Courtesy of the shimmering aquamarine sea, sun-kissed sandy shores and vibrant nightlife that heats up until sunrise, couples from around the globe rank the Dominican Republic as tops for a wedding or honeymoon. From the Playa Dorada on the north coast to La Romana in the south and Punta Cana on the easternmost tip, the DR is where fantasies come true.
In Punta Cana, an expensive facelift transformed the Barcelo Resorts into one complex comprised of two properties rather than the five properties in its previous carnation. The massive transformation resulted in the 391-room adults-only Barceló Bávaro Beach resort and 1600- room family-friendly Barcelo Bavaro Palace Deluxe. Renovations included refreshed rooms with rain-style showers, balcony hot tubs, high-end entertainment system, three-hundred brand new rooms in the Golf wing of the Palace Deluxe and a Club Premium lounge for an extra splurge.
Plenty of fine dining includes eleven restaurants and a host of spirited bars shaking and stirring mojitos and margaritas till the wee hours. Choices are many and vary from the spectacularly sumptuous Bohio Dominicano breakfast buffet, El Coral for seafood fresh from the ocean, La Dolce Vita with its Hollywood-inspired posters of famous Italian movie stars and menu of primo pasta and the Kyoto eatery for artisan sushi and sake.
On-site amenities include a P.B. Dye 18-hole golf course which at 6,655 yards is the most-visited course in the Bávaro and Punta Cana area, cigar and rum bar, shopping promenade, disco, Vegas-style Theater and a 24-hour casino.
The Big Day
Weddings are glorious with ceremonies on the beach the big draw for couples saying I Do or renewing their vows. “We do thirty weddings a month seaside,” says Diana Daza, sales coordinator, “sunset is the most requested although our staff can organize a wedding anytime from 11 in the morning until 6 pm.”
Ceremonies run the gamut from on a jetty with the Caribbean Sea and swaying coconut palms as the backdrop or a religious ceremony in the San Salvador chapel available from Monday to Saturday.
The Big Rub
Dishing up a plethora of mellow rub downs for couples, the U Spa with thirty therapists and seventeen treatment rooms is open from 7 am for early risers. “The Romantic Escapes package is our big seller at $199.00 for seventy-five minutes of sensual massages with coconut oil and chocolate cream,” says Irena Moracic, spa manager showing newlyweds around the swishy spa with an outdoor pool, sauna, steam room, Vichy showers, cloistered cabins with Jacuzzis and a terrace with sun loungers.
The ‘Bride’s Dream’ starts with a honey exfoliation and adds a soothing facial, massage and paraffin mani and pedi for the total package while the ‘Floral Massage’ is divine with heat-activated floral satchels for a total head to foot experience. And for the gals, the ‘Bride’s Spa Party’ gets rid of last minute stress with aromatic massages and facials for the whole gang.
The Big Deal
Twenty-five percent off early reservations for a four-night stay travel through December includes a $1,000 room credit with $100.00 for golf and $250 for the spa. “By giving travelers a resort credit and offering the early booking discount through the end of the year, we’re giving travelers an opportunity to experience the expansive amenities and activities Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort has to offer,” said Claudio A. Zboznovits, vice-president, sales and marketing.
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