Me, three years ago:
All-inclusive resorts are boring. It’s like Walt Disney World for adults. Doesn’t anyone want to experience culture anymore?
Me, two weeks ago sitting poolside at a luxury all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic:
La, la, la. I’m drinking rum out of a coconut and it is 85 degrees and sunny.
So yes, all-inclusive resorts don’t make for the most culturally-stimulating vacations, but they do offer the most relaxing and for one week a year that is exactly what I need. A typical day for us at Breathless Punta Cana: pool volleyball, water polo, reading, walking on the beach. That was pretty much it, and that was after sleeping a blissful 8-9 hours every night. I read two books sitting under a palm tree by the pool, and instead of trying to fit in time to go to the gym, we went for long walks on the beach.
We ate freshly made food at every meal that I neither grocery shopped for nor prepared: Loads of farm fresh eggs, every plantain dish imaginable, fresh fish and surprisingly, lots of German food, which I love. Breathless seemed to have a lot of European guests so the food was less “Americanized” at the buffets.
Last year we went to Mexico and it rained 5 out of the 6 days we were there. That may have biased me, but I strongly preferred Breathless Punta Cana to the Valentin Imperial Maya where we stayed last year. If you’re considering a trip to the Caribbean, here are a few notes about Breathless:
- Breathless is a new-ish resort and the decor and architecture throughout the property feels modern and clean. Everything at the resort is beautifully maintained.
- They have a nice coffee shop and we loved waking up and sitting outside drinking cappuccinos each morning to start the day.
- The food was far superior to the Valentin. They offered more local fare than I was expecting—and it was all cooked fresh rather than sitting around in buffet tins.
- The weather in the Dominican was perfect every single day. It was consistently 85 and sunny.
The other plus, which I alluded to in my post about decision fatigue, was that we used my friend Heather’s travel agency, Vacations by Heather, to plan and book the trip. I told Heather in January the kind of trip we were looking for and she provided us with some options. We picked one and she booked the airfare, airport transfers and resort for us – all at no expense to us (did you know travel agents don’t charge you?). I’ve included Heather’s info below. If you’re planning a trip, let her help you.
The only downside to our trip was getting back.
On the way there we had an uneventful but early travel day: A 5:50a.m. flight to Washington (Dulles) and then connection to Punta Cana.
On the way back our flight from Punta Cana to Dulles was delayed meaning there was no way we’d make our connection back to Hartford. Once we got to Dulles at 11pm, we were informed by United that there were not supplying hotel vouchers because the delay was weather related. Apparently the plane was delayed due to icing in Chicago.
The next flight to Hartford from Dulles wasn’t until Wednesday afternoon (and this was Monday night!) so we re-booked on a 6:30a.m. flight Tuesday morning to Cincinnati out of DCA and then another flight from Cincinnati to Hartford.
That’s right, we flew to Cincinnati, Ohio to get to Hartford, Connecticut.
Since it was already 1a.m. and the flight was at 6:30a.m., we took a Super Shuttle from Dulles to DCA and just slept on the floor of the airport.
Come on, Bradley: get some more direct routes to the Caribbean! I realize this is probably not the most pressing issue of our time, but I think Bradley misses out on a lot of travelers who drive to New York to fly direct to the Caribbean.
Next time we’ll either fly in and out of New York or Boston to avoid missing a day of work and sleeping on the floor of an airport. Plus all the expenses of an additional travel day that you end up paying out of pocket: more meals, coffee, the trip from Dulles to DCA, etc. Plus, my sanity. Don’t fly United. Their communication and customer service was atrocious.
Still, six days in paradise with no work, no errands and lots of sun? WORTH IT.
Fresh eggs and plantains + German food for breakfast.
We did a lobster dinner on the beach. Note: Caribbean lobster is not as good as Maine lobster. Sorry, Caribbean. Luckily you have a lot of other things going for you. Like for instance, this amazing view.
See, we left the resort and found this totally normal looking massage center on the beach.
New Englander in the Caribbean alert: Red Sox hat, plaid shirt, New Balance sneaks.
If you go to Breathless Punta Cana:
Breathless Punta Cana
Playas , Km. 275,
Carr Uvero Alto, 23000