Dominican Republic - The Directors Cut
We pride ourselves in trying and testing every product. So with our new Dominican Republic collection on the horizon, we sent our CEO and owner, Edward Rom, over to give us and you an honest overview on the newest kid on the LWC block.
With 35 years of experience in the luxury travel industry and unrivalled, discerning worldwide knowledge, as well as being an accomplished golfer, Edward knows what makes a great holiday and what our guests will enjoy.
We hope you enjoy reading his insights and if you have any comments on the Dominican Republic we’d love to hear from you?
Before my visit to the Dominican Republic all I knew about it was that it’s twice the size of Wales with an abundance of white sandy beaches, beautiful scenery, deeply rooted colonial architecture and home to some of the best-value luxury holidays in the Caribbean. I pride myself in knowing as much about our holidays as possible, so I was really excited to discover more about the Dominican Republic when given the opportunity to visit for myself.
As a ‘Dom Rep’ virgin, I honestly didn’t know what to expect other than I was looking forward to my 8-day intensive stay on this often overlooked and occasionally maligned Caribbean island.
What follows is my unbiased opinion on the best resorts I visited in Punta Cana and my honest insights for you to consider for your next luxury holiday to the Caribbean….
A few facts to start us off…
The Dominican Republic is an eight-and-a-half hour flight from London, the same as Barbados, Antigua or St Lucia and only 2 hours from Miami. I flew with British Airways and arrived in Punta Cana which was to be the focus of my Dominican Republic stay.
I had heard from friends who had visited the Island that the warmth and hospitality of the Dominican people were second-to-none. In my experience, this can often make or break a holiday, so I was pleased to find that the people I encountered on my visit were genuinely friendly with an infectious thirst for life and a proud passion for their homeland.
Tortuga Bay Hotel Puntacana Resort & Club
My first port of call was Tortuga Bay, the owners of which also own the airport, and as part of your booking with LWC Holidays, you will be fast-tracked through the airport making the experience very smooth and efficient. Your car is then waiting right outside the VIP door and you’re driven straight to Tortuga Bay. A very good start!
The hotel is situated in an exclusive enclave within the main Punta Cana estate and comprises just thirty wonderful suites. There is a real sense of privacy and comfort making the Tortuga Bay Hotel Puntacana Resort & Club perfect for families, honeymooners or golfers looking for a tranquil retreat in a haven of luxurious exclusivity.
The resort has the largest beach of any I’ve seen. It is truly spectacular! If you think Robinson Crusoe and you’ll get some idea of its vast natural beauty and crystal-clear turquoise waters.
All the suits are the same whatever villa you stay in, the only difference is the view, whether you opt for a junior suite, one bedroom suite or a two bedroom suite. There’s also the option for any villa to be configured as a four bedroom, ideal for families or groups. I stayed in the Ocean Front Junior Suite, it was very large and had amazing panoramic views of the ocean… Simply out of this world!
If you’re looking for a little pampering, Tortuga Bay has a world-renowned Six Senses Spa that is just a buggy ride from the main hub of the hotel.
Overall I would describe the resort as your ‘Feet in the Sand Luxury’. It’s very special and a must for any discerning traveller looking for a really special luxury Caribbean holiday.
Westin Puntacana Resort & Club
The Westin resort is the other resort on the Punta Cana Estate and is very good for people looking for a golf holiday or a relaxing luxury holiday.
I would definitely recommend the Westin. Not only do you have fantastic restaurants at the resort, there’s much more on the Punta Cana estate too. In high season the rates seem very reasonable which is refreshing for a quality Caribbean resort like this. The beach at the here is also excellent and the level of detail that is plain to see.
If you’re looking for a very good value holiday in the Caribbean then the Westin is well worth considering.
Eden Roc At Cap Cana
The Eden Roc Resort is fifteen minutes away from the Punta Cana Estate and in another community called Cap Cana, both are very similar.
The Resort is made up of two parts, Landside and Beachside (it’s a short buggy ride or nice walk between the two). It actually reminded me of the Rosewood Mayakoba.
