Clubhotel Riu Bambu Hotel

, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
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Clubhotel Riu Bambu Hotel

, Punta Cana
Playa Arena Gorda - Punta Cana - Dominican Republic Hotel Website | 809-221-7575
1593 Traveller

Reviews - Clubhotel Riu Bambu Hotel

No one seems to care
Submitted by: Peter in 10/01/09
  • Age Group: 60plus
  • From: Canada
  • Traveller type: Family Traveller
We normally travel as a family every two years and have stayed at many Riu hotels in the carribean. Because of geographic locations, part of our family arrived two days later than we did. I had requested two months prior to our arrival for all the members to be housed as close to one another as possible to allow the children to move from room to room. The last group was two buildings away from the main group and the housing provided them was inadequate to say the least. Mould in the bathroom, ants by the hundreds running around, dirty in general. I think this building was scheduled for renovations and never should have been used to house guests.

This was all reported to the hotel manager and nothing was done. This was the first time i ever complained about a Riu hotel and when we got home i wrote to the Riu main office and promply received an automated reply that they would respond within 15 - 20 days. They didn't respond anywhere near this time line so i wrote another letter and received the same response. This all occurred last January and I still haven't heard a word from Riu.

I was and am extremely disappointed in the quality of the Riu chain and would never recommend them to anyone again. We will not book another trip if Riu is involved.

Historical Traveller Reviews of Clubhotel Riu Bambu Hotel

ve been

from A TripAdvisor Member
We went to the Riu Bambu in Punta Cana March 3 2003. We had read some negatives about this resort, but were very suprised that this was such a beautiful, well organized resort. The beach is one of the most clean, well groomed beach I have been on, and I have been to many! Lots of sun, but also lots of shadey palms for those who just want to stay out of the sun. Staff was excellent, seems the most friendly of anywhere we have been. Our room was great, beautifully cleaned everyday. The pool very warm and lovely, the staff at the swim up bar were terrific! This beach is very large, and if you want to just kick back, read a book, ect... there is a hugh area just beyound the beach that is all sand, lounges, and massive palm trees so that even if it rained, you would not get wet. The weather was perfect every single day. The food was good, although my only complaint would be the beef is tough compared to beef i've had on other Islands. Not much seafood other than mussels. This resort seems to cater to every nationality in the world, foods that everyone can eat. If you cannot enjoy yourself at this resort, then something is terribly wrong with you!The staff is more than willing to accomodate you with everything, and you do not need an english/spanish book, most staff speak some english, and if they don't, you can communicate with smiles and justures! the staff at the desk all speak english. I would go there again in a heartbeat!

very nice resort,abit too much wind on the beach and no lobster

from toemayn
This is a beautiful hotel,good bars and good staff. If I had known how windy the beach area was going to be and there wasn't any lobster on the menu I probably would have went back to Negril , Jamaicia.

beautiful beach

from jomicoWaterdown
We just returned from Punta Cana on Feb 22/03. We stayed at the Riu Bambu and it was a beautiful resort. The only 2 complaints we have are that the food got boring by the end of the week. The main dining room was buffet style and almost cafeteria like in atmosphere. It would have been nice to be able to order a bottle of wine with dinner but all the beer and wine comes out of a keg and is quite nasty in taste. The only other place to dine offered the same menu with only a few choices of dishes each night. Breakfast was always good and had the usual goodies on the buffet eggs, bacon, french toast etc.....We are big coffee drinkers and have to say that the coffee wasn't bad. The other complaint is the beds....ever slept on a concrete floor? the beds are thin, hard and flat and so are the pillows. We woke up aching every morning. The rooms was kept spotless everyday by our maid and we left her a few$$ on the bed the first day with note asking her for some extra towels, an extra bottle of water and a few extra beers in the fridge. When we returned to the room we had everything we asked for. (we wrote the note in spanish because they don't speak english). A pocket spanish dictionary would be handy. Other than the food and the bed (which is a minor thing). We had a wonderful relaxing holiday. There isn't much to do at night and there isn't much shopping other than the usual t-shirt souvineer kind of junk. I actully came home with almost all the $$ I brought. We did one day excursion. Kon Tiki was fun but not worth the $$. We me several people who did the swim with the sharks and said it was great! Bring lots of sun lotion. They sell it for aprx. $20.00us a bottle. Also bring one of those big plastic coffee cups to put your cold drinks in to take to the beach. The bar serves drinks in small plastic cups and is a little walk to the beach. Note to all who are booking with Sunquest! We were informed the day before we were to leave that the Riu was over booked and we were being bumped to another hotel that was a 3 star and that Sunquest was offereing us 100.00 each refund.......nice try. I spent the day before I left at my travel agency furiously arguing with Sunquest who were rude and no help what so ever! They basically said too bad take it or leave it. I proceeded to go home and email the Riu to see what was going on. They responed right away and said they had no idea where Sunquest got this info and that they in fact were not overbooked and they were showing us booking in the next day. I couldn't believe what was going on..we felt like we were being scammed by Sunquest. Anyway....we ended up at the Riu and loved it. If you are told you are bumped from your hotel I suggest you check it out personally with the hotel if you can. Have a great holiday where ever you choose to go!

