Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Luxury Travel in the Dominican Republic with Air Transat

excellence el carmen dominican republic

It's been a while since I've visited the Dominican Republic; six years, to be exact. When Brian and I first started dating, we started travelling together pretty quickly and we both loved nothing more than just relaxing at a luxurious all-inclusive resort. As the years passed by, we had gotten away from the all-inclusive way of travel, instead favouring action-packed itineraries that usually involved visiting multiple countries in a matter of weeks and packing in as many sights as our tired bodies would allow us. Nothing wrong with ambitious travel, but I was really craving the relaxed feeling that only an all-inclusive resort could give you. When I was offered the opportunity to travel to the luxury properties in the Dominican Republic with Air Transat, I was ecstatic. Finally, I would be able to get back to that slow-paced, stress-free way of travel that I so enjoyed back when Brian and I were just starting to travel for the first time.

Well, let me tell you, now that I've had this week to enjoy and sample some of the luxury properties in the Dominican Republic with Air Transat, I'm kicking myself for getting away from the all-inclusive travel. You guys, it was amazing. From beginning to end, our group was treated like royalty, and not on any sort of special treatment - this is just the way these properties strive to make their guests feel. In one week's time, I fell in love with the Dominican Republic, each of the properties that we visited, and every person we encountered on this amazing getaway. Let me take you with me through my week in paradise, each of the properties that we visited and some of the standout experiences in the Dominican Republic with Air Transat.

excellence el carmen dominican republic

Excellence El Carmen


Upon arriving at the Punta Cana airport, we were promptly whisked away in a private, air-conditioned SUV to our first home-away-from-home: The Excellence El Carmen. Now I've been to both Excellence properties in the Mayan Riviera and loved them both, so I was especially looking forward to visiting this property. The Excellence El Carmen certainly did not disappoint; in fact, the modern architecture and minimalistic aesthetic of the resort only enhanced my opinion of the Excellence Group. The property is absolutely gorgeous, and there were so many modern amenities that we enjoyed: like a café that would rival even the trendiest coffee joint in Toronto! There are also flamingos that frolic in a pond right on the property, which I couldn't believe when I saw. One of my bucket-list items is to frolic amongst flamingos, so to me, it was such an unexpected treat to be able to get so close to these beautiful, pink creatures.

The rooms at The Excellence El Carmen are spacious, modern and have luxurious touches throughout. I certainly enjoyed my all-inclusive mini bar which not only came loaded with drinks but  also snacks. There are not one, but two flat-screen televisions in the room and an outdoor jacuzzi tub that can be private with the push of a button; there's even an outdoor bed! Needless to say, I definitely enjoyed my fair share of naps on the outdoor bed. Room service is available 24/7 as part of the all-inclusive experience, so I definitely took advantage of a breakfast in bed and room-service cocktails.

The variety of restaurants is what set the Excellence Group apart for me when I had visited their properties in Mexico, and I was thrilled to learn that they have the same restaurants at all of their properties - including the Excellence El Carmen in the Dominican Republic! During our stay, we were able to enjoy Magna, a beautiful steakhouse that is exclusive to Excellence Club guests, Spice which is exciting Teppanyaki, and Chez Isabelle which is a beautiful French restaurant. Each restaurant is incredible and each brought back fond memories of my last stay at an Excellence resort.

We were also able to indulge in a hydrotherapy session Millé Spa, which had to be one of my favourite experiences from the whole trip. Hydrotherapy is when you use both hot and cold elements and water to calm and relax your body. The Hydrotherapy pools at the spa are gorgeous, and it was a great activity to do with a group of ladies. We finished off the treatment with a relaxing scalp massage and champagne on the terrace, overlooking the entire Excellence property at sunset. Perfection.

The Excellence El Carmen is an adults-only property, but that doesn't mean that it's short on energy; there was definitely lots of excitement happening in the main pool area on a daily basis. I'm more of a beach girl myself, so I enjoyed the tranquillity that the beach had to offer, but it was nice to know that there was a party waiting for me when I wanted.

I so enjoyed our stay at The Excellence El Carmen, and would not hesitate to recommend the property to the adults-only traveller who enjoys a modern feel while in the Dominican Republic.

