AM until midnight, where you can choose from three different games for $30 per person.
We went into Striker’s Sports Bar, where we had a banger of a mojito. A four-lane bowling alley is next door from 10 AM to 5 PM. The price to bowl is $15 per person per game, and there seems to be an always-running 2X1 offer.
The bowling center shares the space with an arcade which is also pay-to-play. The price for 8 tokens is $12, and you can exchange your winnings for prizes.
At around 2:30, we headed back to Carey Bar to wait for our room to be ready. Here we had a fantastic Tequila Sunrise cocktail. 19 minutes later, our pager buzzed, indicating our room was finally ready.
We got room 1328, located in building number one, the furthest from the lobby, so we had a long walk to get to our room. If you want to walk the least, try getting a room in buildings four or five.
We paid $600 for two people staying two nights in a Junior Suite double room. We were nervous about the room since, according to Travel Weekly, the Bavaro Palace was built in 2001.
Our room was the weakest link of our stay in the Bavaro Palace. The design and furniture of the room were contemporary, but there were many signs of wear and tear, which added to the perception of a worn-down room.
The room felt clean but, at the same time, very dusty in places like behind the night tables, the ceiling fan blades, and the ornaments. It needed a deep cleaning, not just a regular check-out check-in clean. We’ll review the room in more detail later in this post.
After leaving our bags in the room, we went to El Cielo. This is a small and secluded section for guests over 18, with a medium-sized pool with waterjets in the center and a bar.
We had a few drinks here, and in the Piña Colada test, the Barceló Bavaro Palace gets a grade of B. El Cielo is a relaxing area and a great place to sneak away from the kids; you can’t see it in this video; because we’re careful of not recording children in our footage, but this hotel is packed with kids of all ages.
After relaxing in El Cielo, we went to the tennis courts area. There are 4 hard-surface tennis courts and, in the same place, two paddle courts and a basketball court.
The Sports Bar
After being in the scorching sun for a few minutes, we were thirsty again, so we made our way to Striker’s, the 24/7 sports bar, for a drink and a quick bite.
A small buffet of finger foods is always available, with options like hot dogs, burgers, fried fish, and clams. Striker’s is a popular spot; it was busy every time we visited.
Our next pit stop was the Coffee, Rum & Cigars bar. It’s next door to the Carey Lobby Bar we were at earlier and opens at 4PM.
They offer a few sweet options, which are great for the afternoon sweet cravings. Smoking is allowed here, and for this reason, it’s an adults-only area.
Dinner time was approaching, so we made a tactical retreat to our room to recharge our batteries before getting ready to go to the restaurant.
When we entered our room, it had a strong cigarette smell it didn’t have before. We went into Sherlock Holmes mode and concluded that the scent sipped through the balcony sliding doors from one of the next-door balconies. There was nothing we could do, so we forgot about it.
Before continuing with our day, let’s talk more about the room.
The room was medium-sized but felt a bit cramped in the bedroom area; the bathroom area was ample and well-illuminated.
There was a double vanity with a big wall mirror and a small magnifying lighting mirror. The sinks were so low we had to bend over all the way down to use them.
There were enough bath towels and hand towels, but the room didn’t have face or foot towels.
The shower was big; it had a rain showerhead which we love, and wall-mounted toiletries that smelled great.
A frosted glass sliding door separated the toilet area from the rest of the bathroom; it wasn’t as private as we would’ve liked, but it was private enough.
The closet was inside the bathroom area, and we found the space somewhat limited; inside the closet, you’ll find standard amenities like bathrobes, two pairs of slippers, an iron with an iron board, and a laundry bag.
We had two double beds with two unusually long pillows, but we found them comfortable after trying them. The beds were also comfortable and firm, and we slept great. Unfortunately, we didn’t have any outlets or USB charging ports by the beds.
The room had a coffee station with a coffee maker, two cups, two peanut packs, coffee, sugar packets, an ice bucket, and a big water bottle.
Below the coffee station was the minibar; inside it, we had four cans of Presidente beer, five bottles of soda, one soda water, and another big bottle of water. The minibar selection was appropriate for the price we paid for the room.
Right on top of the minibar is the safe, the largest one we’ve used in a Punta Cana resort room.
