I wanted to share pictures and a review of our resort with you – we ended up picking the Riu Bachata in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Riu is a Spanish chain, which we were new to. We spent a lot of time researching where to go and were confused and overwhelmed with choices. I thought that a review like ours may help other families find resorts suitable for thme, and so I’ve hopefully provided enough helpful information.
In the end we had to narrow it down to a location (We picked The Dominican Republic) and asked our agent to present resorts based on the location, distance to the airport and, our budget. The Dominican was chosen because the flight time was rather minimal – which was important considering it was Oscar’s first flight.
Below are my ratings of the features. The rating system is going on the base knowledge of what an all inclusive, destination resort offers you. It’s not the same as a five star / four star hotel in Toronto, so you kind of have to read the review.
Bedrooms: 6 / 10
Decent, clean, but a little sparse. Bathrooms ok – but shower didn’t get very hot and the bathtub wouldn’t likely be recommended for bathing.
Staff: 7 / 10
Pretty nice. Desk staff were less than helpful.
Pool 7 / 10
Large, lots of chairs although people claim them in the mornings and it’s sometimes hard to find a spot
Food: 5 / 10
I really disliked the food, and the food service times were less than desirable, or convenient when you are bringing a child.
Beach 8 / 10
Beautiful, but a bit rocky so bring sand shoes
Internet Service: 1 / 10
Only accessible in the lobby unless you pay extra. And only for 1 log in per 24 hours.
This was a pretty decent resort and the beach was lovely, however in retrospect it isn’t really catering to families. Although it’s welcoming of families, it’s not set up for childcare, or, special activities for young kids. The pools are playing loud music, and alcohol is pretty heavily pushed. We had neighbours that were young adults who were obviously without kids, and the partying was pretty loud in their rooms. (Which is totally fine, but when you have a young child, it adds to anxiety) The resort grounds were beautiful and well maintained. Unfortunately the food was less than desirable and there were few English speaking guests – which made it feel isolating at times. The internet was available to you for limited times, if you accessed it in the lobby. Which made it pretty awkward and annoying. In the end, if you’re travelling with older kids and are less concerned about meal times / picky eaters / loud music then this resort is really not too bad. The price point was reflective of what we got – it’s not super cheap but it wasn’t the most expensive choice either.
The hours of operation of the main restaurant I found frustrating when you’re trying to feed kids. But it’s all inclusive so I guess you have to take the good with the bad. The breakfast was always fine – it ended at 10am and it closed down until 1pm for lunch – which I thought was late for kids. (Oscar eats usually at noon) And then dinner wasn’t open until 6pm which I found awkward. There was a snack bar area that operated in between those hours but the food wasn’t super healthy or ideal for little ones.(French fries, hot dogs etc) I’ve preferred resorts where a snack bar operated 24 hours, which meant less scheduling around meals. They had “A-la-carte” restaurants which we didn’t go to, but I overheard other guests saying they were good.
Tip: Bring snacks from home to have at the resort if you have kids. It makes the break between lunch and dinner way better. (More on that in another post)
We booked a “Family Size” room. Our room was on the main floor – number 715 and the Building was Number 7. It was a nice location – although we could kind of hear the club / entertainment at the main lobby area at night – so had Oscar been much younger it may have been hard to get him to sleep. We ran the air conditioning and fan in the room which muffled the sound slightly, but if you have young kids maybe bring a sound machine.
- There was a small bistro table with two chairs in the room so we could eat in our room should we choose to bring food back from the buffet.
- The rooms were well maintained – though I wouldn’t call them luxurious
- They clean the rooms daily when you request it by putting a sign on your door
- A lot of closet space
- Mini Bar that they replenish with beer and bottled water for you
- If you’re the drinking kind, they have alcohol dispensers in the room
- Air Conditioning and a Fan
- Little porches off the rooms with chairs and a drying rack for your towels / clothes
- Extra pillows and blankets at the front desk
- The shower was kind of small, and awkward. The hot water wasn’t overly hot
- The tub wasn’t really bathing quality
- Beds weren’t all that comfortable.
- TV Channels are all in Spanish. If you have a little one and want some quiet downtime I’d suggest an iPad or other tablet loaded with movies. Personally I liked watching the Spanish Soaps in the afternoon. Had no idea what they were saying but it was quite dramatic. 😉
Our hotel room was 715 [See A above] which overlooked a grassy area, which was nice because you didn’t have walkby traffic. If I were to visit again, I would request the same room [Family Room] or, possibly the buildings 1 through 5 [See B] as it was quiet and 2 and two overlooked the Ocean.
Kind of rocky in some areas but the stretch of beach gives you some variation. It’s a public beach so you do have the occasional local vendors approaching you to sell you items / services although they are very respective of when you say no thank you and they don’t hassle you. I loved that at one end of the beach there is a lot of tree cover close to the water – which was great for if you had kids. You could be in the shade, hang your towel from the tree, and within seconds jump in the water. The beach is what would make me go back to this resort.
Aubrey and I were talking about our thoughts on the resort and I think he says it best when he said that it’s “As Advertised”. It’s pretty much exactly as they show you on their website. It’s a nice resort – well maintained, attentive staff. No surprises at all which is for me, a really great plus. Overall it was a nice trip. By the end I was feeling a little homesick in part because of the food, but also because we were in the minority – not many people spoke English as their first langage. Aubrey attributes to this to the fact that Riu is a Spanish chain and appeals more to Europe perhaps? It made making friends or small talk pretty hard. The main lobby is a little dated, but you don’t really hang out in the lobby so I didn’t see it as a negative. We may try another resort another time, but have no issues recommending this one as a great “As Advertised” place – with or, without kids.