We spent a glorious week down in the Caribbean at the end of May. This year’s destination was Punta Cana in the Domnican Republic (last year we did Turks and Caicos). Silly me forgot that the Monday post holiday was memorial day which meant we could (should) have extended our stay for another day (or two); 8 days / 7 nights isn’t too shabby.
We don’t really have a plan when it comes to picking an island; it’s pretty much any place with a direct fligh, a decent resort pool and direct access to the beach. It was a toss up between Jamaica and DR and we went with the latter as C is too young (and very unwilling) for us to leave her at the kids club.
It was an easy 3.5 hour flight from Newark to Punta Cana. UA was sold out of economy class on our return trip so we ended up coming back on Business which is about USD120 extra per person (and no, there is no child ticket for regional flights in NA). It was a great way to end the trip; not having to be in cattle class after a whole week of chilling out! On our outbound, we paid a little extra for upgrades to premium economy which was reimbursed by Amex.
We were booked into The Reserve at Paradius Palma Real, an all-inclusive resort and were upgraded to a one-bed garden suite at check-in. That meant no climbing stairs for the week YAY! If we wanted a swim up suite, we would have to fork out another USD 500 plus tax. While C would so love that, it just didn’t make sense considering the pool was round the corner from our room.
The most annoying thing about the resort is the very strict check-in time. We were there an hour early and apparently our “room wasn’t ready”. Are you kidding me? Thankfully, being an all inclusive stay, we whiled away the hour at the restaurant with beers, juice and mocktails.
The resort grounds consist of 3 properties, the main Palma Real Resort, The Reserve and the Caribe Tropical. Since we were guests at The Reserve, we had access to the restaurants and facilities at the main resort during our stay. Service and food quality were inconsistent; there were a couple of good restaurants and waiters. Maintenance staffs weren’t efficient, the free wireless internet was spotty, you have to pay for wired internet (seriously?) and for a supposedly upmarket resort there were one too many kinks.
After we finally checked in at 3pm, Mr. P took C to the pool to give me a breather (it is my babymoon-birthday-trip afterall!). We had to wake up at 6.30 to catch the 9am flight and C was so excited about her “beach holiday”, she missed her nap. She was so tired after the almost 2 hour play time with Mr. P, she fell asleep next to me in the restaurant at dinner which left us to enjoy a B+ meal at Bana Restaurant in the main resort.
– The DR airport charges USD10 per person tourist tax on entry, including children.
– USD is accepted pretty much everywhere.
– We brought about USD 100 in $1 bills for tipping (and we about finish all of it!).