Debbie's Dominican Travel.com Old Reviews - Iberostar Punta Cana
Iberostar Punta Cana
Ed 
Johnsburg, IL. USA
December 2008
Your Arrival: Nov 8-Nov 15, 2008
Upon arrival we found the lobby under construction. Got to first room. Not set up for 4 people-one King bed and a couch that did not pull out. Room smelled like mold. Safe was broke. After unpacking, while waitng for safe to be repaired and a roll away to be delivered (about 20 minutes) I went into the bathroom to find red ants all over our toiletries. I requested another room, after repacking our clothes and helping to carry them to the next room, I found the ceiling above the tub in the bathroom, had fallen into the bathroom tub and water was running into the tub from ther ceiling. At this point my bride to be was and extremely upset crying. I now demanded another room. The third room was in the same building but on the top floor, so at lest we did not have any leaks from the ceiling. The gentleman who checked me in,did a orientation, took me to the room, told me to contact him if I needed anything, was nowhere to be found!

Rooms:
The room which was in the section of the building that was newly renovated had numerous issues throughout the week. They included one of two ceiling fans worked, the phone ringer did not work, it only flashed, one of two TV's worked. the safe broke twice, the door locks failed to aceept our key cards on 3 separate occasions. Which meant we had to walk to the lobby and get new ones, once a 2:00AM on our WEDDING night. The hair dryer did not have any power. There were frequent power failures. These issues and other were experienced by all of our friends with us-6 different couples

Restaurants and Bars:
Food at the buffet was adequate and the staff was excellent. The enclosed restaurants(oriental) required long pants, yet had no air conditioning or it was not working-not sure which. However it was very uncomfortable to eat in. The beach front steak restaurant was very good. Bar and wait staff were excellent and attentive at all locations.

Beach/Pools/Grounds:
the grounds were very nice, but given the fact that about 40% of the resort was under construction, there was constant noise. Area for wedding on beach was great, as was wedding coordinator- Yosalina

Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Our lobby bar and show area was closed. Activities at the sister hotel Iberostar Dominica were very good. Horseback riding on the beach was excellent and a great value. Swimming with the sharks and sting rays was also a hit, especially with the kids.

Other Comments:
Language is definity a barrier. I have been to the Caribean over 25 time in the past 20 years and have never had so many negatives on a trip before. This is the first trip to the Dominican Republic and to the Iberostar chain and it will be the last. The consruction encompassed about one half of the main building we were in and lasted from about 8:00 AM until about 10:00PM. The constant noise made it impossible to sleep in and the odor from the painting was sickening-especially for the kids. To complete my aggavation with this trip, my travel agent was not notified by Apple ofthe issues of contruction, nor the discounts that were being given as a result of the construction. Worst of all, despite several emails to Apple and Iberostar, I nor my travel agent have not reieved any response addressing these issues!!!!! SAD
Iberostar Punta Cana
Rosemarie and Toby 
USA
June 2008
Arrival and Flight - - We booked through Apple Vacations so the flight was on USA3000. Everything went smoothly and the service was great. We were offered the emergency exit aisle seats and I would highly recommend them. Much more leg room than the standard seats. We flew out of BWI at 8:00 and arrived in Punta Cana just before 11:30. Everything you read about the airport is true. People will try and take your bags for a tip, they will put you through pictures with Dominican women but none of this offended us or slowed us down. Our Apple Rep helped us out tremendously at the airport and brought us to the right bus. It was only about a 1/2 hour ride to the resort on a nice airconditioned bus. At the hotel, our rooms weren't ready yet but were able to go have lunch at the buffet, walk around the property to check it out and by 2:00 our room was ready.

Rooms - - Wonderful room!!!! We were upgraded to the Jr. Suites and loved it. The view from our balcony was beautiful and the building was close to the lobby, bars, restaurants. We actually enjoyed being in this location even though it was a hike to the beach because it was nicer to not have to walk too far at night. The bathroom was spacious and clean. Water pressure wasn't the greatest but there was always hot water. I would recommend bringing your own hairdryer if you need one as the one in the bathroom just doesn't do the trick. Our maid kept us with a fully stocked minibar and towel animals every day. We tipped her daily and she took care of any requests promptly.

Restaurants - - We found the food to be very good. The buffets always had a great selection. The fresh squeezed orange juice at breakfast was out of this world, as well as the coffee. (I loved the made to order omelets.) We had a definite preference for the beach palapa restaurant at lunch time, all the way to the left of the property if you're facing the ocean. It was right on the beach and never too crowded. Never had a problem getting drinks at the bar there either although we observed that the bar on the Dominicana side always had a line and more of a crowd. The policy for reserving specialty restaurants was EASY!!!! Just see the guest services desk between 9 and 12 or 3 and 7 and you book your choices for the whole week. There's none of the nonsense of being first in line each day. I was really surprised how easy it was. We at at LaSibila (the gourmet) didn't care for it but everyone around us seemed to like it.& nbsp; We also tried the Mexican restaurant which was very good and the Steak House which my husband loved. We also ate at the Star Rock Cafe twice. The salmon there is excellent as well as the fried shrimp which has the best beer batter I've ever had. One thing I will say...the fried food must be cooked at a lower temperature than here in the states as it seemed to retain a lot more oil. It tasted great however if you make a snack of cheese fries every day like my husband did it will affect your stomach in a big way.

Bars - - We had excellent service at pretty much all the bars. The staff is wonderful, tip or no tip. My husband mainly stayed with the Presidente or Bohemia beer but I liked trying all the fruity drinks. One thing I found to be different was the dacquiris. I pretty much had strawberry daquiris everyday but there wasn't a bit of strawberry in it. It was white rum, grenadine and a slushy lemon lime mix. They were delicious and refreshing on the beach and I'm going to miss them now that I'm back. The frozen Iberostars were also very good too.

Beach and Pools - - The pools were kept so clean but we found the water to be too warm to be refreshing. But we're beach people so we didn't use the pools much at all. The beach.....exquisite. I've never experienced the Caribbean before so it was just breathtaking for me. The sand was so soft, the water so blue and WARM. There were waves but they broke so gently that it was great to just play out in the water all day. We brought some rafts with us and we're glad we did. Nothing like getting a tan while floating on the beautiful water. There were plenty of beach chairs and tons of Palapas. And the beach was just so clean. We walked further down to look at the Rius and they just didn't seem nearly as nice at all. Peeking at their beaches made us so thankful that we chose the Iberostar. The Rius didn't have any palapas at all, and in general they just seemed run down looking, IMHO.

Grounds - - They were kept impeccable. The pathways were all lined with flowering bushes and a variety of flowering trees and palms were everywhere. There were always workers doing something to maintain the grounds. Several fountains filled with turtles and fish. Everyday we'd encounter the flamingos and peacocks, along with their babies. As well as a large white rooster named George that apparently likes to be pet like a cat.

Activities and Entertainment - - We didn't take any of the tours offered as we're always on the go in real life and we wanted this week to just relax. That being said, I'd probably take a tour or two next time as we were starting to tire of the routine toward the end of the week. We did try kayaking which was fun. There was also catamarans, banana boat rides, windsurfing, parasailing, etc. The nightly shows were funny although we only caught a few of them. The casino was small but I still had fun playing the penny slots anyhow. The best part which I think probably really sets this resort apart are the Star Friends Entertainment crew. They walk around getting to know everyone set up activites on the beach like volleyball, water polo, bingo, archery, etc. Plus they do all the evening shows, speaking fluently in at least 6 languages. An amazingly talented group of people. The DC-6 disco was a sight.&nbs p; Not my style as we're now in our mid 30s and its geared toward a younger crowd but it was neat to see. The Star Rock Cafe has a few pool tables, foosball and a few pinball machines.

Tours - - Many offered by our Apple Rep but we didn't try any this time.

Misc. - - We found that the cell phone reception was bad and we couldn't call home. Beware of the hotel charges for international calls. I'm sure its not only the Iberostar but I believe the rate was $20 a minute. Yes, $20 ...that's not a typo. The good thing was that Carlos, our Apple Vaca rep was able to sell us a 20 minute phone card for $15. We didn't have to pay a connection fee or anything so we were able to speak with the kids for a reasonable price. If you're from the US, I highly recommend Apple Vacations as they gave us a great deal ($979 per person for 8 days) and Judy and Maria's travel in PA. They took care of everything for us and we received so many upgrades without requesting a thing. Even the manager of the hotel met with us to make sure we were having a great time. They really made it a special vacation where we were treated like royalty.

Departure and Check Out - - Things went smoothly although it takes a bit longer on the way out. I wasn't sure what to expect but they didn't dig through my luggage or anything. FYI, there's are places to eat in the airport near the departing terminals. I didn't see these on the way in. Also, terminals 5 - 8 are air conditioned which was so nice during our 2 hour wait. Our flight did depart a 1/2 hour early so make sure you don't miss your bus to the airport.

Conclusion - - We had the time of our lives at a top notch resort. I have no complaints whatsoever. All the staff at Iberostar from the maids all the way up to the manager work their hardest and they do an excellent job. I would definitely return to this resort.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Bridget 
Michigan, USA
May 2008
My husband and I chose the Iberostar Punta Cana for a relaxing beach getaway to celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary. We had been to Punta Cana once before (Natura Park in 2004) , and also especially love Saint Martin and the Caribbean in general - 11 cruises over the past 20 years or so.

Price was a major consideration for this trip, and we got a great bargain from Detroit through Funjet Vacations. This was our second booking with Funjet, and we have been pleased with their prices and service. Because we purchased the full insurance package (which we have learned from experience can be worth its weight in gold if you have an unexpected illness or delay during your travels) , we were able to take advantage of a $350 drop in our vacation package price between our booking and departure, which MORE than made up for the original cost of the insurance. We received a refund within a couple of weeks, no questions asked. We were also pleased with the services provided by VIP, the on-site rep for Funjet.

I recommend taking advantage of the gentlemen who greet you at the airport to take your bags - first of all, you'll have a hard time getting them to take NO for an answer, but more importantly, they are great at getting you to the front of the line, and on the right bus quickly, with no hassles. We saw countless people wandering around aimlessly, in the hot sun, carrying/dragging heavy bags - just not worth the trouble when there is someone just waiting to help you. Well worth a $5 tip, I say!

Bus ride to the resort was relatively uneventful - not the most pleasant scenery, as others have noted. Check in was quick and easy, and we were upgraded to the newer all-suite building near the lobby area. Room was great size with plently of space to spread out. Nice patio overlooking the more private back gardens. Dining table with 2 chairs, couch & upholstered chair in the sitting area. Adequate storage, although short on actual drawer space - bring a few extra hangers. Location was fine for us - but it would be a long walk for those with mobility issues.

Food was about as expected - not up to most cruise ships (especially our favorite - Celebrity), but certainly acceptable for the price. We made reservations at La Cana, the beach front steak house (so-so steak, fun to have your feet in the sand), La Maria Bonita, the mexican restaurant (decent appetizers, nice shrimp dish) and La Pagoda (oriental - good tepanyaki beef - probably the best meal of the week). The buffet was OK - we could always find something to fill up on. We expecially enjoyed the fresh fruits and cheeses. Lunch at the LaCana buffet on the beach was our favorite - we loved the roasted chicken they served every day - in fact I have been craving it since we returned!

