More about Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel
My husband and I are just back from a wonderful week at the Iberostar Grand Bavaro (1/31-2/7) We have stayed at 8 different Iberostar resorts over the past nine years with our family, but never an "adults only." While we have always had great vacations at Iberostars, we were not prepared for the level of luxury at this new resort. Since it's so new, there aren't many guests--a plus!
Check-in was effortless. As we got out of the shuttle, we were met with chilled hand towels and choice of champagne or pina colada. Next we were introduced to our butler, Lewis. He escorted us to our room, showed us its features, and then went in search of the bottles of scotch and vodka we requested for the room.
Next morning, he knocked lightly on the door to deliver fresh flowers and to see if there was anything he could do for us. The room was spacious and clean. The bed was much more comfortable than the rockhard beds in Mexico! We had a beautiful view of the pool area and out to the ocean. The whirlpool tub overlooking the deck was a great feature of the room.
Our first night the buffet was closed for a private function, so we asked Lewis to make us a reservation at the Mexican place at the Dominicana. When we arrived, they had no evidence of our reservation. We mentioned we were staying at the Grand and they immediately showed us to a table. Nice service!
We ate all our other dinners at the buffet at the Grand. To say it is elegant is an understatement. And most nights there was a maximum of sixteen people in the entire buffet seating area. Our service staff (Noemi, Juan, Gregory, Nathaniel) were incredibly attentive. They kept our water and wine glasses filled--no easy task! They greeted us wwarmly each morning we arrived for breakfast and each evening at dinner.
The bartenders at the pool bar (Cecilio and Leonardo) were great. They had specialty drinks each day, but were happy to mix you whatever you desired! Two of the days we asked Juan in the buffet to make us up a plate of cheeses and meats to have with our "happy hour." They were very conscientious about doing this and had the plate in the refrigerator when we arrived at 5:00.
The nightclub--the spanish galleon replica--was great. Our first night we arrived at 10:00 after dinner, not knowing the show was going on in the theater. We had the whole place to ourselves. The DJ played whatever music we wanted to dance to while we had two bartenders at our disposal. We went back a couple of other nights when they had the live band playing on the upper deck.
You can't beat the beach in Punta Cana. Miles and miles of soft sand for walking. We shopped at the little huts near the resort.
My husband enjoys participating in the activities the Star Friends organize. There weren't many guests at the Grand, so he wandered over to the Bavaro where we had stayed a few years ago. He did archery and rifle shooting there while I enjoyed the peacefulness of the beach at the Grand. I think as more guests travel to the Grand, the Star Friends will have more activities there, too. On one of the rainy days of our trip, we played cards with several of them in the lobby bar. They did organize a couple of games at the pool and beach on other days, but were never pushy if you didn't want to participate.
We would definitely return to this resort or possibly another in the Grand collection. It was a very enjoyable, relaxing, and totally pampering experience. Hats off to Iberostar!
Fantastic choice for adult only in Punta Cana
We stayed at Iberostar Grand Bavaro from Feb 20 to Feb 27.
This is our 21st all-inclusive and our 9th time to Punta Cana. I always like to know where others have stayed so I know what they are comparing so here are some other resorts we have been to recently: Excellence Punta Cana (EPC), Iberostar Grand Paraiso (IGP), Sandals Whitehouse (SW) in Jamaica, Excellence Playa Mujeres (EPM), Grand Lido Negril (GLN) and Royal Cancun. IGP and EPC and now this one are our favorite resorts to date.
One observation before I continue with descriptions. This resort is really not similar to the Grand Paraiso in Mexico at all. It has the same restaurants and menus and that seems to be where the similarities stop. A person coming to this resort would be best to treat it as a new resort and not with expectations associated with The Grand Paraiso, this is after all The Dominican and not Mexico.
