Riu Bachata Reviews


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Riu Bachata  

Bahia de Maimon, Dominican Republic

"had a great holiday"
Posted by: rob on Jun 29, 2014
see all reviews

Riu Bachata Reviews
Riu Bachata Pictures and Information
Riu Bachata Puerto Plata Dominican Republic

#2
of 94 Hotels in Puerto Plata

User rating 4.1

Based on 31 reviews

Riu Bachata Information


Beautiful Riu Bachata is an extraordinary getaway on the spectacular shores of Maimon Bay, overlooking a lush tropical mountainside.

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Riu Bachata Reviews

Riu Bachata Review: 4.1 of 5 31 reviews
Excellent
  14
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1 - 10 of 31

"Resort was pleasant and relaxing, able to see the beautiful countryside"

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Harry and Jennifer  on Jan 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2009
198 people found this review helpful

Arrival: December 15 to December 27, 2008
It was a sudden shock to go from Toronto's minus 25 degrees to Puerta Plata's 25 degrees--a 50 degree difference. The organization and bus trip to the resort was pleasant and relaxing, able to see the beautiful countryside along the way.

Rooms:
Our rooms were efficiently and quickly assigned to us, even though we all arrived early. The room was very clean, A/C, excellent bathroom, beds and a balcony that faced south with a view of the palm covered mountains.

Restaurants and Bars:
Even though our building was right next to the main stage, bar and pools, it was quiet to sleep. The main restaurant was spectaluar, the waiters polite, and the food was wonderful. The Christmas meal must have been $300 each!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The RIU is 3 resorts in one, with wonderful pools, a mile long private beach. This is the North Alantic, so the reef broke the surf coming in. In the north the beaches tend to have coral bottoms. The grounds were kept immaculate.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We partiicpated in the Animacion Team activities, quadding, and massages at the Renova Spa. White Water rafting was 2 hours north, scary and exhilarating. Danny our guide was honest, very experienced and very funny--he bonded the six of us in 10 minutes, as he would often jump out of the raft and leave us, then jump back in at the last minute. We also took taxis(Ford Explorers)into town to purchase amber and lanimar stone--these were taxis that were posted at the resort and could be purchased.

Other Comments:
We would advise anyone looking for a truly relaxing time. There were 85% Canadians at the resort, ages from 30-50, with only a few families. We're going back! We made friends with many of the staff(Sunquest reps,waiters, bartenders, taxi drivers). Remember always that off the resort, you are in a developing third world country and the appearance of poverty may bother some people.

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"A great holiday and resort"

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  zachsmom  on Feb 1, 2009  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
201 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Feb 9 - Feb 16
We had used Isaira tours (www.isairatours.com) last year for a day trip, and contacted them again this year by email prior to arrival to arrange for a cab to pick us up at the airport. Wonderful service - this time by Martin himself! A real treat not to have to take the bus. Highly recommend the company once again.

Rooms
Being repeat guests, we had sent an email to request a room in a specific block. Previously, these requests have always been granted. This year on arrival I was told that the room location I was requesting was an upgrade, and would be $30. USD a night extra. As luck would have it, the person I was dealing with at the front desk was Victor, who introduced himself as the front desk manager. After some pleasant discussion, Victor gave us a lovely room just where we always have it without charge. Thank you Victor.

The room that we had is beginning to look a little worn. Could use some ugrades/paint. Small detail. Super clean as usual, maid was wonderful and remembered to leave 3 towels for us everyday after we asked just once. Left a note and a few dollars in the fridge asking for beer and it was stocked to capacity every day.

Restaurants and Bars

A bit of a change here - and not for the better. Seems more and more people take advantage of the "stay at one, play at all three" advertised by the Riu properties in POP. As Riu Bachata is the only dining room with outdoor covered dining, it seems a lot of people from the other resorts come to eat @ Bachata, making it very crowded. More on this in the Pool review.....

We had a wonderful waiter, Jose in the evenings. Once we met him, we sat in his section each evening and he reserved a table for us. Really a lovely young man. We tipped him well every evening as he worked hard for us, and deserved it. On Valentines Day he even had our table decorated with flowers and extra candles.

Food overall was good - we tried both A La Cartes once again. Really the best thing there is the change from the noise of the buffet area. The food is similar to the buffet. Good, plentiful, somewhat bland. Lots of selection on the buffet, with clean up and food replacement done regularly. Cleaning up of tables at the beach/lunch restaurant was hit and miss - certainly less service than before.

Beach/Pools/Grounds We had 2 days of downpouring rain - but still enjoyed being in the warm air and on holidays. As a result of the rain that they had, the ocean water was quite dirty. The beach was cleaned up daily. Pool water was really quite cool - of course we got in anyway, but actually the ocean was much warmer.

Now, the Riu Bachata pool is packed daily with guests from the other 2 Rius. This means over-crowding of chairs, pools, the lunch buffet etc. The Bachata is the only one with a swim up bar and certainly has the largest/newest pools so that is the attraction. I can understand it, we just found it more crowded, loud and noisy than ever this year with all the guest from the other resorts.

Other Comments
Still a great holiday and resort. With some exceptions as noted, the staff are not as friendly or plentiful. Certainly some changes in a year; not for the better in our opinion. Of course, we have changed too. Our son is now older, and we will likely look for a resort with more a la carte options in the future.

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"It may seem wonderful but I would not recommend this spot"

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 3.0 of 5

Posted by:  Heather  on Mar 1, 2009  >  11 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
206 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Jan 25 - Feb 1
We arrived around 11:00pm and check-in was relatively quick. However, because we arrived late, we departed late on our last day and had to pay an extra $50 to access our room for a shower since our bus only left for the airport on our last day at 8pm. Hidden cost that we didn't expect!

