Arrival: Feb. 2008
Great Plane ride (though it was long) arrived to have our picture taken with some lovely ladies. Picked these pictures up on the way home...was a surprise but a lovely momento..Trip to the hotel was uneventful and check in was fine except our travel rep had not given us a hotel voucher (did not kow we needed one) I had every piece of Documentation and confirmation that we were indeed for this hotel...they were very pleasant but check in took longer that we had hoped...met several other couples who had similar issues so we had drinks together until this was resolved. Soon after we were taken to the Elite Cub (had not paid for such and were pleasantly surprised)
Room was lovely, as I said we had been upgraded by the hotel to the Elite CLub, had fruit delivered daily to the floor, and could step oout onto the lovely white sand immediately from ou building. The area was quiet and the staff was wonderful. made friends quickly with our maid and never wanted for anything...a smile really goes a long way. We had hot water issues..that resolved dependant on who wanted water in the building when...you just made the adjustment. There was always "sometime" when there was enough hot water for a shower...We never wanted for linen or ammenties...
Restaurants and Bars:
The Mexican resturant was lovely..we ate their on Valentines day and were presented with a rose for the ladies and a cigar for the men. Treated very well, the food was terrific and the service very prompt and friendly. The buffet was always had something for even the fussiest of guest..we had no worries for food. We of course found a favourite server(tip well) and we never wanted for a seat in a prime location...the bars terrific, never wanted for a stronger drink for sure!! The snack bar had awesome PIZZA but was only open at certain times on certain days...service was slow on the off days but someone always would look after you!
The beach is INCREDIBLE...we love to walk the beaches and really could go for das either way and never run out of white sand and lovely turquoise water...the beaches were clean, the pool was clean and slightly cool but felt wonderful after a day in the sun. We only had one evening of rain in our week...wonderful weather the rest of the time...the grounds were tidy, the gift shop was a bit pricey but really...shop at the markets if you want a deal...the staff at the shop were terrific and converted our money quickly ( I think they did euro as the US dollar was quite low) Being Canadian this did not really bother us as our dollar was higher than usual!! They took our travellers cheques with a passport number on them...
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Hopping at the market a few hundred yards down the street was wonderful...way less pricey than on the beach and many "free" gifts thrown in. We did a Catamaran tour, had a blast and enjoyed the sea, good booze and a wonderful tour guide.
All in all the service was terrific the weather impeccable, the staff great, the food good and the beach to die for...what more could you want!! We would go back...been several places over the last few years and would go back to Punta Cana in a heart beat...a tent on the beach would be sufficient!! If you did not enjoy this place I would say you are fussy!!
Barcelo Dominican Beach
Rod and Rachel Canada
We have been to PC over 20 times, this was our 3rd stay at this Barcelo Dominicana,.we arrived September 21st for 2 weeks.
We had sent an email requesting an ocean view romm, at check in we were pleasantly surprised to get a room directly on the ocean on the 2nd floor.
Barcelo has now taken over the Management of this resort and made a few changes since our last visit in 2006.
At the main pool you will now find a large hut where all the Tour operator agents and books are located, also you can book all your tours and an internet café is located close by. We found this free up a lot of traffic from the reception area.
They also added a Coffee house that offered a variety of coffees our favourites was the Cappuccino. They also serve some very nice dessert that you will not find anywhere else in the resort such as the buffet or the Alacarte, the cheese cake was delicious. The décor was very nice – many sat inside and smoked cigars while sipping their Expressos’ or you can find a place outside on the patio if you are a non smoker.
A Sports bar was also added - it has a pool table with large screen TV we did a brief visit of the place with all glass windows and has the Air conditioning on – we found it nicer to seat outside and enjoy the Caribbean evening. We might have stayed had their have been some special sporting event.
We also enjoy the smooth jazz music played through speakers placed in the gardens by the walkway paths throughout the resort..
Like I said we had a beautiful room in Building 6 and a stone throw away from the ocean, the view was superb.
We had a nice comfortable king size bed, coffee machine and the mini fridge was refilled almost every day with water, coke, sprite and Presidente beer in cans.
One night around 2 a.m. when going to the washroom we found a poodle of water on the floor in the bathroom, we called the front desk and 10 minutes later, a gentlemen arrived and removed tiles from the ceiling and drained the excess water. He told us it was a build up of water from the air conditioning. For the remainder of the vacation we had a small drip on the counter, which we just wiped up - not a big problem.
We had brought our laptop, we purchased the wifi $49.95 per week. I know…. who needs the internet on Vacation? But I have to say it was nice in the morning sipping our coffee on our balcony with a magnificent view of the ocean. Was also the easiest way of contacting some friends on the island and staying on top here on Debbies. The connection was good and strong we always had 4 bars of Wifi.
The buffet was the typical variety found at most buffets you can always find something.
Breakfast: your choice of eggs, bacon, ham, mashed yucca, potatoes, lot’s of breads, pancakes, muffins, yogurt, fresh fruit and a Smootie bar with 4 kinds of juice, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple and banana they were all good. They served bacon every day, some days the bacon was better than others.
We always had lunch at the pool bar and the French fries were nice and crispy when they were just brought out. We made friends with the staff and had excellent service at all the bars and food establishments.
We ate at the ALAcartes the entire first week. The ALAcartes were all good our preference was the Mexican and 2nd was the Italian. At the Mexican we ordered the Fajitas and the Burrito Rey – the were very good. We really enjoy the buffet at the Mexican you have to be careful as you can fill up before your meal arrives. They also served good Margueritas’ as so was their refried beans….they offered a large pot of it at the buffet where you can also prepare your own Tacos. We always tipped according to service and we left the equivalent of 10 percent of the price of an equal meal here in Canada.
They have 3 large tables where 12 people can sit with one cook at each station who prepared the food in synch with each other. Was entertaining and the food was good. They do a good job and try their best to make you feel like being at a genuine Japanese restaurant. The staff made the atmosphere pleasing.
We visited the Italian 3 times and ordered the chicken with a light lemon sauce and was good, my husband ordered the Filet mignon with grape sauce and also enjoyed it.
We preferred the white Wine over the red Wine served with the diners.
We never made it to the Brazilian and the menu is for meat lovers….
We really like this medium size resort everything is easily accessed. There is a bank machine just outside the resort and please read the screen b/c you have to put your card in once - then the cards gets pushed out - you then can do your regular transaction. One person did not read the screen and kept on putting his card in and on the 3rd try the machine kept his card which caused him a lot of hassles.
We usually take the bus (guagua) right outside the resort and take a trip to the Plaza Bavaro which costs 35 Pesos or 1US$ each. When you get on the bus just tell the person Plaza Bavaro and they will make sure you get off at the right place. We always stop in @ Steve’s bar for a nice cold beer, meet up with friends and enjoy some of the local culture.
During this time of year the resorts offer a weekend vacation @ special rates to the neighbouring people from the Island, the hotel did fill up quite a bit from Friday to late afternoon on Sunday. This offer starts from June till mid October we were told. The staff did their best to accommodate everyone equally.
Seeing we go to Punta Cana 2 or more times per year, we choose to stay at cheaper but yet very satisfactory place.
This resort is good value for the money and we will go back when the price is right.
Overall we had a great vacation with no complaints.
Barcelo Dominican Beach
Chantale & George
April 17-24/08 This was our first time traveling to DR. We expected 3rd world country amenities, but this resort is not worthy of the 4 star ratings. The beach was "AAA" with alot of lounge chairs, but you had to get up very early to get any shade under the few umbrella's provided.I found the vendor's to be very aggressive, the hotel gift shop was all in Euro$ and over priced. The meat at the buffet and the Bahalia rest. was always over cooked, and there was fly's landing on the food (which no did anything about). The japanese rest. over salted all the food, and everone who ate there had diarrhea for days.(bring your own Immodim). The Italian and Spanish rest. were top notch (highly recommended) but need reservations and dress code.
The saftey deposit box keys were magnetic and worked on different boxes in different buildings (satey issue here!) And when given the paper for one with a $20.00 US deposit, you must have that paper and key to get your money back. Guest services were non-existant, and the woman made you feel like you were bothering her.She never made an attempt to help me at all, I had to find a manager and get upset in order to get anything done.
Maid service was terrible, never any hand towels, face cloth's, bath mat's and our fridge was never stocked with refreshments. We did have a coffee maker but never had coffee, sugar, cups, stir sticks, and the glasses were rinsed and put on the bathroom counter (YUK!!) After the rooms were cleaned our patio doors were left unlocked and the main door could be opened with a push (you had to slam it in order for it to lock).
The beds were very old matresses which sunk down in the middle, so the very next day we were upgraded with a better room (though it did take some time and effort on my part). All our phone calls were transfered but never answered at the other end.(I let it ring at least 2 min.) I had to go to reception to get anything done.
We didn't mind the lack of hot water, but I got burned the day the cold water cut out without warning!
I found that most people were kind and friendly, but couldn't speak english, my french went a long way as that was better understood.I had one serious incident with a male staff member who aggressively made sexual advances even when I showed him my ring finger and pushed him away saying"go away" in spanish.(My husband was in the washroom). When we left the restaurant and went around to the snack bar, he came looking for me while I was glued to my husband in fright.We later got his name and complained, nothing has been done so far to my knowledge, regarding this unwanted sexual harassment.
I don't mean to sound so negative here, we did enjoy ourselves and the grounds and beaches were well maintained. And the coffee was out of this world "perfect". But this resort was over priced for the lack of services and supplies.
We are a Canadian couple in our early 40's, and have some experience in traveling abroad. But we won't go back to the Dominican Repuplic. Thanks for letting me vent,
Barcelo Dominican Beach
Chris Ottawa, ON
First impressions: My girlfriend and I stayed at this resort in early April, we are 23 and 27 respectively. This was her first time traveling but my second, I've previously been to Cuba. We flew with Sunwing, the flight went smoothly, and were offered champagne and breakfast on the plane. The resort is only 20 minutes from the airport, which is great. Although we arrived around noon, and check-in is only at 3pm. We were given our bracelets to access the grounds, buffet and bars right away, so it was good. (Pack your swimsuits in your carry-on). After 3, we got our room, we were in building 98. This is at the back of the resort, we were disapointed by the view of a perimeter wall off our balcony. Upon meeting the Sunwing rep next morning, we were told to return after 3 to change rooms. When we did, we met Pedro at the front desk, he was extremely helpful, walked to our room, helped with our luggage, we gave him redbull which made him happy. After verifying the system, he put us in building 91. To our surprise, he gave us a Junior Suite with Jacuzzi and King bed and a balcony with a garden view! It was perfect! The television had satellite channels and the A/C worked great. As for hot water, we had no issues... Depends on the time of day you go. I don’t get people who complain about medium temperature water, why would you want a hot shower when you have been sweating all day and have a sunburn. As for the toilette, hold the leaver a little longer next time, it always worked if you were patient! Thanks again Pedro!
Restaurants: The buffet is fairly standard. Good food, always great pasta for those afraid to venture to different cuisine, hamburgers, the chicken was great, so was the cheese and fruits. Breakfast had fresh eggs and omelettes, and fresh crepes. Always found something good to eat. We tried the Japanese and Mexican. Though there are good reviews of the Japanese, I found it dull. I love Asian cuisine, and this was typical rice, veggies, chicken, beef and seafood stir-fry. The cooks are great, but food lacked taste (but all the meat is fresh). As for the Mexican, usually people aren't impressed, but I loved the flavors in the food, I thought it was great! And finally the coffee shop, two thumbs up! We were there every night after dinner for a frappucino and Cheesecake!
Bars: There is always an open bar! They aren't shy on the rhum. The beer (Presidente) I found great, it's like a pale ale. Always tasted refreshing. Some of the other special drinks were good too, the lobby bar seemed to mix the best cocktails. And if you ask, they will serve you a better amber rhum then the basic Barcelo Rhum.
Beach and Pools: Beach was amazing, better then Cuba. Sure there are some weeds, they don’t clean it like a 5-star resort, but that’s why you paid for a 4-star so stop complaining :p The water was always warm, clear and blue! No corals on the beach, so your feet are safe. And we always found a lounge chair, even when the resort was at it’s peak after mid-week. The pools were great, prefect temperature. There are 3, one is in the back, and very quiet if you prefer that. The swim-up bar was fun too.
Tours: We did the buggy tour with Extreme Adventures. It was quite fun! You get to see the REAL Dominican culture, and the poverty. It’s a good culture shock. They take you to a coffee farm and a fresh water cave where you can swim if you dare, I did. Then to a beach and back. It was a good afternoon. We had a blast! We also did the Marinarium tour. I’ve snorkeled reefs before, and this tour was fun! Entertainment on the catamaran, snorkel the reef, then into a compound to swim with Nurse Shark and Rays. I loved it. Then you get on the boat, go for a ride and swim in the ocean. Drinks are all included, so is a light sandwich snack. I also went Deep Sea fishing, but thought it was the biggest waste of time and money. 4 hours caught us 1 barracuda. Plus the driver was late, they dropped us at the wrong boat, argh... Honestly, I wouldn’t do that again.
