Date of Trip Tuesday March 6th to Saturday March 17th
Departure: Ottawa Int Airport
Tour Operator: Nolitour
Flight: Air Transat
Just back today from Be Live Grand Bavaro, I read many mixed reviews before our departure. I was very frustrated with the fact that the reviews for this resort were amalgamated with the reviews for the Punta Cana. I have been to many hotels before they all have multiple hotels within the same resort and they are all listed separately. I find it confusing to read the reviews cause some people don’t specify where they were staying. I tried multiple times to get this separated back to the way it was but received no response from Trip Advisor as to why this happened last December.
IMPORANT: I made a video of the Bavaro section which I posted on You Tube I believe this may be very helpful to you. I took a video from the front of the hotel and walked through the lobby then through the section where the Notitour reps hang our then walked to the secluded sections of building 12, 14 and 15. I also video taped Building 9, 10 and 11. Then walked through my room and video taped from the balcony. Its about 7 min. If you don’t have the patience to read this review then check out the video it should give you a great idea of what to expect . I would also encourage other people to do the same for other hotels tourist videos are priceless. The link to the video is this http://youtu.be/F-z15Y7e6qY. If it does not work go to you tube and search for the video called "Be Live Grand Bavaro Hotel in Punta Cana: or look for my channel called "sylvienix"
This was my 4th trip to Punta Cana so I had a good idea what to expect from a 4 star Hotel so I was not scared by what some people were saying. Reviewers if you are used to 5 star then just book a 5 star don’t complain about a 4 start not living up to a 5 star. I've split my review in categories so you can easily skim through to the information you are looking for, I always put a ton of details in my reviews as I don’t know what people find important and not important.
This was the first time I travelled in a group I normally just travel with my boyfriend so this part was new to me getting a table of 8. My sister and I also sponsor Dominican kids through World Vision Canada. This was my first time off a resort on a non- tour operated outing. We saw our kids who live 1.5 hours away from Punta Cana and I must say was the light of our trip!
We departed Ottawa International Airport at 6AM, we were a party of 8 to ensure we were all sitting comfortably and close together we booked out seat ahead of time with extra leg room. I registered the two kids in our group the Air Transat kids club which gives them extras like priority boarding, free snack coupons and small gifts to keep them busy on the plane. My boyfriend and I booked Options plus which gave us priority seating, free snacks etc but most importantly it gave us additional allowance for our luggage. This was the first time we were travelling for 12 days so we had extra stuff and worried that we’d have to pay 15$ per extra kilo. It paid off cause we were really cutting it close…lol
We had a tourist card to fill out in the plane which you were warned if you lose or you make mistakes on the security people will make you pay for another one. We noticed that we were not forced to take a welcome picture while going through customs not sure what happened to that but not upset that is gone it just slowed things down and nobody really bought the photos anyway! We got changed while waiting for our luggage and made our way to the tour operator section of the airport to find out which bus to take to the hotel. I cannot stress this enough folks if you are not going to take the bus please be nice enough to warn the tour operator. They have your name and are expecting you to be there and will force the bus to wait for you. This has happened to us in the past and nobody likes to wait in the bus for an for people who are not coming!
The hotel is close to the airport 15 min drive, 2nd on the strip, the Catalonia was the first. We arrived around 12:30PM at the hotel lobby checking was not until 3PM so we parked our luggage in the luggage room near the lobby. Warning, please do not leave your carry-ons in this room as its not locked and reception often steps away! Check-in was slow, the lady was not prepared for us, I think she was covering for someone cause I never saw her there again in the 12 days I was there. We were a group of 8, and of course it takes more time cause we wanted to make sure we had rooms that were close together and so on. The lady was very nice and not once were we ever grumpy with her. I’m used to seeing envelops with room numbers, bracelets and our names etc. The lady seemed overwhelmed, we asked a lot of questions and made sure were getting rooms close together. Once we got that sorted out and got our bracelets we went to the buffet then got some drinks at the bar while we waited by the pool and enjoyed the sun. We got our beautiful junior suites around 3:30PM and request a key for the safe, this only gets paid at check out for 12 days it was 33$
Resort Star Ratings:
I spoke to my tour Operator a few years back about start ratings and the stereo type about cleanliness. A two star hotel can be cleaner than a 4 or 5 star she assured me. She said it has to do with the services the hotel offers. Our hotel has a 4 star. What would give this hotel more stars is a few more a la cart restaurants, a spa, bank, additional pools, casino etc an updated look.
