Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro in the Dominican Republic

  • 01 of 10

    What to Expect at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Ocean view from guest room. © Karen Loftus.

    Grand Hotel Bavaro is a part of Iberostar’s luxury, adults-only Grand Collection of beach resorts, which also includes Riviera Maya (Mexico), Tenerife (Spain), Amazon (Brazil) and Rose Hall (Jamaica) locations.

    Iberostar, which began in 1986, has succeeded in taking the all-inclusive concept to another level. With more than 100 hotels in 15 countries in the Caribbean, South America, Europe, and Northern Africa and several others in development, the Spanish brand has carved out a distinctive luxury niche and shows no sign of slowing down.

    This $82 million resort, located in the southeastern Dominican Republic, fifteen miles from Punta Cana International airport, opened its doors in December 2008.

    The Grand Hotel Bavaro is a part of The Iberostar Bavaro Golf and Spa Resort in Punta Cana, which includes three family-friendly properties: The Bavaro, Punta Cana, and Dominicana.

    As an elite Grand Hotel guest, you can wander to these nearby all-inclusive Iberostar properties, taking advantage of...MORE beachside grills, poolside ice cream, and endless dining and nightclub options. Yet the sexy Grand remains exclusive to you and registered guests. At your stunning, mature resort, instead of kids, you can actually hear the waves break.

    You know you’ve reached vacation nirvana as you check in at the Greco-Roman inspired Grand and receive a cold towel and a cool Caribbean cocktail. Your 24-hour butler, who doubles as a bath butler, will cater to your every need. Premium liquor? Personal pillow preference? Midnight munchies? He’s got you covered.

    If you do venture out of your sleek suite, the Grand’s five all-inclusive restaurants, bars, two-story beachfront spa, pools, and seaside palapas are likely to confirm that you made a good decision to choose this resort.

    See a Guest Room

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  • 02 of 10

    Guest Rooms at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Get a good night's sleep. © Karen Loftus.

    Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro contains 260 suites with garden or beach views, 13 oceanfront suites, and one elegant presidential suite. The resort's chic, minimalist design remains the same throughout. It’s the view and the size that differentiates the units.

    All suites feature an intimate whirlpool overlooking the balcony. It can be romanticized on a daily basis by your trusty butler; just ask. Request the time for your bath and consider it done. While you enjoy a romantic dinner, your bath butler will adorn your bubbly, aromatic whirlpool with roses and candles. It’s the perfect evening aperitif, paired with chilled champagne and a starry night.

    Your enclave has all the desirable amenities: Gilchrist and Soames bath products, a plasma TV, air-conditioning, DVD, iPod/mp3 with compatible dock. There's also a safe, the perfect place to park a purse and wallet at an all-inclusive, tips-included luxury resort.

    If you need a tech fix, DSL is available in-room and can be set up by your butler....MORE Wi-fi is available in the lobby.

    All-Inclusive Dining >

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  • 03 of 10

    Dining at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Fine wines complement tasty dishes. © Karen Loftus.

    There are several spots for fine wines and dining at the Grand Hotel Bavaro. Four a la carte restaurants require dinner reservations and a casual yet smart dress code. The Steakhouse, Gourmet, Japanese, and Italian restaurants are located alongside each other in a breezy corridor, right by the pool, steps from your suite and the beach.

    At The Steakhouse, the surf of choice was grilled salmon with shrimp chutney. For turf, lamb ribs with honey, grilled over rosemary was the table fave, second to fried ice cream.

    The Japanese restaurant was quite the experience with succulent crab and salmon sushi made with fresh cheese (yes cheese!) and rich smoked eel and shrimp niguiri. Our theatrical meal peaked with the chef grilling duck, lobster and beef tappanyaki at the table, melt in your mouth fare.

    There are two buffet options. The International restaurant offers an unending spread of indigenous fruit as well as meats and cheeses, omelets made to order, and the best slice of Italian pizza you’ll...MORE have in the Caribbean.

    The open-air beachfront buffet serves shrimp, sirloin, salads, petit fours and crisp Italian whites and Spanish red Riojas, perfect for your beach retreat.

    The Bavaro’s Ship is the resort’s signature. Docked poolside in a faux canal, it’s kitschy — until the sun sets. Then it all makes sense. It’s the best finish to dinner.

    Have drinks outside while watching the local, Idol-worthy talent take the stage on deck. Late-night the action moves inside the Lobby Bar with a band and some serious dancing.

