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IFA Villas Bavaro Resort & Spa
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Reviewed September 15, 2013

IFA Villas Bavaro, Punta Cana – 2 week stay February-March, 2013
Pros: The grounds are well groomed
Cons: Where do we begin?
Day 1: Checked into room #3716. The room had not been cleaned from the prior occupants. We were taken to Room #4335. The bed was made, but the television was on in room, floor was filthy, counters were not cleaned, no towels in room, no water in the fridge. Room appeared to be have made up extremely quickly. Housekeeping did come to our room later and gave us 2 bath towels and 1 face cloth. Someone else brought us water.
Day 2: Next morning, got up, showered, left the dirty towels on the floor in the shower and left for the day. When we came back to our room there was only 1 bath towel and 2 hands towels. Face cloths seemed to be a” hot commodity” because we never received a face cloth for the remainder of our stay. Since we had 2 clean pool towels we were able to shower, but we did call Customer Services, and they informed us that yes there were 2 bath towels and 2 hand towels placed in our room. We responded that, “No there was only 1 bath towel and 2 hand towels in our room”. This continued on until Sunday (Day 4).
Day 4: Same series of events, except this time we weren’t able to get clean pool towels. Again only 1 bath towel. This time we went down to Customer Services instead of calling them. We simply requested an additional towel so we could clean up for the night. Customer Services informed us there were 2 bath towels in our room. After a lengthy conversation with him, he said, “Okay, let’s go to your room and I will fix this”. Perfect, so we thought. This is where everything came to a head. When we got to our room with Customer Services, he had 2 security guards armed with their bats, and 3 maids in the hall waiting for us. Talk about intimidation! They entered our room, looked behind the furniture and curtains, not sure why, but okay, looked in our drawers and closet and then he said, “What are you doing with your towels”? No matter how much we explained we only ever got 1 bath towel per day, and after using it we leave it on the floor in the shower for a new one(s), there was no convincing him of this. He insisted 2 clean bath towels were left in our room each day, and that when the individual came to replace them there were no towels in our room to be removed. He then informed us we would be charged $140.00 for the missing towels and that we would not receive any more towels during our stay. Since this was only getting worse, we threw our hands up in the air and as we turned around, we notice that the only precious clean bath towel that was hanging in our room was gone. We asked him who entered our room before we got back and removed the towel. Our thoughts, pretty dumb move on their part since we already told him we had 1 clean bath towel. They began speaking back and forth in Spanish, came back into our room and said they needed to search our luggage. We weren’t sure why they never asked to check our luggage when they were initially searching our room since they looked everywhere else. Our suitcase wasn`t locked, and in hind sight, we should have let them check it. We, at this point, were so nervous because obviously we told him we had 1 towel, and only wanted 1 more, and now it was gone. We both looked at each other and were thinking the same thing, did they stage something in our suitcase? Our minds were racing. Here we are, in what we had thought would be 2 weeks of paradise being accused of stealing dirty towels. So what do we do now, Day 4 of our holiday?
Day 5: We were waiting for our Signature Vacations tour rep in the morning and handed him (Franciso) the notice that was slid under our door during the night charging us $140.00, as previously stated. We explained the situation to Francisco and he said this was ridiculous and he said that he would address it. We walked away feeling okay and that this will be resolved and we could move on with our holiday. That night we come back to our room to find another letter titled “Important, see your tour rep at 9:00 a.m.”.
Day 6: We are now at Day 6, on “our dime” again trying to resolve this. We went to see our rep as instructed, he said his hands were tied, that he would make a report and forwarded it to Signature and then turned us over to a Supervisor who listened to our concerns. The Supervisor then lead us upstairs to see the “big boss” Mr. David. Mr. David informed us we had had services to our room (he turned his computer screen towards us). Yes it showed we called Customer Services i.e. for clean towels and burnt out light bulbs, but that doesn’t mean that they follow through with our request. To us, it seems quite bizarre that you need to ask every day for clean towels or it doesn’t happen, or if it does you only get 1 bath towel. There was no getting Mr. David to hear our concerns. Simply, we were accused of stealing their dirty towels. No matter how much we replied that we only had 1 bath towel per day, which we left on the shower floor, (other that our first night when we got 2 bath towels and 1 face cloth) he remained steadfast that we would be billed $140.00, and if we refused, they not allow us to take our luggage on check-out. Now this gets even more crazy. Mr. David then tried to turn the table and said, “If you throw your television out the window then you would be responsible for the cost. Our reply, “Well that`s obvious”. I then stood up, said we`ll pay your bill, and we will tell everyone what is happening to us. Mr. David said, “Fine tell everyone”.