Conclusion: I’m comparing this to a 4-star in Santa Lucia Cuba, and this beats it in every aspect. Yet I still heard complaints from people there. Yes sure some of the workers don’t smile, and some don’t speak good English, but if you put on a smile, they will try! I even got a bartender to make me a Canadian drink, though he barely spoke English. He actually enjoyed it and learnt how to say “polar bear” during the process (name of the drink)! It’s all in how you make your vacation fun. The complaints I read here before and heard there are details. Remember, you are in a third world country, if you expect the amenities of Canada of the USA, stay home! A friend was at a 5-star down the beach (Bavaro Princess), the rooms were nice there but they had a 15 minute walk to the beach across the sewer plant that smelled horrible. In my opinion, though I might not of gotten all the same services as he did, I’d rather return to the Barcelo and use the extra $500 he spent on doing excursions any day!<
Barcelo Dominican Beach
This was our second trip to PC, after staying at the Ocean Blue/ Sands in 2006 (love that resort!). We initially chose the Barcelo because Air Canada Vacations was offering the week for $825 pp + tax from Edmonton with a direct flight, not even stopping over in PP. This price was fully $300 cheaper than any other package during our spring break week. The reviews for this hotel were quite mixed, but how can you not be happy just being in PC? We flew in a 767 and it seemed to offer somewhat more room than Air Transat or Skyservice. Check-in was quick; we had emailed and asked for two adjoining rooms, but these are not available. We were given two rooms fairly close together in Block 100. This resort is massive, and if you are planning to stay here, you should look at the building map and decide what location suits you. Block 100 was tucked in the farthest corner from the beach. We asked to be moved closer and off of the ground floor and were accommodated the next day, now in Block 7. This turned out to be a good location, as it was close to the beach and beside a second pool on the border of the resort that was never crowded during the first part of our stay. It was possible to get loungers in the shade in midafternoon, until the latter part of the week when the resort filled up. Rooms are indeed very basic, feather beds on saggy mattresses, weak plumbing, poor TV reception, no clock. Mini-bar stocked with Brahma canned beer (Brazil), water and bottled Coke and Sprite. Beach is excellent with lots of loungers and shade, two beach bars, standard water sports. Ala carte restaurants are all good; tried the Bahia grill, which is the beach buffet during the day; they bring a selection of roasted meats on skewers and carve off what you want; also tried Mexican (so-so), Japanese (good), Italian (good), and Spanish (good). Main buffet is so-so, limited selection compared to other places I’ve been, liked the fish and chicken. Snack bar at quiet pool offers hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza, buns were always crusty and hard. Coffeebar is good for an ice-cap break during the day and was a required stop for and Irish coffee following dinner. Animacion shows were alright; same troupe of performers every night trying hard but not as polished and professional as other places. Most staff are friendly and helpful; hit or miss at reception where certain individuals were not able to provide assistance with obtaining a safe key or replacing a torn wristband. Bars were okay; premium liquor was available for a surcharge, beer was from Presidente taps but varied in quality from bar to bar. In summary, this is an average resort that would struggle to deserve its four star rating, but is certainly very adequate depending on the price paid.
Barcelo Dominican Beach
My wife and I stayed at this resort from Oct. 21 til Oct. 28 2007 . Yes some things weren't perfect , noisy a.c. in our room , and a toilet that didn't always want to flush , but generally we found everything else to be very nice . Great food : the only a la carte we missed was the Italian . The buffet was pretty good , no complaints , great assortment and selection . We met a waiter in the buffet named Mario , who liked to joke that his name was Super Mario , I want to take the time to recommend him highly , as he made sure that my wife and I were looked after . We took a couple of side trips : the outback safari , and deep sea fishing , the safari is highly recommended , the fishing went well , but the ocean was very rough the day we went out , 20-25ft. swells. Over all , when everything was said and done , if you were to ask us if we would return , yes , we would .
Barcelo Dominican Beach
I have traveled extensively and have stayed at resorts ranging from 3* to 5*. The Barcelo Dominican Beach is rated a 4* resort and I believe this rating is suitable to this resort. Please see summary below:
Check-In: The line-up was quite long but the check-in process was very quick and our luggage was brought to our room immediately.
Room: Our room was in Villa 91 and it was great. Our fridge was stocked with beer, coke, sprite and water. It was replenished daily. We had a very nice view of the main pool from our balcony.
Pools: Nice, clean, plenty of chairs, swim-up bar.
Beach: Absolutely beautiful and a lot of activities to keep you busy if you desire.
Grounds: Very lush, well-kept, nicely manicured and clean.
Food: Excellent and a great variety to choose from. We loved the buffet restaurant and received amazing service. We found plenty of food to choose from and we have no complaints whatsoever. We ate at the pizza place a couple times and although we usually had to wait approximately 10-15 minutes for pizza, it was well worth the wait. We only ate at one a la carte restaurant (Italian) and it was just wonderful. There is a café on the resort opened from 10 a.m. til midnight and the lattes were just great – they served wonderful desserts also.
Bars: Once again, great.
We are two females (27 & 38). We would highly recommend this resort to young singles, families and those looking for a lively resort. The service we received from everyone (front desk, bartenders, waiters/waitresses, maids) was top notch. We find if you treat the staff well you will get treated well in return. As they say ‘you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.’ We would definitely return to this resort once again.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Betty Campbellford, On
To begin, this was our first visit to The Dominican Republic.
We arrived approximately midnight on Jan. 13th.
We finally were registered and proceeded to find our room which was difficult as the directions were very poor.
Upon entering our room we used the toilet and it would not flush. Discovered the valve was shut off and when we turned it on water gushed all over the floor.
Went back to desk and reported the problem, had a drink with our partners and went back to room, no one had been to repair the toilet. Again back to the desk and he promised someone would be there immediately.
My husband went back to the room to await their arrival, I talked to our party for awhile and then went to the room. No one had been yet to repair toilet so back down to the lobby again, I must say a little irate by this time and very tired, finally a man came and tried to replace a tube from the toilet (which had nothing to do with the problem) and his final trip to our room was after 2:00 a.m. and problem was not solved. Every time we flushed the toilet water leaked all over the floor so had to throw down towels to soak it up.
Went to Signature orientation in the morning and rep. was very nice, took down all our complaints e.g. lack of towels, no washcloths, no plug for sink, only one chair on balcony.
All things were taken care of within the next day with the exception of the toilet and that took three days before it was repaired. The number of towels left in the room became smaller each day, had to go searching for toilet tissue. Wall safe was not fastened to wall and when we paid a deposit of $20.00 U.S. discovered that there were no tumblers so would not lock. When we returned the key for a refund they told us that the safes were being replaced but of course this did not do us any good and I believe we were very lucky as some of our group had jeans, bras etc. stolen from their rooms.
We were there to attend the wedding of our great niece which was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on the 16th at the beach. We were all there in anticipation of this wonderful wedding but the official that was to marry them did not arrive until 7:00 p.m. By this time it was dark and no video of the wedding could be taken, it was all very sad and our hearts went our to these two nice kids who had planned a lovely wedding and then have it ruined by incompetence.
Every room that was occupied by any of our party had some problems, one room the ceiling was falling down, they finally got moved to a different room and the hotel just put some other couple in that room.
Had to be the worst run resort I have ever been in and no one seems to give a tinkers damn if you were happy or not.
This was not a cheap trip and our expectations were quite high but if this is a 3 star hotel I'd hate to see anything lower, as far as I'm concerned it should only be rated at a 1 if there is such a rating and then I think that's a little high
To finish this long list of complaints, here are a few more - Frig kept things cool not cold, was stocked with water, pop, beer (no opener) and as you used it, the maid was to replace it (never happened).
TV. did not work, was advertised as satellite/cable but would not even turn on.
I would never return to the D.R. and that's probably a shame as from what I hear from friends who visit all the time it is quite beautiful and they love it.
Thank you for letting me vent my disappointment.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Where do I begin? The rooms, although air conditioned are damp. Cool but damp, with that marvelous musty odor. In a room with 2 double beds, you get 2 threadbare small bath towels, 2 hand and wash cloths. Oh, and only the bath towels were replaced. Despite numerous calls to the front desk, we never again received hand towels or wash cloths. The plumbing is falling apart, but functional. The floors are greasy, must be whatever cleaner they possibly occasionally use. The refrigerator in the room is supposed to be stocked with soda and beer, but you don't get beer if you don't personally grab your maid and ask for it. The bottles are the kinds that use a bottle opener, and one wasn't supplied. When I asked about it at the front desk, I was told that they didn't have enough, sorry. We wound up BUYING one at the gift shop.
A good portion of the umbrellas around the pool don't have the necessary "peg" to stay open. No one opens them for you. You're on your own. Pool towels can only be exchanged at very particular times. You may return them in the evening, and receive "towel cards" and can use the towel cards during the day to get dry ones. Unfortunately, no one told us this until we were caught in a sun shower during the day, and they wouldn't exchange towels for us.
The food at the buffets is inedible with the exception of great bread and good strong Dominican coffee. Foods are greasy and fatty and overcooked to the point of gumminess and cardboard. Desserts are beautiful, but just sweet, with little flavor. The specialty restaurants, which require reservations and which are nearly impossible to get, serve decent food. Not good, not great, just decent, with the exception of the seafood specialty restaurant and which cost an additional $40 per person plus gratuity that served a beautifully grilled Caribbean lobster and other shellfish. (we were the only ones who chose to partake the night we were there, probably due to the extra cost.)
On the plus side, there was constant beach activity, games, contests, volleyball and soccer. No other real activities such as arts and crafts or other specialty interest items unless you go on an excursion. There was a nice boating trip, but it was $100 per person, and about 90 minutes each way by a cramped van that stops at multiple hotels to the boat. So it was 3 hours in travel time for a 4 hour boat trip. The trip itself was quite nice, but far from worth $100, especially considering the long commute.
We have stayed in the Dominican Republic before (in Romana) and were used to a decent percentage of English speaking workers. Here, they acted like it, then you realized afterwards they had no idea what you were saying. They also said "yes, yes" a lot, then ignored you.
A totally frustrating trip. NEVER, NEVER to return. Unfortunately for them it also means I will never try any other Barcelo resorts.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Hi there Debbie,
This was our second time at this resort. We stayed at Ocean Bavaro January 06.
To be honest with you I was quite dissapointed although we had a great week with Sunny weather everyday and lots of Rest and Relaxation. We brought another couple with us that have never been out of Canada before.
The welcome was not really welcoming as we finally arrived at 2:50pm on Monday afternoon. There were just the 4 of us arriving at this time!
There was NO welcome drink like there was on our first trip. The rooms were not ready (We were told to come back in an hour) We went and had something to eat and walked around the resort a bit and then came back. We finally got into our rooms I would say by 5PM. So we were kind of dissapointed as we were told by 3. We were given rooms on the main floor in villa 97. We were not impressed as this was the furthest away from the beach and pool area and wanted top floor! (I had already been corresponding with Guest relations before we had left on vacation several times in regards to being REPEAT GUESTS and wanted top floor by pool or beach if possible. I went immediately down to reception and asked for top floor like told we could have. Asked to speak to Anglela and was told that she was not working that day! I didn't find them very helpful or happy ........ We were told that they were maxed out wiht vacationers and they could not honor our request! YA OK.......not true at all! When we were here 2 years ago it was packed.............lots of HAPPY vacationers.......NOT this time...........the resort was not full at all............pools were very quiet, maybe 20 people around pool and beach half full! It think the word is getting around about this resort!
I was told by reception to come back in morning and they would try to move us. I am NOT a complainer at all and didn't want to spoil our vacation by not being HAPPY! I went down next morning early and we did get moved to floor higher in same villa. We put up with it at least we were on higher floor. We were kept awake quite late at night due to the entertainement and bar scene right outside of our room!
Rooms were same as before............basic, although they took all coffee makers out of rooms....which I didn't like as I enjoy getting up making coffee and sitting on veranda.
Bathroom ceiling leaked I think from air conditioner so we didn't use.
Beds have new pillow top mattress on top of old mattress.................quite difficult to adjust to as they were quite lumpy.
Buffet restarants.............Breakfast was the best.
Eggs, sausages, bacon, potatoes, omlettes, beans, lots and lots of fresh bread and buns to toast etc, pancakes, french toast etc etc........... Could find something quite easily to eat here. Lots of fruit and yogurt also.
Lunch and dinner we were disappointed in as the variety was nil!
Don't get me wrong we both came home gaining some pounds as we ate alot of potatoes, pasta, rice,breads. LOL
alot of fish here this time, not much chicken, beef like last time.
Snack bar was our lunch everyday after we had checked out menu at buffet. Snack bar has hamburgers, ask for well done!, hot dogs were very good, pizza........ lunch buffet was next to this and we would get our fresh fruit for dessert.
OK talk about desserts!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOW they sure know how to make them............all sorts.
So Im sure this is where we got a few pounds from also.
The music at pool bar was repetetive..........one day we heard one song 10 times!
The staff really do not seem happy! They were not getting tipped be cause of this. They were very rude and it was like everyone was bothering them.
