To begin, a disclaimer: we stayed at this resort only because it was included in an all-inclusive Air Transat last minute package.
The village is arranged around several pools with adjoining bars. The rooms are decent and clean, and each has a balcony. Unlike most of the other Bavaro area resorts, IFA is set back from the beach leaving more space for palm trees, sports, and sunbathing on the beach. (Check out the seperate entry about Bavaro beach).
Most importantly, there are no signs in the bathroom warning against drinking (or brushing your teeth with) the tap water. Woe to you if you drink that stuff - you will get the “tra-la-la”. Bottled water was not available in the hotel market, so we tipped the maid at the beginning of the week and were generously supplied with 2 bottles of water a day. In the buffet Restaurant Colibri, the staff works long shifts so I forgive them for being so disorganized that we were lucky to obtain a beverage before we finished eating. We tried eating in the “seafood” restaraunt which has 5 menu items- only one seafood and you must pay extra for it. After that experience we were hesitant to try out the sushi bar- especially in a country that doesn’t eat fresh fish. Plus, the ATM was broken all week, and the only options for withdrawing money were to walk to the next resort, or to take a taxi into town. Solicitors were allowed to enter the resort. I was offered drugs and an iguana on my way to the pool one day.
Lastly, the Air Transat official was unhelpful, warning us about participating in non-Transat organized excursions, which makes sense only if you consider the profit they must make from these activities. She discouraged guests from exploring outside the resort–but eventually we discovered it’s not that it’s terribly dangerous, it's just that there’s nothing to do there.
If you’re into organized group activities and mild inconveniences, by all means stay at the IFA Ocean Village. And if you don’t like it, you can always drown your sorrows in an impromptu all-you-can-drink buffet. It’s included! Despite all the negative details, if you still find yourself at this resort you will most likely enjoy your stay, because you can’t really complaint about the sun, sand, unlimited rum, and Caribbean breezes.