Rooms
Rooms were not very nice. Probably nice in their day but definitely in need of a makeover.

Restaurants and Bars
The a la carte restaurants were extremely disappointing! It was basically the beach restaurant from the day that they put tablecloths on and call it a la carte. The food was not very good at the a la carte - much better at the buffet. We were asked one night by the General Manager who was going around asking questions what improvements could be made. We suggested that maybe "aromatic potatoes" probably shouldn't be french fries with parsley on them. The bars were good. A bar on the beach would've been nice.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
The grounds are beautiful - except for the rat we saw at the pool on the last day. The beach is nice but very shady. The pools were crowded and the animation staff were very good but relaxing by the pool and getting hit by the ball during the water polo game was not so much.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We did a 4 Wheeling Adventure and I am highly recommending it to anyone with a sense of adventure. It was not offered by our tour package and we were made to wait a couple of days until someone figured out how we could do the adventure but was well worth the wait. Be prepared to get dirty tho!

Other Comments
All in all this vacation was a disappointment. My last trip to Dominican Republic was to Punta Cana and trust me, I am by no means a high maintenance person, but Punta Cana was much newer and cleaner in comparison to Puerta Plata. The 4.5 star in Punta Cana would be an 8 in Puerta Plata! There is no way this resort should be rated a 5 star. We had to go to the other resorts in the morning to find bacon for breakfast. Again, I can't stress enough that I certainly am NOT a high maintenance person because I've read reviews like this before and thought I had the writer labelled as "fussy" but if given the chance to do it again, I'd use my money to go to Punta Cana instead. For a first time traveller to an all inclusive, it may seem wonderful but I would not recommend this spot.

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"We still had a GREAT time. Can hardly wait for next year!!"

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Lisa  on Mar 1, 2009  >  8 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2009
195 people found this review helpful

Arrival: Feb 24 - March 6
Our arrival was without problems. Greeted by smiling faces and prompt service and a cocktail while we waiting for our room assignment.

Rooms
Our room was in building 3. Rm # 314 - overlooking Maimon Bay. It was a great location and just a few steps to everything else on the complex. The room was clean - maid service was great.

Restaurants and Bars
No complaints regarding the food. The salad was always great and with the amount of food offered, everyone should be able to find something they like.
The bars and the bartenders were great.

Beach/Pools/Grounds
Large pools. The pool with the swim-up bar was always packed, but if you didn't want to be were it was so crowded, you could go in the other pool. They were both very nice. I love to walk the beach, but not one for getting in the ocean. Many did say that it was rocky in some spots. The grounds were maticulous - everyone does such a nice job.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
The excursions are expensive. This was our 6th time to the Dominican Republic so we have been on many of them already. The only thing we did was go to the city a couple of times - once to the new Super Market...la Sirena....it's like a Walmart and the place was PACKED!! My husband and a friends husband were the 2 white guys with island shirts on handing out the store fliers and the shopping baskets....lots of smiles about that story!!

Other Comments
Even though it was overcast and raining the last 5 days we were there...we still had a GREAT time. Can hardly wait for next year!!

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"The workers at the resort really go out of their way to make your stay pleasurable."

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Nan  on Mar 1, 2009  >  2 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Mar, 2009
211 people found this review helpful

Arrival: 30 May - 05 June
We flew from Baltimore, MD to Newark, NJ and then to Puerto Plata. The flight was uneventful. They served a breakfast sandwich, fruit and drinks. It took approximately 3.5 hours to Puerto Plata. Then from the PP airport, it took about 15 mins to the resort. We arrived around 1pm and our room was not yet ready so we were given our bracelets and were able to eat at the buffet and enjoy the facilities. The rooms were ready soon after lunch. Check in was pleasant and the reception staff were very friendly and courteous.

Rooms:
We were given room 311 which faced the Bay and the mountains. It had a king size bed, a dresser with 6 large drawers and 2 night stands. It also had a huge closet with 20+ hangers which was very nice. It also had a small sitting area with a table and 2 chairs. The bathroom was very nice with marble floor and granite counter tops. It was a bit dated but nicely decorated in island motif.

