Every once in a while, the stars align, and I am given the opportunity to attend a press trip on behalf of Lady and the Blog. Last week, I experienced the mother of all press trips; I flew down to the breathtaking peninsula of Samaná in the Dominican Republic, and it was so incredible, I’m almost a little jealous of myself. Fair warning: I’m about to let you in on a hidden gem that may just ruin every other vacation you’ve ever taken. I apologize in advance. I just think you deserve better.
This wasn’t my first excursion to the Dominican Republic. A few years ago, I vacationed at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana. At the time I thought it was good, but in recent days it has been downgraded to just okay. Upon my arrival to Balcones del Atlántico, I was met with paradise. I’m talking clear water, perfect subtle breeze, the friendliest and most accommodating people I’ve ever met, and seafood so fresh, it tingled all of my senses with sheer delight. And I didn’t even get to my villa yet. Yes, I said villa.
(Above Photo by Camille Bromley)
The Caribbean villa suites at Balcones del Atlántico are nothing short of spectacular. It was like I was staying at one of George Clooney’s estates. My housemate for the trip, Camille Bromley of Saveur Magazine, and I were in awe. As we entered the villa, we were met with a spacious outdoor patio terrace, exquisitely furnished with tropical hand-carved furniture, including a sitting area to unwind, and a large dining room table for luxurious feasts. Upon passage through the sliding doors into the indoor section of the villa, we were fervent over the fully-equipped chef’s kitchen (trust me- you don’t have to be a New Yorker to appreciate this one!). The den area was complete with a flat screen television, and a stunning dining room table that comfortably seats 8 (oh, you thought we’d have just one living room and dining room?). The villas at Balcones vary in size, ranging from one bedroom suites of 1,900 square feet, up to a townhouse of 4,300 square feet. Our villa was comprised of three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. We discovered the third bedroom in the penthouse, upon climbing our private staircase to the hot tub and supplemental patio area. This bedroom offered extra privacy and separation from the base of the villa, as if you needed a getaway from this luxurious abode! Each bedroom was complete with panel-screened TVs with cable television and DVD players. Comfortable air-conditioning, sublimely plush mattresses, and a seamless Wi-Fi connection created a truly relaxing atmosphere. Even the bathrooms are a work of art, furnished with Balinese-style stone sinks. Just steps away from all 35 villas are beautifully manicured swimming pools, and the sparkling beach is at most, just a five-minute walk from the doorstep.
Talk about a departure from the ordinary resort; you just haven’t experienced the Caribbean until you’ve stayed at Balcones del Atlántico. Our wonderful and gracious hosts made us feel so at home, that it was difficult to go home. No effort was spared to create an experience of a lifetime. As the Editor-in-Chief of Sophisticated Weddings: New York Edition, a bridal magazine covering the best in weddings, at the moment, I can think of no better place to host a destination wedding or honeymoon. Whether a soothing massage on the beach complemented by the soft sounds of the ocean, or a Porto cocktail by the pool, the setting is so serene, it is the perfect place to unwind and gift your soul. It is also very family friendly, complete with Kid’s Club activities and babysitting services. The full-service concierge is eager to make your stay as enjoyable as possible, assisting with island excursion arrangements, personal butler and chef services. I’m not going to lie- I’ve been back in New York City for two days, and I’m itching to return. The icing on the cake? JetBlue flies direct from JFK to Samaná offering extremely affordable airfare. Balcones del Atlántico is located just 20 minutes from the airport, which is great when you just want to get your vacation started. Across the board, the Dominican Republic is a great deal, and the US dollar goes a long, luxurious way. There is no doubt in my mind that I will return to Balcones del Atlántico in the future. I cannot recommend this resort enough. Look out for more posts this week about my trip to the Dominican Republic- I have a lot to share, and some of it may make you mighty hungry. In the meantime, check out www.balconesdelatlantico.com.do and www.facebook.com/balconesdelatlantico for more information on the Balcones Del Atlántico villa resorts, and www.JetBlue.com to get a glimpse of their affordable fares to Samaná.