Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Our trip to the Dominican Republic.....+ Lilly Pulitzer Giveaway Winner

I want to start this off my saying that this was truly one of the best vacations with friends that Todd and I have ever taken.  We laughed, we cried, we stayed up way too late every night telling old stories (of when we were young), we experienced some amazing things that none of us had ever experienced before, and most importantly our friendship with friends we've had for years grew even closer. 

Now for the recap.......and this is gong to be pretty long, but I want to make sure I share everything!


We arrived at our resort (Breathless) in Punta Cana on New Years Eve around 2pm.  We were greeted at the door with smiles and frozen drinks.  We sat down to check in and we were given the itinerary for the week of all the activities and entertainment that would be going on while we were there.  As we scrolled down the list we looked around at one another and started to laugh.  Then we realized (i know not very smart) that none of us had really looked into the resort (I know, not very smart).  We hired a travel agent and she suggested this place being that it is a beautiful resort and it would be a great time with a group of friends.  So being that most of us are parents with busy lives, we just took her word.  We checked out the resort's trip advisor rate and booked our trip.  In the end, it turned out that the travel agent was right.  It was the perfect place for a great time with a group of friends! 



Day One // 
After we checked in we headed to our rooms.  They were beautiful, very spacious, and extremely clean.  We were all on the first floor and had rooms that you could walk right out the sliding glass door to the pool that extended throughout the property and we all had outdoor jacuzzis that were tucked away under a little pergola. 

These four pictures where the only ones I snapped with my big camera the entire trip.  I wish I would have pulled it out more, but I would always forget.  Oh well, good thing the camera on the Iphone is pretty good. 






After we all got settled in we headed out to a NYE dinner that we had reserved.  I am being generous when I say this dinner was mediocre at best.  Out of all the things we were served, Todd and I only somewhat enjoyed one of them.  Luckily the wine was good :)  After dinner we headed to the NYE party, and you guys...it wild and crazy, but so much fun!  The music, the decor, and the beautiful fireworks at the end...it was a NYE to remember for sure! 





Day Two // 

Needless to say, we all started the day little later than planned on day two.  Most of us needed a little extra sleep.  Haha!  Todd and I finally made it out of our room around 11am and met with our friends to book our excursions.  Todd and I decided since we had never done it before that we wanted to swim with the dolphins and then we all decided we wanted to take the catamaran to visit Sanoma Island together.  After that, Todd and I lounged on the gorgeous beach and both ended up falling asleep listening the the waves crash.  Day two was mostly just relaxing at the resort and enjoying the beach bar near the ocean, which had the best cheese fries, nachos, and burgers by the way :)  



They taught dance lessons everyday on the beach and it was the cutest thing ever watching the couples, especially the older ones...they were adorable :)  The water was a little chilly (as you can probably see by my face).


That evening we all went out to their "Italian restaurant", and sadly, it was another not so great meal. But the atmosphere was nice, and again, the wine was pretty good.  After dinner we were all pretty tired, but decided to make a quick stop by the casino.  They had given us these money vouchers at check-in and we all had a free $20 to spend at the casino.  That being said, we literally went in there and we all put our $20 slips on the table and an extra $20 on a game of roulette and all picked red. We ended up tripling our money while having one drink and then we got to bed early! 

Tank (similar) // Shorts // Wedges old but (similar here and here)


Day Three //

Day three and day four were by far our best days in Punta Cana.  We all woke up really early and ate breakfast together at one of the buffets.  Afterwards, Todd and I enjoyed a quick trip to the beach to catch some sun before we headed out to swim with the dolphins!  Our resort had a bus that picked us up to and from the excursions so this made it super easy to leave and return. 



Swimming with the dolphins was truly magical.  Our dolphin was named Juliet and she was about 14 years old.  She was so gentle and so silky soft.  I loved every second of this excursion and I am dying to do it again.  Next time Todd and I would love to have Carson and Taylor with us because we know they would love it. 


The rest of our crew decided to play tennis and the girls had a fish therapy pedicure.  They said it was awesome, but I have feeling I would have been freaking out with those little fish all over me! 


After Todd and I returned from swimming with the dolphins we hit the pool with our friends and then showered up for dinner.  Finally, (and surprisingly) we had a good meal!!  This restaurant was called Silk City and served sushi and hibachi. 

Maxi dress // Earrings (similar) 

After dinner they had what they called Gatsby night, but they must have changed things up because we ended up getting to watch and listen to the most amazing band sing A cappella style.  I told Todd when we sat down that I didn't really care for music like this, but as soon as they started to sing I quickly changed my mind.  Here's a little snippet I grabbed on video.  I really could have sat and listened to them all night and I was definitely sad when they announced last song. 


Night Four // 

Our last day and night there did not disappoint.  That morning we had to be dressed and ready to rock and roll by 7:25 to head out to Sonoma Island. It was about a 45 minute bus ride to a place called the Village of Bayahibe.  There we boarded a huge catamaran.  We rode on the catamaran for about an hour and a half taking in all the gorgeous blue waters, listing to music, and sipping rum. 



Then we arrived at the breathtaking island of Sonoma.  It was seriously such a beautiful island filled with the most amazing palm trees and soft white sand.  After about an hour of being there they served us our favorite meal of the trip right on the beach.  I mean everyone went back for seconds, even us girls ;)  We had fresh fish, chicken, and sausage from a huge open grill they have on the island.  And for sides they had pasta, potatoes, rice, vegetables, and lots of fresh fruit. 


After lunch we were taken by speed boats to what they call the natural pool. 