Overview: The resort is a square with the ocean forming one side. The pools, gardens, grounds, restaurants, bars are all in the interior of the square. There are also rooms opening on to the back of the two sides of the squares. These rooms would have no view except of surrounding resorts. This includes the swim up rooms. The swim up rooms are on the backside of the side which faces the next resort over the Iberostar Bavaro. The swim up rooms are somewhat sheltered by bushes that would offer some privacy. The canal of water is just that a rectangular body of water that connects all the swim up rooms but does not flow into anything. When I saw the pictures prior to arriving I was thinking I would prefer these to ocean view but after seeing them I would not have wanted these rooms. The swim up rooms would be good if you prefer to hang around your room and not people watch or view much. There are very few ocean front rooms so doubt there will be much upgrading. The ocean front rooms are not the same here as Mexico as they do not sit on the sandy beach. The lower level rooms would not have much of a view as they are quite far back and there are buildings etc that would block the view. The higher floored ocean front rooms would have gorgeous views of the beach and ocean.
Room: Our room was room 7349 which was a perfect location for us. 73 being the building number, 4 the floor (4 is the highest floor) and 9 the room number. We were across from the ocean so we had a view of the courtyard, grounds, pools and the ocean beyond. Gorgeous!! The rooms are much smaller than Mexico’s. There is no couch area, only a futon. This did not bother us as we sat on the balcony whenever we were in the room. The bathroom was disappointing. Grand Paraiso had one of the nicest bathrooms I have ever seen at a resort. I loved the French doors and the his and her vanities on either end of the bathroom. We had lots of space and vanity area in Mexico. This one is very small in comparison. There are two sinks but they are very close together with next to no vanity. The view was phenomenal from our bathroom even from the toilet, shower and bathtub. There are electric blinds for privacy but we didn’t need them being on the 4th floor. Our butler came to the room immediately and with very good English explained everything we needed to know. He asked what we wanted in our mini fridge and when we asked for white wine it was brought immediately. The room had everything else we needed. There were snacks provided which were Pringles chips, nuts and some banana chips. Everything was replenished as required. The bed is one of the most comfortable beds we have had. There is not much for shelves and there are only two drawers in each of the night stands. We pack lightly but found the space limited. There was no net of any kind in our room but there are free to use computers in a separate room and wireless available around the lobby areas. Housecoats, slippers, pillow menu, clock radio by the bed, iron and board and a table for room service. Teak deck with two basket chairs, a small couch and clothesline finished off the balcony. There was a fruit basket when we arrived. The air could be set at whatever we wanted but goes off when you leave the room so does take a few minutes to cool down when entering. Also the ceiling fan was not directly over the bed. One thing we found was the only outlet in the whole room that worked for us was the one in the bathroom. Even the iron provided would only plug into the bathroom outlet. We had to be a little organized as between cameras, razors, curling irons etc this plug was in constant use. We had a Miami newspaper delivered most days and fresh ice was delivered daily.
Grounds: The Grand is very compact and if we did not have access to the other resorts we would have found it alone to confining. Everything in this resort is just a few minutes walk away. This Grand is not as large as the one in Mexico. With three other resorts to explore we never seemed to take the same path twice. We walked a lot and on every outing found things we had not found before. There are many different types of birds throughout the other resorts not to mention the beautiful grounds. We nosed around the Grand probably places we shouldn’t have been and did find unfinished rooms. These really have to be sought out and from all outward appearance it seems construction has been completed. The resort requires a year or so to mature but all the plantings are there and will be very beautiful when they have grown a bit. The infinity pool in Mexico seems grander to us overlooking the beach. This was not a concern though as we spent all our days on the beautiful Bavaro beach.
Beach: We have been to Punta Cana many times so knew what to expect, absolutely beautiful. There are no rocks here and very little seaweed. The actual beach area could have used some more sand in places but we saw sand being brought in while we were there. The water is the exact opposite of Grand Lido Negril. GLN was very calm and one could easily float or swim, this beach had waves the whole week and on a couple days they were quite playful. We like to play in the waves so again this was not a concern. If I want to swim laps I usually go to a pool. The beach is very busy with lots of people walking by especially since the flea market is adjacent to the resort. We did not have any vendors bothering us on the beach. There was never a problem finding chairs in either the shade or sun.
Pools: I can’t comment on the pools as we spent all our time on the beach. There were not any floats available at the time we were here.
Staff and housekeeping: We never had problems with any services except breakfast (explained later). Our room was very clean, fresh towels daily, mini bar and snacks replenished. All employees were very friendly. We had turn down service where fresh towels were brought and chocolates were put out. We were on occasion offered drinks on the beach and a couple times cold towels. Neither of these events were regular.
