This was our second trip to Punta Cana, but first to this resort. We stayed at Gran Bahia Principe Bavaro – Club Diamond Section. This resort is massive. It has the following sections: Punta Cana, Ambar (Adults Only), Bavaro, Premier, Club Diamond and Royal Golden. It was full. One of the staff told us they had 4500+ guests. The trolley system works great. You never have to wait more than a few minutes for a trolley.
We arrived on 27 December in the evening. It took us a while to find the Club Diamond check-in location. Once we found the right location, check-in was relatively smooth, except for the fact they had booked two rooms for us instead of one. We explained that there were only two of us, thus only one room required. We had requested an oceanview room, close to the beach, but were told none were available. We were given a room in Building 27 and only had a short walk to the beach. We were in our room in approximately 45 minutes.
Rooms: We had a junior suite on the second floor with a balcony, and king bed as we had requested. The room had a nice sitting area, plus a table and chairs. coffee maker, mini bar and safe (had to pay for safe). We waited 3 days to get a remote for the TV. There were no ironing boards or irons in the rooms. You had to call Guest Services to request one when you needed it. Considering the length of time it took to get a TV remote, I didn’t bother asking for an iron. We did not have an umbrella in the room either. When we asked for one, we were told to look in the room. I was quite sure there was none, but looked anyhow. I then called to request one and was told that since it was raining, everyone wanted an umbrella and they didn’t have any!! The bed sloped to one side, making it feel like you were going to fall out of bed. The lighting in the room was terrible, very dim, difficult to see what was in the closet or the safe. For anyone going to this resort, take a flashlight. One lamp had a broken socket and one of the lights in the bathroom didn’t work. We reported it and they sent a "technician". The fellow managed to fix the broken lamp, seemed quite perplexed why the light in the bathroom didn’t work (we thought it needed a new bulb). He left without fixing the bathroom light. Communication with him was extremely difficult. We had very small white bugs or spiders on the night stand and floor. We also found a bug in the bed. I showed it to the resort doctor and she thought it was a baby cockroach. I had a very bad reaction to insect bites and had to seek medical treatment at the resort medical office. The doctor felt that I had been bitten by mosquitos. I saw my family doctor the day I arrived back in Canada as I had even more bites than when I saw the resort doctor. He said that some of the bites could have been caused by sand fleas and/or mosquitos, BUT felt the other bites were caused by bed bugs. Both my husband and I were bitten all over our backs, legs, and arms, plus I had bites on my face. We didn’t asked to change rooms as we could have encountered the same problems elsewhere. Plus one of the Club Diamond staff said they were full and had to send some guests to other hotels for a few days until space became available. Our maid, Belkis, was quite good. She would leave extra water for us and extra pop and always left flowers and towel art.
Restaurants and Bars:
Club Diamond had pre-booked 4 a la cartes for us, which we could have changed but decided not to. For the most part, the a la cartes were quite good. The Garden Grill (Steak House) was definitely our favourite. The steak was wonderful. The Tex-Mex was our least favourite, but still okay. Most of the a la cartes had an appetizer, soup, salad and dessert buffet as well as the menu selections. One problem with the buffets was that the food which was supposed to be hot, was for the most part lukewarm or cold. The same applied to breakfast items. If you wanted hot food, it was best to order an omelette or fried eggs. Diamond Club had its own restaurant for breakfast and lunch so we ate there most days. The staff were friendly and the food was good. The first night we went to the Japanese it was a wonderful experience and very enjoyable. The second time was something else indeed. They sat us with 10 other people who were already on their 3rd or 4th course, the food was all cooked and they were serving the rice. They did not offer us a drink nor did they offer to serve us the sushi and appetizer until my husband complained. Then they put 2 plates in front of us, followed closely by the soup. In the meantime, the cook is serving our rice and asking what meat we wanted. It was a very uncomfortable situation both for us and the other people at the table. We didn’t want to cause a scene at the table as that would have ruined the meal for the others. We tried to complain on leaving the restaurant; however the hostess either did not understand or pretended not to. We ate at the main buffet only a few times.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The beach was lovely as usual; however, it waas jam packed with beach loungers and people. What a shock that was the first day. It was like a maze trying to find an open path to the water, bar, or wherever you wanted to go. If you moved your lounger the least bit, someone else would move their lounger under your palapa. Often times, when we were laying under our palapa, one or two other people would be laying right behind our heads. They would move their loungers so close to yours – sometimes only a couple of inches separating you from a total stranger. The Bahia Principe Ambar (Adults Section) appeared to have their own section of beach and was not nearly so crowded. Club Diamond had its own pool, which we thoroughly enjoyed. The grounds were very well looked after. It is a beautiful resort.
We had the pleasure of meeting Saline, who cleaned the main lobby area and the washrooms. She was a joy to talk to, always had a smile and such a positive attitude. You always knew when Saline was working as the washrooms were sparkling. We also had the pleasure of meeting Dorotheo, who cleaned the sidewalks in a couple of areas. What a wonderful gentleman – such a big beautiful smile and so pleasant to chat with. Both Saline and Dorotheo made us feel so welcome. It was obvious they both loved their jobs and enjoyed doing the best job possible.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Since this was our third time to the DR (second to Punta Cana). we didn’t participate in any of the tours.
Other Comments: Communication was a problem at times, even with the Club Diamond staff. At times, you would stand in line only to be told they couldn’t help us that we would have to go to the Main Reception desk. We asked at Club Diamond about cashing travellers cheques. The person told us we should see our Sunquest rep as they are the ones who cash the travellers cheques. We thought that rather odd, but approached the rep. He was amazed that we were told to see him. He then told us where to find the currency exchange. On the up side, the weather was fantastic for the most part.
On a rather humorous note, my husband wanted to purchase some throat lozenges at a small store on the resort. When he asked the sales clerk how much the box of lozenges cost, she asked how many he wanted. She opened the box and sold him 5 lozenges for $5.00 US!!!
Our booking was through Sunquest Holidays, but we flew Air Transat. We upgraded to Option Plus on our outbound flight and to Club Class on the return. It was worth the extra money to get priority check-in, particularly in Punta Cana. Our luggage with the first pieces off the plane in Punta Cana. The food and service in Club Class was wonderful!!!