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

excellence el carmen dominican republic

Paradisus Punta Cana 

During our luxury tour in the Dominican Republic, our group was lucky enough to spend a day at the Paradisus Punta Cana. Immediately as we walked through the beautiful lobby, I knew that we were in for a treat. The Paradisus Punta Cana is a gorgeous property that is unlike any other property that I've ever visited; it's an eco resort, so the property is lush with foliage and every building blends seamlessly into the surrounding nature. The amount of green space is striking! There's also wildlife that can be found on the resort; I loved the flamingos, fish and turtles that greeted us when we first stepped into the lobby.

The first thing that I noticed about the Paradisus Punta Cana were the grounds. This resort actually can accommodate quite a few guests, but because the grounds are so vast and there's so many different sections to the resort, it can feel like you're alone in a tropical paradise.

I had some time to relax in my room before venturing out to get some food for lunch and to hang out by the beach. The rooms are beautiful, and the décor definitely gets you into the eco-resort spirit with a beautiful seascape over the headboard of the huge bed. I arrived peckish and went immediately to the minibar to see if there might be snacks. I was ecstatic to see that not only were there plenty of snacks, but also a fully-stocked fridge that is replenished daily. My kind of mini bar, and such a treat to know that everything is all-included.

We dined at the Mole, an à-la-carte Mexican restaurant. Now I have publicly stated that I could probably live the rest of my life on Mexican food, so this was truly a treat. I happily ate more than my fair share of the nachos that greeted us when we first sat down, and finished every last bite of my quesadillas.

After lunch we lazily headed towards the beach to finish off the rest of our stay. Although the grounds and eco-gardens are beautiful at the Paradisus Punta Cana, to me it's the beach that truly sets it apart. The beach is gorgeous - there really isn't any other way to describe it. White sand as far as the eye can see, blue water and because of the placement of the resort in Punta Cana, the water was so calm and warm. To be honest, I'm not really a swimmer so I usually just dip my feet into the water and head back to my chair, but this beach had me in the water for hours. Paradisus Punta Cana is a family-friendly resort, and I would feel totally comfortable bringing children to this beach. There's also beach-side service, so we never had to leave our chairs for anything - not even a towel! I've been to quite a few beaches over the years, but I'll always remember the beach at Paradisus Punta Cana.

Before we knew it, it was time to leave. I really enjoyed my stay at the Paradisus Punta Cana. I think this would be a great resort to bring your entire family to, especially if anyone in the group has an interest in nature.

paradisus punta cana

paradisus punta cana

paradisus punta cana

paradisus punta cana

paradisus punta cana

paradisus punta cana

Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro

Our next stop on our trip through the Dominican Republic with Air Transat was the gorgeous Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro. Now, if you can only imagine the screams as a group of bloggers walked through the stunning, picturesque, palatial property. The property is gorgeous with an old-world charm, and I was blown away by the amount of detail that went into every part of this incredible resort. From the intricate exteriors, elaborate pools that weave their way through the grounds, to even the different tiles that line the floor, this resort is beautiful. 

Upon checking into our rooms, I was immediately introduced to our butler Staling. Our butler! The Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro prides itself on the level of personalized service, and the service truly makes it stand out. Staling was an incredible butler, and truly went out of his way to make sure we were having a wonderful stay. He even noticed that I was eating my way through the chips in my minibar pretty quickly, and arranged to have more sent to my room! The personalized service made me feel like royalty, and truly sets this property apart.

The Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro is a small, intimate adults-only property that sits on the extensive Iberostar Bavaro property. That means that while guests of the Grand Hotel Bávaro have access to the entire resort (including the restaurants, pools and gym), the smaller Grand property is only accessible to people who have booked to stay there. This is definitely a great feature for travellers who love exploring larger properties, but still crave the intimacy of a smaller, luxury resort.

I really enjoyed the restaurants at this resort. The à la carte restaurants were so delicious, and the décor was truly impressive. This was also the first time during the entire trip that I started eating at the buffet option, and it was a game-changer. I just love being able to choose from a variety of different flavours, and the buffet soon became my go-to for breakfast - I had to take advantage of the made-to-order omelette, crepe and churro stations! There was also a snack bar right on the beach that served nachos during the day. Nachos. Enough said. This girl was in heaven!

