Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel: Snorkeling
Other Comments: We just got back from the Iberostar Bavaro, and I had to write and tell what a beautiful resort this is! You will LOVE your Punta Cana vacation here, and anything you want or need is at your fingertips! They are all about service with a smile here, very friendly, very attentive, and cater to your every whim! The food is fabulous with a great selection at every meal. You can eat in the dining room or poolside for breakfast or lunch, dinner is in the dining room or specialty restaurants. We ate at the Japanese restaurant, fantastic food and presentation. Also ate at the steakhouse, not your typical beef items you would expect in the states, I would skip this one if I went again. The Cajun restaurant was fabulous as was the gourmet restaurant, especially if you like seafood. The daily buffets are plentiful, something for everyone, and the food displays are art in themselves. If you are a bread lover, you are in heaven. Fresh baked breads 3 times a day, and the variety is unbelievable! The fruit is also plentiful at every meal, as are the desserts. It's like a huge sweet table 3 times a day, hard to resist. The service is also unbeatable! Waitstaff is constantly at your table asking if there is anything else you need. Even at the 2 bars the bartenders are friendly and will make you anything! I suggest the frozen Coco-Locos made with fresh coconut milk and with or without rum, absolutely delicious! The grounds are immaculate, the staff is constantly cleaning, pruning (with machetes) and sweeping. You could not ask for a more picturesque setting. The walkways are lined with palm trees sparkling with twinkly lights the second dusk hits. It is a magical sight. The beach is pristine and the water bright blue. There are many lounge chairs set up on the sand, and also a beachfront bar that also serves snacks throughout the day. If you need to stay out of the sun, there are palapas everywhere so you can still enjoy the outdoors with out the rays of the hot sun. The large pool also has a swim up bar, and a seperate kiddie pool beside it. There are 3 jacuzzis by the health club. The health club is a little outdated with only a few treadmills and two very old eliptical trainers, and the weight sets and machines are also very old, but who wants to exercise in the heat of the day anyway? Pink flamingos are plentiful by the dining area, and the grounds are loaded with beautiful flowers and plants, even banana trees amongst the palms with the fresh coconuts growing. Can't think of one bad thing to say about this resort, I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone looking for a stress-free vacation. We went the week before Christmas so it was quite peaceful, but around the 20th it started to get very crowded, of course. But even in December, it was 85 degrees and sunny every day. It usually rained each night around 11:00 p.m., and also in the mornings around 7:00 a.m. If it rained during the day, it only lasted a few short minutes, and then back to the lounge chairs! Hope this helps you in making the decision to go to this fantastic all inclusive resort, I will be going back again!
Arrival: December 11, 2008
LAte at night, we had requested in writing to be close to friends and king size bed, had either. After an hour of switching rooms, this was sorted out. Was told safe key was free, on check out they tried to charge me $ 20.00
ok, little musty, service was quick when called. No or little hot water for the seven days. Friend's glass shower stall exploded during the night, hotel did not seem to care and did nothing to address friends concerns.
Restaurants and Bars:
good, missed the speciality drinks at piano bar that had five years ago!
well kept, always working on something.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
high school level, try hard but do the corniest things.
WAs at the resort five years ago, only returned because it was so good! Things have changed, the resort is now older and worn. The roooms and furtinutre need to be changed. They are building a new resort beside this one, seems like that was the focus. Definitely missed the extra specials, no wow factor here. IN fact I would not recommend this to friends. Singnature rep was non existent and quite useless, disappointing as I understand she was a Canadian. This was 8th trip to Cuba or DRP, would rate this one of the most disappointing in terms of resorts. MAny of the guests were complaining about service and lack of quality of resort.
Edward Pennsylvania, US
Arrival and Flight - October 18th, US Airways. Quick check-in.
Rooms - Rooms were spacious and clean with a nice sitting area.
Restaurants - Food at the buffet and specialty restaurants were excellent – the best ever for this type of all-inclusive package.
Bars - Nice lobby bar and convenient beach bar. Swim bar has nice separation. Great service.
Beach and Pools - Pool was very big and the beach was awesome of course.
Grounds - Immaculately manicured and very lovely.
Activities and Entertainment - Nightly shows were some of the best for this type of venue.
Tours - Excellent and informative.
Departure and Check Out - Smooth check out.
Conclusion - Beautiful hotel, friendly people and great country. Highly recommended.
Rich and Gayle Chicago, Il.
we just returned from the iberostar bavaro in punta cana dominican republic. we were there july 16th thru the 23rd 2008.
we were there six years ago and decided to go back. it hasn't changed. that being said was it good? well, we would go back a third time in a heart beat. still the same incredible resort and amazing staff. i wrote a long review last time and decided to keep this short. i recevied numerous replies the last time and would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone might have if you are thinking of going. well thats it.....by all means check this resort out.
We arrived around 3 at the airport. We had transfers with Prieto but chose to grab a taxi instead as we were anxious to get our vacation started. At check in, there were only 2 or 3 others registering so it was quite smooth. Immediately after getting our room keys, I went to the specialty restaurant desk and booked 3 dinners. When we got to our room it was a second level in a central area near the pool and we found a fruit platter and bottle of Brugal waiting for us!
We checked out the grounds, what a beautiful resort and went to the buffet for an early dinner as we were starved. The food was quite good and there was plenty to choose from. I tend to stick with the cooked veggies and carving or fresh prep stations. There was plenty of desserts but I saved my calories for some tropical drinks. We went to the show, it was a pleasant way to end the evening.
Monday morning, I was up at 6, put my towels at chosen palapa and went to breakfast. Many choices here, plenty of fresh cut melons, coconut and exotic fruits and different pastry and breakfast breads. They have 2 omelet station where you can get omelet of choice, fried eggs or scrambled, fresh juice bar, you name it. It took me 2 days to discover the freshly fried churros alongside the fresh donuts. Yummy! I’ll have my “dessert” every morning thank you! Every morning we had the same routine.
The beach! This place is heaven, the water is crystal clear, warm and gentle. I packed a pool noodle in my suitcase and sat on it in the water all morning! That was the best thing I packed, along with extra sunscreen. Next time, less clothes for sure. One night we went for a moonlit swim. I was so surprised that the beach was totally empty. It was glorious, like having our own truly private beach! There was a full moon that night and it was so special.
The bars. We did an Iberostar pub crawl by hitting up each beachbar and poolbar in the complex and a couple of snacks wherever we felt hungry. We did this just about everyday and it never got tiresome. We had front row seating for the Paella cooking party at the Dominicana and really enjoyed the cooking show as well as the watching the long line as it was served. A little more beachtime followed and a siesta, if inclined and then off to the casino for an hour or two.
The restaurants. We dined at the Cajun restaurant, which was unremarkable as previously reported. The specialty restaurant was good. The mediteranean restaurant was the best. The shrimp in sauce in little cups at the buffet was excellent.
The staff. Everywhere you went you were greeted by a wide smile and a friendly “hola”. These people are so pleasant to be around and really make the resort warm and welcoming. I did not see a lot of people tipping anywhere except the specialty restaurants. When we tipped at the main dining hall for breakfast or dinner, it was noticed and we were thanked appreciatively each time.
Bubba kegs. I did not see a lot of Bubba kegs. I did bring a couple 16 oz mugs for mixing drinks in the room, but I only used them once. I did bring coozies to slide my plastic beer cup into at the beach and pool bar. I don’t like warm beer and I always travel with my coozies. There was no problem with sand in my glass at the beach. There was a breeze at times, but it was pleasant.
We got home Friday night and when I woke on Saturday, I missed those churros so much, I booked my next trip right back to the Iberostar Bavaro!
Arrival and Flight
We vacationed from 4/5/08-4/12/08 and booked through Apple Vacations. We arrived late the first night and saw the apple rep. as soon as we got off the plane and were quickly whisked away to our bus. When we arrived at the hotel it was pretty quiet. Check in was relatively quick and we then got a ride to our room with our luggage. We met with our apple rep the next morning and he went over trips, tips and other info.
The rooms were spacious. There were only two of us, but I imagine they would be sufficient for a family of 4 or even 2 couples. The cleaning woman did a good job and left different flower arrangements for us most of our days there as a treat. We did leave a few dollars daily for her before leaving for the beach or pool in the morning. My only complaint, which I was surprised I didn’t see mentioned in other reviews, was the bathroom. The actual bathroom was nice with a good size shower, tub and toilet but the room only has a glass door on it. The glass is frosted but there were decent size spaces around it (probably ½ inch or so) so with the right position you can in fact see in and out. Also our bathroom was directly across from the entrance door making it even more uncomfortable. This by no means ruined our vacation, it was just a little unexpected.
We both thought the food was great. We enjoyed the buffets as well as the restaurants. The buffets were a little overwhelming, since they had just about everything. We found both breakfast (many types of bread, egg station, waffle, pancakes, cheeses, fruits, juices etc.) and lunch (grilled chicken, burgers, hot dogs, salad bar, veggies, and rotating food such as calzones, steaks, raviolis etc) very good. We also tried 3 restaurants, Japanese, Steak and Gourmet that were all fantastic. I’m not a steak person but I ordered a plate at the steak house that may have forever converted me. It was a lean cut that must have been marinated at least overnight and was extremely tasty. The gourmet was definitely my favorite though. I would recommend the lobster appetizer that my husband had (my asparagus soup was also delicious) and both our entrees that we loved (my snapper wrapped in spinach and his beef tornados).
The bars were good and everyone was very nice. I didn’t care for the red wine but the white wine and champagne were good. Also for a treat I would get a drink they called the monkey and had them add rum. The coco locos are incredibly delicious too. I also preferred to get my café con leche at the bar since they steamed the milk.
Beach and Pools
Both the beach and pools were nice. You definitely had to look a little for a prime seat but it would be a bad sign if the place was empty! Overall we enjoyed both and were very lucky with absolutely perfect weather (sunny and upper 80’s every day). The papalas provide a nice place to get out of the sun and enjoy the breeze.
The grounds were kept immaculate and we enjoyed seeing the peacocks and flamingos.
Activities and Entertainment
The entertainment was good. They have something each night at 9:30 or so. We stuck around for probably 4 different nights and left the others that weren’t all that good to us. They also provide plenty to take part in during the day. We weren’t all that adventurous but my hubby did snorkel one afternoon and played horseshoes. I did the water aerobics which was fun. The gym is also okay for those who are flexible. There are 3 elliptical machines (1 was broken), 2 bikes and 3 treadmills. Also, there was an assortment of weights and a few machines. I saw a fair amount of people running on the beach and I chose to supplement my workouts with lots of swimming.
Departure and Check Out
We had to check out of our rooms by noon and our bus wasn’t picking us up until 5:45 for our 9:30pm flight. We ended up leaving our bags with the front attendants and checked in our carry-on (to a locked closet). They do have 2 shower rooms that I used before leaving. It was nothing glorious but it did the job after a day in the sun. Our flight home ended up being delayed but that was at no fault of the resort.