Restaurants and Bars:
We really enjoyed the main buffet. It always had a great variety of fruit, salads and main dishes. I really enjoyed the fresh fish and rice dishes which was always available and delicious. There were several theme nights, Mexican, International and couple of others. The pork dishes were also very good. They also had a carving station which had ham, turkey, goose and roast beef. The baked goods were really terrific. Variety of muffins, breads, cookies and cakes. We tried the A-La-Carte Steak restaurant but we were not really impressed. Although many people complained that it was hard to get a reservation, we had no problems at all. We checked out the buffet after and noticed that they also had steak as well as roast beef that night. Granted, it was nice to be served by a waiter but I felt that the waiters in the buffet were just as attentive. I thought it would be a nice occasion to dress up but found that some people were dressed much too casually in gym shorts and flip flops. So we decided to forgo the Italian restaurant and stay with the buffet.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The pool at the Bachata is really great. For those looking for fun and action, the pool area by the bar seemed to be the spot. And for those of us looking for quiet, the area by the water fall was peaceful. It seems as the area designated as the kids pool had the least amount of children. Most of the children seemed to gravitate towards the pool area by the bar which I didn't make sense to me. We arrived on Saturday and the pool did seemed to be a bit crowded so we opted for the beach. I know there were some complaints that the beach was not that great. Although the beaches were not like those in Punta Cana, it had a natural and secluded feeling. I don't think the beach at the Bachata is for the sun worshippers because it did have a lot of trees which provided shade. However, it was wide and the trees allowed for more privacy. And being that there were a lot of topless bathers, it was definately a bonus. I know that Europeans are lot less restricted but I felt a little uncomfortable when the topless women were walking around the pool and sitting in the area where children were playing. But that's just me. Only complaint I have about the beach was that on a couple of days, it was so windy we had to move to the pool. Other than that, we enjoyed both the beach and the pool.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went to Ocean World. They picked us up around 9am and we were told that they would bring us back to the hotel at 3pm. We saw the Shark, Bird, Sea Lion and the dolphin shows. The young men who put on the Shark show was very funny and entertaining. There were those who interacted with the sharks and the trainers made sure the crowd got an up and personal with the sharks. The sea lions were also very entertaining. Being from Baltimore where there is large aquarium with a dolphin show, I did not think I would enjoy the dolphin show. However, the dolphins did many tricks that I had not seen done before. It was nice that you could watch these shows in a shaded sitting area. The snorkelling in the pool and a private beach was also included in the entrance price. My only complaint about Ocean World is that everything was very expensive. A can of Pringles cost $5 and soda cost $3. A buffet lunch was $14. I would recommend bringing watere and some snacks with you, especially if you have children.

Other Comments:
The workers at the resort really go out of their way to make your stay pleasurable. From the maids who constantly clean your rooms, the public areas to the gardeners who are always working to keep the gardens immaculate. They always greet you with a smile and a hola. I would agree that this may not be a 5 star hotel only because of the lack of A-La-Carte restaurants. However, in every other way, it is very comparable to a 5 star resort we stayed in Punta Cana. I noticed that whether you tipped or not, the service was not that different. We did tip and that was just to let the workers know that we really appreciated their efforts and hospitality. I especially want to thank Luisanna in reception who went out of her way to accomodate us in getting a room with a view and sending a fruit plate and a bottle of rum.

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"Monogrammed tableware and good silverware make this closer to a 5 Star than a 4 Star."

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 4.5 of 5

Posted by:  Rob and Debbie from Fredericton, New Brunswick  on Mar 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: May, 2010
300 people found this review helpful

CanJet was about an hour late leaving Fredericton, the compressor on the starboard engine was broken and required an external boost. Once in the air the flight was smooth, the food good and the latest 007 movie was fun. Emergency exit row 16 has good leg room and the seats recline on this 737.
Landing at POP was as smooth as that runway can manage. Immigration and customs were a breeze and there were beer vendors near the bus. A few stops at Playa Dorada and then on to Riu. Even with stops, the trip wasn’t 40 minutes. Two couples for Bachata and about half a bus for the other Riu’s. We are 50ish and wanted a similar crowd.

Arriving very late, Kelvin, the night manager quickly delivered us to nearby building 9, 2nd floor where sandwiches and fruit were waiting. We had requested a building with a bay or sea view and were told that it would be arranged in the morning.
Room #921 was clean and well laid out. We wandered down to the late bar and had a drink and another sandwich before hitting the sack. Bed was a king and very comfortable.

Next day we were moved to building 1, 2nd floor, #123, overlooking the quiet end of the beach and reef and view of the surf towards the headland with wedding kiosk. Again, a neat and clean room where everything worked; a large safe and a good working AC too. Two double beds made up separately but pushed together. Firm but very comfortable. One soft and one firm pillow each. TV channels 1 to 100 with about 10 English and some sports and golf. No weather channel. Rum, Brandy, Vodka and Gin in the dispensers and a fridge with Brahma, Pepsi, mixes and 4l water. No ice tray. Plenty of closet space and lots of hangers. Hair dryer but no coffee maker or clothes iron. 110V, slightly recessed sockets so an ext cord would come in handy.

This is a beautiful resort; mature coconut palms and mangroves; manicured lawns seeded with a sedge or herb, like thyme. (Hence the “Please don’t walk on the lawns” signs) Flowers in blues, gold’s and reds are everywhere. Petunia and Hibiscus varieties. Green mountains tower behind the property and 270 degrees of ocean, bay and reefs are the signature views from the Bachata.

Every morning the entire property is raked and cleaned. All day, the grounds keepers work at making everything perfect. While researching this property, we used GoogleEarth to have a good look. What we didn’t realize until we got there is the beach is actually much wider than the photos show. There are so many shade trees; it’s hard to see the top 200 feet of beach in the satellite shots. Indeed, the Mambo beach is widest and sandy and the beach narrows towards the Bachata end at the point, but there’s lots of room and more than enough loungers. Wear water shoes at the Bachata end because its beach is sandy but once in the water, the bottom is muddled corals and bits of shell.

We are beach people so we didn’t hang out at the pools but they are big and there are plenty of bars. Claims are staked on the poolside loungers by 9AM so stake out early and we never heard a complaint about missing towels. There is a separate pool for the kids and, on the beach, a children’s play area is supervised.

Beach volley ball, ping-pong and lots of games and activities by a frenetic animation team. The massage hut on the beach is a favorite here and women offer hair braiding services by showing photos of their work.

A paved walkway follows the beach for the entire length of the 3 resorts and almost every bar/restaurant is just off this trail.

