Overall a good resort for a family vacation!
Reviews du Barcelo Bavaro Palace
Overall it was very good! The resort is HUGE, the grounds were beautifully kept, one bigger pool split in two in the main section, where the restaurants are located, shops, casino, a bowling alley too. The adult section is to the left of the resort. There is a family areas around building 7 with a kids pool. There is a pirate ship and wave pool too, that I believe you get access to for 1 day if you have kids. The mini-putt is free until 6pm. There is a golf course and club house near building 8.
Room: We had a junior suite in building 3, on the top floor, with a jacuzzi on the terrace. We ended up with an ocean view which was a bonus! We had asked for a king bed but got two separate beds. We were offered to switch on day 2 but we would loose our ocean view so we said no. They filled the mini fridge with pop, water and beer on the daily. Changed the towels and the sheets every 3 days. Downsides: the tv didn't have many options on channels, and no guide option, the walk in shower didn't have a door to close, so water would splatter on the floor, there seems to never be a fan in the bathrooms down south which is annoying, and the safe had numbers that didn't work.
Food: there are two buffets, but both are next to each other which is odd to me, and they overlap on time so they open a door in between them and you can walk through, however both offer the same options. The hours were a little odd.. sometimes they were both closed so the only option open was the sports bar which was limited. The food was overall pretty decent. Service was slow, as in bringing water or drinks, and flipping tables between guests. We had reservations to the Steakhouse, the Seafood, Mediterranean, Mexican and Japanese restaurant. Japanese was the best! With the teppanyaki tables, the service and food was great. Seafood was disappointing. The Mediterranean restaurant is in the adult section and it was delicious. For lunch you can go there too, but if they catch you they will ask you for 5$ extra per person since it should be guests if the adults only.
Bars: not as many as we would have expected for such a big resort and the pool ones would close at 6. Service was a little slow. There is an adult pool/bar which had better service. It's smaller and they were quicker.
Beach was amazing! They section off where you can swim but it's not at all crowded given the size of the resort. Not too many weeds either. Some of our group did windsurfing and loved it. Others would walked for hours on either side of the resort. But when you get off the resort people will try and sell you things. There weren't any on the resort. We didn't really have to worry to get chairs… but the later you get to the beach the busier it gets.
Shows: The shows were at 10pm. They were fun, the circus one was the best. There was a Fantasy/Disney show one night, which was super cute for kids but also a 10pm showing. They should offer it during the day or earlier for the kids.
You get cards for towels that you trade in for towels and can exchange them. We would leave them on our chairs with our sunscreen and hats when went for a walk or to eat, and didn't have problems all week. However someone took our towels on the last day. We ended up having to go to reception and explain the situation because we didn't want to get charged 20$ per towel. They ended up giving us more cards but were adamant they would charge us if we lost those ones.
We rented cabanas for 15$ a day at the adult pool, highly recommended! Quiet and in the shade. And there are chairs too if you don't rent the cabana. Right next to the pool and bar.
I went to the spa and got a relaxation massage. If you book a spa appointment within your first 48h you get 40% off. So it was 84$ instead of 140$ for 50 mins. And you get access to their saunas and pool specifically for the spa for 1 hour before or after. Totally worth it!
We did the escape room as a group on site. It was 30$ per person which I found expensive. But we had a good time.
Some of the group took a taxi into town to buy wine and chips. Some went on excursions and said it went well and it was fun.
Some downsides… no room service included, except for coffee, or it was for a fee. We found that very odd. No snacks left in the rooms either or available elsewhere on the resort. Checkout was at 12 but we didn't leave until 6pm… which was fine, they kept our luggage in a locked room, but the facilities room they offered didn't have a hair dryer or plugs for a hair dryer, only 3 showers too and the lockers didn't work. Again… just odd. It's a very very big resorts, so lots of people and far to walk between buildings and restaurants. There is a little train service which was useful as our group was scattered between all the buildings. For a group we were expecting to be put closer together.