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“It was just Okay” 3 of 5 stars
Review of IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa

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IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa
3.5 of 5 Resort (All-Inclusive)   |   Playas de Bavaro, Punta Cana 51101, Dominican Republic   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #54 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Atlanta
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“It was just Okay”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 3, 2012

I must agree with 80% of AVG22 interpretation of this complex.. We just returned from a seven day vacation stay. The check in staff hardly ever acknowledges you. We were given a room in the rear Room 1232. It was awful, immediately return to the reception area and was given a better room in the 1000 units. But prior to that we notice some prostitution transaction taking place in the lobby and wouldn't you know she and the trick was on the same shuttle as us and dropped off
and telling the driver to be back for them in 2 hrs. The front desk people knew what was going on because I went back up front to inquire, Once you check in you are given an arm bracelet and they did not have one. That was very scary!!
The food is not that good,but you won't starve. The beach buffet is far better. Their drinks are very sweet so beware. I always had to get double shots because the drinks were so weak.
Housekeeping needs a lot of improvement. They work at a snail pace and never really give you what you request.
The grounds are beautiful and well maintained. The pools and the beach are wonderful. Would I return? Yes, with caution and tips I learned from this trip.

Room Tip: Upgrade to the 4000 building. Or stay in a 1000 unit near the pool
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (243)
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English first
Delray Beach, Florida
1 review
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2012

I usually don't write reviews about hotels, but after returning from my horrendous 5 day stay at the IFA Villas Bavaro Resort and Spa, I want to make it a point to advise everyone not to book this hotel. The villa rooms are equivalent to a college dorm room (bed, TV, sink, and shower). We had issues with no hot water, toilet clogging, and the AC completely stopped working. We continuously had to call the front desk to have someone come to the room to fix the issues, and eventually we were given another room that had the same issues. The food is horrible, this is the only vacation that I went on that I lost weight instead of gaining weight from the food (in the bathroom). The buffet was always cold and consisted of leftover food from the other a la carte restaurants at the hotel from the night before. Flies were everywhere on the food. Simple things like hamburgers (mystery meat not beef) and hot dogs were horrible. The safest thing to eat was the fresh cooked omelets and the fresh pasta station. Everything else is eat at your own risk. Good luck trying to get a reservation for one of the a la carte restaurants. We dined at the Italian restaurant (eat there if you want to clean out your colon), and the Japanese restaurant (not too bad). The local liquor is better used to strip paint than consume. There is no top shelf at this place. The grounds of the hotel were clean (besides the random chickens that were walking around by the villas). The activities at this place consist of watching random guests do aerobics during the middle of the day as entertainment by the pool. The beach was nice but a lot of seaweed in the water.

Room Tip: !!!!!!!!!THIS IS NOT A FOUR STAR RESORT CONSUMER BEWARE!!!!!!!!!! Do not waste your money on the up...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Heredia, Costa Rica
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 30, 2012

I just came back from a 5 days vacation with my family. I want to list a few things that I liked a lot and some that I did not like:

What I liked:
1. The beach, the grounds, the peacocks.
2. People was mainly friendly - with some exceptions
3. The night shows - with some dark spots
4. Drinks were good
5. Animation staff: Stanley was AWESOME!!!!

What I didn't like
1. The food: it wasn't terrible and I would always find something I liked, but it was unflavorful - wasn't expecting this from caribbean cuisine.
2. The "handcrafts fair": one day they had a fair near the lobby area where some folks broght they overpriced merchandize and were extremely aggressive phisically pulling you to check out their stuff.So, you couldn't walk peacefully in that area for the whole afternoon
3. WiFi was extremely expensive: $10 a day for a service that didn't even work
4. Animation staff: while most of them was really nice, they were trying so hard to get people engaged in the games and activities that sometimes you felt like it was mandatory and you were completely out of line if you didn't want to play. One of the guys (the shorter, fatter lead animator) was undescribable disrespectful... I think many of the tourists didn't get his disrepectful jokes because they were drunk or because his english is terrible. But for us that speak spanish his jokes were very offensive - like when he told my mother she dances so bad because she probably just had surgery in both legs - and they still want people to participate.
5. Night show: 99% of it was awsome and very entertaining. The bad part is at the beginning, when the dancers ask guests to dance. This is good... the bad part is when they are dancing with you wishing they were dead instead of dancing with you. If they don't like that, they have to either start liking it of fake it! The worst was the guy - who thinks is larger than life - that does the Michael Jackson in the stars show, I guess he thinks he is way to good to be dancing with some silly tourists that doesn't match to his dancing skills (which are AWESOME - but still).

