You’ll spend your days sipping cocktails at swim-up bars and sunbathing on the beach when you stay at the ClubHotel Riu Bambu.
Although the ClubHotel Riu Bambu is in a popular part of Punta Cana’s coast, it’s shrouded in 46,000 square metres of tropical gardens, so it feels pretty private.
There’s a beach right on the doorstep of this hotel. And not just any beach. The name of Arena Gorda translates as ‘fat sand’ and it’s a kilometre long.
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Based On 3640 reviews
Full Board. Snacks.
Unlimited locally produced alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
All are included except where indicated.
The entertainment programme plays host to live music and shows every evening.
Double room sleeps up to four, two adults and two children up to 12 years-old with two double beds, ceiling fan, minibar - optics refilled regularly, iron and ironing board. Safety deposit boxes are available free of charge and are large enough to house a laptop.
Deluxe double room sleeps up to four, two adults and two children up to 12 years-old with two double beds. They offer free Wi-Fi, a flatscreen TV, ceiling fan, minibar - optics refilled regularly, iron and ironing board, plus a double sink in the bathroom.
I stayed at the Riu Bambu from 2nd April 2015 for 14 nights. I booked through First Choice/Thomsons and the holiday was for myself (36), husband (42) 15 year old son, 8 year old daughter and my parents (late 60's) so a real mix of ages. I hadn't read the reviews on here prior to booking so had a minor panick after reading some of the reviews. Some of the points made here are true and there are a lot of little things the hotel could do which would easily rectify them. But as long as you remember you are in a 5 star all inclusive complex in a 3rd world country and don't expect 5 star UK America and have done all inclusive holidays before I think you'll be ok. We all know 5 star is not really star on these holidays. Flight was great drinks including alcohol were complimentary on the flight which was a nice start. Lovely comfortable plane with plenty of leg room even for 6ft tall husband and son. Loads of films to keep you amused. Took an hour to get through visa and passport check at Punta Cana but wasn't too traumatic, and transfer was about 25 minutes to the hotel, transfer ref from the airport was great and gave some local knowledge. He does make sure you know not to to drink the water - the locals don't even drink it - we used bottled water even for teeth brushing and touch wood had no real tummy troubles. Check in at hotel was smooth - welcome drinks ready and room keys, towel cards were issued as soon as you filled in the hotels form. They also give you a wifi code for 90 mins a day but it's not great - we purchased wifi at $35 a week which allowed all 4 of us access - with teenagers who can't live without snapchat, Facebook etc it's worth it. You are given stickers to out on cases and your cases will be delivered to your room, ours took about 10 mins to arrive and we tipped about $5. Rooms - we had a family room which was on a par with most all inclusive hotels especially in Caribbean - dark wood furniture - 2 double beds and 1 king size pull out bed. Full bath with shower, I agree with some reviews bathrooms are a bit tired looking and yes towels do have a smell on occasion however not awful just don't smell of laundry like you'd expect at home. Mini bar has 4 spirits, and fridge has tonic, diet Pepsi, Pepsi, soda water, 7up, beer and still water. If you have a preference leave a note and tip in the fridge and you get what you want in it. Tipping - the staff are paid very low rates and rely on tips from guests to supplement their income, we tended to tip at evening meal and at the bars. Staff were in general great - the 2 first choice reps Sharon and Judy were brilliant , they help a lot of the disadvantaged villages in the area so grateful for any clothes etc you want to leave behind. Entertainment team work tirelessly and try to make everyone feel included. A few reviews have said about the male staff being like gigolos however I didn't feel that was the case at all. Edward one of the waiters at the main buffet restaurant based in the outside dining area was brilliant our whole time and always arranged table for us, served plenty of drinks, we chose to sit in his area of the restaurant each night because he was defiantly one of the best waiting staff. Food Food I felt was great - I put on 12lb in 2 weeks so I think that speaks for itself :) Buffet was brilliant, loads of seafood, so many dishes each night that I defy even the fussiest person not to find something to eat. In addition to the theme of the night there is always pizza, pasta, nachos, burgers, hotdogs and chips. We didn't really have those but they are thee if you want them. We tried the Mexican - lovely - buffet style but really nice, Italian - self service starter with a served to table main and the steak house which was great with choice of chicken, steak, ribs or salmon - all lovely. You make your bookings at the Mexican restaurant located just past where you get your towels by the pool. You do really need to go befor 8am. And I booked 3 restaurant for the next 3 days. Booked again for the steak house on the 2nd week but to be honest buffet was so good and varied we didn't need the Al a cartes. Drinks Drinks are good although soft drinks like diet Pepsi etc aren't the best. Kids cocktails during the day were great as slushy. Beer was good. Adult cocktails are hit and miss but I did like the Lumumba which was basically an alcoholic chocolate milkshake and I found the kids banana mama with added rum was delicious! Wine was not good, quite often in restaurant it was watered down with lemonade, the rose was always cloudy and like a bad sherry but there's plenty of other drinks on offer. We took a tip from the Americans