Review from Canadian - Travelled Sept 2021
Reviewed 11 September, 2021
So we came from Toronto.
This resort is mediocre at best.
We usually pay about $1500 for a week of all inclusive.
For this we paid $950 and that was a Privilege room. I would not pay a dime more. You get what you pay for. This resort is worth the $950-1000 mark. DO NOT PAY MORE or you will be extremely disappointed.
I will also note- We tip for service everywhere. Drinks and food service. I was appalled that I didn’t see hardly any other guests tipping all week. If someone is providing service they deserve a tip.
Note for management : it is VERY appreciated that masks are enforced in buffets and when getting bar service. Continue to encourage your staff to deny service to guests who aren’t masked. It’s a little thing and it really matters to keep us all safe.
Food: meh. Slim pickings. Edible. But not great. The a la Cartes are great. Eat at them as much as possible !!!!
Go to the restaurant by the beach and not the main buffet whenever possible for breakfast and lunch.
Neida at the beach side restaurant is amazing. Ensuing we have drinks promptly. The odd time she wasn’t there we couldn’t even get a coffee. We finished our breakfast before we could get service and all waiters were standing around ignoring everyone.
Pizza bar is amazing. And great service. Love that he wouldn’t serve guests without a mask.
But Neida at beach restaurant was amazing.
Bars: All bars had fast and great service. Raidon at the pool bar is spectacular !!!!
Rooms- we upgraded to privilege and was not disappointed. Clean. Nice. No complaints.
Grounds- well kept generally. Except the pool loungers and area was left disgusting daily. They have signs saying “cleaned and disinfected daily”. They aren’t. They were maybe cleaned twice this week. In fact. There was a dirty diaper by the pool chairs for over 48 hours. Gross.
Beach is lovely. No complaints.
Front desk- check in and check out as well as getting info is PAINFUL. it is a slow and terrible process. And it takes an hour to book your a la carte restaurants (an hour with like 3 people in front of you. It’s insane)
This was the worst. I’ve been to dozens of hotels and resorts and literally never seen anything so slow and disorganized.
Covid testing- pay attention if your Canadian.
The resort does a PCR test for you 3 days before your flight. If your flight is Saturday. You get your test taken on Wednesday. It is $80. And you go to the disco. Bring a copy of your passport. It takes 5-10 min.
Two days later go to the front desk and get your results. They give you the print out from the medical centre and your all set !!!!
Tests taken at hotel Wednesday. Results by Friday at noon.
Easy. Quick. Stress free. Great job with the covid test processes !!!!
Generally a good week. Keeping in mind you get what you pay for.
The only TRULY disappointing and upsetting thing happened on our last day, we went to the main buffet for lunch instead of beach restaurant (because we had to pick up COVID test results from the front desk.) We sat down and a nice lady brought us some beers. Great. Then as we ate a waiter named Pedro came over. Told us he was our server now and for service we would have to tip him $5.
We laughed, thought he was joking.
He never actually served us. We already had a drink and we got our own food.
When we left. We gave him $2 (just to be nice) and said thanks. He counted it in front of us and said to my husband “what?! Only $2?!”
We were appalled. If I was just starting my week I would not go back to the buffet because of him….we’ve been to maybe a dozen all inclusives and I have NEVER experienced that. Normally staff are so appreciative of the tips.
I think it stung the most because we had been like the only people here tipping everyone all week. So how dare he say that.
Anyways. Him doing that right there is why we won’t come back.
So go to the Catalonia. But don’t pay more than $1000. It’s not worth more.
Ps. The wifi is excellent !!!!
STANLEY BY THE POOL BAR !!! A+++++ 🙏🏽 🍹 🔥
Reviewed 9 September, 2021
Stanley from the pool bar by the pizza stop is an amazing person and treated us like family . He was so attentive to us. He made sure we had everything we needed always provided as drinks was very caring nice hospitable and he definitely made our stay at this resort over the top. Im glad Stanley is an employee of this spot. People like him always make trips much much better. we def had an amazing experience with him. In my opinion always get drinks by this bar next to the pizza because he will def take care of you. He seems like he loves his job. Thank you STANLEY, we appreciate you you - LA FAMILIA!!!!!!! Also hector was very nice as well.
