Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Casino & Golf Resort
13 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Rude, Dirty and Dangerous
"On paper this hotel looks like everything you could want from a Caribbean holiday.
You have a fantastic grand entrance you go through at the security gates down the drive and between the golf course up to the reception, then you check in and behind the Reception what awaits you...
Where shell we start?
Main Buffet restaurant:
The main Buffet restaurants is just like any other hotel, self-service and go up as much as you like, they have a fresh grill station for Meats and Fish, Salad station and cooked food.
Service in the normal area is Good, Quick and efficient, if you have been fooled into buying the Privilege pack for $20 a night more, sorry to say itâs worse. You service yourself for everything, they Have 5 people serving the small section, yet they are more interested in close down than serving you. We went for dinner there a few times and each time it was about 1930. You had to get you own water from the station, Walk to the drinks station in the next area to get you own drinks as the staff just didnât want to know. They were too busy setting out Breakfast for the morning yet service is until 2300hrs. After 3 days of poor service we went back to the main area, Coffee was served straight away in the morning, Water was in your glasses by the time you go back and every 5 or so minutes they would come around seeing if you wanted a top up. This doesnât happen in Privilege.
Food wise if youâre at the hotel for two weeks it gets a bit repetitive so you do have other restaurants;
Rodeo in our view was the best restaurant, Darlin the waiter was outstanding nothing was too much trouble and the service was spot on. Food was good quality and the steaks were out of this world.
Everyone was friendly wine was good value and some was even included with the All-inclusive.
Well letâs say donât bother... We had to send a pasta dish back 4 times.
1: First mouth full of my Carbon I felt something of a different texture in the pasta, so I pulled it out to my horror it was folded up paper length ways to make it look like pasta! (No apology) Just whisked away before other guest saw it.
2: Opened up the pasta dish center again to find hair tangles in and around the pasta, Black hair... Waiter tried saying it was mine. This hair was several strands and about 5-6 inches long my hair is less than 5mm in length and blond?? unless I wear a black wig I donât think so, Again sent it back this time I didnât want a replacement but the Head waiter insisted I waited for my next meal, By this time my wife had given up on her meal as well we just wanted out.
3: This time they brought out another meal, completely different, didnât consult me with the choice to see if I wanted that meal and WIFI I could even eat it. They brought it out and said there our best meal of the house for you. Shell fish! (I'm allergic to shell fish) so back it went.
Waiter bless him trying his best to rescue the meal should of just stopped there instead again he brought me a steak out. 100% for trying I will give him that. The Steak was rushed cooked and blue. So at that point we thanked them and never returned to the restaurant.
Bottom line is Paper and hair in different dishes... Food quality hazardous!
Great atmosphere poor food, all 6 of us were bad for 2 days after, Iâve never been so Ill after a meal. It comes on between 4-8 hours after, we went to the restaurant with 2 other couples, One from Chilli and the other from Canada, All ate the same starter chilli nachos all had different Mains. The Hotel put down to our hygiene! Not impressed but from speak with other guest at the hotel everyone who ate there suffered for a few days after.
Always full so never went there heard good things about it, but be prepared to wait for service.
The best Buffet restaurant and best for Privilege but itâs not open after 6pm. This restaurant would make a lovely beach setting evening meal the service is good and timely. The food is kept fresh and the areas are very clean. No cockroaches like the main Buffet and Mexican restaurants.
The staff are all friendly and work together well.
Giselle Is the main bar lady for the swim up bar, she is really good. Get to know her and she will look after you. The drinks are very strong so be warned! Carlos is the main bar man for the walk up bar again very good and efficient. Good selection of alcoholic drinks but not soft drinks.
Well this is probably the most dangerous area of the Hotel. Itâs very dirty, not just floating things like Tampons and butts from cigarettes, but green algae all around the sides, you see the poor lads trying to clean the algae away but they are using the wrong equipment to do it. The have to use a snorkel mask with no snorkel and a soft brush... this isnât going to clean the sides of the pool. All on the bottom you have plant and tree leaves, broken plaster from the pool side and floor.