and bought travel mugs like you'd take coffee in on the run, brilliant for keeping drinks cool and getting a decent sized drink in the day. Pools The main pool with the swim up bar is the noisiest, however I don't think it ever was overly rowdy, we missed most of the spring breakers but there were lots of older Canadian, Americans who would come for few days. The rowdiest bunch were some over 60s American ladies who I think would out any spring breakers to shame. The entertainment is round this pool during the day so was always busy. We never had a problem getting sun beds but saying that we were at the pool by 8am everyday, and it does fill up quick. If you want a quitter pool you literally only have to move over to one of the other 2 which aren't far but far enough to be away from the entertainment, or the beach which is beautiful. The sea is quite rough on this side of island so we didn't base ourselves there just had a walk along. Massage You will find the ladies from the massage centre coming round the pool to try and book you for massages, I did give in and book one and jeez I was massaged to within an inch of my life I actually hurt after. Husband thinks I am just a wuss but I'd suggest only going for one if a forceful massage is what you are after. Trips We went on the outback safari - amazing day out and the Sanoa Island trip - again a lovely day - all quite expensive but those 2 definitely worth it. Spending money We took quite a lot in American dollars with us, but having used credit card to book trips we didn't find much to spend our money on, hotel shops are mega expensive, think $29 dollars for a travel cup $7 for Doritos, $10 for a beach ball. Try to take small dollar bills for tipping. Reception will change large notes for you thou. Malaria tablets We had terrible trouble trying to get malaria tablets into our 8 year old while we were there so I went it see the reps who are mystified that Brits takes them, Americans don't and the reps were adamant the DR doesn't have malaria. So we didn't take them for 2nd week on their advice. Fortunately we were barely bitten anyway. Only thing that can be a pain is that they allow sellers into hotel on some evenings which can be a bit intrusive. I'm sure I've forgotten loads but if you want my opinion on something in particular please contact me.More
We stayed here 7 days. First time we have done anything like this. Do not believe all the reviews on this place. Sure it is not a 5 star place, but we could have not had a more fun time there. Staff is great!!! Some of the food is not that great but if can't find something that you like, you have a problem. Some hints to bring with you, large travel mugs to get your drinks in (beer and mixed drinks), gallon zip lock bags to store ice in to put in your room refrigerator freezer (they do not supply ice to your room, but fill bag up at restaurants or any bar) tip your guy that resupplies your room bar (he will do a better job), take wash clothes to use in shower (they don't use them), hair care products ( no shampoo or rinse provided), large bars of soap for shower (they only provide body wash soap and little bars of soap), large clamps to hold your beach towel down on their beach lounges (use the towels that they provide), some kind of room refreshing spray (this is a SMOKING hotel) we just about died the 1st night due to the strong smell in the room of smoke, salt and pepper shakers (take with you to eat at restaurants, theirs are clogged up due to moisture). We will be going back to this place many more times!!!!More
Having survived a very harsh Atlantic Canadian winter, a good friend and I needed to escape for a week of rest and relaxation. Winter vacations with my husband have historically been to Jamaica and Bahamas to high end Sandals resorts. This time, two moms were looking for a more cost efficient vacation, that would not break the bank and would offer the sun, beach, turquoise water and relaxation. We chose Punta Cana for all of the above and it definitely delivered. The Riu Bambu resort was a great choice. The rooms were not overly bright, but were recently renovated and were very clean. Each room has a balcony which was a nice touch and we had requested to not be on the ground floor. This was honoured and we would recommend this highly. We booked our package through Sunwing Vacations, as neither of us had ever been to Punta Cana. Great choice, all inclusive and Sunwing had a representative meet us at the hotel upon arrival and they were present every day for at least 4 hours a day to ask questions to and to book tours/excursions with. Now, let me say, that we did book a spa cruise with Sunwing/Nexus at a price of $150 USD. This was a nice experience and value packed, but I would NOT do it a 2nd time. It did include lunch in the middle of the ocean (generous buffet), beautiful views, yoga, one 20 minute massage (they say 2 but one is a bed that you lay on and has mechanical fingers), pedicure at Doctor Fish (cool experience once), scrub and laying on mats in a shallow pool (silly really, I went for a swim in the gorgeous water instead). There were a variety of excursions to choose from ranging from $60 USD - $150 USD. We also booked a snorkelling trip with Scuba Caribe (not Sunwing) on the beach for half the price ($30) of Sunwing's ($60) and had an AWESOME trip. We did all the same things and visited all the same places, but on a smaller boat, not a catamaran. They even gave us rum and coke throughout the trip. GREAT value. Book in advance, but DO NOT PAY until you arrive and see the boat present and ready to board. Sunwing says sometimes they won't show up. Not even sure this is true to be honest. There are two main dining areas hosting buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was probably the hardest thing for me personally to adapt to. They were large buffets and there were SO many people. As