Dear blog…I can’t believe I took over a month off…I’ve missed you!

What can I say, I went on vacation and when I came back, I just sort of stayed on vacation. We went to Punta Cana for the last two weeks of April and had a great trip! We stayed at the Barceló Punta Cana. Although the resort itself (rooms etc) was not as luxurious as last year’s NH Real Arena, to us, it was still perfect. Before we left, the reviews on the resort we pretty harsh so I was very nervous but I think with realistic expectations and an attitude of relaxation, you can’t go wrong.

Here’s my quick take on it:

Beach: Stunning, clean, soft, white sand, clear water, no seaweed (at NH there was tons), and lots of lounge chairs, which were tidied up each night. You never had to fight for chairs at this resort. The resort is laid out like a long S so it has a huge beach frontage. The beach was also very wavy which made for tons of fun in the water.

Food: The a la carte’s were incredible – everything was delicious. The breakfast and lunch buffets were fantastic as well. The dinner buffet was ok – it could have been better but it was still good.

Room: We stayed in a non-renovated room but did pay for ocean view. It wasn’t luxurious. I’d categorize it as standard. It was clean and spacious but was not the fanciest or up-to-date. The shower was difficult to find a good temperature and water pressure (typical for Dominican resorts as a whole). But, we slept fine and had no issues. The AC worked and the mini bar was stocked every day. The balcony was stunning. We honestly felt like we got what we paid for and were very happy with it.

We had a friend who traveled with us who did stay in an upgraded (renovated) room (which cost about $450 US/per week more). The differences were he had marble floor; we had tile. He had a pillow top mattress; our’s was spring mattress. He had a gorgeous, fluffy white duvet; we had 1970s bedding. He had a fully renovated bathroom with gorgeous tile shower; we had a bathroom that was plain and basic. His closet was done in chocolate wooden doors; ours were glass mirror sliding doors. He had a flat screen TV mounted to the wall; we had an older tube TV.

For us, seeing both rooms, we were happy we didn’t undertake the expense of $900 US to upgrade for two weeks. Besides, you don’t spend a whole pile of time in your room anyway. We had a gorgeous view and a clean room – we were happy!

Pools & Stuff: Very clean, nice and big, but only one had a swim-up bar. Amazing kids pool area. They also had a trapeze, trampoline and rock wall for people of any age to enjoy.

Staff: They were very friendly, always smiling, and always cheerful. Most staff spoke some English. We did find the staff at NH a bit friendlier but considering there was such an international attendance at this resort, I wasn’t surprised they were a bit more reserved.

Bars & Nightlife: There were a few different ones and all were very nice. The disco was awesome and well air-conditioned. The theatre was INCREDIBLE. It was huge with seating at all different levels so no matter where you sat, you could see. It had comfy wicker furniture with plenty of tables and chairs. And all the shows were fantastic. They had a Michael Jackson show that knocked our socks off!

Excursions: This year we didn’t do any excursions but we did check them out and they had everything from snorkeling, to spa treatments, to helicopter rides that all looked affordable. Anyone we talked to who went on something said that everything was always on time and smooth.

We would definitely recommend this resort but I think given that not all the rooms are renovated, you need to go with realistic expectations. It’s a 3.5 to 4 star resort.

This was the most relaxation trip I’ve ever been on. We would get up in the morning around 7:30 and get ready for breakfast. We were usually on the beach or by the pool around 9ish for laying in the sun, napping, or reading under a palm tree. Lunch was usually around 1ish and then it was back to the beach for more of the same. Usually around 4 pm we’d head back to our room to shower and have a little nap before dinner at 7 pm. After dinner, we’d usually sit in one of the huge lobby bars and have a few drinks before the entertainment at 9:30. We were normally in bed around 11 pm. Some evenings we’d skip the show and just head back to the room to enjoy a glass of champagne on the patio. Or we’d go out dancing late into the night.

I came back feeling well rested and rejuvenated. Unfortunately for me however, I came down with the cold from hell about two days after my return and spent over a week in bed recovering.

Now, to get back in the swing of blogging! Stay tuned…

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