We stayed here for a week from 17th - 24th May 2013. This was our first trip to the Dominican Republic and definitely not our last. This hotel was perfect for our needs and I spent a lot of time beforehand on Trip Advisor trying to decide on where to stay in Punta Cana. We definitely made the right choice....
Beach - it's paradise. The water is clean and turquoise blue and the sand is soft and warm between your toes. This hotel has the best beach area in my opinion with the sunbeds and the palm tree shades. I know there has been many reviews which mention that all the sunbeds are taken practically before dawn, but we didn’t experience this. Yes, it is definitely happening, but we were still able to get sunbeds on the beach or by the pool even at 9 or 10am. However, we were told it was a quiet week for the hotel in general. Be careful on the beach as it is quite breezy, which provides a welcome respite from the heat, but it can mean you don't realise how strong the sun is! We did see nasty sunburn on some people.
Staff - this is what makes the hotel what it is. They are amazing. Hard working, friendly and most of them are always smiling. They get to know you throughout your stay and it is this personal touch which made our holiday so special. Special mentions to Leovaldo in the lobby bar whose smile lit up the room and to Mignolia in the buffet restaurant who would high five us everytime we went in, and we loved how she sings ‘Café, café’ as she went round topping up people’s coffee at breakfast time. Our maid was also amazing, dotting fresh flowers around our room everytime it was cleaned. We did tip the staff, but this is not an essential thing as they worked hard and treated everyone beautifully regardless.
Grounds – The gardens are stunningly beautiful and amazingly well-kept. The gardeners who tend the grounds would give out coconuts picked from the tree and open them up so you could enjoy a refreshing drink. The flowers and trees provided a tropical splash of colour and I loved hearing the birds sing from within the trees as I walked by. Truly a paradise.
Upgrade – we were welcomed to the hotel with the news we were being upgraded to a suite. When we got to the room, we also discovered a plate of fruit and a bottle of rum as a welcome gift. Very much appreciated after a 9 hour flight as is the welcome cocktail as you check in.
Food – we found the buffet restaurant (Hispaniola) to be of really good quality and variety. We ate the salads without any issue and had no problems with holiday tummy or anything throughout our stay. You are told not to drink the tapwater, and this is not a problem as water and other drinks are provided in your room. Overall the Hispaniola buffet was our first choice for breakfast and dinner, and there are themed evenings where food from a different country is provided. There are always plenty of breads, salads, fresh fruits and meats there everytime, so something for everyone.
Drinks – these did vary depending on who made them, but in general the cocktails were pretty good. We tended to stick to mojitos. In the lobby bar, you could request the premium spirits like the extra aged rum etc if you wanted. The frozen mixes (pina colada, coco loco etc) tasted a bit chemically, so we didn’t have too many of these. There was also a vast variety of soft drinks and juices. The lobby bar made far nicer drinks then the ones near the pool.
Rooms – we did get the suite upgrade and our room was perfectly clean, comfortable and had everything we required. I guess they would be a bit basic for some travelers, and they are looking a little tired, but that didn’t bother us. We were too busy being out and about enjoying our holiday. We were on the 3rd floor (Rm 6310) which was quiet and nearer to the buffets/bars than the beach.
The Not so Good:
A La Carte Restaurants – Really didn’t enjoy them, next time we will stick to the buffet. The steakhouse was ok in terms of service, but the steak was terribly tough and tasted a bit strange. They are cooked on the BBQ and the taste was almost like it had been marinated in firelighters, not too pleasant. We also ate at the Mexican, and the service was terrible in there, we felt like an inconvenience and we were glad to leave. The Mexican food was just ok, the salads were nice, but the main course was small and tasteless. We were only ever brought one drink while selected tables were refilled every few minutes. It seemed like if they didn’t like the look of you in there, they would make sure you didn’t enjoy your meal. The atmosphere in there was just completely lacking. The only truly disappointing experience of the holiday.
Entertainment – we didn’t enjoy it much, but it didn’t really cater for us – the majority of the guests there seemed to really like it. I did find one animacion team member (I can’t remember her name) very loud and overbearing continually shouting APPLAUSO after the live band stopped between songs. In fact, she just seemed to shout all the time, which did get a bit annoying, but she seemed extremely popular with other holidaymakers. These are only small things though which did not effect our enjoyment of the holiday.
Overall, if you are looking for a hotel in Punta Cana, I would thoroughly recommend. We are seasoned travelers and I can honestly say this was one of my most enjoyable hotel experiences. I am sure you can get a more plusher room in some of the more luxury hotels in the area, but I doubt you will get the genuine hospitality and welcome that the Iberostar Punta Cana provides. It really was a home from home for us, and we managed to completely relax and enjoy a wonderfully relaxing break. Again, we credit the staff for making our holiday so successful. We can’t wait to go back.
Higher rooms are quieter and have less foot traffic.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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On behalf of Mrs. Helena Santos, we thank you for choosing Iberostar Punta Cana for your first experience in the Dominican Republic and for talking time to post a review on Tripadvisor.
We appreciate your positive lines about our varied gastronomy, the wide range of daily and nightly activities proposed by our Star Friends, the friendliness of our staff and the beauty of our hotel premises. Our goal in Iberostar is to ensure a memorable stay. We have congratulated Magnolia and Leovaldo for making you feel as a “Star”.
On the other hand, we extend our apologies for the delay in the service at our Mexican Restaurant as well as the meat served in our Steak House. We have shared your feedback with our food and Beverage Manager, our Executive Chef and our Star Friends Manager to evaluate their performance and introduce the corresponding corrective measures.
We are looking forward to welcome you back. Feel free to contact us before your next visit.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.