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“Bravo IFA Villas Bavaro” 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 #63 of 102 Hotels in Punta Cana
North Sydney, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Bravo IFA Villas Bavaro”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2014

My boyfriend and I spent the week of March 8-15th at Ifa Villas Bavaro. Our experience was overall positive with the exception of a bit of sickness that we encountered. However, we know people who went to other resorts during this same week and experienced the same thing. We can not pinpoint the problem, but we weren't careful about not drinking the water when we first got down there and it would be my best guess that this would have been the culprit!

Room:

Very pleased. Spacious, clean, and comfortable. The "patio doors" opened up completely, giving a beautiful view of the grounds and allowing lots of sunlight and fresh air. We paid for the safe and none of our belongings went missing throughout the whole trip. Our maid was kind and we always tipped her. The fridge wasn't very big, but I asked the maid for some extra beer and water and we just kept it on the counter until there was room for more :)

Staff:

Staff were mostly very kind, but we did encounter one waiter at the lunch/beach bar who was downright rude. He was the exception however...you can't take these things seriously.

Restaurants:

The buffet supper was just "ok". You could always find something to eat, but nothing to write home about. The breakfast was awesome with lots of choice. I recommend the omelets as they were so delicious and always a pleasant experience with a very talented and friendly chef.

The Pikalo (snack bar) saw our faces often! The pizza was amazing and the homemade pogos (I don't wanna know what's in their hotdogs, but yum) to die for. I recommend bringing your own ketchup for the fries, but they were also pretty good.

We tried three à la cartes: Mexican, Asian, and Caribbean. My favorite was the Asian (get the dumplings) and my boyfriend's was the Mexican. The Caribbean was an unexpected experience after reading the reviews. We went for my birthday, they sang to me, decorated my table, and were so kind. I didn't know what to get, so I asked the waiter his recommendations...my advice is to do this- I wish I had done it all along. He directed me to delicious choices- gnocchi, steak on grilled zucchini and desert crepes.

Entertainment:

We didn't have much energy at the end of the day, but we caught the shows a couple of times and they were pretty entertaining. Didn't make it to the disco, but I heard it was fun and if you're a club goer there are lots of opportunities to go off resort to some pretty mind blowing bars for about 75$ all included.

Drinks:

Drinks are alright. I recommend bringing a bubba mug so you can bring your drink down to beach.

The Beach:

Honestly, the beach is the selling point. If your idea of a great vacation is to spend almost all of your time at a Bavaro beach, don't waste your time on expensive resorts...all resorts share the same beach. We spent the majority of our time on the beach relaxing and took advantage of the activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, tubing, and parasailing.

The Pool:

We only ever went to the main pool in the centre of the resort. It was always full of life: drunks, dancing, music...if it's not for you the beach is much quieter and there is also another quiet, but gorgeous pool closer to Bavaro Village. We enjoyed the main pool as a change in pace from our rather relaxing beach experience and met a lot of friendly people there just looking to have a good time.

Excursions:

We did a tour of Saona Island through Sunwing: catamaran, drinks, dancing, food, starfish, massages on the beach and local food. Highly recommend!

Overall the experience, considering the price, was a good one. I would recommend the resort to close friends and family.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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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 (281)
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PEI
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 24, 2014

I traveled to the IFA with my husband the week of March 14th. When reading reviews before we left we were a little concerned as they were so mixed, but were pleasantly surprised by MOST of our experience at the IFA. Read all reviews keeping in mind everyone's expectations are different, and your vacation is totally what you make of it. I honestly think that if trying to determine which dispenser is shampoo or conditioner is the biggest problem you had during your vacation, you're doing ok.

Hotel/Room: We arrived late on the 14th, and felt our check in was very cold, not welcoming at all. The gentleman spoke rapid fire spanish when giving us our welcome package and thankfully I understand a bit of spanish, otherwise we would have had no idea about most of what was in it. Our travel agent had specified on our file that it was our honeymoon- we were given a room with two double beds. Not a big deal, but was a little let down. The room was clean and spacious; however it is dated and didn't have a balcony, which is something we missed. The beds were comfortable, but the pillows were not so great.

We had two major issues with our room. For the first three days we had no hot water, and didn't feel that our complaints were taken seriously. Every time someone came to "fix" it, we would then have hot water, yet the man told us we had to let it run (even though we had done so for 20 minutes). We also woke up around 4 am one morning to water covering our entire floor. We thankfully had nothing on the floor but there was a significant amount of water on the floor and coming from the ceiling. When I brought it to the attention of the Guest Services manager he waved it off as our air conditioner and said someone would come fix it, which they did after I returned two hours later to say the water was still there and coming out of the ceiling. I feel like we're pretty laid back travellers but these were just annoyances that made us feel like the customer service was lacking.