They slipped at the end.
Reviewed 8 September, 2021
I'm pretty much ripping off the review I wrote on Booking.
THE GOOD STUFF
We had the privileged room, for two. The room is generally nice. It’s spacious, it has an unnecessarily big bed, reasonable space for luggages and provides decent quality amenities (sleepers and robe) but no pijamas. The bathroom was the real highlight and the thing I cared about the most. It’s very spacious like the pictures suggest. The amenities included shower cup, bath gel, shampoo and conditioner, as well as soap. The cleaning lady has been very generous with the refills. The bathroom felt clean.
The pool is very big and has two bars and a restaurant. Due to covid, they are currently not serving cocktails from the bar facing the inside of the pool.
The beach is cleaned and set up every morning. It doesn’t attract many people so there’s always space, especially in the privileged zone. It has two bars (one exclusive to the priviledged zone), one serving crepes as well. The sea only has small sections of it actually enjoyables, you’ll need to walk a long distance to get away from algaes and get to the small natural pools it contains, but it’s definitely worth it. In the privileged area you can order drinks from the staff directly and they’ll bring it to you.
The staff has been kind of a mixed bag. We’ve met some very friendly and helpful staff members such as the cleaning ladies, the woman that I’m assuming is at the head of the buffet service (Kenia), and Yohanan at the beach.
The buffet is reasonable. It could have been better but it’s not terrible either. Perfectly average.
The wifi in the room works really well. The wifi in the rest of the resort is present but not really consistent. It’s ok for messaging but not ideal for constant use, so forget about working with internet on the beach or having important calls. Given the nature of the place, the wifi coverage is perfectly acceptable.
As stated above, not all the staff members were consistently nice. The most egregious incident happened after I sent back a GinTonic I didn’t like (more on that later) to which the waitress, raising an eyebrow, replied “maybe you never had a gintonic before” with a patronizing attitude, which not only is stupidly wrong, but also kinda rude to do.
The alcohol served in this resort is, simply put, terrible. The Gin in particular is undrinkable. It has no smell and tastes kinda like anice, the first time I ordered it I legit thought it wasn’t even Gin. This resulted in me drinking WAY less than I would’ve done in normal circumstances, which I could even consider a good thing if it wasn't for the fact that I paid for it. White wine was also incredibly weird, I tried it once and never again. The bottle of “champagne” provided at the beginning of the vacation had virtually no gas inside (making it kinda hard to open) and had a really unusual and weird 2.5% alcohol content that are also indication of something being very off.
Despite being big, the pool is basically unserviceable because of how many people are inside. They all eat and drink inside the pool and the pool itself don’t have enough filters (and the ones that are there do not have any meaningful or observable suction power to drag the nastiness inside), resulting in a very dirty pool in which I didn’t even dared submerging my head. A real pity.
On top of the buffet, there are four restaurants in which guests can go. We tried the Japanese, Caribic and American Stakehouse restaurant, and we’ve been pretty much disappointed by all of them. The quality is kinda low, specifically in the sushi entry served at the japanese. I love sushi so I ate it anyway and enjoyed it, but it’s probably the shadiest and worst sushi I’ve ever had in my life.
The head of the bed was dirty. REAL DIRTY. Probably never been cleaned. I'll put a picture. Once I noticed I couldn't bear the idea of having my head so close to it.