We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the hospitality of the entire staff. They all really seemed to enjoy there jobs and it showed. The grounds are beautiful and this was a wonderful place to relax. I most definitely agree with this hotel’s 5 star rating.
Check In was ok - waited in line a little - they brought us a small drink to ease the wait!
Great Room (jr suite)Big bed !...The little couch sleeps fine for people under 6 ft. No hot water (warm only) for 2 days.
Grounds were beautiful - lots of peacocks, etc...chairs at the pool/beach were available, but there is a problem with people 'reserving' them and then not using them all day! Beach was beautiful!
Great activities - volleyball, pool aerobics, water polo, kids activities, Spanish lessons, etc. Great leaders and lots of fun...but they don't start when they say they will - they are always 30 min after announced start time.
Food - Liked the food overall. Breakfast was super. One of us had a bad meal at the Japanese restaurant (poor quality chicken) Servers at all restaurants were very friendly and accomodating. Steak House was good.
DC 6 disco was good...but does open late - 11:00pm
Arrival - We left the Sunday of Massachusetts February school vacation week. We booked thru TNT Vacations and our flight down was on a Miami Air International (charter), fairly new looking 737-800 set up for one class of service (all coach). The flight pushed back about 10 minutes early and arrived in Punta Cana about 30 minutes early. Good uneventful flight. The flight back was similar although not as early. It was interesting that the pilot of our return flight was also the president of the airline and has a reputation of getting out and flying his planes to meet his employees and customers. As people have mentioned, immigration was a breeze arriving in Punta Cana. The $10 tourist card was included in our package and handed out on the plane. Returning home, the airline check-in line was a little long, but about par for what you find on most charters.
I let a porter take our luggage which turned out to be not such a bad idea since there were a really lot of tour buses parked outside the terminal and he led us to the right one. (Not a bad deal for a couple of bucks.) We waited on our bus for 15 minutes or so while the rest of the tourists collected their bags. Fernando, the local TNT rep., entertained us on the first part of the bus ride with helpful tips – don’t drink the hotel tap water, use 50 or higher sun block, etc. As with everyone we encountered, Fernando was cheerful, helpful and seemed determined to make our stay enjoyable.
The hotel check-in was confused and almost comical. There were maybe a half dozen families checking in and the hotel staff just didn’t have their act together. First we waited in one line to check-in; then they sent us to the next desk where the clerk waited for everyone, started talking a couple of times and then finally put on our wrist bands, gave us an overview of the hotel and gave us our room safe keys. Then I had to go back to the bellman to tell him which suitcases were ours and which room to bring them to. Our bags showed up in the room within about 15 minutes. A tip – while I was waiting in the lines I sent my wife to the Guest Services desk (which is just to the left of Registration) to book our dinner reservations. For a 3 – 7 day stay three dinners in the specialty restaurants are guaranteed. In addition, the Guest Services person asked my wife if we would be interested in a romantic dinner in the Gourmet restaurant so we ended up with dinner in four specialty restaurants. Also, if you want to book an extra dinner in a specialty restaurant you can go to Guest Services after 3:00 PM to check for cancellations which we did. We ended up eating in a specialty restaurant six of our seven nights there, which we preferred to the buffet.
Rooms - Somehow we got a room on the beach, bldg. 234. The room was a little smaller than I had imagined based on some of the pictures; but certainly a good size. Overall, I’d say that the room was as expected. The rooms were cleaned early every day and supplied with more beer, soda and water in the refrigerator. We followed the advice given on this web site and left a couple of dollars tip for the maid every day. She gave us great service and who knows whether the tip helped or not, but she really seemed to appreciate it. Slight occasional musty smell in the room, but turning on the AC eliminated the problem. A safe is provided and we put all of our money, travel documents, etc. in it. The safe was included in our package; otherwise it is a couple of dollars a day.
Restaurants - The food at the buffets was very good and there was a huge selection. As other people have said, it is hard to imagine someone not finding something that they like at the buffets. They vary the food slightly everyday. Basically, you can eat from 7:00 AM to about 10:30 PM. The Gourmet restaurant was excellent and the Cajun and Caribbean were very good. They were all pretty good and which ones are your favorites is really just based on personal preference. A note, at all the specialty restaurants, except the Gourmet and Japanese, appetizers are in a serve yourself buffet. At the Japanese they bring a selection to your table and at the Gourmet you order your appetizer. We ate most lunches at the beach restaurant which was a buffet and very good. We ate one lunch in the main (buffet) restaurant and did not feel that the selection was as good as at the beach restaurant. Another day we tried the beach restaurant at the Iberostar Dominica and didn’t think that the food was as good as at the Bavaro. My wife is fairly choosy when it comes to wine and she felt that the wine wasn’t quite as bad she expected after reading about it on this site – “it was drinkable”. If you ask for a Bloody Mary or Pina Colada, etc. remember to say “with rum” otherwise they serve them without alcohol.
Beach and Pools - Basically, you come here for the beach. The beach is beautiful and well maintained. The resort employees patrolled the beach regularly, picking up whatever trash they could find. The water was gorgeous – turquoise blue. The only negative was the wind. Our entire week there, there was a steady and brisk wind blowing up the beach. Unlike some reviewers, we had no problem finding beach chairs or a palapa. Where we sat on the beach, behind the beach restaurant, there were four rows of palapas. If you wanted a front row palapa, you did need to “reserve” it by 8:00 or 9:00. We went out most days around 10:30 and got a second row palapa. Twice we went out well after noon and while it might have taken a little walking around, we found empty chairs and an empty palapa in the back row where you still had a nice view of the ocean. And the wind was not anywhere near as strong in the back row as it was in the front row which was a big plus for the back row. We did not spend much time at the pool so you’ll have to rely on other reviews as far as the pool goes. The pool did look gorgeous. The water temp was on the cool side. One day we walked an hour up the beach and another day we walked an hour down the beach. Neither time did we get to the end!
A warning for Americans – you will be in the minority. When we were there maybe only 25% of the people seemed American; the rest seemed to be European. As is the European tradition, the women go topless at the beach and men wear some pretty small Speedos. (One made a jock strap look big!). While it seemed more prevalent at some of the other properties, there was still plenty of topless women at the Bavaro beach. And the Europeans have not figured out that smoking is bad for you. There were a lot of people smoking – on the beach, at the pool, in the bars and restaurants. It is hard to get away from. Luckily every thing is open air so the smoke was not as bad as it might have been otherwise. Most of the staff spoke at least some English. You just have to remember you are not in America.
Grounds - The grounds were excellent as expected. The peacocks were every where.
Activities - A lot of reviewers have complained about the entertainment. Yes, it is high schoolish, but it was entertaining and they tried hard and it gave you something to do mid-evening. Definitely, not cruise ship quality. The casino (located at the Dominica) was small and smoky. It is adequate, nothing great. We never made it to the disco which does not open until 11:30.Conclusion - I’d recommend Punta Cana, TNT Vacations and the Iberostar Bavaro.
1. As other reviewers have mentioned, bring lots of $1 bills for tipping. We brought $50 and it was nice to have them to give out to staff that you saw every day that provided extra special service. 2. Bring at least three swimsuits (even the guys). The humidity is high and nothing dries quickly. 3. I brought my own hair dryer and did not use it. The one in the room was a weak European type, but it was adequate for someone with short hair. 4. Needless to say, bring lots of high SPF suntan lotion. We saw some nasty looking sun burns on the beach. 5. There is not a clock anywhere in the resort, which makes it hard to participate in scheduled activities or arrive on-time for dinner reservations. Be sure to bring a small travel clock for your room or plan to use the alarm in a cell phone. 6. My cell phone, AT&T/Cingular, worked fine at the resort. Just remember to put a + sign (hold down the zero key on my phone) before the 1 and be prepared for a big per-minute cost. 7. Remember, men must wear long pants to dinner.
8. Not all of the shops in the resort are hotel-owned. Remember to always ask for or offer a lower price.
Chris & Katie
Two couples in our mid fifties from Rochester NY, traveled to the Iberostar Bavaro February 16-23, 2008. We had booked through iTRAVEL2000 and Air Transat vacation. Everything with the booking and receiving our E-documents went very smooth. We received our E-documents 5 days before we left. We drove up to Toronto the night before and stayed at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel right at Pearson Airport. This was very convenient, as you do not have to catch a shuttle to get to and from the gate as it is attached to terminal 3 via a skyway. I am not sure that it is worth the extra cost compared to other hotels in the area with shuttles but my wife and sister-in-law really liked the convenience and not getting cold or the cattle herding onto a shuttle. Our plane was scheduled to depart at 6:25 am and was right on time. The flights down and back were uneventful except you are so cramped on these charters. I am 5’ 10” and I can’t imagine how anybody taller survives.
Arrival & Room:
Arrival in Punta Cana was smooth, right through immigration and customs and on to our luggage. Our party had four suitcases. Two of them came off within the first five on the conveyor. Thought we were golden. Well the last two were in the last five off the conveyor. One was my wife’s and she was fretting. But all was well. This though caused us to be the last to our bus and the inevitable about time looks from the rest of the passengers. Check in at the hotel was very quick and smooth. We had E-mailed ahead of time for rooms nears the pool, second floor, king size bed, and in the same building. We got exactly that in building 252. The rooms were pretty much the same as three years ago except the bathroom has been re-done with a separate bath and shower. One note of caution, the new bathroom door is made of heavy frosted glass and swings 180 degrees. Make sure you open it wide at night and not leave it swung out at a 45-degree angle so that it hits you in the forehead in the middle of the night, OUCH. One thing was also very noticeable, if you have ocean-facing room, the breezes at night make things a lot more comfortable. It is obvious if you think about it, and is something to request even if you don’t have an ocean view. Also there are coffee pots in the room but no clock
We ate at five ala cartes during the week.
Cajun: Food was good here, not real spicy. I had the Iberostar Jambalaya and would have it again
Gourmet: very good meal here, the lobster salad appetizer is great. The tenderloin was pretty good; the shrimp was a little bland.
Japanese: Great meal here, really got into the sushi and wasabi and the meals were excellent
Steakhouse: Surprisingly real good.
Mexican: My meal was terrible and the service was just ok. Appetizer bar was very good
Breakfast and lunch were more often than not taken at the pool restaurant. A lot less hectic as far as I am concerned.
Since this was our second time at the IBB, I had alerted them via e-mail that we were repeat customers and made a room request for near the pool, 2nd floor. When we arrived we received the rooms we wanted, also on the second day we received in our room a bottle of Brugal along with a fruit plate. On Tuesday of our stay they had a manager’s party for all repeat customers. They had a band, champagne, snacks including sushi and caviar. (Liked the sushi hated the caviar) and the Hotel manager gave a little speech thanking us for returning, especially given all new hotels being built, assuring us that the quality of the IBB would not decrease when the Grand next door open. It was a real nice touch. We also received a group picture and a souvenir photo DVD of the DR.