The natural pool is like something you only see in movies and you don't think it really exists.  This was my favorite part of the entire day and our guide was awesome...he jumped in the water with us and he helped us find starfish.  He could tell that I really wanted to find one and catch it on my own, so he took me way's out in a spot he knew I would find one.  I was so kid-like when I finally spotted one and got to dive under and get it.


After that, the speed boats took us to another beach where I ended up getting a massage while the rest of the crew played volleyball on the back.   Once our time was up there the boat took us back to Bayahibe Village and from there we got on our bus and headed back to our resort.  When we got back we all showered and headed out to dinner for our last dinner.  The dinner was great and everyone loved every single thing we ordered.  Clearly, on the first two days we picked the wrong restaurants on the resort.  After dinner we headed upstairs to see what the resort had planned for their "anything can happen night".  We were all pretty pumped when they told us it was karaoke!  A little background information on the nine of us on the trip, we LOVE karaoke and have done it together many times, including at least 100 rounds of Singstar). Oh you guys, we had so much fun.  Our dear friend, Jason (Todd's old roommate), busted it out like he has never done before!!  He had the entire resort pulling out their phones to video him...haha!!  And luckily our friends caught it on video as well so I have to share it with you!  I still crack up every time I watch this. 



After karaoke we all stayed up way too late at the rooftop bar laughing the night away and reminiscing about all the fun times we have all had together.  The night really was the perfect ending  to out trip.  That being said, by the next morning we couldn't get home fast enough!!  Todd and I were missing our babies like crazy (I am pretty sure my parents started screening aka ignoring our "facetime" calls near the end haha)! 

Whew, if you made it through this entire post, bless your heart :)  But I wanted to make sure that everything was documented for our memories. 

So in the end, here are the pros and cons that we all agreed on about our resort. 

Pros
Entertainment and fun nightlife - From what we heard on the plane and in the airport the other resorts were quite boring for a group of friends.  We loved all the entertainment and the fun atmosphere they had for nightlife.  They kept us laughing and entertained the entire trip!!

Beauty and cleanliness - Todd and I have only stayed at one other all-inclusive resort which was in Jamaica.  While the food in Jamaica was much better, the resort itself and rooms where much nicer here.  They had tons of pools, bars, restaurants, and a gorgeous spa. 

The excursions - The excursions they offered in Punta Cana all looked amazing!  If we ever go back I would love to snorkel, zip line, and do the dune buggy adventure.  Those three looked so fun, but there just wasn't enough time.

The drinks - They had so many drink options to choose from and had a three page cocktail list you could choose from at any bar.  Plus, almost all of the drinks included fresh ingredients and not yucky mix out of a bottle.  Not to mention their were several bars and you never had to wait for a drink!

Cons

The food - For the most part the food was pretty bad.  It was extremely bland, and nothing tasted quite right.  We stuck to the bar grill for almost every lunch because we were so disappointed with our first two dinner meals. 

The service - While the staff was not rude by any means, they certainly didn't go out of there way to make sure you had everything you needed.  The food took forever and so did the drinks at times.  Many nights we would have to ask three or four times at dinner to get our wine glasses refilled.  Our fridge in our room was never restocked either.  We had to track someone down every time we needed bottled water.  And considering you can't drink their tap water, I think this should come without having to find it. But I will say the E-team (entertainment team) was amazing, super friendly, and always smiling!

And while this is not necessarily a con, I wouldn't recommend this resort if you are on your honeymoon or if you are looking for a romantic getaway with your significant other.  I would, however, highly recommend it for a group of friends! 


And finally the Lilly Pulitzer giveaway winner is 8 Olivia Kyle! Olivia please email me with your address asap and I'll send your gift card and goodies out! And don't forget ladies 6pm is still having their Lilly After Sale Party








10 comments:

  1. So happy that you enjoyed yourself.

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    1. Thanks Khole :) It was hard coming back to these freezing temps ;)

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  2. Sounds like a fun getaway with friends!!

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    1. It truly was Heather!! I can't recommend it enough for a big group of friends ;)

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  3. Looks like you had a great time with your hubby and friends! XO

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  4. Great recap. I love reading travel recommendations because you never can tell on those TripAdvisor posts.

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  5. Looks like a great time! We have heard that the food there is not that great - but honestly, is it ever as good as what we get here in the US? I know many people steer away from Mexico, but we go every year. We go to the Riviera Maya - and head into Playa for shopping,etc. The resorts are gorgeous and the best guac and chips and salsa and really the food is good! Time away is good for the soul. and refreshing for a mom !

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    1. Hi Mary!

      Where do you go in Riviera Maya? Looking to book my honeymoon in September :)

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  6. Nothing better than a beach vacation, having lots of fun with your man and special friends. You looked gorgeous friend x

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  7. I just have to say that I loved reading this!!! We just got back from our honeymoon in DR...we stayed at Excellence and it was a much quieter environment than Breathless. We met some people on our catamaran/snorkeling excursion who stayed where ya'll did, and they described the environment exactly like you did. One of the girls said that at check-in, there were different, ahem, scandalous packages you could purchase, haha. We had the same experience as ya'll with food - it was all really bland, and decent, but nothing spectacular. I ordered a filet one night and it was the toughest, scrawniest, chewiest piece of meat I've ever had, haha - definitely not a filet. The beach bar/grill at our resort was definitely the best food. We spent the majority of our time on the beach and by the pool...we had read reviews that said to take a bunch of $1 bills and tip the various staff, so we did that and they couldn't bring us drinks fast enough. If we get to go back some time, I definitely want to do the island excursion that ya'll did - sounds like it was a blast! Cheers to fun times in DR!

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