Im not quite sure what is going on here at this resort but there wasn't a sence of team work at all this time.
We got our hair braided............My girlfriend had her whole head done for 65.00 US......past her shoulders length, Mine to shoulders.........had half my hair done with elastic braids for 35.00.
The ladies were quite friendly and we gave them gifts for their children and also a tip!
The beach was very pretty as we remembered it and clean. Like I said alot of empty chairs though.
They had entertainemnt going on at 2 different places in the evening. We went one night and really enjoyed it.
The staff at the dinner buffet were very helpful and seemed happy. They were very busy keeping customers happy. They were constantly playing with the little children etc.
We always tipped Rapheal as he would spot us and seat us and look after us all night long!
There seemed to be along management around resort with clipboards etc...........trying to improve.
We had heard that Ocean Bavaro/Ocean Cana had let the resort run down before Barcelo stepped in to take over but to be honest it looked no different!
We have been here twice now and WOULDN"T go back.
We went back thinking that it was a good resort to take friends to that have never been out of country but we were wrong.............
We got what we wanted lots of SUN, and R & R!
If anyone has any questions please feel free to PM me.
By the was we are in our early 40's.
I will be writing Barcelo Dominican a email in regards to our vacation.........I will let you know how we make out......
Happy Vacationing :) deeprivergirl2
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
I am going to start off we travel every year and stay at all different * resorts in different countries. We are not fussy people what we look for is clean, good air conditioning, decent food, everything after that is a bonus so when I do have a complaint it is justified. We believe you can break a holiday quickly by complaining so we just let things slide and enjoy ourselves.
Check-in was long and we only had two families get off our bus. 1 1/2 hour later we did get a room, with the maintenance man fixing our patio door. We arrived after 5 pm so that wasn't the problem they just told us to sit and wait so we sat at the lobby bar until they found rooms for us.
Room was clean and decent, bathroom had mold on the shower curtain and on the shower wall. Oh well the air conditioner worked great. My sons room had mold also and water leaked from light fixture in bathroom he had problems with his patio door but didn't bother maintenance with it. We couldn't get a key for the room safe for three days this was an annoyance because we carried our money and passports with us and that isn't safe also. They don't have enough keys for the amount of room safes so we had to check back every day until they had some. Same with remote controls(no big deal for us) The Barceló is still getting things done when we were there we were the first ones with new pillow tops on our mattress it was wonderful. They also were changing furniture. I loved the fridge and left notes for the maids what we wanted in our fridge (beer, water and diet coke) they had it right all week. No face cloths or clocks( not a big deal for us but some people were very upset) Towels were a hit and miss thing sometimes we got them when they cleaned the rooms sometimes later in the evening sometimes we were lucky to get a bath towel (yes we did tip)
Beach- nicely kept up and lots of lounges. Punta cana has wonderful water and sand.
pools- nice clean lots of chairs
Grounds- Again Barceló was adding more flower beds, painting and cleaning the ponds. Very nice.
Food- Ok like I said we like decent food our first night at the buffet the choices were lamb, blood sausage and pork trotters(yes pig feet) the sauce for the pasta was a fish base. So I did have salad and the cream sauce for pasta. My son and husband would have liked meat. Every night I checked the buffet one night it was a hamburger bar. I don't mind a hamburger for lunch but not for supper. One night it was seafood and they BBQ lobster, the one I had was great my husbands wasn't cooked long enough. Watch all your meat lots of the hamburger is not cooked thoroughly same with chicken. But the a la carte restaurants were great we ate at all of them and all four of us had only good things to say. In the morning for breakfast we always had trouble trying to get coffee and water you can't help yourself you have to have an employee help you. The pizza snack bar the workers were great and the pizzas good. We loved the coffee house and their desserts were great. My son and girl friend loved the sports bar and met lots of the bar tenders he had a great time in there.
Bars all were good.
This is the forth time to the Dominican our second to Punta Cana and I think the Barceló will be a wonderful place in a few months when they get it back to there standards. We have always loved the Dominican people and found them friendly but not so at this resort it could have to do with them changing over and some people were loosing there jobs for Barceló people. Don't get me wrong we met some wonderful friendly people but not as many as we usually do at a resort. Lots of time I felt like I was bothering them going to the buffet or getting drinks.
I wouldn't recommend this resort to friends and family because of the buffet but I really do believe it will get better. We talked to just about all the English speaking people there and they did feel the same way about the food and the unfriendliness. I would go back if the price was right because I really do think it will get better.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Just returned from Barcelo Dominican Beach on Dec 2, 2007. Spent a wonderful week. Airport reception amazing compared to Cuba which we have gone to about 15 times over the last 3 years. Stayed at 4.5 and 5 stars.
I loved the resort. The grounds were beautiful. Our room in Block 5 was clean and everything worked perfectly. We had a great view of the ocean. The beach party was a bit loud!
The beach and sand were beautiful. The ocean water was amazing. Warm and sandy. A bit of seaweed by the shore but nothing serious. The beach bar was excellent!
The buffet was very good. The food was fresh and beautifully presented. Didn't care for the a la cartes which are usually our favourite part. Cannelloni at Italian was very good. Left the other a la cartes before the meal ended. They were not good. We were happy at the buffet so we made do.
The shows were like most resorts. The lobby was entertaining. Really enjoyed being able to go to the Cafe and Sports bars which were in different buildings. Music played throughout the grounds. The internet building was nice but very expensive as you had to pay for time whether you used it or not. You could not purchase time and save minutes for another time. It got expensive to keep in touch with home.
I would highly recommend this resort. We got a great price and were definitely pleased. After having read some of the reviews before we left we were nervous. Would go back for sure!
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Fr. Wilfredo USA
Just got back from Ocean Bavaro and here is my review of the resort: Poor!
I was there with my mom from July 23rd, 2007 through July 30th, 2007. To begin, checkin was at 3PM. We arrived at noon so the excellent Applevacations Rep. told us to just relax and get to know the resort and have lunch at the Palma Real Buffet Restaurant right behind him while the room gets ready. I strongly recommend that folks go through Applevacations because their presence made all the difference in the world. We had VIP checkin and it was personalized. We didn't have to go to the Front Desk staff - thank God! While there, an older lady was asking how long for her room to ready and the Apple Rep. genuinely felt bad for her bc he understood how many guests come tired and expect their rooms to be ready. He apologized for that and assured her that everything was being done to take care of her situation. The guests even offered to clean the room herself if need be! Nevertheless, we walked around the resort and we liked the fact that the resort was quaint and compact. Everything was near. It had two swimming pools (although we heard there was a third one near the Tennis courts), one with a swim-up bar, a Wi-Fi internet shack near the pools, several massage areas under thatched roofs, the main theater called La Gaviota, a Sports Bar, Casino, a courtyard for night time entertainment, Le Cafe (kinda like a ), A Disco, 8 Restaurants, the Tennis Courts, and like 6 bars. After touring the resort, we settled for lunch at the Palma Real Buffet Restaurant. This is where people who don't hold reservations at the restaurants can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the appointed hours. They have a little of everything. Breakfasts: sausage, scrambled eggs, ham, specialty veggies, breads, salads, cheeses, cereal, fruit shakes, oats, juices, etc... Lunch: pasta, salads, deli meats, burgers, hot dogs, veggies, Dominican food like pureed plantain, and so on. Dinners: fish, rice, beans, veggies, pork, beef, chicken, soups, salads and more. While I grew up in NY, I am Dominican and speak fluently both languages so I had no problem communicating and appreciating Dominican cuisine. One coming from the States should be open to at minimum taste Dominican food and get away from the fast food stuff we are accustomed to eating.
We finally got our room as promised at 3PM in the 100 building, room 10306. I was disappointed to learn that they ran out of double beds so we had to settle for a king size bed and a twin size cot which was fine. The room was on the third floor which was nice but my mother is 62 years old and would have preferred something on the lower floors. The room was simple. Dresser drawer with a TV on top, a small round table with two chairs, a fridge with soda and water,a closet with mirrors and it contained the safe. Two pictures hanging on the wall and it was a large room but seemed kinda empty. The bathroom and the room itself were clean. We had a terrace overlooking the grounds.
Minuses: No coffee machine, no ironing board, no iron (I had to persuade our maid Andrea to get me one at the promise of tipping her and I got my iron!). Our room was too close to the main road so you could here loud motorcycles going all day. You had to give a deposit of $20 and pay $20 per week for use of your room safe, in other words, it was not included! Also, you needed to go to the Front Desk to get the remote belonging to the TV so be sure when you check in that you get your safe key and remote!
Pluses: The room was near the restaurants and a quick walk over to Ocean Cana. The neighbors were mature and quiet.
Some of the positives:
Entertainment: Wasn't too bad for amateur Dominicans! I was pleasantly surprised. The dancing was awesome by the entertainment staff. They had a Variety Dance Show and Michael Jackson dance act that was amazing and energetic! One night they had the best looking couple night and some comedy. Out in the courtyard near the Casino, you can catch some merengue, bachata, and American music under moonlit skies while having complimentary drinks.
Staff: The wait staff and bartenders in general were very nice and pleasant. If you can afford to, bring extra cash to tip these hardworking people. If they recognize you as a tipper you'll get the best treatment and they'll remember you and your drinks! The Front Desk Staff are inattentive, distracted, and seem to have a great time amongst themselves at the expense of the guests waiting in "line". This hotel needs to put ropes in the Reception area so that you won't get cut by rude, selfish guests who just cut ahead to the Clerks. I've had to admonish twice the Front Desk staff for their service which was very bad at worst.
Applevacations Rep: Silvana and Joel were the best. Whenever we had issues, they promptly came to assist us or bat for us. We took an Aquatic Speedboat excursion which included snorkeling. It was the best and quite fun! Never drove a speedboat before but they teach you and it was quite easy. Got to see lots of beautiful fishes!
Beach: The Beach area was orderly and yes, you should get there in the wee hours of the morning if you want a palapa (a hut). Beach seemed clean and the ocean water was nice and warm. We went kayaking twice but was disappointed that you can't snorkel and kayak in the shallow waters, oh well. They have snorkeling equipment but you have to leave a $30 deposit! That's a minus. Other resorts in Punta Cana include this.
Restaurants: Like the other reviewers have said, you need to get there early if you want a particular restaurant. They have 3 different hours: 6PM, 8PM, and 9:30PM for late arriving guests but it suppose to be the one with the worst service bc the staff is tired by then. My favorite was the Japanese Restaurant bc they cook and perform right in front of you. The food was great! I tried the Spanish Restaurant El Meson and it wasn't too bad but the service was lousy, in part I believe it was bc we arrived about 10 minutes late so our order and food was served last and it was warm at best. We also tried Bahia Brazilian Restaurant and it was ok. They serve pork, chicken, and beef on pinches but the side dishes were not so interesting. We didn't go to Mezzaluna Italian Restaurant bc we are not big pasta fans and checking out Pepito's Mexican Restaurant's menu we decided not to eat there since it didn't appeal to us. We did go to Bucanero Seafood Restaurant by the beach and that was nice! We sat outside near the beach at sunset. For couples this is a romantic setting. The lobster was grilled. They give us too much food for two people. You do a pay $40 per person but it is worth it. We enjoyed very much the buffet restaurant and it is where we had our breakfasts, lunches, and some dinners. There is just a lot of variety and Friday's is Dominican Night so we splurged on Dominican cuisine. Try their Maharete or corn pudding. Delicious! It sits on a bowl and is yellow in color. Many people didn't know what it was until I told them to take a spoonful and that was all that was needed!
Fitness Center: Not the best but certainly adequate. I did cardio and weights there and surprised that not many guests would use it. Ricardo the attendant was especially helpful and nice.
Resort Size: The Resort has Ocean Cana next door and orange banded and VIP guests can use their resort. Nevertheless, the size of the resort makes it convenient to walk to different spots and get their soon since everything is so close by.
Some of the negatives:
The Pool: One pool was limy green and both were always cloudy. I did not appreciate the fact that the maintenance staff is up at about 8am cleaning the pool rather than doing it in the wee hours of the morning. Many guests would sit on their lounge chairs waiting for the staff to finish cleaning. It appeared to me that both pool's water had not been recycled in weeks! I also noted that none of the filters were on or even working! The pool was not recycling the water...ick! I hardly went in. There were also two jacuzzi's on elevated platforms which were out of commission. They had almond fruits inside them and was just totally useless. They were an eyesore.
The Front Desk: These people had poor Customer Service manners. Some of the guests we talked too were unanimous about this. They certainly need to be trained. They took care of anyone who landed at their desk despite others waiting patiently in line. I could never get them to break my dollar bills into simple bills, "We don't have any dollars" they would say. We needed a key for our safe deposit and the clerk told us the guy was not available to come back in 20 minutes. When we came back he told us to come back in an hour bc the guy went to lunch. When we checked out, we called Front Desk to get us a Bellhop for our luggage, they transferred us to the Bellhop but no one answered. We called again and again they transferred us. We had to take the luggage ourselves. When we got there, it turns out that at 7:45AM, the Bellhops hadn't arrived yet to work (they are supposed to be ready by 7AM!). The Front Desk never told us this!