We found the service was generally very good with a couple of minor attitude instances. We didn’t do any tours. Just a week of relaxing by the pool or a long walk on the beach. We really like the little bar to the far right of the resort if you are looking at the ocean. Nice place to sit with a drink and a sandwich. Also make sure you ask for top shelf liquor especially at the lobby bar. A shout out to Jeff & Elise and Eric & Renee. It was great meeting you and fun partying with you guys.
A great week and I would go back to the IBB in a heartbeat. The one thing we did notice is that the resort is showing some wear and tear. It appears that is being addressed but it is a big job to overcome. E-mail me with any questions.
Chris & Katie firstname.lastname@example.org
Marvin New Hampshire, USA
Arrival - Arrived in the early afternoon. Very quick check in and off to our first room. RIGHT NEXT TO THE ONGOING CONSTRUCTION NEXT DOOR....I went back to the desk and explained that we were repeat visitors and I didn't want to listen to a pile driver all week. They moved us to a room a couple rows behind the pool towards the Punta Cana. Much better location and MUCH quieter. Rooms - Rooms have been redone since our last visit two years ago. Love the shower (glass enclosed). The staff brought us a bed for my 15 year old football linebacker since he didn't fit on the sofa this year. Our maid was good. We had peacocks on our wall in our patio which was kind of cool. Restaurants - We ate at the Steak House (awsome), Cajon (good), and Mexican (ok). Star Rock was good for the kids one night. Buffett was good. Beach bufett during lunch was much better this year. They had a great BBQ day. Bars - Good times at all of them, and Obipo (sp?) at the main bar was alot of fun. Beach and Pools - Pool was very nice again. Our 8 year old couldn't get out of it most days. Grounds - Immaculate. Clean, well kept, colorful, etc. The nicest I've ever seen. Activities - We did two snorkling trips through the dive shop. Had a blast with my 8 year old.Conclusion - Already planning our return for next year. That will be our 6th time to the DR and our 3rd to the IBB!!!!!!
Adam Sudbury, MA
We stayed in this hotel in February 2008 and had a fantastic time.
Staff and amenities were first rate.
It’s all inclusive and you are only allowed to book 4 restaurant bookings in some of the better restaurants.
Once in the restaurants, they were mostly half empty. It was tough to beat the general buffet food.
General review - very good. Would go again.
Arrival - December 16th to 20th
If you don't need anyone to help you with your luggage, skip the army of guys who will try to grab your luggage at the airport to take it to the bus. These guys are steps before the agencies counters who will tell you where your bus is. We bought the package from Apple and it was very easy to find their representatives there. We had to wait a little bit for the bus to get full so we could start our drive to the hotel. The bus stopped at 2 other resorts before dropping us off at ours. Rooms - The rooms were very comfortable! Our room was number 2421, pool front, very close to the beach. The only inconvenient was that we asked for a room on the second floor (top floor) but didn't get it. Too bad, since above us there was a family with at least 2 small kids. Lots of running around and weird noises coming from there. In my opinion the hotel should keep families with small children on the first floor. It would at least avoid the noise of them bringing the strollers up and down the stairs every day in the early morning. The main room was very nice, with slightly sunken living room. Blackout panels and good drapes were great for keeping out the early morning sun. The bathroom was clean, but was not very large nor what we had expected for a 5 star resort, but it worked for us.
Restaurants - My husband and I tried the steak house on the first night and didn't really like it. By reading all the reviews we learned that the Mediterranean was the best restaurant at the resort. We tried it on the second night. Although the food was good, we thought there weren't a lot of options on the menu. At that point we just decided to avoid reservations and stick with the buffet at nights. It was a good decision for us, since we don't like the commitment of the reservations. We could just take our time and go get something to eat whenever we were hungry. Lots of salads, fruits and healthy meal options made this the best option. Plenty of food cooked to order (chicken, steaks, veal, pasta, etc.) and lots of ready made food. Deserts, fresh juices and excellent cofee were abundant. We recommend trying the buffet first so you know the general expectations, although each day a few items changed for great variety.
Bars - The Bars were stocked with an excellent selection of liquor, but limited to Presidente on draught. They have bar favorites that are somewhat pre-made, like Mai-Tai's, and you can just ask the bartender to add an extra shot in the drink if you think it is weak. The bartenders were great too, usually staffing 4 or so for the lobby bar gave quick service and always in great spirits. They remembered me after a night of Mai-Tais with extra shots of rum/amaretto. With bars all over the resort, it was always easy to get a drink quick no matter where you were. Late at night, the lobby bar was the only one to hit, and was ready for the crowd. The Juice bar by the beach was amazing too, and we hit it very often while taking sun during the day.
Beach and Pools - Very nice and large pool, lots of lounge chairs to sit around it too. We like the beach better, so we didn't spend much time at the pool other than a very refreshing dip to cool off (would be better if slightly heated). We were getting to the beach around 10 every morning and could always find comfortable lounge chairs very easily. The tiki huts (as umbrellas) were abundant but you need to get there early for the front row toward the ocean. Without the tiki, there are plenty of palms to provide areas of shade when you want a break from the direct sun, as it is strong and turned a lot of people into lobsters if they were not careful. The resort wasn't crowded as we expected it to be and we were pleasantly surprised by how people were really respectful of others, keeping to themselves, just having a quiet and relaxing time at the beach. Parents were actually attentive to their kids so they played well. SOOOOOO different from the beaches in Miami where people bring their loud stereos and you get stuck listening to their music, rowdiness, all kinds of food and the kids running around throwing sand. You could hear light music from the pool side area where they always had some activity going on to keep people active if they wanted to be. We didn't, as this was a time for us to just completely relax, which was very easy to do here. We never even used our ipod, just relaxed to the ocean sounds and read a book when our minds wanted activity, as did most others.
Grounds - The grounds were kept in excellent shape with well cut grass, clean walkways (although slippery when wet) and trees well maintained. The beach stayed mostly clean too and the pool was cleaned daily. The wildlife around the grounds was nice too, and included peacocks, ducks, and birds. The walking paths wrapped throughout the resort and led to the other 2 Iberostar resorts that were adjacent to it. The only issue was having the grass cut at 8am one morning next to our room, so we had an early rising that day and just took advantage of the morning time. Tours - Although Apple provided some tour options off the grounds, we opted to stay at the resort and enjoy the relaxation of all-inclusive convenience and service, and do not regret it one bit! Maybe if we stayed longer than a week we would consider a tour, or maybe next time.Conclusion - Overall our experience at the resort was wonderful! We were very pleased with the facilities. The staff was amazing, as they always seemed like they were the ones on vacation! They were smiling, joking, dancing, and singing, all while working and providing excellent service to everyone. When your evening bartender recognizes you at breakfast and gives you a 'high five', you know they are paying attention to you and giving you service. You could only have a smile on your face when they are around. The conveniences were incredible. Walk to the beach, lunch is served poolside so just grab what you want when you want it! Bars were plentiful and you get what you ask for. Its exactly what a vacation should be, we can't wait to go back!
We returned Feb. 7 from our yearly 2 week stay at Iberostar Bavaro. This was our 7th visit to Punta Cana and our 4th stay at IBB. We did have a wonderful time.Met up with our dear friends Debbie & Tim from Canada, Jacque & Rick and Joey & Andy from the UK. Also, we were privileged to be there for our friends Amy & Lou's wedding ( newly weds..pm me PLEASE ). This is what makes the Iberostar Bavaro so very special to us !!
We've stayed at 3 other 5 star resorts in PUJ..including the IBB.The truth is that ALL 5 star resorts are about the same...good service,good buffet choices,clean rooms and grounds. If this wasn't true, they wouldn't all have the 5 star ratings. Even the bedspreads were identical in 2 of the 5 star resorts!!
If I could take the cocktail lounge from the Riu Palace,the turn down service, towel delivery to our room, and the great choices of A La Cartes from the Gran Bahia, and my friends from Iberostar Bavaro, I'd have the perfect resort!! As far as the hotel is concerned, don't be fooled !! They are all the same..choose any based on value, price,or special rates. They are comparable..they are ALL 5 star !!
This was our 4th trip to the IBB for 2 weeks and 6th year to the DR. I may be a little prejudiced. This time we booked thru Apple Vacations on USA 3000. A great experience for us. Flight from St. Louis to PUJ was completely full and uneventful. It left on time and we seemed to get there a little early. Coming home we left 30 minutes early as everyone had checked in. After getting our luggage at airport we walked to the waiting bus. There was a large group going to the Iberostar hotel complexes, so we opted to not wait and negotiated for a taxi for the 4 of us. I believe it was $30 total. Got to the hotel and had a smooth check in. We had emailed Rosa at the resort requesting our room requests, didn't get exactly what we wanted as the hotel was packed. They said we could move the next day to the top level, but decided to keep what we had (it was close to beach and beach restaurant). We were in bldg. 239. With this being prime season the hotel seemed to have a problem with overbooking as we met a few couples who got bumped for 1 night to a different hotel.
ROOMS- Our maid was Margarita and she was great. The rooms were cleaned early every day and supplied with more refreshments and water in the refrigerator. Loved having a coffee pot in the rooms for that morning wakeup. We always left a tip for her services in an envelope which said "Gracias por su servicio! " No musty smell in room at all. Had to turn the air conditioner down to low and the fan off at night as it became quite cool. We used the bottled water in our room for drinking, coffee making and brushing our teeth. A safe is provided and we put all of our money, travel documents, etc. in it.
RESTAURANTS and Buffets-- We made our allotted reservations for the ala carte reservations the evening we got there. Our favorite is the French, Japanese, and Steak House. We have tried the Mediterranean several times, but just aren't crazy about it. Would love to see an Italian restaurant in it's place. We had many of the same waiters and waitresses from previous years-- Johann, Fernando, Alex, Isador, Franklin, Santana, Juan. Went to the buffet for breakfast ever day. There is something for everyone. You won't go hungry!!!! We ate in the same general area everyday and got to know our waiters and waitresses. They knew who wanted coffee con leche and that we also wanted water con ice. We did leave a few dollar tip every couple of days. The buffet seemed to be crowded about 9 in the morning. There seems to be a problem with rude people in the buffet who do not have any manners and think nothing of bumping into people and also butting into line without saying "excuse me"! We always ate lunch at the Beach restaurant. Again there is a lot of food. Some is repetitive. The pizzas are great. If you are picky, you should have no problem finding something to eat. I believe they have food service until 5:30 at the beach restaurant. In the evening we went to the large bar by the lobby for cocktails before dinner and again after dinner. They could use a few more waitresses/servers as they were quite busy. Several nights this year I needed a light wrap in the evenings. Last year never needed a wrap as it was quite humid and warm. They have Dominican night on Fridays. This is when they serve lobster at the buffet. Be ready for a large rush for the tails. Remember, this is not New England lobster. Several days they have beach parties at the beach restaurant with live music, grilled food, paella and the best Sangria ever!!!