The hotel has 1 Huge pool main pool in the Punta Cana Section and 6 other pools all over the resort. The Bavaro section had 5 pools we were in building 14 which is right across from building 15 and we had 3 pools, 1 was big pool the other was a shallow kiddy pool and the 3rd was a lap pool.,The resort had a total of 6 bars if you count the one if the disco. The resort had a main buffet near the Punta Cana Lobby called Windows, The Aqua restaurant reserved for the Bavaro section severed Breakfast and Lunch buffet style and turned into the Brazilian Restaurant at night. The buffet food was good my only criticism is that it did not vary much from day to day so if you don’t book restaurants you will get tired of eating the same stuff over and over again. Every day there was the hot dogs hamburgers and often had chicken which tasted like KFC. There was a kiddy section with pasta, chicken nuggets and fries. There was also a popcorn machine next to it. We had reservations for the Mexican, Sports Bar, Gourmet, Italian and Japanese Restaurants. We missed our reservations for the Mexican due to our late arrival from one of our excursion. The best tasting restaurant was Japanese. The one we were disappointed with was the Italian but that’s our opinion you may like it. The Italian one is out by the ocean and not closed it so if its windy bring a shall or jacket as it can get chilly.
The Theater was not multi leveled so like so if you sit in the back you will have trouble seeing , The casino was typical Resort casino, we got a free 10$ coupon per adult to play every night. I won twice and took back a whole 20$ cause I quit as soon as my coupon turned into money…lol There was a duty free shop on the resort along with 4 other stores which you could bargain with next to it. These stores are like the ones you can find across the street from the resort and you can bargain.. Near the stores was an internet café, where you have a variety of prices for different services. If all you wanted to was to check your e-mail for a few minutes it would cost you 4$ for 15 min. If you wanted wifi for 25hrs which was good for 6 days it would cost you 25$. I took the wifi. It was not ultra-fast but it depended on what time of day I was checking my face book ;)
Ok here is the load down on the room! We paid for a Junior suite in the Bavaro Section with a kings size bed and convertible couch. We were in Building 14, room number to be specific was 14205 had a king size bed, 14204 was the adjoining room with 2 double beds. I believe 14203 must have had a king side bed too cause my sister had the ajoining room to it with two double beds. I think i was set up that every other room had a king bed and the adjoining room had two twin. My sister wanted two rooms with two double beds because she has a family of 5. We were a family of 3. We got the rooms were looking for. Even though they were not the room assigned to the correct people we just switched among us and were extremely happy we got exactly what we asked for. The Junior Suites are very spacious, maybe too much room for 2 people but perfect for 3 or more people. This way you are not stepping on each other’s toes. There was lots and lots of storage, the only thing that was lacking was extra hangers but my boyfriend had asked me to bring extra and I forgot so technically my fault there. The coffee maker did not work really well, got the water warm but not hot. There was lots of wall plugs so if you have lots of things to plug in like Ipods and other electronics to re-charge that will not be a problem. The floors were some sort of marble tile, the bathrooms were not closed they were open except the toilet was in the same section with a closed door. Because I had my 11 year old daughter with me we took hair clips and clamped on a towel to the shower door. This way if anyone was taking a shower and another needed to use the toilet, the person in the shower had privacy. There was technically two showers in the room. There was one above the Jacuzzi tub. Everything was clean clean clean. I had an adjoining room with my sister’s kids. Looks like our section had adjoining rooms. I believe they had one king size bed adjoined to a room with double beds. Even though we got clean towels when our maid cleaned our room around 2PM. We also got more towels at night around 8:30 or 9PM which is not a service I got from other hotels. I thought this was a nice tough. I could get rid of the used towels and got some clean ones in case I wanted to take a bath later at night. We also got turn down service a few times. We did not ask for it but it happened a few times we got to the room and the pillows were removed off our bed and we had heresy kisses on our bed. Again never got this at other resorts and I thought this was a nice touch. The TV was a flat screen TV and had lots of English channels, almost too many the kids watched way too much TV We had read about a rooster crowing early in the morning and yup we wanted to choke the little guy after a few days. I fortunately had some ear plugs as I am a light sleeper so if you are a light sleep bring ear plugs you will need them the first couple of days as you adjust. I did not need them after a few days. Out of our 12 day stay we only ran out of hot water once after 4PM and power flickered 1 also. I was at a big resort rated higher than this one a few years back and power outages and cold shower water was a daily occurrence. SO if this is important to you this resort will not let you down in this department!
