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“its not bad, i would go back” 4 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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Ranked #55 of 100 hotels in Punta Cana
Cincinnati, Ohio
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“its not bad, i would go back”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2012

I was there the week of June 8 -15. looking at what people say and knowing i was there and wow.
First of all your are in the Beach place, not HOME. I like to see your life style at home, why did you not bring your butt whipper with you......
Grow up people, what u spend on this is GREAT, stay home and try this a week at this price....
Food is good, beer is cold and maybe a wait here and there, SO WHAT.
Do you change your sheets at home everyday -NO-, So why do you need them on vacation.
is the music loud-- YES, Here is the best one, They don't speak English, NO CRAP, they don't haft to. You r in their town,--------- yes we had a great time, that was our 5th time to Punta Cana and first time to IFA... Spend more time having fun then trying to find out the bad things, Wake up and smell the coffee, you are only there a week, then back to work. Go and have fun and only read the coments to get a good laugh on people who can't have fun and want it all FREE...

Room Tip: Building 4000
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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English first
Opelika, AL
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
37 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
132 helpful votes 132 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 27, 2012

Our flight was delayed and we didn't get to the resort until about 10 p.m. It was pouring down rain. We had upgraded to superior when we booked. We were assigned 4105, by the theatre and pool. More about that later.
Check in was smooth and quick. Our porter loaded our luggage on a cart and went to the back. He came out minutes later with 2 yellow, hooded rain slickers for us. We ran after him through the rain and he showed us our room and how everything worked. The room was very clean and nice. Only water in the fridge. AC was fantastic! Kept the room about 68 F. We wandered out of our room and watched the end of a show. It seemed very well done and entertaining. The drinks at the theatre bar were great and they had red and white Spanish table wines which were very nice. I am a wine drinker, usually cabernet. They kept all wine cold, which I normally object to, but given the heat, it was actually welcome. Had burgers at Pikalo's, which was good. They serve from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. Pizza is served during the day. Good stuff, plus, it is a full bar all day, located by the main pool with the swim-up bar. The swim-up bar, usually crowded, was fine. No electricity, so our Pina Coladas were served on ice. Beer and water were kept in a large cooler. We only ate in the main buffet for breakfast once. There is an omelet station and lots of choices for all nationalities. Dinner there, also only once, was also fine. There was an Asian station for freshly cooked options and a pasta station also. We found plenty of good, fresh things to eat and were served our drinks quickly and accurately. We ate lunch at the beach bar buffet several times. Always freshly grilled burgers and hotdogs and pizza, plus stuff to make salads and nachos and always fresh vegies and fruit and lots of mussels and clams and calamari and chicken and pork chops. We ate well. And Jonatten (SP) was an awesome waiter there. He knew what we wanted each day and filled our Bubbas up with fresh water before we left.
Our first dinner was in the International (Caribbean) restaurant. This is where I learned that if you want wine in the specialty restaurants, you had to buy it by the bottle. However, you could take it with you and bring it to the next specialty restaurant you went to. The waiter pointed out to me several wines starting at $12US. I didn't see any more than $22US. However, you could order mixed drinks and they were free (did I mention I'm a wine girl?). But we didn't mind buying the bottle. We ordered Caesar salads, which were good, but a little different from the usual. Our entree was not great. My husband ordered pork and it was just ok. I ordered lamb, which I feel was probably not the best choice, given the location. The flavor was ok and it was cooked perfectly, but it had little bones all through it and was a little tough. The cheese cake dessert was great. The service tends to be a little too formal, as that's how they are trained. Our goal every night was to loosen them up a bit and at least get a smile. We usually succeeded.
The 2nd night we went to Bambu, the Asian restaurant. It was excellent. I had the Dim Sum (so very good!!) and my husband had a salad that turned out to be mostly cucumbers, which was okay with him. Then he had a beef dish, which was good, and I had Salmon, which was awesome!!! Fried ice cream for dessert was really good.
The Mexican was scheduled the next night. We are kind of Mexican food snobs, having lived in Texas most of our lives. We started with margaritas (much better than those served at the bars) and cheese dip, salsa and chips. Very nice. I had a grouper dish that was amazing. I cannot remember what my husband ate, but he was happy. I had the Chocolate Lasagna for dessert. OMG!!! Fabulous:)
A couple of nights later, we hit the Italian place, which is actually located in the beach bar/lunch buffet. Again, I ordered a bottle of wine. All other drinks were gratis. We had an appetizer of
fried cheese and antipasto. Then we has a ravioli and a seafood pasta, very good. I really don't remember what our main courses were, because we were to full to eat them and the dessert. We sort of waddled back to our room:)
We went back to Bambu before we left (because the Mexican was closed) and had another great meal and good service.
We did not find the Animation team to be pushy, but we stayed away from the main pool. Our room was overlooking the Theatre pool and we had it to ourselves until the very last day, for the most part. The bar isn't visible at the pool, even though it was open. Our theory is that no one knew there was a bar there, so they didn't go there. All the pool areas are beautiful. In fact, the entire resort is very beautiful, with its flamingos and peacocks and chickens. We were most impressed.
Our room (4105) was perfect except for the noise at night. Being so close to the theatre can be bad for some. We didn't mind so much. Our favorite entertainment was the Mini Disco at 8:30 to 9. It was made up of the kids' program counselors dressed as clowns and the kids in the program performing dances to songs they had learned. Absolutely adorable. One 2 year old kept us coming back every night to see what new she had learned. Her parents were very proud of her. Then there was a guy who was really full of himself (he dj'd at the main pool during the day) MCing and leading dancers, etc. We were not impressed. Thursday and Friday, we skipped him from 9-10 and came back for the main shows, which were pretty good.
We did ask for our Bubbas to be filed with rum and coke (hubby) and red wine (me) one night at the Theatre Bar. Eddy looked a little uncomfortable, but he did it. We discovered it was way too much and ended up pouring over half of each out. So we kept water in ours.
We also ran into Eddy tending the whirlpool bar in the afternoon. He remembered us and wanted to give us our 'usual', but we asked for Pina Coladas and he was ok with that. He was in the Theatre Bar every night and took good care of us. The whirlpools (4) are kept cool for the most part, which was fine with us. And they're were few people there. If we go again, we may get a villa room near by. It was beautiful and we loved it there. One afternoon, a gardener asked us to watch him as he climbed a coconut palm. He came down with 2 fresh coconuts. He cut them open for us wand even got us straws to drink the milk. We gave him $2 and were rewarded by a huge smile.
The Cafe Dominicano was also great for coffee, espresso and drinks. Service was good. The beach bar was a little bit of a walk from the other end of the beach, but, if you're too lazy to walk that far, you really don't need to be drinking:) They kept cups and ice water readily available all the time.
The beach was beautiful. Those that complain of the 'walk' to the beach don't have a clue. It is a very pleasant little stroll to the beach. It is also accessible by tram, which runs all day throughout the resort. To the left is a shopping market (Sunny Delite does not have the best deals going on). To the right is another shopping market. If you stick to the beach, the next resort to the right is the Barcelo, very vast. The beach was raked every morning and the water was crystal clear. Plenty of swimming area marked off. We never noticed the smell of gas coming from the boats or the music or noise or seaweed. Plenty of lounge chairs, but not always available in the shade.
Our room was noisy, but even the other end of the building, away from the Theatre, would probably be fine. The mattress is firm, but once we fell asleep, we were fine. The pillows aren't the best, but not the worst we've been given. There is also a body sized pillow. Our fridge was stocked with plenty of water every day. Only once was there beer and Coke, but since it was available right outside our room, that was hardly a problem. We tipped the cleaning people $4-6/day. Our room was usually well cleaned. Our air worked perfectly, as did the hot water and coffee maker and everything else.
The resort offers a free shuttle to the San Juan shopping center, which we took. A colossal waste of time. Overpriced junk. Although, we had lunch at Chef Pepper's and it was excellent. I had a huge burger with a delicious mushroom sauce and caramelized onions and my husband had a chicken Philly. I had a Presidente there, and while I'm not an expert, I didn't find it any tastier than the beer served at IFA.
Bottom line, we would go again for the price. My wish list would include at least one air-conditioned public bar/restaurant.