We have never had a problem with communication at any resort previously. We are quite easy going and do not require much maintenance. In the past if we have required something we have been able to make it known. We did have problems at the breakfast buffet. The first morning we didn’t see the egg station at first and asked an employee, the reply was no English. The second day we asked for hard cooked eggs and were taken to the butter. We gave up and ate what we saw after that. We did think it a little strange that the word egg would not be recognized. Not many of the employees speak much English but this didn’t bother us. Besides these two incidents service was good.
Weather: Sun, sun and more sun. Everyday was gorgeous. Hot in the sun and cool under a shade hut on the beach. Our last morning we woke up to rain but cleared to cloudy by the time we were ready for breakfast, before noon the clouds had blown away and we were back into sun again.
Gym and Spa: We visited these two areas while walking one day. The spa looked very nice but I did not partake in any of their services. The gym is above the spa and on a quick walk through looked like it had very nice equipment and a waterfront view. There is a schedule with activities happening all day long from yoga to arobics to group type sports.
Butler: As I already mentioned our butler gave us a good orientation the first day. He got us a bottle of wine and tried to make reservations but was told all the a la cartes were full. This was a real downer as our first evening we had to eat at the buffet and we are not buffet fans. He did offer to arrange reservations at one of the adjoining resorts but we booked the Grand to be away from kids so we opted out. We did not see him again but in his defense we are very low maintenance and made our restaurant reservations through the concierge. We never had reason to call him.
Meals: For all meals we had good service. The tablecloths were replaced after each occupant nice not to have stains and crumbs from the previous diners. The a la cartes are air conditioned and smoke free. We love to eat steak and lobster and both these were in abundance at both lunch and dinners. The theatre is air conditioned.
Breakfast I will skip over this meal as the service was good and the buffet had everything we wanted. Besides the lack of any English it was fine. I know I will be crucified for mentioning English while in Punta Cana but as I said we never had a problem communicating our few needs before. As another reviewer mentioned the buffets are not labeled in any way so figuring out what some of the items are is a challenge.
Lunch: We had only one buffet to choose from for lunch. It was quite small and not a lot of choices. We missed not having a la carte like Mexico because as I have mentioned we prefer to order from menu’s. Fri and Sat the buffet was a zoo. We had to wait for a table, wait for service and stand in line ups for food. There was a conference that cleared out on Sun and thank goodness the rest of the week the buffet was much calmer, quieter and the service was better. There were even grill lobster tails on the lunch buffet. We walked over to the resort next to ours, Iberostar Bavaro and there was a larger buffet with anything you could imagine available. There were no ice cream bars at the Grand but there was regular ice cream. In the adjourning resorts there were ice cream shacks and soft ice cream.
Dinner: We tried all 4 al la cartes. I mentioned our first dinner was a buffet as the a la cartes were full. When we tried to reserve for Wed we were told all the a la cartes were closed with no further explanation. This was hard to overlook as buffet for breakfast and lunch were two to many and now to add a buffet for supper as well. Again we were offered reservations at one of the other resorts so the decision had to be made of the worse of the evils buffet or kids with a sit down meal. Two things that are very important to us on vacation is a nice beach and sit down served dinners. This is a big two thumbs down that at least one a la carte would not be available.
We enjoyed our vacation at this resort. There definitely are a few things that need ironing out but it has only been opened a few months. I would return to this resort as we love Punta Cana and we search for adult only. I would also return to Iberostar Grand Paraiso as besides the rocky beach we enjoyed that resort. We have also been to Excellence and I would recommend that resort for anyone looking for an adult only. Excellence offered different services than this one. I haven’t yet returned to a resort because I like to experience new resorts and new areas but this will go on the list as a possibility
Beautiful, resort, wonderful staff
We stayed at the Iberostar Grand Bavarro for just over two weeks, one with my husband and one on my own. First impressions beautiful resort, they have raised the bar on design. Rooms very comfortable although I do not agree with the new hotel policy of calling a junior suite a suite based on size alone. A suite has one bedroom. There is no internet connection in rooms at moment although by hanging over the verandah to get connected I am managing to send this review! Minibar stocked everyday except the first although the range of drinks until the last day was quite limited. When I asked if they had any gin the minibar attendant said no, that seems strange for a resort of this standard. However on the last day gin and whisky suddenly appeared. The excellence minibar service is much better with full bottles of spirits and they will get you anything you want.
