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“Here, guests are at an all-inclusive without feeling like they’re at an all-inclusive,” said Pedro Tomas, general manager of the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana.
We were sitting at Deja Brew, the coffee bar nestled within the Zilara lobby. I was only one day in to a three-night stay at the newly opened Punta Cana resort, but I fully understood his sentiment.
The 750-room complex, which comprises both the family-friendly Ziva and adults-only Zilara concepts, is in some ways a prototypical all-inclusive. It’s tucked away within the gated community of Cap Cana, offering every amenity imaginable — from a waterpark to a 14,000-square-foot fitness center — across 40-plus acres of prime beachfront.
In other ways, it is entirely atypical.
Guests can roam Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana sans wristbands. The property’s 10 a la carte dining venues don’t require reservations; guests are seated on a first-come, first-served basis. At the two buffet outlets, globally inspired fare is distributed not in giant catering trays, but via regular-sized serving dishes that are frequently replenished. Meanwhile, an array of cooking stations present guests plenty of customizable, fresh-made options.
One of the resort’s more standout a la carte offerings is its Indian restaurant, Journeys, which is located in the Zilara wing. Helmed by an Indian chef, the venue serves up authentic specialties such as samosas, chicken tikka masala, dal basanti and Goanese shrimp curry, as well as signature cocktails including the Journey Martini, made with cardamom-infused vodka, or the Bombay Way, a concoction of gin, lime, mint and a pinch of curry.
If clients are lucky, they may be able to snag a seat inside Journeys’ antique train car, which has been retrofitted to serve as a seating area that’s heavy on vintage charm.
The fact that I found myself lingering post-meal at Journeys, in anticipation of a bill that would never come, seemed a clear testament to the resort’s ability to transcend the usual conventions of all-inclusive dining.
The development’s out-of-the-box thinking also extends to its design ethos.
At Hyatt Ziva, where I was hosted during my January stay, the lobby blends ocean views and natural finishes with unconventional industrial touches and midcentury modern furniture. Throw in a chic bar, the bustling coffee counter and a coworking-style table with multiple outlets, and it’s clear the resort has sought to bring a bit of an urban vibe beachside.
That sleek and sophisticated aesthetic extended to my 600-square-foot Junior Suite King room, outfitted in neutral tones, blonde wood flooring and colorful, abstract art-inspired rugs. The room was also practical. In addition to a generously sized bathroom, multiple closets, plentiful counter space and a pull-out sofa made the accommodation perfect for families.
The room’s most memorable design element, however, was a wood-finish accent wall behind the bed, inlaid with a freeform constellation of clear, marble-like spheres. When I flipped a switch, the entire thing lit up like a Lite-Brite toy.
It was a surprising touch, but during my stay at the Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana, I quickly learned to expect the unexpected.
The DetailsHyatt Ziva Cap Canawww.resortsbyhyatt.com/ziva-cap-cana
Hyatt Zilara Cap Canawww.resortsbyhyatt.com/zilara-cap-cana