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“Spend a little more and stay at a better resort” 2 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 #59 of 101 Hotels in Punta Cana
Chateauguay, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Spend a little more and stay at a better resort”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2014

Hotel Lobby ambiance as a place for gathering or having a drink is non-existent as the lobby is for check in/out and guest services for booking trips. Some of the staff at the front desk speak English but other than that, the waiters, bars servers and cleaners speak Spanish only. There are 3 bars which are very quiet no music in evening- chairs are bolted to the floor so if you are a group of more then 4 it is not possible to sit together and converse. Chairs at pool or beach are reserved by 7:30 to 8:00 am . No shade - this resort does NOT have palapas or umbrellas for shade at pool or beach and the palm trees do not provide adequate shade. At the pool the chairs are bolted to the cement around the pool so you cannot move them. The Marina is to the right and left of the beach and the various day trip boats come by the resort beach at the edge of the ocean swimming area... so if you love the smell of diesel then this is the resort for you ! ! Buffet food is boring and repetitive with limited choices. The Buffet restaurant is NOT air conditioned, there are fans but the room is humid. Only 2 of the a la carte restaurants are air conditioned so if you need a reprieve from the heat only choice is to go to your room.
Premium Rooms were clean- but lighting in room is not very good- with all lights on the room is dim- in the premium rooms the toilet area is separate however if you are taller than 6 foot then the space when sitting is tight! but the shower area is a large walk in shower.
Aside from the "Disco -a closed room with no windows or air- which opens at 11:00 pm , the Theatre Show at night is the ONLY entertainment and it starts at 10:00 pm and again the chairs are bolted to the floor and grouped in 4 so if you are more than 4 then it is hard to sit together.
Many people I met were sick as was my husband- the pharmacy ran out of diarrhea type medicine- to me this speaks volumes.
I have stayed at many hotels in the Punta Cana area and this resort is at best a 3 star and I would recommend that you pay more and stay at a better hotel.

Room Tip: If you must go here- block 4600 is central and quiet
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (277)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hungarian first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Regina, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 21, 2014

We are reasonable small town/ Regina, Saskatchewan people who read and disregarded the bad reviews about food, major stomach illness, lack of English, cleanliness etc. HOWEVER THEY ARE MAINLY ALL TRUE! Save your valuable time and money and pick a better resort without risking a major stomach infection or virus, something seems to be floating around this resort!!

My husband and I visited ifa from feb 13 to 20. Our first couple days were great we had fun sitting on the beach and by the pool having drinks. After our stomachs adjusted to the food and drinks was when things drastically changed. My husband got it the worst! He was so sick we had to see the on-resort doctor, she was lovely and had him sent to the hospital by ambulance for extreme dehydration, as he could no longer keep food or water in his system (vomiting, diarrhea every 5-15mins). After spending an entire evening in the hospital with no real medical care we left with a prescription to control the stomach infection he had. So from practically day 4 to day 6 my husband was so bed ridden or in close proximity to the bathroom! We put it down to the food as many other Canadian/English speaking couples or groups we spoke too, had members with their group or themselves who the exact stomach problems and they all figured it's the food. We had Mexican (beef tacos) the night before he got sick as did another couple.

This sickness ruined our holiday and a majority of our trip! We are both still getting over being sick but have been lucky that we are young and don't have weak immune systems.

In regards to the resort, it's nice but not amazing. It's old and shows in the buildings, the pool, the furniture, beach chairs, etc.

Cleanliness is ok but not excellent, your definitely sharing other peoples germs. We observed them washing glasses, they just rub the glass on a bristle brush in soapy water and dunk it under water. No hot dishwasher process to kill germs. Our room was semi clean. Dust on the lights and fixtures. Tile everywhere so grout lines by the sink where water was, was gross. I cleaned the toilet area up after my husband missed the toilet. I was definitely not just cleaning his mess up. The cleaning staff doesn't get much to clean with so I honestly don't think they can do much to improve sanitization.

The staff are friendly, the bar staff are probably the best at being happy and understanding English and other languages! Alejandro, Ariel, Carlos and Maria at the mojito bar are awesome we had a fun time with them! However staff at the front desk are kinda rude and ignore you until they are done having their conversations (which definitely weren't about hotel business). The servers are good but more business as in get in get out!

You will get haggled by everyone, the spa staff want you to get massages, the photo shop want you to get pictures on the beach, the excursion companies have their staff their trying to get you to do the same excursions your travel company offers. They bring on locals to sell, who are right outside the main buffet/place to eat and will pull you to look and can get really annoying fast! We avoided them and took the cart path to our room.

