Indulging in tropical fruit, enjoying a laid-back lifestyle and building memories with family are the obvious reasons in which I travel to the Dominican Republic yearly; however, this trip was a little different as I decided to treat myself to a few days at one of the most luxurious resorts, the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana. Many decide to visit the Dominican Republic because they can escape from the business of life and take time to enjoy the things that matter most. Even if you are busy, it’s important to take time for yourself every now and then and visit an all-inclusive resort with one of the best beaches in the world. It is the perfect way to unwind and rejuvenate.
Upon entering the resort, I was immediately taken aback by the spacious grounds and well-kept amenities. Driving towards reception, one sees a father and son playing golf, a group of ladies enjoying a walk down a path near the lake, and it gives a sense of tranquility with all of the open space and beautiful tropical vegetation. Having two separate reception buildings, check-in was swift and pleasant, as the staff gave a warm and friendly welcome. Thankfully our room was not but a five-minute walk from reception, but with 1,775 guestrooms, rest assured they have a golf cart service that runs 24 hours a day, so if you left your walking shoes at home, no need to worry! The room had quite a modern look, having a separate shower from the rest of the bathroom and a jetted bathtub in the room large enough for two adults. In addition, it also had a large balcony with chairs and a table so one could enjoy looking out to the ocean while we sipped a crisp bottle of Champagne, compliments of the resort.
I had the pleasure of receiving a private tour of the entire resort and was continuously in awe of the voluminous areas throughout. In many experiences at resorts and spas, one may often find the spa area to be basic and underwhelming, but the Rock Spa was quite the opposite at 60,000 square feet, having 46 cabins and the Caribbean’s most complete hydrotherapy center to include lagoons, two whirlpools, steam room, sauna, food creek pathway, hydro-reflexology, sensory expertise pool, and a cutting-edge ice room. Spending time at the spa is on the top of the list of preferred things to do while being at the resort because one can be completely relaxed enjoy each moment of being pampered.
Continuing the tour, we saw five different meeting rooms including three grand ballrooms, the largest being the Fillmore, holding up to 3,600 for a cocktail party, there is never a lack of space for any special event. As we drove along the pathway, one couldn’t help but notice how many different pools they had, 13 to be exact! It is clear that the Hard Rock mapped out the resort keeping in mind the amount of people that would stay there and was thoughtful to provide a variety of swimming areas. There was one pool, privatized with a gate and many large bushes for privacy, that was for adults only. The resort was found to be family friendly because of their two large pool areas designed like a waterpark for children, yet also provided areas where there were no children allowed and you can relax and have more privacy. My little one spent most of the day splashing in the water, climbing on the water playscapes and building sand castles, while others spent relaxing hours in the lazy river.
The Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana offers a variety of gourmet experiences to include nine dining choices like Zen, a teppanyaki style eatery that specializes in Chinese and Japanese dishes, Ciao, a contemporary Italian restaurant, two buffet options, a brick-oven style pizzeria, and Latin American cuisine, just to name a few. Although there are so many food choices, many tend to indulge in the small eateries like ice cream shops and 24-hour room service.
Golf has become more popular over the last several years in the Dominican Republic, and the Hard Rock Punta Cana does not disappoint in this area either. The Hard Rock Golf Club at Cana Bay has a spectacular design by the great player, Jack Nicklaus, offering a unique experience for a beginner golfer as well as a seasoned player. The course includes 18 holes and has “generous fairways, and large greens, but that doesn’t mean they are easy”, states Juan Medina, the Operations Manager at Hard Rock Golf at Club Cana Bay. Since the resort is located in the Caribbean, it is open year-round. Juan Medina adds that they are “in the middle of a jungle, which is different from other courses in the area, so one can experience direct contact with nature”. The club’s golf pro has more than 20 years of experience to provide private lessons for the beginner or offer tips to the more experienced golfer.
The Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana provided an unforgettable experience with boundless options for pampering, entertaining and fine dining. One of my favorite parts of being at the Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana was taking in all of the natural beauty. Flowers bursting with color, palm trees with fresh coconut water, impeccable landscaping with streams and rivers could be found throughout my new home for the next few days, and best of all, the white sandy beaches with crystal clear water, topped off with a warm, sorbet sunset every night.
By Leslie Sosa