May 7, 2015

Vacationing at an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic.

     It dawned on me recently that although I shared several outfits from this year's spring break trip to the Dominican Republic, I never actually gave a recap of the vacation! Right after getting back from the trip I just hopped right back in my normal (and super busy) school routine, and completely forgot to give a recap of the vacation.

Beach of the Viva Wyndham Hotel, Dominican Republic, March 2015


      Honestly, this year's trip was much more low-key than 2014's vacation. I traveled back to the DR for Spring Break with my dad, and we stayed at a different hotel (story about that later in the post!) but in the same area of the island, a small touristy village called Bayahibe, which is about halfway between the cities of Punta Cana and La Romana. This past year we enjoyed sleeping in late everyday, swimming in the ocean (the pools were sadly under renovation at our hotel this year), lots of reading (getting to read for fun during the school year is a big deal y'all!), and making the most of the unlimited buffets. This past year we considered going on one of the excursions that the hotels organize to visit one of the cities or some of the natural wonders of the island, but in the end the extra R&R time won out. And it was perfect and much needed!


Beach of the Viva Wyndham Hotel, Dominican Republic, March 2015


     During our first trip in 2014, we were supposed to stay at the Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach  all-inclusive resort in Bayahibe. Unfortunately though on the day that we arrived, the air-conditioning units broke in many guest rooms, so the hotel sent us to the neighboring all-inclusive property called the Catalonia Gran Dominicus, which was literally in walking distance from our original hotel! As an apology, the Via Wyndham granted my dad a voucher for a completely free vacation for us to return to their original hotel anytime in the next year- isn't that generous?! All that we had to pay for were flights! So that is why we were able to vacation in the beautiful Dominican Republic for two Spring Breaks in a row- it was almost a free vacation the second time around! And we still had a great trip at the hotel Catalonia the first time as well. :-)


Catalonia Gran Dominicus Hotel, Dominican Republic, March 2014


     Here is a list of some things that I liked better about each of the two hotels that we have gotten the chance to stay at in Bayahibe! Also just to clarify- this is not a sponsored post in any way!! Just me sharing about the place that I've spent my past two Spring Breaks in!


Catalonia Gran Dominicus:

  • Crepe Bar: At all-inclusive hotels, meals are provided three times a day and then there are generally snack bars (as well as alcohol bars) that guests can visit in throughout the day between or after meals as much as they want! One of the snack bars that the Catalonia had was an amazing crepe bar right on the ocean! You could get delicious savory or sweet crepes made fresh right on the beach... talk about paradise? (And you could keep going back and back and back for more... DANGEROUS!). I did not enjoy the snack bars at the Viva Wyndham this past year to be nearly as good.
  • Pool: The Viva Wyndham had more pools than the Catalonia, but they were all under construction when we visited so I couldn't swim in any of them. I really liked the pool at the Catalonia and it was nice to visit on the way back from a day by the ocean.
  • Zumba: The Catalonia offered lots of Zumba classes throughout the day- both in the pool and in the ocean! So fun! (Except they were taught completely in Spanish so I could keep up only through dancing...)
  • Wi-fi: This is a BIG one. The wi-fi at the Viva Wyndham was a total BUST. They claimed on their website to have free internet- but when we got there this year we discovered that the free internet didn't work at all, and was only a ploy to get guests to pay $25 a day to use the "good" network. $25 a day?! What a rip off! At the Catalonia, there was free wi-fi all over the property!! It was a bit spotty in our hotel room, but in the lobby it worked perfectly. This past year my dad and I tried to walk back over to the Catalonia to steal their internet.... but their security caught us and realized we were guests of the other hotel and made us leave. :-( 
  • Entertainment: At night, the staff of the Catalonia put on some really delightful shows for the guests of the hotel (kind of like mini-Vegas style variety shows)! The Viva Wyndham also did shows... and we went to one.... and it was a very interesting experience...
Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach
  • Restaurants: All-inclusives typically have one or two buffet restaurants that guests can eat at as much as they want, and then other nicer restaurants that you can make reservations at for some of the nights of your stay. I loved the amazing variety of restaurants at the Viva Wyndham property! We had some great meals in both the buffet and at the specialty restaurants.
  • Hotel room: Our hotel room was definitely nicer at the Viva Wyndham. When we arrived (in 2015), we were also given an upgraded ocean view room! It meant a lot that the hotel was trying to make up for the fact that they hadn't been able to originally host us in 2014. The Viva Wyndham also had a much larger selection of American TV channels than the Catalonia!
  • Disco: Every night at the Viva Wyndham there was an outdoor nightclub/disco type thing set up with a DJ, drinks and dancing! My dad and I went to check it out one night. In all honesty, I was kind of weirded out to be in a club type environment with my dad (that's what I go to with college friends, not parents!), but had I been at the hotel with friends my age then that would have been super fun to go to!
  • Shops: The Viva Wyndham has a ton of shops on their property! They sell everything from clothing, local goods, art, groceries, and more! I think the Catalonia had a couple shops too but the Viva Wyndham was definitely more of a shopping destination. 


     All in all, both of these hotels each had their own advantages as you can see. It made each trip more unique and fun to get to stay at a different hotel each time! 


Beach at Catalonia Gran Dominicus, Dominican Republic, March 2014



     If I am lucky enough to go to the Dominican Republic again anytime soon, I would love to again return to the Bayahibe area. I would also enjoy visiting Punta Cana or one of the more touristy/ built-up regions to see something different!


     xoxo Miss ALK

11 comments:

  1. So jealous you have been TWICE! Take me with you next time :P haha

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It ...

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  2. It looks like such a beautiful vacation. I hate when hotels try and get you to pay such a ridiculous fee for wifi! I went to the Bahamas last summer and paid $30 a day!!! I felt so ripped off!

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  3. This is so beautiful! We stayed next door to one of the Viva Wyndham's in The Riviera Maya, and it looked super run down! I'm glad your experience at their chain was wonderful! I'm seriously craving some sun and sand while dealing with finals this week!

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  4. That's awesome that you've been twice!
    I'd love to go to the Dominican, it's on my bucket list.
    It looks so beautiful.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

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  5. I've never been to the Dominican Republic but would love to!! It looks beautiful.

    http://thealwaysblog.com

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  6. Seems so fun! I'll have to keep this in mind the next time my family is wanting to go somewhere different on vacation!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

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  7. Gorgeous pictures! Glad you enjoyed it!

    XO
    Ashley
    privateschoolprepster.blogspot.com

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  8. A crepe bar?!?! I am so jealous!

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  9. Sounds like you had an AMAZING trip! Loved seeing your photos and enjoying all of your outfit posts :) Having to pay for internet at hotels makes me so angry.

    XX, SS || A Little Seersucker Sass

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  10. I've never vacationed in Dominican Republic, but it sounds like a fun place! The pictures are beautiful. I just love the beach! I think a crepe bar sounds amazing. I can see why that would be dangerous. That's all I'd want to eat! I love crepes. And zumba! How fun. I'm so bad, but I love doing it anyway.

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  11. So jealous, the Dominican Republic looks beautiful! And what awesome amenities... the crepe bar?! Yes please!

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