We're not big drinkers, but I was a little disappointed with the beverages. Service was good, but drinks like margaritas or pina coladas, or even rum & lemonade were usually way too sweet and you could not get true blended drinks by the beach. Not a deal breaker for us, but some may be bummed.

Americans were in the minority which is perfectly fine with us! We rather enjoyed hearing the bingo caller call out numbers first in German, then French, then Spanish, and finally English. I also found it easier to "tune out" my neighbors on a crowded beach if I cannot understand what they are saying! We did brush up on basic Spanish - it wasn't difficult (and much appreciated by the staff) to be able to say: please, thank you, good morning, good evening, beer, water, coffee, yes, no and the like in Spanish. We got a kick out of it, although we never had a major problem being understood in English.

The beach was the whole reason for our visit, and we were not disappointed! Our goal was a week of relaxation and laying around in the sun on a beautiful beach, and that's exactly what we got. Mostly great weather and undeniably one of the world's best beaches.

Not much nightlife to speak of, but that was OK with us. We went to one of the shows, and it was fun, but our king size bed was very inviting after a long day in the sun!

All in all a great trip, and we would gladly return to the Iberostar Punta Cana.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Kara/Justin 
Massachusetts
April 2008
Arrival and Flight April 2-11 2008, US Air

We had planned this destination for our wedding which was April 5th. The wedding was beautiful except the wedding planner I had been in touch with via email not longer worked at the hotel. I had a new planner and had to redo all the requests. There was a bit of a language barrier and not a lot of choices for cakes, flowers, etc. I am not picky and was happy with the way the site looked. The wedding was on the beach and so lovely, I couldn't have asked for anything more. The photographer was fabulous and I got my pics. the next day! Beautiful flowers, cake was yummy, absolutey fabulous!

Rooms- Extremely clean, beautiful patio, tv was blue and remote was messed up but we were not in our room all that often. Plenty of water, stocked refridgerator

Restaurants- I loved the Mexican and steak house a la carte's. Beach buffets for lunch were very good! Night buffets, I wasn't thrilled with. I ate a lot of fruit and bread at the night buffets. Our friend got very sick for 2 days and asked for a remedy from the bartender in the lobby. Marchelo gave him a drink and he was good for the rest of the night. About half of us did not feel well at some point throughout the trip. Bring a great deal of pepto, tums etc.

Bars- very nice, don't drink a lot of the pina coladas, they may make you sick. Wine and beer mostly. If you tip at the show every night the waitresses will continue to feed you drinks. We drank a ton and I never had a hang over. I drank frozen strawberry daquiri's on the beach and they were refreshing.

Beach- gorgous-we snorkeled for free right off the beach and saw all kinds of colorful fish. Where sunscreen! We started with SPF 30 and I got burned. I have a medium skin tone. If you take a walk 15 minutes down the beach, you can negotiate for art, jewelry etc. We got a painting for $40. Pools were nice. If you want a cabana, put your towel down around 7am and then go to breakfast. They are gone early! Great place if you like to lay in the sun!

Activities/Entertainment- Shows at night are alright. The interactive shows are better than the singing and dancing. They pulled our friend up on stage and it was hysterical! The more you drink the better the show! The disco is fun but you have to go around midnight. There are teenagers earlier and it is boring. They play some older music and spanish style music that is different than home.

Tours- we chose not to do tours but we had friends that enjoyed the Saona Island excursion. They said it was a long day but worth it.

Check Out- easy and quick

Staff- more than you could ask for, very nice and more than helpful!

Negatives- Our TNT rep was MIA the majority of the trip and was really not at all useful. Also, because we arrived on a Wednesday, we had a small van that transported us with a couple and their small child to the resort. I was honestly afraid for my life and later complained to make sure we were on an air conditioned bus for the trip back to the airport. There were no seat belts, ac rack in the windshield, and we almost hit an 18 wheeler. The driving is crazy! Also, I was very careful when I ate and there was still a morning when I had a stomach ache.....

Positives- Loved it so much we didn't want to come home! Got a beautiful tan, ate alright food, partied hard, danced, sang, and relaxed. Had the wedding of my dreams! Would go back in a second!
Iberostar Punta Cana
Susan & Dale 
Nova Scotia
April 2008
Arrival and Flight Skyservice

Rooms The rooms were great - very clean, well maintained, comfortagle beds, good air conditioning, well stocked supplies ie beverages, shampoos, lotions, towels etc

Restaurants Could not understand why anyone could complain about any of the buffet restaurants. Food was excellent and we each have the ten pounds to prove it! Went to the Seafood restaurant which was a disappointment since we are used to such wonderful seafood in Nova Scotia. Probably would not have been so bad had we not all started with the lobster soup, which was horrible! Went to the Mexican restaurant twice - delicious!!! Service was above and beyond and we loved it. The last night there we had a reservation for the Steak restaurant. What a way to end the week! Service and food beyond compare!

Bars Endless drinks, served with a smile! Loved the Bahama Mammas, Pina Coladas etc and drank more than our fair share. Also had Tequila and Margueritas at the Mexican restaurant and unlimited wine with all dinners.

Beach and Pools Wonderful - clean and endless

Grounds Beautiful and well kept. The gardeners work around the clock to keep everything looking the very best and do a great job

Activities and Entertainment Shows every night and a couple of beach parties as well as endless activities all day long at the beach and around the pool. The people who run these activities are so friendly and entertaining. Who couldn't enjoy that?

Tours Caribbean Festival - swimming with the sharks, sting rays and along the coral reef. Cancelled the first day we booked due to the wind but when we went, it was well worth it. Unfortunately, since I was not that good at snorkelling, I passed on the coral reef part of the trip and regret it. Our friends say it was beyong belief and bought the DVD. Can't wait to see it.

Again, the people working on the boat were very friendly and helpful. Dale went on the helicopter ride and loved it. Cancelled again the first day due to wind, but when they got up there, their only regret was not having a chance to take a second trip

Departure and Check Out Unfortunately, our flight did not leave until 9:00 at night and we had to check out at 12:00. I wore my bathing suit and kept a change of clothes in my carry on so I could enjoy the beach, pool etc until the last minute. It would be wonderful, if, for those leaving at night if we could keep our rooms a few extra hours until the shuttle came to take us to the airport. Kind of a drag hanging around until it was time to leave. Next time, we might book early arrival and early departure!!

Conclusion First trip to the Dominican and after reviewing resort after resort on line was concerned that we may not make the best choice. That worry was gone, the second we checked in. Our friends stayed at the neighbouring Iberostar Dominicana and it was basically the same, but newer so a bit nicer than room just in the bathroom fixtures. We loved every second and are talking about going back next year. Would like to check out other resorts for the experience, but hate to take a chance since we loved the Iberostar so much.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Joe & Nancy 
Minnesota, USA
March 2008
My wife & I just returned from another great week in the beautiful Dominican Republic. This was our 4th trip to Iberostar Punta Cana Resort in the Dominican. We left Minnesota at 6:00 AM on Sun Country Airlines and had a great flight. We arrived at Punta Cana Int. Airport at 1235 PM and went thru customs with no problem. Have your $11.00 per person ready and you get right thru. Our baggage was collected and we were met by porters who grabbed your baggage and took us directly to the FunJet counter, who had our transportation set up and ready to go, and 45 minutes later we were at the lobby of our resort. Check in was extremely smooth and took about 10 minutes. They brought us a drink while we were checking in and once done, there was a bellboy waiting to take us to our room. The bellboy, we knew and surprising Nicholas remembered us immediately. At the registration desk was Juan who also remebered us and it was like old home week. The room was the room we asked for, as this being our 4th trip there, we liked the same room on ground level by the pool. After unpacking we were off to the lobby bar to relax with a couple of drinks. I would recommend trying a Bananna Mamma, Tropical Coconut, or an Iberostar. Very tasty. We went to the buffet for dinner and as always there was a large selection to choose from and it was all good. Before we went to the bar we did get our beach towels so we would be ready in the morning to hit the pool. The gardens are just beautiful as the workers are constantly trimming and picking things up. The two pools are as clean and well maintained as we remembered. After our dinner meal we called it a night as it was a very long day. The next morning we were up for sunrise which was about 7:00 AM and it was just a beautiful as we remebered it was. It is really neat to see the sun come up out of the ocean. After a walk on the beautiful beach it was off to breakfast and then to the pool for a relaxing day. There are two bars at the beach plus eating places. They are located on each side of the pools. There are plenty of lounge chairs both at the pools and on the beach. Take your beach towels and put them on the lounges you want and people will not take them. If you want to eat at an alcart for dinner I would recommend that you make your reservations tha day you arrive. They have a Steak house, Mexican, Japanense, Lobster/Seafood place, and a International place. We found the buffet meals to be very good also. If you want gifts take a walk up to tent city and barter with the locals. They want you to barter with them. The rule of thumb is pay them 1/3 of there asking price.

One of the highlights of our trip every year is we bring 3-4 suit cases full of school supplies for a school that we go to. Three years ago, we talked with the registration desk and told them that we wanted to go to a school that never gets any supplies. The people at the desk lined us up with a taxi driver and he took us to this school where the kids were in a chicken coup type building with a tin roof and dirt floor. We passed out pencils, erasers, crayons paper etc., and of course some candy. We left money with the teachers not knowing what they would do with it. Three years later, they have a new, 2 room cement block school with a black board. This year they got electricity in each room which consist of one light bulb and one wall socket. It is all open air ventilation. This year they showed us book that they had bought with the money we gave them. It is just amazing how these kids remember you and you come there once a year. They are so greatful for what you give them. The teachers also remember you. We found the kids and the teachers love to have there picture taken and each year we return we bring back photo's that we took the year before. They just get extremely excited. This year they had our photo's up that we brought them last year.

The people of this country for the most part are extremely poor and are very appreciative of what ever you may give them. The waiter and waitresses work 11 straight day and get 3 days off. They work 14-16 hrs. a day, so if you feel in your heart that you can afford to leave them a small tip, please do. We brought some small gifts and gave them to the workers and you would have thought we gave them the world. You will not find kinder and friendly people anywhere in the world. They are always smiling.

Everyday the maids will come into your room and tidy and straighten things up. They normally will make animals out of your towels and put flower pedals on them. It is rather neat. We would always leave anywhere from a $2.00 to $5.00 tip for the maid. Also we always bring some little things for them and their children, laying it out daily along with a note thanking them.

At night there is a show that is put on at the Dominica side of the resort as the two hotels are hooked together and you can us both. This year one of the nights was the Michael Jackson Show, and other impersonators which was rather good. During the day you may see GEORGE the rooster walking around with his girlfriend and at night when you go to the show, you may see him purched on a chair at the show sleeping. He probably weights close to 25 pounds and is very friendly. All in all it was a great week with our friends Scott & Patty and I really can not understand why you would not have a great time there. I get a kick out of reading some of ther reviews that are written that are so negative and can't believe they are at the same resort. I'm not sure you could please these people no matter where they went. I really get a kick out of the one with the food where there meat is not done to there liking and wonder how hard it is for the person to tell them to cook it longer. Some people like there meat rare, medium or well done. It is pretty hard to please them if they don't tell the cook.