The pool side is not safe. The childrenâs walk in area is broken with foot size holes in the white area, the pool side is extremely slippery so be careful you can set up a video recorder and come out of the holiday Â£250 better off. The pool lights are loose and floating in the pool you tell someone about it they say "o yes they are always like it" so live cables clamped into a water tight container floating in the pool would only take a child to pull hard on it to pull the cables out of the housings and bang! Allot of people seriously injured. They ask guest to push them back in. The loungers are broken too so get to the pool early to get a decent one, but be careful while your not looking people take yours and put your towels on trees or bushes which then get removed by pool staff and your charged $50 per towel.
Wow. Do not leave your children with he childcare team, what we saw and being an ex Children's Holiday rep i was horrified to see two nannies talking on the sun beds back to the pool while 4 of the children swam in the pool. One nanny was walking so far a head of her child it looked like the 3 year old was on her own it wasn't until she barked at the girl to hurry up people realized she was in the childcare.
What all us Brits go away for the golden sands of the Caribbean... Except this hotel isnât in the Caribbean Sea. Itâs in the Atlantic you need to go to toe south of the Elspania for the Caribbean Coast.
The beach unfortunately suffers seaweed daily, and not in small chucks as the south current flow down from Miami they bring the seaweed and some jelly fish with them. The beach is cleaned every 3 days so for one day its clean then by day 2 you have flyâs around the seaweed, once you in the water you have the cold and warm currents coming through so itâs quite refreshing from the humidity. Stay within the roped area of the beach as beyond it is the speed boat lane and they donât have to give way for swimmers itâs the other way around. Regular dive boats and fishing boats go through from the center. Water sports are free you just need to leave a deposit at the water sports center which is good. The equipment is a bit dated but they are nothing to do with the Hotel. The team that run it are great!
While snorkeling donât go over turning rocks looking for sea animals, You wouldnât like it if a giant lobster took the roof of your home and pulled you out plus your more than likely get a pinch or two, also you donât know whatâs under the rocks, Native lion fish and sea urchins are close to the shore line you also have baby moray eels hunting pray, You will soon cry out if any of those get you and if the lion fish gets you seek medical attention as the poison can do serious harm to you if not kill you within hours. So donât touch just look! If you sit still in the water the fish come to you for shade and you will see more than just bulldozing their homes.
After long day at the beach and pool if you brave it you want to go back to your lovely clean safe hotel room.
Accept they are not clean and not safe.
Day 1: Walked in looked at the room and thought this is nice, basic but nice. The bathroom looked good... then you see it. Sand in the bath, with hair and other stuff. You tell the reception promised someone will come and clean it while youâre at dinner, No came and cleaned it. So back to reception accept now itâs too late the maids are finished for the night so it will be done in the morning.
Morning shower; I put my hand on the tiled wall while having a shower took my hand away to see black on the pressure areas noticing it was dirty I attacked the dirt with the towel, Went down to guest service and complained. Saying about the bath and shower they said they would send some to clean my room. I said I was told that yesterday but no one came. they promised it would be done within the Hour Someone came, part of the normal cleaning service you get, they took the towels away didnât replace them and didnât clean the bath or shower, So went down again spoke to reception guest service again at midday also my rep who asked them to do it and they said it had been done I assured her it hadn't. So they said they would send someone else up and will drop off the towels for us, by the time I got back the towels were back but no floor towel and not cleaned. Back to reception they promised by the night it would be down and cleaned. Got back about 7pm and there was no floor towel didnât have time to go down to reception again I called, âsorry maid service is finished for the night. Great, so I cleaned the shower myself and gingerly walked on the polished tiles, but to no luck because on was on the floor... 8 hours later I was getting back from Punta Cana Medical. Hotels response " " nothing not even sorry. 4 days went by in complete agony 1200mg of pain killers every 6 hours. The hotel only piped up when I said to my rep I will be taking legal action against the hotel. It took them to day 5 to clean the room even then it wasn't clean.
