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Reviewed 10 March 2006

This hotel was wonderful. Beautiful beaches, water and sky. Food, staff, service and accommodations were great. Excellent coffee. Great massage. I read two and half books, napped on the beach and returned revitalized.

We had planned a trip to Santo Domingo, but decided once we arrived the time on the bus to get there (about three hours one way as I understand it) was not worth missing out on beach and reading time.

There are some minor -- and let me emphasize MINOR -- observations (I hesitate to use the word complaint).

1) The drinks could have been better. They were strong, but not very good. Poor mixers. I'd expect a banana daiquiri in a country where bananas are grown to be made with bananas. Instead they pulled the mix out of a machine. The margaritas were a little sour...maybe even bitter. The beer was good, but my wife and I aren't big beer drinkers.

2) While the beach was beautiful, the area is full of resorts and the beach is accessible by all the resorts, so there's this constant foot traffic as vacationers walk from one resort to the next and traverse the beach. Good for people watching...but you lose that secluded feel we had at the Sunscape (now Dreams or Secrets, I believe) Tulum in Mexico. The beach in Tulum was bordered by some pretty rocky areas which made our section of the beach in Tulum really for just that resort, so no foot traffic.

3) The flight from Chicago to Punta Cana took about 4 hours. The flight back took nearly 8. It was NOT non-stop. I'm sort of a nervous flyer, so the fewer times I have to take off and land the better. I know that the situation was out of the pilots control (a previous flight into a headwind meant we had to refuel in Sanford, FL.), but I was a little unhappy about the stop and the length. I guess that stuff is bound to happen occasionally though.

4) We could have had a better room location, but I suppose that's up to me when I check in. Or we should ask to see a map of the resort when booking the trip to ask for approximate room locations. We were situated near the rear of the resort. The view from our patio was a fence, a storage area and an access road. They did a pretty good job of disguising the fence and road with plantings, but it was still there.

Again, I don't want to seem like a complainer, but I want to provide an unvarnished account. In no way would our experience dissuade us from returning or visiting another Iberostar resort. The positives FAR outweighed any negatives.

Two final points...tipping is not necessary, but it's appreciated and a few bucks won't break you. And don't be an "ugly" American. While we were there, there was a group from Iowa that were loud, obnoxious and drunk. I could careless about Iowa Hawkeyes sports teams, but I, along with Germans, Canadians and Italians now know just how important the Hawkeyes are to this group.

Date of stay: February 2006
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45  Thank Culture19347
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 10 March 2006

We were there for 1 week Feb 25- Mar 3, 2006 with 3 other couples. Found the facility surpisingly clean, the staff gracious, and the Entertainment Team a blast.
Hats off to Huck(thanks for the Tennis), Ceasar, Anna Bannana, Darkie, Isabella, Johanna, and the rest of the gang for there hard work and keeping the activities rolling. You do not have to participate, but if you do, prepare yourself (good fun).
Our only complaint was we found ourselves assigned a room with 2 single beds, but after the first night we were able switch to a King suite the next day. The food was good. I didn't expect that! The specialty restaurants are a must. We especially enjoyed Jambalaya. Emmanuel,our waiter at Breakfast
was most attentive. Some of the shows that are put on in the evening almost match Las Vegas productions, very enjoyable. Maid service was good.

Plenty of food,drink,dancing and relaxation (if you want)!

If the rest of the Ibero Star's are run like this one, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again.

Date of stay: February 2006
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41  Thank Trip27188
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 10 March 2006

We came back yesterday from a 9 day holiday in the Iberostar Bavaro.

Reading all the reviews here, it's obvious that they can be quite contradicting.
There are people that love the resort, and people that hate it.
My wife and I belong to the first group definitely.

Please note that you are in a country that is very poor, but is developing very quickly.
Without a doubt the expectations with which you go, will influence your experience a great deal.
This is not Miami, Florida, nor the Soneva Spa on the Maldives (which would cost you some 500 dollars per person per day).
Please read this review with that in mind.

What you get is a very nice vacation, really good value for your money, we feel.

The grounds are superb and maintained constantly.
The staff is really doing everything they can to see to your well being. Though they do not speak any other language than Spanish other than a few words, they really work very, very hard for you...
Best staff (though most of them are very nice): at the reception (Milvio) and in the buffet restaurant (Katty).
The rooms are really huge. Clean, but not sterile. The curtains hang loose at the ends at a spot. But nothing to worry about, we feel.
;-)

The daily cleaning is ok. Clean towels every day.
Personally, I rather see an ant, than stay in a room that has been sterilized with insecticide.
The fridge is filled daily (there is water, fruit juices, beer coke and diet-coke in it), and you can start the day with a little coffee that you can make yourself.
Hint: a daily tip (we took 1 dollar billets for that purpose) is not expected, but appreciated very much.
Please check if the door to your balcony closes well.
Ours didn't, but we only noticed this when we left.