Something that truly stood out to me at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bàvaro is the gorgeous, light-filled, two-story spa. We were lucky enough to indulge in a relaxing massage, and wow - I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep! Lauren of This Renegade Love and I decided to try out a couple's massage, and when our treatment was done we were so relaxed that we couldn't bring ourselves to change back in our clothes - so off we went back to our respective rooms in just giant towels! This was one of my favourite memories of the trip, and I feel so fortunate to have experienced this gorgeous spa. 

While the small Grand Hotel has a very calm energy to it, there are definitely opportunities to let loose. Us bloggers had a great night in the giant tall-ship on the property for a night of dancing and laughs. The stories from that night kept us giggling all trip!

The Iberostar Grand Hotel Bávaro is a truly beautiful property, so if you're someone who appreciate fine architecture and the little details, you would love this resort. After spending a couple of days in this relaxing all-inclusive hotel, I felt totally calm, relaxed and ready to explore more of what the luxury offerings that Air Transat offers in the Dominican Republic.


iberostar grand hotel bavaro

iberostar grand hotel bavaro

iberostar grand hotel bavaro

iberostar grand hotel bavaro

iberostar grand hotel bavaro


iberostar grand hotel bavaro

iberostar grand hotel bavaro
iberostar grand hotel bavaro

Excursion: Bavaro Runners

While staying at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Bàvaro, we had the opportunity to have a little adventure with an excursion call the Bavaro Runners. Available through Air Transat, the Bavaro Runners tour took us through a typical village in the Dominican Republic, and allowed us to stop at Maria's house, a Dominican local who harvests and roasts her own coffee beans and cocoa. I found it absolutely fascinating to get a glimpse into life in the Dominican Republic, and marvel at the beautiful landscapes and houses along the way. Maria's house was a treat for me, especially since it's all pink - enough said. If you're craving a more intimate look into life in the Dominican Republic, then I would recommend the Bavaro Runners tour to you.

bacaro runners tour dominican republic

Paradisus Palma Real

Something to know about me: I love Moorish and Greco-Roman inspired architecture. So when I stepped foot into the gorgeous, grandiose lobby of the Paradisus Palma Real, I was stunned - speechless, actually. Out of all of the resorts that we were lucky enough to visit in the Dominican Republic, the property of the Paradisus Palma Real spoke to me the most. I loved the high ceilings, towering columns, a sparkling fountain and materials like marble and very light stone; this property had it all. Though we were only staying at the Paradisus Palma Real for the day, I knew right away that it was going to be a treat.

We checked in straight away to our rooms, and I immediately loved the vibes. Dark wood, bold colours, and thoughtful amenities - I especially loved the incense and burned it straight away to release the beautiful aroma. Although this resort seems large and very grand, it's actually quite compact and very easily walkable.  

The Paradisus Palma Real is a family friendly property, with areas for adults-only. I could definitely see myself bringing my family to this resort in the future, and I also had a great time with my adults-only crew.

We kept to the beach while on this property, leaving only to grab a buffet lunch at the beautiful buffet that faced the ocean. The buffet was incredible with so much selection. While at the beach, there were so many little details to make the experience luxurious; private beach beds facing the ocean, beach-side service and a smoothie bar!

After spending the day at the beach, it was time to head back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. We had planned to meet for cocktails beforehand at one of the bars in the main square of the property. You guys, these cocktails. I'm a bit of a mixology snob and appreciate a well-crafted drink. Let me just say that my expectations were not only met, but wildly exceeded by the cocktails at the Paradisus Palma Real. I'm talking cilantro-infused spirits, fresh juices, herb-infusions - the works! What a great start to the evening.

Our group was then lead to Passion, an restaurant created by Michelin-awarded chef Martín Berasategui. This was truly a dining experience, as the menu was skillfully created with a treat for your tastebuds in mind. The service was unreal, and we each had out own waiter for the night! Alongside the pairing, this dinner was truly a treat and while it does come at an additional cost to the all-inclusive experience, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. 

