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“IFA Bavaro Village - Good & Bad” 3 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, Bavaro, Punta Cana 51101, Dominican Republic   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #14 of 17 Hotels in Bavaro
Stony Plain, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“IFA Bavaro Village - Good & Bad”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2011

We arrived in the early evening on Nov. 24. The check in took quite awhile. They didn't seem very happy to see us, or were welcoming in any way - but we were on vacation, and so happy to finally get there. First tip - if you want a SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX, get it at check in - eventhough you have to go and stand in another line to get it - adds another 10 -15 minutes to your check in time. It costs $3/day. Checkin was disorganized - Finally - an extremely friendly porter took us to our room - #4436. He showed up how everything in the room worked which was certainly appreciated. I think Hubby tipped him $5.

After check in, went to the buffet which was not very good. After that we decided to try and book ala-cartes most nights, ( which we did and they were pretty good), other than the Italian, which just has a buffet set up behind the scene with the same food that you can get in the afternoon at the beach restaurant. The other ala-cartes were pretty good, other than the Mexican which we did not like at all.

The walk to the beach was about 5 minutes, through the nice white sand which is not that bad to do, but further than some people would like. I did not like that there is only one bathoom, with only 2 stalls, you usually always had to line up and wait. It's a big resort - they should have more bathrooms, as well, the bar isn't right on the beach, so you have to walk into the restaurant to order your drinks.

The rooms were nice and the housekeeping was certainly up to par. I don't know that I would go back there as the rooms don't have balconys, just screen doors that open up. Most of the guests there we European-one day some guy from Germany/Holland??? not sure-- came up and wanted one of the chairs we were saving for our friends who were joining us - he made a big scene about us saving chairs and threatened to report us to the hotel - husband told him - go report us - our friends are coming??? What the H??? That was the only sour part of our holiday. All in all - it was a nice week away in the nice warm weather of the Dominican Republic. Will I go back? -- of course, probably not to this resort, but don't stay away from it - we just like a different atmosphere.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 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.
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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 (424)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Hungarian first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
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English first
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2011

YOU BE THE JUDGE:

SHUTTLE & ROOM:
As soon as we got to the Punta Cana Airport, Coco Tours was waiting for us to bring us the resort. I booked with CheapTickets.com and had the option to purchase the shuttle service. That went smoothly. On the way over we dropped off a couple at BELIVE hotel and boy did it look bad. Just saying. I'm a New York type of girl and was looking to get out of the resort and do our own thing but from the looks on the way to IFA, it was bad. I don't want to get caught out there.

As soon as we arrive to the IFA we spoke to Randy at the front desk. I called to confirm our reservations a week prior (thank God I did because it was so screwed up) and he was polite and sent the bellman to bring our bags to our $130. upgraded room, which we purchased. Very nice gesture. My boyfriend, Pat gave Randy a handshake with a $50 bill. We stayed at 3307. The room had old flowers in two vases but overall it was nice. I like the flat screen TV, red wall, and the tiles are not cracked. The repairs in the room were done real crappy. But it was comfortable for someone who gets home sick like myself. The bed was firm and pillows were soft. Shower was large. NO PRIVACY whatsoever which could be uncomfortable or eye candy for your spouse. The wall was a glass brick barrier and door was a glass frost type of door. The bathroom is pretty a tiny space again with a frost door. Not cool. The vanity was decent. The sink was far off from the facet. In other words, the job was done wrong but fine. I'm not looking for perfection. Our sliding door faced the back of Pizza area. Very loud in the daytime. At night it was quiet. Air conditioning worked and kept room cold. We had the thermostat in our room as well.

BEACH & POOLS:

Good luck with getting a lounge chair past 9am. All the IFA visitors put out their towel on the chairs at 7am and don't come back till at least 12:30. It’s incredible how these people have such nerve. I had no problem throwing their towel on the sand and taking the chairs. Same issue at the ALL pools. Expect men in Speedos, thongs and women to be topless at the beach. Not walking around though. The sand is clean, firm; water is real salty, clean and not exactly clear. The palm trees on the beach are so tall and beautiful. Very cool.

