Island Getaways: A Philadelphian’s Guide to Vacationing in the Dominican Republic
On the eastern tip of the island in Cap Cana, parents and kids alike can chill out.
The moment I slid open the heavy wooden pocket doors and flipped on the light, I knew someone had been in our bathroom. The proof: a heaping tower of bubbles. The massive tub was filled to the brim. Past the brim. The frothy mound stretched toward the ceiling.
It was our first night at Eden Roc Cap Cana (rooms from $700), the beachfront resort in the Dominican Republic, and before I could pull out my phone to capture the ridiculous surprise arranged by the housekeeper while we were eating dinner, my three daughters were frantically peeling off socks and sweaters to dive into the warm cloud.
It was a moment of pure joy, and just a small part of a three-night visit to the Caribbean island last fall that we’ll never forget. After nearly two years navigating a global pandemic that kept the girls out of school for months at a time and my husband and me clinging to our sanity, the time away together was that much more treasured.
Set on 30,000 acres in the Cap Cana community on the eastern tip of the island, Eden Roc feels designed with families in mind. While the accommodations range from junior suites with private pools to secluded oceanfront bungalows, we stayed in a two-bedroom villa outfitted with built-in bunk beds for the kids, an outdoor shower the girls found almost as delightful as the bubble bath, and a covered gazebo and pool in the backyard, ensconced in palm trees. We’re usually beach people, but the pool was ideal in the evenings for pre-dinner dips and night swims — total luxury for us city dwellers. And while the award-winning Jack Nicklaus golf course was lost on us, the golf carts the resort lends to guests, which we used to zip from our bungalow to the beachfront and beyond, were certainly not. (Gleeful chants of “Go faster, Daddy!” became a common chorus from the back seat.)
A sprawling pool overlooks the cream-colored beach, and we spent most of our days toggling between the two. A beach shack is stocked with plenty of towels, beach toys and boogie boards, the last of which kept both the girls and my husband in the water for hours. We ate family meals free of devices and distractions next to the sea at La Palapa and overlooking the pool at Blue Grill + Bar. One morning, my husband and I spent an hour at the spa, relishing a heavenly couples massage while our daughters passed the time forgetting we existed in the resort’s epic kids’ club, housed in an overwater bungalow. The girls took a bracelet-making class and met Koko the colorful parrot, the club’s mascot.
Since our trip was a quick three nights, we didn’t leave the resort, opting instead to soak up the visit staying put. But next time, we plan to explore more of the island. If I can ever get the girls out of the bathtub.
Published as “Island Time” in the March 202s issue of Philadelphia magazine.