As soon as we arrived, it was time to leave and I immediately started to miss the Paradisus Palma Real. This is truly the property for the luxury traveler, with or without children. 

paradisus palma real

paradisus palma real

paradisus palma real
paradisus palma real


paradisus palma real

paradisus palma real

paradisus palma real

paradisus palma real

Secrets Cap Cana

I've never stayed at a Secrets property before, so I was very much looking forward to checking out what the Secrets Cap Cana had to offer. Well, this experience truly blew me away. Luxury doesn't even begin to describe our experience at the Secrets Cap Cana. Aside from the sheer beauty of the property, the little personalized details made this property a cut above anything I've ever experienced as a traveler.

I'll start with the room. I knew that I was in for a treat when I saw my name at the entrance of my room at the Secrets Cap Cana; an incredible personal touch. It only got better as I walked through the door. The rooms are breathtaking, and ultra-modern while still maintaining a cozy, relaxing feeling. Some notable amenities of the room that stuck out to me were the huge shower, outdoor jacuzzi bathtub, and bed-side tablet that I used to order 24/7 room service with! The rooms also come with butler service, who you can text or Whats App any questions or requests - amazing! I had a question about the Secrets Cap Cana beach bag that was in my closet (I wanted to keep it) and sent a quick text to my butler who responded in minutes. The future is here, and I was blown away by this feature of the property.

Aesthetically, the restaurants at Secrets Cap Cana look like something out of a magazine - even the buffet was incredibly decorated! The food is gourmet restaurant quality, and I love the modern touches throughout the resort: including a 24 hour café! We chose to dine at Oceana for breakfast, lunch and dinner - it was that good.

By this point in the post, you guys have probably guessed that I'm a beach bum; when the choice comes down to pool or beach, I'm almost always going with the latter. Well, at Secrets Cap Cana, with the beautiful infinity pool that overlooked the beach and ocean, pool won. The pools at this property are just gorgeous, and while the beach is equally as stunning, I definitely spent more time in the pool.

I could go on for hours about the amazing experience we had at Secrets Cap Cana, but i'll sum it up with this: if you're looking for the ultimate, luxurious, adults-only, all-inclusive experience then this is the place for you. I'm actually tempted to bully Brian into renewing our vows, just so we can book the Secrets Cap Cana as a second honeymoon. This is my first experience with a Secrets property, but it certainly won't be my last. I'm just so grateful to have experienced this in the Dominican Republic with Air Transat, and would recommend 100% for you too.

secrets cap cana dominican republic

secrets cap cana dominican republic

secrets cap cana dominican republic

secrets cap cana dominican republic

secrets cap cana dominican republic

secrets cap cana dominican republic
secrets cap cana dominican republic

secrets cap cana dominican republic

secrets cap cana dominican republic

I just wanted to make mention of the amazingly talented bloggers that I was lucky enough to travel with - each of them so genuine. Be sure to check out Lauren, Katia, Gabrielle, Sarah, Alexandra and Tee to see their experiences and photos of the Dominican Republic with Air Transat.

dominican republic luxury air transat

Before I knew it, our luxurious stay in the Dominican Republic was over and it was time to fly back to Toronto. Our luxury transportation arrived and we were effortlessly whisked away to the airport.

This week exploring the luxury destinations in the Dominican Republic offered by Air Transat taught me so much, namely how important this sort of travel is for your well-being. I left feeling more relaxed then I have been for months. Still unsure why I got away from the all-inclusive way of travel, I'm now back on the wagon and already planning the next time I can visit the Dominican Republic with Air Transat.

What do you guys think? Which property speaks to you the most? Have you been to the Dominican Republic? Let me know!

This post was created in partnership with Air Transat, Thank you so much Air Transat for an incredible experience. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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6 comments

  1. Definitely a memorable and luxurious retreat for mind, body and soul! What a great place!

    https://lartoffashion.com

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    1. Ohhh it was an absolutely amazing experience. I left so incredibly relaxed!

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  2. Really can't decide which one I want to stay at the most! Looks like an amazing trip. xx

    Gabriella
    pastelsandpastries.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was like me - I couldn't choose my favourite either! It was such an incredible trip! xo

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  3. Awesome place. Really got confused about which one to stay at the most. All are looking very beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I agree, it was hard for me to choose a favourite as well. I feel like every resort offers something different! I appreciate you reading my post!

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