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“Book somewhere else (and I'm not picky)” 1 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 #63 of 99 Hotels in Punta Cana
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Book somewhere else (and I'm not picky)”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 2 days ago NEW

I don't want to come off as a high maintenance person who doesn't know what they are getting into. I have spent nights in the jungle, getting eaten by ants and other insects, and I would take that over staying here. I have stayed in basically sheds where mosquito netting is a requirement and the plumbing barely works. However, when I go to an all inclusive, I expect half decent accommodations, even if it is a lower star property.

This will be a little long, so here is the brief summary
-OK rooms (good for when you are stuck in them with food poisoning) with bad showers/water source
-Bad food that gives you food poisoning, forcing you to spend 2 days in your OK room
-Little to no choice in where you get your bad food
-Bad bar service with tiny cups (bring a travel mug!)
-Inconsistent drinks (no one knew how to make anything)
-Small beach a few minutes walk from the resort (beach was mostly washed out when I was there!)
-Your choice of 3 pools - one with no seating or sun, one that often smelled like sewage and garbage, and one that was never cleaned and couldn't filter anything
-No entertainment, day or night, and no booze after 11! Except for the beach bar, where all inclusive guests have to pay for booze after 11
-Expensive, incredibly slow WiFi (normally I wouldn't care about this, but this time I actually needed it)
-Just don't go here! Look elsewhere! Can't afford anywhere else in the Dominican? Get a better hotel in Mexico!

The main review:

The room wasn't TOO terrible. The bed was alright, and the channel selection on the TV wasn't half bad, which was good for when I was holed up in my room for two days from food poisoning from the food this place served. However, there were a couple cockroaches (big whoop, don't really care, its a tropical island) and mosquitos kept getting in (more of a concern due to the recent appearance of the chikungunya virus), so many that I wish I had brought my mosquito net. The shower also backed up by the 3rd day there and would not drain. It was next to impossible to get maintenance to come fix it. The water is also salt water which was highly irritating for those of us who wear contact lenses. Even with them out, my eyes would burn for a while after a shower.

Food options are limited. There is a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food ranged from terrible to average. I'm not a coffee drinker, but the rest of my family said it was undrinkable. Looking at it, I would guess that was fair. It came out of the machine like sludge. This seems unacceptable for a country renowned for its coffee. The fruit selection was horrid. I have had better fruit selection at a Super 8 continental breakfast. Most meat items in the buffet were overcooked, so if for whatever reason you still choose to book this place, get the fish from the grill (generally it was not bad).

For lunch, you can also go to the beach and get a hot dog or hamburger or fried chicken and fries. They were edible. For dinner, there is one a la carte restaurant. You have to book it in the morning, along with making your order, choosing from a menu they have sitting there. Nothing looks particularly appetizing, and the only half decent meal I had there was the fried squid and grilled plantain chips.

One night during your week (I really hope you are not staying any longer, again, if for whatever reason you decide to go) they have a pool side bbq. The food at this was actually quite tasty. HOWEVER, this was the last meal I had before I was stuck in my room for two days with the worst food poisoning I have ever experienced. I could not eat in those two days and actually dropped 10+ lbs in that time. By the third day, I was feeling well enough to venture out of my room and away from the toilet, but could only stomach about half the amount I normally eat and couldn't drink anything besides water.

Service from the bar staff was not great, even if I tipped them well. There was one bartender who gave decent service after I dropped a 20 in his tip jar, but beyond that it was limited. On top of that, the drink cups they provide are the smallest I have ever seen. This can be remedied if you brought your own travel mug, but come on guys. Little bigger cups would be great. Knowledge of how to make drinks was also pretty bad. Simple things like rum punches and mai tais must have been made 13 different ways (I mean, it was still rum and juice, so it was good, but where is the consistency?). Service at the beach bar seemed to be the worst.

The beach: pretty much non existent. It is a bit of a walk from the property - few minutes from the front door of the hotel down a narrow public street. Locals will go ripping by on mopeds, motorcycles and cars. Careful. When I arrived at the beach, there were a few chairs that spent a good portion of the day out of the sun, a long neglected volleyball court, and a washed away section of beach right after the beach bar. This may have been fixed (crews were repairing it on our final few days), but don't be shocked to find minimal space to settle down on the beach.

