When I book at a property that advertises itself as the best, and most luxurious property in the area, I expect to get what they advertise, especially for what they charge. I realize that this is the Caribbean and not the Ritz or the Fairmont. My comments and comparisons are all based on previous stays at another Iberostar Grand Hotel. Therefore, Iberostar themselves set the bar that this hotel is not meeting.
I am currently staying at the Grand Bavaro the Dominican Republic. I travel often and have been a guest at many other Iberostar properties. Iberostar is our preferred hotel chain while travelling to the south. We have stayed at mid-range (in Mexico and Cuba) and high range properties, including the Grand Paraiso in the Mayan Riviera. The Grand Bavaro is advertised and sold as being of the same class as the Grand Paraiso in Mexico. I can tell you that the property is beautiful and the grounds are well taken care of, however the food quality and the level of service is well below what is advertised or what can be expected for an Iberostar "Grand" branded property. These, and the issues I will be describing below certainly do not justify the cost.
There are many issues with the food quality: The beef/veal is usually very tough to the point it is not edible. This was seen in both the Surf and Turf à-la-carte and in the buffet. In the Italian à-la-carte I was severed an obviously very burnt appetizer.
After these and other issues, we decided to try the buffet. My partner decided to keep it simple and picked a hamburger for dinner. The partially cooked patties were on display in a non-refrigerated display for people to select. Upon selecting the burger the staff member took the patty and finished preparing the burger. However, when my partner took a bite of his burger, the patty was still very raw (blue rare) and cold rather then being well done as requested. Neither the burger nor the bacon on it was cooked. Not wanting to get sick by eating an undercooked and non-refrigerated burger he decided to try something else. The freshly grilled chicken breast he was served was also completely raw on the inside. One night I became ill immediately after eating dinner. Having a medical background and as I do not drink alcohol I am sure this was a result of the food.
While overall the property can use help with the food overall, I would like to say that they got it right on the “The Oriental night” in the buffet. The food on that night was very good served steaming hot and was delicious.
The service is also very poor by “Grand” or any other standards. When asking for the wine list in the à-la-carte restaurants the staff seem to be very put out. Often they come back and tell you that the wine that you asked for is not available. However, it often appeared elsewhere for other guest. It quickly became clear that if you didn't give large tips you didn't get good service or any service in some case. This does not apply to all staff, as some were very good. We found that the female staff members were much better, friendlier, and better trained on how to properly serve guests. For example, we had some staff reach in front of us to serve the person beside us rather then walk around to the side of that person or remove plates from people who where obviously still eating.
On the beach the serving staff would walk by but never ask if we wanted anything and we watched them do the same to other people. If people did flag them down and place an order they were very lucky to get it. We found many people talking about this issue. Also, beach staff would actually stop and stare at female guest on the beach to the point that it was uncomfortable. They would go out of their way to serve them while ignoring other male or older guest.
The rooms are much smaller than the Grand Paraiso but still very nice. I do have to say that this is the first room that I have been to in a tropical country where the air conditioning really works well. The hot tub in the room was in a great need of cleaning and servicing. A large amount of black residue/chunks came out of the jets upon filling it with water and engaging the pump. A second attempt to use the tub resulted in the same results making the tub disgustingly dirty.
We have had ongoing issues with items such as room and beach towels, thermal mugs, a TV remote and assorted glasses/cups that were taken from the room and not returned by the cleaning staff. It has gotten to the point that every time we returned to the room we would play the “guess what is missing today” game. The running joke with us is that by the end of our stay, the bed to be missing and/or the entire room would be cleared out of furniture! The hotel states clearly (in the room information binder and in room cost list brochure) that guests will be charged for missing items if they decide to “take them home”. So far, nothing has come home with us (remember, we are still here), yet many things have disappeared. We also had to track down the staff to request that mini bar be restocked even though it is supposed to be restocked daily.
The beach is beautiful with lots of places to relax. However, the hotel allows quests to have multiple towels, which is very nice, but results in people reserving multiple poolside and beachfront loungers. This makes it almost impossible to get a cabana around the pool if you need shade or want the more comfortable bed type seat. On one occasion we seen 5 of these “reserved” cabanas never touched the entire day and could have been used by other people. At times it is impossible to get a seat around the pool at all. At the Paraiso Grand, the staff would pick up towels that were left unattended for a period of time (yes, they actually kept track of the guests and interacted with them on a regular basis) and made these spots available for other guests who were actually using them.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Iberostar