The staff is fantastic. Front desk staff is as good as any in the business. Multi-lingual and competent. Not once was there a shoulder shrug or a lame excuse; just a sincere interest in making everything perfect. Marguerite knows everyone on staff and is very cool under pressure. A frazzled, mother-of-the-bride-to-be from Manitoba was politely and professionally attended to, all the while, I was being bought up to date on the history of the area. Charlie, whose job is to call each guest and ask if everything’s okay, helped me try to reach our charity to take the 40 odd pounds of educational, medical and personal goods that CanJet allowed at no charge. In the end, the front desk staff made arrangements to deliver the goods for us. Wait staff were great too. Argentis, at breakfast, made sure we had a great spot on the patio and Jose …. Well, what more can be said; Jose had fresh picked flowers and a candle on our table every night at our outdoor table. Caught him picking the flowers, himself, one afternoon and took a photo to send to “Zachsmom” and family in Ottawa who gave us some great advice and told us about Jose. (find him on the buffet restaurant patio, right side) There was plenty of staff at every bar. Slushy drinks with or without alcohol and many international brands. Brugal and Barceló rums are on display. Almost instant service, every time. Genuine thank you’s for tips too. Nice. Every bathroom has a staff member dispensing hand sanitizer and another person dispensing at the entrances to restaurants too.

Internet service is available and the two staff I met were very helpful. WiFi showed some bars but no connection. Plugged my laptop into the wired network. Slow but better than Morse code and cheaper than a phone call.

As noted by others, the A La Carte we tried wasn’t as nice as the buffet. The house wines aren’t what a wine drinker would expect and beef-steak wasn’t the house specialty. The best place to eat lunch is the same place that becomes the a la cartes at night. Whatever is on the nightly menu is featured during the afternoon at this buffet. The pork, sea bass and salmon were great and there were fries, dogs and burgers that tasted very much like the frozen burgers we get at charity BBQ’s at home. Ketchup was pretty good. Breads, rolls and pastries were fantastic at all restaurants. And ice cream to die for.

The main buffet restaurant was better than any yet. So many choices for many tastes. Fresh fruit, cooking and carving stations. The morning omelets and the evening roast chicken were very tasty. The resort was full but there were no line ups unless you arrived late or close to closing.

An obvious attempt to make all nationalities comfortable was very apparent.

Breakfast had cheeses of every kind, cold cuts and breads for some; Great bacon, eggs any style and toast for others and bangers and mash, and piles of pastries too.

The fresh fruit smoothies (love the mango) were very nice. Too bad there wasn’t fresh OJ and Champagne. Dinner had fresh pork, several types of fish, roast leg of beef, goat, pork-hocks, chicken, sushi and more. So many side dishes, I had a full plate with just a taste of each. There were plenty of wait staff and bus boys; Management was always present.

Fine linen and nice glassware; monogrammed tableware and good silverware make this closer to a 5 Star than a 4 Star.

We chose to do a private tour with a local operator on the first rainy day. Our first choice was always busy when we called but we were fortunate to find a real gem.

Professor Fausto Guzmann is the definition of a DR tour guide. Always ready to introduce you to his friends and associates, he provided the most fun we’ve had in years. When we walked, our driver, Hito, shadowed our every move; his Camry always ready for us. A personal introduction and tour of the Amber museum by the manager. The drive and walk in the barrios, the kids waiting for us at a lookout and the one legged man at the cash machine across from the old church and the happy faces when Fausto brought us into the shops, cigar makers and jewelers workshops. We met a wonderful old man in a back shop who, by local acclamation, churns out almost all the “bent-over-palm-trees-on-the-beach-at-sunset” oil paintings with/without flocks of birds that are sold in Puerto Plata. He paints family portraits for the locals as his profession.

Prof. Fausto was a high school teacher of English, Spanish and History. Before hiring, I checked him out with some locals and resort staff who told me Fausto is president of a local citizen’s group and fights for services like water and transportation. A trained history teacher, we learned more interesting things than we ever could on a tour bus. A stop by the old fort, seawall, port, a cold Presidente in a neighborhood cantina where the locals checked out my snowed-in home photos then a tour through a new subdivision named Alto something where the houses were all walled, gated and guarded. We somehow managed not to hit a crazed moped or motorcycle and not trip into the gutters that line the streets. The perfect tour; 3.5 hrs for $65, car, driver and the Professor, including tips.

Arrived back at the Bachata with treasures, photos and memories … not once worried about our safety. Priceless!

There is a great retail area, Caribbean Street, between Merengue and Bachata that caters to the stay put shoppers. Prices are quite negotiable and it’s a great place to practice your bargaining. There are local vendors set-up in huts at both ends of the property too. Very good prices and pretty good quality at the bay location. Alberto at hut #2 is a load of fun. Average $10 per items like earrings, rings, bracelets and pendants in Amber, Larimar and Pink Coral. (5 for $50) Vendor #9 will sell you 3 - XXL Presidente/Made in DR, T-Shirts for $9 each. They’re $20 each elsewhere. We didn’t get to the Mambo beach vendors.

Remember to apply for your Riu Class membership at the front desk. Doesn’t cost anything to join and the ID card gets you 20% off Riu logo (not bad) merchandise in the gift shop and 10-15% off other items, massages and at stores in the resort. Also collects reward points for your next visit to a Riu property.

Nightly entertainment was fun and well attended. Lots of audience participation, good music, dance and humor.

Weather was off and on all week. Sunny with clouds, cloudy-bright and very warm and humid. No sweaters in the evening. A couple of showers and a heavy rain once, over night. We were on the beach all but the one day when on tour.
There were no mosquitoes. Not one. Just a few honeybees.
Didn’t use any repellant all week.

