Many people who haven’t visited the Dominican Republic know about Punta Cana. This iconic Dominican brand refers to a world-class resort development on the Caribbean shoreline. The development includes an international airport, making it extraordinarily convenient and easy to access. It also includes three miles of beach, 45 holes of golf, a nature preserve, and an array of hotels and dining options at different quality levels and price points on 15,000 acres of land. In other words, there’s something for everyone at Puntacana Resort & Club.
Oscar de la Renta liked it so much that he made his home here and was an investor in the development. On our recent family vacation in the Dominican Republic, we discovered a bit about what appealed to him and what makes Puntacana Resort an excellent beach vacation option for families.
The overall development is massive and includes three hotels as well as home rentals. We stayed at the new Westin Puntacana Resort & Club. Our stay was short, just two nights, so this review will only focus on that experience.
The Westin Puntacana opened in 2014. With only 200 rooms, the property feels amazingly compact and user-friendly; it sits on a lovely three-mile stretch of beach. Westin amenities are heavily branded, so one very nice feature is that quality is predictable and consistent in terms of room and guest amenities.
The service at the Westin is absolutely exceptional. Everyone is friendly and goes out of their way to make sure guests are happy. It’s a busy place, so this is no small feat, but we fell in love with the staff.
Guest Rooms and Suites: Guest rooms include a balcony with seating, a Westin Heavenly Bed and Bath, a flat-screen TV, an iPod docking station, a mini-fridge, and a coffee maker. From a cost standpoint, it’s hard to beat the value here, as families can get rooms with two queen beds if they want to keep pricing down and stay in one room together. Given that the rooms are all new, they are modern, fresh and pristine. Furnishings are contemporary and comfortable.
The building is oriented around the pool, so most guest rooms overlook this area with the ocean in the distance, but there are a few premium rooms with wonderful front-and-center ocean views.
Swimming Pools: The swimming pool is the heart of Westin Puntacana and a lively place with quite a large kids’ pool, as well as a second larger main pool surrounded by chairs and umbrellas. The pool includes in-water lounge chairs — a brilliant feature to relax comfortably in the water.
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Beach: Punta Cana’s beach is famous for good reason. The water is bright blue, paired with soft white sand. The beach off the Westin has a reef, so young kids can enjoy swimming and playing here with minimal surf. The beach is busy, but the Westin has chairs and umbrellas for guests on the sand.
A Westin Puntacana beach highlight is most definitely the watersports center, which offers everything from deep sea fishing trips to stand-up paddleboarding. We went out for a paddleboard session with an instructor. Although it was a windy day and hard work, the experience was phenomenal. I loved that fact that they have guides available to go with guests for instruction and area information. On a calm day, families can take a full Paddle Surf Eco Tour to the Puntacana Marine Reserve.
Dining: There are a few dining options at the Westin Puntacana, including the Anani Restaurant off the lobby and the open-air Brassa Grill & Bar on the beach. Parents will appreciate that there is also a lobby bar, a beach bar and a full cigar & rum Bar. There are also four additional restaurants spread across the Puntacana Resort and a free shuttle available for transportation between the resort outlets.
At this point, the food at the Westin is the one area that I’d call ‘new hotel work in progress.’ It’s fine, not amazing. We did have an extraordinary Italian meal at Bamboo at Tortuga Bay, although it was a pricey fine dining experience, not an “every night” casual family vacation meal experience.
Westin Kids’ Club: There is a Westin Kids’ Club for ages 4-12 and a playground onsite. I didn’t get a chance to see the kids’ club in action, but it’s nice that they have their own dedicated indoor and outdoor space. Every day the resort has a schedule of activities, including sports and family options. A favorite moment for me was watching the Latin Mix cardio class in the waterfront palapa — there was not a single guest within earshot who did not have one toe tapping. There is also a Westin Workout Room onsite that was a decent size, although it doesn’t look at anything beautiful — my only caveat about it.
Puntacana Resort is home to the only Six Senses Spa in the Americas. My one regret is not getting the chance to do a full treatment, but I did tour the facility. True to the brand mission, Six Senses is focused on holistic wellness. Visits are transformative and provide a unique opportunity for mental and physical healing. The Asian-inspired Six Senses Spa at Puntacana Resort is an 1,800-square-meter facility with seven treatment rooms.
The spa is a five-minute drive from the Westin and there is a shuttle available.
Conservation is a priority at Puntacana and a 1,500-acre private reserve is maintained and managed by the development’s Ecological Foundation. The reserve has a network of pathways through pristine native forest. You can hike with a guide to a gorgeous, crystal-clear natural swimming hole.
The Ecological Foundation also maintains a petting zoo and iguana habitat, as well as a small cultural exhibit documenting the history of the area. Horseback riding tours are also available.
The golf opportunities within Puntacana are extensive. Here’s a link to more information about the courses and facilities.
Rooms at The Westin Puntacana Resort & Spa start at $209 per night. This property is a great value for the quality and the long list of amenities and services for all ages and interests.
Editor’s Note: We received a media package to review this property for families. As always, our opinions are our own. Photo by Amie O’Shaughnessy except where noted.
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