THE WORST MISTAKE
I would have still given this place a 4/5 factoring in the price, however, during the last day, they served dessert indicating them as gluten free, while they were not. The sign was just missplaced. We luckily caught up on the mistake early on, but we already took a big bite, which for a celiac person resulted in a horror night and morning, we basically wasted our entire last day because of this incident. I can only imagine what would have happened if we just didn't questioned the sign at all and ate everything. The most egregious part of it is that the staff member quickly pointed out that "we ate it so it was our fault". This was an unprofessional behavior that kinda negates everything good we experienced in the resort.
Great time at this resort-detailed review
Reviewed 8 September, 2021
Stayed at this hotel 8/28-9/2/21, I was part of a group but my review is going to be mostly about my personal experience as I had a separate reservation, hence a separate room.
Check in: Check in was very slow, I was on line for 45 minutes with 3 parties ahead of me, once I got to the front desk check in took about 15-20 minutes. Front desk staff was very helpful and informative, he placed me in a room close to the rest of the group that came in 5 days earlier, he also set up my Covid test appointment at that time. I was then directed to the bellboy and he took me to my room in a cart, took my luggage up to the room and checked that my keys were working properly.
Room: room was a decent size albeit outdated it was clean, double beds, small sitting area with a smalll love seat, chair and table, small dresser /desk with a chair, a coffee maker with the fixings for tea and coffee, small tv, small fridge (which was refilled daily with soda, 2 small presidente beer cans and water. Bathroom had a whirlpool tub and shower stall and a sink with plenty of counter space, toiletries ( shampoo, conditioner and bath gel) replaced daily if needed. It had a good sized closet, a safe within the closet and 2 umbrellas. Rooms had a balcony with a Hammock ( my Hammock was missing) and the water and AC were working perfectly, the only issue I had was that the AC couldn't be adjusted but there was a blanket provided.
Pool: Big pool with plenty of lounge chairs but limited shade, there was a bar near the pool ( no swim up) and also a restaurant and a pizza place for snccking. cups were constantly being picked up by staff. Bar staff was friendly and efficient, My one complaint is that there are no lifeguards at the pool, this is a huge safety hazard and should be addressed asap.
Entertainment: Entertainment team was GREAT!! they were friendly and engaging but never forced you to participate. whether it was by the pool, beach or theater they were always out there to make sure we had a good time, shout out to the whole team, you guys are awesome. Nightly shows at the outdoor theater, except on Weds, they have a Beach party that was so much fun. After the show there would be entertainment at the back of the theater for about another hour and the bar stayed open until 12:00.
Beach: Spacious, plenty of palapas, a bar (crepes also serve here), volleyball net and non motorized water equipment. The one complaint I have is that there is only one life guard for the whole beach and when that lifeguard is off no one else watches the beach, it's concerning and that should be addressed.
Food and Drinks: I liked most of the food, there were some in my party that didn't but I didn't have an issue finding variety, there was a mix of American and Dominican food at the Buffet and I was happy with the selection, their only downfall is the desserts. They had 4 a la carte, I tried 3 of them and enjoyed all 3 ( Steakhouse, Hibachi and Italian). They had several bars I usually got drinks from the lobby bar and the bar next to the Hibachi restaurant, AI are notoriously known for having poor options as far as cocktails but those two bars had solid drinks (check out their menu) and also made great cappuccinos. The pool and Beach Bar drinks were ok.
Staff: Most staff was friendly, respectful and went out of their way to help you, I did have 2 instances at the buffet where no one came over to my table after I was seated to offer water or coffee, I flagged someone down and then they came over but that was after waiting about 15 minutes to see if anyone took the initiative. Housekeeping was great, cleaned up daily, replaced my towels and toiletries, no issues with missing items. Landscaping was beautiful and the resort was clean and I felt safe. Keep in mind locals come during the weekend and even thought most are nice, you do have a few that either forgot their home training or didn't get any and can be rude to fellow guests and staff, I am Dominican and was appalled by their behavior, had a couple of issues with 2 locals and nipped that real quick. staff does try to curve any misbehavior so I give them credit for that. One of my fellow travelers had an issue which was taken care of once she made a complaint and they were apologetic and made sure that we were well taken care of after the incident. Overall would stay here again.