Because there was no beach, we spent a lot of time at the pools. There are 3. One is right outside the buffet. Seating/space in general at this one is minimal and due to this, was often uncrowded. The next one is between the two main guest buildings. This is the largest pool and many days it was filled with a strong garbage/sewage stench. The main bar is also here. The third pool is at the back of the resort, surrounded by the nicer villa rooms. This is where we spent all of our time. Good sun exposure at all times of the day, but there is certainly a shortage of seats. Drop some belongings early to claim your spot. Unfortunately, pool cleaning seemed to be at a premium here. The pool did not seem to filter very well, and a disgusting film of oil, debris, bugs, vegetation, whatever would collect around the edges of the pool. It was pretty gross, but I dealt with it. Jumping over it and staying to the middle of the pool is your best bet.

Entertainment: There is none! I did not see any day time activities, though I swear I saw a person wandering around who looked like it was their job to set up some sort of activity. There didn't seem to be anything for water sports. There are no evening shows, which I really didn't mind. They're all the same and usually bad. The beach bar stays open until 1am and sort of acts as their "disco." No one went really. The busiest of nights saw maybe a dozen people there. The bar at the resort shuts down at 11 PM. The beach bar starts charging(!) after 11. Doesn't matter that you are there as an all inclusive guest!! Boggled my mind.

The "fitness room": Well... it existed. It contained three machines. The weight machine was awful and clunky, with a brutal range of motion. Get creative and you can get a quick workout in, but be prepared to rely on pushups, dips, sitting ab work, and that's about it.

The WiFi is stupidly expensive, and is "per device." They give you one code, and if you are logged in, no other device can log in. This seems insane for a room that will house two people, many of which will have multiple devices! Now you can log out, allowing the other to log in, but come on Whala!, get with it. On top of that, it is painfully slow. I would care less if they cut the price WAY down. I thought it was reasonable at first, assuming the number provided was pesos, but turned out to be USD. Total rip-off for a barely functioning service. I had no reception in my room, which sucks when you are incapable of leaving it for two straight days!

All in all, I would not go back here. Spend a little extra money and go anywhere else. The only thing the resort had going for it was the great weather, but I would have got that staying literally anywhere else.

Room Tip: A room not at this hotel is ideal.
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  • Stayed February 2015, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 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.
Estelle L, Director de Relaciones Públicas at whala!bavaro, responded to this review, yesterday
Dear Kevin,

Thanks for your comment on our hotel whala!bávaro.
We are sorry to hear it didn't live up to your expectations but we take note about all your comments and will sort them out for the future.

We have been working on the restaurant variety and from next season on it will be much better, with a bigger selection and better quality food.

We have notified the staff at the bar about your comment and will be putting more attention on this because cannot afford this happening again.

Regarding to the pool, we did have an issue with the filter on the third pool but it was solved with in 3 days and now is working again.

Again we would like to apologise your holiday wasn't as expected but we can assure we will be working hard to make our hotel better and better everyday.

Kind Regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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404 reviews from our community

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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 (53)
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Nova Scotia
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

I have travelled to the DR and Cuba alot over the past 20 years and I rank this resort as one of the best I've stayed at. We stayed in the superior rooms which is in the 3000 block and they were clean, beds were comfortable, everything worked. The wifi yes you have to pay for it but it does work in your room, I didn't have a problem with it. What I liked best about this resort was the size, we have gone to alot of the large chain resorts and we were looking for a small resort (due to mobility issues) and it was perfect you could get anywhere on the resort or even off the resort within a few minutes. Everything was close, beach, shops, restaurants etc. The food here is good, always found something to eat, we really enjoyed the beach grill during the day. There are no shows or entertainment here and we had no problem entertaining ourselves, once you've seen multiple shows at the big resorts you really don't need them or miss them. BBQ night was awesome (every monday night). The beach bar was fun at night, it was just people from the resort it was beautiful, the music, dancing and the wind and view of the water was soooo relaxing. It was never packed or to busy. Oh and I've seen alot of coments about the seaweed on the beach, it was not just at the whala it was the entire strip of beach about 10 miles long, which included some 5 stars down the beach, I was told by some of the locals that it was the worst year they ever seen for seaweed, so don't rate their beach on this. It was still beautiful. The pools were cleaned everyday and were never packed you could actually do laps without getting run into. This is not a resort for children as other than swimming not alot for them to do.