FOOD:
The food is another story. The only thing I did enjoy was the fried or roasted chicken, rice, and beans, bean salad annnnnddd that’s about it. The pizza by the pool was a joke. It tasted like cardboard. I have no idea how anyone on the face of this earth could enjoy the pizza. I noticed people putting ketchup on it and eating it with satisfaction. Everything is very salty or oily which caused for upset stomach. Food that doesn’t even look like food. Nothing is hot. Coffee was good. Drinks were a rip off. They all tasted the same in a lil plastic cup (the ones you use for mouthwash.) They have pina colada mix and a banana strawberry mix. EXTREMELY SWEET. They do have coca cola and sprite on tap, which wasn’t so bad. Every beer Pat had was warm. The beer is kept in an icebox with no ice in it. They take this opened beer bottle and pour it in a plastic cup. We made it to 2 out of the 3 restaurants. The Chinese one was good. I had a Philly roll, sweet and sour chicken, and fried ice cream. All very good. Pat had the dumplings, grouper? and fried ice cream. He said it was very good too. I didn’t taste because I enjoyed mine so much. My portion was large. The Mexican restaurant was no good. I love Mexican food. (Last night I ate tacos) but this place was gross. I ordered the burrito. Ya know what they served me? The taquitos from 7-Eleven. No joke. And the ones at 7-11 were tastier. Get dressed up for taquitos. The last restaurant was Carribe. I was so sick and tired of the food I went over to the mini mart and pat and I got 2 pear juices in a can and 2 cup of noodles, boiled some water from the coffee maker that is in the room and had us a cup of soup for dinner and I gotta say,.. IT WAS THE BEST THING I ATE ALL 8 DAYS I WAS THERE!!

TIP:
We tipped the lady housekeeper whom was quite friendly, the manager Randy at the front desk, the bartenders at the beach bar, bellboy, bartender at the pizza bar. And would you believe when we passed them at later times during our stay we got a turned cheek. Several times we came up to the front desk to ask a simple question and Randy turned his face and walked away to chitchat. DON’T BOTHER TO TIP ANYONE except your housekeeper. We gave $40-50 tips and we get cold shoulders! Why bother? The housekeeper didn’t clean our room before anyone else’s or pick us fresh flowers but MOST IMPORTANTLY made sure we had a clean tidy room! She provided an extra towel with two sprites & cokes. Perfect. I don’t need first class but show class with my gratitude.

SPA:
We purchase a double hour massage for $120.00. It was great. The ½ hour Sauna and ½ hour Jacuzzi were clean.

I believe IFA caters to the EuroTrash that stays at their resort. I apologize to anyone who is offended but its 100% true…Watching Europeans participate in a dirty dance contest and rubbing up on hotel staff which were the judges is disgusting and unacceptable. It really seem the Europeans were going for seconds and thirds for the food…. The Americans we met and spoke to didn’t like the food at all. The pasta and pizza is something that should not be called food.

Overall, I had a good time. We made the most of our trip. We woke up at 7am to make the reservations at the restaurants and reserve our lounge chairs. We bought a bottle of rum and a coke to make our own COLD drinks. We purchased ice-cold beer at a lil shack at the beach that had no relations with IFA. We had nice cup of noodles soup that didn’t give us upset stomach. Took long walks on the beach and did what we planned to do down there whether the hotel was great or not. And that was to RELAX. I wouldn’t come back again though. I did stress my feelings to Randy whom could give two [--].

And talking to dozens of other people back home, that’s what D.R. is all about. Book with another island! Good luck!

Room Tip: The rooms in the back are most quiet by the high pool with the broken jacuzzis
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
100 Mile House, Canada
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2011

This was our 3rd time to this Resort. For the most part it was very good. IFA Bavaro seem to be catering more to the younger crowd now than they were in the past. It was very noisy almost all the time. That being said, we did go during Spring Break. The food was good, the staff very friendly. If you would like to meet a very funny and nice guy, go see Carlos at his little store by the main pool. Tell him Darryl from Canada sent you. Also Cheapy Juan, who sells tours, another good person. If you don't mind a little noise, this is a nice resort for the price. The people truly make up for any inconveniences.

