There’s a good reason why Punta Cana appears on the radar of honeymooners and romantic-minded travelers. These lovebirds are not flying into Punta Cana for the historic sites or cultural venues — they‘re flying into this Dominican Republic destination for the sybaritic pleasures, where the cuisine is top-notch, the drinks flow freely and the palm-fringed beaches spell romance in capital letters with highlighting. Punta Cana has easy access from many gateways in the U.S. and a range of resorts with a variety of price points. Most resorts in Punta Cana are all-inclusive, which in the current marketplace can run from down market up to luxury, depending on the resort. There are also some very elegant non-all-inclusive resorts in the region.
Here’s a look at a handful of resorts that can really deliver on their promise of a romantic holiday, each in its own unique way.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana
The Eden Roc at Cap Cana regularly appears on lists of the best hotels in the Caribbean. It’s a great choice for those honeymooners who are looking for sophistication and who can afford the extra swish. The property is part of the exclusive Cap Cana planned community which means it’s convenient to championship golf, a beach club and an outstanding marina. Eden Roc has only 34 suites, with each suite having its own compact pool. Guests are given complimentary golf carts, which will come in handy since the beach is a five-minute ride away. This is kid-friendly luxury, which might not suit all honeymooners. The Eden Roc at Cap Cana offers a four-night romance package for $900.
Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa is hip and sexy without being over-the-top trashy. It’s an adults-only 750-suite property with a vivacious vibe that’s more suitable for young marrieds than couples celebrating their 50th anniversary. Poolside DJs, 10 bars, a casino and a nightclub pump up the jam. Breathless is all-inclusive and has 10 restaurants serving an international mix of cuisines, so if a couple decides to settle into the resort instead of exploring Punta Cana’s environs, they won’t be facing the same tired buffet every day. Guests also have exchange privileges with the adjacent and all-inclusive Now Onyx Punta Cana, which provides even more variety. The resort has a Make the Fish Blush Honeymoon Package with $999 worth of perks for qualifying stays.
Sanctuary Cap Cana
Over the years, Sanctuary Cap Cana has been providing elegant and luxurious (and pricey) vacations. Sanctuary Cap Cana was built before restrictions were put in place on building close to the beach. This means the property is situated right up against its 2,100 feet of waterfront. The adults-only resort has five restaurants, although it’s not all-inclusive. This makes Sanctuary a good choice for those couples who want to get out and explore Punta Cana. The property has a range of suites and villas; those honeymooners who want live large should book one of the two-level suites on the resort’s private island. Like the Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Sanctuary Cap Cana is part of the exclusive Cap Cana enclave. Advertised rates as low as $393 per night.
Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana
The Riu chain is not known for its sophistication. Even so, these resorts are non-stuffy, joyous affordable resorts filled with travelers out to extract every ounce of good times they can from their all-inclusive vacation. Sociable, down-to-earth couples could have a great time at the Hotel Riu Palace Punta Cana. This is a family resort, so there will be lots of non-stop action. The food may not be anything to write home about but with several restaurants — including Japanese and Italian venues — there will at least be some variety. Also, with the comparatively low rate, there may be room left in the budget to dine off-resort or to enjoy excursions. Advertised rates as low as $200 per night.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
If honeymooners fall into the category of “size matters,” then the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana would be a perfect fit, with 1,775 rooms, 11 restaurants, 23 bars, 13 pools and what purports to be the largest casino in the Dominican Republic. This is a big resort that delivers a “Las Vegas on the beach” type of experience (even though the main property is actually a bit back from the beach). The all-inclusive, family-friendly Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana is a destination in itself and would take several vacations to experience in full. For an extra thrill, plan the trip to coincide with one of the concerts at the hotel, which feature headliners like Sting, Maroon 5 and Justin Bieber. Hard Rock’s Honeymoon Package contains $1,800 in resort credits for spa visits, tours and upgrades.
CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts
South Beach meets Punta Cana at the all-inclusive CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts. Romantic couples can kick back in their own private cabana, complete with flat-screen TV and butler service. From 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., a DJ supplies a lounge-centric beat at the resort’s main pool. If a couple overdid it the night before, they can drop into the Detox Oxygen bar for a quick hit of pure oxygen. The 323-room resort has a spa, six restaurants, and daybeds on the beach. For an extra measure of glam, book one of the rooms with a private plunge pool. Advertised rates hover around $298.