Food/Drink: We ate at the Mexican a la carte which was excellent, and the Caribbean a la carte which was also good. It was annoying to have to line up each day to make reservations, there has to be a better system! The food at the buffet (in my opinion) was very similar to the food we've experienced in Cuba, which surprised me as I had thought the food was supposed to be better in DR. I always found something to eat but found I had to be careful with what I chose after a couple days of feeling gross. The Pikalo has GREAT pizza, omelettes at the buffet are delish & there were a couple days where we had fried chicken at the beach lunch buffet that was the best I've ever had. The drink menu was more limited than other resorts we've been too, but we always found something to drink. I recommend bringing a travel mug as they use small plastic cups, more environmentally friendly and keep your drink cold! Remember that coconut cream/milk is a natural laxative, DO NOT drink the water (or brush your teeth with it) and be smart about what you're eating.

I feel like I'm being very negative, but those two areas we found the IFA lacking a bit. Now to the positives!

The beach is seriously so beautiful, and made you forget immediately any issues you had. Yes, it is annoying that people reserve chairs in the morning...but that's not the fault of the hotel. Often we would be at the beach by 8:30 and would see "reserved" chairs sit empty until 3 pm! A couple days we came down to the beach after lunch and had no problem finding chairs, I honestly think if people just didn't reserve chairs, there would be enough. The beach at the IFA is public/private, which means people can come and try to sell things to you. I didn't mind this near as much as I minded the hotel's partner tour company harassing you daily to do excursions.

The pools were both nice, but the hidden gem is definitely the pool closest to the villas! Peacocks and flamingos, beautiful palm trees. The landscaping at this resort is beautiful and you often would see it's a work in progress, with workers maintaining the grounds and outsides of buildings.

The entertainment each night was the best we've seen in the Caribbean. I'm not sure what other people were talking about when they said they saw the same show more than once, we never missed a night and it was a different and unique show each night. The animation staff clearly works very hard at their job to make the entertainment the best that they can. People have also mentioned that the bartenders and regular IFA staff were very unfriendly- we found a bit of Spanish, a smile, a PLEASE AND THANK YOU and a small tip went a long way. We witnessed people being SO rude to the bartenders, and then are surprised when they don't bend over backwards for you. Golden Rule my friends!

This resort has a ton of potential and I think if the management takes into consideration travellers complaints and suggestions they could make this hotel a lot more efficient! All in all, we probably wouldn't go back to the IFA as we'd like to try other resorts but certainly if this resort comes up for a good price book it!

Room Tip: We were in the 3100 block, if you can upgrade to a renovated room, do so.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 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
    • 3 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.
Springhill, Canada
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014

We went to IFA with another family. Total of 4 kids and 4 adults. We had a wonderful vacation. Loved the two pools and the beach. I would recommend this resort to anyone. It was clean, food was good, and loved the pizza restaurant. The only complaints that I had were that some of the staff were not overly friendly, especially at the bar next to the theatre (even after we tipped the guy he would never smile or make eye contact). As well there were too many house flies, they were all over the food at the buffet. They should also limit the number of hours of the individuals selling excursions to just the morning or only at one location. I felt every time I looked up at the main pool, they were trying to sell you a trip. Overall it was a fantastic trip and had a lot of amenities.

  • Stayed March 2014
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Kentville, Canada
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2014

This was my first visit to DR and we stayed at the IFA Bavaro. We went with no expectations as the ratings were good and bad. The beach is beautiful. However, the constant noise from the many boats travelling the channel that runs along the beach was a huge disappointment. Diesel fumes hung heavy in the air.
There are so many ways the resort could be run more efficiently. Allow guests to sign up for dinners following check in. Having to sign up for dinners early each morning at guest services is not my idea of vacation. Therefore, we ate mostly at the Colibri Buffet. The variety was good. Staff very polite and attentive. Take $1 bills for tipping.
There are not enough beach chairs for the guests. This requires an early rising between 6-7 am to claim your chair at the beach. More beach chairs would solve this problem.
We had issues with our air conditioner on two evenings. After a few calls to guest services a repairman arrived. The problem was fixed immediately. I understand issues are likely with the language barrier, as I do not speak Spanish. However, one particular staff member was very rude, unfriendly, impatient and abrupt while working the front desk. He left a horrible first impression that continued all week.
The biggest disappointment was the fact rooms have no patio. Patio doors open with an iron barrier to block the door way. We missed having a patio to sit out on while waiting for dinner or after returning to our room from the beach etc.
The grounds are beautiful. The area surrounding the villas is very beautiful! The coffee bar was the best place for coffee and drinks!
We both felt we got our monies worth! We arrived home tanned and well rested. However, we won't go back due to the noisy beach and no patio.