Room Tip: 11's are good, if you don't mind walking a little bit or wait for the little shuttle to get...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

We purchased a trip within our budget and I think it is very true that "Barrato sale Carro" which means when you go cheap it ends up expensive. I proposed to my Fiance the night before we left. needless to say we were very excited to stay in PC. WE read the fine print after we bought and I know it was a mistake but It read out like there was a lot to offer when the fine print was discovered we were a little scared
I am going to keep this short and sweet....
The place was beautiful and well kept. The food went from cheap to cheaper. Re-use of food seemed to be in abundance. The drinks tasted of cheap liquor in the sense that I like a strong drink but not when the liquor makes it taste like I am trying to remove paint from my mouth, me no likey. The help was very nice and did a great job. The outside stores on the beach were ready to take advantage of any outsider who doesn't know prices of goods. i.e. someone bought three bracelets for 8 dollars american when My fiance was trying to get sold a bracelet for her ankle for 50 american and when she was walking away he dropped the price to 5??? Fishy? The reservation restaurants are not up to par. the dinners are like playing fancy, it looks fancy and seems fancy but it is not fancy at all. You get what you pay for if you want to ball on a budget this is ok but I have to say my best day on the island is when we got invited and went to the Hard Rock Resort and spent a day pass for all-inclusive activity there AMAZING!!!!
If you want to pay for wi-fi, pay for any calls even if its a taxi cab to go out it will cost you american money, eat cheap food and drink cheap liquor nothing against Brugal it just did not taste like Brugal I am used to. Pay for transport to and from airport and have little to nothing to do if it rains then by all means . Go here

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indiana
2 reviews
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 22, 2012

This was our forth year at IFA. My husband and I love it. The hotel is very clean and the workers are all friendly. The hotel is not as big as some but that is more than ok with us. I hear people all the time on the way home complaining their hotel complexes are to big. IFA is just right. I really never care to stay anywhere else! we also always hear people complaining about the food. The food is what it is. It is good and keeps you full. If you want gourmet I suggest you spend way more money and go to a 6 golden star place. We took friends this year and they had a great time. Punta Cana is such a beautiful place I love it there. Would retire there in heart beat.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2012

My friends and I recently returned from a 6 day, 5 night stay at this absolutely stunning resort. I am well versed in traveling to all inclusive properties and this was one of the best I have been to.

IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT YOU BRING PLENTY OF SUN SCREEN FROM HOME. A 6oz bottle of Coppertone was $25 U.S. dollars. They will rob you blind with the price of sun screen so pack way more than you need.

As for the resort itself, let me start by saying that the food is definitely sub par, but I have certainly had worse. By the end of the trip, two out of four of us were literally running to the bathroom after taking our last bite of food. If you are selective of what you eat and stick to eating the delicious fresh fruit and a few other basics you should be fine.

The resort features restaurants that require a reservation, providing the illusion that you are eating something special; something above and beyond the typical buffet. I can assure you this is not the case. Beginning around 7:30am you will see a line of people in the Hotel lobby waiting with bated breath to make a reservation. Do not waste your time. The only "restaurant" worth while is the Italian fare and even in that case I ordered pizza which was readily available at all times in other locations. The pizza and fresh fruit were my staples throughout the trip -- I highly recommend the same! One final thought: the Mexican restaurant was downright vile; do NOT go there.

As for the positives: I have never seen a resort so clean. Every morning I walked past dozens of staff members scrubbing the grounds with soap and power washers. The rooms were clean as well and our refrigerator was stocked every day with big fresh bottles of spring water. Side note: drinking the water in the DR is perfectly fine.