Fantastic...Exceeded Our Expectations!!

from A TripAdvisor Member
couldn't get enough of other people's reviews before going down,
because they were so useful, so I'm giving back everything I have. We
have just returned from spending 1 week (Feb. 14-21) at the Riu Bambu.
Like many others, I have read excellent and not so excellent reviews
about Riu Bambu and was concerned about our choice prior to leaving. We
decided that expectations and attitude were going to be a major factor
in whether we enjoyed ourselves or not, so we went to the Bambu with an
open mind and I am glad that we did. The Riu Bambu surpassed most, if
not all of our expectations. You will not find a photo in travel
brochures or on the net that will do the Riu Bambu justice (I
challenged myself to take pictures which would do the place justice so
we'll see after I scan in the digital photos and have the films
developed from our 35 mm). The main lobby is breathtaking with its
beautiful arrangements, fabulously tiled floors, chandeliers, etc. Off
the lobby is a corridor with awesome tiled floors also, tables and
chairs that you could relax in, play a game, etc. On the right hand
side of the corridor are shops and on the left hand side you look out
at the Plaza Bar and the entertainment area. The grounds are truly
spectacular!! There are always gardeners working on the grounds and
they are spotless. Right up until the day we left, I was in awe of the
palm trees and the lushness of the property. There were palm trees in
every direction you looked. The beach was fantastic!!!! If you don't
like this beach, you should stop going south. The sand was white powder
and went on as far as the eyes could see. The beach was fairly deep so
there was a lot of space to lie out in between the boardwalk and the
ocean. There is a palm tree forest along the beach which not only adds
to the beauty, but provides shade when needed. The trees also created
little areas to sit or layout in so that it didn't feel like it is a
big stretch of sand and everyone is on top of each other. Many people
saved chairs by putting their towels on them. You can do this if you
wish and you may not have any problems, but one day we went down to the
beach and our chairs and towels were gone. We were given new towels
without any hassle, so it wasn't a huge deal and we always managed to
find a good spot on the beach. The staff at the Riu Bambu, for the most
part, are wonderful!! Our stay seemed longer than a week and I think
the fact that we became so familiar with the staff and they with us,
made it feel like we had been there for a long time. Cindy, the
Sunquest Tour Director, is one amazing lady! She made us feel at home
very quickly. We arrived late in the evening and felt a little
uncomfortable as it was our first time in Punta Cana. I had read other
people's comments about Cindy so as soon as I saw Sunquest on her clip
board, I walked up to her and asked if she was Cindy. She gave us a
warm greeting and was very helpful. We acclimatized very quickly after
that as we felt that there was someone who we could go to with
questions, concerns and information. Cindy can be found in the lobby in
the morning and then again in the afternoon/evening. She is a lot of
fun and is an abundance of information. As you may have read in other
reviews, Cindy does like magazines, so feel free to bring her some. She
is from the Toronto area so she is grateful for a touch of home. The
bartenders are great!! Our favourites were Carlos M. and Juan Silva. If
you go, tell them that Jim and Rob from Toronto sent you and ask for a
"dirty monkey". I introduced them to this drink which is pina colada
mix, rum, kalua, banana and a little bit of brandy. They were more than
anxious to make it for us and to our liking. It was great to go to one
of the bars every night and have someone recognize you and know what
you like to drink. We had a lot of laughs with Carlos and Juan and they
will forever be part of my memory of the Bambu. We didn't worry about
premium liquor as we are not liquor experts and how much can you taste
the rum in a strawberry daiquiri? Every evening as you entered the
dining room, you were greeted by managers and directors which was
pretty classy. Throughout your meal, staff including managers and
directors would walk by and say buenos noches and bon appetite. Even
though the resort is huge, you still felt that you were acknowledged by
the staff giving more of that intimate feeling. I had asked for a room
in building 19 or 20 on the second floor. The front desk staff
accommodated us very nicely! They gave us room 1909 which is a second
