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Vacation: Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Last year, my friend and I decided that this year’s birthdays needed to be celebrated somewhere with a beach, warmth, swimming and cocktails. In talking about our plans, another friend joined in and soon we decided to go to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from December 6-11.

Now if I tell you it was Mark, Mandi and Andi (or Mark, Amanda and Andrea) it sounds goofy (not to mention we tried to talk our friend Andy into coming, too). I’m sure when people asked, where are you from? They didn’t expect to hear D.C., Baltimore and Cincinnati. You could see their eyebrows rise slightly, like maybe we were three people who met online and decided to meet up on vacation.

Anyway, we stayed at Secrets Royal Beach, which is an adults only resort, but the neighboring resort that we had access to accommodates families. It was well shaded with palm trees on the beach and plenty of palm huts around the pool. We spent most of our days camped out around or in the pool with a few walks through the beach, which had plenty of palm trees for shade.

We never left the resort because our goal was to relax and for me, it was the perfect way to celebrate a birthday!

We caught the full moon after enjoying some bellinis in the fancy lobby bar.

full moon at secrets royal in punta cana

Our balcony had a hot tub and our German neighbor yelled over, “TOO LOUD!” when the jet started spraying outside of the tub and all over the glass doors, which made us laugh uncontrollably. Of course, that was about the third time a random person yelled at us, the two previous being wait staff and we were behaving ourselves. Oh well!

While trying to take this photo couples kept stopping to ask if we would take their photo – always the bridesmaid! When my friend tried to take this same photo she got a blurred out shot with her iPhone, that’s when I realized she still had the protective film on her phone. Poor kid, needs to go to iPhone school or something.

This is the headboard and we loved pulling down those lights and pretending they were microphones during our dance parties. I don’t have a photo of Mark’s man servant quarters, but he had the third bed (aka a roll-a-way bed), which he pushed into the sofa so it was nearly a double but not really. He’s a good sport!

One of these years I’m going to head to the islands for Christmas!

Edited to add:

Here’s Mandi’s review of Secrets Royal Punta Cana on Trip Advisor (if the link works correctly). The only thing I would have added to her reviews as a con was the AC, it must have had a regulator on it so in the evening you were pretty much reliant on the ceiling fan to cool the room because the thermostat was set at about 75*F and the outdoor air was muggy (our hair wasn’t quite Monica on Friends, but getting there).

Also, Mark and I had massages (not couple massages) and they were nothing special. After I handed my lady the tip, she gave me a tip: you need a facial. I wanted to take her monetary tip back! I just over-tipped her because I didn’t have any small bills and I thought that nicer than not tipping at all, but it was my birthday and I was bound to have a good day!

Speaking of the spa services, when we booked we were told we had $200 in resort credits/coupons. As it turned out getting these credits involved talked to Mr. 3000 who may not have worked for Secrets, but rather a vacation club (like timeshare, but apparently different?!?!) and wanted us to sit in on a brunch and listen to a sales pitch. We decided not to after talking to our Apple Vacation rep (Katie was much more helpful than Angel) and she let us know it was a no pressure pitch, but that if we did not want to go to just let them know. So we said we don’t want to waste our time sitting inside when we came to enjoy the weather then they finally gave us our $200 coupons, but as it turned out we only used two of the $20 off a spa service coupons. The others were for a bottle of wine and a romantic dinner, which was $95 per person!

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