We’ve enjoyed the beaches at St. John in the Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos, Cabo San Lucas, Barbados, Rio, Grand Caymans, and Key West and others and we find it easy to say have found a new favorite location on our recent trip to the Puntacana Resort and Club in the Dominican Republic. While we had the pleasure of staying at the Westin, we also toured the other lovely and even more luxurious accommodations located throughout the properties owned by the Puntacana Resorts and Club organization. No less a force than Oscar de la Renta was instrumental is the development of this property
We think you’ll find this Caribbean location is a relatively pain-free get-away from the eastern seaboard of the U.S., Europe and Canada. With direct flights from Toronto, Paris and London it was easy to understand why we heard such a wide array of languages and accents and met many return visitors. Traveling from Los Angeles we had a connecting flight in Atlanta and then Charlotte, N.C. Once you land in the DR, you know you are going to be well taken care of: the owners/developers are generations old in Puntacana and own and operate the airport as well.
Stepping into the lobby at the Westin you’re treated to an amazing view out to the infinity pool (suitable for your little swimmers) and larger gleaming pool with a straw-thatched bar just steps away. Beyond this, find the soft white sand beach with lounges, well-manicured and swept clear of the now inevitable Sargassum seaweed found throughout the waters in Miami to other Caribbean Islands. The water is that clear warm Caribbean water that we crave: aqua blue and calm enough to quiet swim laps in. Look down the beach and see mangroves of palm trees lining the long serene beaches, and down a bit more from this beach is one of the picturesque tees on one of the three local golf courses. You have your pick of three championship courses on the property. And in March 2019 the second professional PGA Tour will be held on the property at the Corales Golf Club right on the resort property. So environmentally conscious are these people they have even created their own compost “farm” which is used to fertilize the golf courses.
All of the rooms at the Westin at Puntacana have pretty ocean views and are decorated with calming Tiffany blue walls and crisp white linens. We enjoyed the spacious Deluxe room; comfortable Heavenly Bed king bed, walk-in dressing room with plentiful closet and drawer space, polished Coraline stone tile (harvested from the island) throughout the room as well as on the stunning bathroom double-sink vanity. A large glass-enclosed rainfall shower is easy to enjoy before your dinner out at one of the many restaurants on the property, after a lovely day of activities. Even the bathroom lighting made us happy. We enjoyed our morning coffee on our balcony and snapped photos worth sharing.
We loved breakfast and found the abundant breakfast buffet worth lingering over. A delicious sampling of local fruits, hot dishes, and those more familiar such as smoked salmon and cream cheese, scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes will satisfy the pickiest eaters. Not to mention the fresh croissants, bagels and breads. This hearty breakfast is a good way to start your fun on the properties. We noticed kids of all ages enjoying the pools, beach and the kids activities area.
Impressively, the owner/developers of this 1500 acre property have a genuine commitment to sustainability. We were impressed by the Center for Marine Innovation, featuring a coral farm staffed by visiting PhDs and other researchers working to stem the tide of dying coral reefs, working to repopulate the coral, as well as breeding tropical fish that have been harvested to sell in for-profit pet stores. We also visited the bee keeping station where you can see honey production in action. We watched with wide eyes the beekeeper, who has been onsite for decades, lift out the honeycomb sheaths to harvest the honey and pour it into jars – delicious!
A bird watching preserve also offered a bit of adventure – we courageously climbed flights high to a viewing area to see across the island, and the protected winged species. Last but not least, our guide walked us through lush woods to a warm, sparkling clear freshwater pool located in the Ecological Reserve. We jumped off a just-high enough ledge into the all-natural and refreshing spring water pool. So fun– we felt like we were in the movie Cocoon – revitalized and younger! This is a must try spot for kids and adults.
In case we weren’t relaxed enough, we enjoyed a delightful massage at the Six Senses Spa and would have loved to idle away our time at the pool outside its doors but had to get ready for dinner at The Grill, the stunning restaurant featuring chef Santiago Salamanca’s fresh, organic farm to table cuisine. We dined on delicious seafood and salads, topped off with the island’s exclusive Sea Grape Ice Cream.
One is never at a loss for things to do here: there is an organic garden where they grow aquaponic and hydroponic vegetables and herbs used in the farm to table dishes they serve in some of the restaurants. There is also the Oscar de la Renta Tennis Center which offer lessons, holds tennis camps and regular tournaments You can easily bicycle ride all over the property. We did just that, looking out for Oscar de la Renta, Julio Iglesias and Mikhail Baryshnikov and other celebs who own homes here but, alas, no sightings.
If it’s top flight luxury accommodations you’re looking for with VIP treatment, you’ll definitely find it here. Tortuga Bay, also on the Puntacana Resort and Club property, offers 13 beachside one, two, three or four bed room villas. You’ll also find beautifully appointed and spacious single family homes located oceanside or on one of the golf courses. If you’ve chosen to stay at Tortuga Bay, or a VIP package, you’ll enjoy access to the VIP lounge at the Puntacana Airport. Complete with infinity pool and well prepared goodies to eat or take on your flight home, this is a perfect place to end your perfect trip to paradise. We’re looking forward to our return visits to come. Visit http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/pujwi-the-westin-puntacana-resort-and-club/