The lobby at The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club is so gorgeous, you could just spend your vacation time there. With high ceilings, polished stonework and an ever-present sea breeze that’s aided by ceiling fans, this newly refreshed space is only a hint of what awaits the rest of the property once it’s fully renovated later this year.
I was originally meant to preview the finished product, but — as with so many things these days — supply chain issues pushed the resort's renovation timeline back. However, although only the lovely lobby has been completed so far, I was able to preview many of the exciting plans that are slated to be completed this fall.
Is the Property All-Inclusive?
First, it’s worth mentioning that as a European Plan resort, the 200-room Westin Puntacana is a standout among the area’s all-inclusive properties. Here, the focus is on wellness and mindful exploration rather than conspicuous consumption.
Although, when it’s time to eat, clients will find their appetites well-sated. Anani Restaurant is the resort’s current three-meal restaurant, serving up international and Caribbean cuisine. In the mornings, there’s an expansive breakfast buffet with dishes to suit Punta Cana’s transatlantic demographic (guest origins are roughly split between The Americas and Europe), but there’s also a notable focus on Dominican breakfast favorites such as mangu, which is mashed plantains topped with pickled red onions with a side of fried eggs and fried or stewed salami. Also notable is the buffet’s large selection of gluten-free items and abundance of fresh fruit in season — watermelon, passionfruit and deliciously sweet pineapple were on offer during my stay.
Two New Restaurants
Still under construction are two exciting new restaurant concepts that the resort staff previewed for us during our visit; both are anticipated to be operational by late May. The first is Brassa, which will offer premium steak and seafood that's cooked over a charcoal grill and presented with sizzling flair on miniature tabletop grills, bringing the earthy, smoky aromas and flavors right to the table. We also tasted family-style sides such as macaroni and cheese, creamed spinach and grilled criollo bread served with a series of compound butters before the meal came to a dramatic close with a smoked passionfruit mousse presented under glass.
The other restaurant concept is Bao, named for the steamed Chinese bun of which there are several on the menu, ranging from traditional pork belly to a Latin-inspired fried shrimp. We also grazed on Pan-Asian cuisine such as kimchi fried rice with churrasco-style beef and Japanese-style flan.
The property’s design, meanwhile, is reminiscent of Miami Beach, with clean midcentury lines, plenty of white and pastels, and a pleasantly uncluttered, Zen-like aesthetic. Guestrooms are generously sized, and each has a private balcony with pool or ocean views. And although rooms are slated for new furniture and fittings, the existing ones are by no means overly dated.
What to Do
For a property on the smaller side, there is an abundance of space for relaxation, both by the two expansive pools and whirlpool with pool bar, or on the wide white-sand beach with a new thatched-roof beach bar. Even when the property is at full capacity, it’s unlikely clients will have to scramble to secure seating.
The resort’s position within the 15,000-acre Puntacana Resort & Club is a bonus for clients seeking R&R. There are 45 holes of golf on the property, and hotel guests can take spa treatments at the renowned Six Senses Spa, which is located at the oceanfront clubhouse. Additionally, there are plenty of oceanfront walking trails on the property, but the real gem for hiking enthusiasts is the adjacent Ojos Indigenas Ecological Reserve. Admission is free for hotel guests, who can take a dip in one of five freshwater lagoons surrounded by tropical forest.
Back at the resort, travelers might end their day with the ultimate of vacation luxuries: being spoiled for choice. Should they take advantage of the attractively priced (and curiously long) happy hour in the lobby bar, or venture out onto the pier to catch the last tendrils of the famously vivid Dominican sunsets? Or, perhaps, they might duck into The Westin Puntacana’s cigar bar, where mixologists pour cocktails as part of the Crafted at Westin beverage program. The drinks are made from botanicals such as hibiscus or fresh lime, blended with Dominican rum and garnished with dried citrus — and nearly all the ingredients are produced on or near the Grupo Puntacana Foundation’s orchards.
Regardless of how clients choose to spend their time, they’ll leave The Westin Puntacana rejuvenated and relaxed. And if they were not already repeat guests, they’ll certainly consider returning in the future.