Hubby and I have recently returned from our first ever fortnight of child free holidaying and I can highly recommend it! The going that is – not the returning!
We happily flitted out of our front door leaving our world in Grandma’s capable hands. We headed straight for our airport hotel, expecting a very early wake-up call the next morning. We had a lovely relaxing evening and meal in the hotel – full of our new found freedom. As it was our flight was delayed by 12 hours so we endedup staying much longer at the hotel than expected. On the plus side We got to enjoy a lovely long lie-in, long soak in the bath and leisurely afternoon pre-flight. Aside from the delay, the airport experience was good. We flew from Gatwick and enjoyed wandering around the shops and relaxing in the lounge – where we were superbly looked after.
We eventually took off just over 12 hours late. It was a little after 9.30pm so food was quickly served allowing us to relax and sleep. We were in premium class but how anyone can sleep on a plane I do not know. The flight passed without excitement and we landed at Punta Cana airport in the Dominical Republic at half past two the next morning. We were amused at the thatched roof but not so with the visa queue! It was warm and despite being tired we were still very excited.
The transfer was quick at around 20 minutes and finally we arrived! Due to the delay, we did not get to enjoy our preferred club check in as it was the middle of the night and the preferred club was closed. But, check in was swift and soon we were being shown into our room. Our room was very nice although I was worried about where we would put everything – there wasn’t a lot of storage space at first glance. We did manage to store it all and climbed into bed. It was a bit strange to start with.We had arrived in the dead of night, the resort was in darkness and we didn’t really have any idea of where we were or what was around us.
After sleeping for a few hours we woke to bright sunshine and couldn’t wait to explore. We weren’t disappointed. The next two weeks felt like a dream. We enjoyed everything that we did and were spoilt every day. The resort – Dreams Palm Beach was beautiful. It was on a lovely stretch of beach with white sand and calm, warm waters. The pools were lovely, everything was spotless and the grounds well maintained. The facilities didn’t disappoint either. The buffet restaurant had the most extensive range of food you could imagine. We ate in every Al a carte restaurant on the resort and enjoyed each one. The Sea side grill with it’s amazing steaks, The Italian, The Mexican, The Japanese, The Chinese, The French, The Beach Grill and The Coffee Shop with its lovely cakes. Then there were the bars – indoor and outdoor and poolside waiter service. We had upgraded to the preferred club so had access to a lounge where premium drinks and pretty snacks were served, along with a separate pool with hot tubs. We had our own section of the beach with beach again with waiter service. Room service was second to none – rooms were cleaned twice daily, a snack trolley with rum, wine, chocolate and crisps visited frequently, treats such as fruit and flowers were left in the rooms, champagne could be brought to your room whenever you called for it and the nightly turn down service meant rose petals and chocolates on the bed.
The on-resort spa was lovely and newly refurbished. We had lovely massages both in the spa and on the beach and I had a manicure. Entertainment facilities and activities felt continuous. From 10am to 11pm every day, something was happening that you could join in with. I was a regular at the Spanish lessons that took place most days. After 11pm you had the casino and disco if you still had any energy left!! Aside from the spa treatments and the casino everything was included in the all-inclusive programme. In fact, it was by far the best all inclusive programme that we have experienced. You could literally eat and drink 24 hours a day if you wished and room service was included.
We had some nice walks along the beach which was stunning. The sea was blue, clear and warm and we jumped in and out as and when we felt like it. There wasn’t really anywhere to walk to outside of the hotel other than along the beach. That is the one and only thing that would stop me returning to that hotel. I like to be able to go for a wander and explore a little more than we were able to here. There was a little market around the pool a few evenings a week at the resort. But, I am not keen on the bartering way of buying and selling goods which was crazy here! I would much rather just be told the price and be able to browse and chose items that I would like to buy. Here, you could not look at merchandise without being absolutely hounded. It was almost intimidating. I preferred the on-resort shops which in fairness sold the same items for less than half the starting price of the markets sellers and was much calmer!
We joined some excursions and enjoyed each of them. My favourite was the trip to Saona Island. This is the island where the original Bounty chocolate advert was filmed. White beaches, swaying palms, crystal clear warm water. It was around an hour on the coach from our hotel which gave us opportunity to see some of the island. We took a speed boat out to the island which was great fun, stopping to swim on the shallow sand banks in the middle of the ocean. Once on the island we relaxed in hammocks and swam, enjoyed fresh coconuts and the included bar. Massages could be had along the beach and Caribbean music accompanied the BBQ lunch. We sailed back along the coast on a catamaran where lots of dancing and rum drinking took place! It really was a paradise. We did a sunset cruise also, but it was far from the romantic trip that it looked in the brochure. We arrived to discover that it was more of a party booze cruise and weren’t the only guests to have made the mistake! To top it all it was absolutely pouring with rain. We decided to go anyhow and while we wouldn’t go again, we actually had a lot of fun. The final trip that we did was a reef explorer trip. We were taken out to a floating reef not far off of the coast. There were marinarium enclosures there where you could snorkel and swim with sharks and stingrays, plenty of space to snorkel the reef, kayaks, body boards, massages, sun beds and a snack bar. I am not really a water baby and have very limited swimming and snorkelling skills, but my hubby was in heaven while I made full use of the more relaxing facilities!
We still can’t quite believe how amazing and beautiful it all was. We really did have a lovely time. We whiled away our days relaxing, eating, drinking and generally just doing what we wanted when we wanted. We really did feel cared for and spoilt by the staff who were cheerful, polite and were forever asking “if there was anything else they could do for us.” It might not sound the most exciting of holidays but it was definitely the most relaxing and that was exactly what we needed and had hoped for.