  • Stayed March 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Senior Contributor
49 reviews 49 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2011

Dominican Republic is the Caribbean's largest tourist destination. DR is the second largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba), with 10 million (poor) people.

We’ve visited a couple of times and we like it; even stayed at this resort a few years ago. It has matured and features all facilities most (not all) people need for a great holiday or want for a pleasant stay. It is ranked in the middle among DR Punta Cana resorts, but the price is near bottom. I read complaints about check-in, staff & service. I find this rude and ungracious. This is a poor country that is providing a pretty decent place. You will kindly find more expensive places with more fantastic luxury, but then the luxury part is what you value.

The IFA Bavaro Village Resort & Spa strikes a fine balance, has it all. Close to the airport. Capacity for 1600 guests. Ocean beach; nice accommodations; spa and beauty salon; medical facilities & pharmacy. Animation staff & stuff; Spanish (I mean the language) lessons with my best buddy Jackson; stretching & fitness with another best buddy. Boutiques for shopping and the prices are ok. Not enough? Shopping mall within walking distance.

Food is ample, variegated and nicely presented. Fresh fruit, and changing desserts daily. The pork and beef are tough - yes, yes, some guests may go hungry. Are you imagining paradise for a dime? Many have commented on the snack bar Pikalo Pizza, which is super tasty for a quick & simple meal. If you get sick (some have mentioned), examine your eating habits and seek assistance from the local medical office; do not throw blame around the resort.

The a-la-carte restaurants are fine and offer a more private dining setting. Do not expect 3-star Michelin (I don’t mean the tire), just a more interesting presentation. The servers and chefs work hard and try to be patient and flexible. About getting in – si señor - you need to queue at the crack of dawn. If the requirements were lowered, demand would exceed supply. Or you can reserve by phone.

A very nice touch is the Café Dominicano, a comfy, casual coffeehouse / bar. We attended mid-afternoon for my cappuccino (with dessert I saved from lunch, my personal pleasure). Evenings it’s packed with people who prefer to blah-blah or mah-jong.

Our evenings were occupied with the show at the theatre (kids at 8, adults at 9 or 10). It is elaborate with agile dancers, throaty singers, scantily models, voiced hosts, bright lights, loud music, special effects, different program every nite, all included, with free drinks. Wow! Admittedly not for everyone, but you can come and go anytime without wasting a minute or peso. We like to dance, so we profited from this. Later, the disco, and the music is Latin. Here again, not for most gringos. But examine the feminine minimal evening attire (well, actually more cover than on the beach, where both sexes may be topless). Best thing about the disco: the air conditioning. We always wear protection in these situations – it’s just prudent, bring your own. I mean industrial ear protection - music is loud!

The grounds are lovely, including a variety of fauna for fun. Buildings and rooms are spacious and well kept. Beds were fine if you prefer not-soft. Separate shower and toilet, euro-style. Air conditioning was sufficient. Outdoor pools are clean and nice and distributed around the expansive resort. It’s so large that a trolley wobbles around for people who find distances challenging. If this is an impediment for you, request proximity before being assigned a room.

The beach is very sandy, smallish, crowded, decorated with seaweed, the water is replete with parked aquacraft. It’s not ideal. But it’s the ocean, guys! Maybe the resort makes a few extra shekels from paid parking. But there’s a market on the beach with deals to be had: cigars, booze, jewellery, clothes. Bargain!

We had a satisfying and entertaining sojourn with money left over for half of another trip.