Room Tip: I think building 4400 is the closest to the beach, but the walk from anywhere is beautiful and there...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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 28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2012

Vacationed first week of June, my third stay at IFA. My only disappointment was that the food was not as good as before. The fresh fruit and desserts were varied and plentiful. But if the meat/fish looked bad, I had hardboiled eggs or pizza. The restaurants were also not up to par and I would not bother standing in line to book them.

A nice plus, at the Dominican Cafe Bar, the Bananamamas are prepared with a whole banana in the blender. Service and staff are excellent. I am bi-lingual in Spanish and it was a pleasure to converse with the employees. My Villa room was very clean and quiet, no problems. My server Altagracia at the buffet, remembered me from 4 yrs ago at the neighboring hotel.

The beach is the best. I suggest a walk to the right, south, calm area for swimming. If you are in the Villas, it may be best to take the train to and from the beach. It is a long walk, especially in summer. I love the pool by the villas. It is beautifully landscaped, with fountains, and clean. The main pool is better suited for kids and activities. The pizza terrace is very nice, shaded seating, variety of pizzas for self-serve.

I was disappointed with the nightime shows in the theater. They used to be great. And there is no more Bingo. And I didn't go to the disco because they don't play the music I like to dance to, bachata, merengue and salsa, although you can hear that music in the buffet, bars, lobby.

The buffet is not air-conditioned, and some guests were surprised by that. This was my first experience traveling on SunWing and I was impressed with their good service.

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vlaardingen, The Netherlands
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2012

We have no complains. The staff was friendly try to speak English play and entertain our son of 2 years. Our room in the villages we're great near the swimmingpool, bar and a la carte restaurants. When we need clean towels we call and in 10 minutes we got them, we have cleaning every day. Only the tv was not always working but your on holiday so no problem for us.
The food in the buffet restaurant was good every day something else and the cook fresh pasta for you. And in the a la carte they always try to get something diffrent for our son if he doesn't eat wat was on the menu.
The only thing was the shadow when you want some you have to be early.