In closing, we again are planning our 5th trip back to Iberostar Punta Cana, and can not wait for next February to come. I hope this review does help someone out there
Iberostar Punta Cana
Andrea 
New York
February 2008
I am Andrea from New York city, traveling by myself as a mature single woman, and this was my fourth visit to the D.R. My stay from February 7-15, 2008 was my first time at the Iberostar Punta Cana.
I was in a regular room on the ground floor; the window and the patio had a view of the landscaped grounds. When I was in Punta Cana in March 2004, I stayed at the Riu Bambu, also in a regular room on the ground floor with a patio view of grounds and walkway.

In my opinion, the Iberostar Punta Cana is better than the Riu Bambu for these features: the room size, bathroom facilities and coffee and tea maker; the buffet's food and the number and quality of the alternative restaurants, the delicious coffee; the grounds and landscaping, the spa and the swimming pools. The Riu Bambu had much better bartenders willing to make individualized drinks and a greater variety of shopping and browsing opportunities. But both of them are very good hotels with excellent sanitation, food safety, pool cleanliness and no mosquitoes.

In the fall of 2002 and 2003, I stayed at the Iberostar Costa Dorada in Puerto Plata; that hotel had better food and service than the hotels I stayed in Punta Cana. In addition there are more interesting excursions available in Puerto Plata.
However, once you see the knockout gorgeous beach in Punta Cana, no more Puerto Plata if you are going to the D.R. I have also stayed at the Riu Yucatan in Mexico, near Playa Del Carmen on the Mayan Riviera, and have been on 7 cruises.

I encourage single woman traveling alone to consider staying at all-inclusive resorts in the D.R. when they need a vacation because they are mentally and physically tired and burnt out. You will get a choice of delicious food, bar drinks and entertainment, all without having to bring money or worry about being unescorted, you will not have to clean your own room and the maid will make you happy by leaving towels made into animals to delight you. If you stay at a good quality mid range hotel that does not have honeymoon features like private Jacuzzis in each room, you will not feel all alone in a couples universe, and the other guests will be in a good mood and talk to you.

For people with back and neck trouble, please note that the D.R. has the most talented, professional and caring massage therapists I have ever gone to anywhere, even better than some of the best in NYC. The Spa at the Iberostar Punta Cana, which shares its facilities with the IB Dominicana, has the BEST massage therapists I have ever had and has complete professional equipment for all treatments and is spotlessly clean and wonderfully scented.
And the Iberostar Spa prices are lower than the prices in mentioned in for spa services in other Punta Cana and other D.R.hotels, and much lower than prices in NYC or in other spas in the USA. The spa therapists in the D.R. are much better than the ones I have had in Mexico, even when I was staying in dedicated health spa hotels, not just regular all inclusive hotels.

This time I went with Apple Vacations, they are very well organized and conscientious: their representatives find you at the airport for your transfer to the hotel, they have a broad range of suitable and non dangerous excursions available, they make sure your return flight is confirmed and they make sure you get your transfer back to the airport on time. I have seen them before at other hotels and wished I was in their care and from now on I will travel to the Caribbean with Apple.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Rich 
Illinois
February 2008
This was our first trip to Punta Cana. We chose the Iberostar, since we had a great time at the Iberostar Tucan in Playa Del Carmen MX in late 2006. We arrived for our 4 night stay on a Wednesday about 2 pm or so. Our bus (through Apple vacations) was the first stop and 2 other couple got off with us. We were greeted with a refreshing fruity drink and check in was fine. However I quickly asked Santos at the front desk if this room had a king size bed or 2 doubles? He said 2 doubles and smiled and used my charm to ask for a room with a king size bed. Santos instructed me to have a seat and wait for the other couples to complete their check in. about 10 minutes later he waived me back to the desk and I graciously tipped him $US 10, and ended up not only with a king size bed....but a room with about an 80% ocean view---room 5245. We were very happy! This would be the beginning of a wonderful 4 night stay.

Rooms - The room was on the top floor closest to the beach and had a vaulted ceiling and a ceiling fan. AC worked fine. Having been to several AI's before in the Carribean I have learned to travel with an extension cord with multiple 'plug-ins' on the one end. This time was no different. There was only about 2 outlets other than in the bathroom and both were in inconvenient spots. With batteries, cell phones, ipods, video cameras etc to recharge this extension cord was a god send!! The fridge was well stocked with a couple of beers, pop and bottled water. They also provided a large gallon size jug of water. We left a few dollars each morning for house keeping, and had asked in a note for extra pillows, blanket and mucho cervesas and were well taken care of. We also left a buck or two in the fridge itself for extra beer as I thought that maybe the fridges were tended to by someone other than housekeeping. There was just one light that needed a new bulb in the room, but I never asked for a new one. Even with that my only criticism would be that the room lacked good 'overhead' lighting. Shower and bathroom 'stuff' all worked fine. Be careful when showering as regardless of how good one is with the shower curtain..water is gonna end up on the bathroom floor. We needed to have a technican come to the room to rebolt the safe to the wall and reset things so that we could utilize the safe. We did not have to pay extra for this as I beleive it was included in the Apple 'package'. We called the front desk and within about 10 minutes a gentleman had come to fix the safe. I tried to get him to drink some mamajuana with me....he chuckled but said no and instead I tipped him a couple of bucks.

Restaurants - We had somewhat low expectations of the buffets and while no one went hungry, the food was just ok. I am not a picky eater at all. I am the kind of guy that usually puts food in my mouth first then asks what it is I'm eating. Well I had to literally spit two different things out of my mouth, they were so 9bad0 or just way to unusal for me to endure! I would not say the food was bad or horrible, just that for me personally it took a day or so to get comfortable with finding what I liked and what I didn't. Breakfast was great with the eggs made to order and pancakes that were pretty good. As for Lunches, we ate at the beach restaurant. Lots of decent grilled fish, chicken, and boneless pork, along with some rice and/or paella and fresh fruit pleased me on most of the days. Each day out on the BBQ the staff grilled something different. One day it was burgers, the next day it was whole chickens which were then cut of right there as they cane off the grill. Be mindful...the burgers were all undercooked and many went uneaten on peoples plates, but the chicken was great. I later learned how to say in Spanish 'well-done' with my burgers "BIEN HECHO"....it came in handy!!

Dinners.... This was where the main buffet was challedging to find something pleasing. For our four night stay, we lucked out and only ate dinner the first night at the buffet. The second night we ate at the 'Star Rock Cafe'- where you order off the menu but no reservations required. This was the place where food was 'Americanized' and my wife and I really enjoyed it. Again I had low expectations but was pleasantly surprised. Also you all you top shelf boozers out there....the bar had many international top brands- Johnnie Walker, Tanqueray, to namer just a few. Of all the bars on the premises, this one seemed like the best stocked quality brands. I drank Brugal Rum in brandy snifters while at the Iberostar and all bars had this EXCEPT the beach bar. More on this in the BAR section. Next evening we ate at the 'gourmet' place-La Sibila. This was a very nice change as well from the buffet. Fixed menu serving 5 courses, with a half of a grilled lobster as the main course. It was good. however it you are more used to just a lobster tail, then the presentation may dissapoint you. Now for our 4 night stay we were only assured one ala carte reservation. However when making the gourmet reservation, Christine at the desk said 'come back tomorrow morning early and I'll see if I can get you another reservation' Back the next morning, no Christine but another young lady goit us a 9:30 reservation for the Oriental place. This was a bit late for our liking but it was our last night there so we figured what the heck! We decided to go a bit early (about 8:45-9:00pm) and I'd say there were only about 20% of the tables occupied, so no problem getting seated right away. Keep that in mind when making these later reservations. At all of the ala carte places, occupancy never seemed like it was more than 50% so, take the later reservations and just show up early....chances are you'll have no problem getting seated right away. The food at the "Pagoda" as it is called was good too. Appetizers and desserts are served via a buffet table centrally located in the middle of the room. The main entree was ok, nothing to rant and rave about but the best part about all of the ala carte dining at the resort was being in a quieter atmosphere, getting waited on and being served several courses as compared to the buffet 'pile it on' mentality. When you get right down to it, I'm staying at the Iberostar for one reason- THE BEACH!!!! All else is secondary!

Bars - Well, my first experience with Presidente beer and I gotta say it was very good. In addition to being cold, it had a very good taste...not tasteless like many lite beers here in the U.S. nor bitter or skunky tasting like some imported beers. I did notice though that none of the bars, whether on the beach or in the lobby, had a blender...so icey/slushy margarita's or of the like ain't gonna happen. BE SURE TO BRING YOUR OWN MUG!! I had a cheap $1.79 22 oz. Walmart special and it was great. I mostly drank beer but occasionally had a planters punch. Now if you want to enjoy good rum down at the beach...whether chasing it with a cold beer or in a tropical drink, the best solution is to go to the lobby gift shop. For about $US 9, you can get a 750 ml of Extra Viejo Brugal Rum. So down to the beach we go with our very own bottle in tow. Then get a small glass from the beach bar to use for chasers with the beer, and/or add an once or two to the top of your tropical drinks, and you're good to go. I tipped the bartenders a buck or so about every third drink and always referred to them by their name. Randy and Francisco at the beach bar were great as were Johnny and Mitilda at the lobby bar!! They also get to know you since I was the only guy at the resort with a yellow plastic mug...sorta of my own signature calling card if you will!! There wasn't much in the way of service by any staff coming to you on the beach taking drink orders. I saw one person on two of the four days taking orders. Thats ok I didn't mind getting my own. Also in the lobby bars, if they got a bit busy( usually between 7:30-10 pm) you were better off getting your own vs. waiting to get waited on, again it wasn't a problem for us. If they offered international brands at the main lobby bar...they were well hidden.. certainly not in plain view as they were in the Star Rock Cafe bar. I can only tell ya that the Brugal flowed freely at the lobby bar!

Beach and Pools - Beach was fabulous!!! there were waves (which we love), but not so big that you couldn't enjoy the water if you were someone who did not enjoy the surf. Pure sand at all points of entry into the water. About 20 feet out in one area toward the left hand side of the resort (as you are facing the ocean)there is a small reef where many types and sizes of fish would congregate. This was where you could snorkel a bit. We only used the pool when we were done at the beach and headed for our room at the days end. The water was just right...not to cold. I know people all have different likes but I gotta ask...Why would you spend your money, fly serveral hours by plane, go to where some of the most beautiful beaches in the world are...AND sit by the pool all day long??? Meet me at the beach!!!!

Grounds - Well kept to say the least. George the mascot Rooster roams the grounds as do 4-5 pink flamingos that will share walking on the sidewalk with you....not afraid of people at all. While the size of the resort is such that no trollies are neccessary, I always seemed like I had wished I could be like "Jeannie" and blink my eyes and go from the lobby or buffet right to my room or the beach. Don't get me wrong....I'm an 'always in a hurry' kind of guy who just got a bit more exercise than I liked (which is not bad working off all the rum, beer, and food!).

Activities - One of the reasons we choose the Iberostar, was the wonderful reputation they have with their 'star friends'. Right or wrong...we compared our experience here to the Tucan in MX. While the Star friends here seemed fun and did organize various activities near the pool/grill area, if seemed like they were all geared more toward adults. Our prior stay at the Tucan was a fabulous experience for our then 8 and 11 yr old girls. While we did not have them enrolled at the kids club, there were female star friends that searched for my girls and other pre-teen aged kids each day for various pool games and other activities on the beach. My girls still talk about Wanda the best star friend in the world at the Tucan. So back to the Punta Cana...maybe it was the time of year with not a slew of kids around, but if you are planning a trip to this or any AI for that matter with kids (too old for a kids club, but not yet adults), I beleive it's best to get your children to meet other kids on the first day you are there vs. relying on someone from the animacion staff to provide 'fun, games and activities' for your children. For kids older than 7 or 8 I'd say you have to make your own fun!