The room was not clean, we had a leak from upstairs toilet leaking into the bathroom they never fixed it, they didnât offer to move us room even though we asked 9 times. Complained to the rep, the rep tried but the hotel guest relations were not interested. The hotel service manager gave us privilege for the roomâs cleanliness and apologies on day 6. They tried to say it was for the injury as well and said not a chance as my legal team will be dealing with it. I lost 6 days of my holiday and couldnât do several of the sports I normally do, such as the sailing, fishing, volleyball and water polo because of them, Two trips I booked had to be cancelled so my wife missed out as well. All because they didnât do a simple thing. A floor towel.
Donât leave cold drinks out the fridge there are ants in the rooms. Donât take the sheets off the bed yourself you will never sleep on the mattresses again. The stains that are one them is something else itâs like they have just been dragged out of a travelers hostel... in fact the hostels I stayed in are cleaner.
Guest service: Is not a service team they are protecting the hotel only. Everyone we spoke with said the same.
Unfortunately this hotel is past its time it needs to be closed for at least a year and renovated before someone is seriously hurt.
Its a shame it got such a negative review because if you can look past all that which is hard very hard, the holiday was good, Just stay at palm beach so much better and not much more either.
Would we go back to Dominican Republic? Yes.
Would we stay in one of there hotels again? Never. not even in other parts of the world like there Mexican Hotel on Rivera.
Would we recommend to a friend? Only to stay well away.
Would we recommend Thomson? Not sure. The Rep yes the company No.
The staff are so hit or miss in the resort there is a small handful that are fantastic the rest are well need to learn what service is and how to treat customers. We did a test one night, One of us tipped the other family didn't, the one that tipped at the start of the night the people were all over you. the ones that tip at the end of the night the waiters couldn't care about you. Surely they should be trying to earn a tip... Really shocking service.
Don't upgrade to the privilege the rooms are the same just different bed spreads and you have to walk further to get anywhere and the service you get is shocking!
- Travel date: Sun 7th of September 2014
Caribbean on the cheap - well recommended
Stay: April 27 - May 8 2011
Location: Superb.....Immaculate grounds, Good Pool, Excellent Beach
Room Quality (Our room Villa 21 - 2103): Rooms generally ok, clean, comfortable bed (hard but I like that), decor showing signs of wear (peeling paint in our room, doors were obviously green at one time now very crudely painted black!), 100ish TV channels but only 10ish in English, slow but adequate free WiFi etc
Service: In general in all bars & restaurants service was impeccable
Room Service: Very poor - many times minibar not restocked and when call for room service they say 'be there in 15 mins' but no show...... shame (suggest $10 left in minibar on your first day)
Restaurants: the buffets were ok, plenty of choice, but recommend al a carte restaurants - in particular Japenese & Italian.
Entertainment: the staff try really hard to please. MUsic in the daytime a little too loud for me personally. Nighttime entertainment good, slanted very much towards Spanish with the exception of 2 nights which played 1 night of 60's,70's & 80's music, and 1 night Michael Jackson tribute which was very good.
Alcohol: Better in al a cartes but suspect that at the pool bar alcohol drinks very watered down.....to the point where after 6 days we couldn't even be bothered to drink beer in the day cos it wasn't worth it..... again shame.
Excursions: We did 10 min helicopter ride (absolutely awesome this should definetily be on your 'top 10 list of things to do before you die' Â£40 & 10 mins from hotel to helipad), Galloped horses along the beach (Â£20 for an hour, they meet you on the hotel beach boundarys with the horses that look generaly well cared for), 1 day trip to Seona Island (Â£50 for full day - this was the one dissapointing trip - don't believe what they promise on transit times ie. we were told pickup from hotel 7.15am then 1.5hr coach trip then either a 0.75hr speed boat or 1.5hr catamarran... we arrived on the island 12.15pm....some 5hrs after departing hotel!!! that said the Island is very beatiful but not much different to hotel beach (in fact we rated the hotel beach better due to no coral/rocks), personally we thought the food put on for the day was awful, beach bar served drinks in cups smaller than my 5 yr old daughter uses! - we are now seeking a full refund from tour operator as excursion was not as advertised.
