DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – With the winter solstice a mere month away and with the undeniable, harsh weather that accompanies these short days and long nights, New England golfers must decide if they will pursue their favorite pastime in warmer and sunnier climes or if they will put their clubs in the deep freeze for a few dreadful months.
The latter is a decision of desperation, so the former is definitely the way to go!
Therefore, the Dominican Republic should be on every New England golfer’s frost-proof itinerary. With an average year-round temperature in the 70s, this Island nation is the No. 1 vacation destination in the Caribbean Sea with a veritable cornucopia of transcendent resorts and golf courses. That overflowing horn of plenty, however, can be confusing to those who are unfamiliar with the many options the DR offers or to those who are searching for alternatives.
The Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort is the best choice to fulfill the Island’s claim, “The Dominican Republic has it all.” Set your expectations high if you want to vacation in luxury while spending quality time chasing that small, dimpled white ball.
Located ocean-front along nearly two miles of the sugary, white-sand Bavaro Beach — named one of the 10 most beautiful beaches in the world by Trip Advisor and National Geographic — this world-class resort has completed a $250 million transformation. The Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort is one of the largest, most complete all-inclusive facilities in the Caribbean. And, the Lakes Golf Club is the oldest championship course in the Punta Cana area and one of the best.
BARCELO BAVARO DOUBLE PLAY
Barcelo Bavaro Grand is actually two resorts in one: Barcelo Bavaro Palace, the family hotel; Barcelo Bavaro Beach, the adults-only district.
With almost 2,000 luxury lodging accommodations that offer front or side sea views, 15 restaurants with 11 specialty dining options that highlight international cuisine, 13 bars, an extensive pool area with swim-up bar plus four smaller pools, a casino, a sports bar, a spa and fitness facility, tennis courts, a theater, and a shopping promenade, the facility caters to every imaginable needs and wishes of its guests. And the Barcelo Bavaro Grand provides quick transfers from and to Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), only six miles away.
Seven of the specialty restaurants that demand your attention and attendance are the El Coral (fish and seafood), Santa Fe Steak House, La Dolce Vita (Italian), Mexico Lindo, Kyoto Restaurant and Sushi Bar, La Fuente Tapas Bar and Restaurant (Spanish), and La Comedie (French). Each is an excellent choice for dinner, but reservations must be made during the stay. Only La Comedie requires a surcharge.
My favorite bars include Strikers Sports Bar, where you can watch professional sports on the many TV’s or where you can play pool and bowl; The Carey Lobby Bar and the Coffee, Rum & Cigar Lounge Bar, both near the main lobby; the El Cielo Bar near the Palace beach by the adults only swimming pool; the Black Jack Bar in the casino; and the two watering spots, Coco and Taino, next to the main swimming pool.
The Palace is the hub of the action, the dining, the theater, and the entertainment, and much of this campus is either open air, open space, or outdoors, making social distancing a viable alternative. The Beach is more private and reclusive, located off to the side of The Palace, offering the adults two buffets and two specialty restaurants of their own along with their own beach and swimming pool. The Beach guests have access to The Palace amenities and restaurants and receive transportation throughout the entire property. Both Palace and Beach guests can take advantage of various water sports, such as scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and windsurfing, and the two separate beach areas have bars, towels, chaise lounges, and umbrellas.
PREMIUM LEVEL UPGRADE
Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort also extends a Premium Level to its all-inclusive package, and this upgrade is worth the price of admission. Premium Level guests, whether at the Palace or at the Beach, bypass the usual check-in/check-out delays by using the exclusive Premium Level Lounge. The Lounge offers Concierge service, free internet, bar, canapes, and continental breakfast. The El Coral restaurant is open for a buffet breakfast and lunch only for Premium Level guests, thereby assuring more personal service and avoiding longer lines.
Accommodations have the best ocean views, and a bottle of the local Barcelo Gran Anejo Rum (ask for it to top off your Pina Colada) will be there in your room to greet you. Finally, Premium Level guests may make dining reservations in advance of their stay, and the superior French restaurant La Comedie is available without surcharge.
CDC TRAVEL GUIDELINES
The Dominican Republic strictly follows all CDC travel guidelines. Once you deplane at PUJ, you will be pleased with the safety protocols. From the airport transfer to the Grand, to the welcoming staff, to the cleanliness of the hotels and the suites, to the social distancing in the restaurants and throughout the resort, you will be impressed with the many precautions that are mandatory. Also, the Grand will administer the rapid antigen Covid test in its pharmacy that you must show at PUJ to return to the USA and Canada. And, if you have been to any premier DR resort in the past, you will be amazed and delighted at the universal and unsurpassed quality of the service and efficiency of the Grand staff members with whom you come into contact.
LAKES GOLF COURSE by P.B. Dye
The Lakes Golf Course, an 18-hole, par-72 championship course, opened in 1991 and immediately became a popular tourist venue. P.B. Dye, son of architect legend Pete Dye, redesigned the course in 2010, maintaining its original character but modernizing and upgrading its playability and introducing the Sea Isle Paspalum grass. P.B. has more than 50 courses on his resume with four in the DR — La Cana, La Estancia, and Iberostar are the other three—and with several others in co-design with his dad.
The Lakes is a parkland course and an easy walk from both the Palace and the Beach and the pro shop will send a cart to pick up your clubs and you at your room. It runs through the lush mangrove forest that includes 25 inland lakes, many requiring a forced carry, and 122 bunkers.
Both the water and the sand protect P.B. Dye’s sculpted fairways and greens, and, yes, P.B. has incorporated the Dye family trademark by bringing into play railroad ties, pot bunkers, and island greens. The five sets of tees range from 6,655 yards from the professional tees to 4,688 yards from the forwards. The Lakes is one of the most popular courses in the Bavaro/Punta Cana community and rightly so.
Yes, the Dominican Republic does have it all, and with a vacation at the Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort, you can enjoy it all.
For more information about the Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort and to make reservations, access these websites:
Barceló® Hotel Group – Hotels and Resorts | www.Barcelo.com
Barceló Bávaro Golf – Barceló Bávaro Grand Resort www.barcelobavarogolf.net