BEACH and POOL--the pool is very nice and didn't seem to be very crowded. There seemed to always be available chairs. There were a lot more children the second week at this resort. I don't remember there being so many last year. Being a beach person, we were at the beach everyday. We have our favorite area of palapas by the beach bar. Again, Leonardo does a great job taking care of his customers. Always singing and smiling. It is like watching a giant plasma TV. Beautiful beach, blue sky and aqua ocean. Nothing better. It was a little cooler on la playa this year than last. Pretty good breezes everyday. Believe it or not, I got chilled some afternoons by 4:30 as the breezes picked up. A few days we had some clouds and spotty showers. There are beach vendors down from the IBB. We call them Shacks Fifth Avenue. Be prepared to haggle for your items.
GOLF--My husband and friend again played several rounds of golf at Cocotal, Punta Blanca, Punta Cana (la Cana) and the new Espada at Cap Cana (very expensive). They again booked thru Tee Off Times and Golf Reservation Center which has a link on this site. Very efficient and great service.
The hotel is in the process of building a new adults only complex with golf course right next door. Never heard any noise from it whatsoever. It is supposed to open by next December . About 300 rooms I think. I believe 4 stories and a little more upscale.
We again met up with our friends from Winnipeg and also our friends from Great Britain. We met them last year and planned part of our trip to try and coincide with their 2 weeks. Again, we had a wonderful time!!!! We also met a couple from Montreal who are repeat visitors. It is great meeting people from other countries and cultures.
Any questions, you can pm me thru this site to ggarri.
Here is another review for the Iberostar Bavaro. Thanks for much for your excellent website!
After doing some research by asking co-workers from the Dominican as well as reading Debbie’s reviews, I chose the Iberostar Barvaro for myself, my husband and another couple.
We were not disappointed! Check-in was under 5 minutes including receiving our bracelets. The room was clean with fresh flowers decorated on the towels, with a small LR and a balcony. The mini-fridge was restocked every day with fresh water, soda and beer. All units are only 2 floors. The closet was huge with a safe and lots of shelving. The maid service was excellent every day. The staff is extremely friendly and the grounds are spotlessly clean.
You are given a list of activities for the week. The same staff is responsible for daily activities like Spanish lesson, aerobics and dancing lessons, as well as evening shows and then the disco at 11:30pm! They have boundless energy! We took part in the lessons and the water aerobics and had a blast! The Spa was wonderful as well. The treadmills face the water and massages/facials are reasonably priced. In fact, even the gift shops were reasonable and had lovely merchandise.
The food at the buffet was excellent and there is a huge selection. They vary the food slightly everyday. The Steakhouse and French restaurants were excellent, the Carribbean so-so. The wait staff is very friendly and enjoy teaching you Spanish. Juan our buffet waiter was amazing. The drinks at the bar are very strong!
The beach is beautiful and well maintained and there was always a palapa available. The pool is gorgeous as well, never a problem getting a lounge chair. Kids must use the kiddie pool so the pool is quiet. The swim-up bar is an extra bonus as well as an additional lunch buffet outside.
We brushed our teeth with the endless supply of bottled water and had no stomach issues from that. I was off a bit by drinking the water at the restaurants, so I stopped. Some of our early stomach issues were because of the mixture of foods on our plates and mixture of alcohol! Once we learned to cut down on food and not mix liquors at the same time, we were fine! I recommend Acidophilus – I brought it with me and it got rid of any stomach problems.
Apple Vacations gave us a list of their activities. We signed up for the Island Safari Jeep Tour. This was a blast! Our guide Omar was entertaining and had us drinking and laughing. (by the end of the tour, you will have new friends!) We visited the countryside and then went up to the mountains to see a coconut plantation, chocolate plantation and a coffee plantation. We purchased some home-made “mama-jama” - rum, red wine and honey with herbs. At the end, you are taken to a beautiful private beach to belly-board or just jump the waves.
All in all, the DR is lovely, the people are so nice and the resort was great. Our weather was perfect all week, sunny with a light breeze, except for Friday when it rained. We hope to go back next year!
Barb & Gord
This was our third trip in four years to the Iberostar Bavaro. You are correct in assuming there is much we like about this resort.
We traveled, again, direct to PC from Vancouver via Air Transat, Club Class. The check in was easy and efficient on both ends. We skipped the ground transportation provided and opted for taxies instead (about 30-35 mins., $35 & $33 US respectively). Our first quote for a taxi was $45, I said no way and when I insisted on $35, we were led to a different, but equally new and clean vehicle. Arriving we are generally tired and anxious to end our long travel day. Returning, we usually use the bus provided, but had been joined by someone without ground transport provided so we all shared the cab. Be sure to inform the tour provider if you choose to taxi so the bus is not held up waiting for you.
Hotel check-in was smooth and efficient and our room request was very close to perfect, just one building away. Remember to ask for your safe key if you are going to use the safe ($28US for 2 weeks).
It was windier than normal during our first week as Olga built up and passed through. We lost a full day and a half to rain/wind, and spent most of the rest of the first week around the pool. Fabulous weather for week two with lots of good beach time, a good breeze but not strong enough for sand-blasting as it was in week one. The seaweed quotient was much smaller than in previous years, with only one day where it was very visible when swimming.
This is an immaculately maintained property that is sparkling clean, including all public restrooms. The grounds are beautiful and the concentration of birds and fish in the big lagoon near the buffet and lobby are very beautiful and fun to watch. I noticed a number of orchid beds (new I think) that really enhance the view in and out of the buffet.
Rooms are jr. suites with a large closet, including stacked shelves, safe, iron & ironing board. Our bed was a king. On the lower level there are 2 fixed couches, a chair, table, desk, and usual tv & mini bar. New is in-room coffee maker. Balcony has a fixed couch for 2, very comfy and a table and chair plus fold-out drying rack. (Frankly, things dry better on plastic hangers in your bathroom – too much humidity outside).
Bathroom has a separate shower and tub with showering hose. Blow dryer is weak but adequate for my short hair. Shower has shampoo and liquid soap dispensers. Mini soaps, comb, mouthwash, lotion etc all provided.
We ate mostly at the main buffet for breakfast and dinner. Excellent variety and quality. Cook to order eggs in the morning and cook to order meats in the evening, plus the carvery, pasta station, salad bar, bread selection and dozens of warming trays of vegetables and other entrées. Dessert selection was fabulous. Dominican night was Friday, with Caribbean lobster tails grilled to perfection.
We ate 2 dinners at the Japanese which we find very peaceful, with good variety and taste, except dessert. We easily remedied this with a trip to buffet on the way back to our room . We skipped all other a la cartes this year.
We visited the Casino twice. He played blackjack and me the slots. There are about 60 or 70 machines on site, from pennies to dollars, so plenty to amuse one for a few hours.
There is an excellent cigar shop on site, and some evenings there was an individual hand rolling cigars, interesting to watch. There are a few shops in the Bavaro Lobby, and more near the Casino at the sister hotels. Additional stores are on Caribbean Street, between the two resorts. Finally, there is a beach market right at the property edge. Vendors are also invited in about once per week to set up in the lobby and display their wares.
This resort has everything we want in a vacation on the best beach we have ever visited. It’s clean with quality food and friendly & accommodating staff with enough extras to keep us entertained. We give it 2 thumbs up. Post any questions to the forum, or send a PM to bargo if you have any questions.
Would NOT go back to that resort.
ROOMS- as in some of the previous reviews I read, first morning woke up with bites on ankles and legs. All double beds in the rooms, bedding was 1 sheet with 1 thin blanket. Doubt if sheets were even changed in the 10 days there. Fridge was never cold, every morning power would go out in room for 10-15 minutes. Felt like it was a 2 star hotel room. At least 4-5 times per day we had to go back to the lobby to get new room cards, they would never work in the locks. Our phone was broken, and we had no phone service in our room for 24 hours.
FOOD was horrible, the buffets were recycled night after night, beachfront buffet in the afternoons was inedible.
Nobody spoke English, nobody could accommodate you, but certainly understood when you would give them a tip in $US.
On a positive note, grounds were kept clean and nice.
Was ready to leave after 5 days.
Debbie & Tim
Our second trip for us to this resort, we are a couple in our late-forties Jan 31-Feb 14, 2007. Long overdue and I'll try not to be too repetative.
The marble lobby is huge and lots of spectaculer sights to see. Check-in was a breeze, we received our drinks, bracelets and room packages and were on our way in less than 5 minutes. The staff actually remembered us from our previous trip.
The room was located right on the beach, a spectaculer view of the ocean, sat in bed for an hour every morning looking out at the ocean. Bathroom had the new large glass shower stall, not sure who needs a phone in the toilet area LOL, large closet area, king bed and livingroom area, then the balcony with chairs, settee and table and drying rack. Fridge was stocked daily with water, pop and beer. Our maid, Dehlia was great, although most days the room wasn't done till about 4 o'clock, not a biggie. Fresh towels daily, including facecloths (flannels as the Brits call them). Left money and small gifts for her daily. Requested that the flat pillows be replaced and presto we had more than we needed. We used pre-translated cards that we printed before we came as we knew from last year how flat the pillows were. The maid was so proud of herself for understanding the note and granting our request, yet it was she that was doing us the favour. We also pre-printed tags for the money and gifts we left. Lots of smaller bottled water in the fridge and 2 jugs supplied reguarly for brusing teeth etc. I was a rebel (lazy) and used tap water for teeth brushing and although I don't advise it I never had an issue.
The grounds were always being tended to by very happy smiling workers, a piece of paper or garbage left by some uncaring tourist would be swooped up by someone of the staff. Lots of flamingos, ducks, swans and peacocks. The scenery is so lush and tropical, great for strolling around, they have sitting areas tucked away for your pleasure too. Be sure to go over to the other two Iberostars and look inside the courtyard, it is gorgeous. Lots of fruit trees if you look up, never knew bananas grew upside down. Lots of photo opportunites so don't forget your camera when you go for a stroll around the 3 resorts. We had the opportunity to video tape a worker climbing up a palm tree outside our room, we gave him and his helpers all the drinks from our mini fridge, boy they were thirsty and grateful. Here's the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rIhfmHOSwE
OMG, it's gorgeous, the water so clear and the sand is white and powdery.. We spent most of our days on the beach but did have to get our palapas early, not a big deal as we liked to go down early and sit for a couple of hours before breakfast. My pet peeve is the towel game...we always went early and used the spot all day so no issue for us but one day I was fed up with the amount of "reserved" loungers at the beach not being used and watching people come looking for a spot to no avail so I picked up a few towels off the loungers that had been left unattended for 6 hours much to the applause of many who witnessed this. People, use it or loose it.