CLOSING COMMENT: THE POSITIVES WELL OUT WEIGH THE NEGATIVES HERE - OVERALL WELL RECOMMENDED - ENJOY IT ONCE FOR WHAT IT IS BUT DOUBT I WOULD RETURN.
WE PAID Â£800/PERSON FOR 10 DAYS - WE THOUGHT IT WAS A BARGAIN, WE HAVE BEEN TO CARIBBEAN BEFORE FOR TWICE THE PRICE....... BUT YOU DO GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR IN LIFE!
- Travel date: Sun 8th of May 2011
We had a great holiday here. The hotel...
"We had a great holiday here. The hotel was recommended by some friends who have since honeymooned in St Lucia at Sandals and this hotel was actually better in terms of standards and value for your money. We paid just under Â£900 pp for 2 weeks all inclusive. We could not have a fornight in Europe for this so it is worth going a bit further afield.
Rooms - Really lovely large airy rooms with huge beds. Fresh bedding/towels very regularly rooms cleaned daily. Bavaro is still a very poor area and so if you leave a small tip, sweets or make up for the maids you will be rewarded with a smile, extra drinks in the mini bar, beautiful flowers around the bath and towels arranged in hearts or swans. The service is great anyway so you don't need to do this. The rooms are set in mini villas 2 storey we had one on the higher floor and would recommend this for views also abit further away from the creepy crawlies; we saw a tarantula the size of a dinner plate no joke.
Food - Good, not the best we have ever had but in terms of value and choice can't complain. Buffets were fantastic at all meal times with a huge selection of options and lovely puddings. There was not enough availability in the feature restaurants for our liking so book as soon as you can after arriving. The japanese one is great and a novelty if you have never been to a japanese restaurant and seen them prepare your food. The Italian was rubbish as was the mexican but these could have changed since our stay as theywere building a new restaurant when we were there. The french restaurant was fab we would have liked to have gone again the second week but it was fully booked. The best thing about the food is the weekly BBQ, think it is on a friday. The staff make a fantastic effort, the entertainment is great and the food is really good as well. It is set on the beach so don't forget your mozzie repellant! We would have paid to go to this had it not been included it was that good.
Staff - Generally very good and very gracious and helpful can't do enough for you but there are not many english people staying at this hotel and so they don't all speak it. If they do they will have the union jack on their name badge.
Bar on the water near reception - because this is set away from the rest of the complex it gives the impression it is not part of the hotel and is quiet. We ventured there and were so glad we did we went back every night. Having tipped the barman who looked just like the little guy from Different strokes "What you talking about Wllis?" we then our own personal wine waiter with fizz on ice every night! He also made us great cocktails with international spirits. Great!
Casino - Don't bother absolute con. We went in and spent our free dollars we got on check in; I won them staright back got a dirty look when I went to cash them in having realised that was my only win of the night. Complete sheisters no way you would win.
Pools and grounds - Lovely
Excursions - would reccomend if here for two weeks we would have got cabin fever if not. Although the beach is stunning, even this gets borng after a while. the xcursions are dirt cheap we did a James Bond style one in a jet ski my boyf really thought he was James B this also included snorkelling on a reef. I enjoyed the Jungle safari tour best where you hop on a bus and tour the island ending in boogie boarding at a local beach.
Hope my comments help if you are thinking of going here!
- Travel date: Sat 10th of May 2008
Had to be drunk or stupid
"This was not a enjoyable vacation. The food sucked and we had no water for two days. Had to see a doctor for my rash when we returned to the states. Our room was not cleaned up till 6p.m. at night. Anyone who enjoyed this resort had to be drunk or on some strong medicine. The staff did not understand English. The seaweed on the beach was never cleaned up. We had cockroaches, spiders and lizards in our room. A group of people had to go to the hospital for food poisoning. We took cold showers up until the 5th day and then we got some hot water. Apple vacations must of been drunk or on strong medicine when they reviewed this resort as a 5 star, it must be at least a -2 star. This resort would be good for someone who can't see, hear or eat."
