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“Had everything we needed!” 4 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
Level Contributor
23 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Had everything we needed!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 18, 2012

This property is a good deal for the traveler with a budget. It had everything that we needed to make our vacation a success. If you want to wallow in luxury or be waited on hand and foot, this is not the resort for you. But, if you want good value for your money, decent food and drink, nice rooms and some good fun then this is for you. Our room wasn't ready when we arrived, but not a problem, we just were sent into the buffet for lunch. We then were given a room near the theatre and closest to the beach. The theatre never really bothered us because either we were so tired we fell asleep no matter what the noise or we were outside enjoying the show! There is a lot of walking but you could grab a shuttle if you needed a rest too. The restarant by the beach was my favorite..but i had a decent meal at all of them except i didn't really like the Mexican one. The buffet had so many different kinds of food that i would try something new each time. We met a few nice people but most of the people stayed to themselves...I guess its hard to talk to people when you never know what language you will get in return? The toplessness never bothered me at all except one day at the pool there was a young couple, she was topless and he was massaging her, it was completely inappropriate and there were young children nearby. They really needed to "get a room". There were some surly workers, but the majority were nice and fun. They need to change the brand of beer served here. The Bhrama is too bitter when compared to Presidente beer, but that was my only complaint for drinks. I tended to stick with rum and cola lite, the fruit juice in the tropical concoctions is just asking for problems later. So all in all it was a good vacation. I would reccomend this resort to people who have average expectations for an average price paid!

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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
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  • 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
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8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 17, 2012

Me and my friend were looking for a sunny country with white-sand beaches. And we didn't make a mistake when chose Dominican Republic.

The hotel was not bad, rather far from the beach but they have kind of a personal road to the beach, you have to walk for 5 minutes to get there. At 7 in the morning many people try to keep beach chairs on their way to buffet. So, if you want to stay at the pool, you have to hurry up!!! If you want tp relax at the beach it's easier to find a place to lie.

The beach is good (much better than other 4 star have), but there is a very, extremely small swimming area. I cannot swim so for me it wasn't a problem. Also I noticed that in front of our hotel waves were very quiet (as opposed to Hard Rock Hotel, we were going to their beach to jump in the waves... ). All the beaches are VERY windy (in winter, we were there in January 2012), if it's cloudy, it's really cold to come out of the ocean.

Food was good enough. I enjoyed omlettes in the morning (the cook was very friendly and was always smiling). There was not a great variety of fruit, and if you wanna take them, you should come early. My friend was really satisfied with the food, I wasn't. But it depends on what you expect. The only fantastic thing I must mention is Pizza Piccalo!! 24/7 pizza! Love it!
Mexican restaurant a la carte was bad. Don't go.

I can't say anything about animation, because I haven’t' take part in any activities except aqua aerobics, which was very funny though :)

Good staff, everyone wants to help you. Except your maids. You do tip, or you dont - doesn't matter, the result is the same. They change towels very rarely. Once a week i think.

Rooms. We booked a standard room but after reading reviews decided to upgrade it when we arrive. It cost 15 dollar per person a day. You should definitely do it, because superiors are better :) And closer to the ocean, and further from the main pool (but as I’ve said, I've come to the ocean, not to swim in the pool).

The territory of the hotel is excellent! I enjoyed walking around the houses. And the beach was good! If you want to get to a not-crowded beach, go to the left from the road. Don't know why, but most people go to the right, where it's not easy to find a working beach chair.

In general, good place. Not sure that will return though. But the territory is amazing, pizza is delicious, beach is white and the weather is sunny! :)))
It's good for staying with friends, for romantic holidays choose something else.

  • Stayed January 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Ottawa, ON
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2012

We stayed at IFA Villas Bavaro from April 4 to 11, 2012. We had a great time at this resort and have very few complaints. Here's our take on the hotel:

We booked a room in the villas section. We were told at reception as soon as we arrived that we could upgrade for $8 per person a day, and after taking a look at the villas, thought it was a good idea. They are definitely run-down and also a bit out the way. We upgraded to a superior room in the 4500 block and it was definitely worth it. The room was great and close to most things. Also, we asked for a quiet room and were not disappointed.

The beach was a little disappointing. Though still very beautiful, it was smaller than we had expected and there was not as much shade as we would have liked as they don't have palapas or a lot of big palm trees. The motor boats constantly going by make quite a bit of noise, which was kind of annoying, but you get used to it. Also, you can walk in either direction on the beach and swim wherever you prefer, so the beach was not really an issue. The people trying to sell stuff were also pretty annoying, but you would get that anywhere and just need to say a fim "no, thank you" and not enter into conversation with them if you want them to leave you alone.