Had a good tour of the Dorada complex on the return to the airport then a quick run through security and immigration. Flight was a little late and the movies didn’t work. Sat up front with the attendants from Newfoundland and had a great trip, good food, good chats and a nice view. The drug sniffing dog was a good diversion while watching the baggage conveyor run and quit and run again. Ran the rat maze to customs and were out in 5 minutes. The snow squall was depressing.

We are already planning for next year and would recommend this resort to our friends. PM's to Spunky.

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"The staff is fantastic."

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 4.5 of 5

Posted by:  Spunky  on Mar 1, 2009  >  5 contribution(s) 
Visited on: Mar, 2009 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
236 people found this review helpful

CanJet was about an hour late leaving Fredericton, the compressor on the starboard engine was broken and required an external boost. Once in the air the flight was smooth, the food good and the latest 007 movie was fun. Emergency exit row 16 has good leg room and the seats recline on this 737.
Landing at POP was as smooth as that runway can manage. Immigration and customs were a breeze and there were beer vendors near the bus. A few stops at Playa Dorada and then on to Riu. Even with stops, the trip wasn’t 40 minutes. Two couples for Bachata and about half a bus for the other Riu’s. We are 50ish and wanted a similar crowd.

Arriving very late, Kelvin, the night manager quickly delivered us to nearby building 9, 2nd floor where sandwiches and fruit were waiting. We had requested a building with a bay or sea view and were told that it would be arranged in the morning.
Room #921 was clean and well laid out. We wandered down to the late bar and had a drink and another sandwich before hitting the sack. Bed was a king and very comfortable.

Next day we were moved to building 1, 2nd floor, #123, overlooking the quiet end of the beach and reef and view of the surf towards the headland with wedding kiosk.
Again, a neat and clean room where everything worked; a large safe and a good working AC too. Two double beds made up separately but pushed together. Firm but very comfortable. One soft and one firm pillow each. TV channels 1 to 100 with about 10 English and some sports and golf. No weather channel. Rum, Brandy, Vodka and Gin in the dispensers and a fridge with Brahma, Pepsi, mixes and 4l water. No ice tray. Plenty of closet space and lots of hangers. Hair dryer but no coffee maker or clothes iron. 110V, slightly recessed sockets so an ext cord would come in handy.

This is a beautiful resort; mature coconut palms and mangroves; manicured lawns seeded with a sedge or herb, like thyme. (Hence the “Please don’t walk on the lawns” signs) Flowers in blues, gold’s and reds are everywhere. Petunia and Hibiscus varieties. Green mountains tower behind the property and 270 degrees of ocean, bay and reefs are the signature views from the Bachata.

Every morning the entire property is raked and cleaned. All day, the grounds keepers work at making everything perfect. While researching this property, we used GoogleEarth to have a good look. What we didn’t realize until we got there is the beach is actually much wider than the photos show. There are so many shade trees; it’s hard to see the top 200 feet of beach in the satellite shots. Indeed, the Mambo beach is widest and sandy and the beach narrows towards the Bachata end at the point, but there’s lots of room and more than enough loungers. Wear water shoes at the Bachata end because its beach is sandy but once in the water, the bottom is muddled corals and bits of shell.

We are beach people so we didn’t hang out at the pools but they are big and there are plenty of bars. Claims are staked on the poolside loungers by 9AM so stake out early and we never heard a complaint about missing towels. There is a separate pool for the kids and, on the beach, a children’s play area is supervised.

Beach volley ball, ping-pong and lots of games and activities by a frenetic animation team. The massage hut on the beach is a favorite here and women offer hair braiding services by showing photos of their work.

A paved walkway follows the beach for the entire length of the 3 resorts and almost every bar/restaurant is just off this trail.

The staff is fantastic. Front desk staff is as good as any in the business. Multi-lingual and competent. Not once was there a shoulder shrug or a lame excuse; just a sincere interest in making everything perfect. Marguerite knows everyone on staff and is very cool under pressure. A frazzled, mother-of-the-bride-to-be from Manitoba was politely and professionally attended to, all the while, I was being bought up to date on the history of the area. Charlie, whose job is to call each guest and ask if everything’s okay, helped me try to reach our charity to take the 40 odd pounds of educational, medical and personal goods that CanJet allowed at no charge. In the end, the front desk staff made arrangements to deliver the goods for us. Wait staff were great too. Argentis, at breakfast, made sure we had a great spot on the patio and Jose …. Well, what more can be said; Jose had fresh picked flowers and a candle on our table every night at our outdoor table. Caught him picking the flowers, himself, one afternoon and took a photo to send to “Zachsmom” and family in Ottawa who gave us some great advice and told us about Jose. (find him on the buffet restaurant patio, right side) There was plenty of staff at every bar. Slushy drinks with or without alcohol and many international brands. Brugal and Barceló rums are on display. Almost instant service, every time. Genuine thank you’s for tips too. Nice. Every bathroom has a staff member dispensing hand sanitizer and another person dispensing at the entrances to restaurants too.

Internet service is available and the two staff I met were very helpful. WiFi showed some bars but no connection. Plugged my laptop into the wired network. Slow but better than Morse code and cheaper than a phone call.

As noted by others, the A La Carte we tried wasn’t as nice as the buffet. The house wines aren’t what a wine drinker would expect and beef-steak wasn’t the house specialty. The best place to eat lunch is the same place that becomes the a la cartes at night. Whatever is on the nightly menu is featured during the afternoon at this buffet. The pork, sea bass and salmon were great and there were fries, dogs and burgers that tasted very much like the frozen burgers we get at charity BBQ’s at home. Ketchup was pretty good. Breads, rolls and pastries were fantastic at all restaurants. And ice cream to die for.

