I was nervous about the long flight from Chicago across a large body of water to a tiny Caribbean island. What if we crashed? Should I revise my will? It’s been five years since I talked to the woman who is named as the trustee of my estate!
When I was invited to visit Club Med’s newly renovated Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic with the guest of my choice, I briefly considered traveling with kids and bringing along one of my boys to get a kid’s-eye view of the Mini Club Med program . Then I came to my senses and called my husband to tell him we were headed for a romantic getaway.
Childcare arrangements were made, legal forms allowing grandparents to make medical decisions for my children were signed, and our bags were packed. Well, it wasn’t all that simple.
But once I stepped into the airy Club Med lobby with its high thatched roof and serene ocean views, I forgot I even had children back home.
The suite life
With nary a care in the world, we were escorted across the property to Punta Cana’s brand new family suites . During our orientation with the suite-only concierge I was giddy with delight, a feeling enhanced by the complimentary Dominican beer .
Our deluxe ocean-front villa was 750 square feet, half the size of our house and twice as clean. We entered a small vestibule perfect for discarding sandy shoes and wet pool towels and glimpsed the two twin beds in the room our boys would have slept have we been traveling with children. The kids’ bathroom features a shower large enough for an adult to jump in and help out a child, or, ahem, two adults to share.
The flat screen computer monitor on the desk was the first thing to catch my eye in the master bedroom. Alas, this was meant to be a vacation with my husband, not Mr. Google, my late night lover, but the free Internet access was a fun perk.
I glimpsed the king bed next, followed by the flat panel TV mounted on the wall near the sitting area. We checked out the mini-fridge full of complimentary beverages, the espresso maker and a small porch, excuse me, terasse, just yards from the ocean.
I was in love with the room, the view, the balmy breezes, and, yes, my husband. I sent the dear man to put a few items in the closet and when he opened the door we were surprised to find a master bathroom
with two sinks and a deep tub complete with bath salts, slippers and robes.
I could have stayed in the room the entire time and gone home happy, but Club Med has so much to offer, we wanted to try it all.
Trying it all
By the end of our brief stay we didn’t have time for everything Club Med Punta Cana has to offer, but we sailed, snorkeled, swam, worked out in the gym, joined in a water aerobics class, tried our hand at archery, took moonlit walks on the beach, ate and drank to our heart’s content- -all a part of the all-inclusive package. Everything is included, even the tips.
The food was plentiful. What it lacked in excellence, it made up for in freshness and variety. We took most of our meals at the buffet-style eateries, Hispaniola and Samana . Both offer something for everyone, from baby formula and high chairs to Asian and island-inspired dishes to American standards such as hot dogs and hamburgers. We loved that the food was dished out in small portions, allowing us to sample the wide variety.
I fell in love–yeah, yeah with my husband, but also Club Med’s signature white chocolate brioche. On the healthier end of the spectrum, my husband was inspired by passion fruit and the bounty of fresh local bananas, melons and coconut.
Club Med Punta Cana also has two bars at which the drinks flow freely, literally, though there are charges for premium drinks. However, the bars were too smoky for our tastes. We enjoyed our beverages poolside, instead.
If pampering is your thing, the new spa is must. Special massage offerings include an Indian and Asian style, as well as the traditional Swedish. The relaxation area does just that, with specially- formulated teas, a private pool and, of course, calming breezes and ocean views.
The onsite boutique disappointed us as a souvenir shop, but we made up for that at the airport, finding handmade items and native knick-knacks for the people back home who made our child-free trip possible.
Warm departure, chilly reception
We received a chilly reception at O’Hare airport, where the temperature was about 15 degrees, but arrived home to warm hugs from our boys. My pre-trip anxiety ultimately served a purpose in reminding me I need to revise my will. But I’d much rather plan another romantic trip, maybe even with the kids along.