By Benjy Kile
The Dominican Republic offers a variety of family retreats only hours from New York City. No matter what your sense of adventure may be, or the age of your children, fun can be found inside (and outside) an inclusive resort.
Breezes Resort and Spa in Puerto Plata (breezes.com) feels like a leisurely beach community combined with a country club. Lush grounds and meandering walkways surround the ample beach. Restaurants, a theater and even a casino seem more like highlights along a stroll rather than necessary facilities. Family members can enjoy their days and nights at their own pace as well. The resort offers lengthy French and Japanese meals as well as bountiful quick fare for those just taking breaks between activities. With each day culminating in a sunset over the Amber Coast followed by an evening of cool breezes, the atmosphere is complete.
Accommodations are typically multiple-bedroom duplexes with verandas and spacious living areas. A kitchen allows families to eat in when not taking part in the resort’s elaborate meals. Rentals are sprinkled throughout the large property, some closer to the beach while others are more secluded.
Day trips outside the resort can be a nice change of pace over a long stay. A car service or taxi makes most nearby destinations an affordable adventure for the day or half-day.
Organized “safaris” offer highlights of the local Dominican culture including a walk through fruit plantations, a jungle riverboat ride and a visit to a local home.
A combination of great snorkeling and shopping awaits in nearby Sosua. A beachfront marketplace offers local food and crafts for sale while visitors enjoy the lengthy beach and clear waters. A striking change of pace includes a day trip into the mountains passing by local schools and villages. Mountain villages near Moca provide a glimpse into the cooler climate and plantations for which the higher elevations are known. Local restaurants provide magnificent dining views of the valleys and beyond.
A variety of resort activities allows each member of the family to fill their day in their own way. For children, a day camp provides organized and supervised activities that rotate all day long. Short intervals of games, crafts and sports are broken up by trips to the children’s swimming pool. Highlights such as sand castle contests and ice cream parties keep children of a variety of ages thoroughly entertained. Older youth and teenagers can take daily lessons in rock climbing as well as the trapeze.
Aside from the obvious sun and relaxation sought out by the adults in the group, there are several activities they can elect to add to their day. Snorkeling and scuba lessons are taught daily in an enclosed facility in preparation for a trip to the ocean. Tennis, horseback riding and golf are also nearby. For the evening, each night features an entertaining music or variety show fit for the whole family. Themes range from interactive family game shows to circus acts to Caribbean dancing. A casino offers late-night fun for those not already resting for the day ahead.
Children and adults who like to spend the day swimming can relax in a network of pools that is a focal point for the resort. Here too, an effort is made to appeal to everyone with a variety of pool depths. Organized games and water sports are scheduled throughout the day. Elevated hot tubs and “swim up bars” with drinks for all ages are open daily from dawn to dusk.
In keeping with the resort’s atmosphere, meals are long, relaxed and available in a vairety of styles. Multiple-course meals and extended menus are available at one of several theme restaurants. An extensive buffet includes local favorites for breakfast, lunch and dinner with rotating entrées throughout your stay. A snack bar provides quick and late night nourishment.
The cordial staff adds to the impression the resort makes as well. Throughout your stay at the resort, the staff is courteous, knowledgeable and interested in making your visit — from beginning to end — the best it can be.
Nature supplies the glorious setting for a family vacation on the Amber Coast of the Dominican Republic. A short three-hour flight from New York brings clear waters and a relaxed pace within reach. Breezes Resort and Spa provides the right atmopshere for any family to get their fill of adventure while still relaxing in the sun.