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A Resort Vacation

Punta-Cana-14We had our first ever resort vacation this December.  Though we have stayed in a couple of resorts before, we really treated those as just a place to crash after a busy day of sightseeing.   But this December, we (along with another family)  went on an all-inclusive 5 day vacation to the Dreams Palm Beach Resort at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.  We booked the vacation package through Costco and it worked out incredibly well. This was our very first experience with an all inclusive , kick back and relax and do nothing kind of vacation.  We were met at the airport by Costco folks who escorted us and our luggage to the resort.  The drive to the resort and back was all that we saw of the country.  One of the reasons that we picked the DR/Punta Cana was because there wasn’t anything in the must see to see/do that really seemed exciting to us.  A location with interesting to do items outside would leave us antsy to go and do and see things – and would be counterproductive to relaxing at the hotel.

As resorts go, the Dreams Palm Beach was on the smaller side. We had upgraded to premium access – which gave us access to a separate kids pool & adults pool. We also had accessPunta-Cana-1 to a guest lounge that had a small snack buffet that was replenished continuously.  But the best perk of the premium access was that the drinks were better – they were a little bit more generous with the alcohol – than in the other areas of the resort.Our daily routine consisted of waking up late followed by a breakfast at the World Café where a humongous buffet was served with enough options to make even the fussiest eaters happy.   After breakfast, we generally parked ourselves at the beach and while the kids played in the water or with sand toys – we read and chatted and drank cocktails. It was a heady feeling to raise our hands and immediately be served with whatever cocktails we desired.  My liver is still in a state of shock!

Punta-Cana-10Around lunch time, we would move to the poolside and eat at the Seaside Grill.  Fortunately, all four kids were seafood fans, so lunch typically consisted of clams, oysters and fried fish. We would join the kids in the pool till around 5 and then we would go back to the rooms for a shower.  While the rooms at the resort were about the average size , the shower was extra large with two shower jets that was really useful in washing away the sand from the beach. Around this time, someone from the resort would stop by with chips and candy for the kids. After we changed, we would go to one of the resort restaurants for dinner.  This was the only choice we had to make – which of the 4 should we pick.  There were Asian, Italian, French and Mexican restaurants. We tried each one for the 4 nights that we had. While none of the restaurants could be described in the superlative, they all served adequate food. Since they were included in the all inclusivePunta-Cana-35 price, we could always pick a new dish if we didn’t like our initial choices.   In any case, we always finished our dinner back at the World Café where the kids would have marshmallows in chocolate sauce for dessert and we would pick something off the dessert menu. In the evening, the resort had some activities like a beach party, an acrobatic performance, a karaoke night or some such event.  By the end of which we were all pleasantly exhausted and ready for bed (after just one more drink, though!).

We did manage some additional activities – a quick snorkeling trip & some kayaking as well. The beach had a ton of seaweed and while thePunta-Cana-5hotel staff did an admirable job trying to rake it away, it was a battle that they lost.  The beach also functioned as our shopping area for vendors strolled back and forth trying to sell all sorts of trinkets.  The Dominican Republic is famous for a particular stone called the larimar – a beautiful blue stone – and there were street vendors selling an assortment of larimar replicas.   The resort also had a child care area, so we left the kids there one afternoon, so we could chill out.

Punta-Cana-29 On the whole, it was incredibly relaxing and low-pressure vacation.  The biggest plus that I could have a few days where I didn’t have to think or plan or actively do anything.  But on the flip side, I didn’t have any interaction whatsoever with the local people and came away with no understanding of their history, culture or even food.  The only Dominican item that we tasted was the Mamajuana – a concoction of rum and red wine steeped in some roots that brought back memories of drinking Ayurvedic medicines.

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Copyright Deepa