Thomson Cruises Hotels
Extend your Thomson cruise by adding 7 nights pre or post cruise in one of their great value hotels. All transfers and rep service are included, and stays can feature before or after your cruise. Choose from options in Greece, Palma, Canary Islands, Egypt or even the Caribbean.
ClubHotel Riu Bambu, Bavaro ****+
The first thing you’ll notice about this place is its spectacular setting. Not only is the hotel cocooned by palm trees, but it’s pulled right up against a 14-mile sweep of sand. And as well as being prime chill-out territory, the beach is something of a watersports hub. Take your pick from the likes of windsurfing, sailing and kayaking.
As for the property itself, it’s just been given a huge makeover, so everything is modern and fresh. The bedrooms have been kitted out with sleek furniture and bigger TVs. Plus they all come with air-conditioning, minibars and RIU’s famous spirit dispensers. What’s more, 72 new family rooms have been added. Set on the ground floor and with enough space for five, they’re ideal if you’re here with kids or just want a little more space.
Elsewhere, you’ll find two new à la carte restaurants – an Asian and an Italian. There’s also a buffet eatery which serves pan-global spreads. Completing the hotel’s dining scene is a new sports bar open 24 hours.
Lastly, the pool scene has also been revamped. A sweeping Roman-style staircase leads into the main pool and, at one end, there’s a large, dome-topped swim-up bar. The second pool has been enlarged, and now has a scattering of in-water sunbeds. Palm-fringed lawns and a whirlpool bath provide the finishing touches.
Dreams La Romana, Bayahibe ****+
As settings go, you couldn’t ask for more – pale sand and ultramarine sea on one side and jungle-like greenery on the other.
The pool scene, meanwhile, has all kinds of special effects. Cue Dreams' signature inflatable iceberg climbing wall, ocean trampoline and bungee. That’s just for the kids, mind. But the brand new infinity pool and glamorous whirlpool bath provide fun for the grown-ups, too.
When it comes to food, it’s all about choice at this All Inclusive hotel. Alongside a well-stocked buffet, seven themed restaurants – including Italian, seafood, Asian and Mexican – jostle for your attention. And just for good measure, there’s a seaside grill as well. The Dreams La Romana also treats you to wine at lunch and dinner, as well as little extras like afternoon tea and midnight snacks.
Bedrooms are light and airy – cue lots of soft white cottons and muslins against cream or dark-wood furniture. Most come with two double beds as well as mini-fridges filled with soft drinks.
The spa deserves a special mention, too. The star turn has to be the jungle massage. Wind your way through the eco-walk, passing ponds filled with turtles and fish, to a wooden cabin over the water. Whether it's a couples’ massage or a solo treat, it’s an experience not to be missed.
Gran Bahia Principle La Romana,
La Romana ****+
Set in tropical countryside, this hotel feels quite secluded – but it’s not too far off the beaten track. In fact, you’re close to some of the south coast’s top attractions, like the artists' village of Altos de Chavon. Plus, it curls around the coastline, fronting a three-kilometre stretch of white sand and turquoise water beach.
The style here is laid-back luxury. Take the lobby for instance, with its polished floors, vaulted ceiling and plump sofas. And up in the bedrooms, the vibe continues. Heavy, dark-wood furniture stands out against cream walls and tiled floors. Comfy sofa-beds and armchairs add a homely touch, while in the bathroom you’ll find hydro-massage showers.
The best thing about this place, though, is the pool. It’s a massive curvy number set-up with water fountains, palm-topped islands and a swim-up bar. And nearby you’ll find a whirlpool bath and a splash pool for children. It’s all surrounded by a roomy terrace accessorised with loungers and thatched parasols.
Whether you opt for the main buffet restaurant or go for one of the Italian, seafood or fusion à la carte options, there’s plenty of choice. After dinner, head for Pueblo Principe, the hotels colourful strip of shops and bars. You’ll also find nightly entertainment here, ranging from merengue dancing to Caribbean-themed shows.
Riu Palace Macao, Bavaro *****
Palace by name and palatial by nature, the Riu Palace Macao brings a touch of colonial grandeur to the Platinum collection by way of elegant white turrets and balustrades. On the inside, meanwhile, dark-wood panelling, chandeliers and marble add a grace note of Victoriana.
Room-wise, expect more of the same. Decorated in a timeless combination of cream and gold, they're a taste of old England. Think carved dark-wood furniture, chintzy curtains and elegant wing chairs. And bringing things into the 21st century are mod-cons like satellite TVs and RIU's spirit dispensers.
Outside, the cruciform pool takes centre-stage in the hotel gardens. Dotted with fountains and statues of mermaids, it's framed by a spacious sun terrace. Palm trees, white canvas parasols and sun loungers complete the picture. And it all sits on the edge of Bavaro’s long white sandy beach.
As for restaurants, the hotel's got a great selection. There's an international buffet, Japanese, a steakhouse, an Italian and a fusion food restaurant. What's more, there are as many bars as there are restaurants, plus entertainment on tap at the casino and Copacabana amphitheatre.