    By day, it’s all about the swim up-bar in the lake pool. If inactivity is your thing, drinks are served on the beach or poolside-in bed. It’s decadent!

    And room service is open 24/7 to sate almost any craving. You can go casual with burgers and fries or make special requests to the chef.

    Getting Married Here >

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  • 04 of 10

    Destination Weddings at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Most weddings are held right on the beach. © Karen Loftus.

    As is the case with all Iberostar properties, there is a party planner on site to handle the many destination weddings that take place at their beachfront resorts around the world. Their planners are adept at handling I Do details and will walk you through the international planning and paperwork as well as the party process.

    This isn’t Vegas, so leave your spontaneity behind. This is a carefully planned event that requires a lot of paperwork, proof, and in some cases, it requires a wait between marriages.

    There are many documents required, from valid passports, original birth certificates, and single certificates (proving that you are in fact still single). If applicable to your I Do, you may need a certificate of name change, divorce certificates, which Dominican law requires 10 months before the woman marries again. No word on if or what time is required of the man. Also, a death certificate is necessary to produce if you are widowed. Apparently, women have a lot of explaining to do.

    On...MOREce your paperwork is in order, it is all fun and games and your planner will walk you through the process, making your arrival, ceremony, and honeymoon bliss seem seamless.

    There is a wedding package for 15, which includes a ceremony on the beach, the judge, witnesses, wedding certificates in Spanish, live music, photographer, flowers, champagne, dinner for 15 with a wedding menu at one of the specialty restaurants on site, a wedding cake, a gift from Iberostar, and other details customized to your liking.

    If there’s something missing or you just need to unwind before the big I Do, call your bath butler.

    Romance at the Resort >

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  • 05 of 10

    Honeymoons & Romance at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Romance is everywhere around this adults-only resort. © Karen Loftus.

    There isn’t a romance package in place per se, as the adult-only Grand properties are intrinsically romantic.

    If you are at the Grand Hotel Bavaro for your honeymoon, a renewal of vows, or simply a seductive getaway, there are many places and ways to heat up your stay.

    Your butler can arrange a couples treatment in The Spa; prepare a bubbly romantic bath in your own Jacuzzi, complete with a heart-shaped ring of rose petals; or arrange for champagne or a candle lit dinner on your private balcony.

    I found the most romantic aspects of the resort were in the simple things. There’s nothing more romantic than a leisurely pre-dinner stroll on the barely lit beach, or perhaps slipping in and out of naps on the beach under a palapa, late in the day. When you wake, you may still feel like you are dreaming.

    The beds that surround the pool are by far one of the best attributes of the property. Slip in late in the day after an excursion, spa, or swim.

    The bartenders at the pool bar have the best smiles...MORE and attitudes in all of the Caribbean. The pool bar closes at 7pm. So get your last drink order in, then savor the sliver of dimly lit poolside sexiness all to yourselves.

    The place is virtually empty as guests ready for dinner. That quiet time with just the two of you lying on the bed with the sight, smell, and sound of the ocean all around you, as dusk sets in, is as romantic as you might imagine.

    Activities Both Day and Night >

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  • 06 of 10

    Activities at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Check your mate at this larger-than-life chess set. © Karen Loftus.

    There are a ton of activities on and off site at The Grand Hotel Bavaro. The property has two pools, a lake pool with swim-up bar and an activity pool.

    The Dive Center on site offers diving lessons, snorkeling, catamaran and kayak rentals at no extra charge. Reservations are recommended. When we were there the dive master, who looks like he fell off the pages of GQ Magazine, was recruiting around the pool.

    The Iberostar Friends are part of the resort’s staff. They’re a young, attractive crew that runs activities by day and entertainment by night. Your Star Friends, as they are called, are full of fun activities from yoga to tai chi and spinning in the Fitness Center and they also lead local dance lessons by the beach.

    Off site excursions can be arranged by your trusty butler, the concierge or your newfound flurry of Friends. Just ask; they are eager to please.

    Parasailing along the beach was the can’t miss activity in Punta Cana. Every time I looked up, someone was flying by.

    For...MORE country-club couples, tennis is available and of course, the great game of golf. P.B. Dye, a prolific golf architect, known for territorial undulations, designed the course.

    For nighttime activity, The Trio Musicale, an Iberostar staple at all Punta Cana resorts, are a slice of Dominican, musical magic. They’re not your usual tableside entertainment. They were extraordinary. I wanted them to get a record deal so I could buy their music and take it with me. Lead singer Reynaldo Rijo’s voice is soulful and otherworldly.