we all know, people can be pushy at times. In fact this resort was packed and I found this aspect to not be as relaxing as I had hoped. The food quality as a whole was not exceptional, however there is so much of it, you can always find something to please you. As with all buffets, the food items are frequently the same, leaving you wondering how many times the food has been reused. They have four sit down dining options which you have to book at 7:30 in the morning each day. Do not go later, you may not get seats. The options are Asian (buffet), Steak House (sit down table service), Mexican (buffet) and Italian (combo of sit down and buffet). Again, quality is sub par, but I am a foodie and MANY people appeared to be more than happy with the food. I really enjoy red wine, but did not partake at this resort in any quantity. The table wine was terrible. The selection of rum drinks at the bar, more than made up for the poor wine. lol Lastly, tipping! To tip or not to tip? We arrived with a STACK of ones and fives for tipping. We were told that if you wanted good service, you needed to tip. This is absolutely correct. However, be aware that for some servers, even tipping won't get you the best service. Many have become accustomed to tips and even that won't make some smile. What does tipping help with? It will get you lots of extra bottled water in your room ( this is a must as you cannot drink the water or brush your teeth with it). It will get you into the sit down restaurants without a reservation. It will get you attention at the bar and it will get you well made drinks with lots of rum as opposed to slushy, sugary drinks with little to no rum in them. The "fun crew" at this hotel is AWESOME! They are full of personality, working sometimes 12 hours a day with energy like I have never seen. Chaubo (sp?) was awesome! He is totally committed to ensuring that EVERYONE is having a great time! The rest of the crew were equally entertaining and energetic. Overall, the staff were awesome. Brush up on your spanish, many don't speak english or at least they say they don't. lol The beach is long and gorgeous. Great for walks (especially when the sun is rising, 6 am) but remember it is a public beach and there are many pushy vendors which becomes irritating. Skip the "Punta Cana Walmart" at the end of the beach. The vendors are dishonest, pushy and actually insulting when you don't buy their wares. They think tourists are stupid, ie. $60 USD for a bag of DR coffee beans, while same thing in the airport duty free was $20. A lot of dollar store trinkets, made in China and they want $10 for them. Don't waste your time going there. Go the other direction and book the snorkelling tour with Scuba Caribe instead. Buy your souvenirs on the resort instead, better quality and fair prices. Hope some of this helps first time visitors, as we read the reviews before our vacation. We brought our own soap, and extension cord for the outlets, our own facecloths and lots of sunscreen ($20 a bottle in the gift shop). Overall, great resort for the money spent!More
ssteeves, Moncton, Canada
Here now relaxing loving this beautiful resort with wonderful people great food, overall awesome 5 star resort!!! We will be back here without a doubt we love it. Pristine white rooms that are flawless, clear pools excellent service amazing food. To all the negative people out there YOU need a reality check. I recommend this resort to everyone for a relaxing fun filled time. Hope you enjoy Jeremy WhelanMore
I was a bit hesitant to visit this resort after seeing some of the reviews but once I got there, I saw that there was nothing to worry about. This was my first time at the Riu and my fourth time in the DR. It's not a 5 star resort, but you aren't paying five star prices. It's a great place to plop yourself down and enjoy some time in the beautiful Dominican Republic. The rooms are fine but the furniture could probably use some updating. I was especially pleased to have a nice balcony. The bathrooms are ok and functional, but that's about it. Why they don't have washcloths is a bit of a mystery to me, but they do provide towels. Rent a converter at the front desk if you need one. There are no coffee makers in the rooms but there is booze (go figure). However, I took a brief walk to the dining hall in the morning to get coffee and check my email and it was no bother at all. The pool area has a lot going on during the day. If you're up for a noisy but fun time, hang out at the bar in the pool. If you want a more relaxed vibe, go to the beach. There was never a problem finding a chair and the palm trees provided adequate coverage from the sun, but if it does get too hot, the beautiful waters of the ocean will provide relief. There is also another pool there without a bar that is much more laid back and quiet so if that's what you want, you can also have that. And for what it's worth, the towels, while not brand new, smelled fine (I've seen some complaints by other reviewers). Staff was exceptionally friendly. Also, as far as the food is concerned, I never had a problem with any of it. We tried out the Mexican, Steak and Hibachi restaurants as well as the buffet all which were fine but the Hibachi was my least favorite. I'd say you could skip that and just go to the buffet for a decent dinner. Breakfast was probably the best spread, followed by dinner and then lunch. While there, do yourself a favor. Walk down to the shops on the beach (which you can see from the resort's beach). Bring some cash and have a beer at the little bar there. You won't find a place for a drink with a better view! It was worth it. Expect to pay about $4 for a bottle of Presidente. If you're looking for a nice place to get some sunny R&R without breaking the bank, then I can easily recommend the Riu Bambu.More
MRK321, New York City, New York
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