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“Great Vacation” 4 of 5 stars
Review of whala!bavaro

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whala!bavaro
3.0 of 5 Resort   |   El Cortecito | Bávaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Formerly Alisios Bavaro Beach Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #58 of 101 Hotels in Punta Cana
Foley
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great Vacation”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed yesterday NEW

We spent two weeks in January 2015 at this resort and would go back in a heart beat! The staff was all friendly and helpful. Miguel Lopez, at the front desk was exceptionally wonderful. We enjoyed that we were close enough to walk to town. The resort is small, and you get to know the other guest. The resort has a BBQ on Monday night that was exceptionally good. Great stay at the Whala! Can't wait to go back!

Room Tip: Not fancy, but clean and friendly service.
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  • Stayed January 2015, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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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324 reviews from our community

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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 (28)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
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English first
Prince Albert, Canada
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I like smaller properties, so I did enjoy my stay. The smaller size allowed us to meet many new friends :) All around I would come back as long as I wasn't with someone who expects a 4 or 4.5 star quality stay. Personally, I like a basic all-inclusive for a great deal so that I can feel free to leave resort and spend $ on interesting meals and outings.

The walk to the beach is only maybe 30 seconds, if you stay at a larger resort, you will be farther away than the main property is at Whala. It is so close it might as well say 'on the beach' so don't let that sway you. The fact that there is a drinks bar and a snack bar right on the beach, and a (sort of scary but usually clean) bathroom means you can stay there all day if you want.

The only pool I used was the 3rd pool, by the Junior suites. I wish the bar would open earlier than 2pm here as it's the only pool that you can stand in the waist-height water, and has a couple more loungers available. This pool is great for those days where you want to try something different from the beach and you are not too lazy to get drinks from the bar around the corner. I did not use the other 2 pools as they are quite deep/few lounge chairs. The pool by the lobby/buffet only has maybe four and a couple of tables?

Rooms are very clean, new sheets and great quality pillows. Don't expect anything new like a flat screen TV and you will be fine. Lots of TV channels in English or subtitled if you are wanting a quiet evening. Definetely decorated in an 'island' style, which is why you are on vacation, so as long as you are not wanting 'minimalistic modern' you will be fine.

Buffet food is small but different every day, even the ones in our group who do not eat seafood always had something to eat that they liked. What I would like to see changed is some actual service at the buffet. Not once during the week did anyone come by to get us drinks/water or clear plates. We tried leaving a tip to see if that would help, but it didn't, so we eventually stopped tipping at the buffet dinners, as nothing was actually done for us. I think maybe they just don't do that as a regular part of service? Let me be clear and state we are normally tippers, but I can't tip for no actual service.

We booked the a la carte once. It is different here in that you go to the Lobby on the day you wish to book, book your a la carte, and choose what you wish to eat right there and then (there are pictures of the meals), so make sure your whole group is there to do this. The meal was a nice change.

Beach was great, yes there was seaweed, but hello, you are on a beautiful beach in a crystal clear ocean! Expect seaweed:) They do clean it up each day, but as the day progresses more washes up, no big deal.

We did one excursion, booked right on the beach from the guys who have a stand right beside the beach bar. Paid $30 each for a small glass bottom boat (very neat!), snorkeling, a couple of rums, and a stop at a 'natural pool' (which is really a part of the beach farther east where the water is only waist height and everyone jumps out and has a drink/dances in the water with many other excursion boats). Was supposed to be a 3.5 hour trip, but unlucky for us it was raining that day so we opted to go home early. Did still see a sting-ray, and many fish (they give you some bread so you can be surrounded). Met a few people from Argentina, great intimate little excursion, different from the huge $100 excursions we usually get in Mexico.

The only things that would give me pause as to if I would stay here again is the aforementioned lack of service at the buffet(tipping at bar makes little difference), the very bad and constant smell at the pool bar (we honestly tried to ignore it, thinking it was only going to be occasional but it was constant, with whiffs so bad at times it was gag-inducing), and the fact that the all-inclusive ends at 11pm, after that you pay for drinks. That is NOT all inclusive.

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Falmouth, Maine
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Air conditioner did not work (many others didn't either from the number of folks coming to the front desk to request new remotes for them). No hot water (hotel never has hot water according to maintenance guy (room temperature is their hot). Room had not been cleaned when we unlocked the door on arrival. Beach was unusable because of deep piles of rotting seaweed. The smell at two of the three pools is unbearable. I think it was from a sewage treatment plant next to the hotel? Third pool area did not smell. Food was awful. Guests at the hotel truly seemed so sad to be stuck there. It is truly terrible.

