Highlighting relaxation

The holiday blending mix: from NYC to Punta Cana

By: Gianluca Tucci

Gianluca Tucci is a Club Med G.M. Here he shares his recent experiences of Club Med Punta Cana and he shares why a city and beach escape was the right call.

The inspiration

Ever since I was small, New York was a city I wanted to see. The buzz, the people, the energy, and the skyscrapers all enthralled me. So, when planning my 2019 holiday it was a no-brainer: I was going to New York.

The one thing about New York, though, is that it’s not around the corner from South Africa. In fact, it is approximately a 16-hour flight away. It’s also the type of place that requires a lot of energy for walking. So, with that in mind, a week-long experience in New York had to be coupled with some active rest.

This had my girlfriend and me thinking: where would we go after a week in New York?

Showing time in New York City
Gianluca on the Brooklyn Bridge in new York

The plan

This next destination had to be somewhere accessible, beautiful, and with all the right ingredients to help us recover after experiencing a busy and buzzing city. As big fans of Club Med and its All-Inclusive offering we looked at their Central American and Caribbean resorts in Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.

We were immediately drawn to Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic which came highly recommended by a Chef du Village and a number of Club Med G.Os. It has the allure of the Caribbean and the fact that it’s the biggest Club Med village in the world that’s open all-year round.

So, we booked our week-long New York trip and our stay at Club Med Punta Cana. We stayed in the Zen Oasis at Club Med Punta Cana and it was so worth it!

View of one of the Zen Oasis rooms and its balcony at Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

The experience

New York City was everything we imagined it would be and more. 25kms of walking every day for six days; a yacht sunset cruise to the Statue of Liberty; shopping in Soho; rooftop drinks overlooking the Empire State building; a hot dog in Central Park; a play on Broadway; and bagels in Bryant Park are just some of the highlights of our time in New York.

It was a dream come true. Perhaps, the only down side is we felt slightly tired after those six days of city life which is why our Punta Cana leg couldn’t have come at a better time.

So, we jumped on the plane and in just under four hours we touched down on a tropical paradise.

Para, Para, Paradise

From the moment we touched down in Punta Cana and were driven to the Club Med village (just five minutes from the airport) we couldn’t help but appreciate the greenery. As we arrived at the village we were given a warm welcome by the G.O team and the setting took our breaths away.

The friendly G.Os served us refreshing juices and as we looked at the gorgeous resort we knew it was going to be a spectacular week.

The resort is massive and it caters to every type of traveller.

The Zen Oasis

As we were on a couple’s trip we booked our accommodation in the Zen Oasis, this meant we had our own dedicated area which included a magnificent pool with a built-in jacuzzi. It also has a private bar and concierge desk to book excursions and handle any requests.

Our room had its own villa-type setting with a large balcony, modern design, day and night bed to relax on, and even Bluetooth speakers that would connect to our phones and allow us to play music in our room while we got ready, relaxed, and even while we took showers.

Delicious banana Nutella crepes and a view at Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

A treat of a feast

The resort has two main buffet-style restaurants where you can enjoy a diverse range of foods from all over the world for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Trust me when I say this: you are always satisfied!

The resort’s bars offer daily snacks which include nachos, Spanish ham, and fruits, amongst others. Our favourite part of the All-Inclusive offering at the bar was the Aperol Spritz – perfect for a refreshing drink while you enjoy Punta Cana.

In addition, the Indigo beach bar has an àl a carte restaurant where you can go for late breakfast, late lunch, and dinner. Our favourites included banana Nutella crepes in the morning, a blue cheese burger for lunch, and the Brazilian-style steak at night for dinner. Mind-blowing!

After dinner, there are always different types of entertainment on offer, and the G.Os kept us entertained with parties, salsa dancing, and the excitement of meeting people from all over the world.

As an added element, there is La Cave. A wine, rum, and cigar lounge where you can buy a glass or bottle of specially selected drinks from around the world to enjoy with a cigar. I tried the Dominican rum and cigar. It was the perfect combination to enjoy whilst taking in the sea views.

Wellness, activity, and relaxation

During the day, there is something for everyone to try.

After breakfast, we would start the day with some sun and a swim in the blue waters of the Caribbean. We even made use of the numerous water sport activities including an entertaining SUP-ing session (stand-up paddleboarding).

Once we had lunch we would go relax at the pool, taking turns between the pool water and the jacuzzi. We even made use of the swimming lane for some laps to burn off the burger calories.

We are both fitness-minded people and what I loved most is that every afternoon we were able to change up our activities. We would either go for a run around the resort, gym at the well-equipped gym, swim, play volleyball with the other guests, or I could go and practice my golf swing at the golf academy.

Volleyball on the beach
Playing volleyball at Club Med Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic

Punta Cana has some of the world’s most breathtaking golf courses such as Punta Espada and La Cana. Club Med has its own golf team who can help you book a round on one of these courses, including Corales Golf Course – home to the 2019 PGA tour and designed by the world-renowned Jack Nicklaus and Peter Dye.

For travellers looking to really push their limits, there is a Cirque du Soleil at the resort and you can have lessons in the flying trapeze and learn other acts, taking you to new heights (literally).

Being active means you also need to unwind and look after your body and mind. So, the resort’s outstanding L’Occitane spa is great. It offers massages, manicures, pedicures, and facials. For the guys, it has the world’s first L’Occitane men’s grooming lounge.

I can’t describe the feeling of being able to have a fresh and stylish haircut and massage. It just adds to the wellness factor of the holiday and ensures you stay fresh the whole time.

A dream come true

By the end of our week at Club Med Punta Cana, we were left unbelievably fulfilled. In the space of two weeks we travelled across the world, experienced new places, and transitioned from a concrete jungle to a tropical paradise. We also met new people, stayed fit, recharged our batteries, and left with incredible memories.

Illustrating swimming in Punta Cana
Enjoying the waters at Punta Cana

I would encourage anyone looking to book their next holiday to seriously consider blending together two different experiences that complement each other and maximize the meaning of travel.

As for Punta Cana: I will be back for sure!

To book your own holiday in Punta Cana or elsewhere speak to a sun specialist at the Travel Agency by Club Med today. We can book all your flights, transfers, and accommodation (including that stopover you’d like).