- Travel date: Thu 6th of March 2003
Hell on Earth
"Everything about this hotel was terrible. The food got me so sick I spent most of my trip in the bathroom. I actually paid forty dollars for a 40 minute cab ride to BURGER KING after a few nights there. The only thing worse was the casino, what a joke! Some people actually caught a dealer cheating at Carribean Keno, and THEY got thrown out! Beware this hotel!"
- Travel date: Sun 2nd of March 2003
Seasoned travelers give you the truth
"We are the type of people who tend not to believe all what you hear, but read between the lines and try and make an educated guess. Here is a true view on the Catalonia.Upon entering the resort the Lobby is very impressive, the staff were very accommodating and effective in processing our arrival and departure.Although the resort is large in acreage, it was easy to navigate and get acustomed to( map supplied if needed). Walking is a must! Facility is wheelchair accessible.Our bags were at our room when expected but had heard that some people waited an unacceptable timeframe, the hotel staff are very busy and must accommodate large volumes of new arrivals and if you can't find something to do for a couple of hours your being unreasonable.Rooms were clean and staff again were accommodating when asked for additional items. TIP YOUR chambermaid $2 to $5 USD, this will make your vacation all that much more injoyable. Hot water WAS NOT to our expections, some days there was virtually none.The grounds very very well kept and clean. Walking and taking in the scenery was relaxing. The reviews about the mosquitos SPRAYING are quite accurate, we had to run to get out of the way of the truck that was spraying so that we were not covered and caught in the haze, unfortunatly this is done around the supper hour and compromises the outdoor sitting atmosphere. We did bring mosquito spay and used it a coulpe of times, this item should be a part of your holiday. I know that all hotel were doing the same preventative spraying. The pool was very clean and accessible.Chairs were abundant at the pool and the beach. The beach, sand was as expected but the water had limited area of good swimming(south end only) due to the weeds and rock in the rest of the area. Still a great beach to laze, sunbathe, with beach bar in close proximity with hardly no waiting, tipping again is encouraged. Bring an insulated mug this will make your beverage much more enjoyable.FOOD: Main buffet lobby very unorganized and staff unhappy. Quality of food was acceptable but should have been better but you were not going to leave hungry. Lack of plates, cups, utensils, napkins were an everyday occurence. The beach buffet was the better placed to be at breakfast and lunch in our view. The a la carte restaurants were the place to dine if you could get a booking. The problem lies in that you should book your entire vacation dinners the day you arrive. This presents a problem in not knowing where you want to dine every night and you may change your mine. Believe me you will want to do the a la carte as much as possible. We did not want to stand in line ups but had to, then find out that that there was limited availability and settled for what was left, not when we wanted! sucks!Lobby bar was great with very good bartenders tipping again will get you what you want, when you want it. Conversation was easy to find if wanted. Disco was good, drinks easy to get. Restrooms were very clean and spacious.Water taxis were available to the main strip for $20 USD return per person. Drop off and pick up when requested and very prompt. Snorkeling was excellent and would recommend it, cost was $15USD (a must for all)Overall we would not rate this a 5 star resort, we would give it a 4 star at best due to the remote location, poor ocean floor condition and unorganized main buffet and the difficulity of booking a la carte restautants. Improvements are required ie: 15min grace period at a la cartes then first come, there was always room at the restaurants but staff did not have the foresite to take this responsibility on.We still enjoyed every moment but have had better for less ****Punta Cana has been the best place that we have found in the 20 years we have been traveling.The main strip is the place to be if you want to be in the hub, people and walking.Thanks Maureen & Jody"
- Travel date: Sat 1st of March 2003
What a nightmare!
"We were among the 2000 who got stuck in the blizzard on 2/17. We were transferred from RIU Naiboa to the Catalonia. For two nights, I fought with cockroaches in our room and bathroom. The food was abosoultly horrible and the staff except at the front desk were VERY rude and unfriendly!! I was thankful that we did not spend our vacation there. The grounds were quite beautiful, but I didn't sleep outside. We paid half price for both nights, and that was $150 each night. I really would be really upset if I paid $300 each night for that place!! Would not recommend this place to anyone."