They had various activities posted for each day including bingo, merengue lessons, spanish lessons water aerobics in the pool, beach volleyball, soccer on the beach etc. Just a heads up...literally...if you are sitting on the beach behind and within 20-30 ft of the soccer nets be on the lookout for a speeding/flying soccer ball that may take your head off! While we were there some of the soccer games (among the men) got pretty intense...if you are unaware and get hit with a soccer ball it can be quite harmful. In fact on our last day there they did carry one guy off on a stretcher. He was a player but I'm not sure what exactly his injury was caused by. Tours - Didn't do any.....Strictly there for the beach!!!

Conclusion - I'd have no problem going back to this or any Iberostar!! They have a great product in the 'All-Inclusive' world. This resort had many different peoples from all over the world staying here. If you are traveling to Punta Cana, I'll assume it's for the remarkable beaches. Everything else is secondary as far as I'm concerned. If you have preconceived ideas of exquisite dining in a most opulent setting and accomadations fit for a king and queen...then go to Paris or New York. If you want to experience one of the best beaches the world has to offer and end up each day with the wonderful scent of the blue ocean all over you and sand in your pants, then come on down to this resort. At the end of a day spent on the beach, all anybody needs is a few cold drinks, some food in the belly and a nice bed to get some sleep so that you can wake up the next day and to the same thing all over again and again!!!! -----------------------------7d81d1b450666--
Iberostar Punta Cana
Cassie 
USA
January 2008
We got to the resort late because we had a late plane ride, but our rooms were already completed. We did not get the building that we requested but we did get a beautiful ocean view room in building 5. I did get a bottle of rum and a fruit plate, for being a return guest and the others in our group did not. After we were settled in we went searching frantically for food, and found it served, near the casino, they serve food until 5am by our friend tito, who we made friends with because you get hungry after a night at the disco.

Room:
The rooms are a little older in this building (5), the ac was really loud and the balcony door was really hard to open. None of this bothered us, and we stood in our room. Other than that everything was fine to my standards. The bathroom had hot water; we had fresh towels and face towels daily, and a few swan decorations a few nights with flowers.

The safe:
Normally there is a fee for the safe (I believe I read 2$), but apple vacations pays for it so we just had to get the key and set up the safe. It was not in our packet when checking in, so check for it before it will save you the trip.

Food:
I am not a picky eater, but we did have a few in our group that were. We all found things we liked to eat daily. The food was really repetitive, especially the lunch buffets which was rather disappointing. We did 3 specialty restaurants:

the gourmet, the food was good, but they have a set menu, you do not pick what you want, but you do get lobster! The service here was not as good as other places, I felt because we were a large group in our late upper to late 20’s but I could be wrong.

the Japanese: I was rather upset, because I look forward to the hibachi (where they cook in front of you) but there was none. The food here was good though, if you like that type of food, but the sushi is in the buffet. The buffet was delicious!

the steak house: This was the best service and the best food that we got at the resort (out of what we tried). The rib eye was cooked perfect and the waiters were beyond friendly.

We also at the ROCK café, which you do not have to make reservations, you just give your name and wait to be called, this food was excellent as well!

The grounds:
they were beautiful as always, the workers work so hard and so discretely! Iberostar’s are always beautiful I think, even though this one was smaller than others I have been to. There are also peacocks, and flamingo’s roaming around which is a beautiful site. Just beware that the floors are slippery so be careful especially when the floors are wet.

The beach:
This speaks for itself, beautiful, nothing more to say. The last day there was a bit of a red tide, and we had to walk some time to find a place where there was little seaweed, but this went pretty far down the beach, and wasn’t just our resort. Also, take a walk down to the shops, they do hound you but they are pretty reasonable to bargain with.

Pool:
clean and refreshing, mostly used the beach but did use the pool later in the evening.

Nightlife:
We had a group of 9 so we always had something to do. Normally sat by the shows and played cards, had a few drinks then moved to the disco. The shows were entertaining but they are the typical all-inclusive show, don’t expect something huge! The disco was a blast, there were always people there, both young and older, but there was a larger portion of younger generation in the disco. The casino happened to be popular as well, it is small but there were large amounts of people going in and out.

Hope this review helps, I enjoyed my vacation, and although I have been to other resorts I have liked better, I would definitely come back if the price was right, and so would the others in our group
Iberostar Punta Cana
Helen & James 
UK
July 2007
We have just returned from a great holiday at the Iberostar Punta Cana/Dominicana and thought I would make a report as I have found Debbies Dominican Republic Travel pages very useful.

Our tour operator was First Choice and we travelled from East Midlands Airport, UK.

We arrived at reception with a swift check in and escorted to our room 5316 by Juan Carlos, who was very friendly. Our luggage arrived by the Bell Boy straightway.

The grounds of the hotel are beautiful and well maintained, watch out for the Flamingos, Peacocks (who had babies) and other birds. There was two swimming pools one which was quite quiet and one which had lots going on during the day with the Star Friends (animation team) Water Polo, Aqua Aerobic's etc. You did not have to join in with the Fun and Games if you did not want to. Say hello to Ana, who kept the drinks flowing around the pool area during the day.

The beach was just stunning with miles of lovelly soft sand and blue sea, which had lots of Sun Beds and Sun Shades.

Breakfast, Lunch and Evening meals were located in two restaurants one on the Punta Cana side and one on the Dominicana side which where buffet and you could use either of these restaurants. We stayed for 14 nights so we could have 4 visits to the speciality restaurants. We visited the Mexican (which we thought was the best) the Gourmet, the Steakhouse and the Tropical (which was the fish restuarant). We would have liked to have gone to the Oriental, but had difficulty getting into this restaurant at the time we would have prefered to eat. Lunch and snacks were also available at the two beach restaurants, one of which had a daily BBQ. We had the Paella one lunch time here and it was the best. There was also an ice cream bar.

There were two main bars one of which was located at the Punta Cana, which had either someone playing the piano or a group playing in the Gazebo. On the Dominicana side the bar was located near the stage area, which had entertainment every night with the Star Friends, we only wnet a couple of times as we preferred the quieter side of the Punta Cana. Hello to the waitresses Juana, Jacqualine, plus a couple others but unfortunaley, I cannot remember their names, who work really hard. The Bar Manager Marchello was brilliant.

We did two trips which was the Soana Island and the Bavaro Splash. The Soana Island was a long day as we were picked up at 0645 and didn't return back to the hotel until 1845 which made it a very long day. We thoroughly enjoyed the Bavaro Splash trip, which was half a day trip, we were taken out on a large speed boat to were the small two seater speed boats where kept, we rode these across the bay to were they had a platform boat and then we snorkled for about half an hour or so then taken back to the speed boats to ride them back to where we came from.

All the staff are so friendly and work really hard, so tip well they deserve it.

We met some lovelly people and would definately return to this Hotel at some time.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Dave & Dianne 
Hamilton, On
May 2007
We just returned yesterday from the Iberostar Punta Cana and we had a great vacation. We met alot of great people. The hotel is wonderful, the beach is to die for, the grounds are beautiful and the staff is just amazing. You never see a speck of litter around, the staff all work extra hard to keep the grounds looking so nice. Our room was near the pool and never seen a bug or anything else in our room. The air conditioner worked great. Now saying all that, would I return??? No as the food was terrible. We didn't let it ruin our vacation but most of the week we were hungry as we couldn't find anything we liked. Thoughout the week we found out that most of the guest felt the same. This was the first time that we stayed at a Iberostar and we heard from other guest that all the other Iberostar's food is excellent. Nine out of ten people said they are going to complain to their travel agent when they get home.There were alot of people who got sick. We know of two people that had to go to the hospital. The meat never is cooked right through and things are not refrigerated properly.I don't know if it's the oils they cook with or what but even walking through the buffet didn't smell good. We also didn't hear one good comment about any of the ala carte restaurants.
We tried to eat one night at the Rock Cafe with another couple that we met and we all walked out barely touching our supper.

The Dominican people are so friendly and like one other guest said, all you have to do is smile and say hola and they will do anything you ask of them. We did tip a fair amount but we don't think it really matters much, they will take good care of you with a tip or not.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Rich 
USA
April 2007
Well let me start by saying me and my wife and 2 teens were here on spring break 07 and it was a blast. We have been all over the Carribean and found this place to stand its own. It was not only the largest international beach we had ever been on but it had nothing but happy people from all over the world there, what a cultural meltingpot. We just loved going down and walkng the huge beach with all the other mostly europeans. The resort was excellent just as all the other resorts we've been to. People must use their heads when making negative comments about places like these that have incredible humidity. These resorts arent the Drake in down town Chicago , humidity comes with the tropics so if you do cry about a drip from an air conditioner, stay home .

I will certainly go back and I am positive as I saw the new construction going on. This as some have said will be like another Cancun strip one day. The food was great , but I am known to eat anything so I am easy to please but really there was plenty of choices and had no problems. The music ,shows contests and especially the people were so freindly and nice that that is one reason to go back, everyone I met was very nice.The only thing brought up by my daughter was of some snotty little rich girls that need to grow up.

There is also a disco that in my opinion is opened to late, from 11pm to 3am. I dont agree with these hours but hey, I'm not the boss. Also your kids can legally drink there at 18 so now mabe they can experience their first pukefest and learn early!!! :)

Seriously , an island of beautiful people and scenery. plenty of activities , the only thing I can think of is a vacation of total enjoyment. You may want to bring some Pepto with as they use different spices , etc in there cooking than we do.

Certainly will miss this place untill I go back!!!
Iberostar Punta Cana
Ed 

April 2007
My girlfriend and I just returned from 6 days at the Iberostar Punta Cana (late March 2007). I will direct my comments to both the Iberostar Punta Cana and the Iberostar Dominicana, since both are 99.99% identical, and share 100% of the common facilities such as pools, beach, staff, and restaurants.

This will be a very detailed commentary! I benefited much from reading the reviews here, so I wanted to offer my contributions.

SMILE: If I could offer one tip only, it would be to wear your smile always. You wouldn’t believe the warmness of the DR people once you show them that you respect them and their country, and show them some warmth. If you give a smile and a sincere and warm Hola! to any employee you see, their faces immediately turn warm and sunny right back at you. The DR culture is much warmer than ours; unfortunately, some guests treated the employees unkindly, and it was shameful behavior. We couldn’t help but notice that certain guests just barked beer orders; who can wonder why they weren’t given the best service? (Who would act that way at your local grocery store? No one that I know.) Showing some true friendliness paid huge dividends.

PACKING: You can get general packing tips everywhere, so I will just offer these three categories of observations from just having returned:

(1) What we brought that was invaluable: Gigantic thermos mugs (like “Bubba Kegs”, although I bought generic ones for $4.50 each that were perfect). These were used for purified ice water down on the beach, and they kept it COLD all day. Also used for Presidente (beer) later in the day. (The plastic 10 oz. beer glasses they give you let the beer get warm after only a minute.) These large thermos mugs were priceless!
{Don’t rinse them out in your room sink! Use the buffet water dispenser; it’s OK to do so.} Also: sunscreen. If you are fair skinned, use SPF 50 (no kidding). Books for the plane and for beach relaxation, if inclined. Earplugs for the plane ride (priceless ! ! !). Lots of US $1 bills. (You can’t have enough.)

