A lazy week in Punta Cana

Trip Start Feb 18, 2009
1
Trip End Feb 24, 2009


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Flag of Dominican Republic  ,
Thursday, February 26, 2009

As I probably mentioned before - we try to aim for 3 vacations a year: two of what we call "serious" trips and one what we call "lazy" vacation...

our "serious" trips are usually very active, fast-paced, exploratory in nature, longer in duration, further away in destination, and they serve the purpose of nourishing our minds and souls...our "lazy" vacations, on the other hand, are just the opposite: slow, lazy, relaxing, relatively short, and if they nourish anything - that would be our bodies (we always return with a baggage of a few extra pounds after each of these "lazy" vacations)...

for our "lazy" vacation we invariably go to some warm, sunny, all-inclusive seaside resort...in theory, we could take a cruise, but we are not really "cruise people"... we like to be able to walk to the private resort beach whenever we want and stay there however long we wish rather than being disembarked for a day trip to a public beach and taken away whenever it fits the ship's schedule...

last year our "lazy" vacation was somewhat different - we were hosted by our friends in their Bahamas house and spent the whole week with them...they were wonderful hosts, and their company was fun and intellectually stimulating, but it was still a "lazy" vacation (they are still amazed at how we could sleep till noon!)...

this year we needed one of those "lazy" vacations badly... not only to spend uninterruptible time together, relax, enjoy the sun and the sea...but also - to get a little break from the reality, so to speak - from the weird ever-changing weather, constant depressing news of apocalyptic stock market and crumbling economy, desperate attempts of the clueless government to fix things up...all that...

our little "paradise of choice" this year happened to be Punta Cana, Dominican Republic ...we spent six days there, in one of their highly rated all-inclusive resorts - Majestic Colonial...I heard great reviews about this hotel as well as about its brand new sister hotel next door - Majestic Elegance...but I was afraid that the "brand new" often equals "yet unresolved glitches", so - I decided to go with Majestic Colonial...I say "I" instead of "we", because my dear angel leaves everything to my discretion especially when it comes to our "lazy" vacations - everything is fine by him...one reason for this might be his generally easy-going personality...another reason might be that over time I have demonstrated my talent at being our own best travel agent...

anyway, several people asked my impression of Majestic Colonial, and I hope they will find the answers here...we liked it...it is a spacious well-kept resort complete with multiple pools, "lazy rivers", numerous bars and restaurants...


the resort has a small but functional casino (slot machines, a couple of tables for Blackjack, one roulette table)practically on premises...you can play with either American money or local, and your winnings (or losses) would be paid accordingly...I found it curious that the lowest bets for slot machines start with 1 cent (I mean - how much lower can you go?) ...I guess if you are not much of a gambler but like the process of pushing the button and watching the spinning reels while sipping your cocktail - that would be your cup of tea...I personally prefer roulette, although I am not much of a gambler myself...

there are a few shops with some souvenirs and basics, so - if you forgot your bathing suite, no worries! - you can buy one here...by the way, speaking of bathing suites: many European women - regardless of age and body proportions - sunbathe topless, and for those of us who grew up there - it is natural and normal (after all, men sunbathe topless too!), but for cultural reasons it makes many Americans embarrassed or even indignant...reminds me of something that was once written in an Australian newspaper: "Thank God we got criminals and they got puritans!"...



there is a big theater on premises, too...it has a roof, but the sides are open, so - it feels like an open-air theater...despite it being big, it has a cozy feel - maybe because of the comfortable plush chairs, little coffee tables next to many of them and a full bar...every night there is some kind of show there, and you can curl in one of the chairs, order a drink from circulating waiters and enjoy the show...speaking of circulating waiters - they circulate on the beach, too - taking your order and delivering your drink, but I found that it would be much quicker if I go to the bar to get our drinks myself...besides, different bars and barmen could make the same drink differently, and if you are particular - you better go to the one who can make it your way...

the resort consists of 4-story buildings...the rooms are pretty big, and every one of them has an in-room jacuzzi...I found it slightly weird that the jacuzzi is located practically in the room as opposed to be enclosed in the bathroom, but maybe some people like it this way...




most of the rooms have an outdoor jacuzzi (or rather - a whirlpool tub), too...in the rooms located on the ground floor that outdoor tub is on the patio, and it is smaller and doesn't allow for much privacy...our room was located on the top floor, and instead of a patio we had a big terrace (and a balcony on the other side) with a round whirlpool tub and a couple of lounge chairs...
the terrace offered complete privacy which was great because every day we would spend some relaxing time there after coming back from the beach and before dinner....

speaking of the beach - it is very beautiful there!...we've seen various beaches - in Mexico and various places in the Caribbean, in Thailand (Andaman Sea), in Israel (Mediterranean Sea), in Russia (Black Sea), but Punta Cana seems to have the best...well, I only saw the beach in our resort and a little beyond it, but I heard the whole coast is like that...the sand is white, very soft and powdery, the palms give you shade if you need it...the beach was cleaned constantly, so it appeared pristine...


they also would give you drinks in plastic cups if you ordered them on the beach (in bars further away from the beach they serve in normal glassware), and as much as my dear angel hated plastic cups, I think it was a good idea: after a few drinks people become more prone to dropping things, and shattered glass in the sand is not so good!...





the hotel stuff was nice and friendly...they tried to make you feel at home ...I was quite impressed with their "Oscar Night" - on the night of February 22nd they made a big celebration on the beach - complete with buffet dinner, tables and chairs on the sand, colorful lights, makeshift red carpet, live Oscar statues covered in gold ("played" by the members of the stuff), huge screen which was transmitting the ceremony...so - we were sipping cocktails and watching Oscars on the beach (at least some of it, didn't have much patience for all)...



the weather was nice all the time - sunny, breezy and warm...although some people told us that just a week ago it had been raining nonstop for days, so - I guess we picked a good time to come...but our only complaint (although - who can you complain to about the weather?) was the wind one day...it was still a sunny day, but very-very windy, and I mean - very!...a wedding happened to take place that day on the beach, and the whole party tried to keep their clothes from flying away...
I really don't understand why people would want to have their wedding on the beach, surrounded by sunbathers and flip-flops...but who am I to judge? - we at some point briefly considered a quick wedding in Vegas to avoid the hassle of planning, time-consuming preparations and other things that distract people from each other...after all, it's the life after the wedding that matters...anyway, I digressed...

well, overall this vacation served its purpose just fine...
we had a lazy-lazy week...to some it might seem even boring - no trips, excursions or sightseeing... the whole time was a repetition of this cycle (punctuated with mini cocktail breaks) : "waking up late-breakfast-beach-lunch-beach-happy hour on the terrace-dinner-entertainment-sleep"...and it was great in its own way ...


would I want to return?...probably not...
why? :
all these all-inclusive places in the Caribbean are quite similar to each other...
Majestic Colonial was not an "adults only" resort, and we much prefer the atmosphere of "adults only" resorts...
the beach was gorgeous here, but beaches in Mexico (at least around Cancun/Riviera Maya) are beautiful, too...
besides, in my experience and research - the weather in Mexico is more predictable...
the flight to, let's say, Cancun will be much shorter (and direct - if by charter plane) from where we are, and the time zone is the same...


so, that's where we will probably go next time when we need a "lazy vacation"...although I am trying to talk my dear angel into going skiing instead, so - who knows? - maybe our next "lazy vacation" will be on the slopes...or maybe not...doesn't matter that much...
as they say - it's not "where" or "what", it's "with whom" that really matters! :)
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