The very best thing about this resort was the wonderful staff in the breakfast, dinner and lunchtime buffets and the wonderful food. We felt so well looked after by them. The bar staff are also great although there seems to only be one lovely young lady going around the pool and beach area to serve drinks. This is not enough. The a la cartes need to have extra staff as well as service could often be slow and confused. Room service was really hit and miss and most times things were missed from the order. More training needed here. The concierge young ladys were consistently excellent and very helpful. Some of the butlers were genuinely friendly - a couple you felt were just always looking for tips, waiting at the end of corridors as people excited etc. The animation staff and the entertainment in the showlounge, bar and ship were superb. Lolly on reception delivered the most consistently excellent service. There is always a danger that reception staff can be offhand but generally that did not happen here although when I had a quiery regarding payment for a movie because there had been no sound I didnt feel it was responded to very sympathetically.
So a special big thank you to Lolly, Caesar and Staff - Yoseki, Nathaniel, Juan and Melvin for all your kindnesses.
Great Beach, Hotel, Service, Food
We originally booked the Excellence and after staying only one night, moved to the Iberostar........good move. The hotel is not complete and there is construction still, but nothing that will interfere with a great vacation. In fact the hotel was operating at about half capacity which made it even better. The beach is beutiful, clear blue water and protected by a reef about 500 yards offshore. The restaurants were all good; you do need to book a reservation for all but the buffett. The staff was great; especially Cisa,Wilfredo,Francy and Itzy. This was our second trip to the DR and if you don't speak Spanish, learn some basics before you go.....not a necessity but will make the trip more enjoyable.
One of our best vacations ever!
My husband is the pickiest traveller ever, and he had nothing but great things to say about this hotel. It is one of the nicest we have ever stayed in, (you would not think you were in the Dominican!) Beautiful accomodations, amazing food and the best service we have ever experienced. Everyone there is so nice and friendly. Of course since it is a brand new place there are a few bugs to work out, but seriously nothing to get worked up about- after all, we are on vacation. I am already looking forward to going back next year!
No Tipping, No Way
First, let me start by saying all the wonderful reviews everyone wrote about the Grand are accurate, so I won't repeat them. My first problem, the staff people expected tips. Until I got the message, I was getting dirty looks. The staff person in the fitness room was actually asking me to give him stuff. First he wanted my MP3 player, after he gave up on that he asked my for perfume. I gave him a deodorant stick to get him to stop bothering me. Do not advertise all-inclusive if it is not. That brings my rating to a 4. Next, I booked a dune boogie excursion through the hotel service. It was a trip through the streets taking you to poor people trying to make you feel guilty and buy things. Very tasteless tour, I found it aggravating. Also, the dinner buffet was the best, but not open every night and the fitness center is barely adequate, not what I expecting from a pricy, resort spa. Some of the equipment did not work (I think it was refurbished instead of new), and it was tight with no abdominal stuff and not enough free weights. This brings my Grand rating to a 3. The Grande is boring, if your half dead and like a sophisticated elegant atmosphere, this is the place for you. Still at a 3, that’s a personal choice. To sum up the Grand, still a good place for a boring romantic gateway or females traveling without there husbands not wanting to be bothered by men. Since I lean more towards the vacation, fun, drink and get silly side, I had to go to the Dominican every night. Now, accept for the kids, this was my kind of place. Two big problems, the male staff members were all over the female guests. Made it difficult for us male singles to even get a dance and meet a female. Second, since people from the other Iberostars are not allowed in the Grande, it is difficult to bring them into the Grand if you should be lucky enough to extract one from the clutches of the staff. Of course, flash a little green stuff and you can get around that also. This chain needs to set more strict standards when it comes to the staff expecting tips and the male workers attacking the female guests like it is there own personal meat market. This, is my experience coming from a single person point of view, who went to the Grand knowing I can use the other 3 hotels, I will never go back to an Iberostar. I hope this review is helpful.