(2) What we brought that was worthless: I brought 3 swim trunks and only needed one. (My girlfriend probably could have gotten away with maybe two, I’m guessing.) Don’t over-do the swimwear. Also (as a guy), shampoo & conditioner. They have some (very) generic stuff in the shower; it’s good enough (unless you are fussy). Also: hairdryer: My G/F is a hairdryer person, and she never used either the one she brought or the one in the room. It’s the tropics; your hair will dry quickly.
(Plus it’s breezy; just go with the wild look.) Also: Binoculars.
Someone suggested to pack them, so I did. Never left the bag. (You would look like a pervert on a semi-topless beach with binoculars; do not bring them.) For women: High heels (leave them at home); For men: more than one pair of full trousers (you’ll only have your one pair on for 2 hours a day at most, and this after sun down). A collapsible beer cooler (not necessary). A washcloth. (They had them.)

(3) What we didn’t bring that might have been nice: Inflatable neck pillows (like what you see sold for airplane use) for the beach loungers. (They didn’t prop high enough to make reading easy.) Portable music player, such as an ipod or similar, for private beach tunes. Inflatable ball for an impromptu game of “catch” in the ocean.

DEPARTURE: Three comments. 1. Expect it to take up to an hour to get back to the airport, and then expect it to take two hours to get your bags checked. That’s right, what took 55 minutes total upon arrival takes 3-4 hours upon exit. Trust me. It’s not because “they are slow”, it’s because they are understaffed. Once we did make it to the counter, we found the employees to be very efficient, friendly, and overall quicker and more pleasant than what we see in most American airports.
They just don’t have enough people working the counter (compared to what we are used to in the states).

BOOKING: I booked through CheapCarribean.com, and paid roughly $1350 for 6 days & nights for air & ground transportation plus the resort stay.
I thought that was a good deal, considering all that you get for your money. Booking, confirmations, and airline experience all went without a worry.

WEATHER: #1 tip: do not worry (as I did) about weather.com calling for rain every day. Yes, it rained every day - for about 25 seconds! Then it was picture perfect beautiful for the rest of the day. (Even if you get sprinkled on for half a minute, you won’t care, because it dries the next minute.) Don’t worry! Of our 6 days, we did have one day where it rained on & off for a few hours, but even then we spent the whole time on the beach reading under the cover of the palapa (grass shade umbrella) without a care in the world. (Don’t worry!)

STAFF: Wonderful! I can not imagine a resort in America with people as nice as we found here.

BEACH: Perfect. Soft white sand, everyone barefoot, no litter, no seaweed, no loud-mouth people ruining the serenity, activities available closer to the resort side (only if you are interested), quietness just a few paces away. There are some topless people around, but they are the minority, and no one cared. The ladies are careful to put the tops on when they leave their beach chaises, so if you have small kids and keep them near the pool, you wouldn’t even know. People do reserve loungers in the mornings with towels, but it is a fact of life here, and not a bad thing. (There are a million loungers; you can find one.) We were usually at the beach at 8:30, and no one ever beat us to our favorite seats (just in front of the massage hut), so we’d put the towels down, go have breakfast, and be back in an hour or so. Don’t be consternated by this; everyone does it, and you probably will, too. We are creatures of habit, and it is nice to go back to your favorite roost. (If you can’t get “your spot” for a day, no worries, there are other nice spots, too.) Again, just “go with the flow”. My only surprise was that the “scene” ended much earlier than I would have expected. Between 5-6 PM, two-thirds of the guests vanish and don’t come back. By 6PM there’s almost no one on the beach - even though it’s still light out! This amazed me.

ROOM: Many reviews would have you believe that you would be best to automatically ask for an upgraded room without even seeing it first. This led me to believe that “maybe the older rooms are spotty?”, but we found them just fine. We had a run of the mill Punta Cana room (#5017) towards the pool side, ground floor, supposedly in the older section, and it was just lovely. No issues whatsoever. No A/C dripping, no ants, no noise (whatsoever!) from neighbors, again, no issues at all.
Tiled floor, marbled bathroom, clean linens as needed, fridge stocked, only a 2-3 minute stroll either to beach or to buffet, who could ask for more? We tipped $2-$5 per day, usually with a brief note in Spanish saying either just Gracias! or occasionally making a minor request. All requests were honored. These ladies work their tails off, and do a great job. We had ground floor near the pool, and it was quiet as a museum at night. All rooms have a balcony with a white plastic table and two chairs. Inside, there is a TV with about 25 channels (CNN is ch. 10), there’s ESPN, a few local “big three” feeds from NYC, and a variety of non-English options. You shouldn’t be in your room watching telly here, though! Bed was king sized and on the firm side, but I liked that. Pillows were THIN! I didn’t mind, but my girlfriend found them to be less than ideal. It’s no deal-breaker; you get by. Bathroom is clean and functional. We were surprised to see a bidet by they toilet. Shower is exactly the same size you would find in any American Holiday Inn; good enough, but certainly not luxurious (leave the bath bubbles at home). They give you a sealed gallon of pure water for tooth-brushing; use it. Safe in the room costs $2/day and is worth it.
When you leave, don’t forget to leave the safe door open; our room’s previous guests didn’t, and it required calling “seguridad” (security) to come and get it open for us. Your safe key (counter intuitively) stays in a slot INside the safe while you are there; you create your own 4-digit numeric code to open the safe. (Don’t forget to take your key with you to check-out; we forgot! It’s easy to do, and no one wants a last minute race back to the room while the bus is waiting.)

LANGUAGE: At the reservation desk, they are mostly multi-lingual. I don’t speak Spanish (apart from about 5-6 common words or phrases), but my girlfriend has taken Spanish in college, and it helped a lot. For you non-Spanish speakers, you will get by just fine only knowing a very few phrases. Most of the laborers (groundskeepers, bus boys) won’t know much English, but the bartenders sure do, as well as most of the folks who are customer-facing. I found that only a small handful of phrases helped me a lot during my stay, so let me share what little I know (since it sure helped me):
- hello (hola, pronounced OllAh, and said warmly at the start of every exchange {with a sincere smile} will get you very far…)
- goodbye (adios)
- yes/no (sí, no);
- thank you / thank you very much (gracias, muchas gracias),
- good/very good (bueno, muy bueno)
- please is por favor,
- good morning, good afternoon, good evening (buenas días, buenas tardes, buenas noches)
- one, two, three, four (uno, dos, tres, cuatro),
- beer is cerveza,
- “how much” (as in “how much money does this T-shirt cost”) is “cuánto?”;
- con leche means “with milk” (for your coffee; so two coffees, one black and one with cream is “dos cafés, uno con leche”);
- the word “and” is “y” (pronounced “ee”)

(That was all I learned…)

BEACH BAR: Opens somewhere between 11-12 noon as far as I could tell.
(It is a beach resort, so everyone is at the pool or beach by 10:30 at the latest anyway.) We never hit “happy hour” before afternoon anyway (although some die-hards were able to find drinks early!). The beach bar stays open until later (after 8 PM), although the beach scene died down way before that. TWO TIPS: 1. there is purified clean water (as well as soda and juices) at the beach-facing side of the bar; no lines, just walk up and help yourself. (We did not expect this convenience.) 2. The grille-facing north side of the beach bar is where you will get faster beer or mixed drink service, even if the line seems longer. (They serve those customers first.)

ALCOHOL: It is an all-inclusive, so I’ll bet that many of you are planning on having a few drinks, so let me talk a little about what you can expect. ROOM FRIDGE: Expect 2-3 bottles of “La Bohemia Especial” (your run of the mill lager), plus 2-3 coke/diet cokes, waters (sparkling, which I found an odd choice), and maybe the odd orange soda or sprite. (Leave a couple bucks on the nightstand with a note saying “Cervezas – gracias!” and they will give you 2-3 a day, although you won’t need them, because there are bars all around.) BARS: The draft beer here is Presidente, and it is similar to Miller/Miller Lite. It’s all right; nothing special, not bad. They specialize in tropical / rum type drinks, and they have about 6-8 on the menu (although they will deviate from the drink menu if you ask). You will see people having such drinks as Pina Colada, Cuba Libre (rum & coke with a little lime wedge, pronounced KOObah Libreh), Tequila Sunrise, Coco Loco (a less-sweet pina colada), the Iberostar (tasty at first but toooo sweet to finish) among others. Try them all, but not in one sitting! We’d have at most a few tropical drinks over the course of the afternoon / evening, but (as a beer guy) I stuck with el Presidente for the most part.

TIPPING: Never required, but it helps. These people are dirt poor, so just factor in $75-$100 per week in your budget to reward these hard working people. (They SO appreciate it!) Example: night one, at the Dominicana show bar, I tipped $1 every couple drinks or so. Good service, no complaints. Night two, I put a $5 on the bar before I even sat down, and Holy Cow!, did this guy sure develop ESP. Treated me and my girlfriend like royalty. I saw others wait while we were served without even asking. (Sure, you’ll still get your cerveza without tipping, but if you do tip, they treat you like you are Sinatra. Worth it.) Don’t only tip the beer-pushers; the bus boys & other lower visibility workers sure deserve it, too.

FOOD: No stomach problems whatsoever, and that’s for both of us (and everyone else we spoke with). Plenty of potable water everywhere. You have two main buffets (Punta Cana side and Dominicana side), plus a beach side buffet, plus a few other miscellaneous restaurants. We liked the Mexican restaurant (G/F had the seafood option and loved it), Steakhouse (steak a bit overdone, as true of most all meats). The Great: good variety. G/F loved the quality of the breads. They have Nutella for breakfast. Good omelettes. Tasty seafood (go to the far back of the beach side lunch buffet). On two nights, AMAZING fajitas of shrimp, beef, and other choices; (if you see a guy heating fajita tortillas, STOP and have MANY - they were really awesome). The Good: something for everyone. No stomach problems. Salads always available. You could even always get a burger, hot dog, fries, or (tasty!) D.R. pizza for lunch, if you are not adventurous. The Bad: Really, nothing; although I might get bored after 2-3 weeks (theoretically). At the cold cuts station, some of the sliced cheeses looked a little past their prime. Sometimes, there were (surprisingly many) options that I didn’t recognize at all (and I have traveled to over ten countries over 25 years). Be a sport and try a few things! It’s all good food, after all. Different, but good. I only avoided things like mayo not being stored over ice or thin sliced cheese that looked less than fresh.

SMOKING: I over-packed cigarettes, because I didn’t know of the availability of them on the resort. They can be bought the cheapest at the hotel gift shops (there’s one each on the Punta Cana and Dominicana sides, with the Dominicana one being bigger & better). Expect packs of Marlboros to go for $3.50 at the gift shop, but $5 at any of the bars. (Smokes can be bought from behind the bar at the two main lobby bars and at the beach bar.) Bic lighters go for US $2.04 in the gift shop. (Just bring matches for the Punta Cana airport, which is open air, and so allows smoking almost everywhere - just step some feet away from crowds & kids to not be a bother.) There is smoking allowed pretty much everywhere on the resort. The northern halves of each of the two main buffets are “non-smoking”, but the smokers are only 20 paces away. However remember that it’s all open air (no walls!) and there’s a constant breeze, so it never “clouds up” the way it might in enclosed places. Even in the enclosed disco, it never got bad. (The enclosed casino, on the other hand, sort of reeked, and I am a smoker.)