Check out: It was bad. We got and paid for our hotel bill but was never given a checkout slip to clear through the bellhops so we could board our bus to the airport. They Front Desk forgot to give this to several people. This caused an unnecessary delay.
For those who are Catholics and wish to listen to Mass on Sunday, outside the resort there is a small Catholic Church called Jesus Maestro which is about a 10 minute walk from the resort. It will be in spanish and under a hut since the chapel church is currently under construction.
With the exception of the VIP or Elite guests, everyone gets national brand liquors. Don't expect tasty Margaritas or Cuban Mojitos in the way we know it. The drinks are of poor quality and too sweet but you gotta make do with what you have. For $15 you can get a new VIP wristband and have all the premium drinks you want. You will be told that it will be only for one day but they don't keep track of this so you wear your VIP band for the duration of the trip and enjoy Premium drinks! Go to Guest Services for this. You'll be required to fill out a small slip for this each time you order a drink (unless you tell them to keep it open for you) but it is only for inventory purposes.
There will be men with binders walking around the resort selling you excursions and timeshares. They are a nuisance. Just say not interested or say that you are leaving that day and they will leave you alone.
I've been to Catalonia Bavaro, Caribe Club Princess, and Bavaro Princess. Ocean was the worst of the four. I will definitely return to Bavaro Princess as this is the resort of my choice. I wouldn't return to Ocean but would recommend it for first timers who are on a budget. I understood from guests that the Ocean Bavaro will be under new management in August of 2007. I sure hope that they make the necessary changes especially with the pool and the Front Desk staff.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
I went with two of my girl friends to Ocean Bavaro Spa & Beach Resort in July and absolutely loved it! We enjoyed that there we so many Italians and just people from all over the world, but at times missed people who spoke English (well). At first we dared to try the different foods, but soon realized that the way Dominicans prepare their food is too different from our taste, so we stuck to the foods we knew (backed potatoes, chicken, rice, salads). In several restaurants the food was a bit under cooked but we didn't complain, it's not our culture. The beach is amazing, so we spent our whole days there, and sometimes nights-late night swims are quite refreshing after dancing 3 hours and the disco. I'd say tip the bar tenders, then you won't have to wait for your drinks for too long-by the end of our trip all the bar tenders and the staff knew us. They have great shows at night, we mostly liked the professional dancing, but the comedy night and others weren't too bad either. We didn't exactly like that we had to get up at 7am a few times to make reservations for the restaurants we really wanted to visit-Japanese for example, but it was worth it. The staff was always cheerful and really nice. Even on the last day they made it extra special for us-at the disco they had a surprise for us! We definitely enjoyed our trip, we are still wearing our little bracelets, even though it's been a week since we've been back. One advice though, brush up on your Spanish, by far not everyone out of the staff speaks English, learn the basics. We had 3 girls and 2 beds, we were absolutely fine, just wanted an extra bed sheet. We've been asking for an extra bed sheet for 4 days, on the fourth day we walk in to the room and we have an extra bed! On the fourth floor, without an elevator! Poor guys who had to drag it up there! But we didn't complain. Over all, this is a great resort and my friends and i are already planning on going back to Punta Cana next summer.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Jenn and Danny Calgary Alberta ....originallly St John's Nl
I stayed at the Ocean Bavaro Spa and Beach Resort in Punta Cana from April 22 -May 06/2007. My fiance and 18 month old son were with me and we had 14 other family memebers and friends joining us from April 29 -May 6 for our wedding at this hotel. First off I would like to say to all soon to be brides.....Beware!!!!! This is not a wedding hotel and they are not going to give you what you want or expect from a wedding resort. I arrived one week prior to our guests so we could relax and take in all of our surrondings. I spent most of my first week there crying and upset by the resort and the staff's rudeness. I could not beleive that we had chosen this hotel for one of the biggest moment of our lives. We arrived at the hotel in the late morning knowing that we would not be able to check into our hotel for many hours.....3 pm. This was fine with us and not a problem but as soon as we got to the front desk the clerk there gave us a room I was very happy with this! When we arrived at the room in Block 100 I was shocked and mortified. It was a dingy little tropical room nothing like the pictures that they have posted in the brochures. None of the doors locked in the room and it smelled awful like smoke and dampness. I went back to the desk and told them that it was unacceptable and that I paid too much money to stay there for 2 weeks! He told me that we would have to wait to be moved to another room. I was fine with that and spent some time walking around the hotel. When we went back 2 hours later we did get another room and were equally mortified with this room in Block 3. As soon as we walked into the room there were cockroahes dead on the floor next to the bed. We walked back to the front desk right away and demanded another room. I had a baby that had to sleep in there! I know that it is the tropics and that bugs are a part of life there but at a so called 4 star resort they should spray and clean the rooms properly to lessen this problem. We were met with so much hostility when we asked for another room. The hotels clerks suddenly did not speak english and avoided us all togther. Finally I spoke to some other guests at the hotel and found out that these rooms were the older ones at the hotel and that the best rooms were in Buildings 5 and 6. I asked for a room there. 6 hours after arriving at this hotel we were brought to our room that was newer and clean but still not of 4 star quality. We had a very cranky and upset baby on our hands and were very tired also. It rained so much that night that our room flooded because the buildings have no drainage in the halls to prevent the water from coming into the rooms. We asked the hotel staff for the crib that we had requested 3 months prior and were told the 8 times that we asked for it throughout the night that it would be there in a few minutes. My baby son slept with us that night beacuse they never brought the crib and we were too tired to ask anymore. We awoke the next day to a wet room and an even more upset baby. I wanted to leave and never come back to this place. I called our Air Canada representitive right away to come to the hotel and deal with these issues for us. As sson as I told her what had happened to us she was so upset and told us not to worry that she would deal with it for us. By 12 that day we had a crib in our room, a flower on our pillow and a apology fruit basket with rum. I was satisfied and felt a little better that we would sleep that night. Guess again!! It should be known that this hotel is not just for out of town guests. Every weekend the local people can stay for a price and they show up with bags and family for the weekend. When this happens all hell breaks loose. >From Friday to Sunday afternoon if you do not speak Spanish than you are ignored. The hotels hallaways are full of teenages and kids that are partying and running around until 3 or 4 am. We complained to the hotel security and were met with hostility. You are the outsider at this point. I was so unhappy and to be honest a little nervous. I was dreading my guests showing up in a weeks time to this . They had paid thousands of dollars to see us get married here and this was what they were going to get in return.
Our week went on with the good and bad but by day 3 we were so happy to be in the sun that we just dealt with everything else in a stride. What could we do....we had to make the best out of a bad situation. Remember I said that I was getting married here? Well by day five I was so nervous because I could not locate the wedding coordinatior anywhere on the hotel grounds. No one knew where she was. I once again called my air canada rep and she had to go and find this woman herself. She was so sad for us because she said that this was not a wedding resort and that they hardly have any weddings here and that they had a hard time dealing with them. Finally the wedding coordinator approched me and told me not to be silly !!!! Well I was so mad. How dare she say this to me, I was the bride and nervous and bringing all these guests to this hotel. I was less than impressed by her attitude. We met with her the next day to find out that we had to pay another 700 US for flowers champange and the minister for our wedding. We had already paid for our documents before we left Canada!! Free weddings.....I think not!
My guests arrived and acted satisfied with everything but were surprised that this hotel was rated a 4 star. It was a 3 star at best. Our wedding day was May 2.and it was scheduled for 12 noon. That day I heard nothing from the hotel wedding coordinator and I stayed with my wedding party getting ready for the day. 12:00 came and went and still nobody came to get me. I had no way to contact anyone beacause everyone was outside at the wedding spot waiting for me. By 1:00 I sent a friend to find my flowers and wedding coordinator. She finally came to my rrom at 1:30 with the wrong flowers and no corsage for my mom. I was so done with it all by this point that I told her to give my mom a fake one to wear and I accepted what she had for me. By 2:00 I was heading to the wedding spot to get married. My ceremony was beautiful. My cousin sang for us and all of our friends and family were there. The love we feel for each other and them was what made the moment beautiful.......not the resort or staff!! Our ceremony lasted 15 minutes and then we drank champange for another 10 -20 minutes and I noticed that the staff were standing around looking at us like they were waiting for something. My cousin asked if there was a problem and she was told that they wanted to know if we were finished because they needed the decorations for another wedding in 15 minutes..........hahahahahaha. This was just perfect!!! The 2 weeks I was there I did not see one wedding take place but they had 2 on this day. I was so happy and relaxed at this point that I obliged and left the gazebo where we were married and headed to another area so the other bride could have decorations for her big day too.
We made our wedding perfect the hotel watched while we did it. They did nothing to add to the event. So you see this was not a great resort for this kind of event. I would not reccomend this resort to anyone. All of our guests left saying that it was a beautiful wedding but that they would never return to the Domincan again. The staff at this resort are angry and disgruntled. I had 2 people yelled at by a bartender because they wanted pineapple juice and he told them that they were standing in the wrong spot to be served!!!
This was not a kid friendly resort at all. There are no events for them.
The spa that they have at the resort is beautiful and as part or our wedding package we had a free day there. Well this was 4 star maybe even 5 star. If they cared as much about the rest of the hotel than I would not be complaining. The day at the spa was amazing and a highlight to my trip. The food at this hotel was plentiful and very good. Nobody had any problems with the water or icecubes at this hotel. There are no faceclothes so you have to bing your own. The cleaning staff work very hard and deserve little treats. We brought plenty of candy and trinkets to hand out to them on a daily basis. Bring lots of small american bills to tip. These workers make very little so tip when you can. If you are looking for a simple resort with little to do or see than enjoy!! I had the pleasure to see a few other resorts while I was there and I was even more upset by what we had chosen. I read so many bad reviews about this resort before I came but I chose to chance it and I thought maybe people were expecting too much. I just wanted some respect and good service for my money. I felt like I should have doing the serving most of the time I was there!!!
In the end this is a 3 star not a 4 star like Air Canada has listed. I would never go back to this resort and I have my doubts that I will travel to the Domincan again. I loved my wedding for reasons that have nothing to do with the hotel or the location. I regret having paid so much money for so little when I could have gotten so much better elsewhere. The weather was beautiful and the ocean amazing. I found the Domincan to be dull and there was a feeling of resentment towards tourists.
Jenn and Danny Calgary Alberta ....originallly St John's Nl posted June 29/2007
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
My daughter (24 years old for daughter, 43 years old for me)
First I'd love to say that the Ocean Bavaro experience was good. What I didn't appreciate is the fact that the men that work at the resort were so in love with my daughter it was embarrassing!
If I hear how beautiful my daughter is again I'll barf!
It was very distracting. Everyone asked me, everytime I was alone "Where is Chandah?"
It got old very quickly
Ok, don't go for the trip to Ocean Blue unless you are agreeable to buying a vacation club for $10,000. They say that you get lunch but only if you buy a membership. What a bunch of crap! They don't even feed you unless you buy the membership. Ocean Blue is a very beautiful place, but it's a sales pitch and they don't take care of you unless you are agreeable for their vacation club...stay away from that..it's a bunch of crap.
Ok, Ocean Bavaro is a great resort. We were in block 100. We don't speak Spanish but we still had a great time there. Our room was good...but my daughter's bed had a slope in it. She never slept under the sheets because of that and we didn't complain because the rest of the room was good.
I got tired of the men there telling her that she was so beautiful and wanting to take her to outside discos. I hear that the discos are pick up places for hookers or folks who rent women by the hour. I wasn't gonna let my girl go outside the resort with the locals. It was very annoying how the men were looking to take my daughter out to the disco or date her (generally). I hope that readers don't think me bitter...but it got really boring how the men there kept looking at my kid like she was a freakin meal!
Ok, we were black women at a normally white resort but dang...give us a break. I will not return to the Ocean Bavaro resort. Ok, the food at the buffet was good, the Japanese appetizers was excellent, the entree was Chinese fried rice with beef, chicken, and shrimp...not Japanese at all but I can understand why folks thought it was tasty.
The seafood thingie was intriguing...but not good..you get better at Red Lobster...the lobster was overcooked.
The beach could have been good if it wasn't so windy...you get sand blown into your face. The animation team only worked for an hour...sometimes at 10...sometimes later.
Look, I am 43 and I'd much rather lay by the pool and go to the swim up bar after 3pm. I didn't appreciate that folks bring their children to the resort. I like to have a vacation sans little children. I will make sure that my next adult trip will be with an adults only resort. Actually, when we were leaving on 4/28, there were more people checking in with babies.
I also didn't like the fact that there were women there who bared their breasts....ewwwwwwwwwwwww
I really don't want to see them.
As far as the rooms...we had a great room in block 100. Room 10107 was great. We didn't have a musty room. We had a great shower. The maid gave us diet pepsi on the second day. We didn't have wash cloths but we brought our own. Our room looked out onto a great lawn and the back end of the entrance. We could get out of the shower in just towels and get dressed in privacy...if the guards saw us nekkid...so what!
The only thing that was bad was trying to get to one of the breakfast buffets by 10....no sleeping late which is what vacation is all about. I had to wake my kid up every morning in order to get to breakfast by 10. I think they should have breakfast at least by 11 am.
