Sushi and Beds in Paradisus Punta Cana

My first full day in the Dominican Republic was a full one as I got to know Paradisus Punta Cana from the inside out.

Guest Service Manager Maria Luisa took me on an extensive tour of the grounds.  This is probably the biggest Caribbean resort I’ve ever been to and there appears to be something for everyone.  I was really impressed with the kids’ pool and club, where you can bring babies as young as four months if you want to get in some private time in the swim-up bar.  We also went through the main lobby and The Reserve section, which is a hotel in itself.

Paradisus Punta Cana has 14 restaurants, offering every food imaginable.  Something I’ve never seen before and thought was a great idea is the “Templo de la Gastronomia.”  To put it in simple terms – it’s a food court.  In the middle of a half dozen different restaurants, there’s a place to gather and eat.  So, if you and your spouse or BFF can’t agree on where to eat, you can each get what you want and still eat together.

Another thing we passed that you won’t find at a lot of resorts is the activity center.  In addition to the rock climbing wall, there’s bungee jumping and archery, as well as biking and hiking trails.  I won’t have time for those this trip, but there is definitely adventure on my schedule. 

After the tour I was thrilled to see that my friend Jaimee (after two days and about 14 hours on buses) made it from Haiti.  We had a great buffet lunch at Luna with Christelle Luchini, the Guest Experience Directrice.  Christelle is from France so it was a delightful conversation as I reminisced about my trip to Burgundy and Champagne (with a slice of Brie to keep me in the mood).  Christelle came with us for the next stop of the day – Sushi Making.

Paradisus offers all its guests “Life Enrichment” classes and Sushi Making was what we had chosen for our first experience.  Now, let me clarify that it was Jaimee making the Sushi since it does not go well with my seafood allergy, but it was fun for all as the Sushi Chef – Santiago Romero – spent an hour teaching us how to make Sushi with Seaweed Wraps, Salmon, Marlin, Crab, Carrots, Cucumber, Avocado, Wasabi, Pickled Ginger, Sesame Seeds, Cream Cheese and Roe (fish eggs). 

After making the typical California Roll, Santiago showed us some other interesting combinations, including “Tropical Sushi de Santiago” which, fittingly for the Dominican Republic, included Plantanos.  (Doesn’t everyone put fried bananas into Sushi?!)

We left Sokuro Restaurant and changed for the beach around 3.  Unfortunately, our snorkeling was cancelled because of the winds and waves created by Hurricane Tomas (even though he probably won’t come near here, he’s certainly making his presence known in the Atlantic).  Since we couldn’t workout another activity, we had to suffer through an hour on the beach beds by the aqua blue water, while a butler brought us pina coladas!  While my friends probably visualize that this is my job all the time, it’s something I haven’t really done in ages, so Jaimee and I really enjoyed the catch up time.

It was back to work at 5:30 for my private yoga lesson.  I happen to love yoga and practice it often, but I’ve never done it at the beach at sunset and I can’t even begin to describe how relaxing, exhilarating and peaceful it was.  The hour seemed to fly by before I was back in the room showering and getting dressed up for dinner.

Dinner was at Vento, the Italian restaurant, with the resort’s Managing Director, Francisco Castillo.  “Paco,” as he asked us to call him, was a fun-loving Spaniard who loves the resort and shared my passion for wine and food from around the world.  He had the waiter bring us a crisp Vina Maipo Sauvignon Blanc from Chile, which went wonderfully with my Pate and Cheese Stuffed Cannelloni.  It was so good that I didn’t want to give it up for red when my tender Ossobuco arrived.  During dinner, some dancers came in to give us a brief Tango show, a prelude to our upcoming Tango lessons.

We bid Paco farewell with a glass of Dominican rum --  an aged Ron Barcelo Imperial on his recommendation -- and caught the end of a disco show by some talented staffers.  We spent a bit of time at the main lounge and bar (which also have beds to relax in) and lost a few dollars (strangely, the slot machines will take dollars, but not pesos) in the Casino before retiring for the day.

The schedule for Wednesday is also full, though it’s mostly at the spa and beach, so you won’t see me complaining!


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