Room Tip: Midway between beach & dining.
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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 16
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Langley City, Canada
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2011

We went in April 2011 for a week. Now the price was amazing so that is why we jumped on this trip. The Food was average. Being Canadian it was more like a European food plan. Got very sick of the buffet after 1 meal. Now the entertainment at night was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. Staff were very nice especially the Margarita bar and swim up bar bartenders. I was expecting a little more but you do get what you pay for. Beach and pool chairs are just plain plastic chairs. First time to Dominican Republic. Will go back but try another place. Honestly if you are looking for amazing quality and service try 5 star or Jamaica
Weather was AMAZING in April. Shopping was also great because you did not have to leave resort. They have hut style shopping in between resorts which was very good

Pizza place however has amazing pizza too

Room Tip: Do not stay in the "villas" They are like hotel rooms but all ground floor BUT far away fr...
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  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 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.
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2011

IFA resorts spa hotel is awesome me and my wife stayed a week there we got a room in the 4000 and close to beach side which was close to everything. This hotel is not party central and unlike cancun punta cana is not a party place. Alot of old people at this resort and quiet europeans. Pools are great the pool bar is awesome and the pizza place picallo is awesome great pizza and at 11 pm they serve hamburgers and hot dogs line up at 11 or long line up. BEach is awesome white sand and crystal blue water. The theatre shows are awesome animacon team is awesome nightly shows rock look for mini me he is short guy in nightly shows he is life of the show. buffets are all good caribe is the best hands down. Food is good sometimes the same but food is good. Great entertainment by the pool even. Cafe Domincana is awesome best capucinno i tried ever and mama banana is awesome drink nice cold try it out don't forget. This hotel is great enjoyed my time here but only few complaints they don't bug you enough for excurisions like the caribbean festival. Me and my wife decided to do the caribbean festival which was snorkelling with sharks and stingrays. It is 90 bucks but worth every penny. Remember folks hotel entertainment is good but not great upto you to make vacatoins fun do excursions. THe business services in this hotel are weak that is the only complain. THe excursions are done through your tour operator or provider which sucks because they dont bug you they get paid regardless. I wish the excursions were done through the hotel then they would bug you. Remember we are on vacation to have fun time just wish they would bug you more about the excurisons and stuff to do in punta cana. We went to imagine and it was not that great they kept playing latin music no hip hop mostly house it is overrated no doubt and went to san juan shopping center okay not a big mall waste of time. This hotel is awesome the food is good not a 3 star a 4 star a real bargain folks.

Room Tip: get the room by beachside in the 4000 but remember the theatre is close by and closes at 11pm who wa...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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Ottawa, Canada
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2011

Visited this location in Late November 2011. All went really well and it was a fair value for the price.

Resort was clean and well kept I had to call for service twice and the responce time and fix was very well executed. Downfall was a slight distance from the beach.

Room was ok. The number one complaint from all from our group (3 rooms)was the pillows. Sink toilet shower were all new. Would benefit from updated drapes bedlinens furniture and additional ammenities such as clock towels facecloth kleenex and a few beverages in the fridge would have been nice. Despite tipping my maid every day there was no added details like towel art nor flowers :(

Beach was warm but not clear in fact it was weedy. I was surprised that any trash and weeds were not raked overnight. Some resorts hired to clean the worst manually but not all of it. The grat thing eas the amount of palm trees offering shade.

Food was ok. We werent sick. Variety was limited. The a la carte restaurants varied with japanese being the best then the mexican (whose waiters were more personnal) and the worse was the international restaurant both for the food ( mine was still partially frozen) and the servers were stiff.

Employees were generally efficient but not all that friendly especially for food areas. The recreation team was very good. Everyone did great you with hola including grounds crew.

Drinks (alcooholic)were included and easily available but inconsstent in taste and quality. Coffee was a bit harder to come by as wad soft drinks and the wine i would recomend you avoid! i saw them refilling bottles from a plastic jug and the white housewine was of very poor quality.

Comfort was difficult to find. The lounge chairs were worn and lacked an extra notch. Chairs in the coffee shop were angled and too deep without support.

I would recomend to thise who arent too picky.

  • Stayed November 2011
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa

Address: Playas de Bavaro, Bavaro, Punta Cana 51101, Dominican Republic
Location: Caribbean > Dominican Republic > La Altagracia Province > Punta Cana > Bavaro
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Business Hotel in Bavaro
#9 On the Beach Hotel in Bavaro
#11 Family Hotel in Bavaro
#11 Romantic Hotel in Bavaro
#12 Top resorts Hotel in Bavaro
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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