- Travel date: Mon 24th of February 2003
"We have just recently returned to the UK after a wonderful time at the Catalonia Hotel, everything was perfect. The service was excellent, the staff very friendly and I would be pleased to recommend this hotel to anyone. Magnificant setting so sorry we only booked for 7 days (just not long enough)will most certainly return."
- Travel date: Fri 21st of February 2003
Great Value - Great Time
"Everything was very good including the food. Natives are friendly, a tip goes a long way. Very clean, entertainment was fair, mosquitoes after it rains come out in the evening. Local shops very expensive. Bring alka-seltzer and immodium. We had NO problem but others did. Fantastic beach and pool. Nice room. Stuff towel under bottom of door at night if on the ground floor. Didn't see any bugs. If you have a problem they will try hard to satisfy you and fix the problem. Don't like to walk? Tip Francisco or Domingo or one of the others and they will transport you with golf cart. Many Europeans, topless beach, a little Spanish goes a long way. The buffet in the main restaurant has many options and you will find something you like. They cook Dominican style so don't expect everything to taste exactly like your favorite restaurant back home, but we were pleased with the selection. Good quality. Great desserts. We will most likely return. Good val! ue."
- Travel date: Mon 17th of February 2003
"I think a lot of these "raving" reviews for Catalonia that people are writing here are fake, either that or a there are a lot of anonymous people in Canada. To the young lady who wrote: "we're adventurous--we don't draw the line at goat" I don't know how you can even begin to think that food was ok down there. it was horrible! especially the "mystery meats" (if they were meat at all). goat was just the tip of the iceberg! watch out for the grey blocks with purple veins running through them! also, watch out for the eggs that are cooked in 10 tons of grease. i wasn't that upset with Catalonia, but now that I see they're putting reviews out there that aren't real under the guise of "anonymous" it ****** me off. >:("
- Travel date: Wed 5th of February 2003
Recommend it to everyone!!
"I found this website the day before we were to depart. We had originally booked at the Bavaro Princess, but were bumped to Catalonia by our travel agent. Not knowing anything about the resort, I was really worried after reading all the bad reviews posted here. There were five of us vacationing at Catalonia, including an almost two year old, and we would all welcome the opportunity to return. The service was great, the food was better than expected. Anyone that complained about the food has got to keep in mind that this is a totally different country. Not once did we go hungry. The food was presented tastfully and might I add, the brownies were to die for! We just used our better judgment...if the chicken was pink, we didn't eat it! We spent most of our time at the pool, which was clean and very entertaining! To sum it all up, I would totally recommend Catalonia Bavaro to anyone looking for a sunny getaway!"
- Travel date: Wed 29th of January 2003
5 Star Bavaro- Baloney!
"First of all, I have to say a few good things about this resort;
1. The grounds are gorgeous- well groomed and alive with birds and fish.
2. The rooms are very nice complete with balcony and hammock and a fantastic soaker tub.
3. The beach is good and there is an effort made to keep seaweed on the shore to a minimum.
BUT, this is what I will remember....
1. The food sucked. I have no idea where they get off calling this place a 5 star when all of the food is fried in some kind of disgusting oil. Even the so-called lobster is fried in this crap. I was completely put off by the lack of quality food. PLUS the overall quantity of food was low (this is a huge 700+ room resort) If there was anything appealing you had to get there early to have any! The restaurants all sucked except for the French and there was a cockroach on our table at the Japanese restaurant! 5 Star? Give me a break!
2. Both my fiance and I were sick by the third day and I am still sick today- 3 days after our return. I spoke to others on the way home and many had similar complaints. Understand this- I am not some sickly, whining wimp who can't handle a change in climate nor am I a guy who drinks his face off all day and night and then wonders why he doesn't feel well. I am a healthy 33 year old with plenty of travel experience and have been to the D.R. before with no bad experiences. In other words- it is this resort NOT me that is the problem. Four words of wisdom- DO NOT GO HERE."
- Travel date: Wed 29th of January 2003