  • Stayed December 2014, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
North Bay, Canada
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

overall good value, good food, great service, could use more entertainment, only had 1 night out of 7 with entertainment. beach is only 2 minutes from main lobby, all the staff were very friendly, Our room was on the 1st floor next to the service way & we would hear the carts going by at 7am which was our only gripe

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Arizona
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

If you want to be in the best part of the resort then this hotel is it. Close to the beach and all the shops and bars are just steps away. The reception and dining staff are great. Really friendly and helpful. Downstairs in the recepetion and bar area it´s very modern and new looking and probably the trendiest hotel in town! Our room was modern too and had nice clean sheets and towels. Bed comfortable and had some view of the sea which was nice. Great value for what we paid considering the location and it is a hotel we would book again no problem.

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Herefordshire, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 6 days ago NEW

We have been to many stunning beach locations in Europe but this really took our breath away. You couldn't beat what you got for the amount we paid. The rooms were clean, good quiet a/c, comfortable bed even if it had a tiny squeak. Found the salt water interesting, just learned to not sing in the shower. Access and public areas look smart with nice use of stone to give it a homely style, the pool bar is thatched giving it a real Island hut look. The barbeque was fun and was so much better than my burnt offerings in the rain. The pool is big enough to go for your daily swim, we prefer the beach so didn't spend much time there apart from the day we arrived.
The breakfast bar is fine, fruit, yoghurt, muesli, full hot with egg choices, they managed soft boiled eggs perfectly, in fact the longer we sat at breakfast the more food was brought out, you will not be hungry.
The beach is 2 minutes from the hotel bar, the private part is small but you can easily find some all to yourselves if you go further afield.
The area was very safe and even when I was with my sister we were not bothered too much by beach sellers, well organised for the tourists.
The location is wonderful, and has all the components to make a dreamed of tropical holiday come true. It will be difficult to top this.

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Delhi, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago NEW

My wife and I have been to ~25 all inclusive resorts including 8 trips to the Dominican Republic. We generally stay at 3 star properties relying on the tour companies assessments and Trip Advisor reviews. We realized we did not pay a lot for the Whala resort and we did not expect to be staying at a high end resort but we have paid significantly less in the Puerto Plata and Samana areas and have been very satisfied.
We had never considered transferring to a different hotel until we experienced the Whala and subsequently moved.
The downfalls of the resort are:
- at the breakfast buffet we were informed no made to order omelets were available, then directed to the buffet bar were we received cold scrambled eggs(food safety implications) and some kind of sausage that was dried out at 7:30 am when it first opened. Later in the morning the omelet station was operating.
- the beach snack bar served cold food from the limited menu
- air conditioner could not effectively cool the room
- the food selections at the buffet are limited and not kept at proper temperatures
- no brewed coffee !!!!!! in a country that has some of the best coffee in the world the Whala has a machine that dispenses a terrible concentrated mixture
- there is a sewer smell at times around the pool areas
- there are approximately 20 lounger chairs in total in pool areas
- 6oz drink cups resulting in very strong mixed drinks
- the beach area is small and the chairs are crammed together like on a cruise ship
The hotel did have positive points such as the front desk staff and the location in Bavaro is in a small shopping district with grocery stores and restaurants within a few hundred feet. The beach in the general area is quite nice.

In general we found the food marginal at best and the overall resort to be well below standards of any all inclusive resort we have ever been to. Frankly I do not understand how our formerly trusted tour company could sell this product. If you want a budget priced vacation go to the Puerto Plata or Samana areas. The beach may not be as impressive as the Punta Cana beaches but the resorts are far superior in food quality and accommodations.

  • Stayed January 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 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 whala!bavaro

Address: El Cortecito | Bávaro, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic (Formerly Alisios Bavaro Beach Hotel)
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#4 Best Value Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#48 Top resorts Hotel in Punta Cana
#53 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — whala!bavaro 3*
Number of rooms: 147
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in front of the beach, whala!Bavaro is the ideal place to enjoy the summer heat. Bavaro Beach is part of the Dominican Republic most exclusive coast resorts, thanks to its fine white sand bathed by the beautiful Caribbean Sea with crystal clear and emerald tone waters. Located in front of the beach, whala!Bavaro is the ideal place to enjoy the summer heat. The hotel is located in an excellent location that offers a wide variety of sport and leisure activities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Alisios Bavaro Beach Hotel
Hotel Alisios Bavaro Beach

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