Sand is very soft and remains that way in the water, no need for water shoes. Don't understand people that leave their garbage and butts in the sand, use an ashtray people, there are plenty around. Even the beach bathrooms are kept immaculately cleaned, they have attendants there at all times.
The animation team even strolls through the beach area entertaining you with their costumes and little skits they do. Henry is the best at this as he can walk about the beach in a security outfit with the a** cut out with a straight face.
Pool is nice for cooling off but didn't travel to an oceanside resort to use the pool, we're beach people.
Wait staff so friendly and courteous even without tipping. Leonardo and Basillio give great beach bar service, delivered to your palapa, they always had a fresh drink ready for their "Canadian Amigos". You can get fries, hot dogs and sandwiches here too.
My one pet peeve, not against the hotel but parents.... I don't agree with having kids at the swim up bar, something about a kid being perched up at the bar inhaling other people's smoke and watching people getting tipsy just doesn't seem right. I'm sure these same parents would freak if someone was within 100 feet smoking in front of their child at home though.
They had vendors on site once a week. Shopped at the vendors on the beach (Shacks 5th Avenue) and brought home some real good bargains, T-Shirts for $5, necklaces for cheapie cheapie. Had a blast haggling, it was easier and less intimidating than I thought.
A different theme night every night, Dominican one night, European, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Oriental, and Tropical theme nights, so I can't understand how some people report it gets boring or there was no selection, there's something wrong with YOU if you can't find something to your liking or you didn't look around. Lunch buffets followed much along the same line with different themes everyday. For lunch we always ate at the beach buffet as there was always such a variety and didn't want to be away from the beach longer than we had to. The lunch buffet had the main part, the station where it was different everyday, the beach BBQ part and then the hamburgers and hot dog area. Wednesday in the buffet was lobster night, eat as many as you want. Cold foods on ice, hot foods kept hot. Loads of selections and always had plenty to eat whenever you want.
A La Cartes:Japanese: Very good and nice selection. Service good. Jambalaya/Cajun: Most favourite restaurant, lots of coconut shrimp on the appetizer buffet and many other selections, you could easily get filled up on the appetizer buffet before your meal comes so be careful. Went here 3 times. Service very good. Gourmet: OMG, the lobster salad is to die for, never had anything like it and the beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection. No kids in this romantic restaurant and a maximum of 4 to a table. They also had a 3-man band in here who I felt should be on the main stage as they were so talented. Went 3 times. Service very good. Mediterranean: Fabulous meal. Service very good.
Steak House: Pretty good, steak was even better than the previous year. Service good.
All wait staff at the themed restaurants are dressed accordingly and made the atmosphere so enchanting. We were way over our "allowed" allotment of ala cartes but were "invited" to these extras so had the luxury at dining at the ala cartes every second night. That's the way we wanted it because the buffet restaurant is also very good.
Managers Special: Held on Wednesdays for repeat guests by special invite, you get appetizers, champagne, special Star Friends T-shirts and a group picture of all attendees and staff which they hand deliver later to your room. Note: No tummy issues whatsoever with anyone in our group and believe me we ate a lot of food and drink. Stayed away from the "foo-foo" and coconut (a natural laxative) based drinks.
Very reasonable in price for items you may of run out of or forgot and the souvenirs were a lot cheaper than I expected, no haggling here. Paid in US dollars and got pesos back. Gave the pesos to the gardeners and bathroom attendants. Caribbean Street shopping is located between the Bavaro and the Dominicana resorts and also has a great selection of stuff too and reasonably priced.
WOW, purchased a very, very nice unique diamond ring. Got it for a bit less by dealing in cash instead of Visa. They had it sized overnight and it's value is worth far more here at home.
Snorkel: $32 per person for just over an hour for the six of us, loads of fish and our boat driver toured us around a little bit naming off all the hotels etc. along the beach. Well worth the money for a private excursion with your friends. We booked with Padi Dive center. Didn't do any other excursions as it was hard to pull us away from the beach.
Not really an excursion but....:
We were invited to someone's home in the area that we met. What a nice person he is, VERY talented too. Thanks for entertaining us. Getting in and out of our resort reassured us as to how tight security is too.
Entertainment: Nightly shows were pretty funny and entertaining, not for all ages though, which is fine, the kids have their own time/stuff. Piano player very good, mostly hung around the lobby and talked to other guests. The animation staff are so friendly and personable, always busy with their duties but never too busy for an Hola and a smile. You can do as little or as much as you want here. There's archery, shooting, merengue lessons, Spanish lessons, bocce ball, tennis, water polo, volleyball and more and then there's the water activities too. Did the casino one night, good for a little different entertainment and didn't spend any time at the disco as we were usually too tired by this time of night and wanted to get up early each morning to greet the sun coming up.
The animations staff are very busy and very entertaing throughout the day and night. The other staff are incredible, accommodating, fun and friendly, always a smile and an Hola, even the maintenance and groundskeepers. They go out of there way to know your name by the next time they see you.
Tipping: We tipped the maid in dollars and gifts most days but it didn't make a difference in service. We tipped others sporadically but found that it wasn't necessary to receive great service. Don't forgot the other people that make your stay enjoyable including the gardeners, bathroom attendants and buffet staff, they all do such a fabulous job and a lot of people overlook their valuable service and take what they do for granted. A handshake and a heartfelt "gracias" goes a long way too too. Here's a tip for those that like to wave their money in the air expecting better service, it doesn't get you anywhere and makes you look like an arrogant knob. Tipping discreetly and sincerely will get you much better respect and service.
Stay at one resort and have access to all 3 resorts. No mosquitoes, No time-share people. Very few vendors on the beach. Drinks included at the disco and casino. Lots of plugs in the room. Beach less crowded than the other IB*s. Pool bar and beach bar. Great medical facilites and doctors which we found out when hubbie had an ear issue and couldn't fly for another week. The management was very caring and attentive to our needs.
• We like to bring packets of vinegar from home for the fries.
• Bring floaties and/or noodles and leave behind for other guests.
• Bring your steel insulated coffee mug from home, great for ice keeping, great for coffee or tea in the morning, great for drinks during the day if you don't like to guzzle drinks but still want to keep them cool. Didn't see a lot of Bubba Kegs and the ones that had them, were a lot of times hammered and had a lot of people pointing and laughing at them, some were even keg size with straps attached and they had trouble carrying them.
• Minimum 3 swim suits to allow the other ones to dry in the humid air, I now bring 5.
• Before you go, pack, and then take out 1/2, that's all you'll need. Bring comfortable shoes for walking the grounds.
• Brought all kinds of medication from other people's advice but never had to use it once, but I still wouldn't go without it. We ended up giving our to other people to save them some bucks at the store.
Would We Return:
Absolutely!!! What a fabulous resort with fabulous staff. We met people, who are now great friends from 3 different countries, on our first trip here and met up with them this year, Joe & Karen, Jane & Bill, Gaye & Jim, Andy & Joey, Rick & Jacqui, Bonnie & Marilyn and Kim & Craig, and we're ALL meeting up again in Feb 2008. Oh and our good friend Valentino, the great artist in the lobby who did our portrait the previous year.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions email@example.com and you can view the pics at http://community.webshots.com/user/debinatore Hasta Luego !!!!
We booked our trip directly with USA3000. Since they are Apple Vacations charter airline, Apple represented us at the resort. We stayed at Iberostar Bavaro for the 3rd time.
The staff was always friendly and helpful…. They are always smiling, singing, dancing and this is while they are working. They all seem to work such long days. We’d see the same people in the morning and at night.
Our room was 2384 and while not a beachfront, we had a lovely garden view. We were on the 2nd floor (top floor) and it was a really nice room. We had a king size bed this trip and it was very comfortable. Check in was easy and the room wasn’t quite ready. We went and had lunch at the beach buffet and when we came back they gave us the keys.
We spent each day doing the same routine; breakfast at the buffet and then we went to the beach, only leaving our spot to go to lunch at the beach buffet. We always took big insulated mugs of water with us to the beach, occasionally having a Maitai or Pina Colada during the day. The beach is very lovely and it was no problem getting a palapa if you came to the beach before 9:30 (that is not the case in April)
Glenn brought his snorkeling gear and underwater camera and saw a huge variety of fish without going past the ropes. He said the fish seemed to be attracted to the camera and he felt like he was in an aquarium! I went with another lady (Robin) into the water each day and we threw pieces of bread out and the fish came to eat it… I got a little freaked out one day as they seemed to be on a feeding frenzy (haha) but it was really a wonderful experience. We only went in the pool once, because we love the beach the most. The pool, however, is large and appears to be almost 2 pools with the way it is shaped.
Most days it was about 84-86 degrees, sunny most of the time. It did rain but that was at night when we were sleeping and once it rained at night during a show.. One day it started out cloudy but by noon it was sunny. It was windy the first 2 days and after that we just had a nice breeze.
We had dinner at one of the alacarte restaurants- Jambalaya. That was the only alarcarte we went to, as we had to cancel our other special reservations, due to stomach upsets. We never had problems with this before but this time was different. It never slowed us down or made the trip any less fun. The dinner buffet was really nice and they always had a few of the same things and added special foods on different nights. Friday and Sunday they had grilled lobster tails. Other nights the specials were Pork roast, Sea bass, Chinese food, Italian food, and Mexican food. You could always have them grill you a steak or pork chops. We never left hungry.
Each night we went to the lobby bar before and after dinner. Tuesday and Wednesday night the bar was closed as they were renovating it. They had set up a makeshift bar near the stage and Thursday had the bar open again.
We enjoyed the nightly shows. Two nights we saw professional dancers and singers, and other night’s comedy routines with the Star Friends.
We were invited to the repeaters reception and had the group picture taken and received T-shirts.
We met friendly folks from various places. Couples from Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Allentown, a family group from Toronto…. just to name a few.
All the Christmas decorations were up… palm trees strung with lights, bushes lit up.. a big Nativity scene and a huge Christmas tree were just some of the decorations. At times they played various Christmas carols.. it was really lovely.
One morning I looked outside and saw a man climbing the palm trees and cutting down coconuts. He was a pro at climbing those trees with a sling and bare feet, some of those palms trees are 40 ft high, whew, I was almost scared to watch him!
It was a nice vacation… went to fast- but I feel sure we will be back again. We love this place
Jason and Autumn
Scheduled trip through Apple Vacations. STL-DR direct flight. Airport and customs was a breeze. The ride to the resort was on a nice chartered bus, but the roads are rough and drivers are fast!
Overall the resort was wonderful, clean, nice staff, really was a great place.
Rooms were nothing fancy, but spacious and clean. We had a garden view.
