I was recently given the opportunity to experience a luxury all-inclusive vacation at the Iberostar Grand Bavaro in Punta Cana. In my years of travel, I have had the opportunity to visit many resorts in several destinations and always had a sense that I understood the difference between the moderate and luxury resorts. This stay taught me that I had never experienced true luxury and I think I could get used to it.
What is luxury?
It is a term used a lot in the travel industry, and it is hard to define. For me, it started with elegant understated surroundings, quiet, expansive spaces, like cabanas around the pool and beach that were always available, a suite with a large Jacuzzi tub, and anything you could want. Dining was over the top, with more than you could imagine at the breakfast buffet (including three types of caviar). Lunch at the barefoot grill sounded like casual fare to be enjoyed wearing your bathing suit alongside the pool. To my surprise, the menu included lobster, tuna steaks, shrimp, steak and chicken all grilled to perfection. There was also an impressive buffet at lunch with beautiful fresh salads and fruit. They captured the essence of fine dining in a resort setting at the dinner restaurants. There were 5 speciality options, my personal favorite was the casa de la playa where I enjoyed the salt encrusted sea bass served tableside. The service was beyond expectation and the staff couldn't have done more to make sure I was happy. Most of all, my butler.
If you are like me, you might wonder what a butler does?
I asked my butler Cerado, a charming, intelligent young man. He has travelled the world and learned a lot about hospitality. He listens for cues and knows what people want or need, and he asks good questions. The most important step in the process? You need to ask him. He tells me that 70% of his guests don't ask. Guests will say "everything is fine" when it isn't. Do not be afraid to ask for what you want, you'll be pleasantly surprised. He was invaluable in making my stay amazing. Among my favourites things were having all the dinner reservations taken care of and having a Nespresso machine brought to the room with cream in the fridge for a morning coffee. He was often at the pool and beach finding me to see if there was anything I needed. He is a true expert of this resort. When you need something from room service or housekeeping, language can be a barrier and my command of Spanish is limited. He is there to bridge the gap. He might not do everything himself, but he will get in touch with the right people and have it done. Your wish is his command.
I would recommend a stay at this adult-only luxury resort to anyone who enjoys the idea of having someone to take care of everything, so you can sit back and enjoy one of the most beautiful stretches of beach and warm turquoise waters the Caribbean has to offer.