Who has dreamed about sitting on a beautiful beach and sipping pina coladas on a couple’s getaway without the kids? ME! Sure, there are always some people that feel like they will never travel without their kids and that wanting to do so is selfish. Well this is what I say to that.
My husband travels nearly every week from at least Monday morning through late Thursday night. If we are lucky, we speak to him on the phone for five to ten minutes a day. On the weekends, between errands, chores, activities and other commitments, we enjoy family time. And with a teenager that stays up late on the weekends, this doesn’t allow for any time to talk about jobs, the budget, the future, etc. or to really connect as a couple.
I spend sooo much more time with my daughter than I do with my husband. You know we take a lot of mother-daughter trips, but I also drive her back and forth to school every day plus activities, giving us two plus hours alone in the car every day. We eat dinner together every night (usually just the two of us.) I still tuck her in every night and we will either read or talk together. And I treasure that time completely.
But you know what? She is going to grow up and in five years go off to college. When that happens, I want to make sure my husband and I don’t look at each other and say…”who are you?” So this year we did something we never do. When Hannah left for her time at sleep away camp, where she is so happy to be with friends and enjoying the outdoors and she is safely taken care of, we went away together. For the first time since before she was born we spent five days just enjoying each other’s company in the most beautiful of settings. And it was worth every penny and any judgement, jealousy, etc. that might rain down on us. Because we needed it.
Once we decided to go, deciding where to go was the trickiest part. Summer is the off-season for the Caribbean so my dream of white sand beaches, clear blue water and palm trees was affordable, but I didn’t want to end up at an all-inclusive party resort, I was searching for relaxation. We checked TravelZoo and Groupon Getaways and the destination that kept popping up was the Dominican Republic and, more specifically Punta Cana. But there are so many resorts to choose from, how could I find real adult luxury Punta Cana and not single, pool-party, drink till you drop Punta Cana? I found EXACTLY what I was looking for at the Eden Roc at Cap Cana.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana Review
Eden Roc at Cap Cana is a five-star, luxury resort near Punta Cana (only 15 minutes from the airport.) It isn’t an all-inclusive so it has a different vibe (I mean, how many pina coladas can you down in one day when they are $16 a pop?) It also isn’t an adults-only resort, but the families you see mostly have younger children. Plus, in the summer, they aren’t at full capacity, which creates a quiet and relaxing atmosphere with no stress over getting seats at the pool or under the umbrellas on the first row of the beach. The whole experience is very chill. No loud music blaring, no announcements for activities, no pool games, and no swim-up bars — just peace, quiet, beautiful views and high-touch service.
At the Eden Roc at Cap Cana, you can either be in a villa in the “village” or about ¼ mile away at the beach club. Both have some advantages. We stayed in a Junior suite in the village. Each suite is a stand-alone unit with a private plunge pool. Ours backed up on the manmade lagoon for beautiful views, others back up to a garden view. The Junior suite is quite large, with a king size bed and a pull-out sofa in the seating area.
Out back, around your private plunge pool, you have a seating area under a pergola and two chaise lounge chairs in the sun. You can control all the music, lights and television from the iPad in the room, including piping music outside, so you really don’t even need to leave your room. Hedges are on either side of the patio for privacy.
Inside, the bathroom really steals the show. As you enter, there are sinks on either side, as well as on the right there is a huge walk-in closet with quality built-ins offering plenty of storage. On the left is the toilet room and large walk-in shower. Straight ahead is a two-person jacuzzi tub, which room service will happily fill for you to enjoy when you return from dinner or whenever you request. As you look past the tub and through the glass window, you will see another private patio with a relaxing bench and an outdoor shower, which you can access through the main shower. One morning when I woke up early I spent some time on my computer out there so I didn’t wake Glenn.
The amenities are large and excellent quality, with everything from bath salts to loofah. The room was serviced twice a day and I often enjoyed the chocolates left on my pillow. To me, the only thing missing in the room was a ceiling fan. Unless you kept the curtains pulled in the afternoon, it took a while for the room to cool and it would have been nice to have a ceiling fan.
In addition to the Junior Suites, there are also family suites, which are duplexes with twin beds and a pull out couch on the lower floor, and a king bed upstairs. Down at the beach club, the Eden Roc also just put in 26 brand-new two-bedroom suites (which can also be reserved as a one bedroom with the second bedroom locked off), and they are in the process of building more. Those suites do not have private pools, but they are steps from the beach. Wherever you stay, getting to the beach or pool is easy. There are pools in each area (Village and Beach) and those in the village are given private golf carts to get to the beach club (so fun!) If you are staying at the beach and want to get to the main buildings for meals or to visit the spa, they will send someone to pick you up and take you.
For a small resort (50-75 rooms), there are still a good number of dining options. When you check in, you will want to get the schedule of which days each restaurant is open, since it changes, especially in the low season. You will also want to make reservations (do this in advance if you are visiting in the high season.) We had reservations, but even so, whenever we walked in to a nearly empty restaurant they seemed overly concerned about whether or not we had a reservation.
Breakfast is served at either Blue (at the beach club) or Mediterraneo (in the village). They both offer a buffet and a la carte menu items. You can also have breakfast delivered to your room but there is a very high surcharge! Since the Eden Roc is not an all-inclusive, I highly recommend booking through a Virtuoso travel agent (let me know if I can get you a quote) to receive the free breakfast perk.
We ate breakfast at both locations and we definitely preferred the buffet options at Blue. We also liked the fitness center at the Beach Club better (it is bigger) so we would get up and go to the gym, have breakfast, go back and shower/change and then head back to the beach.