At Eden Roc you have the choice of junior suites, one bedroom suites, two, three and four bedroom residences on the Landside, all of which have their own private pools. On the Beachside, you have the choice of either one bedroom or two bedroom oceanfront suites.
The facilities of the Resort are second to none. Three very good restaurants on property, a small spa which will be enlarged along with a better gym over the course of the next 6 months on the Beachside. This will elevate the Eden Roc to an even better standard than it is now.
As a Relais Chateaux property, synonymous with luxury and unique character, Eden Roc ticks all the right boxes and really over delivered on all my expectations. I was truly stunned by its beauty and quality!
The golf course at Punta Esparda is truly magical and one that I would recommend to any golfer. The views are breath-taking from many parts of the course.
You could say the Eden Roc resort is run as two separate hotels, but all facilities are shared and therefore it feels very closely integrated once you get your bearings.
The Landside has a more Caribbean modern décor while the Beachside is very much modern, full stop. We had the Beachside accommodation and I must say, the views, the room, the terrace of the room is just truly spectacular.
Personally, I really liked the modern décor, but I equally liked the older style of the landside rooms and would be very happy to stay in either. Essentially, your decision on room type will probably not be influenced by the décor but instead whether you want a beachside sea view?
The facilities of the Eden Roc resort are second to none, three very good restaurants on property, a small spa which will be enlarged along with a better gym over the course of the next 6 months on the Beachside. This will elevate the Edec Roc to an even better standard than it is now.
Being a Relaix chateau property, synonymous for luxury and unique character, Eden Roc ticks all the right boxes and really delivered in all departments of my visit.
I was taken aback by the beauty and the quality of the Eden Rock – it’s simply stunning! The golf course at Punta Esparda is truly magical and one that I would recommend to any golfer looking for a wonderful experience. The views are quite breathtaking at times from many parts of the course and the aspect from the rooms on the beachside accommodation.
The Sivory is a really nice adult-only, all-inclusive boutique resort. It only has sixty rooms which are very nicely equipped and simply furnished. The gardens are lovely and the beach/pool area also very well laid out and maintained.
The Resort has two dining facilities and is perfect for those looking for a Caribbean holiday and relative value for money. In my experience, it would suit a honeymoon or young couple looking to holiday somewhere a little bit different in a child-free environment.
The Sanctuary is also on the Cap Cana estate. Wow! This hotel really took me by surprise – the décor and the design are unique and simply wonderful.
The Sanctuary is split into two parts – the main hotel and The Castle. All of the rooms in both properties are the same size and have the same décor, which is a mix of Spanish, Mexican & Caribbean. The rooms are extremely well appointed and the views from the resort are simply wonderful. Additionally, The Sanctuary is an all-inclusive resort making it extremely good value.
Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa
The Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa really surprised me! It’s big, 500 room all-inclusive hotel for adults (18 years and over) and opened in 2016. When you first walk in through the airy lobby, you get the feeling that the resort is extremely large but little touches still make you feel like you are in a more intimate setting.
I’d recommend booking as a ‘Preferred guest’. Preferred guests have their own check-in facility and they get snacks and drinks throughout the day in the lounge as well as other upgraded benefits.
Additionally, the Preferred guest’s accommodation is nearer to the beach and has better room amenities. With Preferred status, you also have access to a separate pool and separate area on the beach – much more spacious and spread out and really worth it if you are a beach lover!
Casa De Campo
Casa De Campo is slightly different from the other resorts I saw. It has its own marina (a bit like Puerto Banus but smaller with lovely restaurants), a village with Roman décor, an equestrian complex, a world-renowned shooting school, three wonderful golf courses, 1500 villas and houses and a hotel and a beach club.
I explored the Elite rooms. The standard rooms are due to be renovated later this year along with plans to install a full resort-style spa for the community. The Elite rooms are very well appointed and furnished to a high standard.
The Hotel has more of a club-house feel, with a nice restaurant attached, a swimming pool, and decking. All other restaurants are scattered around the complex. Every guest gets a golf cart to ride around the estate as well as regular shuttles from the main hotel part.