A couple weeks back I took the most amazing trip with AIR TRANSAT to the Dominican Republic, visiting some of the most beautiful resort destinations in Punta Cana and Cap Cana. BUT FIRST, let’s talk about how I got there, since this particular way of travelling is very rare for me.
I’m so used to flying economy, this was a real treat for me to have the opportunity to fly in AIR TRANSAT’S CLUB CLASS, which is similar to business class in most flights. I got to experience what priority check in and boarding feels like (this was particularly useful on the way home from DR if you saw the huge lineup on my IG stories). Once I entered the plane, I was greeted by happy, smiling and helpful flight attendants. Right away I noticed the size of my seat (huge) and the extra leg room (ahhhh…) and as I sat down, I was given a wet towel, a complimentary comfort kit which included a blanket, inflatable pillow, earphones etc. and a MIMOSA. If you don’t know, mimosas are my favorite thing to drink at nine o’ clock in morning… or anytime of the day for that matter. I knew the flight attendant and I were going to be really good friends. 😉
All jokes aside we started our ascent into the clouds and after the seat belt signs were turned off, I was offered more mimosas and cheesy crackers while I enjoyed watching a movie on my larger than normal touch screen TV. About an hour or so into the flight, we got to experience a gourmet meal by chef Daniel Vézina. Deeee-licious! Now I know what luxury flying is like and I’m not sure I want to go back to economy! I think the flight was a great way to welcome on the next 7 days of pure luxury with AIR TRANSAT.
Tourism for Dominican Republic’s economy is important, especially in the coastal areas. What makes DR a popular destination are the All Inclusive Resorts. You pay a set amount per person and this will include your flight, room, food and drinks for your entire stay. Eat and drink to you hearts content? YES PLEASE. I had the pleasure of visiting 5 luxury resorts. The one thing I have to say about the service in all of the resorts – IMPECCABLE. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE was so nice and super attentive and helpful. They’re always smiling, energetic and pleasant. Maybe that’s just how the locals are! Each resort I visited had a different aesthetic and vibe and they all had unique qualities to admire. I’ve listed some things to know below for your next travels to DR:
1. You will need to pay the $10 USD Tourist Visa fee either before or when you enter the DR.
2. They use regular North American plugs
3. Bring lots of $1 USD for tipping, should you want to tip your extra nice server. You can also tip in pesos.
4. DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER, only the bottled water they provide.
5. Learn some general Spanish phrases before you arrive. It’s fun to communicate with the locals.
6. We were able to receive FREE CALLING to anywhere in North America in the resorts we visited.
7. Ask your resort host to book any special extra activities – it’s safer this way
MY TROPICAL TRAVEL CHECKLIST
1. Up to date PASSPORT
2. Documents for your All Inclusive Reservation including Flight Itinerary
3. DR Tourist Visa (this fee is included in all of Transat’s packages!)
4. Swimwear (I brought 9 pairs, lol)
5. Money for Tip
6. Curling Iron/Straightener
7. Flip Flops
10. Umbrella (it rains a lot)
11. Mobile phone and charger
12. Camera with charger and extra SD card
13. Sunscreen + Aloe Vera + Bug Spray (you do not want to get stuck paying up to $40 USD for these items!)
14. A large tote to carry all your goods.
Our first luxury resort stop was the beautiful EXCELLENCE EL CARMEN PUNTA CANA. Out of all five properties we visited, this was my favorite. I don’t say that lightly as all the resorts were amazing. But El Carmen stole my heart with its modern minimal design and superior service and food. It was a creators heaven as there were ample photo opportunities.
I absolutely adored my room with a view of the resort. My room was spacious with a huge bathroom and jacuzzi, a living room, and a stacked mini bar. Also, champagne breakfast in bed is the way to go on any given morning.
I absolutely love how this is an ADULT ONLY RESORT. When I visited it was just before high season and so the pools and beaches were nice and quiet and felt private. Many of the rooms had private pools swim outs which I was a little jelly about. But there were a variety of pool options so I got over it quickly.
My favorite interior area was the magnificent bar found down the stairs of the entrance/lobby. I love how the windows are floor to ceiling so when you look from the top of the stairs, it just takes your breath away.
On the property they have 10 international restaurants and 24 hour room service. They also have this drink on the beach called COCO LOCO. It’s served in a coconut and it’s similar to pina colada, but so much better. If you’re looking for a coffee fix, head to the cafe on the resort, the espresso drinks are pretty tasty. Their chocolate pound cake/muffins are pretty delectable. I grabbed lots of baked goodies for my room for late night snacking. And don’t forget to stop by the food truck during the evenings entertainment.
Another memorable experience was our Spa day. I got to try Hydrotherapy for the first time and it was the most interestingly pleasant experience. It’s a naturopathic treatment for pain relief using water temperature and pressure. I will never forget the cold bucket of water being dumped on my head. Definitely a day to remember.
If I had to choose the most photographic area to shoot, it would be the beach, hands down. It had a special palm tree just sitting by the water and it was honestly so eerily beautiful at sunset.
We took a day trip to Paradisus Punta Cana. Upon arriving I already sensed a shift in the vibe of the resort. It had a jungle type feel, very lush greenery and a variety of animals roaming free including flamingos and a variety of bird species. The one thing about this location is that you will need to be transferred on their golf carts from one end of the property to another. The lobby to the rooms to the beach is quite a distance, I do not recommend walking.
