My family and I recently traveled to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic for my cousin’s wedding. I was so excited to be able to spend some time with my family during our trip. We stayed at the Iberostar Punta Cana. This all inclusive resort sits next to its 3 sister properties, Iberostar Dominicana, Iberostar Bavaro Suites and Iberostar Grand Bavaro Hotel.
Punta Cana is a popular tourist destination for people all over the world. It’s no wonder as the weather is hot and the beaches are beautiful!
If you have ever flown into the Punta Cana airport (or any Caribbean airport for that matter) you know that they can be a bit crazy. You will be approached by countless people trying to help you with your luggage (aka get a tip) or arrange transportation for you. It is because of this I recommend booking your airport transfers ahead of time. This ensures you don’t have to get mixed up in the airport transfer hellscape once you arrive.
I booked my transportation through Dominican Plus and I couldn’t have been happier. They had the best prices and the service was great. There was even free wifi on our 25 minute ride to the resort. They also have great options if you are traveling with a group. They offer vans that can accommodate 6, 9, 13 or 24 passengers. I would highly recommend them.
I always find checking in at Caribbean all inclusives a bit harried and this was no exception. Maybe it’s because of the language barrier, maybe it’s because everyone in the Caribbean seems to operate a level below efficient… I don’t know. It’s always a little sketchy that you have to leave your bags sitting in a big pile in the lobby while you go check in. After we checked in, we were
forced encouraged to ride to our room on the little golf cart. While this isn’t a big problem on it’s own, the whole operation takes about 15x longer than it should.
Once we got to our room I quickly realized it wasn’t the right one. I booked an ocean view with a King bed – we got a garden view with 2 twins. After a few confusing phone calls I was told that I would get the room I booked the next day. I wanted to ask why I couldn’t just get the room I booked right then, but my Spanish sucks and the front desk guy’s English couldn’t handle that level of conversation so I just let it go.
We finally got moved to the room I booked the next day. There are 3 categories of rooms at the Iberostar Punta Cana – Standard, Oceanview and Romantic Junior Suite. I booked the ocean view. Yes, we technically had a view of the ocean. However don’t hold your breath for a good ocean view. The building is only 4 stories tall and set back from the beach a ways. There is a restaurant and a bunch of palm trees blocking the view. The balcony was spacious and had a small table and 2 chairs. We also had a view of the pool, but since we were on the 3rd floor, it could get quite loud if you were sitting outside. The room itself was very quiet.
The room itself was large. We had a sofa bed and King bed in our room so the size can comfortably accommodate a family with 1 or 2 children. The bathroom was a tad small, but it was functional. There is a mini bar in the room that is restocked daily with bottled water, soda and beer. There was also a larger bottle of water in the room each day which was great to take to the pool.
The Iberostar Punta Cana has 2 huge pools on the property. You could also walk next door to pool at the Iberostar Bavaro Suites. The pools had varying depths which was great especially for the kids. While there is a small, separate kiddie pool, it was great to be able to have my daughter in the big pool in an area where she could stand up.
I am a big baby when it comes to cold pool water and “heated pool” is one of my top searches when I am looking at a resort! This one did not disappoint! Some of my family members actually mentioned that the pool was “too hot”. Nonsense, I say! Bathwater is where it’s at!
The thing I didn’t like about the pool is something that might be a positive to other people. I like a quiet, calm pool. The activity level at this pool varied by the day but some days it was just too loud for me. They would have workout classes or afternoon “shows” where they would play loud music and entertain the crowd (OMG I sound like such a cranky old woman!). This just isn’t my style.
There was lots of shade available all around the pools which is a huge plus! It was also relatively easy to get chairs in the morning. However, if you wanted a certain spot you still had to play the ol’ reserve a chair with a towel game.
If you have kids, be sure to check out the kids water park type pool at the Iberostar Bavaro Suites. It is a cool little area that has a big play structure that sprays water and has a few small slides. Being in vacation mode, I completely forgot to go back and take pictures of this area (doh!)
The Iberostar Punta Cana is located on Bavaro Beach. To put it bluntly, it’s simply stunning. This stretch of beach has super fine white sand and seems to stretch on for miles. There were enough waves to make it fun but they weren’t too rough for swimming. The water was a perfect temperature. You can go snorkeling right off the beach to see some colorful fish and coral. Kayaks and snorkeling equipment are available free of charge for an hour a day.
The hotel has a main buffet that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as a beach buffet for snacks throughout the day. There are several specialty restaurants available for dinner as well. The specialty restaurants require reservations and are limited – we were able to make 3 reservations while we were there.
Let me start by saying, I detest buffets. I get that most people love them. I am not one of those people. Call me crazy, but if I am at a restaurant I would rather sit and talk to my companions than have to get up to get my food. But, all inclusives tend to have buffets so I tried to just chill out about it while I was there (I am a hero, I know).
The buffets were plentiful and offered a wide variety of choices. Overall the food was OK. Not great. I found some stuff I liked, but I never ran across anything that was awesome.
This was one area where the Iberostar shined. Overall, the service was great. The waitstaff at the buffet and the bartenders at the lobby bar were especially wonderful. (We loved Vanessa at the breakfast buffet) The front desk staff was also friendly. Now, with that said, remember that this is a tropical island so things don’t get done as fast as they do at home. Be prepared to wait around a little.
There are other amenities available here that are typical of an all inclusive type resort. They have a casino, night club, shops and nightly shows. There is also a kids club for ages 4 and up.
My Overall Impression
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to take the family on vacation, the Iberostar Punta Cana could work for you. The value you get at this resort is great – all of your food and drinks are included in the price – and the price is very easy on the budget. If you are a foodie or looking for a luxury retreat, I would look elsewhere. If a spectacular ocean view is what you are looking for, this isn’t the place for you. However if you just want an inexpensive getaway on a fantastic beach this place fits the bill.
Everyone is looking for something a little different in a vacation. Some want adventure, others want relaxation. Some want to party, others are looking for tranquility. Anytime you read a hotel review, try to focus on what is important to you. For me, the people I was with made this a vacation to remember! Happy Travels.
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