NIGHT LIFE: My only bummer. (And I am not even a big night life person.) There isn’t much to do, so everyone tends to do the same thing. Let me give you the typical night. 5:30 PM, everyone leaves the pool/beach and retires to the room for a shower. 7:30-8:30 everyone has dinner. The show is at the Dominicana side at 9:00 or so, so everyone goes there. The Dominicana side bar has all the action until 10:30 when the show ends. Just like the beach five hours before, everyone suddenly disappears from the MAIN bar at 10:30 (huh???). (No kidding; they start to dismantle the “fruity drink” machines between 10:30 & 11 PM). At this point, you have three options: 1. go to bed, 2. go to the casino if you gamble, or 3. go to the “DC” disco. (I went to the disco nightly.) Expect a younger crowd, although a Spanish couple in their mid 50s won a disco dancing contest there (up against 4 couples half their age). You will go to the DC. There, go to the back bar for drinks; the line is a fourth as long as at the entrance bar. Expect mostly entertaining latin-caribbean-techno; I normally dislike “techno”, but the local flavor of it made it entertaining. Besides the DC, there is the “Star Rock Café”; I can not recall ever seeing more than ten people in this wasted expanse in my week’s stay. You can probably get a drink at either of the main lobby bars after 11:30, but expect the scene to be sparse, and expect to be given the vibe that the bartender is waiting for you to leave. This was the only bummer of the Iberostar experience. Go here for the beach, not the night life. (And I rarely go out at home! I just did not expect the whole resort to collectively pass out at 10:30 PM.)

ATTITUDE: Go here expecting to have a nice time, and you will have a fabulous time. We saw some people complaining about the tiniest detail (to the wrong employee, usually), always getting their backs up, and we just couldn’t understand that disposition. Relax, slow down, put on a smile, and you will have an absolute blast.

OVERALL / MISC: What an awesome place! We would be happy to go back.
We ** REALLY ** enjoyed the palapas, which is Spanish for “palm tree”, but here they mean man-made shade huts on the beach, perfect for sheltering two chaise lounges from either the sun or the rain, and NOTE that none of the nearby resorts {including all five RIUs) had them AT ALL; we couldn’t believe it). Huge advantage: Iberostar. I suggest the 30 minute massage (ask for deep tissue, and ask for it to be in the main spa; what a great experience). Reserve a hot tub for 30 minutes (free; reserve at the main spa on Caribbean Street). Perfect beach, nice people, good room and good food, just perfect (for us). Good for families, adult couples, older couples, not great for the 18-24 set. I can not speak to the excursions, as we came for the beach. Don’t come here expecting a zillion night life options, or you will be let down.
(Although we spoke to several others who had almost identical experiences at the nearby RIU complex, so I doubt that the others are much different.) Cancun this is not, and that was OK by us. Enjoy!
Contact me with any questions on my comments at (e-mail) ed97643 at fastmail dot fm (note fm like radio and not com). I hope this helped!
Iberostar Punta Cana
Kathy & Bill 
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada
March 2007
My husband and I just returned from a one week stay at the Iberostar Punta Cana. This was our second time there. We previously attended my nephews wedding there in 2005 and we so impressed we returned. Our room was very nice. We did have a problem with our shower but reported it to the front desk and within the hour it was fixed. The staff at the hotel are very friendly and very accommodating. The locals who work on the resort are always happy, fun and willing to help. They are very hard working people. There is alway something to do. They have many excuritions, we went on two. One I would highly recommend is the Outback Jungle Safari . We had a blast. Our guide was Nacho and he made our day very exciting. We found the food on the resort outstanding. We preferred the buffet to some of the alacarte restaurants. The beachs are beautiful and if you are up to bartering there are huts with all kinds of souveniers at one end of the beach. We went down a couple of times and my husband enjoyed bartering with the locals. We got some deals but you needed to be careful. We never showed our money. All in all I would definitely recommend this resort. We hope to return in 2009.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Rick and Cathy 
USA
February 2007
We just returned from a one week stay at Iberostar Punta Cana--Feb. 5-12. Apple Vacation---Had a great time--USA 3000 from Pittsburgh--very good airline, on time going down in spite of the 0 degree temperature at departure, 40 minutes early on the return. Apple transfer to the hotel was fine. The check -in was fine, got what we asked for--arrived a little before 1pm--we were told check-in was at 3pm but I asked for earlier and we were in at 2pm. The room was very nice--no problems whatsoever. The grounds are beautiful and well kept. We scheduled at 4 specialty restaurants shortly after arriving and while the buffet was fine, it was very nice to try the other restaurants which we enjoyed. The beach is great, the pools the same. We enjoyed the bar in the lobby and the live entertainment. The staff were always helpful and friendly. We didn't make any of the shows as a day at the beach and pool, dinner and some time in the lobby bar with the live music was more than enough. We didn't take any of the off site trips--took a catamaran out every day which we enjoyed. The snorkeling off the beach was ok but a little rough due to the surf--I would try one of the short snorkeling trips next time. All in all, it was a great trip and I would recommend it without reservation. Rick and Cathy
Iberostar Punta Cana
Paul 

February 2007
this is a great resort, my wife and i arrived on 2-2-07 and stayed for one week. time just flew by. the grounds were fabulous and the staff were wonderful. food- we only ate at the buffets and there was always something that i could find that was excellant. the beach is perfect as always (we've been to bavaro 5 times and have not been dissapointed once). now for the not so good, our toilet clogged three times, they fixed it twice and i fixed it once. the shows were nothing special as we are used to some bigger productions at other resorts. we did meet some great people there, hi ed and judy from canada and reg and rose from canada and boodoo from germany. we would go back in a heartbeat. and last i would like to say ola to freddy the beach bar tender.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Janice 

February 2007
1/13/07 We arrived at the Iberostar Punta Cana which was very nice. The employees were fantastic & the service couldn't be better. The resort was 5 star but the rooms were average - the mattresses needed upgraded 5 yrs.ago. Our commode ran all day & night until finally someone came to fix it. The TV needed repairs, and they called at midnight to come do it.

Finally after afew calls, things got fixed. The food was very good, but the 3 restaurants we were allowed to use, weren't. The La Marimba was almost empty and the service was bad as was the food. The Steak House was average, same small baked potato, small corn on the cob, two carrots & two unidentified vegetable, but this time with a steak. Service was better, but restaurant was half empty which made us wonder why we had a hard time getting reservations. We canceled the 3rd restaurant since the buffets were much, much better. Most of the food was delicious but alot was prepared so differently, it wasn't recognizable. For the most part, Apple Vacations did a nice job, until it was time to leave. Our flight was changed so many times, 1st was set for 8:50 pm, then 9:50, and we actually left at 11 pm. Apple had one bus servicing all the resorts leaving the hotels at 5:30, so we sat at the airport with no instructions where to go or which line to go into for over 5 hrs. Apple should have had at least 2 buses for the big gap in time of the flights. Our vacation was nice, but Iberostar needs to upgrade the rooms. Try to take everything you need because the prices are outrageous for the basics. I was dying for a potato chip - one small bag which sells here for $.25 was selling there for $2.00.

The airport has a Wendy's but the plain burger was $5.

The hotels burgers were unrecognizable as meat. Take alot of sunscreen - it is very intense. The vendors can be annoying, but you can get them down to a very nice price if you persist. We bought t-shirts which started at $20, got them for $4 each. Overall I'd give it a 7 out of 10 due to the rooms.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Speedbird 

January 2007
I just came back from the Iberostar Punta Cana and I think I seriously had oneof the BEST time of my life. I will detail EXACTLY what was great and not aboutthis hotel.Check-InThe check-in was wonderful, quick, efficient and the staff were friendly. They even provided us with a welcome drink. Even though we arrived at midday,check-in was normally at 3pm and they organised one of the three rooms so that wecan at least put our luggage an to use the facilities. They all spoke English and were very friendly and provided us with an overview of the hotel amenities,restaurant's and they did advise us to book the a la carte restaurant's early sothat we can choose a time that we like.

The Rooms The rooms were great. I am not sure what people are complaining about. Unlessyou have been living in Buckingham palace all your life then you surely havenothing to complain about. Fans always make noises and the air conditioning unit was rather quiet. The clothes drawers were pull outs which meant that theywere NOT broken, but simply made of nice wood with varnish and can be easilytaken out of their place. The cleaners came in everyday to change towels, sheets, and cleaned the floors. They were very attentive and re-stocked ourmini bar everyday, which was also free. The safe in the hotel room contrary tosome people are NOT broken either... they simply don't work until you pay the deposit or ask the safes to be activated at the front desk. They cost 2 dollarsa day and are the only think you pay for in the room. The rooms were lovely andcomfortable.

Food The food in general was excellent. All the A la carte restaurant's were great. They had them sorted out in time slots for people so that they could re-stockthe buffet starters and provide an attentive service to the guests. We did findthat some of them were not filled, but they did have a limit for the guests everyday. It was not not to have the restaurants full as it was quiet and notcrowded like the buffet. The main buffet was fantastic. The Iberostar PuntaCana and the Dominicana Buffet are right next to each other, so I walked over everyday to both buffets and picked what I liked. The options were endless. The New Years eve dinner had massive lobster and shrimps. They really made it avery grande dinner. They do cater for all people so I really don't think anyone should complain about it. They had tortillas, steaks, shrimps, roasts, pigroasts, fish, salmon.. etc... If you seriously had trouble finding somethingdecent to eat in the two massive buffets between two hotels, then you I am not sure what will make you happy. The food was 24 hours and after coming back fromthe Disco at 4am, they had a mini buffet provided for anyone that wanted to eat.

Beach Absolutely brilliant. They had all the sports facilities you needed, unless you wanted to pay for the extra motorised water sports. The beach was cleanedeveryday and the sea was crystal clear and blue. PeopleThe hotel a European hotel chain, so the majority of the people were Europeans. You had people from all over the world also there which make it a really niceblend of cultures. People were really friendly and everyone wanted to have anice time. There was a lot of topless ladies on the beach which is quite normal in Europe. One British girl was told by an American to cover herself up becauseshowing her breasts on the beach was disgusting. If you really have issues with ladies showing their breasts then DON'T go to a European hotel chain. After all if breast are so disgusting, what the hell were you sucking on for the first six months of your life.

Entertainment Please do no listen to the previous posts. Some people seem to thinkentertainment is a stand up comedian who only speaks English. Do remember this is an International hotel and the Iberostar is a Spanish chain hotel. Thee ntertainment was done in four languages, English, Spanish, French and German. My family and I were there every night and we enjoyed every minute of it. They had pool games, a beach party, dance lessons on the pool side and tonnes ofother activities you could have joined. The sports facilities were fantastic. The beach facilities were bar none and the tennis courts were out door. The courts were not rusting... they were clay courts :) Which means that if youfell or brushed against them you got a brown dust colour on your shirt.The disco was great. It is called the DC-6 disco which is made up of an aircraft part which had been dismantled and has bits and pieces on display. Thebars are actual aircraft wings... it was very neat.

