It’s interesting to read the reviews on the Iberostar Bavaro here. Some will lead you to believe that this is a little slice of heaven on Earth; while others will lead you to believe this is a run down hell-hole with poisonous-like food. The truth is that this is a very, very nice resort on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but it’s not without issues. Having been to many all-inclusive resorts over the years, I really enjoyed the Iberostar Bavaro.
The beach: If you’ve been to Cancun before, you know how modest some beaches can be. I’ve been to many a resort where the beach was either so small or so rocky that most people hung out at the pool. It’s a shame to travel to a “beach resort” and spend all your time at a pool. The Iberostar Bavaro beach was wonderful, dotted with tall palm trees with plenty of chairs (both shaded and not). The Iberostar Bavaro is part of several Iberostar resorts which are side by side. So whichever Iberostar you stay at, you can get the benefits of all Iberostars which are equal to or less expensive than the one where you’re staying. So at the Iberostar Bavaro, you can take advantage of the Iberostar Dominicana and the Iberostar Punta Cana as well, but not the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro (which is more expensive). Confused? Don’t worry; there are friendly security guards there to make sure you don’t accidentally walk onto the wrong property. And the all-inclusive bracelet you wear is color coded. [WARNING: If you’re a self-avowed prude (you know who you are) be aware that there are a number of women who go topless on the beach. This is certainly not uncommon with resorts, like this one, which have a higher concentration of European vacationers. It wasn’t a problem with me, but I heard others express “shock”.]
The Food: Some food was quite good; other food not so good. The coffee was great. The fresh fruit was wonderful (some of the best pineapple I’ve ever had). The dinner at the restaurants which required a reservation was very good. I went to the Japanese restaurant and the Cajun restaurant were both very good. I reserve my comments about the bad food for my bad section below.
The Grounds: This is a large resort with lots and lots of amazing landscaping. I can’t fathom how much work must go into keeping the grounds so well maintained and clean, but it was quite impressive. It really felt like they built a resort in a lush jungle like environment. The foliage became an extension of the lobby – which is wide open on all sides and water features are abundant. You may be met at the reception desk by a peacock or be observed by a pink flamingo which you walk to and from your room. The lobby also blends seamlessly into the stage/entertainment area.
The Rooms: Although this resort is clearly not new, the rooms have been nicely kept up over the years. The room is spacious and the beds are quite comfortable; surprisingly comfortable. There is a mini-fridge with bottled water, soda and beer. DO NOT drink the tap water. If you run out, have them bring more. There are even signs in the bathroom letting you know the water is not potable. The room also comes with a safe, an ironing board, an iron, bathrobes, and slippers. Upon arrival, we had a plate of fresh fruit and a bottle of rum waiting on us. There are 8 rooms in each building. If you are assigned a room on the second floor, be aware that there are no elevators. If you have trouble with stairs, request a first floor room at check-in.
The bars: As is the case with most all-inclusives, drinks are provided free. If you are particular about your drinks, pay close attention to the brands behind the bar and request the brand accordingly. Otherwise, they default to no-name drinks which aren’t too good. Once you get the right brand worked out though, they do a nice job on drink mixing. There is also a disco and sports bar on property, which both turned out to be surprisingly nice and pretty fun. You shouldn’t have to go off site to find a party – if that’s your bag.
The Food: Okay, back to the food. The buffet line food just really isn’t that great. You have few other options at breakfast. I recommend sticking to the fresh fruit and bread products. I cannot recommend that you go to the buffet for dinner. I tried it one night and swore never to go back. Make dinner reservations early in the day at the individual restaurants. A reservation made early in the day will pay dividends that night. Room service also wasn’t much to get excited about. The menu is fairly limited and the offerings are not so good.
The Fitness Center: When I first walked into the fitness center, I was pleasantly surprised. It seemed to be well equipped and with nice views of the beach. The beach view never changed, but the equipment was in really bad shape. Only 2 of the 4 elliptical machines worked; and one of the 2 operating ones wasn’t balanced right and made you feel like you were skipping the whole way. Of the 3 treadmills, the screen didn’t work on one so it was nearly impossible to program. I never could figure out the stair-step machines. And at least half of the stationary bikes were also broken. As a result of all this, there were a lot of people waiting to get on the equipment during busy times. At one point, an employee went around the room, yelling at the guests, telling them to hurry up because there were others waiting. This led to a grumpy customer telling management they didn’t appreciate being yelled at by an employee. Then management came in to “have a word” with the employee. Things just got worse from there. If you really want to stay fit, consider running up and down that beautiful beach I told you about.
The Internet: While the Internet service was neither bad nor good, it’s important to note that it’s not free – anywhere. If you want wifi, you either have to be in the lobby (which a password you’ve paid for) or in a room near the lobby. Otherwise, you can pay for internet in your room, but it’s not wifi. So your laptop computer may work, but not your phone or your iPad.
Family friendly? This resort welcomes children of all ages. And I saw plenty of kids there. That didn’t bother me so much. But some don’t like to be around kids when they are on vacation. I was told that the more expensive Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro (right next door) is adults-only. If being away from the kids is a priority, pay the extra money. They have a great play structure next to the main pool and tried to have kid-friendly foods on the buffets at all times. Unless you’re from a culture where toplessness is accepted, there might be some in the beach area which you don’t want your kids to see. Also, as previous reviewers have noted, the evening entertainment on stage may make you squirm a little if sitting next to a child. Take all these things into account.
Iberostar Bavaro is a beautiful resort with a great beach and good food (with some exceptions). I would recommend it to most. Ultra-picky may be put off by the age of the place and the buffet food. But beyond that, it’s a great place to go. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back.
There are no elevators, so if you have trouble with stairs, request a first floor room at check in.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
February 13, 2013
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On behalf of Mr. Dejan Grubanov, hotel Manager, we would like to thank you for having chosen Iberostar Bavaro as the destination for your vacations, also for taking the time to post a review about your stay among us.
On the one hand, we appreciate your positive valuation about the excellent gastronomy at our a la Carte restaurants, the friendliness of our staff, the beauty and cleanness of our premises (especially our Bavaro Beach) and our well stock bars. In Iberostar we are on the best beaches worldwide.
On the other hand, we regret to hear that our nightly themed buffet could not meet your palate’s expectations. In Iberostar we aim to cater for our international clientele. We have shared your suggestions regarding this area and our gym equipment with the whole Management team and with the corresponding departmental heads.
We will be glad to welcome you back and remain at your disposition for further assistance prior your arrival.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.