We will come back for sure.

Room Tip: If you want to sit outside at your room choose a bungalow/villas room
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
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London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 21, 2012

I will never go to this hotel again! Its shame as it was my first holiday with my boyfriend and we were both really excited, he had not been to Dom Rep before however I had been as child with my family and had, had great experiences!

The staff were beyond unhelpful, it was almost as thought they went out of their way to be difficult! When we arrived there were 4 people at reception just standing there while one member of staff was helping another guest , when we approach one of the free people to check in we were rudely told that the only person that could help was the lady who was busy, whilst the other members of staff just stood and chatted amongst themselves. Once we finally got serviced, we were hit with a $30 charge for use of the safe!

Hardly any of the staff could speak English, those who could it was so basic that ordering drinks proved very difficult, also we found ourselves having to ask 3-4 times in the main restuarant before actually receiving the ordered drinks.

We had paid extra to upgrade to a superior room, which was nothing special. It wasn't particually clean, we soon discovered that the plug converters that we had taken did not fit as they had different plug sockets so we had to shell out again $10 for plug sockets, also the shower would run out of hot water a few minutes after being turned on. We also found bugs in the room and would often return to the room at 7.00pm to find that it still had not been cleaned!
However our main issue with the room was our air conditioning! It did not work and was incredibly noisy like an old car engine running, we complained about this issue and a maintenance man was sent to our room and we were told it was fixed. However the next night it was still just as noisy, so we went to complain at 4.30am as we could not sleep, we asked to speak to the manager and said we wanted a new room, to which his reply was 'But you've only complained twice!!!' Which left me amazed to say the least how many times are you meant to complain before some sort of action is taken! He however then agreed to give us another room. After finally getting some sleep, we decided not to move rooms as we had 2 nights left and didn't think it was worth packing everything up, only to do it a couple of days later when we left. We said this to the manager and in return said we could have late check out instead. Which we were happy with!

Upon check out we were told that we owed them $8 for a late check out! At this point I had, had enough and just wanted to leave. We told the lady that the manager had agreed to this and we were entitled to us due to the poor room and service we had experienced. They still insisted on the $8, so we asked to see the manager, who conviently was not there! Eventually after much debating they rang the manager who said that he had agreed to it and there was no charge. It just seemed as though no body spoke to each other and the staff were rude and just unhelpful!

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, IL
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2012

Let's just say that this was a mistake that I won't make again!

Flight and transportation were great. Once we got to reception, problems began. You wait in line, but there is no actual like, people just come up to the counter at random spots and the only 2 reps try to help everyone. By the time we checked in and got to our room, it was not what we booked (asked for bungalow, got one of those rooms by the pool instead). First we thought about staying in the room, but looked at the dirty chair, hair all over the beds and a moldy shower and decided we're leaving. Lugged our suitcases back to reception and asked to be put into the bungalow we reserved, they said none were available, to come back after 3pm.

I could go on and on, but here are the main points:
- room service, horrible (even with daily tips)
- only beer, wine and mixed drinks were included (tequilla shots were $7 a pop)
- Food was beyond awful!!! I've had better food at a local Chinese buffet, so we got by on toast and veggies for a week
- Shows/entertainment were a joke
- Beds old and not good, pillows are nothing but a bunch of lumps (bring your own!)
- Specialty restaurants - walked out of Japanese, got food poisoning from Carribean (didn't bother risking with others)
- Beach - dirty (cups, bottles, straws everywhere), there are boats everywhere - that means you're smelling gasoline fumes all day long, annoying boats with very loud music coast by every so many minutes, water is full of chopped up seaweed because of all of the boats.

Wasted $4k and 7 days we won't be getting back. I would never advise anyone to go here unless you don't know any better. Next time, I'd rather splurge on an Iberostar or a Barcelo (5+ apples only).

Room Tip: Bungalows don't require your room key in order the the electricity and AC to be on.
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Montreal, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 8, 2012

This hotel was very average. It is not horrible but it is far from great.
One thing that is horrible though is the service, at the reception and at the bars. When I arrived there it was 12:30 in the afternoon and they told me no room was available, that I had to wait. Imagine the situation, I had been up all night because my flight was during night, I was wearing jeans and a T-shirt and I couldn't go to my room to have a shower and change? The girl at the reception didn't understand at all why I would be upset by this. She just kept looking at me with a big smile on her face. This is the first time something like this happened to me. She told me I had to wait for around 1h or 1h and a half to get a room. So that was absolutly horrible.
Also the bartenders are really not friendly and they never smile. You can tell that they don't want to serve you. And most of them don't speak in English.
And for the rest, the room was very average, the food too, nothing good at the buffet and there is no service at the pool or at the beach, you have to get up and order. And the bar at the beach is very far from the beach. The beach is not very nice, you have to go near the second hotel, the Barcelo Bavaro and there the beach is very nice.
Other than that the weather was great and most of the time, it's very quiet so it's a good place to relax, which is exactly what I did.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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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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:
#35 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#49 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#50 Romantic 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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