We arrived at the Royal Service where we got the royal treatment. It’s an exclusive VIP section for adults only where there is a private beach and pool area for members.
I thought it was extremely generous of Paradisus to give each of us our own private room while we spent a day on their beautiful property. I love the clean modern design and how the room did not smell or feel musty. And if you’re staying there for a week, this is important for your ultimate comfort.
Apart from the VIP Royal Service adults only area, this resort is family friendly. We opted out of staying in the VIP area and hit up the main pool. Isn’t it gorgeous!
Dominican Republic is known for its destination weddings and Paradisus is known to organize many special events, weddings, honeymoons etc. We found the special gazebo by the beach where these moments take place.
I only stayed a few hours, but the little time was enough for me to know I would have loved to stay a few more days! Don’t forget to take a picture on this special swing in the lobby area!
Resort hopping is actually a lot of fun. HAHA. Our 3rd stop is the illustrious Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro. The one thing to know is there are 4 other Iberostar resorts attached to each other, all at different budgets and levels. The Grand Hotel Bavaro is their ultimate all inclusive luxury resort for ADULTS ONLY.
The design of this hotel is clean with a tropical European vibe. The one thing that really stood out and gave a unique aesthetic to the resort is the pirate ship that sits in the middle of the property. A genius twist.
The shops, restaurants and massive archways reminded me of those back in Venice.
My room was very spacious and grand. I felt like a princess on this bed. I have to mention their butler service is AMAZING. Yes, you have your very own butler. Mine brought me an entire bottle of rose. I ordered my breakfast in the morning in advance and they were very prompt in their delivery. And in your guestbook you there is a PILLOW service where you can order a variety of type of pillows for your sleep. EPIC.
We had an opportunity to have a massage at their beautiful modern spa. I ended up forgoing the massage to take pics of the resort, but from what I heard it was UH-MAZING. This is the ladies jacuzzi room.
If you want to get some epic views of the resort and the beach, take it from the 2nd floor of the Spa. Just ask the staff and they will be happy to help.
The beach area is lined with these cute little huts and plenty of palm trees. Is it possible to fly one of these home with me?
I know I say this a lot, but the service at Iberostar was superior. They went out of their way to make our stay the best it can be. I even asked to take photographs from a hotel room with a view, and they were so nice and accommodating to set it up. I love how they follow up with you to make sure you have everything you need and you are comfortable.
Before heading to our last resort, we did one more day trip to Cap Cana (another area of the Dominican Republic) and visited Paradisus Palma Real Golf and Spa Resort. Comparing it to the last Paradisus we visited, this resort has more of a classic traditional vibe. I love the tall columns and more simple design of this location. They are in the midst of renovating their suites so the next time you visit, you will likely have the more updated version.
We were ushered into the Royal Service area as a VIP member. We then had lunch in their private area. I tried the fried fish and it was delicious! I love all the picturesque areas of the resort. Definitely Instagram worthy.
The view from the pool is just INSANE. Nuff said.
Our last hours of daylight was spent relaxing on their private beach.
One thing we got to indulge in that was truly special was fine dining at Passion Restaurant. Spanish chef Martín Berasategui is the winner of 8 Michelin stars and winner of the 4-Diamond Award by the AAA. This restaurant is not part of the all inclusive package, there is an additional charge per person. But if you want to sample a delectable 5 course dinner paired with accompanying wine, I think it’s something worth trying, especially as a couple. Did I mention each person has their own server? CRAZY. Now that’s luxury, baby. PS. Try the Hola Lola drink at the bar and thank me later. 😉
Our last and final luxury resort stay was in the amazing and stunning SECRETS CAP CANA RESORT & SPA. It is an ADULTS ONLY sophisticated tropical hideaway in the gated community of Cap Cana. We arrived in the evening and were greeted by talented musicians in the main grand lobby. We proceeded to the Preferred Club area where I quenched my thirst with a welcome champagne.
I stayed in a Junior Suite with a tropical view. The room was spacious with a traditional tropical design, regular size Snickers and M&M’s (they stole my heart right then and there), and my very own bottle of champagne with accompanying chocolate covered strawberries. My washrooom was bigger than the blue banana. No really, we could have a music video party in there. And my bed was like sleeping on a cloud. Needless to say, I had the most amazing sleep. One really COOL thing is you can receive your food in a secret compartment so that you never have to open your door to the server. That is total privacy GENIUS.
The infinity pool by the beach overlooking the ocean is pretty epic.
At the beach, you can find a human size chess board, daily fitness activities, entertainment and lobster lunches starting at noon.
There are some great dining options at Secrets. The dinner at Oceana was really amazing and delicious and the morning pastries and coffee at Coco Cafe were tasty and delightful. The Market Cafe had a great selection at lunch and breakfast. I would have loved to try the other cultural dining options but we were only there for a short time.
The entire week was a dream and truly luxury uncovered. I had the ultimate luxe 7 day getaway with AIR TRANSAT and I couldn’t be more thankful for this amazing and positive experience.
I think it’s time to treat yourself to one of these amazing getaways. Click here to find your next luxury All Inclusive tropical getaway. It’s time to indulge, cus you deserve it.
Thank you so much for stopping by and hope you enjoyed my travel blog post on Dominican Republic’s magnificent luxury resorts.