Playa Arena Gorda, Punta Cana, Dominican Repúblic.
Along with its sister hotel, Iberostar Dominicana is part of a luxurious holiday resort and lies directly on the wonderful, fine sand Bavaro beach.
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"One of the best vacations ever"
Karen from Illinois on May 1, 2009 >
Visited on: May, 2009
962 people found this review helpful
Arrival: January 2008
Arrived with a group of 38, and probably the quickest hassle free check in that we have ever experienced.
Typical Iberostar room, but clean and no problems.
Restaurants and Bars:
We were able to make the weeks reservations at one time; we were also able to get into all of the restaurants that we wanted to. One of the best buffets we ever had; infact, we cancelled the seafood restaurant the last night to do the buffet.
Impeccable. The beach was magnificent, one of the best and cleanest I have ever seen. The pool was also extremely clean. The only downside; no swimup pool bar.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Endless activities at the resort. We did not do any tours at this resort because the catamaran tour that we had booked was cancelled. We actually were fine with staying at the resort.
Great staff; one of the best vacations ever. Out of 38 no complaints! Great casino, much larger than many, including the Paradisus in the area. Judy and Marian must not have gone into this one based on their review!
"I wouldn't hesitate to go again."
MK from Illinois on Mar 1, 2009 >
2 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Mar, 2009
634 people found this review helpful
Arrival: March 21 - 28
Light rain when we arrived. VIP bus was ready and waiting and soon on it's way. Iberostar is the first stop so 30 mins. later we were at check in. That was fast and efficient. We were given a complementary safe. The bell boy was ready to put us in his golf cart and take us and bags to our room.
We had a top floor room which has high ceilings. Nice comfy king bed with 4 pillows. A small couch is between the bed and balcony. The room was spacious by American hotel standards. Bathroom was clean and everything worked fine. Blow dryer is not too powerful or hot but did the job. One outlet in bathroom accepted the polarized plugs for my curling iron and flat iron without a problem. The outlet the blow dryer is plugged into accepts round prongs only. We needed an adapter for our cell phones and camera batteries because the outlets are so recessed. You can get several types of adaptors at the gift shop for about $1.
Our mini bar had bottles of Braham beer plus Coke, Coke light, Orange and Sprite and several bottles of water and mineral water. A larger bottle of water was also on the shelf. Our mini bar was filled everyday even though they said it would be every other day. Our room was cleaned well everyday. We had a sliver of ocean view between the palm trees. We were near the beach facing the shopping street and it was pretty quiet at night.
Restaurants and Bars
The presentations at the buffet were spectacular. The selection was good with rotating entrees each night and a plentiful salad bar, fruit selection and sweet buffet. The service was prompt, friendly, and excellent at all times. The made to order omelets until 10:30 am were good and hubby really enjoyed pasta "to our taste" which is made to order from a selection of pasta and veggies, meats, sauces each night. We also ate breakfast/brunch or lunch at the more casual beach buffet several days. The selection there includes more snack types foods as well as sandwiches, pizza (don't bother), salads and sweets. They grill hamburgers and hotdogs and make a huge pot of something on the large outdoor grill everyday. You can eat there in bare feet and swimsuits if desired but most wore cover-ups.
We ate at the Steak House and the food was terrific and I enjoyed the tables in the sand. The BBQ sauce on the appetizer and the ribs was especially good. The Mexican restaurant was also excellent. Long pants required for men, we saw one turned away for 3/4 length pants.
Beach is beautiful! After walking down to others we noticed the Iberostars are amoung the cleanest and nicest with plenty of chairs, shade or sun and convenience to bathrooms and bars. Lots of activities near the pool part of the beach and quieter down a little ways. All the pools were sparkling clean and we were always able to find chairs with shade.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel
We went to Sanoa Island with Dressel Divers, the water sports provider at the hotel. The 1 1/2 bus ride is bumpy but you get to see lots of the country. The Sanoa side in the Caribbean and the water was slightly calmer and warmer. The snorkeling boat had about 20 of us. The seats are fiberglass, no padding but were comfortable. The on board laterine was gross. The drinks flowed freely. Lunch on the island was a good BBQ. Then out for more snorkeling and ended at a natural pool where we could play in 4 ft. water.
We also did the Outback Jungle Safari . The guide was extremely knowledgeable and we all had a great time. We visited a typical house where they showed us how they make coconut oil and sold some. Then to another family's small business where they showed cocoa and coffee. The whole time our guide was giving us info about the country, economy, etc. We stopped at a school and they appreciated the school supplies I brought for them. Next a stop at a cigar/rum stand where they said we paid what the locals pay. Cigars were cheap! Ended at a beach good for booggie boarding. What a fun day!
We did our excursions early in the week and met people on both trips that were at our resort so we spent more time with them the following days and exchanged emails to keep in touch. Fun to make new friends!
Plenty of activites at the resort. We enjoyed walking down to the market a mile away and barganing with those vendors. Hotel also has lots of different shops. Beach volleyball, water polo, archery, dance lessons, water areobics, spanish lessons, bingo, etc. were offered every day. The Star Friends kept of entertained day and night. The Broadway show was excellent. Some of the other shows were more silly but fun. The shows were the Star Friends sing and dance are better than the ones where they do audience participation/game show types. Anyone pulled on stage needs to be prepared to be
made to look foolish but you could tell they found it very fun. Other Comments This is my second time at Iberostar Dominicana, which includes full privledges to the ajoining Punta Cana hotel. I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Everything in the DR is geared towards tourists and they really know how to do it right. I just love the people, so hard working and friendly.
