Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Lively resort buzzing with activities, pop tunes, families, and couples.
In a span of five minutes, the crowded, but mellow, pool scene can go from zero to 60 thanks to the Euro remix of "What is Love" that comes blasting through the speakers. With high kicks and dance moves, a gaggle of women started another intense, daily session of water aerobics.
Ten minutes later, a group of men in their 50s and 60s flexed their muscles and posed for their wives' cameras before hitting the water for a mean game of . In another corner, a diving instructor helped a couple strap on while a game of (or rather, "Bingo, Bango, Bongo") was just getting underway on the beach. There's so much to do that it verges on overwhelming -- but in a good way, with salsa bands suddenly breaking into song just outside the Higuey buffet. Lots of fun, but peace and quiet is hard to find.
Dominicana's lobby, grounds and rooms exude a 1970s Miami feel -- there's little to be found that's not of some shade of pink, orange, or green. And though nearly everything about the Dominicana could use a face-lift, especially the , the are immaculately manicured and impeccably clean, a testament to the army of landscapers and cleaning crews perpetually trimming, wiping, or picking things up.
With 590 rooms, the Dominicana is one of three resorts within the larger Iberostar complex. It shares its facilities with its next-door neighbor, the Iberostar Punta Cana, which is more or less the same price. On its other side is the considerably more expensive Iberostar Bavaro, and the staff there is strict about people not crossing over into the more expensive price bracket.
The Dominicana draws bargain-hunting couples and families with young children from all over the world, but primarily from the United States, Spain, France, and Germany. A friendly group, everyone seemed eager to mingle with one another in the airy, spacious lobby once the sun went down.
Wedged between two sister properties, it's a 30-minute taxi from the airport.
Located on a picturesque, but crowded, stretch of beach in Punta Cana, the Iberostar Dominicana is wedged between the Iberostar Punta Cana and Iberostar Grand Hotel Bavaro, and connected via a boardwalk. Guests at Dominicana equally share the facilities at Punta Cana, but not with Bavaro (though Bavaro guests can use the facilities on the Dominicana and Punta Cana properties).
There’s not much worth seeing in Punta Cana itself though -- everything to see, do, and eat is on the property itself.
Beach-goers who want two chairs next to each another, let alone a shaded hut, must plant their flag early. The beach here -- one of the best strips of sand in the D.R. -- fills up quickly.
There is no drinks service on the beach, but there are several bars, restaurants, and a great ice cream stand just steps from the sand.
Rooms are clean, but a bit outdated. The specks of dirt around the corners come not from lack of scrubbing, but from the sheer age of this place, built in 1995 (and scarcely renovated since).
The couch, chair cushion, and both comforters on the full-size beds share the same dull floral fabric. They match the walls painted orange, green and blue. Pink-and-yellow match the pink-and-green . Translation: It's in dire need of an update, but clean.
In every bidet, a feature mostly reserved for upgraded suites in most all-inclusives in the D.R. It serves as a reminder of the Spanish chain’s European sensibility and sanitation (something notoriously absent from most Dominican resorts)., there’s a
Many of the standard rooms are located on the ground level, just steps from the main pool and a main walkway. While these rooms are conveniently close to the hotel's main amenities, they offer little in the way of privacy.
Fun all day with water polo, , and , but the is just cheesy.
Guests almost unanimously complain that the live music, it's worse than most Dominican resorts.is pretty weak. Consisting mostly of bad and some
That said, the entertainment staff works hard. There are water aerobics and to merengue and salsa lessons. The classes are consistently packed and everyone seems like they are having fun.scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day ranging from Spanish lessons to to
Excellent kids' club, kid-friendly , and loads of fun activities -- the Iberostar is a great choice for families.
The small mini-club for kids ages 5 to 12 was tucked away behind the glut of shops on Caribbean Street. The kids are always out playing, though. The staff makes sure to leave a sign taped to the door with the wee ones' whereabouts ("at the pool" or "on the playground"). Hours for the mini-club are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., not including the mini-disco at the main theater from 8 to 8:30 p.m., before the adult show gets underway.
In addition to keeping the grounds clean, the housekeeping is blazingly quick to grab the mop when it begins to rain. The hallways in the residential buildings are lined in very orange tiles that turn into virtual skating rinks when wet.
The rooms themselves are almost as clean as the grounds and landscaping, but showed more natural signs of age like a few frays in the or scratches on the .
They have the salads, starches, and sweets covered in the buffets: 16 different kinds of(say, dark, light, rolls, loaf, braided, seeded), eight different kinds of , four , three different kinds of very fresh (green leaf, watercress, and spinach), an assortment of equally fresh , and a seemingly endless selection of , including four flavors of . The meat, however, was overcooked, which is the case at virtually every Dominican all-inclusive.
There are six specialty restaurants, but guests need to make reservations early. (Guests at Iberostar Dominicana can also eat on Iberostar Punta Cana's property).
Iberostar only has one wedding package, and not a ton of extras, but the prices are right and the planning is hassle free.
Located on an excellent stretch of beach, the Iberostar’s clean rooms, immaculate grounds, great service, and buzzing activities (taking place morning, noon and night) make it feel like a well-oiled machine. Sure, it’s crowded, the meat's overcooked, and the rooms and are showing some wear, but it's one of Punta Cana’s best deals.