The beach was nice, not the nicest I have ever been to but this beach was racked every morning. The hotel next door is called the Blau Naturo Park I believe and their beach was much worse. I’m not sure if it’s because of all the boats but there were more weeds than I was used to. My sister and I took a walk along the beach and found some nicer spots took picture. If you walk for 30 min to the left of the resort you will only see 1 other resort the rest is public beach with no hotels. You will get to the point where the beach is rocky so we could not go further because it was too hard on our feet.
There are 6 bars on the resort. The Bavaro section by far had the best bar and bartender named Nicolas and he does encourage us to talk about him on trip advisor…lol He is the only one who made Banana Mommas with real bananas and Coco Locos with Chocolate, this bar also had Baileys and some specialty coffees. We tried the other bars and they were nowhere near as good. The one bar near the beach made me a banana momma that tasted like orange juice. Even the kid who ordered one before me said this was not a banana momma. I just drank it and got my next drink from Nicolas world of difference. I asked the lady’s from Nolitour why his drinks were different, they were not sure but they did notice Nicolas got there really early in the morning and got all his bananas ready and other supplies.
All washrooms were clean clean clean. Some toilets flush better than others but that’s normal. There was often someone in there cleaning them every time I went. I noticed that the washroom by the beach often had people walk in there barefoot which made the floor wet and dirty. People wear your sandles please!
We got our towels in our room, you could switch your towel if you went to a booth near the big main pool and the beach on the Punta Cana side. When we checked out they wanted us to drop off our towels there and get a card. We did not change our towels every days, they did run out of towels if you waited late in the afternoon.
Ok another big thing which people who have created reviews for. I was not blown away by the buffet but it was not as bad as people made it out to be. The food was good but I think what people were really complaining about is the lack of variety from day to day. Normally for supper you have themes and the whole menu changes. This resort did have themes like Italian night or Dominican night but you could not see a big change. I am not saying the food was just lacked in variety; the best way around this was to book restaurants which brought the variety which brought some variety to our meals. There was always pizza, burgers and hotdogs every lunch and supper. Breakfast there was always French Toast, Pancakes, eggs beacon and of course the fruit smoothies yummy, I believe this is why my jeans are a bit snug :)
We went on 3 excursion plus our World Vison Canada Adventure. Hotel pick-ups were done at the Punta Cana Lobby.
Bavaro Runner: 85$ US excursion and opted to go to the Carnival for 10$ more. Unfortunately our guide was not very interesting we could tell he was not great when we saw the other guides explaining more things to their group compared to ours. Anyway this was still a good trip we went on a small trail ride with very small skinny horses and of course on our way back they wanted to sell us rum with our picture on it or other souvenirs. Then we went to a sugar cane plantation where we tasted some sugar cane, saw how cigars were made and got a free sample of vanilla and chocolate cigars. (We don’t smoke, but my boyfriend tried the cigars anyway and thought they were not bad! This place also had a group of people selling items. We this area and went to a place where they make cocoa, coffee, vanilla etc. They had us taste coffee, hot chocolate and fruit. They of course wanted us to buy stuff. It was cheaper than the resort hotel so we bought vanilla and coffee. We then went to lunch; the kids were not impressed with the lunch and of course next to the lunch area was a large souvenir shop. After lunch they brought us to the carnival, normally this trip brings you to a beach but we took the Carnival trip. We got there at 3PM thinking the Carnival was about ready to start….well Dominican time means they will start when they are gosh darn good and ready. So, 1 h and 20 min later they started but it was very very slow to see what was in the parade, my kid was pooped and wanted to go back to the hotel at 3PM but we could not leave until 5:30PM. Our guide took off and only came back after 5:30PM (GRRRRRRRR) We were in a section close to the front stage so they would stop the music and made comments for a good 10 min then the group would slowly go forward. It was long and I don’t recommend this after a long day of touring the Dominican Republic. A lady stop at the beach would have been much better.