I think you should be able to sleep in by at least 11.
Ok, in a nutshell, the vacation was excellent except for the men who hit on my kid daily.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Darin and Karen
We travelled with 30 people to the Ocean Bavaro Spa & Beach Resort for our wedding. We wanted to pick the right resort not only for our wedding but we wanted something that was nice and still affordable for all of our family and friends. We spent days reading reviews on Debbies Dominican. It is a wonderful website and we thought because it was so much help to us that we would post our review of the resort. We are also going to post a wedding review as well.
Flight: We flew with Air Canada out of Calgary. The majority of us were out of Calgary with a few from BC and Ontario. We all had to connect in Montreal and then flew directly from Montreal to Punt Cana. Air Canada didn't have direct flights from Calgary until later in December so this made for some long travel plans as we had to overnight in Montreal.
Check In: We arrived at the resort at 1:00 in the afternoon. As most of you seasoned travellers know this is often to early to get your room as check in is normally at 3:00pm. We were ready for this but some of our family wasn't even though they knew this was the case. We got to check in to our honeymoon suite right away as early check-in was one of the privelages of our wedding package. Some of our family didn't receive their rooms until 5:00pm. I think it took so long because they checked us in as a group. One of our friends decided to check in on their own and had a room immediately. I guess sometime group travel isn't better. The staff did their best to accommodate everyone which is probably hard when 30 people check in all at the same time.
Rooms: Our honeymoon Suite was incredible. It had an ocean view and was right on the beach at the edge of the resort so it was very quiet. It had a jacuzzi tub and day bed on a lower level by the balcony. The balcony had a couple chairs to sit in and enjoy the breathtaking view. The bathroom was huge with double sinks and a tub with two faucets. The bed was a King and had a canopy with a light fabric you could cover the bed with. There was an iron, ironing board, complimentary safe, housecoat, slippers and mini fridge stocked daily with our favourite drinks. We had fresh fruit delivered daily and had a 24 hour personal concierge. The rest of my family, however, were in the standard rooms and they had an entirely different experience. They put almost everyone in buildings 3 or 4 which I believe are some of the oldest buildings on the resort. They were very substandard. They had multiple problems and some of them were even under water. A couple people complained enough to get moved and were put in building 10 which was drastically better. Some people just stayed put because they are on vacation and how much time do you spend in your room anyways. I am not sure why the resort puts people in the crappy rooms first and then moves you later. Why not start with the good rooms first. The staff was very accommodating on the most part. You just have to understand that things move at a Dominican pace.
Beach: The beach is the reason we chose to get married in Punta Cana. The beach was amazing and you could walk for miles in either direction. Watch out for the people trying to sell you stuff though. They are very aggressive. Just tell them no thanks and walk away. There is security guards on the beach 24/7 and they vendors were not allowed on the beach. We walked past a few resorts and the Ocean beach was the nicest we saw. There are lots of trees and palapas for shade and we never had a problem getting a beach chair. You would have to be on the beach by 9 or 10 to get a palapa. The ocean was fairly rough the first couple of days as the wind was high but that only made for some fun body surfing. One of the downsides was that the water isn't clear enough to do any snorkelling. There were a couple of bars for drinks and there was always lots of entertainment going on throughout the day. The north side of the beach was mostly Italian people as that is the Ocean Cana portion of the resort that caters mostly to Italians.
Grounds: The grounds are beautiful. This is an older resort so the landscaping is full and established. They were always working on the grounds and cleaning up. I tend to like the older resorts because the newer resorts tend not to have their vegetation established yet and have younger palm trees. At night there is lots of lighting creating a very nice and romantic setting. They also have speakers everywhere playing mood music (including that catchy resort song).
Pools: The pools are very nice. The Spa pool was closed the first week for renovations and then open the second week. The main pool is very nice with a swim up bar. It needs a new paint job so hopefully its next on the list for renovations. There is also a smaller pool on the Cana side which was my favourite. It is more isolated so it is quieter. I got thrown into this pool one night after supper as everyone seemed to think it is tradition to throw the groom in the pool.
Restaurants: I won't write too much on this as in my opinion food is very much dependent on each individuals tastes. In my experience the buffet was just what I was expecting for a 3.5 to 4 star resort. It was good and you could always find something to eat. The area they could use some work on is making it cleaner and cooler. One of the good thing about this resort was the number of a la cartes with no limits on reservations. You could make as many reservations as you wanted up to 2 days in advance. You made these outside the buffet entrance. We went to all of the a la cartes except the Mexican as some of our family that went to it said it wasn't very good. I would rank the restaurants in the following order (Japanese, Brazilian, Spanish and Italian). Our wedding reception was held in the Spanish and it was amazing. There is also a seafood place on the beach but there is a charge for that. We didn't go but some of our family did and said it was very good. There is also a sports bar which is good to get the scores and go for a drink with the boys. One of my favourites places was the café. We went there most nights as they had cheesecake to die for. The are plenty of bars and you never had to go far to get a drink. I really enjoyed the beer. I had a few premium drinks that were included for us as we were in the Elite Club. You had to sign for the premium but only so they could track their usage.
Shopping: There is a logo shop on site and a gift shop but be prepared to pay a lot and everything is priced in Euros. You can barter for anything that doesn't have a price tag on it. We got all of our bargains by walking down the beach to some of the vendors. Make sure they quote you a price first and then offer them 25% of what they are asking. If you barter long enough you will only pay 25 to 30% of their asking price. If they won't come down on their price just walk away because you will find the same item in the next store. We found a good area up the beach to the north. It is an alley perpendicular to the beach that has lots of shops. We got some nice paintings, a wood carving and some larimar jewelry. On Friday nights they would set up some vendors at the resort for people to shop in a more controlled environment.
Spa: We didn't use most of our spa package we got with our wedding package as we were too busy with other things. We did however take advantage of the free hour of massage. Our massage was in a double occupancy cabin at the spa and was a great end to the vacation. Very much worth it. For what we could tell the spa looked nice and the prices didn't seem to be too bad. A lot of our friends and family got massages at the huts that are on the grounds around the resort.
Staff: The staff was very good. They were always accommodating when the could understand what you were asking for. Most speak a little bit of english and some are fluent in many languages. We tried to learn as much Spanish as we could as that always goes a long ways when you make an effort to speak their language. You are not supposed to tip as they can lose their jobs but we always tipped. We left $2US for the maid on the pillow every day and the service was great. After the a la carte meals we always left a tip. The only problem we had was getting somebody to come fix our safe as it wasn't working. It took 2 days to get someone there but once they got there it was fixed in minutes. Remember that you are on vacation and things don't happen at a pace we are used to. Things still will get done. Usually if there is a problem it is because of a communication error or they are super busy helping everyone else.
Excursions: We did three excursions and they were all well worth the money. Our favourite was the day trip to Saona Island. We took a catamaran to the island, spent the afternoon on the beach and then took a speed boat back. We also did the Maranarium tour. This involved getting on a party boat, then going snorkelling in a pen with nurse sharks and rays, followed by a cruise to a natural swimming pool where they served us drinks in the water. The last excursion we did was horseback riding. This was complimentary with our wedding package and was a fun afternoon.
Conclusion: We had an incredible time and the resort was very good. I would say it is a very good 3.5 to 4 star resort. The wedding was awesome and we didn't have any serious issues. No one got really sick and any inconveniences were solved eventually. The best parts would have to be the beach and the Honeymoon suite. The worst part would have to be the shape of some of the older standard rooms. I don't think we would go back but only because we like to try different places. We would definetly go back to Punta Cana as it is absolutely beautiful. I think next time we would like to try a 5 star resort to see what that is like.
I was worried about the vacation we booked from Apple Specials at $599 a person for 3 nites in a garden room.
I read all the reviews, some bad some good. Our other vacations were 5-6 apples.
So I was ready for the worst.
The resort was just what I hoped for. Small and cozy compared to the bigger resorts I’ve been to.
Very natural feel on the grounds. Multiple isolated areas separated by foliage, ponds, pools and buildings, small fountains, and winding walkways.
Kind of reminded me of the Polynesian resort at Disney in Florida.
The room was not musty at all as I read in other reviews. We ended up in building 7. 7311 was a nice room, with a cozy balcony looking out to palm trees, ponds with small water fountain. Everything was very clean. We could see the beach from the end of the hallway. Marble everywhere, It felt fairly new, at least very well kept up. We had a little problem with the room fridge, but the maid took care of it. There was hot water in the shower and there was a tub. No beer in the fridge, only draft beer is at the bars, Presidente, except for the VIP guests. Though you can buy bottled beer in the shop. About $5 for a corona. No coffee maker in the rooms, though we ordered coffee from room service. That was nice. Nice strong coffee. They do have a nice coffee shop but it doesn’t open until 10am. But it was a favorite, there was always a line to the door, and their cookies were free too. Frappacinos, teas, lattes, expresso, etc. A treat that we took advantage of quite often. Many of the guests were from the U.S. so we didn’t feel too out of place, and they were very friendly. Guests were mixed cultures; French, German, Czech. The help was limited in their language. Some workers at the bars or restaurants were a little more versed in languages. Our TV worked except for one early morning. It was fine. We watched a couple movies we haven’t seen before. Very good movies too; “You, Me and Depree” one late night, and another with Jack NIckleson, “About Schmidt” one early morning before we left. The pools were a fair temperature. We used 30 sun block. A few people were red as lobsters. Only a handful were topless. Be careful with the sun. My husband had red spots wherever he missed. He doesn’t usually burn easily. The bars do not have a list of their drinks, except for one…the Sports bar. It was humerous watching people order drinks. One fella ordered a cranberry and vodka and got orange drink with vodka. Another ordered a long island ice tea and got orange drink with some red in it (similar to a tequila sunrise). I just ordered rum with juice, and it varied. They have drink machines all over; red, orange and pineapple, and coconut.
The weather was perfect, the water and beach were beautiful. The entertainment is all over, one side of the resort would have soothing Spanish music and another area would have hopping thumping type music. It was weird how you didn’t hear one over the other. This thumping music and partying was heard near our room, but not too loud. We were near most everything. We did the beach/bar area massage for $30 a person for an hour. But I would have much rather paid $60 a person at their quieter areas, there are quite a few areas. It kind of defeated the purpose of getting a massage with the thumping music and noise near the bar/beach area. The buffet wasn’t too bad considering it is an all inclusive. If you try a little of everything, you will find something you like. Go right when they open for the freshest food, and safest food. I did see a roach at the fruit counter on two separate occasions, so I stayed away from there. The bread was always fresh, I loved the rolls that looked plain but had cream cheese in the middle, and the chocolate chips croissants. I didn’t mind the lasagna, the red beans and rice, the chicken, among some other things. I was pleasantly surprised with the grill food, the burger looked like a veggie burger and they served green tomatoes. I liked it. My husband didn’t, he had pizza. We both were very disappointed in the Brazilian restaurant; the meat was dry, and the plantains and potatoes were cold, dry and hard. Horrible. We tried to make an appointment for the Japanese restaurant too and got duped by the man in a white shirt, these men are selling tours etc. He approached us with a warm greeting and asked if we wanted the seafood dinner for $30 each and told us he was saving us $70. We said no, but asked where to sign up for the Japanese restaurant. He brought us to the girl at the buffet restaurant, said something to her in Spanish and told us we’d see him at the seafood place, we again told him no we don’t want to. We turned to the girl who asked us what time we wanted our reservation. We picked 7pm and that’s when we made our reservation for the brazilian restaurant too. When we went to the Japanese restaurant they told us that our note was for the restaurant on the beach, which I thought might be the brazilian restaurant and we got our dates mixed up. As it turned out the reservation was made for the seafood place. We were very upset and it ruined our evening for quite awhile. Reservations for the Japanese restaurant were all booked up for the week. We ended up eating at the buffet, which we ended up being satisfied with. That same gentlemen bothered us again the next day until my husband got a little tort with him and he stopped trying to sell us something. I planned on reporting this man to someone, but I didn’t want to pursue it, it was already the next day and I wanted to go on with my already too short of a vacation. Which brings me to our arrival story. We had an Apple flight, and Apple bus transport to the Resort, but the Resort had no record of us on their reservations. We were set aside while they looked into it and took care of another busload of folks who had just arrived. The bar girl brought a tray of these drinks to these people but completely overlooked us. I was hot and tired as our flight left 2 hours after we boarded due to an incident at the Ohare airport. For some reason our reservation was cancelled, and the resort was overbooked and they were going to move us to another hotel for one night. I was surprisingly calm and explained to the Apple Rep that we were only here for 3 nites and we’ve already lost our half a day, and we were bumped the previous Apple Vacation due to overbooking at a resort and it wasn’t looking good for Apple Vacation service. She immediately went to work and got us a room telling us they are moving someone else. It seems several people were being moved to another hotel for a day or so. I gave her a hug and told her Gracious!
Some servants weren’t very pleasant and some were. We did not go off the resort on tours etc. We did not feel it was very safe or worth our short time on excursions.