floor room, on the corner of building 19. We would highly recommend
this room as it is very, very central and also very quiet. Plus it is
on a direct route to the beach. The room itself was very nice...nicer
than I had expected. As a previous reviewer stated, the beds are hard.
The pillows are flat and hard as well. Perhaps it was the tropical air
or maybe the rum, but after the first night, I had no trouble sleeping
at all. You might want to bring some Advil though - Rob had a much
harder time with his bed than I did, but I guess this has a lot to do
with the firmness of the mattress you like to sleep on. Despite
previous reviews that indicated that the rooms are dirty and one that
said that she didn't think they changed the sheets every night, this
was not our experience. Our room was always spotless and we always had
clean sheets. I'm not sure if it had anything to do with the fact that
our housekeeper was well compensated or not. Even though you are not
required to tip, these people make roughly $200 per month and work
minimum 12 hours a day and often 12 days straight before they get three
days off. A $1.00 or $2.00 tip means a lot to them and really isn't
much to us. We brought shampoo, body washes ($8US in the stores
there!), cosmetics, nylons, colouring books and crayons, etc. and left
them on the pillow each day with a $2.00 tip. Some might think that
this was excessive, but we felt very good about making such a
difference by doing so little. NOTE: They are supposed to be in the
process of changing this, but currently they give you your safe key
without a fob or key chain. This makes it very easy to lose and it
costs $30 US for them to put in a new lock...don't ask me how I know.
If the key is loose, I would put it on one of the keychains for the
room key. We tipped the bartenders and made a point of tipping grounds
staff who were working very hard and very seldom get anything from
people. On our way to the beach we saw a guy sweeping sand off the
boardwalk...not a pleasant job I would imagine. We gave him $2.00 and
he was so incredibly grateful it almost brought tears to my eyes. On a
daily basis, I deal with people who are never happy and take things for
granted. Making him so happy was really a special thing and makes you
realize how much we take for granted. We ate most of our meals in the
dining room. There was always plenty of food and lots of variety! For
the most part, we thought the food was pretty good. There was always
something we liked and often something we really liked. I do have to
say that by the end of the week we were tired of the food, more because
we are not used to eating all that rich food everyday. At one point, I
was craving fruit loops and a peanut butter and jam sandwich. I would
bring snacks with you from home for your room -we brought Pringles
(very expensive in the lobby!) and chocolate bars. Trust me, you'll be
glad you did. We didn't take any tours as we found plenty to do on the
resort. Plus we were there primarily to relax. You do have access to 3
other Riu properties which we quickly toured. We found no need to go to
the other resorts as we had everything we could want at the Bambu. We
did go to the disco, which was much nicer than expected, and spent some
time on Caribbean Street. Thursday nights all the entertainers head
down to Caribbean Street and put on shows. It is a lot of fun and you
can pick up local Taino artwork. You can really bargain with the
artists on the street, but not in the shops. I bought a Taino painting
for $10.00 which they originally wanted $40.00 for. If you go to
Caribbean Street to shop, you might want to buy some pesos at the hotel
as some of these places give you a bad exchange on $US. If you do have
$US on you, make sure you know what the exchange rate is and although
they really don't barter, I did have one person give me a better rate
after I had told her that the rate was too low and started to walk out
of the store. The exchange rate at the front desk was 23.50 pesos for 1
$US and approx. 10.40 pesos for 1 $CAN when we were there, so if you're
from Canada, it makes sense to buy some US cash to bring with you,
since they don't seem to want to take Canadian $ in the stores
(anywhere, in fact, and I imagine that if you tried to tip in Canadian
$, the recipient might not be able to very much with it), and the
exchange rate from Canadian to pesos is really poor. There are 2
markets that you can walk to where you can buy lots of fun stuff and
you definitely barter there. Both markets are on the beach, one is a 15
minute walk heading left from hotel and the other is a 30 minute walk
