This was our second trip to the Naiboa (first trip was in February 2008). We travel with the understanding that we are not staying at the Ritz or someplace like that and don’t expect the resort to provide that service. We go to have fun and regardless of any little quirks we always do.
Your Arrival: Flights As always, Sunquest was using Skyservice for the flights. We had prebooked the Priority Plus package from Skyservice (well worth it for the extra baggage allowance). We had no problem either going or returning. Check In After the 30 minute bus ride to the resort we arrived at the resort. Check in was very good. Having been before we knew what to expect. I had emailed about a week before asking for a pool view room in the same area as we were located last time and found that they were able to accommodate the request (in fact we had the exact same rooms as 2 years ago – Rooms 2116 & 2117). When we walked into the lobby we headed for the Reception desk and given the registration form and our room keys as well as some general info on the hotel by the hotel (not the tour operator – that was the next day). The keys to the safe are included with your package and were given out at this session.
Rooms: There was 1 double bed and 1 single bed in each of our rooms. We had no problems with the water pressure or hot water supply. As others have mentioned the Air Conditioning at this hotel tends to be weak to non-existent in some rooms, ours was still one of them. The rooms each have a ceiling fan which keeps the room comfortable so we never bothered asking to have the A/C fixed. Last time our concern was the room keys – we were in room 2116, however our key also opened 2117, 2118 and 2119 (we were a group of people in a row). This time we noticed our keys would not open each other’s room so I assume they’ve taken some corrective measures. The rooms are dated but clean. Our housekeeping person was excellent. I had read about a lot of theft recently. We had absolutely no issue. We left gifts for the maid which she didn’t take and only would when we handed her the items. I left tips on my pillow which she knew were for her. My roommate left some coin pesos next to the TV and they were there for several days without problem. That said we didn’t leave electronics out – they were safely put in the safe to be cautious.
Restaurants and Bars: Food As we did last time, we had our breakfast out on the terrace each morning which was a nice touch. The French toast made of croissants is still my favourite. Other than the very last day when things were running unusually low there was always plenty of selection. On the last day they seemed to be running out of things without it being refilled. A few words from the manager to the staff had that quickly resolved. The biggest disappointment for me was that the Pizzeria was closed down. Last time that is where we had almost all our lunches. They had this roasted Chicken which is almost as good as Swiss Chalet, so it was a shame it was closed up! We tried the main buffet at the Naiboa, Taino and Bambu for lunch and found that the Bambu had the best selection with the Taino coming in second. There was nothing wrong with the lunch at the Naiboa buffet, it just didn’t have as big of a selection as the others (most people are at the beach so why waste the food!). Supper was always a different theme each night at the buffet so that was good. Supper times (in the winter) are at 6:30 and 8:30 PM. We also did the Italian a la carte and Steak House once. To book the a-la cartes, you need to talk to the Buffet manager during breakfast the day you want the a-la carte. Snacks – There was never a time when we couldn’t find something to eat. Between the Pool Bar, Beach Bar and Pizzeria food was served until at least 2 AM. We actually managed to find the 24 hour food at the Bambu this time – there is a building to the right of the 24 hour bar with hamburgers, hot dogs and fries. NOTE: Supper at the Buffet: There are 2 seating’s. On the day you arrive go to the Buffet Manager and book your seating for your stay. You are assigned a specific table for your stay. Men were able to wear shorts this year (last time it was pants) and a shirt with sleeves to be admitted. Bars There are several bars to visit should you wish to. There is the Pool bar, the Beach bar, Lobby Bar (at night), Bambu Bar, the Swim Up bar at the Taino and Bambu, plus many more we didn’t get to. Each bar we went to made good drinks.
Beach/Pools/Grounds: The Beach The beach was as clean as you can expect. You need to watch where you walk as smokers seemed to be just putting their butts out in the sand where ever they chose. Perhaps some ashtrays would help with this habit. We spent most mornings at the beach and moved to the pool in the afternoon. While you may have to move some chairs to where you want to sit, we never had a problem finding available ones. Pool We made us of the Naiboa pool and never got into any of the other ones we had access too as we were happy on the beach. The Naiboa’s pool is very nice and wasn’t too bad for chairs in the morning. If you spend the day at the Beach and want to move to the pool in the late afternoon you may have a hard time getting chairs as it was quite full by then.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Entertainment We made it to several shows. One was the Michael Jackson show – Foot work was awesome!! The song selection could be better but the movement was like watch the real deal. The other really good one was the Circus show – be sure to bring your camera! Each Thursday night is the Caraval Riu along Caribbean Street. They have bars set up along the street and have vendors in as well. Activities The Animation team had activities going on throughout the day. I didn’t partake in any but I did see them hold Stretching sessions, water volleyball, aqua-fitness and water polo plus a few “Crazy Games” to name a few. Trips The one trip we wanted to do and did do was the Zipline tour. It’s a half day excursion into the mountains (cost was $89US per person). The tour includes 11 lines with the longest being 900 meters long. It was a great time! I didn’t buy the picture they took of me but a couple others bought theirs and they turned out really well. I think the cost was about $15US for the picture. There are many Beach Vendors about a 20 minute up the beach (turn right when you walk onto the beach and follow it). We made a couple trips up there. What I did was look at the prices in the hotel and on Caribbean Street first to know what others were selling things for so I knew what to pay.
Other Comments: General Towards the end of our first week close to 300 students arrived. I thought they said they were with s-Trip but I couldn’t find any Riu property listed with them. Anyway, other than the first night they were there when they basically took over one of the bars we had no problems. They seemed to be respectful in the hallways to keep the noise down, etc. Also, as a result of the earthquake in Haiti, there is a Leave your Clothes campaign (more info and links are in the forums). The Riu’s are not participating in the campaign, however our Sunquest rep was aware of it and collected our donations and was making arrangements to have them dropped off for us. We had been advised before that the airport had a collection point, however we saw no sign of it or volunteers when we were leaving. Summary Given the many negative reviews on some sites for this hotel recently I was a bit concerned but we encountered no problems that others apparently had. We’d happily return this resort (perhaps upgrade to one of the newer hotels) and I have no problem recommending it to others. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at email@example.com, or send me a Message on Debbie’s Travel Forum, user name ‘bryan’.