PUNTA CANA, D.R. - You’re supposed to indulge yourself on vacation. But just once, go beyond the ordinary and treat yourself like royalty — rock royalty! “In excess” is not just a band name, at least not at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana, a sun-splashed paradise on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic.
Hard Rock properties are famous for their devotion to the rock n’ roll legacy and lifestyle, and at the newly opened hotel on this Caribbean island, you can feel like one of the legends of this music genre that’s featured throughout the glittering multi-dimensional venue.
Above: The villas and rooms at the resort look out on natural splendour.
A ”Rock Star Level” vacation stay is an all-access, nonstop pass to pampering with a capital “P,” and it begins the moment you arrive at the palatial front entrance. Don’t fret about standing in line waiting to register, you’ll be quietly escorted to a room just off the lobby where two or more nattily attired receptionists handle all the check-in formalities while you sip some refreshing champagne (or a beverage of your choice) and nibble on a variety of hot and cold hors d’ oeuvres.
In a matter of minutes, a golf cart will be summoned to the front door to drive you to your rock star suite: a spacious, lavish room that features, among other things, private balcony, hydro spa tub, plush bathrobe and slippers, king size or two double beds, fully stocked mini bar with items you can choose at no charge, and a liquor cabinet with dispenser serving your favourite cocktails. And, oh by the way, all the suites overlook the private swimming pool and nearby private beige-coloured beach.
Above: The grounds of the Hard Rock Punta Cana will make you feel you
Don’t see a particular item in the cabinet or mini bar? Not enough towels or the Internet isn’t working? No problem. At the mere push of a button, you’re connected to your own devoted butler whose job it is to make absolutely certain every desire and expectation you have is immediately satisfied. Instant gratification here isn’t just a cliché. Once you’ve settled in to your new surroundings, it’s time to explore all the guilty pleasures.
There’s a host of activities on the program, beginning with the distinguishing characteristic of every Hard Rock Hotel — casino gambling. The casino in Punta Cana rocks with over 386 slot and video poker machines to while away the hours. Add in the fabled table games like poker, blackjack, baccarat, craps, roulette and the sports book and you’ve got more than a enough entertainment at hand.
But more seems never enough for a rock star.
Located inside the casino area is the exclusive, opulent ORO Nightclub that rivals anything Miami and Las Vegas has to offer. A VIP pass will ensure a private seating area on one of two spacious levels cast in dramatic lighting and featuring a signature two-storey-tall LED wall filled with over 300 individual screens and the first ever infinity edge bar. Capping off the experience is a security team that makes you feel like a millionaire, beautiful and breathtaking servers assigned specifically to your assigned location and a dance floor where you can mingle with other stars, artists, sports figures and celebrities while listening and watching the best DJs and performers in the world.
Left: ORO nightclub will rock your soul. Right：The rooms are fit for rock royalty.
After a hard day’s night, chill out at the Rock Spa, a 60,000 square foot oasis designed for the ultimate in relaxation and revitalization. The spa offers massages, hydrotherapy centre with lagoons, two whirlpools, steam room, sauna, food creek pathway, hydro-reflexology, sensory expertise pool and a cutting-edge ice room. A great place to recover from the night before or prepare for the night ahead.
Relish a taste of luxury — literally — at nine different and phenomenal restaurants. Enjoy Ciao for traditional Italian dishes, Zen featuring Asian cuisine and sushi, even Toro for a steak, and Pizzeto with brick-oven pizza. Yeah, exotic ingredients and inspired fare are yet another set of perks on this all-inclusive gastronomic playlist.
For rockers everywhere, a meal at Simon Mansion should definitely be on the agenda. Dubbed the "Rock n' Roll Chef" by Rolling Stone magazine, Chef Kerry Simon opened Simon Mansion Restaurant at the hotel in June 2013. A modern American restaurant with California and Caribbean flair, Simon has created an eclectic yet composed menu boasting a variety of innovative appetizers, delectable entrees, dry-aged meats, local seafood and an extensive fresh sushi menu.
The restaurant features multiple rooms designed with a rock star mentality, giving guests a peek behind the curtain of a rock star’s decadent abode.
If you’re just too tired to go out, there is 24-hour room service. If that doesn’t say Rock n’ Roll, nothing does. You don’t have to place the order, simply ask the butler to take care of it — then just kick back.
If you do feel a twinge of regret, however, it’s probably because you didn’t stick with those guitar lessons.
To find out more about the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Punta Cana go to www.hardrockhotelpuntacana.com
/ Air Canada, WestJet and a number of charter airlines offer service to Punta Cana.