Comparing three Iberostar hotels in the Dominican Republic
If you are thinking of staying in one of the Iberostar hotels in the Dominican Republic, I can help you to decide which one. Why? Because I have personally stayed in three of their hotels, to see what each one offers, and who these hotels are best suited to.
In the pictures each hotel looks equally appealing, so it can be tough to make the final decision as to which one to go for. It's hard to pick without having a personal recommendation, or seeing them for yourself. Don't worry, I have done that bit for you, and will be reviewing each hotel in detail below.
We were there for a week, and we travelled from Punta Cana to Puerto Plata, and then from Puerto Plata to La Romana. Just FYI, I wouldn't recommend doing this, as the hotels are too far apart. We went on two six hour journeys to travel from one end of the Dominica to the other, because I needed to see as much of the country as I could.
However, if you do want to split your time between two different hotels, you could spend a week at the Iberostar Bavaro Punta Cana and then a week at the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus La Romana, as they are about an hour apart.
So, let's get on to the nitty gritty. Which hotel came out on top? I will be comparing the beaches, pool, location, rooms, service, food and entertainment of these hotels. Obviously they were all lovely five star hotels, but there's small details that make them stand out. Find out which was my favourite hotel, and what each hotel is best for.
Iberostar Bavaro - Punta Cana
The first hotel we stayed in was the Iberostar Bavaro in Punta Cana. After a long flight, it was a relief to be greeted with a refreshing welcome drink. My first impressions of the hotel were that it looked stylish and modern inside, and the hotel resort was huge, with so many facilities to take advantage of. You will notice the 18-hole golf course as your drive up to the hotel (I don't play golf but it looked impressive).
So of all the hotels, I think we preferred our room at the Iberostar Bavaro. I genuinely had such a good night's sleep in my bed here, it was so comfy. The bathroom was luxurious and well equipped, and the room was spacious. We definitely appreciated the bubbly and welcome feast that we found on arrival after travelling all day.
We stayed in an island-style bungalow suite. Our room was located right next to the pool, which was convenient, although a sea view would have been even better. We also saw some rooms with jacuzzis on their balconies, I would definitely be tempted to book one of these!
I clearly remember the beach here, as it was the first place we went when we arrived, and we couldn't believe how stunning the water was. The sea is a beautiful turquoise blue colour and really clear. Another plus was the beach bar just a few metres back from the beach, so you can grab a cheeky cocktail whenever you like.
This beach felt like real paradise, with palm trees and silky soft, white sand. I would say this was probably the best beach of the three hotels, with the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus coming in a close second.
This hotel has a total of four speciality restaurants. My advice? Make the effort to book them. You have to reserve a table in your chosen restaurant the night before. Otherwise you have to eat in the main buffet, which I have to say, I wasn't overly impressed with. We managed to book a table in the Steakhouse, and the food here was much better, I had a tasty steak.
Punta Cana is ideally located only about 40 minutes from the airport. It's home to 32 kilometres of pristine beaches, and is nicknamed the "Coconut Coast". This is an ideal place to stay if you want to go on lots of excursions including the Scape Park and Reef Explorer tours.
The pool here is enormous, and there's a brilliant splash park for the little ones, making this a good hotel for families. This hotel has a spa with a sauna, jacuzzi and fitness room, room service, and of course a huge golf course. I wanted to get a spa treatment but generally at just under 100 dollars for a massage, I found they were too expensive.
Iberostar Costa Dorada - Puerto Plata
One of the most appealing things about this hotel was its character. In Puerto Plata the resorts are a little more old school, but that's not a bad thing. The decor of the hotel seemed to be more cultural and it had a rustic feel to it, whereas both of the other hotels were more modern, so it depends what sort of vibe you prefer. We really liked the Mexican music they played while we ate dinner, and the vibrant local art they were selling in the hotel.
Of the three hotels, we have the best balcony room here, overlooking the palm trees, part of the beach, and we could just about see the sea. The interior of the room was of a high standard, but perhaps not quite as nice as our room at the Bavaro hotel.
The beach here was lovely, but not quite as pristine as the first hotel. I mean, let's face it, it's still a gorgeous Caribbean beach, the sand just isn't as perfect, I'm just really being ultra critical here. I think it's just because it felt more windy here, so the wind blows more stuff onto the beach.
So if you like to have a gentle breeze whilst sunbathing, you may prefer this location, Another very small point, the bar was at the edge of the pool here, so not quite as easily accessible from the beach.
Again, I wasn't a massive fan of the food, but you have to keep in mind it's an all-inclusive resort. I think maybe we just didn't eat in the best restaurant they had (we tried the Mexican), there are six in total, so I wish we could have tried more but we just didn't have time.
The weather at the Iberostar Costa Dorada was a little more humid because Puerto Plata is hilly and near the mountains, it was definitely drier in Punta Cana. Puerto Plata was the first proper tourist resort here, and there's plenty of excursions to go on, including the awesome outback safari and Puerto Plata city tour. I definitely noticed a different in the scenery here, there's more beautiful bright flowers, lush greenery and stunning mountain views.
When it comes to food, there's a lot of speciality restaurants to choose from. There's also a spa, and an impressive pool with Greek style columns in the centre.
Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus - La Romana
Finally, we have the overall winner, the Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus. This was definitely our favourite hotel for a number of different reasons. Overall, the food was far superior, the decor and facilities were more impressive and the beach was gorgeous. This hotel grounds were beautiful, stylish and peaceful. There were lots of birds wandering around (including flamingos and swans). It really felt like a luxurious five star resort.
At this hotel we had a room overlooking the pool. We were conveniently located right next to the pool and beach. The room was bright and nicely decorated and we had an enormous bed.
The beach was pretty impressive too with a striking lighthouse that looks fab in photos. They were giving out fresh coconut water (which I'm obsessed with) on the beach, which added to the Caribbean beach experience.
The buffet food here was excellent, with better quality food, a more attractive buffet area and better options such as fresh lobster. We also had a lovely meal in the steakhouse whilst being serenaded to the Caribbean version of "Stand by Me".
La Romana is one of the newer tourist areas in the Dominican, but it is quickly growing. It's is ideally located if you want to go on the Saona island trip, as the island is only about ten minutes drive away.
The pool was by far the best of all three hotels. It had a pool bar that you can swim up to and a jacuzzi in the middle of the pool. There's just something so satisfying about drinking your favourite alcoholic beverage whilst sat at a pool bar.
The choice is yours
I hope you found my review of these hotels helpful. Keep in mind that this is just my personal opinion, and all three hotels were of a very high standard, it just depends what's most important to you on your holiday.
I will also be writing an article about how the Dominican Republic is ideal for a girl's holiday, so keep an eye out for that if you're looking for potential 2017 girl's holiday destinations.
If you have to choose between these hotels, I hope I provided some useful insights and you end up making the right decision. No matter which hotel you go for, you will come to appreciate how much the Dominican has to offer as a holiday destination.