Bring all the cash you’ll need, neither the shop,nor the massage place would take credit cards. The cash machine is outside of the entrance gate…I walked up to the gate and got scared at all the traffic right there and never got any money. Some of the shops in the airport did’t take credit cards either, and the ATM would not give me the money I requested.
All in all, I think it is a beautiful place. Don’t expect too much in the food. And treat yourself at the coffee shop.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
My 22 year old daughter and I just returned home from a wonderful vacation at the Ocean Bavaro (a girls getaway). This is our 2nd time going to Punta Cana. Our first stay was at the Caribe Club Princess with the other 2 members of our family, formerly the Hodelpa Caribe Club. We flew directly from our hometown of Kitchener, Ontario Canada to Punta Cana, which was so convenient. Our holiday was booked with Sunquest Vacations. Upon our evening arrival at the Punta Cana Airport, we did encounter a bit of difficulty locating our shuttle ride to the hotel, as the bus was poorly marked and located 3 rows back. Once aboard, it was about a 25 minute ride to our hotel. Check-in went very smoothly. Our room was located in Block 7, which was a very good location, short distance to the pool and ocean. The room was clean with 2 double beds. Since we arrived late in the evening, we decided to explore the grounds the following morning. The Ocean Bavaro property is beautiful with its tropical gardens, water fountains and pools. We strolled down to the beach area where the sand is very soft and white. The turquoise water is breathtaking . We were somewhat disappointed to find this time around that the beach had a fair amount of seaweed, but that did not deter us from enjoying our daily swims. On day 3 we ended up taking a 45 minute walk to the Caribe Club Princess, where the beach was as beautiful as we remembered it to be, no seaweed. This property has since been changed over to an adult only facility. Too quiet now for our liking. Back at the Ocean Bavaro, beach chairs (sun or shaded) were never a problem to locate. Our beach area was lively (which was one of the reasons why we chose this location). Morning activities, such as games and exercise were in full swing. The entertaining guys are very nice and not pushy, if you are not wanting to get involved. The choice is yours. Awards would be offered in the evening to the winning participants. My daughter and I participated in volleyball, water polo, darts, mini-golf, pool and beach exercise. After a full day at the beach, it was then off to dinner. We tried 4 of the specialty restaurants (Japanese, Italian, Spanish and Mexican) and I would rate them in that order. The other 2 specialty restaurants were Brazilian and Seafood (supplementary charge). The nice thing about these restaurants is that the food is hot. We never had a problem booking any of them. Two nights we dined at the buffet and the food there was okay. The one thing lacking at any of the restaurants were vegetables, namely a good salad. The breakfast buffet was good and the lunch grills were adequate. One of the nicest features at this resort is the cafe. If you are into your coffee, you will find a complete selection. The cafe was very popular. My daughter and I both commented that it would have been great to have an ice cream shop of the same caliber. Another good reason to stay at the Ocean Bavaro is to indulge yourself to a relaxing massage either on the beach or indoors. We chose the beach site as it was much more affordable, $30 US for 1 hour, or $20 US for 30 minutes. My daughter enjoyed it so much, she treated herself to a second massage during our stay. We met a lot of really friendly tourists, namely other Canadians, Americans and Europeans who could speak English. We also witnessed a wedding on the beach. The nightly entertainment was okay, nothing extraordinary. The party night on the beach with a bonfire, live band and dancing was a lot of fun. My daughter wanted to check out the Arieto disco off the resort, so we, along with a number of other guests, were shuttled 10 minutes down the road to check it out. ($10 each for transportation, disco entry and one drink) What can I say, I must be getting too old for this type of scene, but I wasn't willing to just let my daughter go unaccompanied. She's an attractive girl that was getting a lot of attention from the locals. The sacrifices of a parent! She did have a good time. There is also a disco at the Ocean Bavaro property, but it is fairly quiet. We did not partake in any of the excursions, as we had experienced a number of them before. The staff work very hard at this resort, and we found them to be very friendly. All in all, this vacation accomplished what we had hoped it would. We are now relaxed and ready to get back to everyday living.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Fran New Jersey
Spent Christmas into New Years at Ocean Bavarro. We my husband and 17 year old daughter. She met a group of teens and they all hung out. Food was okay. The buffet was not bad at all, Lobsters Christmas and New Years Eve. The specialty restaurants were all very good. Room was in block 5
as all reviews say is the best. Great view of the ocean. All in all a great time.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Barrie Ontario Canada
We travelled to Ocean Bavaro January 2006. Upon our arrival at 9:30 p.m., we were taken to a small lobby and told that our lobby was under renovations and that we had to be checked in here. That was fine but it took a very long time and it was very hot and no one even offered us any water let alone a welcoming drink. We had two older women with us and they were in need of some water. When we finally got to the desk, we were given our keys and taken to our rooms by a nice gentleman. When the door of our suite was opened, I could clearly smell that there was something wrong. When we stepped in, the floor was flooded with water. Our two older travelers also had the same problem with their room. The nice gentleman said that he would report it. He got on the phone and after a lengthy conversation he reported to us that they did not have another room and that we could go to the lobby in the morning and they would probably have something then. I did not sit well with this. The room was so damp that the ceiling was sweating and dripping on our pillows....it was so disgusting. We later were told that the mini fridge was leaking but that did not make sense for the ceiling to be sweating like it was.
I was not going to sleep one night in that room so I stormed over to the lobby which was quite far away and I found that the lighting in this resort was very poor. We had problems later on that week as well. When I got to the lobby they made me wait until 11:30 that night until the manager or so he called himself came out from the back and told me that they did not have anything available for us. I told him that if he did not do something for us, all four of us would sleep in his lobby the rest of the night. Well he was so upset at my comment that he went to the back and came out with a couple of keys and we were given two new rooms in the Italian side of resort.
The remainder of the vacation was wonderful. Food was excellent, staff was great until we were leaving the last day. When we arrived in our new rooms, my husband did not tell me that he placed his wedding band in the safety deposit box which is located in the close closet. It is very dark in the closet and you literally have to feel around in order to locate anything in it. When we were leaving to go home, I cleaned out the box. I guess his ring got pushed to the left side which was completely out of view and got left behind. When we were on the plane, my husband realized that he did not have his band. When we got back home, I called Signature Vacations and made a report but they did not respond to my calls or emails. I called the Ocean Bavaro and spoke to the Signature rep and I was told that they would send someone to the room. I never heard back from anyone. I called again and they told me that nothing was found. Either the cleaning staff or the next person to occupy the room got a hold of the ring and kept it. I even offered a reward as the band was handed down from my husband's great grandfather and it had more sentimental value than anything else, but I guess because we had four small diamonds added to it, someone got really greedy. I just found that the support from Signature Vacations was not there so we recommend that you leave all jewellery at home.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
A girlfriend and myself have just returned from a week away from work, husbands and children (Nov 12 - Nov 19). We flew out of Ottawa on WestJet. Wow - what a difference - the staff in flight were totally outrageous and had us all laughing and enjoying ourselves.
The resort - WELL let me tell you I am a very experience traveller to Dominican and other areas in the Caribbean. This resort was undergoing a lot of re-work, it was hilarious to watch them re-do the palm leaf roof at the buffet restaurant. These guys work very long and very hard hours each and every day.
Upon arrival, we were put in a room at the far back of the resort, the room was VERY musty and it had no boxsping on the bed, we said "no" to this one, it would have taken us approximately 15 mins at a steady pace walking to reach the beach, buffet, etc. The next room more of the same musty smell and our balcony opened onto a jungle of some sort - we were walled in on all three sides by bushes. This again was unacceptable. They eventually put in the 5th Block on the ground floor - now we are talking view.
My only real complaint was that it was so humid in your room that each and every morning there were puddles on the floor and we had to walk around with towels wrapped around our feet. Before anyone thinks of anything to say - YES we did have the air conditioning on at 68o.
The food was very good, a lot of people FORGET that they are not in Canada, USA, etc. so that the food will be differently prepared and served. They try very hard. I found everyone (except the front desk) to be very polite and wanting to please everyone ALL THE TIME.
Overall we has a great time
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
We stayed at the Ocean Bavaro hotel from October 13, 2006 to October 20, 2006. I was very disappointed. My husband and I (along with others when possible) travel to areas such as Punta Cana, Cancun and the Mayan Riviera about once a year. In all but one other of those stays over the last 15 plus years, we've been treated extremely well...almost like royalty. Yes, at some of the resorts, there have been a few employees who didn't treat us well, but at the Ocean Bavaro, I felt as if we were a nuisance on many occasions. Usually you can find a few employees that you really get to "know", but there wasn't a single one at Ocean Bavaro. I went to the one bar, El Pueblito and asked for a Diet Pepsi and was rudely told NO, we don't have any. Not my fault if they were out and she had been asked numerous times, don't take it out on me. When the rat scurried through the dining area of the daily buffet restaurant, they just laughed as if the guests that were concerned about it were stupid. The food was good, the nightly entertainment was good and the beach was good, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone when there are so many other options out there. The entertainment staff was very low key during the day, unlike most of the other resorts we have stayed at. At the very least, I was disappointed. Again, I would not recommend this resort to anyone..there are plenty of others out there that will treat you like royalty, including other resorts that have the same rating.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Lisa Burlington, Ontario, Canada
We just returned from a great week away in Punta Cana. We stayed at the Ocean Bavaro Spa & Beach Resort.
Flight: We travelled with Sunwing Tours and Sunwing Airlines. Flights were fine, little extras free on this airline you don't get on others. Welcome glass of champagne on departing trip, hot meals, hot towels, wine with dinner, soft drinks, snacks, and movies/music. Space not the best, Boeing 737, 3 by 3 rows. Only 4 hr. flights though. Be informed though, our flight was direct to Punta Cana, but on the way home, we stopped in Puerto Plata to pick up more people, plane was half full for Punta Cana, and the other half was for Puerto Plata. You may have to get off the plane, go through hand luggage screening and get back on the plane. We found it no big deal but many people were really annoyed. They didn't know, we did. Our travel agent informed us ahead of time, maybe booking online you don't get the personal service. Sunwing reps in Punta Cana gave us what we needed, picked us up just a little late for return airport trip, no problems with them.
A few things to remember to take, probably good on any trip: Candle (for air freshening or possible power outages), Air Freshener (I took both a solid and Febreeze Air Spray, both helped with the humid, sometimes musty smell in rooms), a clock with an alarm, face cloths in case they don't have any, bug spray (just in case of mosquitos, we only saw two...), Kleenex, and a lighter. There were no alarm clocks, face cloths we received on most days, no Kleenex, we bought some at the shop on the property, little expensive, and there are no matches given out by the hotel.
Rooms: Our first room was 9512, in block 95, very clean, but old as far as I was concerned. Few issues with cable tv, fan in bathroom, sliding door. We were told the next day we could move. Maybe they hope people won't return to move, but we did. First at 9:00 am like they said to be put on the list (our Sunwing rep helped us translate our issues and requests) and then at 2:30 to get a room key after other people checked out. We asked to be moved to block 100, in part due to this site, that informed us the building is newer. It is, only 2 years old and we ended up in Room 10108. It had a ceiling fan, larger tv, much newer tile work in the bathroom, newer bedding. Mini fridge kept drinks cold, pop and water, restocked every day. Water was hotter in mornings for shower, a little less so at night, when everybody is probably trying to use it. We were in the furthest building from everything but it was very quiet which we liked, overlooked a lovely garden area, and nothing in this hotel takes more than 10 minutes to get to. We enjoyed the walks. It is a much smaller hotel property than say the RIU complex and Bahia Principe.
Entertainment: The entertainment/animation team are outstanding. They were so friendly and energetic. The shows here were quite well done, more so than other resorts I've been to. The calibre of dancing was far better (obviously trained dancers) and they used lighting and pyrotechnics that I haven't seen before. One show was done at the pool all on the water, very effective. Another was a Michael Jackson tribute that was one of the best I've seen. They play games at the beach and other areas all day and the winners get bottles of rum at the beginning of the shows. They also play silly games with audience members before the shows, they were good for a few laughs. Those winners also got bottles of rum. They translate everything so well in 4 or 5 languages so everyone knows what's happening.
We were there with many French people (from France), English, German, Spanish, Portugese, many other Canadians and a few Americans.
Restaurants: The buffet restaurant was where we had breakfast and lunch. Our service was great, we had Wendy most days and she was fantastic. We tipped her on our last day to thank her for her great service all week. There is always something to choose from. It's not cooked always how we would or had a few things we wouldn't eat, but that's why we didn't stay eating at home! We never went hungry. We never got sick, a little stomach upset twice, but no big deal.
We ate at the Italian a la carte twice, we enjoyed the second time more, the Filet of Beef was delicious. The cannelloni were quite different than we would have expected but it was still okay. The regular pastas with sauce were fine.
We heard the Brazilian is great if you love coffee and meat. The meal is skewers of all different kinds of meat. We skipped this one.
We heard the Spanish was so-so, skipped this also.
We don't like Seafood so we skipped this one too, but we believe there is a supplement charge for lobster there.
