Hello, fellow travelers; we’re Jhon and Ari, and last week we stayed in the cheapest all-inclusive hotel in Punta Cana. This is our honest review of the Whala!bávaro to help you decide if this is the right hotel for your vacation.
We arrived at the Whala at 1:45 PM and headed to the front desk to check in. The lobby was small and had a tropical atmosphere. Check-in time is 4 PM, the latest we’ve seen in the 14 Punta Cana resorts we’ve been to so far.
However, we were pleasantly surprised to learn our room was ready. Check-in was fast and super friendly.
We then headed to room 2317 to leave our luggage before lunch. Our room key didn’t work, or so we thought. After several attempts to open the door, we realized our correct room number was 2217. To whoever we scared inside room 2317, sorry!
We paid $70 per person for one night in an Economy Room; this is the least you can spend during high season for an all-inclusive in Punta Cana. We considered this while reviewing our stay in the Whala Bavaro.
The room is small with standard decoration. It smelled and looked very clean. It had a queen size bed with just two tiny pillows. In front of the bed, there’s a workstation and a good sized-TV. The TV had good picture quality.
There is a night table on either side of the bed with a lamp on top that occupies one of the electrical outlets behind it, leaving just one to charge your devices.
The closet space is good, but there need to be more hangers to accommodate two people. Inside the closet, you’ll find the safe.
There is a surcharge to use the safe; luckily, we came prepared with our own safety bag to keep our valuables safe. The blackout curtains were on the clear side and did not make the room completely dark.
The bathroom area is separated from the bedroom area by a door, and as you know, we don’t take this for granted.
The bathroom has a comfortable size, and it’s pretty basic. One vanity, a toilet, and the shower, that’s it. On the pros side, the lighting was good; it was very clean and had a window to the exterior for better ventilation.
On the cons side, the toiletries were very basic, the shampoo dispenser broke while I was taking a shower, the water was a bit salty and funky smelling, and there was noticeable wear and tear.
The toilet got clogged during our stay, but the maintenance staff quickly resolved this.
We had a small balcony with a view of the street. The furniture was simple and had a towel rack. This was the view from our room on the second floor of building #2.
We had lunch at the buffet, the only restaurant available during lunch. The decoration was simple and had a Dominican feeling to it.
There was not too much variety, but the buffet felt complete. Honestly, for the price we paid, we were not expecting the food to be good, but the Whala Bavaro surprised us.
While the food was not delicious, it was better than other, more expensive Punta Cana resorts. The sweets were not fancy, but they also were good.
After lunch, we made a quick pit stop at the room so I could change clothes, and then we explored the hotel.
Hotel Location & Layout
Compared to other Punta Cana All-inclusive hotels, the Whala Bavaro is tiny. It’s located in Los Corales, one of the two walking towns in Punta Cana.
The hotel consists of two separate land lots situated near each other; one lot is beachfront, and the other one, while very near, is not.
Unlike all other resorts in Punta Cana, this unique setup means you’re not isolated from the local life but instead in the middle of it.
We had a drink at the bar near the beach, and again, having paid so little, we were expecting little from the drinks too.
This time, our low expectations served us right; the drinks we had throughout our stay were not good. The Whala Bavaro even failed my Piña Colada test.
We knew the beach in this area was beautiful, and it didn’t disappoint. Due to its location, Los Corales beach is more prone to seaweed, but we were delighted to have found none.
The color of the water was beautiful, and the hotel’s beach area was very nice. There were plenty of chaise lounges available and little huts for shade; also, the hotel building itself provided shade in the afternoon.
There was a beach volleyball court and a dart board; the darts could have been in better shape, but I beat Jhon in an express game; no surprise there.
We got in the elevator and went up to the sky bar on the fifth floor. There’s a bar and a restaurant called Tamashi, but neither is included in the hotel fare.
They are open to people not staying in the resort, so it’s an excellent place to mingle with locals and tourists staying in the area. This rooftop is by far the best spot in the entire hotel.
Here we found the pool with the most impressive view of any pool in Punta Cana we’ve seen so far. It has a glass wall with an infinity edge that perfectly matches the beach horizon.
There are four other pools in the Whala Bavaro, one on the ground floor of this building by the snack bar, and three more in the hotel’s non-beachfront lot: a small one by the lobby and two bigger ones, one in the center of the property and the other in a more secluded area by the kid’s club.
We also visited the open-air gym. It’s equipped with just basic equipment, and here you’ll also find a ping pong table. We briefly visited the spa, which is more of a hair salon where they also offer massages.
After recharging our batteries with a mid-afternoon siesta, we headed to have dinner. We made reservations for the Sueño a la carte restaurant during our check-in.
This restaurant is open for dinner on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and you need to book it before 3 PM.
The decoration was simple, with an open-air design. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. After seeing almost no vegetarian options on the menu, we ordered just two entrees with the idea of hitting the buffet afterward. The food was again surprisingly good.
I got excited when I saw it was Mexican night at the buffet. There were popular Mexican dishes like tacos and nachos and other not so well known recipes like chicken tequila.
At the end of our meal, we were happy with the flavor and variety of the buffet.
After dinner, we headed to the Orquídea Bar to wait for a live music session. Here we had a coconut-based cocktail called Coco Loco, the best drink we tasted in the Whala Bavaro.
Good music played while we waited for the night show, which started 6 minutes behind the 9:30 schedule. A saxophone player was playing over instrumental tracks of popular songs; he was pretty good.
The show lasted an hour, but we went to bed before it ended; we were beat.
We slept well, and the bed was comfortable. However, our air conditioning unit began giving a P4 error message and quit cooling; if not for the ceiling fan, it would have been a horrible night.
We woke up early the following day and had breakfast at the buffet. There was a good variety, but the eggs were on the salty side, which kind of ruined the breakfast experience.
I love resort breakfasts, so it was a shame this was the less appetizing meal of our stay.
We had some business in Santo Domingo, so we checked out early. Checkout was also fast, and we returned our pool towels at the front desk, for which we had left a refundable deposit of $10.
The Whala!Bávaro is a good option for budget travelers looking for a home base to go out and explore Punta Cana and the rest of the DR.
Would We Go Back?
While it was better than we expected, the Whala Bavaro is not for us.
Our score of the Whala!bávaro is 3.5/10
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Click here to see where we rank the Whala Bavaro in our Punta Cana resort rankings.
Click here to see our Youtube video tour of the Whala Bavaro facilities.