Dolphin Explorer: was 149$ for 30 min or 179US for 45 min with 2 dolphins. I had gone on the Dolphin Island 4 years ago and paid 125$ so I was a bit frustrated that it was more expensive. I quickly realized shortly after we got there that you got way more for you money and was very happy I went. There was a while tiger which the guide fed in front of us so you got to see him up close, behind a cage of course. You also got the opportunity to get a picture with a parrot for free with your own camera. You could get a picture with a sea lion 8$ which would be added to your dolphin photos. Once in the water with the Dolphin, we got to pet him on his belly and back. We were in a group of 11, 6 of which were part of my family. We all got to swim out alone and tap on the water which prompted the dolphin to jump over you. Then the next trick was that he would swim by on his back and you had to hold on to his fins as you got a fast ride. The other trick we did was we each got a chance to hold his flippers and the dolphin boosted himself out of the water. Then you got the kiss Kodak moment shot you had to bring your hands under the Dolphins head to help him out of the water as you pecked him on the mussel. The last trick we all swam out the other side of the pen and tapped the water and got to hold on the dorsal fin and got a ride on his back. This was 10X better than Dolphin Island we barely got to touch the dolphin. They made a video which was of course 40$ and each lovely Kodak moment picture was 8$ but you know it was worth it. The smile on my kids face was priceless, she had been waiting for this moment for a long time and these shots were great. My boyfriend and brother in law accompanies us but did not go in. It cost them 35$ US which was not bad cause they got to see everything and they were on the docks and were close to other dolphins who were taking a break. I felt this was a very organized outing. When you got out of the water you went to see a sea lion show for about 15-20 min then you went to pick up your pictures. It was neatly organized in sections with your dolphin’s name. So we had a small group and got everything quickly.
Saona Island: We had an excellent guide this time his name was Sandro! We were picked-up at the hotel at about 7:30 AM and made out way to Bayahibe close to Romana. It was explained to us that we would be making our way the harbor and get on a catamaran for about 2 or ro so and make our way to Saona Island. We would then have lunch and drinks and then leave the Island via speed boat and make out way to the natural pools about 3 KM off the Bayahibe shore where we would see star fish. Then we would get back to shore and he would bring us to a store where would could buy souvenirs. I believe he wanted to dodge the tourist trap near the harbor, he mentioned the place he was bringing us was certified by the Dominican tourist industry which he explained was a good thing cause there are many vendors trying to sell false cigars, false Larimer stones etc this way tourists are protected from fraud. We drove through Higuey which is the biggest city in this southeast region ( 250, 000 populations) . Our guide explain how Dominicans live, had the bus stop by the Basilica even though we had security guards shewing us away, our driver did his best to distract him in creative ways…lol In the city we noticed raw meat hanging from butcher shops outside and other things you don’t see in Canada. It was explained to us that Dominicans prefer getting fresh meat instead of frozen meat so everything that was hanging was killed that morning. When we arrived at the harbor we were asked to have our picture taken for later. We got on the catamaran with a guy who was videotaping and some 2 ladies who acted like the hotel animation staff they served drinks and tried to get you to dance…lol got on board the Catamaran. Once on the Island we had some drinks and some lunch and then we went exploring the beach with the kids. The is beautiful the spot where were we brought had lost of coral rocks near the shore but almost none when you get further away from the shore so bring the water shoes cause its hard on the feet. We saw a star fish wash up on the shore, the kids had fun looking for sea shells. We saw a yellow crab digging a hole, if you see holes in the ground it’s likely one of these guys who made it…lol We left Saona Island on speed boat and made our way to the natural pools, the water was crystal clear, we brought snorkeling goggles and found a very small brown star fish. The videographer found a very large red star fish, not sure where he got it cause we looked all over and could not find any like that. Everyone was looking like crazy. We all secretly think he had one stashed on board…lol Anyway we got back on boat and raced back to the docks, the driver seemed to purposed be zigzagging to get us wet..lol. We left the shore and of course bottles of rum were brought on board with our pictures on it which were offered at 15$. As promised we were brought to this really nice store near Higuey for washroom break and some shopping and snacks. It was a huge with the most variety of souvenir and jewelry and clothes and alcohol that I have seen. Our guide said everything was negotiable. I did not buy anything I did not bring much money with me. We got back to the hotel Just after 7PM went directly to the buffet and then our rooms and we showered and crashed for the night!