My husband and I had a really wonderful stay at the Grand! I will say that this hotel is fantastic for couples (of all ages) it has a feel of a quality 4 or 5 star EP hotel with the convenience of all-inclusive meals and drinks. In my opinion this hotel might be a bit too quiet for singles or people that want to party. The staff is excellent and very appreciative of any tips- it can even be a dollar or two. The staff goes above and beyond especially if you tip a little, but even if you don't the service is still excellent. The a la Carte restaurants are excellent, and we loved the bar in the main lobby. The buffet food is good, but I am not a fan of seeing meat/cheese sliced in advance- but never had a problem finding a fresh alternative. The only complaint I would have is that when we were checking out, our bill was paid at the front desk and then we were told "just a moment", at this point the front desk person radioed someone in spanish. I finally insisted on knowing what was taking so long and because we pushed to know why we were waiting, it was revealed to us that someone had to "check" the room before guests depart the hotel. In other words, to see if anything had been stolen! My husband and I travel all the time for business and pleasure and have never heard of a hotel doing that. Strange to be treated so well for the entire stay and then leave on what we felt was very negative note. If a hotel finds items missing from a room it is understood that the credit card provided by the guest will be charged.
We had a lovely time and would highly recommend this hotel, would love to go back! Worth every penny.
Affordable luxury, outstanding service.
My husband and booked this resort with another couple and all four of us agreed that this was a wonderful vacation. As per the other reviews, the resort is brand new and still working out a few kinks and adding some finishing touches. We were in no way put off by these issues. In fact, we truly felt that the outstanding service provided at all levels more than made up for them.
I won't repeat what you can read in other reviews but there are a few points that deserve a response.
It absolutely shocks me that otherwise sophisticated and worldly individuals would complain about the language barrier. Iberostar is a Spanish company and the Dominican is a spanish-speaking country. If something is important to you (ie. eggs) you might want to consult a dictionary prior to your departure. Its my understanding that these are readily available and quite convenient to use these days. (Its heuvos, by the way).
We tipped generously and accordingly (but not outrageously). We also observed other guests who did not. Everyone was treated graciously and were well looked after regardless of their tipping preferences. This I confirmed directly with the non-tipping guests themselves. Were we given extra-special service? You bet we were. I never heard the word 'no' the entire week. We were never, not once, subjected to pressure to tip. There was mention in another review of pressure at the gym to tip so I have to tell this story: My husband and went to check out the gym with his friend who wanted to work out. My husband just wanted to look but he did end up having a nice chat with the trainer, Tyler. My husband hadn't brought athletic shoes so Tyler offered him the shoes off of his own feet. Does that sound like a guy who's going to hound you for deodorant?
Tipping is a display of good manners.
As for the resort itself: Lovely room, incredibly comfortable bed. Top-shelf liquor, delicious and imaginative menus. Beautifully presented food - that cannot be overstated. Thoughtful and gracious service. Excellent all-inclusive wine list. This is an adults-only resort, not a frat house, so it is quieter and geared towards couples. That said we did meet a few single people who enjoyed the nightlife in the other resorts. Being a group of two couples meant that we made our own fun. The beach is beautiful and there are tonnes of chairs and beds. No towel shenanigans at this place. I could go on and on but I think its covered in the other reviews. We are already planning on another trip to this place next year - and we've never gone to the same place twice.
Our only regret was that we had to leave
Just arrived home from 6 days, 5 nights at this fantastic new resort. I would love to give the resort 5 stars because we had such a wonderful time, but I had to go with a four because of a few minor set backs.
Arrival & Room: The bus ride to the hotel took about 30 minutes, when we arrived we where greeted with Pina Coladas and champagne, check in was quick and we were off to our room (7349...same room as a previous reviewer) At first glance I thought the room was small, but once we got settled it felt spacious and the view was magnificent. You could see the ocean from every part of the room, even the shower. The bed was huge and very comfortable with luxurious linens. There was a docking station for an i-pod, stocked mini-bar, large closet, sliding doors to a small patio...there was even a scale in the bathroom..something I don't think I have ever seen in a hotel before and something that I wished wasn't there by the end of our stay.