Beach is the best part of this trip. Beautiful, white, spacious, lots of chairs and palapas, peaceful, excellent.
Food was full of variety, but average in my opinion. They did try hard to please. The Gourmet restaurant was my favorite...steakhouse was my husbands. Great place for a seafood lover to go...lots of seafood was served at buffets.
Entertainment was average, but entertaining.
Our biggest complaints were the excursions we went on with Apple.
Saona Island wasn't exactly what we expected. I wish they would have told us that it's only a one way catamaran ride and the other way is a speed boat (with a crazy dominican driver on rough waves). I am almost 6 months pregnant and would not have gone if I had known this. The vendors at Saona were annoying and persistent...walking around you all the time and bothering you. Food was bad. Swimming beach wasn't that great...very rocky in water. Natural swimming pool with starfish was really cool, but I questioned whether they just dumped about 10 starfish in this same area and let 50 people swim there and "say" they found starfish? Anyway, it was still fun to do that. Catamaran was great, but overcrowded with people. It was just a long long day....keep in mind...I am 5 months pregnant, but my hubbie really felt the same way and he's not much of complainer.
Marinarium was a pretty good one, but we've just had better snorkeling experiences in Jamaica and Hawaii before. Seeing the sharks and stingrays were neat, but they're all pinned up in this netted cage that they cram all your group into so snorkeling around the other people was like bumper to bumper traffic!
-Definitely bring 2-3 swimsuits...humidity is HIGH and heat is constant. Nothing gets dry quickly.
-Book restaurants early
-beware of squawking peacocks at 6 am...they're so pretty, but annoying to be woken up by on your vacation!
-you'll probably need a converter for a curling iron, but realistically the weather doesn't allow for many good hair days ; )
-avoid all the "baggage boys" in white shirts at the airport unless you really just need the help.
Our trip for us, a couple in their mid-forties was for our honeymoon Jan 25-Feb 08, 2006. Friends of ours got married at the Iberostar a couple of years ago and that got us researching and this hotel seemed to have all that we would want for our first vacation together. Consider it a bad or a good thing but this hotel has now set the bar for us. It was fabulous and started planning our next trip the day we got back.
First thing we did was get dos Presidente's from the airport, hopped on the bus and were at the hotel in about 30 minutes. Country side, roads and traffic were an experience, thought the bus driver was going to knock a few people on motor bikes off the road. All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
We were in awe when we got to the lobby, we just had no idea it would be like this, it was beautiful and couldn't stop staring at everything. We were quickly given our drinks, bracelets and room packages and were on our way in less than 20 minutes.
Check-in was a breeze, didn't take very long at all. Rosa was charming although we didn't get the oceanview we requested for our honeymoon, more on that later.
The room was nicer than I expected, huge bathroom, huge closet area, huge king bed and livingroom area, then the balcony with chairs, settee and table and drying rack. The view was gardenview, it was spectacular. I had my heart set on oceanview though which was on our request form. Went to the front desk (Rosa)......long story short we got our oceanview the next day, it was breathtaking. We ended up with a couple of rum and fruit platters too. Fridge was stocked daily with water, pop and beer, fridge wasn't all that cool but they fixed the same day. Our maid, Margaritta was fabulous, she was below our room early every morning eager to start her days work, she was so friendly and cheerful. Lots of flower petals and towel arrangements, heart towels and flowers around the tub too. Left money and small gifts for her and she was so appreciative.
One downfall was the bed a little hard and flat pillows, just used the couch pillows instead.
Were always being tended to, a piece of paper or garbage left by some uncaring tourist would be swooped up by someone of the staff. The flamingos and ducks and swans were abundant here too. One thing I disliked was people feeding the peacocks at the lunch buffet as it just encourages the poor things to become beggars. They even stole fries right off my plate. The scenery is so lush and tropical, great for strolling around, they have sitting areas tucked away for your pleasure too. Be sure to go over to the Dominicana and look inside the courtyard, it is gorgeous.
OMG, it's gorgeous, the water so clear and the sand more on the white side. No trouble getting palapas in the morning, we spent most of our days on the beach. Pool was nice but didn't fly that far to sit by a pool, just give me the ocean anytime. Sand is very soft and remains that way in the water, no need for water shoes. Don't understand people that leave their garbage and butts in the sand, use an ashtray people, there are plenty around. Even the beach bathrooms are kept immaculately cleaned, they have attendants there at all times.
Wait staff so friendly and courteous even without tipping, which we didn't do at first as we were newbies and didn't know what the etiquette was. After that we tipped lots of times to lots of people including the gardeners that do such a fabulous job that no one thinks to thank them for. Leonardo gives great beach bar service, delivered to your palapa.
My one pet peeve, not against the hotel but parents.... I don't agree with having kids at the swim up bar, something about a kid being perched up at the bar inhaling other people's smoke and watching people getting tipsy just doesn't seem right. I'm sure these same parents would freak if someone was within 100 feet smoking in front of their child at home though.
They had vendors on site on Thursday or the Wednesday, can't remember, didn't do much shopping, kind of timid. Went to vendors on the beach during our second week and brought home some real good bargains, T-Shirts for $5, necklaces for cheapie cheapie. Had a blast haggling, it was easier and less intimidating than I thought.
A different theme night every night,Dominican one night, European, Chinese, Italian, Spanish, Oriental, and Tropical theme nights, so I can't understand how some people report it gets boring or there was no selection. Lunch buffets followed much along the same line with different themes everyday. For lunch we always ate at the beach buffet as their was always such a variety and didn't want to be away from the beach longer than we had to. The lunch buffet had the main part, the station where it was different everyday, the beach BBQ part and then the hamburgers and hot dog area. Wednesday was small lobster night, eat as many as you want. Cold foods on ice, hot foods kept hot. Loads of selections and always had plenty to eat.
A La Cartes:
Japanese: Very good Jambalaya/Cajun: Most favorite restaurant, lots of coconut shrimp on the appetizer buffet and many other selections, you could easily get filled up on the appetizer buffet before your meal comes so be careful. Gourmet: OMG, the lobster salad is to die for, never had anything like it and the beef tenderloin was cooked to perfection. No kids in this romantic restaurant.
All wait staff at the themed restaurants are dressed accordingly and made the atmosphere so enchanting.
Friday is another night for special invites where you get a rose hand delivered and a special invite to a Manager's dinner.
I found them to be very reasonable in price for items you may of run out of or forgot and the souvenirs were a lot cheaper than I expected, no haggling here. Paid in US dollars and got pesos back. Give the pesos to the gardeners.
Parasailing: $45 each person or $80 tandem. Used the Padi Dive center for booking, it was the best thing we ever did. Took the camera and the camcorder up, got some spectacular pictures and footage. Talk about a bird's eye view. Well worth the money.
Snorkel: $25 per person for just over an hour for the six of us, loads of fish and our boat driver toured us around a little bit naming off all the hotels etc. along the beach. Well worth the money
Dolphin Island: $80 per person, long bus ride, transfer to boat, played and swam with the Dolphins, great photo opp.
Caribbean Festival: $72 person, long bus ride, transfer to boat, transfer to 2-storey houseboat, the staff put on a wonderful on-board show, then snorkeled with the nurse sharks and stingrays, what an awesome experience, back on the houseboat, snacks and drinks served and a dance show put on by the boat staff, what beautiful costumes. Well worth the money.
Entertainment: Nightly shows were pretty funny and entertaining, not for all ages though, which is fine, the kids have their own stuff. Piano player very good, mostly hung around the lobby and talked to other guests. The animation staff are so friendly and personable, always busy with their duties but never too busy for an Hola and a smile. You can do as little or as much as you want here. Hubbie did the Olympics. There's archery, shooting, merengue lessons, Spanish lessons, bocce ball, tennis, water polo, volleyball and more and then there's the water activities too. Staff:
The staff are incredible, accommodating, fun and friendly, always a smile and an Hola, even the maintenance and groundskeepers. They go out of there way to know your name by the next time they see you.
One night we were invited to a Meet n Greet in the steak house for people to get to know each other from around the world, what a fantastic idea. We met a few couples that we hung with for the rest of the trip and now we keep in touch on a regular basis all the way from England.
Then we had a special invite to a Manager's party for repeat guests, which we weren't but we made such good friends with others that were (Joe y Karen) who got us the special invite along with our new friends who were repeat guests. They served hor 'd oeuvres (sp?) and champagne and took a group pictures, it was huge and they hand delivered the pics to our room. We also got special Star Friends T-Shirts too.
• Bring floaties and/or noodles if you're not comfortable in the water and leave behind for other guests.
• Bring you steel insulated coffee mug from home, great for ice keeping, great for coffee or tea in the morning, great for drinks during the day if you don't like to guzzle drinks but still want to keep them cool. Didn't see a lot of Bubba Kegs and the ones that had them, were a lot of times hammered and had a lot of people pointing and laughing at them.
• Minimum 3 swim suits to allow the other ones to dry in the humid air.
• Before you go, pack, and then take out 1/2, that's all you'll need.
• Never saw a mosquito.
• Brought all kinds of medication from other people's advice but never had to use it once, but I still wouldn't go without it. We ended up giving our to other people to save them some bucks at the store.
Hi my name is Gody and I happened to be in Punta Cana withmy family mid April, we stayed over at Iberosta Bravo.
There are a few things to say about our stay
First, we booked our vacations with funjet and Vip services in Punta Cana. We booked our own flight with usair which was smooth and shorter than thought is going to be.
We arrived to the airport and were received by vip personel which made us feel really good after an bad expirience we had in Cancun with Apple, the bad thing about this time was that they made us wait for 35 minutes before they realized that there wasn't anybody else coming with us to the same resort, which is really bad when you have your entire family starving all over you asking you questions that you don't know the answer to. But we finally left and it took us around 40 minutes which I think it would had been shorter if it weren't for all those big trucks that we we had to suck in. We were told to meet our Vip representative, Francis at 9:30 the next morning for some information. Our guide told us that Francis was fun and that he would give us good information about everything including departure.
We arrived to the resort and ..wOW I love it, love it, we loved it. Beautiful well kept gardens, awesome rooms, perfect weather, lovely pool. We were greeted at the lobby by Francis (my one daughter loved that guy) the rep who told us to go and check in, to book our restaurants with the guest service person next to frontdesk, so that we get the times that we chose to have dinners, which ended up to be really good since it was kind of hard to get spaces for us to have dinner in a a la carte restaurant. The seafood and french are the best ones, try it. Our reprentative also reminded us to come and see him the next morning.
We were taken to our rooms in a golf kart, rooms overlooking the pool and close to everything. The rooms are incredible. We then went to the poolside restaurant to have something to eat. the food is delicious. This wasn't the main restaurant because it closes at three pm so, I was in expentation of the main buffett. That evening we went to the main one and oh boy there was everything for everyone, just a little bit understaffed I would say as it took long to be served our drinks.
