Do­mini­can hide­away that of­fers ev­ery­thing you could wish for

JON MACPHER­SON en­joys a fun-packed fam­ily get­away on the pic­turesque Caribbean is­land

Macclesfield Express - - TRAVEL -

AHASSLEFREE va­ca­tion for all the fam­ily. It’s the holy grail of hol­i­day­mak­ing which many travel com­pa­nies, tourist des­ti­na­tions and re­sorts claim to pro­vide, but very few truly de­liver. A place where par­ents and chil­dren can equally re­lax, en­joy and soak up ev­ery­thing there is to of­fer with­out con­cerns.

And then there’s Par­adisus Palma Real – a slice of fam­ily heaven along one of the most idyl­lic beaches in the world.

Ar­riv­ing at the re­sort af­ter a com­fort­able Bri­tish Air­ways flight, the award-win­ning re­sort in the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic proved to be a des­ti­na­tion that de­fies ex­pec­ta­tion and ful­fils your ev­ery want and de­sire – in­clud­ing ones you didn’t even think you had.

Fresh from a £7.5 mil­lion re­fur­bish­ment at the end of last year, we were treated to the new ‘fam­ily concierge’ con­cept equipped with 42 lux­ury suites, pri­vate lounges, res­tau­rant, bar, and beach.

This is per­fect for par­ents and chil­dren to have their own sep­a­rate space with all the ameni­ties of home, and the lux­u­ries, com­forts and fa­cil­i­ties ex­pected from one of the best re­sorts in the Caribbean.

With a Kids Zone boast­ing child­care, a tod­dler room, games and play area and climb­ing wall to name but a few, par­ents with young chil­dren will have no prob­lems keep­ing them en­ter­tained.

And par­ents and adults are af­forded just as much va­ri­ety, with pri­vate and ser­viced beaches, three pool ar­eas with bars to un­wind in, or ten­nis and golf fa­cil­i­ties, a health club and a gym with stu­dio classes for the more ac­tive camper.

Another string to Par­adisus Palma Real’s bow are the unique ‘life en­rich­ment’ classes, which teach a wide va­ri­ety of fun skills from salsa danc­ing to cigar mak­ing.

The food at the re­sort is phe­nom­e­nal and un­par­al­leled in its qual­ity, va­ri­ety and ser­vice.

There are more than a dozen restau­rants cater­ing for ev­ery pal­ette, in­clud­ing the ‘Rare’ steak­house, ‘Vento’ Mediter­ranean, ‘Fuego’ Latin in­fu­sion, ‘Blue Agave’ Mex­i­can and the must-try lo­cal dish plan­tain.

There is also the a la carte ‘Palazzo’ res­tau­rant for Royal Ser­vice guests and, our per­sonal favourite, the seven Miche­lin­starred Pas­sion by Martin Berasategui.

Those par­ents with young chil­dren want­ing to have a quiet ro­man­tic night to­gether with­out them around need not fear, as the re­sort of­fers a babysit­ting ser­vice to put minds at rest.

At night time we found there was some­thing for ev­ery­one to en­joy with dif­fer­ent wine, beach and cock­tail bars avail­able for pre and post-drinks and daily en­ter­tain­ment shows.

Party an­i­mals seek­ing the lo­cal night­club life should look no fur­ther than the world-fa­mous Coco Bongo just down the road, a coli­seum of en­ter­tain­ing shows, mu­sic and ac­ro­bat­ics that has to be seen to be be­lieved. From life­like recre­ations of Michael Jack­son and Lady Gaga, to movie clips pro­jected on screens and acted out on stage, to bar top conga lines and gi­ant bal­loons, this venue has ev­ery­thing.

One of the high­lights of the re­sort has to be the Yhi spa which we luck­ily got to try out twice on our trip. The first time was dur­ing a tour of the re­sort when our feet were treated to an un­ex­pected foot mas­sage by their top prac­ti­tion­ers.

This cer­tainly whet­ted our ap­petite for later in the week when we would re­turn to en­joy a full re­ju­ve­nat­ing body mas­sage and a try of their sig­na­ture ‘wa­ter rit­ual’ to cleanse and calm the body.

Af­ter sev­eral days of be­ing waited on hand and foot and be­ing spoiled rot­ten by ev­ery facet the re­sort had to of­fer, we en­joyed a change of pace by stretch­ing our legs and see­ing what the rest of the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic has to of­fer. A coach pro­vided by the re­sort ren­dezvoused with other tourists for the His­pan­iola Ex­plora VIP tour to take in some of the coun­try’s cul­tural high­lights and nat­u­ral beauty. Our first visit was to a fan­tas­tic smelling cigar-mak­ing fac­tory where we got to see the en­tire process from start to fin­ish – and treat our­selves to some per­fectly hand-crafted cre­ations at the end.

Af­ter a stop at the Fran­cisco A Micheli base­ball sta­dium, we ar­rived at the big­gest at­trac­tion in the La Romana re­gion – the Al­tos de Chavon. This recre­ation of a me­dieval vil­lage was cre­ated by a for­mer Hol­ly­wood set de­signer and has played host to many top films, in­clud­ing Pi­rates of the Caribbean and Apoc­al­yse Now. The stun­ning am­phithe­atre has also de­liv­ered per­for­mances from El­ton John and Du­ran Du­ran.

Af­ter build­ing up an ap­petite, we ar­rived at the Chavon River to en­joy an at­mo­spheric cruise with lo­cal food and en­ter­tain­ment be­fore vis­it­ing the Higuey Basil­ica. There re­ally is ev­ery­thing you could wish for in the Do­mini­can Re­pub­lic, with world-class re­sorts, hos­pi­tal­ity, at­trac­tions and cul­ture for the whole fam­ily to en­joy.

●● The main pool at the Par­adisus Palma Real. Right, the Yhi spa and be­low Gabi beach

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