Butler: Within minutes of arriving to our room, our butler came in and explained everything to us in fairly good English. He would fill our ice and stock our mini-bar every morning and if we wanted our jacuzzi set up or dinner reservations made to contact him. Assuming that he would be waiting on us all week my husband gave him a generous tip, and then we rarely saw him again. One time we called and ordered a jacuzzi and bottle of wine...when we returned the jacuzzi was filled but no wine...another day we ordered the same and the wine was there but no jacuzzi.
Food: The food was really excellent, you could have lobster everyday it you want. The breakfast buffet was the same everyday. the lunch buffet varied slightly. The dinner buffet was very good, my husband actually preferred it to the specialty restaurants. My main and only complaint was that NOTHING is labeled. I didn't know what half of the food was that was out everyday and I may have tried more if I had at least had an idea. We also ate at the Surf and Turf which was very good, steak cooked to order. The Italian which I like but my husband was not crazy about and the Japanese which neither of us had ever had, but both enjoyed.
Staff: The Star Friends are great, especially Cisa. We went to the ship every night and hung out with Tomas and Victor...love those two, they were so fun singing and dancing with us!!! Also noteworthy are Cesar, Wilfredo and Gregory...meet all of these people while you are there.
A few notes: all high end alcohol and beer, real towels to dry your hands in every bathroom, complimentary sun tan lotion at the towel hut...I found the stores at this resort to be too high end, featuring Prada, Juicy and D&G clothing...we went next door to buy gifts for our family. Mosquito's are bad in the evening...bring spray! The first evening we left our door open while we were checking out our deck and had tons of mosquito's in our room attacking us all night. We mentioned it the next day and they sprayed our room and it was fine the rest of the week...just be careful about leaving the door open.
Most of the posted photos are the same so I will add a few different ones.
beautiful resort - still need to work out some kinks though
This resort is beautiful...brand new, sort of Dutch-looking palacial hotel with a lake in the middle of it, right on the beach.
I went with a girlfriend, and the resort had only been open 2 months. The area is beautiful of course - what's not to like about the Caribbean? The food was excellent at the specialty restaurants, I esp. liked the Surf and Turf. The French and the Japanese run a close second - we did not try the Italian. Make sure you make reservations before 5:30 pm.
Pros: staff tries to please, lots of staff, beautiful grounds, pool, 24 hour room service, ipod docking in room, ocean, plentiful chairs at pool, ice towels at pool to cool you off, food, some of the staff (esp Wilfredo), clean rooms (could be a little bigger), exclusive feel, public bathrooms were very nice with attendants, towel service at pool. It was nice not to have to worry about tipping all the time - tips were included. Food was delicious (in the restaurants). We had breakfast in the room so did not try the breakfast buffet. This resort is adult only which was nice - no screaming kids at the pool. We were also there when the hotel was under capacity, which was very nice. Interesting art/sculpture around hotel.
Cons: The amenities at the spa still were not functioning when we were there - 2 mos after opening, the staff sometimes were inconsistent - eg turn down service one night and not the next, our TV didn't work when we got there and they had to come fix the sink, there were no robes in the spa (I had to have our "butler" bring one from the room), the watersports were still not going on (if you wanted to do them, you had to go to the adjoining Iberostar hotel), the vendors on the beach adjacent to the hotel were very pushy, etc., but I don't know if the hotel can do anything about that. The "animation" guys were overly-flirtatious - because women are traveling sans men, it does not mean they want to hook up. Beachside drink service was inconsistent, but the "animation" guys were there every 5 minutes. Wifi was still not working in the room. There was internet available though in the business center. Could not snorkel off the beach - you had to take an excursion to do this (we chose not to, so I cannot comment on the snorkeling).
Pro and Con: the resort is lovely - so you don't really need to leave, but the area outside the hotel (off-property) is not really amenable to going out. We did not venture to the other hotels in the Iberostar complex. Spa: Mani-pedi was good, wax was good, massage was average. Interior locker room area was nice, but the steamroom and sauna were not working. Work out room was nice - the trainer was a bit pushy and overly "friendly" though.