We were tired so we went to bed.
At 9:15 we went to meet Francis, which surprised us by beeing there witing for us already since we were told about this manana thing of caribbean people being late and taking easy all the time. I will say something, this guy is hillarious and very professional at what he does. He knew everything we asked with accurate answers and he made our stay so much easy. We weren't sure if we were going to meet this guy but we are glad we did, especially my daughter aged 19, even I felt embarrassed, but it was all fun.
We booked the Bavaro Runners Safari Adventure and the snorkeling with the sharks, wwe book them with him and we are glad we did, we had so much fun, amazing and also not only he booked us but he was also there to make sure and we were picked up...meeme was our guide on the Bavaro Runner, he is a character!!
We were told to come and see Francis the day before to pick up our time for our departure the next day, he told us 12:15 the next day. We were there but there was no bus, luckly one of the bellboys told us he saw Francis over at Iberostar Dominicana. Francis came called VIP for the bus and then they spoke in spanish for about 3 minutes. Then he told us the bus was on the way, that there were some problem at Rui hotel with that bus. Ten minutes later the bus came, our concern was to be late and miss our plane with it was good.
Thanks to Iberostar for it's hospitallity. Thank you Carlos aka Bar Man for all those beers, Francis thanks for being there for us you are not our rep, you are our friend.
Many thanks everybody
'll try to be brief. I like reading the very long thorough reviews, but sometimes shorter is enough.
In planning a February 3rd vacation with friends from the U.S., my choice was to go back to Mexico. I swore never to return to the D.R. years ago.
Not that the experiences were THAT bad, just annoying little things; and I new that there were so many other destinations that I needed to try.
My friends were keen to try Dominican because they had never been. I scoured the reviews, and informed my friends that I would only do Dominican if it was this particular resort. The reviews were consistantly good, and myself and others I know have never had anything but outstanding service with Iberostar.
I could not have been happier with my vacation, or my choice of resort.
There are only four major things a person needs to enjoy a caribbean resort, the rest is just nit-picking.
1. My bed was very comfortable and I slept like a baby (LOVE the junior suite size rooms). 2. The beach was white, soft, wide and long enough that you could walk until you were bored of walking. 3. It rained on our last day for a couple of hours and was overcast once during the week until around 10:00 am. The rest of the time it was sunny, minimal clouds, and 85 degrees or more. 4. The food was great. There were six of us and we ate like kings. The Cajun resturant was a personal favourite.
That's it. I wanted to do nothing, and that's what I did. I wanted a great tan, and I got it. I was NOT looking for a place to call my own in the Dominican Republic. Two out of three ain't bad.
My wife and I stayed at IBB from Feb7-14 and had an excellent time. Stongly recommended
We walked into the PUJ airport terminal at 1pm and into the IBB Lobby at 3pm--The actual bus ride was 40 minutes but we spent quite some time sitting on the bus waiting for everyone to get on. It was a breeze going through customs etc and Check In was also quick. Our bags were delivered to our room quite promptly. Front desk staff was quite friendly and spoke english well. In fact the entire staff at IBB seemed friendly and in good spirits
We stayed in Building 117 on the 2nd floor (rm 1177). The room locale and decor was fine, although this one had 2 double beds pushed together instead of one larger bed.
The Main Walkway from the Lobby to the large pool/beach is only a 3.5 to 4 minute walk. One can easily walk the entire property if in average physical condition (we are in our late 50's).
The grounds are Stunning, particularly at night with the lights shining through the trees. One doesn't need a Pool View here as it the garden sides are quite pretty. We preferred a 2nd floor for more privacy.
Our building was 115 ' from the beach measured by steps we took walking. This was fine.
The beach width is 70' to the water line which is a perfect size--and much cosier than the 140' that one would find at some of the RIU's --The width at the IB Dominican next door was approx 115' and that section looked "busier" than the IBB beach section.
We found that the most quiet part of the beach was to the right of the pool and also to the right of the beach bar. There, there are 4 rows of palapas --with the back row being the most in demand and usually reserved by 6:30am--Our palapa was in the back row and 50 ' from the beach bar and 120 ' from the spotless beach washroom. The beach bar had a veranda and 6 small tables on it.
While there was some "noise" near the Pool due to the animation team encouraging people to particiapte, the noise was not nearly as blaring as at some other resorts. In our section of the beach we could hardly hear the loudspeakers.
The area around the large pool is beautifulw ith many 20-25' trees providing shade and many palapas were inserted there, some of them 20' back from the pool itself. There were 2 ping pong tables nearby.
We thought that the food was very good both at the Main buffet off the Lobby as well as the lunch buffet near the Pool I put on 7 lbs in a week eating all sorts of things and neither of us were sick or were bothered by misquitoes.
The Pool/Ocean has an Open look whereby one can easily see the oceawhile standing at the pool.
The Main Buffet off the Lobby is quite large and the food is served in a separate adjacent room from the tables. It is an Open look and there is a fairly wide pond surrounding the perimiters of 2 sides where flamingoes and other birds paddled by--quite a stunning effect, particularly at night with the lights.
Service was prompt. No complaints. A wide variety of food was presented. We stuffed ourselves with the delicious desserts in particular. Wednesday is Lobster night in the Buffet.
Men must wear long pants to get into the alacarte restauarants. We were turned away becuase I only had dress shorts.
Evening entertainment was the usual corny audience participations stuff. We thought that it was a little below average at IBB but we didn't care becuase we had seen all that before many times.
The overall ambiance of this resort was Very appealing! One harldy noticed the walk at all given the picturesque grounds. One of the most romantic walks in the evening was between the buffet and the French Gourmet and Cajun restaurants where the walkway wound around the pond amidst a stunning effect of lights against the trees and the water.
It was a $15 taxi ride to go to the Grand Palladium Royal Suites and the same to the Majestic the other way. The beach walk from the Majestic to GP was 100 minutes (14 from Maj to Bahia, then another 26 or so to cross the RIU's and IBD/IBPC to arrive at IBB and then another 28minutes the other side to the Caribe Princess and then 34 minutes from there to Thr Royal Suites.
Of all the 19 different resorts I walked through (or rode a tram), my impression was that IBB was by far the best locale to be. I thought that the Caribe/Tropical Princess was pretty and well kept up and I also thought the GP Palace looked interesting (it has a large pool as well). As for the Majestic and the Bahia,whih seem to be popular to some, I did not care for either of them. The Maj for example has a very "corporate look" to it and one has to walk up several stairs to get from the pool level to the Lobby level. The Bahia was simply far too large for my taste.
After staying at IBB for a week we would go back in a flash. One can easily understnad why it is regarded as the #1 resort in popularity in Punta Cana. Frankly, for my tastes I don't think there is even a close 2nd, although I would be the first to agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. One person can look at modern art and think it's great while the next person looks at it and thinks it's ugly--such is life.
IBB is the first AI resort (of many we have been to in Mexico and other parts of the Caribbean) that I would allott 5 stars to. It deserves it.
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to answer any questions that you may have.
I have always meant to write a review and try to give some honest answers to other people but once we get back we get busy and then it’s almost time to go again…. I have just booked this property for the 5th time. To give you an idea of our family, I am 35, my Husband 40 and the kids are now 10 and 6. The first two times we went (2003, 2004) it was just me and Hubby. We took the kids in 2005 and now we cannot go back by ourselves or they would never speak to us again!!
We have always booked online. This hotel sells out quickly and you will not be able to get a last minute deal. One thing I have found is to book directly through the carrier. You will get the lowest price. We have used both Air Transit and Signature. Both were just fine and roughly the same price.
The flights have always been fine (I’m not really a good flyer – but my husband says everything is quite smooth). Once you land there is a short walk to the terminal. You then line up for them to check documentation and this line always moves quickly. I don’t know if all Canadian Carriers do this, but we have always received the $10 tourist card before we landed, all you need to do is fill it out. If you fill it out on the plane you will sail through to Luggage. As soon as you go through they will take your picture and it will be available for you to buy on departure. I think it’s about $10, and they make a nice souvenir My husband has always managed to find a cart and get the luggage loaded up fairly quickly and then just a quick trip through security and off to the bus. The bus ride is about 30/40 minutes and not as harrowing as most would have you think!!! Just 2 bits of advice here: Get changed on the plane, you will not believe the heat and humidity when you get off! And if it is early enough there is a small snack bar by the buses- grab a couple of Presidentes for the drive.
Never had any issues – they are very quick and efficient at the front desk we have arrived twice in the morning and twice later at night and both times the room was ready and how the luggage ALWAYS beats us there is a bit of a mystery! If you are a returning guest make sure that you mention it as the have a special reception for repeats.
I understand for reading other reviews that they have been renovating the rooms – not sure why the rooms are lovely with a full marble bathroom and a sunken living room. I will comment on the “Musty” smell that a lot of people complain of. The humidity there is about 90% ALL OF THE TIME! Of course things get damp and they pick up a bit of a smell. I personally don’t find the smell offensive and don’t even notice it until we get home and unpack. A few extra dryer sheets when doing the laundry and it’s all gone.
If there are grounds on any resort as beautiful as these then the resort must actually be in paradise….They are constantly cleaning up and there are birds (peacocks/flamingos etc) everywhere and yet I have never seen a bird dropping on anything. One note of caution involves the walkways. They are VERY slippery when wet! Last year I stepped off one when my shoe slipped and tore all the ligaments in my ankle. OUCH! Though I knew from prior experience how slippery they could be and wasn’t being careful so what can you say – my fault. (I had also had more than a few drinks at the lobby bar, but I’m sure that had NOTHING to do with it!!!)
Both are fantastic. The ocean is a little wavy at times – keep in mind that you are still on the Atlantic, but it makes it fun for the kids. The pool is a giant freeform with a swim up bar. There are plenty of palapas for shade and no need to reserve chairs as long as you get there at some point in the morning.
I have picked up an upset stomach on a few trips but nothing that ever kept me down. I never felt sick and just had to make sure that if I needed to go I went straight to the bathroom… this just as well could have been from the Pina Coladas (coconut milk is a natural laxative as is rum) which unfortunately I have never been able to resist!!! Both my husband and I like the beer (Presedente) which seems to be a light lager – seems to me much the same as a coors light and is nice and refreshing during the day. We have only ever eaten at 3 of the specialty restaurants – the steakhouse, the Mediterranean and the Gourmet. All are fantastic and the gourmet actually has some of the best food I have ever eaten. The buffet has endless choices and anyone who can’t find something they like really isn’t trying very hard.
