After months of research and reading other reviews on TripAdvisor, I felt fairly confident in choosing the Iberostar Grand Bavaro for our first grown-ups only trip with my sister in law and her husband. We'd spent hours reading other traveler reviews and watching slideshows of pictures from other reviewers...we managed to get so excited we were worried that we would set our expectations too high and be disappointed. We should not have worried! The resort is everything it appears to be in pictures, and even better than the reviews prepared us to expect- from the moment we stepped off the shuttle van to the moment we had to leave, we were in paradise.
The property: the design of the property is imposing and regal, and the decor impressive. Low, comfortable couches scattered between tall columns; beautifully landscaped gardens with winding paths; gorgeous hallways with mirrors, artwork, sculpture and private conversation spaces....somehow, the resort manages to feel huge and intimate at the same time. The layout, with the rooms, restaurants and shops framing the central garden and pool area, makes the space feel cozy and private; yet at no time did we feel cramped or crowded. And it is all so very, very clean. Every morning the staff of the Iberostar is out mopping, sweeping, dusting - it felt immaculately clean and well-maintained. The bathrooms are all so beautifully appointed (each area has different themed bathrooms - it's worth it to try to see them all!) and clean....The pool area was large and laid out in such a way that all of the chairs and cabanas felt close to the water. The beach was pristine and the water as blue as the pictures make it appear. The beach staff keep the area clean and the palapas were spaced well apart for privacy. Everything about the look and feel of the resort was perfect....
The rooms: we were on the 4th floor in the center section, so we had incredible views of the garden, pool and ocean. We'd get up early each morning to sit on our balcony and feel the breeze roll in from the water and marvel at how beautiful everything looked! The bed was comfortable and large, the air conditioning was AMAZING, the bathroom was spacious and we had all of the amenities we needed. We didn't spend much time in the room, but we were very comfortable in it!
The food: better than most all-inclusives. The breakfast and lunch buffets were not exciting, but the food always appeared to be very fresh. The restaurants were VERY fun and very good. We ate at the hibachi on our first night and had a wonderful, silly time with our chef and tablemates. The food is standard for the chain Japanese steakhouses we have at home, tasty and in large quantities. We also ate at the Italian restaurant, which gets some less-than-stellar reviews here, but which we enjoyed immensely. The food was presented beautifully and was very good, in portions that were entirely more than we could eat. We really loved the surf and turf, which had an excellent variety of dishes and all cooked very well. We were a little disappointed that crab legs seemed to be still frozen instead of served hot, but as they were only an appetizer, we just skipped over them. The wine served with the meals is pretty middle of the road, but absolutely drinkable. The non-wine lovers in our party had cocktails instead. The bars serve snacks as well as drinks, and all of the drinks are poured pretty strong!! Room service was a little disappointing as all of the food was cold by the time it reached our rooms - if you choose to order room service, consider ordering already-cold items, like the fruit trays.
The people, the people, the people: The very best part about this resort is its staff, every single one of whom work hard to make our vacations wonderful. I never walked past anyone in Iberostar uniform who didn't make it a point to greet me and ask me how my trip was going. The lovely women who were cleaning (they are ALWAYS cleaning and keeping things beautiful) would pause to say hello, the gentlemen cleaning the flamingo pond would smile and wave- everyone at the resort makes it a point to be welcoming and friendly. We met some incredible people here. Lely, who was our favorite beach & pool bar server, had an amazing sense of humor; Leticia found us every single day to check in and make sure we were having as much fun as possible; Boom-Boom was an ever-present entertainment - his entire job seemed to be walking around checking in to see that you were doing something enjoyable....Maria helped us play silly games on her birthday...our wonderful butler, Kelvin, seemed to materialize every time we had questions or needed anything. Abdul, who worked in the bell service area, kept us entertained as he drove us around the adjoining resorts. Everyone in the resort worked HARD to keep us happy yet it never felt like an effort. It's hard to imagine people being that naturally happy all the time, but they really seemed to be happy to help. We were grateful for their presence.
We visited the neighboring Iberostar properties and a few of the others on the island, and I can tell you that the biggest difference was the people. It's amazing how much the atmosphere of a resort changes when the staff is happy. We saw a lot of unhappy travelers at the other resorts, and a lot of unhappy staff in them....we were SO eager to return to our haven at the Iberostar Grand!! We laughed so much on this trip, and smiled so much, because of the people around us. The staff is truly, truly the best part of the resort.
A word of advice: join in on the games and activities. Yes, they will make you look silly. And yes, chances are you'll be really bad at them. But you will have SO much fun! We took dancing lessons, "rode" the magic carpet and played the egg game and had a wonderful time doing it all.
Have an AMAZING trip! You will be so very glad you chose this resort!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
September 28, 2013
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On behalf of Mr. Stefano Baratelli, hotel Manager, we thank you for choosing Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro for your holidays and for publishing a review about your experience.
We are very pleased to acknowledge that you high expectations regarding our hotel premises, exquisite gastronomy and excellent service based on the reviews posted by other “Stars” were not only met but also ensured you a memorable experience. In Iberostar we want our guests to “enjoy being a Star” with the excellent service of our staff like Abdul, Kelvin, Lely and the Star Friends you mentioned in your publication. We extend our apologies for the breakdown in the Room Service food temperature. Your feedback has been sent to our Executive Chef.
We will be honored to welcome you back. Please feel free to contact us for further assistance prior your next visit.
With best regards,
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.