Next to the minibar, there’s a workstation. The chair was comfortable, and we loved that it was upholstered with a vinyl-like material, making it easy to clean.
Right in front of the workstation, there’s a seating area with a couch and a coffee table. The sofa didn’t look very clean, so we didn’t use it.
Our room had a balcony with a hot tub that we didn’t use because it looked worn down and didn’t inspire too much confidence cleaning-wise; there was a table with two small chairs, but the best part was the view.
This was our view from room 1328.
We didn’t love our room; it was dusty and needed deep cleaning; it felt worn down and not as well-maintained as the rest of the resort.
We were ready for dinner, so we headed out. We underestimated how long it would take us to get to the restaurant from our room, so we were a few minutes late. You can be up to 16 minutes late before losing your spot.
Seafood Specialty Restaurant
The seafood restaurant is called Coral; it’s pretty big and has simple decorations. The seating area’s decoration was almost nonexistent except for some window decals and a beautiful fish-themed hanging sculpture in the center of the room.
The decoration in the appetizers buffet area was more prominent, with a gorgeous coral-themed mural.
We had trouble opening the QR menu on our phones but were given physical menus. You can grab some appetizers from the small buffet while you have to order others.
The vegetarian options were minimal, so I had difficulty finding food at Coral. What I tasted was good, and Jhon’s food was good too. He doesn’t particularly like lobster, and he decided to give it another chance to no avail. He can’t fathom what all the buzz is around lobster.
Overall food was good at Coral but not the best in the resort. We decided to skip dessert and hit the dinner buffet so I could get something more to eat; of course, Jhon also grabbed a plate of food.; after all, it’s all you can eat, right?
After our double-header dinner, we went to the theater to watch the night show. While we waited for the show to start at 10 PM., somewhat late if you ask us, Jhon ordered another Tequila Sunrise at the theater bar.
Funnily enough, the night’s show was a live music band called Ari Rock Band. We’re unsure if it was due to not having many people watching the show or if the volume was too low for such ample space, but the show was underwhelming.
The stage looked too empty and big for such a small band, and even though they tried their best, there were just too few people to create a lively atmosphere, and after just a short while, we returned to our room.
The beds were comfortable, and the AC worked great, so we slept well. The blackout curtains could have been better, though.
The toilet area light had a movement sensor, so if you get up to pee at night, the light will turn on on its own; it’s a great idea, but the brightness could be much softer to not disturb the other person in the room.
Early the following day, Jhon dragged me to the gym for a quick workout. This was my first time using the gym at a resort. Still, since we’ve been going to so many hotels for this project, it’s about time we incorporated it into our hotel routine.
The gym is quite large, but there could be more weight machines and free weights. There were many aerobics machines like ellipticals, stationary bikes, and treadmills, but most people were using the weights part of the gym; even though there weren’t too many people, we had to wait for equipment a couple of times.
Afterward, we hit the breakfast buffet. Breakfast is my favorite meal in resorts, and the one at Barceló Bavaro Palace did not disappoint. There were many options, and it offered more international variety than lunch or dinner.
Everything we tasted was delicious, and the only gripe we have with the breakfast buffet is that you have to order all egg options, except for hard-boiled, in the omelet station.
They do have scrambled eggs out, but they looked to be mixed with corn and looked very soupy, so we didn’t try them.
After having a much-needed shower, we headed down to the beach. The Bavaro Palace is located on Bavaro Beach, selected in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards as one of the best beaches in the world in 2022.
The beach lived up to its reputation; it was stunning. The two-tone color of the water, the white sand, and the Caribbean sun made this a perfect morning at the beach. We visited on April 14, 2023, and there was virtually no Sargassum on the beach or the water.
We know this will change as the summer approaches, but the beach was clean on this date.
There were plenty of lounge chairs, and we always saw some available whenever we went to the beach; however, shaded areas were limited.
The hotel also offers a wide selection of water activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, and windsurfing; some are included in the all-inclusive fare, while others you need to pay extra for.
The weather was perfect, so we went to the pool next. Here we had a couple of drinks in the pool bar, the only wet bar at the resort.