The main buffet restaurant was better than any yet. So many choices for many tastes. Fresh fruit, cooking and carving stations. The morning omelets and the evening roast chicken were very tasty. The resort was full but there were no line ups unless you arrived late or close to closing.

An obvious attempt to make all nationalities comfortable was very apparent.

Breakfast had cheeses of every kind, cold cuts and breads for some; Great bacon, eggs any style and toast for others and bangers and mash, and piles of pastries too.

The fresh fruit smoothies (love the mango) were very nice. Too bad there wasn’t fresh OJ and Champagne. Dinner had fresh pork, several types of fish, roast leg of beef, goat, pork-hocks, chicken, sushi and more. So many side dishes, I had a full plate with just a taste of each. There were plenty of wait staff and bus boys; Management was always present.

Fine linen and nice glassware; monogrammed tableware and good silverware make this closer to a 5 Star than a 4 Star.

We chose to do a private tour with a local operator on the first rainy day. Our first choice was always busy when we called but we were fortunate to find a real gem.

Professor Fausto Guzmann is the definition of a DR tour guide. Always ready to introduce you to his friends and associates, he provided the most fun we’ve had in years. When we walked, our driver, Hito, shadowed our every move; his Camry always ready for us. A personal introduction and tour of the Amber museum by the manager. The drive and walk in the barrios, the kids waiting for us at a lookout and the one legged man at the cash machine across from the old church and the happy faces when Fausto brought us into the shops, cigar makers and jewelers workshops. We met a wonderful old man in a back shop who, by local acclamation, churns out almost all the “bent-over-palm-trees-on-the-beach-at-sunset” oil paintings with/without flocks of birds that are sold in Puerto Plata. He paints family portraits for the locals as his profession.

Prof. Fausto was a high school teacher of English, Spanish and History. Before hiring, I checked him out with some locals and resort staff who told me Fausto is president of a local citizen’s group and fights for services like water and transportation. A trained history teacher, we learned more interesting things than we ever could on a tour bus. A stop by the old fort, seawall, port, a cold Presidente in a neighborhood cantina where the locals checked out my snowed-in home photos then a tour through a new subdivision named Alto something where the houses were all walled, gated and guarded. We somehow managed not to hit a crazed moped or motorcycle and not trip into the gutters that line the streets. The perfect tour; 3.5 hrs for $65, car, driver and the Professor, including tips.

Arrived back at the Bachata with treasures, photos and memories … not once worried about our safety. Priceless!

There is a great retail area, Caribbean Street, between Merengue and Bachata that caters to the stay put shoppers. Prices are quite negotiable and it’s a great place to practice your bargaining. There are local vendors set-up in huts at both ends of the property too. Very good prices and pretty good quality at the bay location. Alberto at hut #2 is a load of fun. Average $10 per items like earrings, rings, bracelets and pendants in Amber, Larimar and Pink Coral. (5 for $50) Vendor #9 will sell you 3 - XXL Presidente/Made in DR, T-Shirts for $9 each. They’re $20 each elsewhere. We didn’t get to the Mambo beach vendors.

Remember to apply for your Riu Class membership at the front desk. Doesn’t cost anything to join and the ID card gets you 20% off Riu logo (not bad) merchandise in the gift shop and 10-15% off other items, massages and at stores in the resort. Also collects reward points for your next visit to a Riu property.

Nightly entertainment was fun and well attended. Lots of audience participation, good music, dance and humor.

Weather was off and on all week. Sunny with clouds, cloudy-bright and very warm and humid. No sweaters in the evening. A couple of showers and a heavy rain once, over night. We were on the beach all but the one day when on tour.
There were no mosquitoes. Not one. Just a few honeybees.
Didn’t use any repellant all week.

Had a good tour of the Dorada complex on the return to the airport then a quick run through security and immigration. Flight was a little late and the movies didn’t work. Sat up front with the attendants from Newfoundland and had a great trip, good food, good chats and a nice view. The drug sniffing dog was a good diversion while watching the baggage conveyor run and quit and run again. Ran the rat maze to customs and were out in 5 minutes. The snow squall was depressing.

We are already planning for next year and would recommend this resort to our friends. PM's to Spunky.

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"Nice place. A good value for the money"

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Jack  on Aug 1, 2009  >  3 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Aug, 2009
200 people found this review helpful

Arrival: August 2, 2009 to August 7 2009
A good idea is to prearrange for transfers to and from the destination.In my case, I think it saved a bit of time and money. Arrival and check-in at the resort were efficiently and politely accomplished by staff. Nice to have someone bring you a drink at check in. Refreshing and smart. Make sure that all of your necessary documents are handy and things will go quickly.

Rooms:
The rooms were clean and pleasant. A nice touch from housekeeping is the use of native flora to decorate after cleaning. Also creative folding of towels into unique shapes was a surprise. No washcloths, so you might bring your own. The rooms are bright, clean, and pleasant. I've slept on better and worse beds --nothing that would interfere with one's sleep.

