My husband and I were already very familiar with the Iberostar resorts, so we knew right away that if we wanted to host a successful family vacation, we needed to book an Iberostate property. Luckily, Ken has priced his villas really well. But you should know that his description doesn't do them justice. Below, I've provided more information to help you better understand what to expect.
Iberostar / Iberostate is located on the best beach (Bavaro) in Punta Cana. The sand is powdery white and the waves aren't too rough. My husband and I have stayed in resorts on other beaches in Punta Cana and they aren't as beautiful as Bavaro. Also, you must enter the main Iberostar entrance in order to get to the section where the Iberostate golf course and villas are located. The entire complex is beautifully landscaped with gorgeous trees and plants. Turn toward the golf course and drive past the club house to reach the villas.
We were pleasantly surprised to see that the villa doesn't just contain 4 bedrooms, but 4 MASTER SUITES with balconies. One master suite is downstairs (along with a half bath for guests), and the other 3 master suites are upstairs. Also upstairs is a small living area. From every bedroom, you can walk out to the balcony. Also, each bedroom has its own ac unit with remote as well as ceiling fans. The main living area, dining room and fully equipped kitchen were large and open, making it easy for all 9 of us to gather for meals and fun. The pool and jacuzzi are clean and very well screened with plants from the street and golf course.
Sergie is the property manager who met us upon arrival. He's Russian but speaks Spanish. He speaks more English than I speak Spanish but was very apologetic that his English wasn't good. He's a great guy who made us feel welcome and did an awesome job of getting us settled despite the language barrier. He'll take you over to the Iberostate office to get registered (bring passports for every guest).
You'll need to give Sergie your deposit (cash only) and will have you accompany him to read the electric and water meters. You'll also read them with him at checkout and it's then that he calculates the total amount that will be subtracted from the deposit. For a family of 9, electricity and water came out to around $140 for 4 nights.
It's possible to get around without your own vehicle, but we rented a car and were so happy that we did. It wasn't too expensive (around $200 including taxes for 9 days - we opted out of the optional insurance) and made it so much more convenient to get around the Iberostar complex. Since there were 9 of us, we were grateful to also have the golf cart available.
Getting to the beach is a bit of a walk. Because we had a car and golf cart, we were glad we didn't have to do that walk in the hot sun. Once you're there, you'll have access to the beach club where the restaurant is located. All meals are available for purchase there. We didn't eat there so I can't speak to the quality. You'll also have a private section on the beach where umbrellas and loungers are set up. Beach towels are provided.
All Inclusive Passes:
As a guest, you're able to take advantage of the owners' discount for day passes (10am - 6pm), night passes (6pm - 2am), 3 day (36-hour) passes, 7 day weekly passes and 30 day monthly passes to the Iberostar resorts for an all inclusive bargain. With the day/night/weekend passes, you can eat and drink all you want everywhere at the resort except for the a la carte dinner restaurants. The buffets are nicer than most all-inclusive resorts and offer a good variety of food. The Grand and Bavaro will have a few premium brand liquors available. You can choose passes for the following:
Iberostar Grand Hotel (luxurious adults-only resort) - $88 for day or night
Iberostar Bavaro (the crown jewel of the other resorts) - $42 for day or night
Iberostar Dominicana/Punta Cana (farthest from the villas) - $35 for day or night
My family opted to get a 3 day pass to Bavaro ($140) and really enjoyed the made-to-order omelettes at breakfast, the grilled chicken, steak, fish and burgers at lunch, and seafood and prime rib at dinner. The daytime pool-side entertainment and nightly shows were fun, and for late night fun we would head to the nightclub or casino at Dominicana. (The Bavaro pass allows you access to Dominicana and Punta Cana but guests there are not allowed access to Bavaro).
Unless you don't mind grocery-shopping and leaving behind leftovers, I suggest you pack full size coffee filters (not cone-shaped), sugar, seasonings, and snack-size ziplock bags of your favorite seasonings if you plan to cook.
Bring Tide pods for laundry, esp towels which aren't replaced daily.
Bring your yeti-style cups to keep your drinks cold all day long.
Drinking water is provided in the villa and you can make ice cubes in the freezer. You also have an ice chest available to use.
Hand soap and hair dryers are provided in each bathroom but you'll need to bring your own shampoo and conditioner.
Sergey was great! He came whenever we requested or needed something. The villa is very big but not very well maintained. Overall, our stay was fun.
TripAdvisor did a good job; however, there were problems: First - the owner of the vacation rental insisted on adding a charge for electrical and water after we booked the rental. TripAdvisor advised me not to pay and they would call the owner. To my knowledge a TripAdvisor reprentative made contact with the owner and attempted to resolved the issue. However when we arrived the property manager was still requesting fees for water and electrical usage. Second, the rental house was infested with roaches! Third, we had to buy a sponge and papper towels for the kitchen as none was provided. Fourth, half way through our seven day stay, we had to request additional clean towels, toilet papper and trash bags as none of these items were provided. Fifth, the rental house was in a remote location and not as close to beach as indicated. I definitely would not rent this vacation home.
We stayed at this property for two weeks during the winter holidays and overall we enjoyed our stay a lot. We would definitely come back.
The resort grounds are very quiet and safe -- and very pretty. Everything was flowering and blossoming.
The beach was great. It really helped to have a separate private area just for those who stay at the villas and condos. The sand was clean, the shade was ample, the water great, there were no rocks, and the seaweed was dealt with by the personnel. The beach restaurant waiters were very accommodating. The menu there is limited (and overpriced - but that's only to be expected) and they do not serve dinner but overall it wasn't too bad. The bad thing is there didn't serve any cocktails, that was really inconvenient.
The beds were relatively comfortable - more comfortable than at many resorts/hotels.
Ernesto -- the representative of the owners -- was really helpful. He took calls and took care of emergencies (like the AC not working in one of the rooms - and it was right on Christmas). We enjoyed working with him a lot.
Some of the negatives:
- during booking we were promised a car. We were told right before our travel that the car was sold by the owners. That would have made the trip to the grocery store easier -- we ended up going by taxi and those trip costs add up fast.
- the golf cart was not 7-seater but 5. Apparently, the owners sold the 7-seater right before our arrival. That made the transportation to the beach a bit trickier.
- the safe in the villa was not available (key was lost).
- the dishwasher was not attached securely.
- showers were not designed very well -- every time anyone had to take a shower the whole bathroom flooded. Ernesto told us that the owners were planning to install glass shower doors -- I would say it has to be done as soon as possible.
- there were no mosquito screens on the windows (at least they should be installed in the bathrooms -- otherwise it was difficult to keep the air there dry after the post-shower flooding)
Overall, we loved our vacation. We had a lot of fun and this property (almost) perfectly satisfied our needs. Once again, gracias, Ernesto!
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