I will definetly go back to this resort, I'm already looking forward to going back next year, it was just what we were looking for. Thanks to all the staff you were great!!!

Room Tip: We stayed in the 3000 block, they were the superior rooms perfect for what we wanted and needed, bed...
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
Enfield, Canada
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

My husband and I have just returned from 7 days at Whala Bavaro (Apr 3-10) and have few complaints. I had read all of the reviews before we booked (and after) and did my research so we knew what to expect when we got there. We travelled with two other couples and one single for my birthday. We were also surprised upon our arrival to be met in the lobby by good friends from out of province we didn’t expect.

The hotel is 20 minutes or so from the airport and not very impressive when you pull up. It is located on a narrow street and the lobby is literally on the street (guards are on duty) as well as a section of the rooms and a mini mart. Check in was simple and quick and we were off to locate our suites. The hotel is three older properties which were put together, as you walk through it is quite easy to pick out the three distinct areas. When you leave the lobby you will be on top of pool 1 (small) which is located in front of the buffet, walk through the tunnel and you will enter the area of pool 2 which has a bar (open until 11pm) and is surrounded by three levels of rooms. This section has loud music most of the day and night! As you walk past the bar you will follow the winding path of flowers and trees and enter into the area which contains the suites. The suite area consists of 6 buildings, two rooms up and two rooms down so it is very private and secluded and the nicest area of the hotel in my opinion. The a la carte restaurant is located here along with a bar which opens from 2-6pm (or whenever they get around to it!). The shaped pool you see in most pictures is also in this area. There is a small gym as well as the original lobby for this section which is a nice place to sit to get out of the sun.

Rooms: We had suite #44, top floor looking down through the area and probably had one of the nicest views (but not out the back!). Our suite had 5 rooms, living room which opened up onto the wrap around balcony, bedroom with 4 poster canopy bed, and 3 rooms for the bathroom (shower/sink room, sunken Jacuzzi room and toilet/bidet room). The room was cleaned everyday and restocked with water bottles (if you run out there are water coolers to refill your bottles), our maid took very good care of us! When she found out it was my birthday she made a beautiful display on the bed with flowers and towel art.

Food: My husband and I had no issues with the food. The buffet is small but for us offered everything we wanted. Fresh breads and desserts daily, small salad bar, soup, hot selections. The resort is only 147 rooms so they don’t provide all of the choices you may be used to in larger resorts. Do not expect to see potatoes everyday (except fries), it is not their thing. Vegetables are cooked semi crisp (which we like) so they are not to everyone’s taste. Fresh cooked omelettes or eggs are available every morning. There is a small bar in the buffet for lunch and supper only; all wines are bottled and very good. They have a theme each evening for the buffet and the Mexican was probably one of the best meals we had. If you wish to book the a la carte you must go to the front desk and they will show you the menu for the evening; you choose one appetizer, one entrée and one dessert each (if you are booking for a group you must all be there or have someone pick for you) and it will be prepared for you. Presentation is nice, portions are not large but the food was very good. There is a bbq/grill at the beach serving fries, chicken and hotdogs. If you are lucky you will get a hamburger which are very good but not served every day. All of the other reviews were correct, the coffee is nasty but drinkable (it’s not Dominican coffee)

Bars: One by pool #2 services the entire hotel from 10am to 11pm; one by pool #3 from 2pm to 6pm (or whenever they get around to open) and one at the beach which stops being AI at 11pm, you then purchase your drinks. Service was hit and miss at times at all three, when the beer tap runs out they switch to bottled Bohemia. You will pay for top shelf, they use bar mix for your drinks. You will find something to drink. Late in the afternoon at the suite pool they will serve sandwiches and fruit and if you ask make you fries (also hot dogs and hamburgers some days).

From the hotel it is a short stroll to town for shopping (good pricing at Cusie’s Boutique), pharmacy, restaurants and bars (highly recommend Gary’s Good Times around the corner!) if you are looking for something to do. You can also arrange to go to the mall for shopping at the front desk. If you walk down the beach in either direction you will find lots of vendors eager to have you take a look at their shops. Free wifi is available at some of the shops in town if you ask.