heading right from the hotel. We only went to the market 15 minutes to
the left from the hotel. It is smaller than the other, but apparently
the prices are better and less bartering is required. If you go there,
see Tito in shack number 3. 3rd in from the far end, I think. He was
great and I felt most comfortable dealing with him. NOTE: If you plan
to barter with US$, take small bills (<$20's). You might want to
distribute your cash in different pockets so that you can say "I only
have $10.00" and they may meet your price, but if you pull out a $20 or
a $10 and other bills, you might be out of luck. So now for the bad
stuff, which is pretty minor, really. Aside from not finding the front
desk staff overly friendly and helpful at times, we had no complaints
about the Bambu. The complaints we do have are subjective. If you don't
know this already, the majority (approx. 90%) of guests are European.
You may not have a problem with this, but we found that some of them
tended to be rude (for example, shoving in front of you at food lines).
For people who sometimes have bad things to say about Americans, we
found many of them were very poorly behaved. What affected us more than
that is we didn't feel comfortable talking to anyone because we weren't
sure if they spoke English which was often the case. For us, that made
the place less enjoyable and certainly less fun. BUT THIS IS THE BIG
ONE.....KIDS! There were a lot of kids at the resort. You know that
gorgeous picture you see of the pool? Picture it full of the
swim up bar too! During the day, you couldn't swim in the pool for the
number of kids, so we ended up spending our time on the beach. Poor us,
eh? But the point is, it would have been nice to have a choice. We
talked to people who said they were constantly getting kicked by the
kids and when they tried to enjoy the jacuzzi, kids were jumping off
the rocks around it. We also had a problem with people not discipling
or controlling their children. This might come as a surprise to some
parents, but not everyone enjoys the sound of a child screaming
continuously at the top of their lungs. There was a child who screamed
so loud and hit such a high pitch, I was surprised there was any glass
left anywhere. This child had temper tantrums at the Toronto airport,
for 3.5 hours on the flight to D.R., all week at the resort, and at
baggage pick up in Toronto. The parents did nothing except practically
stand there looking bored. This kid is infamous among many people who
either stayed at the Bambu or were on the flight - on the positive
side, we met a lot of people through discussing this very topic! A
family stayed down the hall from us comprising of grandparents and mom
and dad and child (2-3). The grandparents stayed on one side of the
hall and the parents and kid across from them. They left their doors
opened and screamed back and forth and the child played in the hallway
and screamed. I finally wrote them a note and asked them to show some
courtesy for the other guests and close their door as we weren't
interested in listening to their child scream. One day I was relaxing
on the balcony and five unsupervised kids grabbed a few rakes that were
left on the lawn, and used some shirts, plastic bags and the rakes and
tried to catch geckos (these are the small lizards common to the area).
They were running through the manicured bushes and hitting the palm
trees with the rakes. If I would have thought that these kids had a
chance at getting (and probably killing) the geckos, I would have
headed downstairs myself to have a chat with them, even though they
weren't speaking English. I know that children are allowed at these
resorts (which is why we will probably go "adults only" from now on),
but if parents cannot control their children, I don't think other
guests should suffer for it - perhaps they should consider leaving them
at home. Did it ruin our vacation.....NO. Did it **** me off on many
occasions.....YES! Would we recommend this
resort.......ABSOLUTELY!!!!!! Short and sweet, the flights to and from
Punta Cana on SkyService were amazing. We were impressed with the
efficiency of the airline!! We arrived in Punta Cana right on time and
arrived in Toronto 25 minutes early even though we experienced a fair
amount of turbulence. Hats off to Skyservice and Sunquest!!!! If it is
possible that I haven't answered any of your questions, please feel
free to email me. I will also be setting up a website with the
pictures, so if you want the url, drop me a note. Thanks for taking the time to read our comments
- hope they will be helpful to you in some way. Jim (and Rob)


