Travel Thursday: CHIC Resort Won Us Over With Its Staff, Relaxation, & Luxury
When one has the opportunity to attend an all-inclusive resort like CHIC Resort by Royalton, we highly recommend it. For Thanksgiving weekend, we packed our bags, bathing suits, and thongs (sandals) and headed to the Dominican Republic. We had originally planned to attend the Caribbean Pride in September 2017 but Hurricane Maria decided to change our plans as her path came across Puerto Rico and dangerously close to cutting across DR, too.
Our flight from sunny Southern Florida was a quick 2 ½ hours. We recommend you download something onto your iPad to watch since the Jet Blue wifi connection and televisions went out shortly after we left the continent.
Landing at Aeropuerto Internacional Punta Cana, we didn’t know what to expect. We disembarked the plane via the stairs, boarded a bus, and then rode an entire 30 yards to the airport (sarcasm). It really was just about 30 yards, but it was a cute airport and a new experience. We listened to other Americans complain, but the bus ride was for safety and was part of the experience. The cattle herding that happened next reminded us of the opening minutes at Universal Studios as we all just went that way … away from the bus. The ropes guided us toward two raised booths that some people were stopping at while others were blowing by. Our first time here, we decided to stop at the booth where we learned we needed to pay some kind of $10 tourism/country entrance fee. we slapped a 10 dollar bill down apiece, received a quick print out, and we were on our way. We cannot remember which landing or departure we filled what form out for it seemed we did them all in triplicate. All we can say is do the best you can and don’t be an annoying tourist wearing your hat, sunglasses, and being on your phone as you approach customs with your passport in the bottom of your purse. Yes, we’re talking to you, green dress girl. Head up and follow the rules. Everyone is polite and there to help. We as guests in their country should be, too.
We had a shuttle arranged before we landed and that is highly recommended. You can go through the resort travel agency like we did, making everything so very easy. The parking lot was a sea of busses so it will help to make sure you know which bus company, which bus, and what resort you are going to before you step out of the airport.
The CHIC resort was a 45-minute drive from the airport, but it flew by. It gave us a chance to talk to the other resort-goers and find out why they chose this resort and where they were from. We were surprised to find so many Canadians vacationing in Punta Cana during Thanksgiving weekend. One couple had mentioned that they usually go to a different resort each year, but they liked CHIC so much, they decided to come back. They mentioned many reasons why CHIC was getting a round two from them. The wife clearly planned everything and she said for the great quality, the price was a bargain.
Arriving at the resort, we were given warm towels to cleanse our faces and were led to the Diamond Club Lounge where we were welcomed with a strawberry margarita and fitted with our Diamond Club bracelet which would act as my room key and would signify to the staff that we were allowed to go into the Diamond Club member areas. The Canadian lady on the shuttle stated that the Diamond Club upgrade was worth it. When it comes to the Diamond Club, there are two major options. You could get the full upgrade with room and bracelet. The rooms were in a very centrally located part of the resort and had infinity swim-out pools. Or you could just do the Diamond Club bracelet giving you access to special areas where they had the complimentary “better” alcohols, but you would stay in a regular yet still spectacular room (our choice for this trip).
We were given a tour of the complex. It was not large and we would grow to love that about the resort. There are about 300 rooms and roughly 60 workers on the resort. Seeing some of the wonderful staff repeatedly throughout our stay did give the resort a more intimate feel. We would end up seeing some of the hosts at the restaurants and buffet at least 6 times during our stay. They knew our preference of seating in the restaurants and even what we liked to drink. The staff members are one of the main reasons we want to return to CHIC.
Part of the tour included visiting the CHIC Mansion, located in the center of it all. The 6 bedroom (2 masters) is a place of decadence with its own private pool, barbecue, game/bar room, kitchen and dining area. The guide mentioned that weddings do occur at CHIC Resort and one same-sex wedding happened here at the intimate mansion location. We wouldn't mind one bit. Or maybe we will just rent it out for the next Caribbean Pride event.
We must admit, we really did not plan our trip to CHIC that well. I mean, we brought our bathing suit, some nice casual dining clothes, and that’s about it. Since we were there from Thursday to Sunday, we decided to break our trip up into parts. Thursday was arrival day and Sunday was departure day so no plans for either day besides sipping on cocktails and relaxing were to be made. But for Friday and Saturday, we wanted to schedule something more concrete.