Overall my husband and I enjoyed our week and would not hesitate to return if the price was right and we could book a suite again. This hotel will not be for everyone; there is no entertainment on site, the bar at pool 3 should be open all day and into the evening, there could be more garbage cans, the coffee needs to be improved; not major things that will ruin your vacation but small things that would make a great improvement. If you are used to 4-5 star service and entertainment, this is not the place for you. If you are looking for a quiet location to relax, enjoy the sun and beach and make new friends around the pool then this will be the place for you.

Room Tip: Book the suites, especially #44 or #34
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 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.
Halifax, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Our group of 7 ladies landed late on April 5th and had a quick and easy registration and proceeded to settle in . After a few searches around the property we retired . Next morning ready to have fun we ate and headed to the beach where we found lots of seaweed and few people around . Our group love the beach and all swam and sunned ourselves . My vegan sister totally loved the food and most of us enjoyed the selection and always found something good to eat. The staff are great especially Cathy at the beach bar who definitely kept us dancing all week thanks to her .
We had lots of options for having fun all week and we took lots of trips in boats especially the glass bottom boat tour which was a blast and the two guys sure made it fun for us .
Our room was on the back side in the bamboo and was nice and quiet for sleeping and kept the area cool as well. My air conditioner was great really cold .
All in all we sure had a great week and we left a bit sad that it was over but I'm sure we will be back for more wonderful Dominican fun and sun. Thanks you to all staff

Room Tip: II likes the quiet side of the hotel with no view
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 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.
Mission, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

Literally just came back from 15 days in the Dominican and once more stayed at this little all inclusive. Staff welcomed us back with hugs, hands shakes, bottle of good wine. It's basic but some of us don't ask for more and this past year they'd made more renovations., If somethings broke, ask at front desk and it will SOON be fixed. All 3 pools are lovely and the suite they upgraded us to was cosy, clean, private and had a Jacuzzi! Food is basic but plentiful. Great BBQ once a week - weather permitting. Close to plenty of small restaurants if you want a change of venue as well as only a couple of block to BAM market (groceries, bakery, small deli, liquor and CUSIE's (gifts, clothing and liquor) both of which have better prices on their liquor than elsewhere. In between German town and beach flea markets both good places to barter for trinkets, liquor, and laramar. Unfortunately a bad windstorm tore up part of the beach this year and eroded the sand by the bar area but, they'll soon fix that.

We hope to be able to do this trip again next year and would not hesitate to stay here..

Room Tip: Suites at the back are awesome but, if you want to party book around inner pool bar, if not request...
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Lashburn
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

my husband and I just returned from this resort for 10 days, first room was awful as it was right by the road and noisy. Upgraded to a suit which is worth it for sure as much better, always found something to eat but not many options so we were tired of it by the end for sure, burgers at the beach are good when they r there. Hotel getting really run down and if they don't fix it up soon its going to get really bad. They don't really make u feel special here and the drinks are way to sweet, but we still enjoyed ourselves and didn't let it ruin our trip. Nothing really to do as no entrainment what so ever, beach is really nice just no shady spots so it can get hot. staff were mostly friendly, and helpful but like I said before just nothing special but it was a fairly cheap resort so wasn't too upset but have paid the same or cheaper other places and enjoyed myself a lot more. I wouldn't return to the resort but like I said we still had a good holiday

Room Tip: suites are totally worth the extra money
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  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Chicago, Illinois
1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed 1 week ago

3 couples stayed and this was one of the worst places I have ever stayed! We stayed here because we missed our flight, when we arrived the guy at the front desk seen our bands from the previous resort and said "We are better than where you stayed". We that was a lie! The rooms are small, smelled, the air did not work, the shower water had little particles coming out, the food was terrible, the beach area had dogs sitting around the tables and taking a Poop in the sand, flies was flying all over where the guy was cooking the food and you had to pay $10 for wifi. The overall experience was TERRIBLE :(

  • Stayed April 2015, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
Estelle L, Director de Relaciones con Clientes at whala!bavaro, responded to this review, 1 week ago
Dear Client,

Thank you for your time on this comment.
We are sorry to hear that our hotel didn't live up to your expectations.
At whala!bávaro we read the opinions of all our clients and use them to make our service better in the future.

Kind Regards.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative 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:
#1 Best Value Hotel in Punta Cana
#39 Romantic Hotel in Punta Cana
#52 On the Beach Hotel in Punta Cana
#53 Top resorts 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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