Sailboats and windsurfers dot the blue-green reef, the longest in the Dominican Republic. Occasional paddle boarders pass quietly by, tracing the rocky coast. Just beyond the shallow reef where the waves are considerably bigger, a marooned ship, split into two long ago by a passing storm, lays corroding – lending a rough contrast against the otherwise delicate scene.
On land, the pools are abuzz with activity and the nearby hammocks hanging from palm trees sway gently in the breeze. Nearby, adventurous guests swing on the double trapeze and try their hand at acrobatic flips on bungee cords.
This is the everyday scene at Club Med Punta Cana, a resort favorite among patrons of the all-inclusive brand. And I was lucky enough to experience it and more.
Here are my personal highlights of this Caribbean paradise.
My flight to Punta Cana was quite long, owing to the fact that direct flights from Los Angeles to the Dominican Republic are non-existent. Fortunately,the Club Med is literally a five-minute drive from the Punta Cana International Airport, an amazing perk considering that the resort makes you feel like you’re hidden far away from any urban hubbub. Booking the resort’s Transport Package will give you shuttle service privileges to and from the airport.
Luxurious Suite with a View
The club matches that easy-going island lifestyle with its colorful, beach house-style bungalows offering three accommodation types – Deluxe, Club, and Suites 5 Trident Space. I stayed at a two-bedroom 5 Trident waterfront suite, luxurious and elegant with its plush beddings that could melt your aches and pains away, charming sitting room connected to the main bedroom and quiet balcony facing the Atlantic.
Amenities like a rainfall shower, a deep, spacious stand-alone tub, soft bathrobes, lovely Zenology toiletries, two flat screen cable TVs, a PC with high-speed Internet access, and WiFi made my stay extra comfortable; but I especially loved the mini pastries basket and fruit plate I ordered from room service almost everyday for breakfast, and the exclusive access to the infinity pool and private bar only a few steps away.
Welcoming, Bilingual Staff
It’s easy to feel at home with its accommodating, very friendly and super fun Gentil Organisateurs (GOs), most of whom speak two or three languages, including English, Spanish and French.
While not a fan of buffet-type dining, I was pleasantly surprised with their buffet offerings, served alternately at one of the two, onsite restaurants, Hispaniola and Samana. Delicious varieties – from salads, soups and meats and cheeses to several meat and seafood entrees to sweet desserts – are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My favorites include the popular White Chocolate Bread for breakfast, the ripe mangoes, and the hot chocolate made from real local cacao. Keep an eye out for grilled lobsters at dinner.
Never a Dull Moment
If you’re planning to spend your entire vacation just lounging by the pool, you should probably choose a different resort. The resort, after all, famous for its great array of active endeavors, most of which are included in your all-inclusive package. As a huge fan of active and outdoorsy vacations, this was what I loved most about the resort. I learned the basics of sailing (easier than I thought), paddle boarded across the shallow bay, performed flips on the bungee, and believe it or not, got on the double trapeze, which was slightly daunting but definitely exhilarating.
All-inclusive activities include sailing lessons, archery, kayaking, beach volleyball, water polo, fitness classes, tennis school, golf school and, of course, the new Club Med CREACTIVE by Cirque du Soleil where guests can learn and immerse themselves in the circus arts like the trapeze, acrobatic bungee, juggling, aerial silk, wall scaling and make-up.
Available activities not included in the all-inclusive package include a paddle boarding tour that will take you to a lagoon with wild stingrays, snorkeling, water skiing, scuba diving, kitesurfing, horseback riding, and excursions to popular spots like Santo Domingo and Saona Island.
A Spa Day on the Beach
When you’ve had your fill of activities and need to give your system a reboot, schedule a spa treatment at the CM Spa by L’Occitane. Probably the most relaxing part of my visit, I was treated to a heavenly 45-minute de-stressing massage and aromatherapy using luxurious L’Occitane products in a palapa on the beach, where I fell asleep to the soothing sounds of the sea.
While my three-day stay was enough to experience most of what the all-inclusive resort has to offer, it was hard to leave this piece of Caribbean paradise. From the posh suites and yummy gastronomic offerings to its gorgeous pools, selection of fun activities and sensational spa, this is a place where you can mix relaxation with active pursuits, where you can experience luxury with a laid-back attitude. It’s certainly one of the best resorts I’ve stayed in.