The next day and thereafter, we talked to everyone we could about our situation. For some bizarre reason, towels seemed to be an issue on this resort. People would tell us it was hard to get towels, or were told they will bring them in 5 minutes and they never came back with towels. Since we were always out of our room between 7/7:30 a.m., we had no idea how many people enter your room. Guests told us one person comes and counts the towels, then another one takes them away, someone else brings you clean towels, then someone else makes your bed, and someone else gives you water. That’s 5 different people entering your room on a daily basis. From that time and until we left we began taking pictures each morning and each evening of all the towels in our room. We also began making several stops back to our room each day just as a precaution. Unfortunately, we also began staging certain things in our room when we left at night, knowing there was no reason for anyone to be in our room, and yes our room had someone else in it, as evidenced by items moved from where we had placed them. What a sad, yet scary situation, not to mention a very un-relaxing holiday!
Day 8: Yes you got it only 1 bath towel again. We went to our rep and told him what was happening. We then saw Mr. David and informed him of the same thing. He again said, “No you have 2 bath towels”. We stood our ground, told there was only 1 towel and that we have been taking pictures of the towels left in the room. Interestingly we received 2 bath towels after that, although quite late and by late we mean between 6-7:00 p.m. We missed several supper reservations waiting on clean towels.
Additional Info During Our Stay: Although this has nothing to do with the towel situation, we thought it was important that you know a bit more about the resort. Our concerns are far too long to list, but we think you will get the point:
• Other than checking in, don’t try and get any assistance from the Reception Desk. We found them to be very rude, with an attitude of “don’t waste my time”.
• There is no lobby bar or bathroom in Reception.
• There are only 4 a la carte’s not 5 as stated, and you need to line up early (by 7:30 a.m.) to get a reservation. Plus you can only make 1 reservation per day, so you got it, back at 7:30 the next morning for your next one. Save the weight in your luggage because dress code IS NOT enforced for a la carte’s as stated. Men can dine in their casual shorts, t-shirts and floppies.
• We never complain about the food, realizing where you are, but this has the worst and smallest buffet we have ever encountered. Absolutely no variety, and extremely limited. If you have dietary concerns, which both of us do, you were out of luck. And, even though it’s a buffet you needed to line up and wait to be seated for all meals. Don’t even try to just walk in and sit a table.
• We observed a rather upset women carrying her entire bedding to Customer Services. For us personally, we never had our bedding changed during our 2 week stay, not to mention the bathroom and shower not being cleaned. We know this because the maid would come and make our bed and empty the garbage cans mid-morning, but the dirty towels remained on the floor in the shower as we left them until quite late every day. A common statement we heard from people was that their dirty towels were re-hung rather than replaced.
• Pool towels could only be turned in once a day. We took a picture of that sign too.
• The same wine glass sat on our dresser for 14 days, with other assorted glasses, which we took pictures of at different stages during our stay.
• The maid often had 2 room doors on either side of the hall open as she was cleaning. Again a concern.
• We asked for 2 burnt out to lights be replaced, one in our bathroom and one just outside our door. After waiting for 2 days, I replaced them myself with lights from our lamps.
• Dead bolt on the inside of your door isn’t a true dead bolt. Simply insert your card from the outside and it opens. We slept with a chair propped against it at night.
• Don’t even try to leave on the A/C. The card was constantly removed by cleaning staff, leaving you coming back to a rather uncomfortable room temperature.
• Yes there is a mini fridge in your room, but you’re lucky if you got water, and that’s it. But according to the resort description on oyster.com 2013, every room has a mini fridge stocked daily with water, soda, and beer. NOT!
• Lack of public bathrooms.
• The lounge chairs around the pool are all bolted down, so where you start in the morning, is where you are for the day, so if you need to get shade or sun depending on which lounger you got, not happening. You could go to the beach, but to our surprise the condos/apartments beside the resort were also able to access the lounge chairs and bathrooms for a minimal cost. If this is the case then more loungers and bathrooms need to be provided as people were hard pressed to find a lounger and experienced long bathroom line-ups.
• Yes they have “ladies of the evening” and they have no discretion. Not only were we appalled by their presence on the resort, but they will approach your husband, even in your presence, offering their “services”.
We were absolutely terrified packing up to come home not knowing if we were going to encounter more trouble. We have been travelling on a 2 week hot get-away for 12 consecutive years and have never been treated so outlandishly. The chains we have stayed at are: The Ibeostar, Riu, Gran Bahia Principe, El Dorado Royale, and Barceló Bravaro, all of which are extraordinary in every aspect and we would highly recommend them. There is a very serious problem happening at the IFA and we absolutely DO NOT recommend this resort. We have now handed our concerns over to Signature Vacations for follow-up and will keep you posted on the outcome.
August 2013 update: After a lengthy back and forth game of tag with our travel agent, Signature Vacations, and the carrier (IFA) we received a credit of $100.00 (not from IFA) but from Signature. This is their reimbursement to us for two weeks of hell.
Joe & Kathleen, Winnipeg, MB