The landscaping is picturesque and available space to lay by one of the 3 pools was plentiful. The beach is a bit of a hike from the rooms (5-10 minute walk) but they have a shuttle running throughout the day and night that will drop you off right there. As for the beach itself: stunning. In my experience at this resort there was no need to get up early to reserve chairs -- there were always plenty of loungers available. True to form you will find the occasional solicitor asking to braid your hair, as well as pesky resort employees persistently harassing you about taking one of their excursions. That is to be expected and can be brushed off by simple avoidance or just tell them no thanks!

There is definitely a language barrier at this resort. English fluency is extremely scarce so I would recommend brushing up on some Spanish speaking basics before you leave.

Overall, it was a lovely trip. You really can't beat the value for the price we paid and this is a resort I would definitely return to.

(AGAIN, BRING YOUR OWN SUN SCREEN)!!

Room Tip: If you go to bed early, ask for a room away from the theatre. It's loud.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1 review
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2012

Let me start out by saying my group ended up paying under a thousand per person, so I am a firm believer you pay for what you get. That is with airfare!!! Let me start by saying this was my first visit to the DR, PC. My group of friends booked through apple vacations and I must say they are pretty organized. They made sure we got to and from the hotel. The positives about the hotel.... it is extremely clean and that is so important to me. The pools are very nice and they had enough chairs by the pool and on the beach. The rooms are smaller but in reality, you are only sleeping in the room. The sheets and spread are white which is a bonus because you know they are bleaching everything. They give you a card for beach towels and you can clean towels all day. This place is very spread out so if you want to be close to the beach make sure you request that or you might end up walking. They have a volley ball net and have some day activities. The pools are good b/c some are busy with kids and others are more for the relaxing adults. I would bring your own sunscreen. THE HOTEL CHARGES $25 PER BOTTLE. What I thought the negatives about the hotel is that if you don't speak Spanish be prepared. No one at the resort speaks English fluently. I had a horrible time getting questions answered. I would think that the front desk would have someone but they don't. Another issue I had is the food was gross, uneatable. The buffet is filled with cheap items that makes you want to puke. I ate fresh fruit and make a salad from hamburger condiments. There was a few restaurants but you had to make reservations and make sure you get there right at 8 am or you won't get one. I only ate at 2 of the places to make reservations. DO NOT EAT AT THE MEXICAN PLACE. I am not joking but when we were walking out I heard another party say OMG what is this. The food was a joke. We did eat at the Italian place which we were scared but it wasn't that bad or maybe we got used to the food. The Italian place has a buffet by the beach during the day and the food is covered with flies and not one worker seemed alarmed. The fish on the buffet even looked scared. The lunch meat had a funny color. Also the drinks are cheap. The frozen drinks are watery and they only give you one ice cube. If you are going for good and drinks do not go here. I went for the sun and beach and ended up drinking the beer b/c that was the only thing I could down. Also I am a big coffee person but they do not have 1/2 and 1/2 or milk. They only have the milk that comes in a box... I asked for waiter for half and half and he filled my coffee with have boxed milk and have coffee. NO ENGLISH!! The hotel does have a nice place where you can get espresso and a cappuccino and this place serves much better drinks. We sat there at night. Also, if you tip the staff there, they will really make sure your drinks are always full. $5 goes a long way. This was the nicest spot of the hotel. It is pretty and all open. Overall I would say YOU GET FOR WHAT YOU PAY!!!!!

Room Tip: It depends on what you want. If you want to be close to the beach, make sure you request that becau...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa

Address: Playas de Bavaro, Punta Cana 51101, Dominican Republic
Phone Number:
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#34 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#48 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#50 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#54 Business Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa 3.5*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & SPA is situated on the fine, white sands of Playa Bavaro. Bordered by a fabulous coral reef and surrounded by turquoise-colored waters this extraordinary vacation complex offers its guests a friendly, luxurious environment for sports & cuisine with its 6 charming restaurants and 7 spectacular bars, colorful tropical shows, a wide range of facilities and services especially designed to ensure an unforgettable stay right in heart of the Caribbean. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ifa Hotel Punta Cana
Ifa Hotel Bavaro
Ifa Bavaro Villas
Ifa Villas Bavaro Beach Resort & Spa
Villas Bavaro
Ifa Villas Bavaro Punta Cana

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