We enjoyed the Japanese restaurant, where they cooked in front of you (quite entertaining) and you sit with up to 9 people at one of 4 tables. The food was fine, the beef was a tad dry for my liking, but the soup, appetizer (some sushi), chicken and shrimp, rice and dessert were quite good.
The Mexican restaurant was okay, Fajitas were good but come with the filling only, tortillas are at the appetizer table, and the Chimichanga was okay too. Margaritas served at first were nice too.
Reservations are required to get into the a la cartes. You make them at the buffet restaurant, where you can review the menus, and book for that day and the day after. We never had to wait to book (open between 7 & 3 pm, and then at night too). Choice between 6 & 8 pm sittings, we always chose 8pm to avoid too many kids, and we'd have more time to relax before dinner and not have too much time to wait for the shows that start at 10:00pm. You are not supposed to wear shorts or t-shirts to these restaurants and most people followed along. It was nice to see people a little dressed up for dinner, something you don't often see anymore.
Grounds: The grounds are always being worked on, this week they were re-thatching the buffet roof, and trimming the palm trees, we think to use on the roof. However, they tried to keep the disruption to a minimum, we found it no big deal. Staff are always cleaning up and were repainting a pond area, and refurbishing a block of rooms.
It was not super busy the week we were there, which was fine by us.
Massages: We had a one hour massage at the hut by the pool. This is run by Nature Spa girls. It was $30 US for one hour, $20 US for a half an hour. This is half price from the spa, which we toured, it looked very nice, but there was no one in it. The hut by the pool was busier. The massages there are a little more liberal than what you would get at a registered massage therapist in Canada but they didn't cross any boundaries. You come out of there very relaxed, a tad oily, but you feel better!
Shopping: There is a little mini market on the grounds that sell some clothing, souvenirs, and toiletries. The prices are in Euro dollars but they will convert the price to US dollars which are easy to deal with. We ventured onto the beach and headed to the left and passed one set of shops and continued onto another about 20 minutes away. You have to bargain there big time. We bought jewellery that started out at $195 US and we ended up paying $80 US. We think we did okay.
Pools: The spa pool was closed for renovation this week. There was a smaller pool open on the Ocean Cana side (basically 2 hotels in one here), and the main pool. We stayed around the main pool. The pool was fine, good temperature, laid out well. However, my only complaint is that it too could use a paint job. Many trees and palapas and chairs available, no trouble getting one, although again not a super busy week the week we were there.
Beach: The beach is lovely, wonderful soft white sand, warm turquoise coloured water. Lots of trees and palapas there too. Several chairs, quite spread out so you can find noisy or quieter spots depending on what you like. A couple of bars are there to get drinks and a grill for lunch, although we didn't eat there.
Staff: The staff here is one of the best qualities of this hotel. We didn't have any problems with anyone, even the front desk staff, which can be kind of touchy sometimes, but we managed ok, and from everyone from the maid, bellboys, restaurant staff, bartenders, animation team, gardeners, store staff, security guards on the beach, everyone was very friendly. We said "Hola" to everyone we saw and they were always happy and smiling when they answered back. They may not say "Hola" first in case they don't want to seem like they are bothering you but meeting the people is something we liked to do.
Noise: Noise was never an issue for us, however, if you stayed closer to the main Gaviota Theatre or main pool you will hear the shows that go on every night until 11:00-11:30ish. I can imagine that would be quite loud for anyone trying to sleep or with small children in that area.
Cafe: We tried the Cafe on our second to last day, just as well because I really liked the cheesecake and would have eaten way too many pieces had I gone more. You can get all sorts of coffees, teas, hot and cold and many sweets. It's air conditioned and quite nice for a change of scenery.
Bars: We found the Lobby bar nice after dinner while waiting for the shows to start. There is always a "drink of the day" posted on the sign there and every night we tried a new one. It lists the ingredients so you know what you are getting. Lots of people congregate there. The pool bar was also fine, and the beach bars weren't visited by us too often. We had no problem with the restaurant drinks, although the wine isn't that great, but that's not what we went there for.
We took several little dollar store gifts for the maid and each day laid them out on the pillow, so they know they can take them. Pencil crayons, markers, stickers, lipstick, lipgloss, eyeshadow, makeup bag, puzzles etc. On our last day we left behind a few things we chose not to bring back, like the candle, air freshener, magazines, a book with a note that told the maid she could take them and signed our room and name so she would be permitted to take them from the hotel.
All in all we had a very enjoyable week and would recommend it to others. We would likely not return only because we enjoy trying new places. We had a few little inconveniences but all were sorted out with minimal problems that were really no big deal. You have to remember to keep an open mind, things here are not the same as at home, but enjoy the experience, be patient, and learn some spanish, the more effort you make, the more effort they make. A few words here and there go a long way. They really appreciate people trying to speak their language. If you want things to be like they are at home, you should stay there and tour your own country.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Sarah and Mark llinois, USA
My husband and I traveled to the Ocean Bavaro Spa and Beach Resort in Punta Cana for our honeymoon for 7 nights from July 10 – July 17, 2006. We live near Chicago, Illinois (USA) and traveled from O’Hare Airport in Chicago. I (Sarah) am 34, and my husband (Mark) is 43. We had never traveled to the Caribbean and were happy with our first trip there. For our honeymoon, we were looking for a place to completely relax, but were also looking for something with options should we want to do something more active. We normally love to be active in the outdoors, but this time around were looking for more relaxation. The Ocean Bavaro met all of our needs.
We booked the trip with Apple Vacations and were originally scheduled to stay at Natura Park. We received a call about 3 weeks before our trip informing us that Natura Park was over-booked, and were asked if we’d like to be upgraded to Ocean Bavaro. After much research of internet reviews, we decided to take the offer.
One of the reasons we originally chose Natura Park was its manageable size. We had no desire to stay at an over-sized resort where you had to take trams to get from your room to the restaurants and beach. We chose Ocean Bavaro for the same reason, and were very happy with our decision in this regard. The size was absolutely perfect for us. The grounds were beautiful and felt spread out, but it was never more than a 5-10 minute walk, even if you went from corner to corner of the resort. It allowed for leisurely walking, but we never felt like anything was too far.
It’s comical looking back on it, but our experience at the Punta Cana airport was a bit crazy. We assume your experience really depends on how many airlines arrive at the airport at the same time. For our trip, many airlines arrived at the same time, causing a mass of people trying to get through customs at the same time. There was absolutely no sense of a line, and no-one working at the airport to enforce a line – eventually this large mob of people just starting filling in on the sides of the crowd and pushing their way forward in whatever way they could. We really needed to be aggressive in keeping our place in line and forcing ourselves forward. I can see how some would be intimidated by it, it was mass confusion.
You first need to buy a tourist card, which you purchase at a desk situated as an island in the middle of the lobby. Once you get your card, you proceed to the customs “line.”
Once we were through customs, we found our Apple representative and bus very quickly and without problem. It was an efficient process. We had read in many reviews to be cautious of people posing as Apple representatives – they will sometimes wear floral shirts and try to imitate the look. We took the advice to look only for official Apple reps who could be identified by their badges, which only the Apple reps would be wearing.
We found that things moved very quickly at the airport once we were through customs. Someone grabbed our suitcases to carry for us as we walked toward the bus, and we weren’t sure if it was someone working for Apple, or someone looking for a tip. We had to walk fast to keep an eye on the suitcases to make sure they got on the right bus. There wasn’t much communication, so our best advice is to just be smart: know where you are going, keep your eyes open, be aware of your surroundings, and be firm. We did not feel unsafe at all; it was more a feeling of confusion with so many people and buses surrounding you at one time.
The check-in process was really the only complication we had during our stay, and thankfully it happened first so we got it out of the way, and enjoyed the rest of our stay. The hotel says check-in is at 3 pm. There is a desk marked “VIP” check-in, which is supposedly where Apple guests were supposed to check in during our trip. There literally was no communication as to how our check-in process would work. Several of us sat at the desk for some time without any word about a check-in process, and finally we took it upon ourselves to enter a customer service office adjacent to the lobby reception desk, and found that this person was responsible for checking Apple (and other) guests in. I think we would have sat for many hours more had we not taken the initiative.
We arrived just before 3 pm, but there was no word on when our room would be ready. We specifically requested a room in Block 6, since this was the newest block of rooms and considered the nicest in the resort. A room in Block 6 was a condition we set for accepting a transfer to this resort. We were immediately promised a room in Block 6, and were told the room would be ready in 15 minutes. We got some food and a drink (a nice thing to be able to do while you were waiting; we were able to access the bar and food immediately). We waited and waited, and with no word from anyone, 15 minutes turned into an hour, and finally stepped back into the office. We were then told Block 6 was no longer available, but they could offer us a large suite immediately. We knew the room was in the building next to the buffet, which we had read was very old and noisy. We refused, and since we were promised a room in block 6, remained firm on the promise they had made us.
We quickly found it required a lot of POLITE firmness with the customer service representative to make ourselves heard. We stopped back into her office frequently during our waiting time to check on the progress; otherwise we felt we were just set to the side and forgotten. She was trying her best and was gracious, but there was obviously a lack of communication about the assignment of rooms, and when they were cleaned and available. It was several hours of frustration for us and many other guests before we finally got into a room in Block 6 as we were promised.
Despite the frustration of traveling all day and not being able to get into a room when promised and start your vacation, we knew the staff were working hard and trying to accommodate us. We witnessed some rude behavior by other guests when their needs were not met. We were all frustrated, but angry and negative behavior really gets you no-where. It is possible to be polite and firm at the same time; the staff at least deserves this respect.
Once our room was ready, we were transported by golf carts with our luggage to our building which was a nice convenience. Block 6 is considered the Spa building, and we found it to be the most luxurious of all the blocks.
On your first day of arrival the staff delivers a big basket to your room with wonderful fruit, cheeses, and meat. They also deliver water and beer; though the beer was never delivered to our room.
The room in Block 6 was a suite with a large bathroom – 2 sinks, a shower, and Jacuzzi, and it was all very clean, every day. We had a king sized bed, and two steps down led to a small area with a daybed, entertainment center with TV, and mini bar. The bar contained bottled water and Pepsi. We had read the fridges were to be stocked with beer, but that was never the case. I’m sure we would have gotten some had we asked, but there was really no need. There was a very nice small balcony with a plastic table and two chairs, and the view could not be beat. The balcony looked directly out onto the ocean and the beach. Just stunning. We really enjoyed sitting on the balcony in the evening after a long day at the beach. Block 6 is literally on the beach – you walk out the side door, and there you are on the beach.
We learned from other reviewers the idea of bringing small gifts for the maids. They work so hard and for so little, and seemed to really appreciate these gifts. We brought make-up, slippers, socks, crayons, pencils and pens, and things for children. We left several of these gifts on our pillows each morning with a simple thank-you note in Spanish (we don’t speak Spanish but picked out basic phrases from a book), along with 2-3 single dollar bills every day. If we needed more water, we left a note on the pillow asking for more, and by the end of the week our fridge was stocked full of water; more than we needed. The response from the staff cleaning the room was wonderful.
In general, learning a few Spanish phrases will get you far. Everyone on staff was so friendly and interested in saying hello, an “hola” as you walked by someone was very appreciated and a huge smile was always received. We found the staff to be incredibly friendly, warm, and helpful. Naturally, most speak Spanish only, so go there knowing this.
Absolutely gorgeous; this is what we went for. Beautiful sand, not too hot to walk on. We rarely had a problem getting chairs. If you walk to the far end of the resort where it borders the vendor huts there were typically more chairs to be found. Most of the time we were able to find sunny spots as well as shady spots under the wonderful thatched roof umbrellas. Only one day did it rain, and we sat under our umbrella the whole time and didn’t get wet, it was beautiful. The beach was very large and there was plenty of room to spread out.
There was a wonderful constant breeze on the beach. We never felt overly hot or stifled because of the breeze. It was very humid while we were there, but being on the beach was so refreshing.
There is a roped-off swimming area in the water, which was incredibly warm. The waves were not very high, and the swimming was good. The whole area where the resort is located is protected by a coral reef which extends at least a mile off the beach. This reduces the waves on the beach and makes the water pretty calm. There is no snorkeling directly off the beach, as the water is too sandy.
When you check-in you are given a towel card. Every day you need to give exchange your towel card for a towel at the towel hut on the beach. Do not lose your card or you will be charged. At the end of the day, you drop off your towel and pick up your card again. Only one day did they run out of towels, which was VERY aggravating. It was on the weekend, when a lot of new people had checked into the resort for a long weekend and they couldn’t keep up with the towels. Other than that, there were plenty of towels.
The animation team is out working the crowd in the morning and then late afternoon. They took a break from about 11 am – 3 pm. The music was very loud directly near where they were centered, so if you are looking for a quieter place to sit on the beach, we’d recommend not sitting near their speaker systems. They were not pushy at all, and there were quite a few people who participated in daily dancing lessons, sports games, etc. There are plenty of quiet spots on the beach to get away from the noise.
As you’ll read in other reviews, there is definitely topless sunbathing, mostly by the European crowd. It was subtle and natural.