Room Tip: Would not recommend any rooms.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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11  Thank northendjoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 15, 2013

This is David , a very frequent traveller over the world , here is just few words to summarize the excellent friendly & amazing atmosphere of IFA Beach Resort & Spa : Very good Value for money !!! Excellent Food ! Excellent animation ( from Francisco , Jeff - monkey , Angelisa...... ) , very excellent smiling restaurants staff ( thanks to Maria , Diana ......). For every one , there is a piece of fun ! The rooms are looking for a little renovation now but yet it is good, needs an upgrade in the Air Conditioning system (too noisy) . The Manager , David Castillo , is a very nice guy who interacts directly with the customers to help solving any existing problem. Great work Castillo ! Keep it up ! We shall fully recommend that hotel to anyone .

Room Tip: If you are with an elderly , choose a room not far from the pool & Pikalo Restaurant . That will help !
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank 686David
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2013

When we arrived we thought we where in paradise, not completely true, grounds are beautiful and well kept, staff are sort of helpful they smile a lot and say yes we will sort problems, then never gets them sorted, we are half way through our holiday and still waiting even asking several times for the room to be cleaned, dreadful humming coming from our room, despite even speaking to Thomas cook rep about problems, still not sorted. Food is the same everyday,i agree with other reviews there, no change in food at all. We managed to get a booking in the calibre restaurant, this was not what we expected, we where told the food was brilliant, i disagree there, we ordered mixed crab and cucumber starter, this was actually our cheap seafood crabsticks that we get back home covered in salt, rather confused with that dish, we then ordered broiled red snapper, this was deep fried and then covered in olive oil? We then had meringue with coconut ice cream covered in choco sauce, none of which i call gourmet, even more so when you find all this in the buffet anyway? They told us this was an international gourmet, the only international here was the guests. Our room is covered in ant type insects again made worse by the uncleaned room, we asked 3 days running for this to be sorted again they kept smiling saying yes, but still not cleaned. Beaware that any excursions you get here are over priced, every excursion would cost £220 for 2adults and a 5 year old, overpriced considering you could go to legoland in windsor for £98? All day. They charged us £10 for a taxi to the shop down the road, when i say down the road i mean 800 metres, we only paid for one way and only took the taxi because it is to hot for my daughter to walk both ways. Electric does go off and so does the water, which was not a problem but best shower durng the day as it happens mostly in the mornings. They see white people here and immediately you will get pounced upon to buy something, im more abrupt than they assumed and soon never bothered us again, i never leave tips, this also meant that they all tried to please, sorry but as far as i am concerned i paid over the odds for this trip already. I paid £2236 for 3 adults all inclusive even though my daughter is 5, the only time they did as asked was when i asked for water abruptly, now we are getting a case full each day. Lol, great for brushing teeth etc. the only thing i can really recommend is the pizza and hamburgers at the pikalo by the happening pool. This is a great holiday if you just like a beautiful beach and surroundings, i always look for much more than that though, we are a very adventurous family and that is something you do not get here. Lastly we where in the 1100 villas nice and peaceful, apart from the chickens and cockerel that keeps coming outside.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank tpabslg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

By me saying a Vacation in Paradise I mean it even do some people may have a different way of looking at it but to me it is. I could start by saying that this has been my twelve time going back with my wife,kids and other time with a group of friends. I believe that ever since the first time I went I feel in love with this resort it has gone thru changes for the better and it keeps on changing, except for some staff starting with Administration to the person that maintainece the resort looking great. If I was to write the names of all the staff I would need at least three days but once again the pictures will speak for me. I do recommend this hotel for people that are looking to have a good time and enjoy themselves,we had such a good time that some of our co-workers will like to come with us next year cause I will go back for the thirteenth time.

Room Tip: Try to get the Ocean View Room,and if you are into sleeping try to ask fo the Villas
  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank RLionel2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

The beds are back killers. About half the staff is very nice and the other half kind of rude. Food is plentiful and decent, not 5 star but you aren't paying 5 star prices. I don't like that they invite vendors onto the property to accost yo and at all costs avoid their "free bus" to shops. It's just a ploy to hold you captive for 2 hours at a place that sells ridiculously overpriced schlock. Beach is beautiful but best part of the trip was the Laguna limoncello trip handled by Caribbean dreams for us. You get to see this beautiful country and actually DO things.

  • Stayed: September 2013
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Thank denise b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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