Entertainment at the Resort:
The night entertainment often consisted of typical resort shows, one of which is the Michael Jackson shows which is always entertaining but I’ve seen it 4 times now so it’s not as fun as it was the first time I saw it. There was another show called Taino which some sort of tribal show with fire which was a must see.
There was a duty free shop on the resort with lots of everything from little souvenir nick knacks to clothes, bathing suits, shoes, hats, luggage, sun screen, chips etc. There was also 4 other stores which you could bargain with next to it. These stores are like the ones you can find across the street from the resort and you can bargain. However these guys are on resort property so they are likely paying more for rent so they are not willing to go as low in price as the guys across the street. There was also 2 or 3 nights a week there were outside vendors who came to the main pool area in the Punta Cana section
Cleaning staff did a great job keeping the place spotless and the gardeners kept everything nice. I did not see any waiters around the bars. Waiters at the Windows restaurant were sometimes understaffed and we accumulated a lot plates before they came to pick them up.
Vendors: We were never chased or pestered by any vendors. The time share people always hanging out by the Windows Buffet but they never bothered or pestered us. The vendors by the beach, same thing, they came by a couple of times and we said no gracias and they walked away.
This was the 1st time I come to Punta Cana in March and was not disappointed the weather was basically the same as it is in later November sometimes there was rain but it did not last long and the sun came out stronger right after. The nights were warm if windy it was a little chilly so you might need to bring a shawl or light jacket/cardigan. everyone wore jackets or long sleeve shirts.
It’s hard to truly rate hotels now a days as each hotel and vacation package providers have special packages with different options which travelers pay more for. I paid for junior Suite and got exactly what I wanted. I’m sure anyone staying in the Punta Cana Section had a different experience than the Bavaro section. There was lots of Kids on spring break and heard it was really loud at night and hears some kids broke a lot of lanterns the week before we got there which we noticed were all replaced before we left ( at least 12 lanterns were busted. This was the smallest of the 4 resorts that I have been to in Punta Cana small does not always mean bad. The rooms were beautiful. I loved our secluded little section. I tend to be asked often if I would go back. I tend to look for whatever is on sale. If it came back on sale I would go back.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Be Live Collection Punta Cana Hotel is an elite 5-star All Inclusive Hotel in the Dominican Republic. It is the perfect place to enjoy a vacation whether it's a couple's getaway, a family adventure, friends reunion, or guests that just need a few days of rest and relax; this resort has all the necessary facilities even Spa and Casino services. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, HotelQuickly, Hooroo Pty Ltd, TripOnline SA, Cancelon and Hotelopia so you can book your Be Live Collection Punta Cana reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Grand Oasis Punta Cana
- Globalia Punta Cana Grand
- Grand Oasis Hotel Punta Cana
- Grand Oasis Bavaro
- Punta Cana Grand Oasis
- All Inclusive Punta Cana
- Oasis Punta Cana
- Gran Oasis Punta Cana