We had never visited the Dominican Republic before, but having spent our 2010/11 two week holiday break at Iberostar Paraiso Maya (Mexico) and thoroughly enjoying the experience, this year we tried Bavaro and we were very happy with the vacation experience!
A month before our departure, I received a notice that our 8:30 am departure had been changed and that we would arrive for our first day at the resort at 11:30 pm. Yes - we got to pay for a full first day for the four of us, and only got 30 minutes! Surprisingly, arriving at this time turned out to be a good thing. We were able to wake up the next morning and have a full day, versus leaving our home at 3:00 in the morning, getting into the resort at noon and waiting for several hours to get into the room, unpack, and have a lackluster, wiped-out-tired day.
Even better - for flight home, the shuttle to the airport didn't leave until 8 pm, so we had a very full last day at the resort. Knowing this, we arranged a late check-out and didn't have to live out of our suitcases, which was very nice.
Travelling with our teen-aged daughters, we requested and received connecting rooms. This worked out perfectly for us and if your children are over 12, I'd recommend it big time! Give them their space and enjoy yours too.
Both rooms were very clean, comfortable, spacious, and had everything we wanted.
Note: At Bavaro, there are no Jacuzzis in the bathroom. Other than that, the room was every bit as good as Maya.
We prefer being on the top floor any time possible - it's more private, you don't have people atop you to bother you with sounds of furniture scraping across the floor of their suite, and so that the blinds can be open to enjoy the natural light pouring in.
We communicated this request to the front office staff prior to our departure and the rooms were facilitated . This said, if you do visit this resort and are on a ground floor room, please close your drapes during the day and especially at night, unless you like being on display to every guest that walks by your room!
Our suites were very centrally located - not too far from the buffet, and not too far from the beach. The maid service was terrific. I oly wish the television service offered more English stations than it does.
There is lots of confusion online about the a la carte restaurants.
You are allowed to book three restaurants before your arrive and then the next three once you arrive, but you can only book three at a time. Eating every night at the a la carte restaurants is very possible, but be sure to book in advance of your arrival and seek a confirmation reply from the PR dept (who manage the reservation system) and book the next three dinners immediately upon arrival. Many thanks to Wanda for all her reservations help!
The best restaurant BY FAR is La Coupole (the French/Gourmet restaurant). The service is excellent and the food is the best in the entire resort! The lamb was wonderful and the beef medallions were out-of-this-world fantastic. The lobster appetizer is delicious as well. There is a domed ceiling in the centre of the restaurant - please note that if you sit in the “right seat” under the dome, you will hear the conversations of the other tables adjoining the dome as if they are right inside your head! For our following dinners we chose not to sit under the dome….
The Japanese restaurant was our #2 choice. Good food and no show tables, which in our opinion is much better than having a chef throw food off a spatula towards your mouth with the hope that you will catch and eat it rather than have it bounce off your face and land on your clothing! Great service and delicious food.
The Steak restaurant (Bavaro beach buffet by day) was also quite good, though I wish they'd trim the fat off more of the steak before they grill or present it to the table. Taste wise - great, but could've done without the same eight country music tunes that rotated throughout dinner. Wonderful service and the best cappuccinos of the entire vacation!
We were split on the Jambalaya restaurant. Our kids loved it. My wife and I... mehhhhh.
The Asian restaurant is by far the most architecturally interesting. Even the soundtrack they have running complements the dining experience.
The tropical and Mexican restaurants were okay, but just okay. If you have to miss two places, we all agreed that these are the ones to miss. We did not dine at the Mediterranean place so can't give you any guidance there.
Buffets - Breakfast was always great. Our waiters, Andy and Gregory took wonderful care of us. Be warned though, if you want a traditional cappuccino, you need to get that from the lobby bar once it opens, or ask your waiter if he can get one from the lobby bar for you. Otherwise, you get an espresso shot with cold whipped cream on top. Okay as a novelty the first time but it gets old... quick. Andy was really good about going to the lobby to make them for us. Greatly appreciated.
Lunch was served at the main buffet and at the beach. There seem to us a greater selection of offerings at the beach buffet and the open grill imparts nice flavor into the meat (as opposed to the fry stations in the main buffet). Another benefit of eating lunch at the beach buffet was the lobster paella! I think they made it 3 times each week we were there! It was really good! So are the rib steaks, chicken, and pretty much everything. There is even a self-serve, soft serve ice cream station. Funniest image of the entire vacation was this tiny kid who pulled himself up by the soft serve handle and was literally hanging off it with one hand, while moving the ice cream cone around with his other hand to fill his cone with his feet entirely off the floor!
We ate almost all of our dinners a the a la carte resteraunts, with two exceptions - we ate dinner at the buffet's New Years Eve Gala Dinner (Really nicely done) and our last day at the resort (a Friday) where we enjoyed the Dominican-themed buffet which included lobster - lots of lobster delicious seafood.
The beach is magnificent and very well maintained. The surf pounded in most of the days we were there and it was a lot of fun to play in! The snorkeling is quite non-existent. I snorkeled the entire Iberostar stretch of beach and saw a few fish and a tiny bit of coral, but nothing at all to write home about. We understand that the snorkeling is better on the other side of the island, but having visited Roatan and snorkeled there, nothing compares – at least nothing yet.
The evening entertainment was on par with shows we had seen at previous resorts, with the exception of the circus show that was outstanding.. It was themed a la Cirque de Soleil with a Dominican feel. The show was presented on the beach and was a really fun event. Following the performance BBQs lit up and burgers and hot dogs were grilled. We also liked the Michael Jackson show which featured some terrific dancing.
I only wish that there could be a designated smoking area where the shows are presented. It was annoying to be seated and suddenly have to move because cigars are lit up 2 feet from where you and your children are sitting. Asking smokers to move….is rarely received with understanding.
The bar staff (main lobby bar) were very helpful, friendly and quick to serve. Some guests provided tips, however tips were not necessary to receive first class service! This went for all of the staff members we encountered - wonderful, friendly, and happy people, even occasionally singing as they worked. The vibe of the resort’s island staff is perfect.
Most mornings after breakfast I’d loop by the lobby bar for a couple more cappuccinos. On several of these occasions I saw the general manager talking with his senior team over a morning coffee. The manner in which I saw him addressing his team was relaxed, cordial, friendly and respectful. No doubt this permeates down through all of the Bavaro’s team members and explains so much as to why the staff at this resort are so friendly, happy and engaged.
We were also tremendously impressed with the outstanding service that was facilitated by the reservations manager, Juan Luis. He did his upmost to ensure we were accommodated! Many thanks for all your help. First rate!
My wife and I enjoyed massages on our last day at the hotel's spa, which were very relaxing and highly enjoyable. It was a great send off to go home, totally relaxed and rejuvenated.
Overall, our two week stay at Iberostar Bavaro was a great vacation, and I would highly recommend the resort. There's lots to do, lots of delicious food to eat, and much fun and relaxation to be had here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Directly on the beautiful, kilometre-long beach of Bavaro. Tropical gardens. Elegant Caribbean flair. Top 5-star luxury. 11 restaurants. First–Class international shows. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Punta Cana
- Iberostar Bavaro Punta Cana
- Bavaro Punta Cana
- Dominican Republic Bavaro
- Bavaro Cana Punta
- Iberostar Bavaro Suites
- Iberostar Bavaro Dominican Republic
- Punta Cana Bavaro
- Iberostar Hotel Punta Cana
- Iberostar Dominican Republic