Restaurants and Bars:
Food was very good. The fish offerings were varied and tasty. Breakfast and dinner were far better than the lunches. The variety of fruits and vegetables was impressive. I particularly liked the choice of juices at breakfast. The atmosphere was excellent in the dinner and breakfast setting. Inside was very nicely turned out and the dining porches were comfortable and scenic with views of the pools and beach. Stocked mini-bars were a surprise --though you will quickly find that the alcohol content at all of the resort's drinking venues is very low. In my opinion, this is a good thing --somewhat unpleasant from my view to have loud, florid-faced guests rolling around. So, one can literally have a number of drinks without doing one's self ill. Staff is attentive and courteous.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
Did not go in the pools. The beach was excellent. Scenic and shady with palm trees and uvas (a type of grape tree) growing up very close to the water. Great to get in a chaise and geeze at the water and read some potboiler. The temperature of the water was a little on the tepid side, but there were occasional gentle, cool currents. The bottom is rocky. I would suggest swimming shoes. Still, most people, myself included, did not use them. The grounds are very much what you would expect of your basic tropical paradise.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Activities included an evening show each night. Many activities were provided for children during the day. This is an excellent family resort with very few teenagers visible. Those that were present seemed to be enjoying themselves with the offerings that were available. Got a guide for a trip into town. Puerto Plata is interesting. Mostly the guide educated and steered us to various places where things could be purchased: the rum manufacturer, the jeweler, the stores that catered to tourists, and to the supermarket. This was not as unpleasant as it sounds. I also added to the modicum of Spanish that I spoke during the tour, so it was a good opportunity to see, purchase, and learn.

Other Comments:
Nice place. A good value for the money. If one enjoys natural beauty, good food, and pleasant friendly people this may be for you. If your expectations are exceptionally high, you might be a bit disappointed, but not much. If you are looking for good food, a nice beach, and a pleasant, attentive staff, you will not be unhappy. I would go back again.

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"Can't wait 2 go back!"

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 5.0 of 5

Posted by:  Lisa  on Oct 1, 2009  >  1 contribution(s) United Kingdom
Visited on: Oct, 2009
215 people found this review helpful

Arrival: October 2009
on arrival a was really surprised! it was beautiful! we was great an offered a cocktail an given our keys an shown 2 our rooms! the hotel is set in beautiful surrounds an the grounds are really kept lovely! all the staff are really freindly an allways keen 2 help! it was so clean everywhere u went!

Rooms:
the rooms were really gud an clean! included in ur room is a mini bar an fridge which is kept stocked! all rooms have there own balcony with lovely views!

Restaurants and Bars:
the main restaurant was great the food as lovely! there was so many choices there lots for all tastes! an the waiters are really freindly an look after u really well! the bars are really gud an open 24hrs1 an uv got a swim up bar!!

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
the beaches are lovely! kept really clean an lovely! the pools are really good an clean! an the grounds are kept really lovely!

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
theres so much 2 do allday the animation team are doin something! darts beach volley! waterarobics danceing an lots more! we went on a few excursions the monster truck safari was really good fun! an the sea world place was really gud day! had a fantastic time!

Other Comments:
we loved it that much we are goin august 2010 2 get married the is over 40 freinds an family going with us an hope they love it an enjoy itas much as we did! cant wait 2 go back!

Email Lisa: lisajayneatiako62@hotmail.com

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"A few unpleasent surprises, but nice"

Riu Bachata
User Rating:  Riu Bachata Review: 4.0 of 5

Posted by:  Rob & Lauren, Sackville NB. Flight direct from Halifax  on Jan 14, 2010  >  1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Jan, 2010 | Leisure | With Spouse/Partner
296 people found this review helpful

It was nice to head back to Puerto Plata. In 2005 we were at Sun Village, just down the street from the RIU complex. Our experience there was fantastic, but then again, it was our first time. We found the Bachata lacking in some of the great things Sun Village offered. But nevertheless, the Bachata does offer a great place to stay with a great beach and a fabulous staff. Please keep in mind as you read my account, that it was Christmas week (Dec24-31) and that may have had an impact on service levels at the resort.

Your Arrival:
A 2.5 Hour delay getting out of Halifax put us on the ground in Puerto plata at around 12-1230.

The porter that grabbed our bags outside of the airport was friendly, but when we asked him if any of the stores were open at the airport he brought us to the guy that is on the left hand side of the Arrivals exit at the airport. DON'T buy anything from that guy...I bought two packs of cigarettes and two beers (he insisted I buy the beers...*shrug*), handed him a US 20 and he gave me back two loonies!

Our bus crew was less than great. Our host was attempting to crack jokes but his sarcasm was bleeding through a bit too much. He might as well have come out and called us 'stupid white people'...who can blame him though, it was after 1am on Christmas Morning and the idiots who screamed out "cerevza!" when he asked if we knew any Spanish deserved to be poked fun of.

And then of course there was the obligatory stops in the Playa Dorada complex to drop people off. I think the next time we go to Puerto Plata, we'll just stay at a Playa Dorada hotel, might as well, we spent enough time there (you make several stops there on excursions and on the way home as well).

We arrived at the Bachata late at night, around 2:30am, and in that quirky Domincan way, were greeted by the friedndly front desk staff and the "vigilante' (security guard) toting a very large rifle. The person behind the desk was attempting to have us wait to be brought to our rooms as a group, but seeing how bored the 'vigilante' was, my wife asked him in her perfect Spanish if he'd like to bring us to our room. After telling the front desk guy to stick it, he obliged, and it was great to be escorted by someone who was more willing to help than obey what his boss asks him to do. We later found out that the 'vigilantes' do rounds around the grounds all night.

After changing, we headed out to the late night bar (not a 24 Hour Bar as advertised, I'll explain later) where we encountered the type of people you encounter at 3am at a bar and sat up for a couple drinks then went to bed. 4:00am Christmas Morning by this point.

Rooms:
At check-in, when we found out we had a ground level room, we asked if we could switch. That was until we got to the room. It was a couple of minutes before my wife said "what's that sound?" and we realized it was the ocean! We were about 30 meteres from the water. A beautiful location, and very private as it did not look across at any other rooms. Hint: Request room 1105!

