We have just returned after spending 2 weeks at the Iberostar Grand.
The Iberostar estate is huge - after going through the security entrance you drive for about 2km past golf courses and villa / condo estates before getting to the Grand. It has a 1 km beach front with 4 resorts, all of which Grand guests can access (but not the other way round).
The Grand is stunning with very well maintained and manicured gardens, water-features, wild-life pond, swimming pools (bizarrely no-one swims, they just stand and drink and talk amongst themselves) and beach area. We hadn't appreciated from pictures quite how big it was. We had emailed a week before arriving to request a high floor room facing inward and we couldn't have been more pleased with our allocation. We had also requested some specific dinner reservations and these were waiting for us on arrival too.
In the first day or two we did feel the resort was immaculate but a little sterile in atmosphere, but we increasingly warmed to it as we got to see and know the staff - they are what makes this resort special. Without exception all the bar, waiting and entertainments staff were exceptional - always cheerful and friendly. We have to mention the lovely Sandra who brought us drinks most days near the pool - her smile was always a ray of sunshine.
We met about 5 different butlers over the 2 weeks. They were helpful in sorting out minor problems, but we did have an issue booking the Chinese restaurant in one of the other hotels - our butler booked a Japanese one for us, repeatedly insisting it was Chinese when we queried. (difficulties with dinner reservations have been reported in countless other reviews). There was also a nice touch when we arrived back in our room a couple of times to find a bottle of wine chilling, but had to go hunting a butler to open it as rooms do not have corkscrews.
We tried a few of the activities to break up the day - air rifle shooting was our favourite and my wife showed an unexpected talent there, winning most times.
There is a huge range of drinks and food on offer. The breakfast room service was on time and exceptional. We ate most lunches in the poolside buffet - not sure why the hotel has 2 buffets serving essentially the same food? We ate at the Surf & Turf (good), Gourmet (very rich food) and Japanese (tepanyaki was very salty).
Had everything gone well, we would have come home rested after a fantastic holiday, however two things marred our stay.
4-5 days into our stay we both got an upset stomach. Mine persisted for the rest of the holiday at a low level. My wife though had 6 days of extreme discomfort. Immodium from home and other meds from the resort pharmacy didn't touch it and by the 7th day she was taken to hospital in an ambulance with severe dehydration and resultant low blood pressure. After 24 hours on a drip and pumped full of anti-biotics etc. she had recovered sufficiently to return for our final 2 days. We are now ploughing through insurance claim forms to try to recover the $2500 it all cost. We notified the hotel and they were very concerned and sympathetic and said that they would thoroughly check all their hygene standards. Having seen the cleanliness of the food areas we would have been ready to accept it as bad luck, however we have just read 2 other Tripadvisor reviews where guests had problems at the same time as us (and we met 3 other people while we were there with mild problems). We were told by management that no-one else had reported anything and we now see that the hotel has responded on Trip to one of the other guests saying that they too were an isolated case. The hotel is not being honest here and we worry about their willingness to address the problem.
The other issue should have been a minor one, but after 2 weeks became a real irritant for us and everyone else we spoke to. The resort plays music everywhere throughout the day. The was no escape in the pool, gardens, on our balconies, even in our room we could hear it. We were woken up at 7.15 one morning hearing it. What made it so irritating was that it was the same 15 or so songs played over & over & over again. We were told that it was "controlled by Spain", there was no off or volume switch, no-one knew how to change it, etc etc. The staff were clearly embarrassed and frustrated but nothing was done. After 2 days of peace (in hospital!) we returned to find one Jamie Cullen song playing on a loop for over 3 hours!!! At the time of leaving, the music had finally changed and we wish everyone arriving over the next few weeks all the best and hope they enjoy "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" and the other Xmas classics carefully selected for them.
Sorry this has been a long review. This is a fantastic hotel with so much going for it, unfortunately there seem to be a number of issues that management simply do not seem willing or able to resolve. If you are looking for a peaceful and relaxing break this may not be the place for you.
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- Also Known As:
- Iberostar Punta Cana
- Punta Cana Iberostar