Average Canadian with an Honest Review
Reviewed 7 September, 2021
Here we go ! First Trip in 1.5 years due to covid. Hoping the reason we feel this way is covid as we know others have come here with a positive experience. As I am trying to keep my reviews in line lets break it down.
Hotel Grounds: 3/5
Hotel Room: 4/5
Hotel Grounds: So much potential here, yet for some reason feels like it misses the mark. Might be due to age but finding ways to better maximize the space they own. Cant see the beach anywhere unless you are standing on it. Distance between rooms and main areas are significant only benefit are all the stores they put in to make things seem a little less far and between.
Hotel Room: not sure how to review this one but damn glad i upgraded to "privileged" I think this could have been 2 or 3 if we didn't. Privileged rooms are updated so def a different feel. Mind you first cockroach in 15 years of traveling so that almost dropped this further but its the Caribbean and bugs are going to happen.
Beach: Beautiful beach was so close to a 5 until you walk to either ends and see the seaweed and garbage. You can walk tye beach just dont leave the property ... trust.
Atmosphere: Another tough one as the guests have a huge impact. This is not an adults only which is odd for us but it wasn't the kids it was just everything else its zen at one point and chaotic at another never could get that common feeling all week. Covid adds that extra WTF come on 1.5 years and ppl cant figure out that masks go over the nose... or well on your face ? Little more attention from staff holding guest accountable goes a long way.
Pool: Started at 5 and progressively worked its way down. " cleaned" daily for sanitary reason. Day 1 yup .. day 2 yup .. day 3 why is there a diaper sitting there all day. Why am i cleaning up cigars and cigs. We def started sanitizing everything after day 3.
Food: Steak House and Italian are great... review done. All seriousness were still here and haven't had a night or morning where my gut hasn't hated me. Go to the pool buffet when you can stay the hell away from the main buffet at all costs they can't reheat pasta let alone make fish. Im trying to not let service impact this section but if im not getting my coffee until im done eating its hard not to let it. Outside stewed food nothing should be left to sit like we saw come on thats how you make ppl sick. We can also tell you are re using the food from yesterday hidden in foods of today IE cheese and meat that sat out yesterday for 12 hours re used for omelets. Also maybe self serve some functions dont make ppl wait 30 mins for drinks
Booze: ok take out the bartenders as they are freaking impeccable. Booze is meh cheap alcohol doesnt make for great drinks. We come from canada booze is expensive we get it but maybe dont cheap out here its all inclusive so lets be honest between that and food its why we are here. Also we were in town we can see the price difference .. step it up get some contracts and advertise for the bigger companies
Customer Service: The down fall of the resort for sure. Its tough as we know ppl that loved it here, is it COVID ? I dont know but it was bad.. like real bad. Day one we thought "well we got a good price dont complain" by day 2 we just couldn't anymore. 2+ hour check in... this is not a covid issue.. you had 3 staff at the front and only 1 checking in? Want to make dinner reservations get in line for an hour we only have 1 staff. Want coffee with breakfast we will have it to you by lunch (thats a bit of an exaggeration but still). I thought well staffing crisis.. until u start watching 5 staff sit there doing nothing. There are some hard workers here Neida from the pool buffet is the light at the end of a tunnel fire your management standing there doing nothing and replicate her over and over again. Between her and the Pool Bartenders thats the only reason there is a 1 and not a 0 as they were 5/5 proving its not COVID.
Overall: we got what we paid for is the best i can explain don't pay more then 1000 canadian ... i said it 1.5 years ago Riu is my bottom line and this has concreted that. Part of me wants to see what this hotel has to offer when it gets back to its peak just not sure im willing to give it another chance after this week maybe our last day will change that but its doubtful. Day one we saw the adults only portion thinking we should try it we are leaving saying not a chance
Hoping this review helps management make some much needed changes as the resort itself has huge potential