July 1, 2003
Even the most disciplined golfer may have trouble concentrating on Punta Cana’s 18-hole golf course. Fourteen of those holes offer views of the Caribbean Sea, and four plays are right along its powdery sands. Golf is just one of the intoxicatingly welcome distractions at Punta Cana Resort and Club in the Dominican Republic. Horseback riding, tennis, boating, and scuba diving are also available. And Punta Cana is the home of Cornell University’s biodiversity laboratory where U.S. and Dominican students perform ecological research.
Nestled on 15,000 acres at the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is situated in a tropical Eden. It’s the only ecologically friendly resort in the Caribbean, offering three miles of white-sand beaches and seven natural lakes. Visitors land at the resort’s private international airport, three hours from the bustle of Santo Domingo, the capital city. You won’t need a car; guests travel around the verdant property in golf carts.
Punta Cana’s fruit garden bears sugarcane, avocados, guavas, and other tropical fruits which, along with the organic vegetables and spices grown on the property, are served at the resort’s seven restaurants. The Grill serves the best in Caribbean lunches. Upstairs, the deluxe Cocoloba offers exotic dishes in a romantic, candlelit atmosphere. Before gourmet fare such as lobster medallions in coconut or mango sauce at Anani, guests enjoy cocktails on the terrace while being serenaded by a trio of Mariachis.
The secluded destination attracts high-profile guests such as former President Bill Clinton, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, Barbara Walters, and Penelope Cruz. But owning property is also an option. Corales, the most exclusive community, overlooks the Caribbean. Fashion designer and Dominican Republic native Oscar de la Renta, Julio Iglesias, and Mikhail Baryshnikov have homes in the community. There are also golf and marina residences.
Vacationers will enjoy accommodations at the Beachfront Golf Villas Grande Luxe, complete with terrace Jacuzzis and glorious sunrises. Interiors are designed by de la Renta. There are also newly renovated oceanfront and golf-view accommodations that feature marble floors and solid wood furniture.
But don’t be fooled by the tranquility of Punta Cana. It gets lively in the evening with a lavish, Vegas-style cabaret show that features magic acts and a state-of-the-art disco which pumps Caribbean, Latin, and popular music until the wee hours — or until the last guest leaves. It’s always the guest’s call.
For reservations call 888-442-2262 or visit www.puntacana.com.