Hello everyone! In this Throwback Thursday post, I want to share some pictures, video and a bit of our experience at the Catalonia Royal La Romana, in Bayahibe, Dominican Republic.
This resort is a small, recently-built (July 2017) boutique-style hotel with modern upscale finishes and lovely decor throughout. It is rated as a 5-star, adults-only property, located about 1 hr from the Punta Cana airport, and it sits just beside the Catalonia Gran Dominicus, which is a family resort.
The Catalonia Royal La Romana has only 117 rooms, divided into regular suites with a balcony or patio, swim-out suites with direct access to a pool, and 2-story penthouse suites with private rooftop pools. The Royal reception and buildings are located a short walk (or shuttle ride) away from the beach but offer a private area on the powdery white stretch of sand with comfortable loungers and Balinese beds, lots of beach huts (palapas), umbrellas and coconut trees for shade. The beach is beautiful and crystal-clear, with shallow calm waters and an absolutely gorgeous shade of turquoise. It’s possible to easily swim to an artificial reef very close to the shore and see plenty of fish and other sea life around. Also, the beach has west views and we enjoyed some beautiful sunsets!
Our “romance” room was large, clean and modern, nicely furnished and decorated with a very comfortable king-size bed, a sitting area with a small table, comfy chairs and a desk, a huge double sink and double rain showers, a patio and included swim-out access to the quiet pool. The all-inclusive package included 24-hour room service and minibar restocked daily with beverages and snacks. We were celebrating two birthdays (mine and hubby’s) and received special treats in our room on both dates. Very nice touch!
The Royal complex doesn’t have a dedicated buffet restaurant, but it has 5 a la carte restaurants for exclusive use of royal guests (Thalassa Mediterranean, Tao Cat Asian, BLoved Seafood, Toscana Italian and Siwichi Peruvian), plus the La Isla snack bar (by the main pool) and sushi served daily at the Beach Bar. On Sundays only, a buffet is offered at the Thalassa (above the lobby). All the a la cartes are open for dinner, and 2-3 are open for breakfast and lunch as well, no reservations needed. Royal guests can also access all the restaurants and amenities at the Catalonia Gran Dominicus, including the El Taino main buffet, additional a la carte restaurants (Rodeo Steakhouse, Yuca Caribbean, and Terrace Restaurant & Lounge), plus a Wood-oven pizza bar and a Creperie counter on their beach bar (with loooong lines). The Gran Dominicus amenities looked very much in need of some updating, especially when comparing to the Royal.
We appreciated the option and premium concept of being able to have all our meals a la carte, but while service was courteous, it was often somewhat distant and rushed, sometimes even a bit disappointing, and the meals would take a long time. As we don’t eat red meat and poultry (we are “pescatarians”), we usually only had a couple of suitable options on each menu.
A la carte dinners are great, but we love the beach and missed having the variety/practicality of a good buffet where we could quickly grab breakfast and/or lunch and not “lose” 1-1:30h of sun for each meal to eat a la carte. We tried the Dominicus buffet once for breakfast and once for lunch, but found it very limited on both occasions and did not return, resigning ourselves to the longer meal durations. Our favourite spot for a la carte breakfast was the Terrace Restaurant (available only to Royal and Dominicus Privilege guests), as service was a bit faster and the views from the oceanfront location can’t be beat.
Overall, the Catalonia Royal La Romana is beautiful, small and intimate, modern and comfortable. We loved the small size and elegant decor, the calm relaxing ambiance, and romantic touches. The beach is probably in the top 5 among resorts we’ve been to so far, and although we had a great stay, the dining options did not impress us enough to make us crave to go back to the same property again.
Ever been to this resort? Have questions or comments? Let us know in the comments below. 🙂