Before starting this review, I would like to preface it by stating that I travelled to this hotel during December 2020, mid-COVID-19 pandemic. After speaking to people working in the tourism industry in Punta Cana, we were informed that a lot of hotel employees had lost their jobs or were working reduced hours. Please, keep this in mind when reading this review.
The Catalonia Royal Bavaro is an all-inclusive, adults-only beach resort located in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It is adjacent to the family-friendly Catalonia Bavaro Hotel. Guests of the Catalonia Royal can visit, eat, and participate in activities in the Catalonia Bavaro Hotel, but Catalonia guests cannot visit the Catalonia Royal.
The hotel is located 15 minutes away from the Punta Cana airport.
Check-in was slow, it took around half an hour and the line was very short. The personnel was attentive – we were offered mimosas upon arriving.
Hotel employees wore face masks and would sanitize the front desk between guests.
The hotel grounds were clean and well-manicured. The decor was modern, with lots of seating areas. There were some areas of improvement, the floor around one of the pools had loose tiles. If you wear high heels, it will be difficult to walk around in in some areas; however, if you are only keeping to the adults-only side of the complex, you will not have to walk for long as the grounds are quite small.
The lobby is small and, honestly, a bit lack-luster. If you have visited the other hotels in Punta Cana (or even if you visit the Catalonia Bavaro Hotel next door), you will notice that it is not as grand as many other lobbies in Punta Cana. There is a piano bar right by the lobby and Thalassa, the hotel’s main restaurant, is accessible through the lobby as well.
There are two pools on the hotel. The main pool right off the lobby has music and is rowdier, specially during the weekend. There is a pool bar, but it was closed off during the pandemic. You could still get drinks, but had to order them from outside the pool. Near this pool is a small restaurant that serves pizza during the day.
The second pool is much more relaxing and it is right by the beach. There is also a bar right next to this pool that turns into a restaurant at night.
If you would like to see some cute ducks, geese and turtles, you can visit the family-side of the hotel.
The beach has the white sands you would expect from tropical Caribbean islands; however, there was a lot of sea kelp on the water and in the sand. If you get a “privileged” room, you can use some comfy beds right on the beach and access exclusive beach areas.
Food and Drink
The food was very run-of-the-mill resort food. Nothing was delicious, but nothing was terrible either. We had reservations at Thalassa (Mediterranean), Cata Tapa (tapas restaurant), and we ate at the beach bar one night. I don’t even remember what we had – food was just okay.
We also visited the Italian restaurant on the Catalonia Bavaro, but it was a big disappointment.
Room service has several alternatives for breakfast. I actually enjoyed these breakfasts more than actually going to the breakfast buffets.
The alcoholic beverages were, to put it simply… bad. I am not an expert, but neither me nor my boyfriend enjoyed any of them. You could tell that they didn’t use real juices and even the piña colada tasted bad. They make for a nice picture for your Instagram stories, though.
We stayed at a Privileged Deluxe Junior Suite. It comes with a large bathtub in the room, which was nice, but took forever to fill up. We had no turnover service, even though it was advertised as part of the “privileged” suites perks.
The rooms had a nice design, but they appeared to be hastily built and there was a musty smell upon arrival (it cleared up when we turned on the AC).
The bed was huge and comfortable, no complaints there.
Hotel personnel was nice and efficient. I was surprised at how quick the room service food arrived and your glass was never empty at the restaurants. We did notice a significant reduction in personnel during the week, but I am attributing that to the pandemic.
The personnel remembered you from previous exchanges and were eager to help.
I would suggest you try to avoid the guys that are promising gifts in order to sell you one of the villas.
I am not rating/discussing entertainment as we did not attend any of the shows (we were trying to avoid large crowds (guests were not wearing face masks) and lots of activities were not running due to COVID-19.
One other thing I would like to mention is that there are sellers on the beach (locals, not from the hotel). They will call you from far away, but, in my experience, would leave you alone once you said you were not interested.
Overall, we had a nice time. It was a nice escape from my house, which I had not left for more than half a year. However, I don’t think I will be returning to this hotel as I don’t think it is anything special. Overall, I give it 3/5 stars.
Have you been to this hotel? What would you rate it? Which Punta Cana resort would you recommend I visit next? Leave your comments down below!