To the left of this pool, there’s a lap swimming pool. It is not Olympic-sized, but you can have a great workout in it.
To the right, another big pool connects to a kiddie pool. All these pools overlook the beach.
We also partook in the pool stretching session hosted by staff members. During the day, The Barceló staff organizes games and activities like pool aerobics, pool stretching exercises, and beach volleyball.
You’ll also find different board games in the entertainment center, like Dominoes, Monopoly, and Battleship. You can also play ping pong, foosball, petanque, shuffleboard, and giant chess.
Speaking of sports amenities, we were surprised to find a baseball field in this resort, a first for us in a Punta Cana hotel, and a full-sized soccer field right next to it.
Hoyo 19 Specialty Restaurant
Being such hungry boys, we ate lunch early at the a la carte restaurant Hoyo 19 at the end of the golf course. It’s less crowded than the lunch buffet and mainly used by guests playing golf, but it’s available to everybody.
The view of the golf course is gorgeous, and it was a lovely experience. We also had problems with the QR menu here, so they gave us physical menus. Jhon had the short ribs, and I had a Margherita pizza, and both were very good.
There is a small buffet for appetizers while you wait for your order. The decoration at Hoyo 19 was on point, and this experience was one of the highlights of our stay.
After a mandatory siesta, we went to the Pirates Island Water Park. There’s a waves pool on one side of the pirate ship, and water slides on the other. This is an excellent spot for the whole family, and since it’s a smaller pool, the water is warmer than at the big pools.
Near the pirate ship, you’ll find the Barcy Waterpark for the family’s youngest members. It is open from 9 AM to 6 PM; an extra fee applies to enjoy this attraction.
We then played a quick round of minigolf which was fun. Right next to the miniature golf course, there’s a putting green to practice your short game.
The Barceló Bavaro Palace also has a beautiful 18-hole golf course by the architect and designer P.B. Dye. We noticed that many guests staying at this resort were golfers.
After a cup of coffee at Cofee, Rums, and Cigars Bar, it was time to get ready for dinner since our reservation was at 6:45.
Mexican Specialty Restaurant
On our second night, we ate at Mexico Lindo, the Mexican restaurant. The decoration was on point, and interesting seating arrangements.
We chose to sit in the weird chairs around the grills, which made it an exciting experience. The staff at this restaurant was the friendliest we interacted with during our stay. The team at the Bavaro Palace is not the friendliest in Punta Cana, but at Mexico Lindo, they went above and beyond.
We tried the tamales, corn soup, quesadillas, Sábana and the vegetarian chilaquiles. Everything was tasty.
Other Specialty Restaurants
In addition to the Mexican and seafood restaurants, five other specialty restaurants are open for dinner. “Santa Fe” is the steakhouse, “La Dolce Vita” the Italian restaurant, “Kyoto” serves Japanese food, “La Fuente” is the Spanish food restaurant; and “La Comedie” is French cuisine and it’s the only one on this list that is not included in the hotel fare.
All these restaurants are in the same area and are easy to navigate.
We had time to kill before the 10 PM night show, so we went for a train ride. The train runs from 8 AM to 2 AM at reliable intervals. The hotel is gorgeous at night, and seeing it from the train is a pleasant experience.
During the day, the hotel is also beautiful; the vegetation is fully grown and lush. The hotel grounds are very well-groomed and maintained. The Barceló complex has a tropical feeling, making it a beautiful property.
We caught the end of a Nicks VS Cavaliers game on the big screen at the sports bar. This area is really cool and has exceptionally comfortable seating.
This big screen and theater is an excellent addition to the bar and a great way to enjoy sports games with fans from around the world.
The night show was much better on night two. The show was called Tropicalísimo; it was colorful, enjoyable, and had great music and good performances.
The speakers’ volume could be louder so one gets more into the performance. This type of show suited the Bavaro Palace style much better.
Would we go back to the Barceló Bavaro Palace? Yes, we would return at the price of $150 per person per night. However, the condition of the room does not merit a higher price in our opinion. Now let’s give it an actual rated score.
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Click here to see where we rank the Barceló Bavaro Palace in our Punta Cana resort rankings.
Click here to see our YouTube video tour of the Barcelo Bavaro Palace facilities.