We took advantage of the free non-motorized water sports at the resort. My husband sails, so we took the hobie cat out almost every day – it was amazing. You can take the boats out for 30 minutes each day, and you are required to sign up for a slot in advance. The boats literally skim the coral once you are out which is amazing. The water is so clear we actually saw brightly colored fish swimming around the coral.
We also took the single kayaks out on the water. Paddling was so easy and relaxing.
You can also learn to wind surf, though not many people were having much luck with it.
In terms of culture in Punta Cana, this is an area we felt was lacking. When traveling, we like to absorb the culture of our surroundings. We felt there to be little intellectual cultural stimulation; we were very insulated by the resort. There are no towns to explore or no way to absorb yourself in the true life of the DR. Partly, this is to do the poor economy, as the resorts have made themselves their own mini-city separated from the outlying areas. There are some excursions which offer trips to larger cities in the DR, but this requires almost a full day of traveling away from the resort. This truly was a beach resort trip, with little other cultural immersion.
The bars are plentiful on the resort! They were all over the beaches, you never had to walk far to find one. The beer was pretty good, but definitely a light beer – Miller style. The frozen drinks on the beaches such a pina coladas and margaritas were from a frozen drink machine. Rum was readily available and it was so good!
The lobby bar was by far the best bar at the resort. The drinks were mixed freshly, and margaritas were actually shaken and not from a machine. Definitely take advantage of the drink specials which are advertised on display cards on the bar – they are amazing. Our favorite was the Amore Tropical and we still crave it.
Unless you are a super VIP guest, none of the all-inclusive drinks are top shelf; they are moderate at best. You can purchase a top shelf drink for $3 per drink, which was reasonable and we took advantage of it in the evenings. Bring your singles! Change is typically not available at the bars (see “General Advice” below).
Early in the week we got the novelty of “drink as much as you want whenever you want” out of our systems early. Just a reminder that a day full of hot sun and a drink in your hand at all hours takes a toll on the body! Pina Coladas were a great start for breakfast just one day, but it’s a long day! We were quickly reminded how dehydrating the sun can be and learned to pace ourselves.
The pools were beautiful. There were three altogether we had access to. The main pool has a swim-up bar which is so much fun. It was busy most of the time, but we never waited long for drinks, we were always served quickly. We spent most of our time on the beach so never laid by the pools, but took dips in them occasionally. It was much more humid by the pools and inside the resort because the ocean breeze didn’t make it in that far, so we stayed mostly on the beach.
We wanted to get some snorkeling in and enjoy the water more, so we took a ½ day snorkeling excursion which we booked through Apple Vacations (the reps have a hut on the resort and are available every day if you need help or need to book tours). The bus picked us up in front of the resort, and then we went around to about 6 more resorts to pick more people up. This was a little long, as we drove from resort to resort. Once we got to the location, we all got on a big boat. We headed out not too far to a roped-off section of water. We got our snorkeling gear and floating devices, and jumped in the water and for about ½ hour snorkeled our way over to the roped off area. We saw a lot of really amazing fish along the way in all kinds of colors. The protected area had nurse sharks and sting rays in it. You literally swim right above them. There are also all kinds of fish in there. It was a bit crowded at times with people snorkeling, but it was amazing to see the sharks so close up.
Once back on the boat, they sent around fresh coconut and made pina coladas which they sent around in small cups. We took a boat tour of the coast which was beautiful. We saw virgin coastline as well as the fronts of many resorts. At one point the boat stopped in a natural bay area with a sandy bottom and shallow water. We all jumped off the boat and hung out in the incredibly warm and peaceful water. The boat played Bob Marley music and the staff walked around in the water serving cups of beer off a tray. It was a very cool experience. Looking back I would have liked more natural snorkeling, but the trip was nice for what it was, and it got us out on the water like we wanted.
Main Buffet: We really liked the main buffet. I am a vegetarian (and I eat fish), and I found plenty to eat throughout our trip. I absolutely loved the bean dishes every day for lunch and dinner, and the fish was plentiful. Even without fish there was plenty to eat. My husband doesn’t typically eat a lot of meat either, and found plenty of selections, meat and non-meat. He was impressed by the carving station several times throughout the week. The food does get a little repetitive, but there was enough variety that you could always find something. The DR is not known for their food, and we knew that going into it and didn’t have high expectations. We loved the fresh fruit smoothies every morning; I still crave that banana shake. The fresh fruit was simply amazing. The mango was out of this world, you just can’t get fruit that tastes like that in the U.S.
We never got “sick,” but we did find ourselves a bit nauseous at times throughout the week. We were prepared for that in advance, and had plenty of Pepto Bismol and Immodium. We know that was because the food was prepared and cooked in things we aren’t used to eating, so we tried to eat in moderation to avoid anything severe and it worked out pretty well.
Several of the friends we met from England were very sick with stomach problems for several days; it kept them to their rooms. They remarked that the people they met from the U.S. were not getting sick as severely as the people from England. We couldn’t figure that one out, but that was their observation.
A note on wine: if you enjoy good wine, don’t have high hopes in the DR. The house wine, to us, tasted like water. There literally was no taste to it. In the a la carte restaurants they will offer you a bottle of wine to purchase for $15. Since the house wine was so poor, we didn’t want to take a chance on spending that much money for a bottle of wine. We decided to stick to the rum and were happy with that decision. Do, however, try the mamajuana if you get a chance. It’s a local mixture of rum and honey stored in a bottle with roots and sticks to give it an earthy flavor, it was almost like a port. We really liked it.
A La Carte Restaurants:
Definitely book these as early in the morning as you can, they fill up very quickly. We tried to eat most of our dinners in these restaurants just for variety.
Mexican: We never ate here, as it sounded pretty generic.
Japanese: Amazing! Very highly recommended. The food was just excellent, and the cooking entertaining. This was our favorite restaurant by far.
Spanish: We really enjoyed the Spanish restaurant. It was a relaxing way to spend a dinner, quiet and romantic. We had a wonderful server bring by a cart of after-dinner drinks, and after my selection of sambuca, he proceeded to pour it into two glasses, light the liquid on fire, and then performed a show by pouring the bright blue liquid on fire from glass to glass. It was quite a show! He was wonderful and had a great sense of humor. You will recognize his unique laugh if you run across him, treat him well.
Italian: We did not have a good experience at the Italian restaurant. The food was bland, and our main entrees were the same food that was served at the buffet, just larger quantities. We actually left before finishing our meal. All of these restaurants share the kitchen with the buffet kitchen, so the food is very similar in some cases, even though you are ordering off a menu.
Brazilian: As I am vegetarian and they basically offer meat selections, we did not eat here.
Coffee House: This was a nice place to stop in the morning or the evening for some specialty coffee drinks. My husband had a beautiful frozen mocha drink one day with chocolate drizzled on it and it was quite a treat. They also made fruit smoothies which were very good. A note about coffee: the DR only serves instant decaf everywhere. I don’t drink caffeine, which was not a problem to deal with for a week, but just something to know in advance.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the majority of the visitors were European. We found this to be wonderful as we both love Europe, and almost felt like we were on a European holiday. We met many wonderful people from England, especially our new friends John, Julie, Ryan and Shania. It was great fun meeting new people and enjoying the tropical environment.
Take lots of one dollar bills!!!! We can’t emphasize this enough. We read this advice from another reviewer before we left, and don’t know what we would have done without them. You will not be able to get American cash or change at the resort; we ran into others who had a hard time with this. The staff works so hard, so we were sure to leave a dollar to our server at the buffet, to the bartender, the maid, and anyone else we might encounter that helped us. It’s amazing how much a dollar bill can go in the DR, it really is appreciated and while it wasn’t much, we felt it was the least we could do. We found it sad outside of the resort areas how devastatingly poor the country is; the resorts are really very insulated. We tried not to forget this as the staff waited on us during the week we were there.
Overall, we loved our trip to Punta Cana, and really enjoyed the Ocean Bavaro. It was extremely clean and friendly, and had everything we were looking for. It was a perfect honeymoon for us. Beautiful weather and a beautiful location, it was a very special trip and we still think of it and smile and long for that ocean breeze.
We like to travel a lot and see different places, and if we go back to the Caribbean some day we will try a different location and resort. There are too many things to see in the world to stay at the same place twice for us.
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
I stayed at the Ocean Bavaro from October 8-15 with three friends. We read mixed/negative reviews on the site prior to travelling. We remained optimistic and are glad we did. Here is our review:
Flight: We flew USA3000 from Detroit to Punta Cana. Very good flight with
very attentive staff. Everything went without incident.
Arrival/transfer: Customs procedures were quick and uncomplicated. We were met by an Apple representative and quickly directed to a large bus that would deliver us to our resort. Our stop was the first of three.
The busride was, at most, 30 minutes.
Check-In Services: It was a very busy lobby at Ocean Bavaro, as one might expect, at 11:00 in the morning. All Apple arrivals were directed to a courtasy deck and given towel cards. Rooms were not available until 3:00 p.m. I don't think that is unusual at all....besides, we went directly to the beach and also had lunch....who cares about a room?
We wandered back to check in at around 4:00. The clerk seemed a little anxious that we were clearly the last to come around. (We didn't see any reason to hurry.....it's vacation after all.) We had requested two rooms in the same building, since we were travelling together. Our friends were placed in a building quite a distance from us, but with a little haggling, it all worked out. The clerk delivering our luggage took care of the problem in short order and it was fine.
Rooms: We had two rooms in Building 5, one on the pool side and one on the garden side. It was SO convenient. We were a few steps to the pool, a few steps to the beach and same to the restaurants. Our friends had a nice little view of the beach on their side. Our rooms were clean and well-kept. We had plenty of hot water and our maid was wonderful.
NOTE: THESE PEOPLE WORK LIKE CRAZY! REMEMBER THAT!
The buildings are all open air and tile floor.....very beautiful.
Complaints on the site regarding noise are likely caused by this.....once again, totally expected.....it's a vacation resort. Some folks stay out late, some go to bed early....we were able to sleep just fine.
BEACH: Absolutely gorgeous. Warm water. Palm trees. Need I say more?
POOLS: Big. Nice. We like the beach so did not spend much time here.
NOTE: There is always a big party going on around the swim up bar. We stopped in occasionally, but didn't hang around long.....it got pretty rowdy. (You might like that!)
FOOD: Okay....I have to say I get really tired of hearing people at the resort, on the plane and on sites like this complaining about food.
Sheesh, it's the Dominican! The food is different! Take advantage of this! Have fried plantains or bananas for breakfast! Have the paella for lunch! Try all the wonderful cheeses and breads and fruits. There is absolutely no way a person can go hungry at this resort.
We tried each of the specialty restaurants; Mexican, Japanese, Spanish, Italian and Brazilian, in that order. Liked them all. Would go back to each of them given enough time.
The snack bar and Bahia beach cafe were both handy for something quick. I even ate a burger, just because it sounded good, and it was great! If you want McDonalds....please, just stay home.
Coffee shop was a treat also. Special coffees like Starbucks. Nice idea.
BARS: At least no one here complains often about these....how could you?
They are plentiful with friendly staff and always open somewhere on the grounds. Our favorite spot was the little bar by the main pool after dinner. We met so many great people there from many countries.
That, by the way, is the best part about this place.....the cultural diversity. Take advantage of meeting new email pals from all over the world! What a wonderful opportunity!
The weather was beautiful.....only one day of rain......nice and hot and sunny....sigh. Miss it already.
We actually never went to the shows or to the disco.....too busy meeting new friends. However, we heard the shows were very good.
I would gladly go back to this resort. I recommend it as a great bargain and no complaints!
Ocean Bavaro Beach (Ocean Cana)
Lindsay Ontario, Canada
My boyfriend & I stayed at Ocean Bavaro from July 17-24 2006.
The resort itself is quite nice & clean. Our room was in block 7, on the first floor. I thought we were in a very nice location, right on the beach! If you plan on going to bed early it may not be a good spot for you as we were able to hear all of the daily evening shows & they go on until 11pm. The beach is gorgeous & quite well maintained.
On July 20th my boyfriend was quite ill, so much so that we went to see the resort doctor. He immediately sent us to the hospital. We remained in the hospital for 2 nights, my boyfriend had gastroenteritis. While in the hospital, we met 4 other couples, all from Ocean Bavaro. That sends up warning signals for me!
If you're looking to relax on the beach, it wont happen. They do many activities on the beach during the day & you will be bothered quite often, unless you're at one of the far ends.
Towel service was absolutely ridiculous. There was only one day when we had all of the room towels delivered without having to call & complain for them. And yes, we did tip the maid daily. Beach towels were just as difficult to get. We literally had to fight with the guy the day we returned from the hospital to get fresh beach towels.
We watched one evening show and it was awesome! I was very impressed with that.
We were only able to go to the mexican restaurant, and I was happy with the food there. The buffet isnt bad either, I can be a bit of a picky eater & I could always find something to eat. The pizza is pretty awesome but the plain cheese & the ham pizza's always go the fastest!
We were able to go on one tour, the atv tour. I would definitely recommend it, we had a great afternoon atv-ing & seeing more of the Dominican Republic.
There is a definite language barrier if you dont speak any spanish (like us!)