A guestroom at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana // © 2016 Keryn Means/ Walking On Travels
Feature image (above): Accommodations at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana include swim-up suites. // © 2016 Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts
Walking into Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, families will instantly know why this Karisma Hotels & Resorts property has set itself apart from other all-inclusive resorts on the east coast of the Dominican Republic. First of all, there is air-conditioning at check-in, where soothing shades of orange, yellow, green, gold and white surround guests. The warm welcome by the staff makes the start of a long-awaited vacation feel like it has finally begun, as parents are handed a glass of champagne and kids are welcomed with their own glass of juice or water.
Uniformed staff in golf carts whisk families away from the lobby to one of six buildings housing suites of various shapes and sizes, which include swim-up suites on the ground floor, Super Pool Villas and a few select corner suites with their own private pools. The packing needs of families with babies are always a priority with any Karisma hotel, and baby amenities include strollers, cribs, bottle sterilizers and warmers, step stools, bathrobes, bathtubs, changing tables, baby monitors, beach toys and Gerber baby food offered at on-site restaurants as part of the Gourmet Inclusive Experience. Not having to pack a ton of baby gear is just one of the many reasons this resort is perfect for new families, as well as families traveling with a mix of ages.
Most rooms and suites do not have an ocean view, which can be disappointing for families if they aren’t prepared for this fact when they arrive. Only the front of Building One has a direct ocean (and pool) view. It’s a quick walk — or golf cart ride, which is only a phone call away —if families want to splash around in the beachfront pool or take over a cabana facing the calm swells of the Caribbean Sea. The pool butler is ready with towels, sunscreen, beach toys, reading material and more, so families don’t have to worry about packing all of their beach gear.
One thing parents will want to pack is a life vest, though. None are offered on property for swimmers who may need a little extra assistance. However, there are lifeguards on staff at the pool and beach, which adds a little peace of mind for parents with older kids who may want to do their own thing.
The main reason families book a stay at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana is its waterpark, Aqua Nick. Although this amenity had a delayed start, families who arrived this summer were the first to use the slides, lazy river and splash pads. In the same complex, which is located across the street from the resort lobby and accessed through an underpass via a short stroll or golf cart ride, guests will find Just Kiddin’, the kids’ club and family activity center, along with Character Central, Aqua Bite and Sports Hub Clubhouse.
For families who want to get off property to explore many of the natural and man-made wonders of Punta Cana, the options are at least three pages long. Golf enthusiasts have their choice of tee times at local golf clubs. Families can take a horseback ride along the beach, swim with dolphins, enjoy a lazy catamaran ride at sunset and snorkel in some of the clearest water around the island. More adventurous groups can book surf lessons, go kiteboarding and ziplining or get their scuba diving certification.
If guests would rather lay low and enjoy activities at the resort, there is no end to the fun the staff provides. Mom can enjoy early morning yoga, a tennis tournament and salsa classes while the kids learn archery or play Kwik Cricket, table tennis and basketball. Personal trainers are available — as are as boot-camp classes, water polo and aqua aerobics — for families looking to stay fit during their holiday. For those who truly need to relax, the spa offers a wide range of therapeutic treatments, or guests can simply spend a few blissful hours in the spa’s sensory pools, showers and sauna.
Although the main purpose of a vacation is to relax, Karisma has made sure all family members will eat well at Nickelodeon Hotels & Resort Punta Cana by maintaining the brand’s signature standard of excellence when it comes to food. Buffets — or “displays,” as the hotel calls them — are an intimate affair at Sugarcane, where families can load up on made-to-order omelets, pancakes, meats, cheeses, local fruit, cereal and even Venezuelan sweet corn cakes while sitting in a restaurant that would feel at home in Southern California. Staff is available to help guests find their favorite items and also carry plates back to the table if mom is trying to manage multiple children. Zest and Lighthouse are perfect for guests who are hanging out at the pool or on the beach, and families playing at Aqua Nick don’t have to head back to their rooms to change for lunch: They can enjoy flatbread pizza, wraps and salads at Aqua Bite, which is connected to the waterpark.
Dinner is what seems to excite guests the most, though. Future guests were craving a reservation at upscale Kitchen 23 by Le Chique long before the restaurant was complete. Kids can’t wait to taste the intergalactic food at Spacewalker, and more than one dad has taken on the massive Machete burger challenge at BRGRS. No matter if families have picky eaters or members who are more adventurous — everyone will find something to love at one of the resort’s 11 restaurants (plus one coffee bar).
Families who crave a restful, luxurious stay in Punta Cana can’t go wrong when they head to Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana. The attentive staff, delectable food choices and sleek decor make guests forget they’re at a resort that has multiple child amenities, all while providing the services and activities parents require when booking at an all-inclusive resort. Whether families want to be on the beach or exploring locally, Nickelodeon Hotels and Resorts Punta Cana will please.