It is a biggish resort, people hog chairs who are likely on the beach or "will be there later" yes we moved towels or some non important thing if your personal belongings weren't there (we paid to enjoy ourselves not to observe your towel flap in the wind and sit on the cobble stones), it takes a couple minutes to walk from the lobby to the beach but the beach is worth it! Beautiful beautiful! But preparers to be haggled there too, there is a shopping centre close by. We turned someone down twice in a row and he was a dick about it! It was ridiculous behavior since tourist are how they make their money, they try hard to rip you off so haggle the bastards down!

Food at the pizzeria and the Caribbean/international al e carte were the best! Italian al acarte could be compared to having a microwave dinner or can of ravioli! Mexican was good for me but I didn't eat much as I was feeling to good. We didn't get a chance to try the oriental one. The buffet is ok but some really weird stuff, we found it hit or miss. Lunch is probably my favorite for selection. I also found it weird that they served hot chocolate for breakfast lol.

People at the resort varied, there were Germans, Russians, Americans, Canadians, French Canadians, and other people who spoke fluent Spanish (lucky people). Tons of people smoke, it's like living in an ash tray, people's moral standards seem to drop because they didn't have to abide by the laws of their own country. There isn't a way to avoid it, even in our room our neighbor leaned out his window to smoke so it drifted into our (which then I shut the window)

There is too much to comment on about negative things more than positive. I just don't recommend it unless you want to party and can live on a liquid diet which I cannot even though I'm 24!

I don't like to be a negative nancy but even friends who came after us had got sick and friends we made there got sick. So it just wasn't us who felt this way. Plus everyone we spoke to wouldn't come back and said this is rated more the a two or three star. Standards must have changed in relation to its current 4 star review!

Not a great resort if you want to relax and enjoy yourself!

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2014

On the positive side, this hotel is nice, staff try their best to help and the beach is beautiful.
That said, the food and drink are not fit for human consumption. I have been to a dozen all inclusive resorts and this was the worst. Cuba can show this place how to make a decent meal. I am currently in day 5 of a 12 step program... not the usual one but simply how many steps I can be away from the bathroom and feel safe. Three of the six in our group are suffering the same affliction.
Find a few bucks and stay at another hotel, it's not a bargain if you spent most of your holiday in your room.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with friends
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Ottawa, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

ifa is a beautiful resort but very awkward!it took me few days to find the washroom who by the way are represent by stick men lol our room was nice because we upgrade home (thanks to travelers advice). but don't expect ocean view because they are none. we found the food really good but very limited and repetitive. the service was exceptional(good job to all the waiter and waitress) our favorite was the pizzeria. very nice place to eat and hang out. the show at night needs real improvement. they are most definitely promoting sex! there outfit is far from being appropriate for children.
the one thing that really bother us was the pressure to buy something (in the resort itself) they seem to think we are all millionaire!about we work our butt off at home and need a break lol on the beach its a night mare! my daughter would pretend to be running so they would leave her alone lol but at the end off the day,the beach in Punta Cana and weather, unbeatable...we will probably try a new place next year for many reason. but if the price is right we shall be back!

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barrie, Canada
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

We visited this resort to celebrate a couple of special family milestones. While this was our first trip to Punta Cana, we certainly have traveled south many times. Never have we been so disappointed.

This resort seems to cater to smokers; sadly, we missed the memo. Smoking was permitted everywhere, including in restaurants :( It's very difficult to get away from cigarette smoke in this resort.

The food was extremely disappointing. Additionally, the majority of us became ill during our stay despite the fact that we didn't drink or brush our teeth with the tap water. Needless to say this is much more than a coincidence...

Customer service is poor, poor, poor! My mother became ill poolside one day and despite asking 3 different staff members for assistance no one ever came, leaving us to clean up the area.

Although the cleaning staff make a daily appearance, clean towels are not provided. There was no shampoo in the dispensers and no washcloths. Despite having 11 people in our party and 5 rooms, we were charged $40 for a cake to celebrate our parents anniversary. Even more ridiculous was the fact that when I attempted to pay for the cake the day of the anniversary, I was told that no cake had been ordered. Luckily our Sunwing rep could validate our order. There weren't enough hangers in the room and despite asking for them on 4 different occasions they never came.

The ocean was no where in sight from our ocean rooms. They were a considerable walk to the ocean. A problem for our elderly parents. Golf cars drive around the resort however were typically full making the journey to the beach was an ordeal.

So much more to share but you get the point!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 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.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 16, 2014

I found it to be a really nice experience. Reading some of the reviews seems like some folks I complained about the facilities, the food, etc, but I thought it was all great. I haven't visited other resorts in Punta Cana, but I was really happy with our time here. I've broken down our visit in sections below and rated them individually.


