Brenda and Mark are very attentive and helpful. The places are clean, the response rate of very quick and all the comforts of home are provided.
I am happy to recommend Brenda and Mark - your vacation will be wonderful!
We stayed at Estrella del Mar for six weeks. The two bedroom condo had everything we needed and more - two bathrooms, full kitchen including coffee pot, blender, microwave, oven and everything you need to prepare meals which I recommend you do if you stay for long as eating out in Bavaro gets expensive.
The condo has a small but lovely patio that has a nice gas grill. The grounds are delightful and impeccably kept. Really beautiful with all the palm trees, hedges and greenery. There are two pools that are well maintained and lovely for a daily dipping. The security guards are all nice guys, helpful, approachable and friendly. It's safe and there is ample parking.
The beds weren't the most comfortable, certainly not awful but we did wake up with back pain a little more often than not and the pillows weren't great - cheap, lumpy cotton. Other than some electricity outings (you immediately go on generator), smelly water (they went on a private well while we were there so this should no longer be a problem) and the water shutting off entirely a little too occasionally, I can't really complain about the place. It has all the amenities of home and is really comfortable. The condo has a washer and dryer as well and I have a small child so this was invaluable.
If you aren't one for the ever present, homogeneous, all-inclusive resort stay, I recommend staying in a condo especially if you value learning the local culture, mixing with Dominicans and Haitians and traveling independently. Bavaro is not a cheap place any way you dice it so expect to pay $1,200 USD for the month's rental and $80 for the cleaning deposit and $200 to $400 for electricity depending on how much you run the fans, A/C and W/D. Taxis are ridiculously expensive in Bavaro - $20 USD to go a short distance so either hop the bus, take a moto or get a car rental from the airport. It's cheaper to rent a car for the day than pay for taxis.
Our condo was managed by BrenMark (aka Brenda and Markitto). Brenda is the brains behind the operation so if you need anything done go to her. She was instrumental in helping us get wifi installed (thank god as my business depends on it and the community wifi was the worst; it's faster in Cambodia). Little things come up and Brenda was able to get things dealt with usually within a day or two. One problem we had was the shower drains clogging, not draining properly, and flooding our bathrooms. Remember it is the Dominican and things move slower. If they say the plumber is coming at 10 am expect him an hour or so later. Eventually it gets one.
Markitto, the property manager, was helpful upon arrival. After that, he never once answered his phone or returned a call. He offered to help us line up Spanish lessons and other such things but never actually delivered on any of them. All talk, no follow through. Other than a few slight annoyances, we were overall really pleased with Estrella del Mar and happy to have it as a home base for six weeks while we traveled throughout the Dominican Republic.
Of course no one warned us about the sargassum epidemic when we were booking into the area so be sure to check this out before you come! 95% of the beaches in Bavaro are inundated with the stuff right now and while it's not something the locals can control, it does make the beaches less enticing and nowhere near the picturesque version you see in the guidebooks. Do your research before you spend the money.
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