The food was extremely well. Even for us, vegetarians, there was more than enough choice at the buffets.
Hint: let the pasta chef prepare a pasta to your own likings!
All the food was very fresh. Only at the pool bar, where we lunched every day, it was a little less tasty, maybe.
One night we ate at the Japanese restaurant, which was a very nice change from all the buffets.
Hint: if you want rum in your Bananama or Cocoloco, please ask for this: "Muy ron"..!
;-)

The beach is very nice. Clean, fine white sand; the water is rather cold (as in the pool), please be prepared..!
Please note that some beachchairs are bent, or have a missing mechanism to set the upper part upright.
But there are plenty of chairs, so you can just gather some good ones.
At the pool you find mostly couples with children. If you would want more privacy (or like us: 'dig the sand around your feet experience'), go for the beach.
Hint: bring & use a lot of sunprotecting products, at least factor 15, and use sunblocker for your lips.
Even now, Feb/March, the sun is very strong!

We did 2 excursions, the Hispaniola tour (80$, which shows you some Dominican/Haitian culture), and a whale watching tour to the Samana Bay (145$).
The excursions are pricey, but absolutely worthwhile.

A final word: we were shocked to read that quite some American reviewers disliked the European guests so much.
The American guests seem to outnumber the other guests by far. Our experience was that the only other guests that were disturbing were American. They tended to communicate very loudly, and are very, very present.
Don't get me wrong. I'm sure this small minority of guests would disturb anybody. American, European or from whereever you come. ;-)

Date of stay: March 2006
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61  Thank RobertvanHall
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 6 March 2006

Iberostar Bavaro Feb 25 - Mar 4, 2006
Pros
* Great beach, best beach we've been too better than Playa Del Carman, or Cancun.
* Great landscaping, with palm trees and flowering bushes lining the paths, and these are lighted at night.
* Abundant beach and pool chairs with a lots of shade. You don't have to get up early to get a good chair in the shade by the pool or on the beach!
* Check-in & check-out, very efficient and very fast.
* Rooms were clean. We were on the first floor, ground level, and had some spiders, an a couple of mosquitoes, nothing bad.
* Staff, very friendly and hard working.
* No sand fleas, like we've ran into in Mexico.

Cons
* Our room was in desperate need of refurbishing. Everything was well worn and in need of replacement. While the rooms are called suites they're more like regular rooms with a couch and coffee table. The bed
was soft, the couch hard, and the throw pillows smelly. The air-conditioning was a simple switch with high, medium and low. Room walls are thin and you can easily hear conversations of people walking by. The window and patio door locks were in such bad shape that they were almost useless.

Misc
* Food - Buffet, breakfast was ok, you could get eggs cooked to your preference, lunches were pretty good, hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza
plus a daily special, the evening buffet was just ok.
* Food - Specialty restaurants. While they don't tell you this until you check in, they only guarantee 3 specialty restaurants reservations for a seven night stay. Overall the specialty restaurant food was ok to good. Check the menu before making a reservation, the
Mediterranean restaurant for example only has sea food.
* Most of the guest we're European, so there was some topless sun bathing on the beach.

Bottom-line
Enjoyed the Bavaro beach area and would recommend it, however I wouldn't recommend Iberstar Bavaro until its refurbished.

35  Thank Ron B
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 6 March 2006

Hello. My husband and I spent 5 nights at the Iberostar Bavaro (February 28 - March 5. Here are some thoughts on the Iberostar Bavaro that you might find helpful.

Grounds - fantastic. Truly beautiful! Very exotic with birds, etc.

Restaurant, bar, etc. - The ala carte restaurants were very nice. Our fav was Jambalaya. Nice for a romantic dinner. The lobby bar was great. Kennedy and Salas took great care of us. We didn't care as much for the pool bar. I must say that the public bathrooms at this place are some of the nicest I have ever encountered. Even the ones by the pool!

Food - breakfast buffet (we liked the pool best) and dinner at ala cartes - wonderful. The buffet was a mad house. No sense of lines, pushing, etc. I recommend waiting until LATE if you do the buffet.

Rooms - a disappointment. Not disgusting, but ours could certainly use a lot of work. Luckily the weather was great and we didn't need to be in there that often. I did notice a mild smell, but the candles we brought took care of it and it was not overpowering.

Pool - get there early if you want a good spot. I would say no later than 10:00 am. Lots of kids/families when we were there. That is fine, but some parents did not have a good handle on the little ones. The deep side of the pool is much better for this reason. The pool is nice, but it needs to be resurfaced on the bottom. No big deal, but some chipping, etc.

Beach - very nice. The water was very pretty. We went by the huts but didn't buy anything.

Spa - okay. The massage is good. I would not recommend the facial or at least not the 90 minute facial. FYI - if you are modest, beware! They don't use sheets! Merely a towel to cover you so not much is left to the imagination.

Tours - we did the snorkeling/"booze" cruise. I don't recommend it. You see a lot of fish, but it is so crowded you also get kicked in the head by fins a lot. The tour bus driver also hit a dog on our way and as an animal lover, I found this to be a bit traumatic. You can swim with the nurse sharks/stingrays, but this is in a caged area. My husband and I opted not to do this portion. It was packed and didn't seem the most desirable way to see them.

Overall, if you want a good value this is the trip for you. We were following a budget on this trip so all-inclusive was the way to go. I am not sure we would go back unless the property had been renovated a bit. The resort had lots of activities for kids and seemed to be great for families.

I would be happy to answer any questions you have!

Date of stay: March 2006
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27  Thank Daydream5204
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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