    Find Out What to Do Nearby >

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  • 07 of 10

    Nearby Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Local ladies offer a smile. © Karen Loftus.

    It is hard to leave an all-inclusive resort, especially this one, but you ought to experience the local colors, characters and charm.

    Drivers and guides can easily be arranged, but be forewarned, they have their own style of driving. Get ready for a rocky ride and many near misses. It’s part of their culture. Good news is that the roads are smooth.

    Explore the small towns along the way. In nearby Higuey, stop off at the Basilica de Nuestra de la Altagracia. After a visit at the renowned church, you will pass through towns where they hang their meat out, as in freshly slaughtered. The full carcass complete with head will make you rethink beef for dinner.

    Two plus hours later, you can spend a day at another Iberostar resort, The Hacienda Dominicus in Bayahibe, the first in the Dominican Republic.

    No two properties are alike, as each has their own signature, The Ship at the Grand Bavaro, the infinity pool at Paraiso, and at this property, I didn’t ask, but it had to be the lobby: The breezy,...MORE yellow and green lobby is a cross between a Mediterranean villa and Colonial plantation. It was an intoxicating experience. We wanted to crawl up on one of the couches in the open-air space and read a book or take a nap.

    Instead, we hit one of the many restaurants, The Gourmet. The seafood and wines, the red Marques de Caceres 2004 Rioja and the Torres Vina Esmerelda, were exceptional.

    Hit their dive center and head to Catalina, one of the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean. Or take a boat out and have casual cocktail in a sand bar out at sea. You won’t be alone. It’s a bit of a tradition in the area.

    Shuttles or drivers must be prearranged. Ask at the Grand Bavaro. Your all-inclusive privileges will carry over to the other Iberostar.

    Read What Could be Improved >

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  • 08 of 10

    What Could be Better at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro?

    ••• Step up to the two-story spa. © Karen Loftus.

    The one thing that seemed out of sync with Iberostar’s impeccable service was The Spa. It appeared to be tip-top, as the amenities were impressive and the aesthetics stunning.

    The two-story beachfront spa and fitness center had one of the best gyms I have ever seen at a hotel or resort. It features a room full of endless bikes ready for spinning and a buff trainer on site to motivate or intimidate.

    They were putting the finishing touches on the expansive couple’s treatment rooms and finalizing the full service salon the day that we arrived. That is sure to be a destination wedding fave.

    Continuing on with a level of perfection, the spa menu was initially impressive with hot stone, deep tissue, and thalassotherapy treatments. Yet that’s where it fell short, as some staff appeared to be missing the memo that the rest of the staff at the resort received regarding service.

    My masseuse was lovely and well meaning, but the treatment was below par. I asked for a strong massage, yet I got a gentle...MORE redundant rub. I spent my time wide-awake and wondering what kind of training she must have had.

    To be fair, the spa was sanding, dusting and finalizing as we walked through, the spa’s first official open day of service.

    However another patron was floating on air, raving about her spa treatment as we drove to the airport. It may have just been a miss for me.

    The four-handed massage I got at another Iberostar property, the Grand Paraiso in the Riviera Maya, was excellent. Based on The Bavaro’s service and my previous spa experience at Paraiso, I trust that they will get the kinks out of the spa.

    Catch the Vibe >

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  • 09 of 10

    Vibe at Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro

    ••• Iberostar’s own Trio Musicale. © Karen Loftus.

    Grand Hotel Bavaro is romantic, relaxing and fun. As big and as Grand as the size and style is, there is an intimate boutique feel to this particular property, which enhances the romance and the level and relaxation.

    True to the adults-only aspect, couples are the prevalent demographic on site. Yet it wasn’t solely couples. The Grand Bavaro had a few groups of friends, a mix of single and couples. There were a few duo girlfriends having a getaway and a single traveler here and there.

    Romance aside; there is a fun party vibe that is definitely alive. The Iberostar Friends are all over the resort, (think of them as your fun butler), turning up the dial for fun at every turn. By day, they have you active, and by night they have you dancing with them or encouraging you and yours to hit the floor.

    The Basics >

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  • 10 of 10

    Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro Info and Reservations

    ••• Iberostar’s Grand Hotel Bavaro offers a warm welcome with a cool cocktail. © Karen Loftus

    Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro
    Punta Cana, DominicanRepublic
    888-923 2722