The room was very nice. Nice Cherry wood accents and tables with a great shower with great water pressure and hot water (except at night, we couldn't seem to get hot water after 8pm). There was a definite lack of towels in the room when we got there, and the pillows were a bit impractical for sleeping on (although being so late, didn't pose a problem that evening).

Much to be desired on the patio furniture, but the room did have a terrace (all of Bachata's rooms have a terrace). Take the room chairs from inside and put them out on the terrace. The supplied patio furniture set looks like it could have been purchased at Wal-Mart for $11.97 and is just about as comfortable.

We took advantage of the in-room Rum Dispenser, but missed not having Sprite or 7-Up to have Santo Libres along with the Cuba Libres we had with the Pepsi. RIU is a bit stingy with the mini-bar filling. They only fill once every 2 days. That's 4 litres of water, 3 beers, 3 pepsis, a fizzy water and club soda, but it has to last you 2 days. We were forgotten on our second day and had to remind them to bring us our stuff.

Restaurants and Bars:
No Brugal or Presidente!!! What the heck is with that??!! The beer is Bazillian (Brahma) and the Rum seems to be some sort of private labelled RIU stuff (??Normandy Rum??). I want Dominican product in the Dominican Republic! RIU should be obliged to offer it!

The only good coffee in the whole place comes from Nescafe branded dispensers, of which there is 4. Out of those 4 only 3 get switched on in the morning, but NOT UNTIL 10AM! Before 10am you're stuck with the very bad coffee served in the buffet restaurant, which is only comforted by the smoothie bar and great breakfast selections. The Nescafe machines ALWAYS had at least 4 people queing up to use them at 10. (Hint: get the Cafe con Leche from the machine, it's great!)
RIU advertises a "24 hour Bar". They should change that ad to:
"Late Night Bar. Open til the last drunk person goes to bed and not open again until 530pm. If you want a drink before 530pm go to the bars that are not 24 Hours"

On the restaurants:
The main buffet, Bahia de la Maimon, is quite nice. We had our best dinner experiences there.
The "A la Carte" retaurants are horrible! It seems that RIU thinks that people don't mind dressing up to eat dinner in the same spot that they sat shritless and ate a hamburger in at lunch.

The "A la cartes", if you can call them that, are the two sides to the large all day snack bar. At 5pm, the snack bar is converted into a "Steak House" and "Italian Retaurant". By "converted" I mean they put up dividers, move the tables and chairs around a bit and put down table cloths. It's cheap, but from reading other RIU brochures they do it at alot of their resorts. I guess people don't expect much.

The service at the a la cartes was fine with two exceptions:
When you've converted a self serve "Snack bar" into a full service retaurant you shouldn't ask your guests to get their own apetizers "buffet style". Seriously, serving myself? It's supposed to be something different than what you've been doing all day.
The entrees and desserst are brought to the table by wait staff. I say wait staff, but that's one thing you don't get in the a la cartes at the Bachata is "waiting". They have you in and out of there very quickly. The a la carte wait staff can be renamed 'rush staff'.

My adivce: if you're looking for a pleasent and slow dining exprience, stick with the main buffet restaurant. The A la cartes are not worth the trouble, and you have to serve yourself anyway. It's a shame because the staff that work them rely on the tips.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
The beach is fantastic. Great shade, and a very nice long strecth to walk along. At night, it is quite nice to take the pathway that runs along the beach and to the Merengue and Mambo resorts. You get to check out what's going on at the other hotels as well as walk along the water, stopping for a drink when you get tired.

There is also a fantastic stairway/walkway that when followed brings you to a point where RIU has placed a nice gazebo. It's a great walk and great lookout point and is by far the best grounds feature.

The pool is nice. It is large, but if you've been to a place in the past that has a clearly demarcated adult pool and family pool then the Bachata's pool will take awhile to get used to. The pool does have two sides, but both seem open to children. So peacful soaks with a pina colada are out of the question.

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Okay, the "Cheapy-Cheapys" (guys who are ostensibly 'selling their wares' on the beach) wear UNIFORMS! What is with that?

Their stalls are also numbered and they openly talk (in Spanish) about one 'stealing' the other's sale etc. etc. Their products are ALL the same. And the numbers on their stalls also follow the sequence of numbers that appears above the shops on the Calle Caribena (Carribean Street).

RIU should try to make the on-resort shopping experience just a little more authentic. Ditch the uniforms for the cheapy-cheapys, and I'm sure you can get around having numbers above all the stalls.

We didn't take part in any other activities other than shopping and entertainment.

The entertainment was...suprisingly good. It had just the right mix of fun and poking fun that it should have. We watched more of the shows than we thought we would.

We went off resort for one shopping excusion..."Simply Shopping" and it seems our tour provider inverted the order of usefulness of the shops we went to.

We started at a relatively boring 'souvenir' shop (where we spent over an hour) and ended at La Sirena (less than 45 mins). La Sirena is a supermarket/department store. We were looking forward to browsing the shelves and taking our time, comparing produce prices, noticing the quirky differences etc...but were rushed in and out of La Sirena because we had spent too much time at other less useful and entertaining shops.

We hope the tour provider inverts the order of this excursion. Yes it is important that we visit small local businesses, but not at the expense of enjoying ourselves.

Other Comments:
All in all, I would suggest staying at one of the less expensive RIUs in the RIU complex. The Bachata is, I think, overrated in a very literal sense. It is NOT a 4.5-5 Star place. Paying the cheaper rate and staying at the Mambo or Merengue will give you the same expereince as the Bachata.

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