This place has the MOST WONDERFUL staff we have ever encountered. Whether you tip or not (we generally do) but a few times at the beach or pool forgot the wallet and there was no difference in the service at all. The kids club is fantastic particularly Lolly & Belle who I’m afraid may no longer be there as they were both looking to move on to bigger and better things. Last year we booked for a week (thurs – thurs) and decided that we really didn’t want to go home. The travel rep at the hotel said we would have no problem changing our flight (for a fee of course!) but the problem was that the hotel was completely sold out. We went to see the General Manager and somehow he was miraculously able to find us space. We didn’t even need to change rooms. It’s this kind of service that truly makes this hotel.
I can’t think of anything else right now, but please feel free to email if you have any questions at all regarding the hotel. Glanmiregirl@rogers.com - and if you are going to be there between Jan 13th and 20th, 2007 we will see you there!!!!!
"Kojak" family Wisconsin
The "Kojak" Family Loved It!
My family, including myself, my husband (named Kojak by Maximo on our first day!), and our two teenage daughters, vacationed at the Iberostar Bavaro from April 15-22, 2006. We would be hard pressed to find anything negative about the resort in any way.
FOOD: I have food allergies, so I was worried that it would be difficult for me to find food that I could eat. This was not a problem as the buffets are incredibly varied. We ate at the Japanese, Jambalaya, and Steak House ala carte restaurants, with the Japanese being our favorite. The fruit is wonderful - I am spoiled now!
ROOM: We had two adjoining rooms (3883 & 3884) which were in the section that had not yet been remodeled. Though the rooms showed some wear, it was not of a level that concerned me. The beds are smaller than an American double bed, but larger than twins. The rooms were kept very clean, and we had no problem with funny smells or malfunctioning A/C. We were lucky enough to be on the second floor, but not close to the peacock alarm clocks!
ENTERTAINMENT: Wow! I felt incredibly ignorant being able to only speak English and a smattering of Spanish, especially when I heard Huck deliver every show in four+ languages! The Star Friends staff is wonderfully energetic and never gave the impression that they were bored with their jobs. The shows are a bit campy, but we never missed one, since they tended to be quite funny. You will be reminded that you are NOT in the US by some of the sexual innuendo, but it is not so blatant that little ones will notice. Leave your stuffed shirt at home!
STAFF: Can't say enough good things about the hardworking staff! They are friendly, accommodating, and efficient. They seem to appreciate it if you try to speak Spanish, so even a por favor or gracias is met with a quick Espanol response! Just throw out the No comprendo with a shrug, and they will translate for you! Between the grounds crew raking, sweeping, and trimming to the construction crew rebuilding things that didn't look in disrepair to begin with to the wait staff that barely allow your orange juice to run out before getting you a new one, or giving you a nick name (Kojak, poppy poppy, etc) and remembering you day after day...you will leave in AWE of their effort. Reward those that make an impression on you..."Professional Fruit Artist" and the "Egg Lady"!
1) Put your inhibitions away and participate early in your stay...dance with the Star Friends before the show, and volunteer to join in the entertainment - - - You will meet some fun people!
2) The weather does strange things to your hair! The bathroom amenities do NOT include conditioner, so bring it from home. Also, the blow dryer is little more than a hose. Not too effective, but what the heck, your hair will look lousy in this humidity anyway!
3) There is not a clock anywhere in the resort, which makes it hard to participate in scheduled activities or arrive on-time for dinner reservations. Be sure to bring a watch and maybe a small travel clock for your room. Otherwise, channel 10 on the tv displays the time continuously.
4) It is HOT, so be sure to watch your sun exposure. Our family found that it was just too darn hot to be in the sun for very long, so we were all spared sunburns, but when you are floating around on your raft (from home) in the pool, it is easy to doze off and fry. We saw lots of funky burns so be careful.
5) Yes, there are topless bathers both at the pool and on the beach. Is is odd for us Americans to glance over at the neighboring palapa to find the woman casually reading with her top off? Sure, but we weren't in America!
Heck, after a few days, I was even tempted to do so, but my daughters told me I was crazy if I did! And the Speedos? Ditto...you're not in America!
6) Each day we were there, the temperature seemed to drop substantially in the late afternoon, just to climb again in the evening. Don't be fooled into dressing in anything more than a tank top and breezy skirt for dinner, since the temperature spike in the evening makes it pretty warm for dancing.
Everyone else is sweating too, so don't worry about it.
7) Make sure that your sense of humor is intact for your trip back through PUJ airport. Immigration and customs are incredibly slow, and the stifling heat will be pretty hard to take. There doesn't seem to be anything remotely related to organization, so be sure that the line you happen to be standing in is actually the line you SHOULD be standing in. Most of the bags were hand-checked while in line for each airline...slow procedure.
Some forms to fill out, so be sure you have a pen handy. Once you clear the metal detectors, you are home free, but be sure to que up at your gate...you will just be ushered outdoors to wait for your walk across the tarmack.
Again, you aren't in the US!
8) Enjoy, and please say hello to Huck, Maximo, and "Donkey" for the "Kojak" family from Wisconsin for us!
Tony & Bev Calgary Canada
My husband and I visited the Iberostar Bavaro for 2 weeks (Mar. 14 -28, 2006) and absolutely loved it. We will definitly be returning again.
Beaches: The beaches were beautiful. White powder sand that was cleaned twice a day for seaweed. We never had a hard time getting chairs at the palapas. It didn't matter what time of day you went, there were always chairs available. Someone from the resort was always walking around picking up glasses so it was always clean.
Pool: We did sit at the pool a couple of days but preferred the beach as there was always a cool breeze coming from the ocean. It is very hot there. The pool is large with a swim up bar and close to the food, drinks and lots of activities as well as being very clean.
Rooms: The rooms were excellent. We had a king size bed, they all have the sunken living rooms with 2 couches and a large balcony. We had asked for a beach front room, but none were available and were in a garden view room. We did put our name on the list to be moved to a beach front, but decided to stay where we were, it was very peaceful and beautiful. Lots of flowers and peacocks. Our bathroom had a tub with shower, toilet and bidet. Sink area had lots of room for all your bathroom things and there were always plenty of towels. The closet was large and the rooms have a iron and ironing board. Safe also in the room. There is a coffeemaker in each room with glasses, coffee cups, powdered milk, sugar and coffee. No tea. I am a tea drinker and asked the maid and she made sure I had tea bags. The fridge is well stocked with coke, diet coke, orange, sprite and ginger ale as well as water and beer. The air conditioner was perfect and water pressure excellent.
Staff: I have never met a friendlier culture of people. I never saw a frown in the 2 weeks we were there. The staff in the dining room never walk but dance the day away. The star friends (entertainment crew) are a hoot. Maximo, Huck, Fred, Miguel, Anna Banana, Yanet, Dalky, and Isabel made our trip the best. They work such long hours (18 hours a day, 12 days on with 3 days off). They were the friendliest bunch and were always smiling, laughing and busy. We have many fond memories of our days and evenings there. The maids were also excellent. We left $2 US dollars a day and then a final tip of $20 US at the end of our stay. I am a diet coke person and asked the maids for more diet coke then coke classic, and it happened right away. Our TV in the room wasn't working one day. We called the front desk and within 10 minutes they were there with a new one. The same with our safe. We had accidentally put in the wrong code when locking it and it wouldn't let us in the next time. The staff was there immediately to reset it for us. The people at the front desk were great also. Anything we needed or had a question about they helped out immediately.
Food: The food was great. The dining room always had a great variety of dishes so even after 2 weeks we didn't get bored. They make the best french toast I have ever tasted. I miss it still. We dined at most of the al la cartes as well. I have to say the Japanese was our favorite of those. Plenty of food at the beach restaurant also for when you wanted something in the off meal times. Drinks were good and plentiful. They had a health bar by the pool where you got fresh fruit drinks made while you waited. I loved the pineapple and melon drinks. We never got sick once and really enjoyed the food, unlike when we were in Cuba in November where we were sick for 5 days from the food and it was basically inedible.
Tours: Lots of tours to take while you are there. We talked to many people who went on the safari, 4 wheelers and shopping excursion and had nothing but good things to say. We did the swimming with the dolphins. This is a good trip if you have never done it before. We swam with the dolphins in Cozumel and enjoyed that one better, but the first timers with us really liked it.
We sponsor a little boy in San Pedro de Marcoris and we spent a whole day with him. We had planned that this would be our big tour while there. San Pedro is 3 hours from Punta Cana so we saw alot of the country that we wouldn't have otherwise. Driving there is not recommended and I can see why. There are no laws or rules of the road. We hired a taxi with an english speaking driver. The roads are full of pot holes. Our driver was very good and driving in the Dominican is an adventure in itself. Our little boy lives in the projects of San Pedro so it was in the poorest area of the country. We were impressed by how clean it was, how friendly the people were even though here they have absolutely nothing. We visited his school, his home and family, the local park and stores. We were truly amazed and can't wait to go back and see it all again.
Shopping: There is plenty of shopping at the resort and we did get some things there that were different from the vendors area. We found the prices good. There is a huge vendor area not far down the beach from the hotel. Lots of variety and good prices but you do have to barter. Their favorite saying is "Cheaper then Wal-Mart". We have seen postings that they are rude and pushy. We never saw that. They are not allowed to go to the hotel areas, so you must remember if you go there, you are on their turf. We found them pleasant, friendly and willing to make a deal. Some shop owners went out of their way to find me t-shirts from the other stores in the sizes I needed if they didn't have them. If we weren't interested in one store we just politely said No gracias and they didn't hassle us.
Entertainment: The entertainment was great. They have nightly shows and they were great. There were a couple of nights where they have the dancers and do all the different countries. This was great and the costumes were beautiful. They also have the audience participate in a lot of the shows and each night they have an ice-breaker which is all audience participants. There is lots of things during the day such as darts, archery, bingo, pool volleyball, beach olympics to name a few. You can be as busy as you want or as lazy as you want while there. They also have a show before the evening show for the kids. They have a kids club as well as babysitting services. They also have a disco nd we did visit a couple of times and had a blast. We are in our early 50's but there is music for everyone. Lots of teenagers but plenty of people of all ages there.
Diving: My husband is an advanced diver and went on 14 dives. He really enjoyed each one. He said there was plenty of things to see and do, wrecks, caves, and lots of different animal life. The only thing he would have liked was a bit more challenging dives but the overall divers there are not as advanced so they do cater to as many levels as possible. He really enjoyed it and one of the reasons we do stay at Iberostars is because of their onsite diving shop. He has all his own equipment so just uses their weights and tanks. They are PADI rated and he said their equipment there is always clean, reliable and up to date. The dive masters are very qualified and extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
Overall Impression: An excellent holiday overall. The hotel is rated as a 5 star but we would definitely rate it as a 6 star and I can be very picky. We never usually go back to a place a second time (to many countries to see/visit), but this is one place we will definitely go back to and stay at the same resort. Not only do we now have ties to this country through our sponsored child there, but we just loved the country, the people and the culture and can't wait to go back.