from A TripAdvisor Member
Just returned from Punta Cana. We stayed at the Riu Bambo. The place was beautiful. The only thing I didn't care for was the food, seems like everything tasted the same. There was a good selection though. Staff was very helpful. I would recommend this place to everybody, and Yes I would go back in a minute. Thanks

Almost perfect

from A TripAdvisor Member
There were 10 family/friends in our party. Everyone had a great time. The rooms were nice. Our request for extra towels and pillows was filled with a smile, as were any other requests we made of anyone at the Riu Bambu. The open lobby, pools, hotel grounds and beach were all beautiful and well kept.

We took advantage of the free water sports: paddle boats, kyaks, and sail boats. We enjoyed all three and had no hassles. I would have appreciated some instruction before using the sail boat though.

We did experience some inconvenience with the Safari tour. They overbooked on our original date. However, they rescheduled us and gave everyone a free tee shirt. There was quite a bit of riding, but overall we were glad that we went. Two pieces of advice: 1) Women: Don't drink a lot unless you have a huge bladder. There are very few bathroom stops. 2) Don't eat anything with mayonaisse in it at the lunch they provide. Many on our tour did and got sick.

The Kontiki Party Boat was fun, but don't go planning to relax and get a tan because there are no chairs on the top deck, just a hard floor. Also, bring money if you want a tee shirt or bottle of rum with your picture on it.

The selection of food was great. I would have liked to have coffee in the morning without having to go to the dining room to get it, but hey, you can't have everything!

m not going back!

from A TripAdvisor Member
Our trip was doomed from the start. We had to drive to Winnipeg to go to this place because the beaches supposedly sucked at puerta plata. We were supposed to be booked in at the Melao. A smaller, less crowded place, also closer to the beach and snorkeling right out from the Melao beach as well (we found this out later). As it turned out, after a delay of 7 hours in Winnipeg, we finally arrived in the D.R. to find out we had been"upgraded" to the Bambu..ya right! We were told that this was because of the delay, we found out later that the Melao had been overbooked. Our room was never cleaned properly, ( I made a pile of sand on our second day and it was still beside the bed when we left). Somebody should show these people how to make a bed. This after we left a dollar a day plus toiletries. Maybe that wasn't enough! The room was very noisy, every sound was amplified by the concrete. Many thanks to the inconsiderate people that moved into room 2201 on Jan. 13th. If you want to smash bottles and scream and yell go to the beach!
Scuba Marine is another story. What a rip-off! I paid $70.00 for 4 hours of deep sea fishing. I got 3 hours and when I did finally catch something the handle fell off the reel and the "captain" pulled my fish in by hand! Next we went para-sailing. We had been watching the para-sailors go by our beach daily so we thought we'd try it. We left at 3:00 PM. The guy driving the shuttle boat got lost following the wrong yellow para-sail and didn't realize his mistake 'til 4:30!! We got back at 6:00 PM and only spent 10 minutes in the air about 10 miles from our beach, not even an apology. Then we went snorkeling. You'd think we'd learn! We took the slowest boat possible and the guy driving hit every wave the wrong way and hit a marker bouy and just missed a post as well. We snorkeled for about 40 mins instead of an hour to boot. By the way as far as, the equipment at the beach goes, you have to get that from Scuba Marine as well.A paddle boat for 20 minutes. Why bother!
The food was good, but I must that admit they cut their chickens up a lot differently than we do. I never saw anything that looked like any piece of chicken that I'm used to eating.
Anway, if you are looking for a place to stay where you won't get any sleep at night, or if you don't mind a dirty room or if all you want to do is sit on the sand then Bambu is the place for you. If you expect more then go to Club Bananas in Playa del Carmen. Quiet little place, but about 10 minutes from the beach. A small price to pay. Only rated as a 3 star but far superior to Bambu.
Our departure was yet another story. We had to leave earlier than expected. Maybe a blessing in disguise. At the airport I asked if we could get seats in the emergency aisle I was told they were full. When everybody was on board I found they were not full so I asked a stewardess if we could move. Thank God she let us! I contacted Sunquest by e-mail and never got a reply. That isn't much of a surprise.

Paradise !!

from A TripAdvisor Member
We are shortly to return to the Riu Bambu for 2 weeks in February, after having holidayed there last year over new year with our 2 boys. The boys were "bored", but we thought it was the best holiday ever - it is just paradise there - the food is fab, the rooms are great, and the beach is to die for. I wish I could be there all the time. I can't wait to go back.


from A TripAdvisor Member
Beautiful resort......accomodations were great....the variety of foods offered, activities on the resort were more than I imagined....This location had very good service....whether on your honeymoon or with the family...this really was an excellent choice .....Plenty to do or just great to sit and relax

AMAZING- Would return in a heart beat

from A TripAdvisor Member
Spent 2 weeks Dec8-21, had a Great time, all staff- bartenders, entertainment staff were OUTSTANDING. Food was plentiful and good. Cannot wait to return.

Top Local Tips for Punta Cana

Fishing farce If you plan on doing any fishing you will be sadly disappointed, don't even bother ,it's not worth the cost nor the grief.

New Punta Cana airport security check at departure. Do not put liquor/liquids in the hand luggage. It will be confiscated.

Bring a "Bubba Keg" Bring a "Bubba Keg" or similar large thermos cup. Resort has small plastic cups for drinks.


Other names for Clubhotel Riu Bambu Hotel

  • riu bambu reviews
  • riu bambu punta cana
  • riu bambu dominican republic
  • riu bambu
  • Address: Playa Arena Gorda - Punta Cana - Dominican Republic
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