Conclusion The Iberostar chain is an Excellent chain of hotels. This has been our third time in an Iberostar and the quality and service is top notch. If you are goingon holiday to be picky and hope to complain about everything then just stay athome. I seriously do not know where people are making up these stories about this hotel chain. I was at the beach on my last day and this American familywas so excited because they had chicken wings and onion rings and pizzas at thelunch bar... Seriously, if you want to eat the same foods in the US and Canada then why bother going on holiday. Part of going on a holiday is to experiencethe culture, understand the people, have fun relax and not be picky at the sandparticles in between your toes because they have not sand blasted the beach or complain that champagne was not flowing from your gold plated water faucet... My family and I had a BRILLIANT time, we will definitely go there again andeveryone I got to know at the hotel was great. Do remember that the Iberostar Punta Cana and the Iberostar Dominicana are virtually the same hotel and if youfind a cheaper price for either of them, then do pick the cheaper option. Theamenities and the food are the same. If you do pick this hotel you will not regret it.

Happy Holidays.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Randy 
USA
December 2006
We just got back from the Iberostar Punta Cana, and we had a great time. This was the nicest hotel we have ever stayed at. I only have one complaint, the bed was too firm, and I had a difficult time sleeping. The food was good. The beach was excellent. The free draft beer was very good. The staff was great. The entertainment varied. Sometimes it was very good, and other times it was boring. I would strongly recommend this hotel, and I hope to return in the future. Rooms were very clean, nicely appointed, and very quiet. The resort had many activities on site, and there was plenty to do if you wanted to explore the country.

We went on the Outback Jungle Safari i, which was very interesting for site seeing, and had a good time boogy boarding at Macow beach. The beach had perfect waves for having fun. We also went on a trip to Sanoa island, which included a trip through a few small cities that were very interesting. The trip also included a speed boat ride. The drivers of the speed boats made me very nervous. They drove the boats at about 40 mph with only about 25 feet between the boats. The beach on the island was ok, except for the natives constantly bothering you to buy something. This was very annoying, and the beech at the hotel was much nicer than on the island. The trip was OK, but I would go to catalina Island instead next time. We also went on the bavaro splash trip, and we had a lot of fun. We went snorkeling and drove a little speed boat. The snorkeling was good, except that we had to stay right next to our guide, which I did not like too much. I would recommend this trip though. We also went on an atv 4 wheeling trip. The 4 wheeling was fun, but the scenery was poor. There was too much waiting around for my liking. I would probably recommend going on a 4 wheeling trip that goes along the altantic instead of the Carribean, because of the poor scenery along the Carribean. We did not want to leave, and I am sure we will be back!
Iberostar Punta Cana
Jim and Marty 
USA
December 2006
Just got back from Iberostar Punta Cana we were there Dec. 24 – Dec. 28, 2006. We enjoyed our stay very much. Our comments are as follows and a few tidbits that might be helpful for others.

Make sure your suitcase is under 50 pounds a pound over you pay an extra $50 dollars. I’d mark your suitcase with something special so it stands out and easy to tell from others. You do pay a $10 fee to get into the Dominican Republic which we knew about and you can understand why they need the revenue just look around. Our bus ride was in a nice air conditioned bus and was 35 minutes from the airport. We had used Apple vacations and all their representatives were excellent and a lot of help. They got us on the right bus and did a nice job of an orientation at the hotel. I wasn’t going to go because I didn’t want to go thru a sales pitch. My wife convinced me to go and it was very informative with no sales pitch. I recommend you try it especially if you are traveling thru Apple.

The facility was extremely clean. My wife commented the restroom facilities on the beach were as clean as those in your room. They work continuously at cleaning the facility. Air conditioning worked great in the room. Just make sure the balcony door is shut or the air doesn’t work. When we checked in we jokingly asked for the best room and ours was at the end of the building 3 floors up and had a vaulted ceiling making the room feel much more spacious. Don’t know if we were lucky or they were being nice to us.

Language wasn’t a big problem. Fortunately for us we took our daughter who had 7 years of Spanish in Jr/Sr. High school so that helped and they appreciated her being able to speak some Spanish.

The beach was great!!! We took our own beach towels so I would go down at 7:30 a.m. and save some chairs. Usually by 9:30 a.m. most of the chairs have a towel on them. Pools were excellent. At the facility there are no vendors trying to get you to buy anything. About a 10 minute walk down the beach is probably 20 “shops.” There you get the sales pitch and to me it was fun negotiating with the vendors. You can walk away any time. There isn’t much shopping close to the hotel.

Food was good. I wouldn’t say excellent but for me plenty of choices. I didn’t go hungry.

Entertainment during the evening was ok. If you are taking children you can feel comfortable with the entertainment.

I saw two flies while we were there. Did not have a problem with bugs. We were healthy the time we were there but would take anything you might need for head or stomach. Don’t drink the water from your tap in the room, drink bottle water.

People were extremely friendly! They worked hard at making you feel welcome. We tipped generously and were appreciated for it. I found out that the people are bussed in all over the country to work at the hotels. They work 12 days and then get 3 days off to go home. I encourage all that go to tip maids, bartenders, waiters/waitresses, etc. It will be appreciated. If you can afford it I would tip generously and not so much for what you get in return but to help others.

We enjoyed our stay at the Iberostar Punta Cana and would recommend it to others. The Iberostar Dominican is basically the same as the Punta Cana they are basically joined together and guests of both get to use each others facilities so if there is a price difference you may want to stay at the least expensive one.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Janelle and Brian 

August 2006
My husband and I booked our trip for our 1 year wedding anniverary. We stayed at the Iberostar Punta Cana, August 13 - August 20, 2006. We are not world travelers by any means, but have been quite a few places. The Dominican Republic, will be at the bottom of our list of places we'd like to return to.

A helpful hint...when you are going through the airport in Punta Cana (and I'm assumming all Dominican airports) there is a $10 fee per person to enter the country! We had no idea!

The resort was nice and VERY clean. I'm very picky when it comes to that, I have to say I was impressed. The landscaping was perfect and the beach was beautiful. That about sums up the good points.

The first night we were there the ceiling in our bathroom started to leak. We chalked it up to the fact that at the time the a/c was off and maybe it was condensation. The same thing happened in the morning (and the a/c was on!). So, when we were headed to breakfast at 7:30 we stopped at the front desk, told them about it, the clerk wrote it down and off the eat we went. After breakfast we went down to the ocean and were there until about 3:30. We came back to our room and it was still leaking...worse than before! I actually went down to the front desk and said if they weren't coming up to fix it within the next 20 minutes we wanted a new room. That conversation was a production and he was trying to tell me it would be easier to fix than move us. 10 minutes later they were up in our room trying to fix the problem. The entire ceiling was ripped down with more water coming in. An hour later when they realized it couldn't be fixed, they moved us. The new room was fine and it was just down the hall.

If you don't speak Spanish, you're going to have a tough time communicating. Some of the staff do try to speak English, but very few. If you want something...good luck!

When we booked our trip, I had specifically asked if there were options for vegetarians. My husband and I do not eat meat, fish included...beleive it or not, fish is meat! We were told we would be fine. There is not a whole lot there if you are vegetarians and if you are stay clear of this resort! There was pasta and potatoes and most of our meals consisted of carbs. Not exactly great. Not one of the restaurants could accommodate us. Although at the buffet a few of the nights they did have black beans which was nice because we would make our own tacos. Breakfast was by far the best meal.

I could keep on going with more things, so if you'd like more information, feel free to email me at blis611@aol.com . Bottom line, not one of our better decisions to book this resort.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Elsa, Ricardo Ana e Hernâni 
Portugal
July 2006
Eu e os meus amigos somos portugueses estivemos no hotel iberostar punta cana de 10/07/06 a 18/0/06. Adoramos, os quartos espectaculares e sempre limpos, o resort muito cuidado, a comida muito razoável e animação excelente. Foi a segunda vez que estive em Punta Cana e gostava de voltar...para mim é o paraíso regressei ontem e hoje já choro de saudades, do calor, da água, da musica sei lá tudo... até do casino!!!
Iberostar Punta Cana
Barbara 

July 2006
We just got back from Iberostar Punta Cana. We were there from 7/10/06 to 7/17/06. We went with 3 other families (8 adults, 9 teenagers (ages 15 to 20) and one 7-yr. old.
-We had a fabulous time! The beach was awesome, the pool was beautiful, the rooms were spacious; the food was not so good; the kids LOVED the Disco and the sports bar/karaoke bar.
-The mixed drinks were WAY too sweet, but after the first couple we just asked for specific concoctions, which were fine. (Not much top shelf) The beers (Presidente and Bohemian) were very good!
-Breakfast was definitely the best meal. Bacon was crisp and delicious. Omelets made to order were good and freshly made pancakes were great! We had cantaloupe and watermelon which were pretty good; the bananas were also ok. We stayed away from other fruits that had thinner skin because of being washed with their water (we had been warned). Of course, I have no idea if that’s why, but we never got sick. Some of the people we were with did get the dreaded diarrhea. :(
-Our favorite lunch food was the grilled chicken at the beach and the paella. My kids liked the hamburgers and the pizza. The pizza was ok for me, too, it just didn’t really taste like American pizza. No big deal!
-Dinner at the buffet was pretty bad. The meats and seafood were always overcooked. The A la carte restaurants were good. The Steak House was the best, then the Tropical and third, the Internacional. All three were enjoyable. Stay away from the food at the Star Rock Cafe! It was horrendous! It was a fun bar, but do NOT eat there!!
-The men in our group loved watching the topless bathers! Many of them had no right going topless, of course!! Most of them stayed topless the whole day, during sunbathing, swimming and playing ball. But the top went back on when they went to the pool.
-Tips: Take an elec. outlet adaptor - not because of the current, but because the outlets are recessed and our big brick-style plugs do not fit in. Take your own hair dryer. Theirs will fry your hair and take forever to dry it. Pack lots of Immodium. Take lots of “ones” for tipping maids, etc. Take lots of fives and tens because the change they give you is mostly pesos. (We took mostly 20’s) Pack a raft or two, or even an inner tube, for the ocean. Take a couple of thin beach towels for saving the beach chairs under the umbrellas. Do not drink the water in your room (don’t even brush your teeth with it - use the water jug provided). The ice and water in restaurants seemed ok.
-It was a wonderful trip. The staff were very nice. I loved the rooster and the flamingos wandering around! I probably would never go to another Iberostar because of the food. Yes, I never went hungry, and eventually got better at picking out the right food for me, but I went to Beaches at Turks and Caicos last year, and there I didn’t meet a food I didn’t like!!
Any questions? barbara_worley@yahoo.com
Iberostar Punta Cana
Dan and Missy 
Cooperstown, PA
June 2006
We just got back from Iberostar Punta Cana. We stayed there from 6/16/06 to 6/23/06. It was a blast!!

My husband and I went with 4 other couples. We frequented the lobby bar many nights. Sat at the patio tables while listening to the entertainment and having some beveridges.(Take bug spray...got bit up quite a bit) We all liked the Presidente(beer) on ice. If no ice, got too warm too quick. Took $150 in ones for tips. Used every one of them. Service was great. Everyone was very pleasant and willing to help in any way. Very quick service. All of our rooms were musty, but ours was extremely musty smelling. We had a dehumidifier that we would have to empty at least twice per day. That was the only down fall to the whole experience.

