Partiers may find the scene too subdued and nightlife dull
Restaurant reservations can be a nuisance and difficult to secure
Pools in the swim-up rooms do not connect to any of the the main pools
Premium brand liquors in the bars (included) are not always offered or visible
The (free) butler service is inconsistent
This 274-room, adults-only all-inclusive resort with photogenic Greco-Roman design is part of the Iberostar brand's Grand Collection, and is the most luxurious of four Iberostar options in Punta Cana. Prices are understandably higher, though they're not that much higher than at sister property Bavaro Suites. There's a ton of space for relaxing, especially at one of three pools and an extra wide stretch of beach. The four room types are equipped with spacious balconies, enclosed foyers with large closets, and a hidden delivery area for 24-hour room service. Butlers are available at no extra cost, though they might only prove valuable for restaurant reservations, which are notoriously difficult. After dinner, guests can enjoy a performance in the Milanese-inspired theater, La Scala; for drinks, a three-mast ship serves as a late-night watering hole, though few actually use it.
More upscale and serene than its neighbors -- perhaps a little too serene for some
The entrance of this adults-only section of Iberostar gives justice to the "Grand" namesake, with a sprawling circular driveway leading to a marble archway. The signature perfumed scent and elegant furnishings (lots of marble, columns, and arches) help this Iberostar stand out from its sister properties. The airy, ostentatious architecture creates a feel that's formal rather than intimate, and the resort can at times feel empty due to its expansive layout.
The lobby circles around an outdoor courtyard, and guests make their way to a red-carpeted front desk area and lounge for arrival drinks. In front is an outdoor seating overlooking the resort and its decorative lake (not swimmable) with tall palms, walkways, and a three-mast ship that is impossible to overlook. The rooms are situated in a four-story structure that wraps around this entire area. A walking path to the right of the lobby leads to a cigar bar, some upscale shops, a la carte restaurants, the buffet, and the ship, in which drinks are served at night. To the left of the lobby is the business center, concierge desk, and La Scala theater for nightly performances. Paths from both areas leads to three pools, whirlpools, and the beach.
The pools and beach are in close proximity to each other and rarely see a crowd. Salsa lessons or aqua games might occur, but the animation team is more toned down here than neighboring resorts, allowing for peace and quiet.
At night, guests dress up for the gourmet buffet or restaurants (no shorts or sandals for men) and there might be a corporate event or wedding party taking place on the beach. Restaurant reservations can be difficult -- surprising considering there are four for this resort only -- but with the help of butlers and tips, guests should not have a problem. Given the adults-only clientele and the space, the Grand section is ideal for those on honeymoon.
The adults-only section of the Iberostar complex -– about 30 minutes from the airport
The expansive Grand Bavaro Iberostar is about 17 miles from Punta Cana International airport, on the northeast side of the island along the 10-mile coast of Bavaro Beach. This is considered one of the most beautiful areas in Dominican Republic, and the next door beach -- easy walking distance -- has been awarded with a Blue Flag, which is a French-based organization that rates beaches all across the world on a range of factors like cleanliness, water quality, and safety. The Grand is the smallest property in the Iberostar complex in terms of rooms, but can seem like the biggest in terms of layout and space. It sits next door to Bavaro Suites and does not have a resort directly to the other side, allowing for a bit more space at the beach, which is public. Other than a golf outing or boat excursion, most guests are content to stay on-site for the duration of their vacation.
Elegant furnishings; large bathrooms have jetted tubs with a view
There are 274 rooms in four types,: Suite, Ocean View Suite, Swim Out Suite and the most expensive, Ocean Front Suite. Decor is similar throughout, with neutral tones, interesting historic photographs on the walls, and beds that have quality linens, including a fabric canopy above. All rooms have large bathrooms with dual sinks, jetted tubs, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, Gilchrist & Soames toiletries, bathrobes, slippers, and a separate foyer with closets. Stocked minibars have mini bottles of premium liquors. 24-hour room service is available and delivered in seclusion, since the foyer can be closed off.
Suites are the most common type (181 units) but views vary and guests may find that they overlook a walking path, garden, or the separation between this resort and next door Bavaro. Ocean View Suites (60 units) are the same layout have a view of the sea and tend to be higher up. Swim Out suites (19 units) have a private swim-out pool that feeds into one pool for all the units, but this does not attach to any main pool areas. The view for these ranges and may not be that exciting. Due to how few people use them, the swim-out pool can sometimes feel like one large private pool.
The most expensive of the rooms are the Ocean Front Suites (12 units) which look directly onto the beach or ocean and have the easiest access to this area.
Typical all-inclusive features but slightly higher in quality
Guests may be surprised to find that the features here do not stray far from typical all-inclusive features at other resorts, such as the three sister properties. The most notable difference is the adults-only scene, and more peace and quiet given the number of rooms for the size.
Most people spend their day at three pools, two whirlpools, and large beach, and there are plenty of lounge chairs, though palapas and daybeds will get reserved by the guests who get up early to watch the sunrise. The main pool has a swim-up bar for a selection of frozen drinks, beers and cocktails, and there's drink service throughout this area. There are four more bars around the property including the lobby bar, a cigar bar, and a late-night bar on the ship.
There are four a la carte restaurants on premise including Japanese, Italian, French, and Surf and Turf, which have a wider selection of premium liquors, wines, and beers (though guests may need to ask for them). A dress code does apply for gentleman and dinnertime requires long pants, closed shoes, and shirts with sleeves.
The fitness center and two-level spa (offering couples treatments and hammams) share a building close to the beach. The fitness center has views of the sea, and some class activities such as tai-chi and spinning. Other activities on hand include archery, tennis, golf and games from the animation team. Water sports include snorkeling (for free), as well as sailing lessons, scuba diving lessons, boat excursions, parasailing, water skiing, and windsurfing (for an extra fee).
The resort has free Wi-Fi throughout, and a pool table, poker tables, televisions for sporting events, and a business center.
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