STAFF- The staff are very nice here. Friendly and seem to enjoy working there. Many of them live on site for a period of 10-12 days and then go back to their home town, so it is likely that you'll see the same people over and over again while you are there.

It seems like people really enjoy their work and are happy to be there.

Because I was noticeably pregnant during our stay, staff were extra nice and went out of their way to help us.

Language -- people are cool with you practicing Spanish even if you butcher it. I found that the staff would speak Spanish with you first, and would wait for you to reply to figure out which language you needed them to speak back to you. I personally liked that. All the wait staff and bartenders can manage basic English to get you taken care of if you don't speak Spanish(and it seemed to be they were also speaking in French and possibly Russian as well).

If you need someone who speaks your language (English, French, Russian) the best place is to start at the front desk or customer service. Don't expect the gardeners and baggage guys to be able to speak your language. I heard people complaining about this, and was surprised--- come on people--- it is a Spanish speaking country! You can't expect all the staff to have fluent English. The front desk and customer service people are all good communicators, so they are the ones to go to if you have any requests or issues. With everyone else, I recommend practicing your Spanish.

My advice--- pick up a few basic Spanish phrases and courtesies and you'll feel empowered -- how to ask for drinks, food and other basic necessities since that is where you mostly interact with people.

FACILITIES--
After a day or two, I wondered "where are the bugs?" For a tropical climate, I saw almost no bugs, and only a few mosquitoes. I expected a lot more, but just didn't see them. Either IFA keeps stuff VERY clean or they just aren't around here.

I have to say, this place is more beautiful than they show on the website. It is VERY clean, and the buildings and gardening are beautiful. They have a variety of different pools and areas to hang out for people who want more activities or more relaxation. Something for everyone and whatever mood you're in.

However, a lot of walking is required if you aren't in one of the rooms right by the main eating area and reception. If you're in a standard room, you'll most likely have to walk about .5 to .75 mile to the reception and dining area.

ROOMS- We started off in the standard rooms which were really far from the beach and dining halls. The rooms themselves were fine. Clean, with basic necessities and lovely gardening all around. We upgraded to a "superior" room the last few days which was closer to the dining hall because I'm pregnant and got pretty tired from walking back and forth for food, drinks, entertainment, the beach, and the pool.

One thing about the superior rooms-- if you're not a couple just note that the showers have a glass wall so other people in your room can see you bathing. So if you're coming with friends or parents or something, just note that you might want to ask about that while you are booking to be sure you have the private shower wall.

I saw complaints about the beds on some reviews. I thought the beds were very comfortable. We sleep on a firm mattress at home, and this one was slightly softer than a standard firm mattress in the US.

FOOD---The theme restaurants are fun--- and a neat experience to mix up the variety. The food is not drastically different in any of them, but the ambiance is varied. These provide a nice quiet break from the busy dining hall environment.

If you're a vegetarian, there is stuff here for you, although you might get a little tired of the food because most of the variety is in the fish, chicken, and egg cuisines. I feel like there was a lot of European food in the dining hall. I think they do a good job of appealing to the European crowd. (But I'm an American, so it could just be my perception. For a more accurate review about European preferences, check a European's review.)

If you're a spicy lover, you might want to bring a hot sauce of your choice, because the food is not all that spicy overall, and the hot sauces aren't all that varied. A minor point, but if you can't live without your hot food, this would help.

OTHER GUESTS-
We went during the busy season in late January and the place was pretty busy. Short waits for food, tables, pool chairs and things like that. But if you live in a big city or are used to having a lot of people around you, I don't think you'll be bothered by this one bit. As an American, it took me 2 days before I met any other Americans. When we went it was mostly Canadians (English and French speaking), French, Russians, and Germans.

When we went there were a LOT of smokers, so for Americans who aren't used to people smoking in restaurants and all over the place, just be aware of where you're sitting so you're not stuck next to a chain smoker at breakfast.

We heard some people complaining about other rude guess, but I wasn't bothered by it at all. We mostly kept to ourselves, were polite to other guests, didn't mess with people's stuff on the beach or pool chairs, waited in line like civilized people, and just practiced basic courtesies. We had no problems whatsoever.

OVERALL - we really enjoyed our experience and would go back here.

Room Tip: If you don't want to walk too far, get a more expensive room. The standard rooms (cheapest ones...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Bilbao, Spain
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2014

me encanto la villa que nos dieron,un poco lejos de la playa, pero el paseo hasta ella fue maravilloso, el personal fantastico ,se comia muy bien.
I loved the town that gave us a bit away from the beach, but the walk until she was wonderful, the staff fantastic, they ate very well

Room Tip: visitarlo---I visit
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 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.
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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:
#41 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#49 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#50 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#53 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:3.5 star — IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa 3.5*
Number of rooms: 262
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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