When was the last time you did something that was just for you? I’m not talking about making time for coffee with a friend, or cleaning out your kitchen cupboards and feeling all kinds of proud about it (even though that does feel good). But actually making some real time, taking a leap and making some memories that will last a lifetime. Recently an opportunity came up that I couldn’t resist. A chance to head away for a week in the sunshine, and check out a brand new resort. The catch? The Hubby and kids couldn’t come on this adventure. To make this magical trip happen I would be taking my sister.
Following a week of epic snowstorms, it was smooth sailing as my SassySis and I boarded a Sunwing flight to paradise. Thanks to Sunwing Elite Plus we were flying with no worries. We had complimentary advance seat selection, increased checked baggage allowance of up to 30 kg ( so I could pack all the shoes I wanted), and were able to enjoy priority check-in, priority boarding, and best of all extra leg room on our flight.
Our destination for this trip; the newly renovated Emotions by Hodelpa Playa Dorada. Located in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, the resort is a short 15-minute shuttle ride from the airport. The newly renovated 479 room hotel is ideally situated on a stunning stretch of glorious sandy beach and just a stone’s throw from the well known Playa Dorada Golf Course. This was going to be the perfect place to relax, and recharge.
We entered a spacious open-air lobby and were warmly welcomed by the energetic Entertainment Team. Caribean music floated through the air as ice cold rum punches were passed among the guests. We were quickly checked in and left on our own to explore the resort. We started our tour in the lobby. A bright and modern space with plenty of seating to gather with friends or family.
Moving to the interior of the resort we were drawn to the hotel’s main pool area. It’s where all the action is. With built-in pool chairs at the edge and bright yellow lounge chairs surrounding the three separate pools, there is no doubt that it was time to find our place in the sun and let our vacation begin.
Beyond the main pool is a “kiddie” pool, hot-tub and pool with a swim-up bar.
The Tiki Bar located at the swim up bar and was a popular spot all day long! The pools were sparkling clean and refreshing, the poolside service spectacular, and the Entertainment Team was always close at hand should you want to try water aerobics, a variety of interactive guest games, or even take advantage of the free “learn to scuba” lessons.
A short walk past the pools takes you to the villa-style lodging.
All rooms and suites are located in small 3-story buildings dotted throughout the property.
Our room and home for the week was ideally located on the first floor, not far from the main pool and with the ocean visible in the distance. The room was a swim-out suite equipped with:
- A terrace with 2 lounge chairs and table
- Safe – which easily accommodated a laptop, passports and personal items
- Individually controlled air conditioning unit
- Iron and ironing board
- Minibar – restocked daily with water, pop, and local beer
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
- Flat screen TV
- A dresser with 2 drawers
- Coffee and tea maker with supplies
- Two queen beds
Just beyond the villa, you could see the ocean and the glorious stretch of golden sand beach.
If your idea of paradise includes a walkable beach as far as the eye can see. This may be the resort for you!Can’t decide between the ocean and the pool? Why not do both. The oceanfront pool, under swaying palm trees and kissed by a tropical breeze, quickly became our favourite place to while away the hours. With extraordinary beachside drink service and just steps from the beach grill, bathrooms, and sea, you may just find your day slips away all too quickly under that Caribbean sun.
If you are traveling with little ones there is a Kids Club and the Sunwing Smile Kids Club Program. This sweet little club offers a clubhouse complete with structured activities and a shaded playground.
Ergo’s: The main buffet serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not to be missed, the freshly grilled beef or chicken and the pasta made to order.
Oregano: Serving an inventive Dominican fusion cuisine. Have you ever tried goat? Here’s your chance.
Amici: Three-course Italian dinners served in a beautiful setting. Our best tip, save room for dessert!
Bigaro/Beach Side Grill: For those who love seafood or dining on the beach! This menu includes an option to purchase a special lobster dinner for one or two. We loved this beachfront restaurant for a late lunch.
Lolita: Mexican food served in a bright and bold restaurant with flavours to match.
ONE Coffee House: Perhaps my favourite place in the resort, the coffee house. Our first stop every morning for a Cappuccino, an Americano, or a piping hot Latte. If you could dream it, the barista could create it. Believe it or not, coffee tastes even better in paradise.
Milwaukee Beer House: Beer lovers rejoice. Enjoy a game of pool, watch the game, and indulge in a selection of local and international draft and bottled beers.
Tiki Tiki Pool Bar: Located poolside and ready to whip up the cocktail of your dreams.
When you are ready to climb off your lounge chairs and burn off some of those meals there are a few fun activities to keep you busy. Beyond long walks on the beach perhaps you would like to try the:
- Climbing Wall.
- Bow and Arrow range.
- Tennis Court
- Mini Golf
All included at this Sunwing resort.
After a week of sitting in the sun, walking the beach, indulging…um, overindulging in drinks and food it’s been decided; a little sister time is good for the soul and the Emotions by Hodelpa in Puerto Plata was the perfect place to do this. My sister and I are thankful for hours spent catching up, incredible service from staff where it was always “a pleasure”. We loved that this resort was small enough that the bartenders quickly knew our favourite drinks and the waiters saved us a table with our coffee poured for us as we arrived for breakfast in the morning. The staff at this resort were exceptional, the beach fantastic and the location to in relation to both the airport and shopping phenomenal. As Emotions just re-opened in December 2017 they continue to put the finishing touches on some of the villas and are working valiantly to polish up a few rough edges. This resort was a great spot to recharge and make some memories and is available to book through Sunwing.ca at a remarkable price point.
What we loved:
- The long stunning stretch of walkable beach.
- The wifi was fairly consistent.
- The staff was warm and accommodating.
- The pools and bathrooms in the common areas were incredibly well cared for and clean.
- The location in relation to the airport and a boutique style mall was fabulous.
- The size of this hotel was perfect. In no time at all, you felt like you knew your way around and the staff made an effort to remember your favourite drink or coffee order.
What you should know:
- The price point of this hotel is fantastic!
- This hotel was recently renovated and they are still putting a few polishing touches on some of the rooms.
- Not all villas are complete.
- In each room, there is a large closet with electronic safe, plenty of hangers but only 2 drawers.
- Emotions By Hodelpa Playa Dorada does offer accessible rooms for guests. These rooms are available on request. There are many ramps around the property.
What I’ve learned:
Once you are a Mom, there will never be the “perfect” moment to take a trip. The kids will always need something. Your Hubby will always want more of your time. Work, school, house commitments, will always be there begging for your attention, but life is short and sometimes you just have to make it happen. Put “real” life on hold, go out, have adventures, and make a memory that will make you smile forever. I always try and remember….life is short, buy the shoes, eat the cake…take the trip.