Room Tip: We stayed in the 4400 area. Recently renovated and close to the beach.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Halifax, Canada
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 21, 2014

Ifa is an amazing resort - beautiful beach, clean and well kept grounds and rooms , lots to do, amazing staff etc. My one complaint is the food.. Almost a week after returning from our trip my boyfriend and I are STILL sick , many other people we met while travelling to the same resort also were sick . I was sick for my last two days , uncontrollable vomiting , my boyfriend also had stomach problems while at Ifa. We both were careful with what we ate , stuck to foods we deemed as " safe" and we are still suffering . For this reason , I will not return to Ifa.

Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tampa
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
19 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2014

a party scene. You have to like pulsing salsa & merengue, loud, loud, and louder, although you can get away from it somewhat at the Margarita Pool and Jacuzzi Bar. Food was decent, especially the Colibri buffet. Velas on the beach is nice because it's on the beach, but the food is better at Colibri. Restaurants only so so. You can easily get a reservation by calling at 8 am rather than standing in line. Grounds immaculate, staff very friendly, very helpful. Gorgeous beach, but if you're looking for a quiet, relaxing beach this is not the one for you.

Room Tip: If you aren't going to be in the room during the day, rooms by the main pool are good. If you a...
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santiago, Chile
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed March 13, 2014

CONS:
IFA is a cheap, popular and very crowded resort, that works on quantity rather than quality. It has a beautiful share of the Bávaro beach -just like all the other resorts. There is a big difference though: IFA's share is very small, maybe 300 mts. If you take into account is has 600+ rooms, you get the idea: the beach is overly crowded, and to get a chair you have to put the alarm clock at 7.00 am and run to the beach to reserve a couple, hoping that nobody will still your beach towels (because the hotel charges 20 USD to replace them).

Same thing with the very nice two swimming pools: wake up at 7.00 am, fight for a spot to sit. There are very few spots, considering the amount of people in the hotel.

Same thing if you want an early reservation at a restaurant: wake up at 7.00 am, stay in line in the lobby, etc.

It wasn't really my idea of a vacation to have to set alarm clock every day just to enjoy a comfortable day. Apparently the hotel is planning to build a huge swimming pool near the beach (yay, more space near the water), but it will go along new accomodation building (yikes, even more people).
The show is very repetitive (almost every day is consists of the singers singing, and troup dancing choerographies). Good to go one time, maybe two. Food is also very repetitive in the buffet, albeit regular, and the restaurants are good but nothing special (stay away for the sushi though, it tastes like plastic).
Also, the hotel charges you huge amount for wifi (which you can't share between equipments), for prints, etc. I really regreted not going to something a little bit more expensive.


PROS:
Employees are generally very nice. I recomend taking a stash of 1-dollar bills and keep distributing them here and there, they really desserve it, and I got never asked for tips. Also, always leave a tip for the maid, one dollar a day won't make you poor and you make sure she'll treat your room and your stuff with extra care.

If you are a group of yougsters not interested in resting or having a place at the beach or swimming pool, but want to eat pizza all night and get wasted on cheap drinks, this is your place.

All in all I will not come back.

Room Tip: We stayed in a superior room and they are nice but do not have a balcony (only a 'french balcony...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 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 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LopesanHotelGroup, General Manager at IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa, responded to this review, March 18, 2014
Dear guest.

Thank you for choosing our hotel IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa for your vacation and posting your review on tripadvisor.com.

We are very sorry and surprised that you had a bad experience in our hotel because you didn´t enjoy our pools and beach area. We have one of the best beaches in Bávaro/Punta Cana area and we have one of the best cost-benefit ratio.

The inconvenience generated by guest reserving beach and pool chairs is not because we don´t have enough but because guest reserve chairs at the beach and pool at the same time.
We are trying our best to solve this inconvenience but It´s not aesthetically or viable to have the double or the triple amount of chairs at disposition of the guests.

We value your positive comments about the excellent service provided by our staff.

It will be a pleasure to receive you again in our hotel. If you decide to visit us again, please contact our guest service department at rrpp.villasbavaro@ifahotels.com before arrival and they´ll make sure your vacation go as planned.

Best Regards.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#44 Spa Hotel in Punta Cana
#46 Family Hotel in Punta Cana
#49 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#53 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#56 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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