Pool area was beautiful. We had no problems at all finding chairs in or out of the sun. There was always something available. The pool water was a good temperature. Not too hot or too cold....just right.

Breakfast was my favorite meal. Bacon and scrambled eggs very good. We thought food in general was fine. We all did get sick at one time or another. Most of us had very bad stomach pains. Definitely take LOTS of Pepto or Imodium. Came in very handy. None of us could pin point what it was that was upsetting our stomachs. We all had different things. For lunch the chicken is very good at the steak house restaurant down by the beach. We ate at 2 reservation restaurants. The steakhouse and the caribbean(tropical). We loved them both, but favorite was the caribbean. Had something for everyone. We wished we would have ate there twice. We did try the Star Rock Cafe. It was air conditioned, which was nice. They claim it is supposed to be American food. I would have to disagree with that. It sounded American on the menu, but didn't taste anything like what we have up here. The only time the men have to wear pants is in the air conditioned reservation restaurants. Neither restaurants we went to were air conditioned, so they didn't need pants at all. My husband packed 2 pair and didn't even take them out of the suitcase. For any supper, whether buffet or reservation, the men definitely have to wear shirts with short sleeves. No cut off or tank tops allowed for men. Women could pretty much wear anything.

Our group went on two different excursions. Some of us went on the safari trip. They said it was nice, but really, really hot. They had Nacho as their tour guide and loved him. Some others went on the rum raft. It was fun. If you like to drink, this is the trip for you.

The trip from the airport to the resort was about 40 minutes. Drivers are crazy down there. What is a 2 lane highway at one point turned into a 4 lane highway. They just zoomed in and out of lanes. A lot of garbage everywhere. All and all we had a wonderful time. Very, very relaxing.
Iberostar Punta Cana
Mike 
USA
June 2006
I am 27, and I went to the Iberostar Punta Cana with my wife for a friend's wedding. The grounds were beautiful and well-kept, and the employees were nice. I didn't find the buffet food to be great: you could always find something that was ok to eat, but I never left a meal feeling full and satisfied. The reservation restaurants were a bit better: we went to the seafood restaurant, the international restaurant, and the steak restaurant. The seafood restaurant was allegedly impressive, but I don't eat enough seafood to know firsthand. I had steaks at the international restaurant and at the steak restaurant, and they were both decent. I would recommend making reservations as soon as you get there... it seemed like the restaurants fill up not because of the crowd but because they have a set amount of food at each restaurant. Whenever we went to the reservation restaurants, there were plenty of empty tables even though the restaurant was booked.

Our friend's wedding was on the beach and was nice. They had a guitar trio play at the wedding, and the ceremony lasted 20-30 minutes. There were a number of beach-goers who came by to gawk, and some of those gawkers were topless women. I had no problem with this (we were on a topless beach, for crying out loud), but some people at the wedding thought it was poor taste. In any case, the men who had brought their digital cameras to the wedding got some good pictures that had nothing to do with the wedding.

Our room was nice. The air conditioning worked very well, and there was a tv (with espn and espn2) and mini-fridge. One weird thing was that there was a motion detector linked to all the lights in your room. There were a couple times where I was in the shower and all the lights went off because the motion detector was in the bedroom instead of the bathroom. The first time it happened I thought there was a power outage, but it's just the motion detector. I definitely recommend bringing plenty of dollar bills to tip the maid (and others). She'll give you extra bottled water if you ask for it, and we used as much bottled water as we could get.

There were about 25 people total at the wedding, and many of us took turns getting sick. I don't think this can be blamed on any one thing; it was a combination of the open bar, the food being different than we're used to, and being out in the sun all day every day. I would recommend packing everything that is recommended on this web site. Before our trip, I packed different medicines and cleaning supplies thinking I was never going to use them. By the end of the trip, I had used just about everything I had packed.

There were lots of activities to do during the day, and many of them didn't cost extra. My wife and I kayaked in the ocean one day, and there was also beach volleyball, pool volleyball, relay races, and bingo (among others). I didn't personally participate in many activities, but they are available. The weather in late May was very hot and humid. This wasn't a problem during the day, but at night the humidity got pretty bad. Many of the bars are in open-air buildings, so you are generally outdoors at all times.

The trips to and from the airport reminded me of a video game... Mario Kart or Crazy Taxi. Everyone speeds around trying to pass slow vehicles, and there are pedestrians and cyclists who you think are going to get run over. It was like riding with some of my crazy friends in high school, but you should remind yourself that the probability of getting into an accident on this one trip is still very miniscule.

In summary, I think the all-inclusive Carribean vacation suits some people more than others. If being in a beautiful beach resort is more important to you than eating excellent meals, then this vacation is really for you. If fine dining tends to be a big part of your vacation, then maybe somewhere else would be better for you. I loved not having to worry about money the whole time I was there, but I also craved a Big Mac more than ever towards the end of the vacation (yes, I know I'm a giant American).
Iberostar Punta Cana
Joy 

June 2006
Absolutely wonderful! The grounds were beautiful and were being groomed and cleaned constantly. The workers were unbelievable - always smiling, singing, dancing and eager to please - wonderful people.

I loved the food and ate everything. Unfortunately, two people who went with us did get sick for quite a while but we have no idea why. I ate everything and drank water with ice at every meal and never got the slightest bit sick. Different stomachs I guess. Anyway, I thought the food was great - especially when they prepared the meals at the beach - the presentation was as good as the food. The steakhouse was everyone's favorite and if I had to say there was one to avoid it would be the Star Rock Cafe (appetizers are good there though).

We did all the water sports. Snorkeling was fun just off the beach. We were surprised to see so many fish hiding out by the rocks. We took bread from the buffet and the fish would swarm for it.

We never had any problem finding chairs in the shade or at the pool. We participated in a lot of the activities - water aerobics, olympics, volleyball, etc. The animation team did a great job.

Shows were not great and some nights were better than others. It was fun just to walk around in the evenings, checking out the activities at the two bars or watching the guy make cigars. There was always something to do.

I have absolutely no complaints about this resort at all. They did a wonderful job and were very eager to please with any request!
Iberostar Punta Cana
David, Sarah & Jared 
Lambourne End, Essex, United Kingdom
May 2006
We vacated at the Iberostar Punta Cana, Dom Rep in late March/April for two weeks and had the most wonderful time.

We want people to know how good it was. We are well travelled and have been all round the world, including staying in three different Sandals/Beaches Resorts, so its not that we dont know what we are talking about.

How can anyone moan about this Hotel I dont really know, sometimes I dont know what people are looking for. We could not fault it whatsoever, everything about it was such a good standard, it was as good as the Sandals resorts we stayed in and thats saying something.

Check-in was so smooth and quick. Our rooms were impeccably clean and a good standard and the reception had met our request about interconnecting rooms. (My only thing I missed was the tea/coffee facilities as advertised in our brochure were not in our rooms). But hey we are All Inclusive so was not a big problem.

The gardens are a big WOW. I have never seen gardens so beautiful and well kept and yes the Flamingo's, Chickens and Herons walking around. Fantastic!!!!

The pool was great, never had a problem with sun beds and shades, always got one where we wanted, mainly round the baby's pool as we have a two year old!

The beach was to die for absolutely gorgeous, all those palm trees, what more can you ask for, paradise!! Bewarned the sea is quite rough but good fun for boogie boarding!

The food was great, never had any problems with tummy. We could not fault any of it. Even the buffet Restaurants, had plenty of choice each and every day, we never got fed up. Our favorite Restaurant had to be the Japanese - Fantastic!!!!

The staff/star friends were all great and so friendly. The whole atmosphere at the hotel was tops!!

So whoever reads this if you are still in doubt about booking, dont be, we could not fault anything and we will definitely return. We are definitely going to holiday with the Iberostar group of hotels again. BOOK IT, YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!
Iberostar Punta Cana
Joe 
Minnesota
May 2006
I have been reading reviews of folks that have went to this hotel and thought that I should add my wife and my thoughts of this winter vacation. This was our second trip to Iberstar punta cana in the Dominican Republic and I must say that each time is just fantastic. This trip our daughter,son-in-law and 9 year old grandson went along. This was a first for them staying at a all-inclusive hotel. They could not get over how awesome everything was. When we arrived at Punta Cana airport we were greeted by two young ladies who you had to get your picture taken with them before you proceeded to customs. There was no charge but on your return to the airport to leave they were waiting for you and it was your choice if you wished to buy them or not. We had our $10.00 out to pay at customs and they stamped our passport and waived us through to catch our ride. We went on Apple Vacation and we immediately found their desk and was whisk ed to our van. They have porters there and they take your luggage to your ride. They work hard so trip them a few dollars. After the van was loaded we were on our was for about a 30 to 40 minute ride to the hotel. This is a very poor country and on the way you will see how the average people live. It can be an eye opener. Once at the hotel we were greeted by a young lady that gave us all a cool drink and we were shown to the reservation desk. Juan Franscio, at the desk was just awesome and went out of his was to assist with what ever we asked for. Since this was our second trip a few things changed but not much. All the employees there work extremely hard and are always very friendly and was to help you. I will comment on a few things as we have travel Mexico and most of the Carrie over the years and by far Iberostar Punta Cana is the best.

Pool: We never had a problem getting a lounge at the pool and it was always extremely clean and the water was warm. The sunrise is a must to see. It is just beautiful.

Ocean: The white sand was really great and the sand is cool and not hot to your feet. There was some breakers coming in during the week but we were still able to snorkel.

Food: The buffets are great and they have about everything you would want. Steak, fish, chicken, shrimp, salads and I could go on and on and it was all very good. If you want to eat at the specialty restaurants you need to make reservation for that. We ate two nights and the hard rock cafe and it is set up like the 50's and the food also was great .

Rooms: The rooms are kept clean and the beds are comfortable. Maid service everyday and they keep your refrig filled. We always left and trip for her and brought gifts for her also. The only I can complain about is you CAN NOT drink the water in your room and I hate brushing my teeth without running water but I got over it.

We did do two things while we were there and one was going to Manti Park so my grandson, son-in-law and daughter could swim with the dolphins. They really enjoyed this as we had done it on a earlier visit. The high light of the entire trip was that we had bought three suitcases full of school supplies for the children and I told my wife that I would like to give this supplies to the kids and to kids that are not fortunate enough to get these things. On the jungle tour I read where they stopped at a school and you gave the teacher to things and left. It also appeared that they would always stop at the same school so I talked with Juan at the from desk ans told him what we wanted to do and he called a friend of his and and asked if he would be willing to take us to some schools that do not get to meet tourists and get gifts. We met with Jose and we were off to the races. What a great guy he was as we got to meet his family and he took us to some extremely poor schools. The children we so very excited to get pencils, crayons, paper and stickers ect. They could not speak English or the teachers but you could see the happiness in there faces. They thanked us, sang to us, and wanted there photo's taken. We also gave the teacher some money. It was an unbelievable day. We will do this again on our return next Feb 2007, only thing different is we will bring 4 suitcases full it things instead of three.

In closing I can only tell you our all in-clusive vacation to Iberostar Punta Cana was just fantastic and from reading VERY FEW negative reviews you just can not go wrong. The people are so very, very nice, the country is beautiful, the food is superior and I almost forgot the drinks, The Banana Mamas are outstanding. If my friends at the Iberostar Punta Cana read this, I say to them Hi Juan at the front desk and we'll see you in Feb 2007.