We thought the food was very good, having been to Cuba and another Punta Cana resort. It is true that the food at buffets did not vary much from day to day, but there were a lot of choices every day and we never got bored with it. We went to the Mexican and the International a la cartes and found both to have good food. We liked the atmosphere of the Mexican better. It was less cramped and more relaxed. Neither one of us had any stomach issues to speak of.

We were very happy with the service we received. Our maid did a good job on our room every day and left us plenty of water. We tipped a US dollar a day. The servers and bartenders were quick and friendly. We found that most of them spoke at least enough English to take our order and serve us. We had no communication problems whatsoever. I do speak a bit of Spanish, but my husband does not. Reception was great and fast and everyone spoke good English.

We went to this hotel over the Holy Week, so it's hard to say if there is usually more going on at the hotel. That said, there was always something happening by the main pool, and the evening shows were fun and entertaining. However, we found that there were less things to do than we would have liked. For example, it would have been nice to have a games room (pool tables, ping pong, etc.) that people can use in the evening or if it's raining.

Overall, we had a great time here and would recommend this hotel. The minor issues I mentioned didn't even come close to ruining our trip.

Room Tip: If they offer you an upgrade for $8 a day, take it! Tell them what you want and they'll give it...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
29 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2012

This was the first (and probably the last) time my partner and I had been on a package holiday. We were dubious about doing it as it just isn't our style but it turned out to be the only way we could afford going somewhere like the Dominican Republic.
Generally, the resort was good. The room (we chose a superior double) was spacious and clean but with a few things to be improved which were: that the air conditioning was very noisy and difficult to regulate as it was either off or very cold-we would have preferred ventilators. Secondly, I don't know who designs these bathrooms but it would never enter my mind to have a glass (opaque but still..) door which doesn't even go from the ground to the ceiling. This is the second time I have encountered this, the first time was in Lisbon so let's just say if you like your privacy when on the toilet, beware.
The service was overall very efficient, especially in the buffet and restaurants as the waiters and waitresses keep an eagle eye on everything and are very quick to sort out any problem (spilled jucie,waning croissants, empty coffee cups etc..). In reception things were slower as we had to wait a good half an hour to be shown to our room when we arrived. Another time my partner went to reception to ask for another towel because we'd only been given one. He was told they would send one up but never did so we had to call to remind them.And speaking of towels, I thought the pool/beach towels were really grotty and old. However, these things are minor.
As for the restaurants, I liked the fact that you could choose between different options. For breakfast you eat in the buffet and I must say, it had the best variety I have ever seen. They cater for all tastes and nationalities. You want bacon, sausages and eggs? You got it. Pancakes, French toast, muffins, doughnuts, bagels? Fresh fruit and jucies, different bread rolls, cereal, yoghurt and lots more so no complaints there, except the coffee was the watery filter kind but I expected that. For lunch you can choose between this buffet and the one near the beach (wasn't a big fan) or the pizza bar near the pool which also serves burgers and chips. For dinner you can go to the buffet again or reserve at one of the 4 restaurants: Jalisco (Mexican), Mar del Caribe (do not be fooled, it's Mediterranean not Caribbean food), El Bambu (oriental fusion) and the last one I can't remember the name, something like Las Velitas (the candles),it is the daytime buffet by the beach and at night it serves Italian food. If you want to have dinner in one of these you must reserve the day before or the same morning, a tip is to call reception (ask them for the number for dinner reservations) so as to avoid queuing.
The quality of the Mexican, Oriental and Italian were pretty poor. El Mar del Caribe was by far the best and the food of much higher quality. Unfortunately, if you want wine, you have to buy a bottle,whereas in the other restaurants you can have it free but the white wine I had looked and tasted like water. Also, I would advise you to avoid seafood as I had diarrhea and a fever one day and I think it was the prawns I had in the Bambu restaurant (I know it is very easy for seafood to go off which is why I think it could have been that,though I can't be sure).
The resort layout: there are 3 pools, 2 of which have bars in them. The beach is a little walk and there you can have drinks in the buffet. I liked the way it was all spread out and not claustrophobic. Also, there are little ponds and wildlife with lots of trees and green all around which made it aesthetically pleasing. The beach was ok but nothing to write home about and if you want peace and quiet you won't always get it as there are a lot of boats with music blaring.
So, as I said, this was a one-off for us and the hotel itself was fine. What I feel I have to warn you about if you are an independent traveller, is the way these packages companies work.I mean, I was expecting the resort bracelet round my wrist and people trying to sell me excursions etc but my partner and I had planned to just have breakfast in the hotel and then escape on our own during the day to explore the island and then come back for dinner. Little did we know how hard they would make it for us to do this. On our first day we were assigned a rep and had to have a meeting with her (already started feeling a bit stifled). Her name was Judith, beware. She started off by telling us that it was very important to be in contact with her or we might not get on our flight back as there were often problems (??), she then proceeded to pull out her excursion pamphlets and tried to sell them to us. Fine, I expected that but what I didn't expect was for her to get vicious when we told her we wouldn't be going on any excursions. Three other boys were in this group and when they also said they weren't interested she asked them 'so why are you here?', they answered 'for the beach' and she rolled her eyes at them. When we told her we were just going to rent a car and travel round the island she told us off as if we were children saying it was too dangerous and we couldn't. By this point I was in shock and felt seriously trapped because I am used to travelling freely and doing what I want. When she saw we weren' t going to change our minds she told us that if we had any problem or accident when not on one of her excursions, we wouldn't be insured. She then whipped out her phone and made a call to someone making a big show of saying that we were not insured and crossing our names off her list. Then, bizarrely, she said she could make a call to Avis for us to find out how much it cost to rent a car. We decided we wanted nothing to do with this woman and instead went to the desk at reception where they can rent cars for you and a very helpful boy called Reynaldo gave us lots of information without trying to sell us anything. When the car rental company dropped off the car the next day, we told the guy about our experience with this woman and he told us that he'd heard lots about her and that her husband works for Avis!!
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we hired a car for three days and just fled from the resort. We drove around the rural areas and mountains where there are no tourists and had absolutely no trouble. I want people to know that they do have a choice to visit places independently (and way more cheaply) because I know that what these companies do is work with the fear factor trying to scare toursits and create a dependency on them. Just be firm and say NO.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2012