Bring bug spray if the occasional evening mosquitoes will bother you.
"Nothing but the best!!!"
Karen from Hanmer on Feb 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) Canada
Visited on: Feb, 2009
635 people found this review helpful
30 Min from the Airport we arrived at our Resort greeted with a nice drink and friendly staff. They upgraded our room to a Junior Suite which was apprieciated since we were 3 adults. Fast and very efficient we were in our room within 15 min.
Wow. Very clean, nice, from water to beer already in your fridge. Notes letting us know if we require any replishing of anything not to hesitate to call. We had our hair blower that did not function we called them it was 10 pm and they were in our room within no time. We left the maid little gifts and a token of appreciation of doing such a great job.
Restaurants and Bars:
Wow!!!! Nothing but the best!!! The presentation of the buffet were unreal. The meals we had in the restaurant where so tasty and again the presentation. We requested one night to have a birthday cake for our friend and again nothing but the best the cake was so good but the best part was all waiters coming to sing together with all their instrument etc... The buffet were breath taking..just could not believe it. The waitress/waiters...Veronica,Handel, Victor to name a new were unreal. The service we a receive from their smiling faces, singing to us to making us laught etc... I was a waitress and they are the BEST!!! They spend time with playing with the kids etc... Fresh drinks made right on the spot, eg. Banana, papaya, water melon etc. Chefs at 3 different stations from morning, lunch and diner. Another buffet is available closer to the pool well here we go again nothing but the best. We even had a lobster/mussel/oyster served with pasta..OMG!! I'm telling nothing was missing.
And yes there's a Disco Bar ...it was a blast from the past!! :) This bar was decorated with parts of a plane.
Wow...again breath taking. Clean, nice cabana's, 2 bars, ice cream, showers to rince. Playing volley ball, soccer. Beautiful sand. no weeds. The only thing being a Canadian and not a smoker I would of like to see a spot for the smokers as some have no respect throwing they cigarette butts but they were going around to clean.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
Alot of activities had excercise room facing the ocean. And off the resort also. We had booked with Air Transact and was very happy with who she had booked us with. Had a great tour for Punta Cana.
When we booked it was rated a 4+ but this hotel s/b rated a 5++++. I have travelled to Cancun, Puerto Valarta and this superceed my expectation. My friend had also gone to Hawaii and said this was much better as the water, beach and everything was unreal. If you decide to visit this resort you will not be disappointed. You are also 5 min. walk to the Market but why try to bargin there when you had all in the Resort. Nice little mall from beautiful gift shops right there and prices were not expensive. Anytime your walking on the Resort any employees passing by you will ensure to smile and "Holla" say hi to us. They are always signing. You can see that their staff is very happy working for them. Even the garden workers we were watching working on the palm trees...well they climb way up the tree picked a coconut for us and cut it up for us...just unreal...anyways I cannot say nothing disappointed me on this trip it was nothing but the BEST. THANK YOU IBEROSTAR!!
Thank you Jose, Mandel, Victor, Veronica from the International Restaurant/Buffet location. To the next time I will return.
"We found great deals online."
Kathy from Chicago on Jan 1, 2009 >
1 contribution(s) United States of America
Visited on: Jan, 2009
476 people found this review helpful
Arrival: Feb 2008
My fiance and I traveled to Punta Cana with Apple Vacation. This was my third all-inclusive, his first. We found great deals online, although ordering online through Apple for some reason made us nervous. We never really got any confirmation and showed up at the airport with very little information.
Arrival was totally easy as it usually is with Apple. Buses waiting to take use to the hotel (stopped at the Riu and one other hotel on the way...but as they are all in the same area, this really didn't add any time).
Check in went smoothly - they didn't have a room with a king-sized bed ready for us when we arrived, so we just left our bags with the front desk and got lunch down by the beach.
The rooms were okay. A little old, but nothing worth complaining about. We had a good sized king bed, although it was a little on the hard side. We had a nice balcony, fully stocked fridge and little sitting area. The bathroom was fine. The hair dryer supplied was surprisingly good.
A note on the safes: we were charged for the use of the safe which I was surprised about. Also, our safe didn't work at first, but after a call to the front desk, that was quickly fixed.
Restaurants and Bars:
Food and bars were nice. The big buffet was fine - you could always find at least one thing to eat. As usually happens at this sort of place, it does get a little boring after a while, but that is what happens with any buffets.
The restaurants were good. We did the seafood one, the steak one, and the Asian one. The Asian was my least favorite, the seafood was probably my favorite. The steak one is nice as you can sit right down by the water.
I did get a bit of a stomach bug for about two days. Nothing serious...but certainly not fun!
The grounds themselves are simply beautiful. The beach is amazing. I was a little surprised with how crowded it was. Thankfully my fiance woke up super early while we were there and was able to go to breakfast and snag us some good chairs by 7am each morning.
Activities on and off the Resort/Hotel:
We went on the snorkeling trip off the resort (bus to the snorkeling place, where you got on a boat, went snorkeling, saw some nurse sharks, then went to a sandbar, and some drinks). It was very fun and very worth it.