Friday was going to revolve around the Royal Spa. We had scheduled an 80-minute thermal energy massage done with some amazing hands and hot stones. During our tour of the CHIC Resort and Royal Spa, we learned that they preferred guests to show up an hour before any treatment to enjoy the hydro therapy room. Take more time in the spa? Twist our arms! We ended up bouncing around the Royal Spa from this relaxing room to the hydro therapy room to another relaxing area to my massage and back to relax some more. We enjoyed the spa for about 3 ½ hours and well … Happy Thanksgiving to us! Since we were in a relaxing mode, we went back to our room, poured ourselves a drink from the mini bar in our room with free mixers, and might have fallen asleep before dinner.
Saturday was our day to do the beach. We of course went to the Diamond Club section for the drinks and service. Burgers, booze, and the beach. I’m sorry I didn’t make it home for Thanksgiving mom, but you would want to be here, too. Be warned, the sand is not hot and the sun will not seem to be, but I think I might still be peeling from our day on the sand, even though we were in the shade the whole time. The only time we were in the direct sun that day was when we walked the beach looking for shells, walking past the other resorts, and ignoring the very polite men selling their trinkets. We noticed a couple of things; in front of the other resorts, but especially on the beach where there was no resort, there was some garbage here and there, possibly left over from Hurricane Maria but not sure, there were almost zero shells (we eventually did find two very small and awesome ones), the CHIC resort had one of the best set ups in relationship of the resort to the beach. The walk only reassured us that we were staying at the right place.
The options the CHIC Resort gave for food and nightlife were a pleasant variety. For breakfast and lunch, Elements, the international buffet was open giving guests yards and yards of options. For dinner, the choices were perfect. We just wish we had more time to stay to enjoy them all. Hunter, a Texas-like steakhouse, was our first dinner destination where we enjoyed a steak and the pork chop. Dessert was a nice touch of heaven, too. We held off on the Italian until Saturday night, and enjoyed every bite of the duck dish and dessert we had at Vespa. For Friday, we had one of the more memorable meals of the weekend at Tagine, a Middle Eastern a la carte dining experience. Flavors, colors, aroma, were all magnificent. We did not have the time to try Pescari (ceviche and sushi) or CX – Culinary Experience. Both will be on our list for the next visit.
The nightlife and chances to interact with other guests were just as varied as the dining. CHIC resort offered daytime foam pool parties, barbecues, water aerobics, cooking classes, night time decadence by the Mermaid Pool, beach parties, Excite! Sports Bar & Lounge, Sublime Bar, Spice swim-up bar, Detox Oxygen bar, and their newly redesigned casino. We dabbled in many of the offerings, but were so exhausted from relaxing all day, we didn’t stay out too late.
Why did we go to CHIC Resort in the first place? Well, we were here during Thanksgiving weekend by default. We had originally planned to attend the Caribbean Pride in September 2017 but Hurricane Maria decided to change our vacation as her path came across Puerto Rico and dangerously close to cutting across DR, too. We delayed our trip until November.
Will we go back to CHIC Resort by Royalton in Punta Cana for Caribbean Pride in 2018? Most definitely! Why?
- The Staff - As mentioned before, the people at the resort were amazing. They can make or break a stay and CHIC Resort and the Royalton chain should be very proud of their staff. I know it’s their job, but they do it so well.
- The ease of the trip - Going through the Royalton owned Nexus Tours to shuttle us to the resort just allowed us to relax as soon as we landed in Punta Cana. We knew we would be taken care of as soon as we hopped on that shuttle.
- Adults Only - Do I need to say any more? Okay, I will. NO KIDS! How great was it to see zero kids while on vacation.
- Everything included – We did tip the staff. We didn’t do the research to see if it was expected or accepted, but a couple of dollars for meals and a tip for the amazing spa, there’s nothing wrong with that.
- Diamond Club – I would upgrade to the Diamond Club like we did for this time for the higher grade alcohol and the beach service. I am still on the fence about the full upgrade to the Diamond Club room, but you get your own infinity pool swim-out. Decisions, decisions.
- It’ll be gayer then – The staff was very welcoming of all guests. There were different body types, races, and sexualities and the staff was open and accommodating to all. We talked to many of the staff about the Caribbean Pride and they seemed to be excited for it and was sad when it did not happen in 2017.
Thanks for a great relaxing time CHIC. We look forward to the next time we can relax at your wonderful Punta Cana, Dominican Republic Resort.