Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A friendly cohabitation of families, couples, and groups
The lobby is decorated with elegant and colorful furnishings and surrounds a tranquil pond. This area is relaxed during the day and romantic at night, as are the manicured grounds that have two large fountains on either side of the property. The main pool, which lights up at night, is also a peaceful spot, though partiers can walk behind the lobby toward a separate area that houses a rowdy sports bar and late-night disco. This is thankfully out of ear shot from most of the rooms at Dominicana.
Compared to the neighboring section called Bavaro, with what seems like hundreds of two-story buildings spread out over a large area, this layout is simple to navigate with larger, four-story buildings that connect to the lobby and main buffet area. This makes it more compact -– great for families with strollers or those who have had too many beers and need to find their way home. On one side of the property, next to a covered walkway, is a row or colorful shops, as well as a a fitness center and spa facing the ocean.
It’s a comfortable vibe, overall. Guests can take part in Star Friends entertainment activities on the beach and in the theater at night, or simply nap in the sunshine, have a quiet dinner, and hit the hay early for an early sunrise beach walk.
A section of the Iberostar complex and golf course –- about 30 minutes from the airport
The entire Iberostar resort is about 17 miles from Punta Cana International airport –- a popular tourist destination on the northeast side of the island along the 10-mile coast of Bavaro Beach (with many fellow Spanish-based neighboring resorts). This is considered one of the most beautiful areas in Dominican Republic, and the Iberostar Beach –- especially this section -- has been awarded the international Blue Flag. This renowned organization rates beaches all across the world on range of factors from swimming conditions, safety, and cleanliness.
Like most resorts in this area, there is not much to do outside of the property. Guests do not come to explore the area, but rather stay on the grounds and enjoy the all-inclusive amenities.
Basic rooms are comfortable, but clearly not the draw here
There are over 500 rooms housed in large four-story red and orange buildings surrounding pretty courtyards with ponds and tall palm trees. All of these buildings have elevators, so there's no need to worry about luggage and stairs.
Guests can choose between three room types: Standard, Junior Suite, or Family Rooms, and all have basic, slightly outdated Caribbean decor. Despite this, the rooms are well-kept and clean, so most guests (especially given the low price) do not have complaints about lack of modernization. It's about the beach and good food here.
Standard Rooms come with either two double beds or one king bed, coffeemakers, mini-fridges stocked with soft drinks, water and beer, and CD Players. The minibars tend to be restocked every few days though, so coffee drinkers will want to request daily delivery. Bathrooms have a stand-up shower, single sink, and basic toiletries, but no bathtub. All rooms lead out to a balcony with two chairs and a small table, and all units have a screen door for those who prefer the ocean air instead of air-conditioning.
Junior Suites are larger in size and closer to the beach, though don’t expect an ocean view -- these are rare due to layout of this particular property. Family Suites -- there are about 13 of these -- have two connecting rooms, one with two double beds and the other one with a king bed.
Wi-Fi is not free anywhere on the property, but can be purchased through the front desk.
A brand known for food quality, and it shows
The Dominicana property is smack-dab between sister properties Punta Cana and Bavaro, but the only time this is really noticeable is on the beach. It's hard to know where one area ends and the other begins, especially with all the walkers and swimmers. Guests tend to wake up early and mark the first row of chairs closest to the water, but there usually isn't a problem finding a spot throughout the day. Partiers can push their chairs together and drink in groups, and relaxation-seekers can read a book or take a nap. All are present.
The pool bar is also a happening place during the day, and the bartenders often engage in singing and dancing while they are serving beers and cocktails. This main pool is saltwater and free of chemicals. Guests can also use the Bavaro pool with a swim-up bar and children's water park area. Kids also have use of a the Lucy Club, and there are babysitting services available.
Five a la carte restaurants and two buffets are offered on this property alone. Iberostar takes pride in its food and beverage programs across the world, so those looking for a slight step up in this area (even with the low prices), should be pleased. The beach buffet is open for snacks and lunch, and the main buffet (open for all three meals) can be found near the lobby -- it's a nice spread that changes daily. A la carte restaurants will require a restaurant reservation on a slip of paper, and if lacking this, guests may get turned away.
The Star Friends animation team can be found making their way through the property at all times of the day with beach activities and dancing, and they end with an evening performance at the theater.
Golfers can use an 18-hole course on-site (for a fee), and there's also a free fitness center and spa have a good location close to the beach. Runners will likely appreciate having a view of the sea while using a treadmill.
The Iberostar mega-complex is made up of four neighboring properties, and the 500-room Iberostar Dominicana is perhaps the best option for families given its more compact size and adjoining rooms. It's also popular with couples, who can likely appreciate the romantic, manicured grounds and fountains, while partiers can take advantage of the lively scene at the pool and beach bars. The beach here is renowned for a reason, but the chairs nearest to the ocean often get snagged in the early morning. With access to the golf course, tennis center, late-night disco and quality food and beverage options, it's a stand-out option for the low price. Just don't expect to be wowed by room decor, or have free Wi-Fi.