Destination I Do

Cap Cana

Words by Jennifer Stein

The Dominican Republic’s Luxury Retreats at Cap Cana
By: Jennifer Stein
Photography by Luxury Retreats at Cap Cana

If there is one thing Dominicans do right, it’s lavish pampering. If there is another, it’s being genuinely friendly and enjoyable. 

Our arrival to Luxury Retreats at Cap Cana was complete with a basket of fresh fruit, a smiling butler named Robinson, a chilled bottle of champagne and some of the most incredible accommodations I’ve ever had the honor of staying in. Mouths agape, we entered our ocean view villa complete with full kitchen, outdoor dining room and enough open air spaces to sit and read a book, take a nap or just enjoy the scenery.  Yet another bonus I discovered:  the personal plunge pool, complete with sun deck and Jacuzzi just steps from our not-so-humble abode.

As I wandered through the 3 bedroom private villa, I was overwhelmed by the copious amenities that were found throughout. Not only did it have all the comforts of home, but it was brimming with upgrades such as two person soaking tubs in each master suite, huge comfortable beds decked out with romantic mesh netting, luxury linens and enough pillows that even the pickiest of sleepers could find comfort. Some rooms even had outdoor showers and tubs (and if you’ve ever showered outdoors in the warm Caribbean air, you know that not much else can compare).

Although I could have spent endless days inside that private villa, I knew the beach was one area not to be missed, so a quick walk down to the Caleton Club and Villas private beach (the most recent addition the Luxury Retreats at Cap Cana) and I would find myself stepping on to sand as soft and white as powdered sugar. I was greeted by a handsome man carrying tropical fruit skewers and ice water with lime. At that very moment I wondered, “Why did I bring my blackberry down here again?”

After a few hours of enjoying the gentle surf and warm sun, I peeled myself off the cushioned chaise and made my way to Cap Cana’s luxury spa. Inside I was welcomed with a foot bath and a softly lit relaxing room with just the right amount of music, scent and serenity that sent me into the exact “Zen-like” mood I had craved for far too long.  

Refreshed, relaxed and most definitely cosseted, I found myself pampered yet again that night as I sampled a seven-course menu (just like what a bride and groom would find if they chose Cap Cana as their getaway destination). Each course was served with an exquisite wine – paired perfectly with the dish. My favorite item that night (and had there not been other guests around, would have found myself licking the plate clean) was a baked goat cheese surrounded by flaky phyllo pastry, garnished with tomato and onion jelly. Simply divine.

The next day we were welcomed by sunshine and a perfect ocean breeze as we toured the rest of the property. What we found were more gorgeous and no-so-modest private one bedroom bungalows that would send any honeymooning couple straight for a “do-not-disturb” sign.

Although the accommodations are quite over the top, it doesn’t take away from all the other wonders that abound. Their Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses (they have 2 – Punta Espada and Las Iguanas, opening March 09) in the Cap Cana development are spectacular – not just in their design, but the views are undeniably breathtaking as well. Then there is the Aqua Marina, complete with a fleet of private luxury yachts and glass bottom boats. It’s the largest in-land marina in the Caribbean and can only be found at Cap Cana.

The locals, we found, were very opinionated about two things – food and a certain exceptional beach. The cuisine we learned was irrefutably decadent and fresh everywhere we went. But this beach – how much better could it be than the one in front of our villas? Then they took us there – and we saw what they were talking about. Juanillo beach, found just minutes away from Punta Cana Resort, is absolutely incredible. It’s five miles long and accessible to anyone in Cap Cana, but limited to the public. The water is the color of the sky on a perfect sunny day and the sand as white as snow. I’ve never seen a coastline quite like this.

All of the people we came in contact with were authentically welcoming and warm and took great pride in their jobs. Everyone from the general manager of the resort, to the waiters and bell boys, were kind and took wonderful care of us during our stay.  They had great respect for one another as well as the travelers who came to visit.

Luxury Retreats at Cap Cana is one of my “Dearly Beloved” picks for 2009. If you are considering a destination wedding, honeymoon or both in the Caribbean this year, I implore you to look into this spectacular destination. You may pay a little more here, but sometimes it is true – you get what you pay for.

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