Blue Grill & Bar
My favorite of all the restaurants was definitely Blue, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So if you are going to eat somewhere twice, this would be my recommendation. Lunch fare includes a nice selection of salads and pizzas, both of which are quite good. When I’m at the beach I’d prefer not to eat a large meal during the day and I found that this is one area that could be improved across the board — add more light bites to the menus! But we found if we couldn’t make it from breakfast to dinner without more than a liquid lunch, splitting a pizza or getting a salad was perfect.
In the evening, Blu transforms into a modern Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant. They focus on small plates and that is one of my favorites ways to dine. There is an assortment of sushi but also plenty of fusion dishes with a twist — like Peruvian causa or Japanese gyoza. Everything was delicious and the service, if anything, can be too attentive. I’m not sure if it was the training or the fact that the resort was only half full but we had the impression at many of the restaurants that the servers were hovering nervously and a bit more awkward in the presentation than at a true fine dining establishment, but they were certainly trying hard.
La Palapa is located on the rocks jutting into the water at the Beach Club and is a bit more casual with waterfront or open-air dining. They are also open for lunch and dinner, but I’m not sure there is a difference in the menu. We ate at La Palapa twice, but just because we didn’t realize which days Blue would be open. I really enjoyed my langoustines, since they are so hard to get at home, and my spaghetti with clams. Glenn went with the risotto one night and the Boca Chica fish the other. He was a little disappointed in the Dominican fish dish (it is an entire fried fish but the menu didn’t mention it was fried), but enjoyed the risotto.
Mediterraneo is the fine dining restaurant. But despite the name, it isn’t simply Italian or Mediterranean. You can also find some Dominican specialities such as the roasted suckling pig that I sampled. Overall, this was my least favorite of the restaurants and the most expensive. Even finding a bottle of wine under $80 was a challenge (at other restaurants I’d found an affordable Albarino that I enjoyed.) My favorite thing from this meal was actually the amuse bouche!
One other note about dining. When we visited over July 4th, they did a special outdoor “all you can eat” barbecue. Although it was presumably for July 4th, I got the impression that they do these regularly to change up the dining options a bit. I wouldn’t recommend it though. While there was plenty of meat to eat (langoustines, lobster, steak, and pork), there wasn’t a lot else. There was rice and a few other sides but not really the spread I would expect. And no dessert!! We actually asked about that (I like my sweet endings) and they brought over some fruit spears with melon and pineapple. It was a bit disappointing for the cost.
Spa & Fitness
Since I didn’t need to worry about any kids, I was able to take full advantage of the resort amenities including the spa and fitness center. The spa is currently located near the main building in the village, but they are building a second spa at the beach club. The spa facilities are fairly basic for a luxury resort in the Caribbean, and the steam shower wasn’t operational when I visited and I couldn’t figure out how to work the sauna. My massage was fine and fairly priced, but my pedicure was a little disappointing, without even proper pedicure chairs or dryers. I suppose I’ve been spoiled forever by the amazing spa at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya!
The fitness room at the main building is quite small, so you are better off heading down to the beach club. At the beach club fitness center, they offer classes in a beautiful studio or in the grassy area by the beach, and have a good selection of workout equipment including four treadmills. Looking out to the pools and beach sure made my run easier! They are stocked with water bottles and towels and someone is manning the center from 9am to 6pm.
I know I said that the Eden Roc is perfect for a couple’s getaway, but sometimes the kids need to come along. If they do, I would recommend the Eden Roc for families up until about age eight, after that they may get a little bored unless you plan a number of off-property activities to nearby adventure parks, snorkeling, etc. However, for parents with toddlers and young children, the Eden Roc is perfect. They have two kid’s clubs, one in the main village with multiple rooms (including a kid spa!), play area and lagoon; and one at the beach club. The resort also offers a package for new parents including babysitting and spa services. And, there are certainly plenty of good room options for families.
Beach & Pools
There are infinity pools with comfortable lounges and large umbrellas at both pools. Just note that pool lounges are not plentiful. Most people spend their time at the beach with a quick dip in the pool. The pools by the beach have steps into them — I didn’t notice any zero entry. Even though the pools aren’t deep, I did notice a few toddlers playing in the shallow “rivers” that surround the pool. I’m not sure if it is intended to be used as a toddler pool or more decorative, but kids get creative.
There are plenty of seating options at the beach, some of which can be reserved for groups. Being there in July, we had no problem grabbing two comfortable lounges under a palapa (thatch umbrella) right in front. The attendants were good about setting us up with towels and they do have some beach toys you can borrow.
The beach is lovely and well-groomed. On days there when there was rain the night before, there was seaweed in the water, but not that kind that wraps around you and grosses you out. On other days, it was very clear, especially in the mornings. The waves were strong but just where they broke, once you got past them, you could bob in the waves around chest level with ease. Small children are fine close to shore but I’d keep an eye on young kids that venture out too far until they are strong swimmers or tall enough to stand. We did see a few fish swim by but the water isn’t crystal clear to see straight down to the bottom. The water is soft, like it has a lot of minerals in it, and slightly cloudy.
My only minor gripe about the beach is that the beach bar attendants could have been a bit more attentive. A few times I had to ask for water a few times (but the bottled water is free at least!) and when we did order drinks, they took a while to arrive. But that is just me being lazy because it would have been a very short walk to the beach bar to get what I needed.
Perfect for a Couple’s Getaway in the Caribbean
I found the Eden Roc in Cap Cana to be the perfect resort for a romantic, couple’s getaway. It was exactly what we needed — a luxury experience from start to finish with airport transfers included (another Virtuoso perk!) It was beauty, relaxation, and luxury. I can’t even describe how much we both needed that environment after an extremely stressful six months and how wonderful it was to spend the quality time together. Looking for something more family-focused? Check out the Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana, my friend Kim put together an awesome travel guide for the resor!
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Note: We received a discounted rate, all opinions are my own.