We stayed at this resort from Mar 22 to 28th. Room was nice, but didn't like the no privacy while you shower or use the toilet. We were on the fourth floor where we stayed so climbing the stairs several times per day got a little exhausting at times. Food was good but it was always the same from day to day. Also got a little fed up with people who cut in line constantly. There was ciggarette smoke everywhere...we would move and then someone would light up.We enjoyed the beach but not the filthy women who would run around topless...disgusting !!! Also there is little or no shade...we burned the first day. We did enjoy our stay but would probably not go back to this place unless they got some more shade and have designated areas for smoking.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed April 13, 2012

Very nice grounds and pool. Beach is ok but there are always boats docked right in front.

Food - Terrible. 1 star. Buffet is always the same. Just bad. A la cartes were also pretty bad, Italian and Caribbean were ok. Mexican was terrible. TIP: Don't wait in line for a reservation, just dial 8109 from your room.

Drinks - No mojitos and only beer was Brahma. Poor.

Social - Mainly adults during our stay, except right at the end which marked the beginning of Easter weekend, tons of local families came to the resort.

Rooms - LOCK YOUR STUFF UP, GET THE SAFE!!! Our friends' room was rifled through by staff when they called to get their air conditioning fixed. Beds are rock solid and pillows are lumpy.

All in all, pretty bad, but if you just want to sit around the pool and don't care about food, it's ok.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 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.
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2012

I traveled to Punta Cana from March 30th to April 6th, 2012 and made the big mistake of staying at the IFA Villas Bavaro. Let me first say that both me and my traveling companion are 64 years old. I am not a complainer. In fact, most people laugh at me because I always say how great things are. If you have never been to an all-inclusive you may like it. The grounds are old and in need of updating. Even the palm trees had dead palms on them. The entire staff did nothing to make us feel welcome. In fact, you would hardly get a smile from anyone. I observed that the help treated single ladies very well. For the first 3 days, I tipped generously. After that I didn't since no one was nice. Our room wasn't cleaned for 3 of the 7 days. I even had to call for clean towels. We requested a wake up call but didn't get it. After standing in line for a very long tme to make dinner reservations, the young man taking the reservations was just down right rude. By Sunday I met with the Apple Rep. to see if we could change resorts. It would cost an additional $2400 per person. Obviously, we didn't change. The beds are as hard as a rock and the pillows are lumpy and smell. There was only one bar that would make frozen drinks and it was far from the beach. The beach was nice. I contacted Apple Vacations and recommended they rate the resort as a 3 apple instead of 4. The only good thing I can say is that the weather was nice. Even the entertainment was poor. The food was not good at all. The 4 speciality restaurants were not good. We would go there and then end up at the buffett. The food at the buffett seemed to never change. We lived on fruit, pizza and spaghetti. The only pleasant worker there was the man who made the omelets. He worked so hard and always smiled. I wouldn't go there again even if they gave me a paid vacation there. This was my 9th trip to the Caribean and definitely the worst.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 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.
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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
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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