All-inclusive experiences are by definition luxuriously over-the-top. That said, my time at Punta Cana’s Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort exceeded those high expectations, and here’s why.

Situated on what is known as the “Coconut Coast,” the award-winning resort complex is comprised of two adjacent resorts: Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe and the adults-only Barceló Bávaro Beach. While the sheer size of this property is enough to surprise even the most experienced traveler, what is most impressive is the number of attractions, shops, pools, and restaurants that are found on site. Evoking a sense of child-like excitement, the complex is a cross between Disneyworld and a tropical paradise.

Located right on the Punta Cana coast, 80 percent of the 1,991 rooms face the ocean, and the property’s beach is rated as one of the top ten beaches world-wide. After being welcomed to the resort with glasses of Champagne, I was escorted to my own suite which offered bottles of complementary rum, fruits, and of course, more bubbly. While the spacious room features modern design and plenty of natural light, the highlight is the patio which overlooks the pool complex, countless palm trees, and the ocean. However, this patio is extra special, as it includes a private hot tub.

Only after a tour of the entire property are guests able to grasp the grand size of this complex. For those in the mood for fun in the sun (minus the sand), guests have the option of four different swimming pools. Each is equipped for ultimate relaxation thanks to a plethora of hammocks, waterfalls, built-in pool seats, and more. Kids can enjoy the Barcy Water Park, complete with water slides, castles, and waterfalls, while the whole family can join in on the adventure at the recently completed Pirate-themed water park.

If you’re feeling lucky, head over to the 24-hour casino, which has everything from slot machines to poker and blackjack. Adjacent to the casino is the nightclub where you can dance the night away, and don’t forget the bowling alley and entire shopping center at your disposal. Take in a show in Barcelò Palace’s Vegas-inspired theater which can accommodate up to 1,400 guests with two levels of seating. Nightly shows are performed with dancers and live music. Itching to get active? There are endless ways to break a sweat on the resort. Pick anything from working out in the fitness center and golfing on the premier 18-hole golf course on property, or get competitive with a game of soccer or tennis. And when you’re ready to unwind, head over to their therapeutic spa.

When the sun is out, there is no easier way to soak it in than by walking over to the beach. Aside from the clear warm waters of the Caribbean, which are kept calm by surrounding coral reefs, guests have complimentary use of kayaks, windsurf boards, sailing boats, paddle boards and catamarans. Going on a resort-organized excursion is highly recommended. Riding through the stunning landscapes of Punta Cana on an ATV is exhilarating, and it’s an excellent way to check out the countryside on the way to the picturesque Macao Beach. Make sure to stop at Rancho Macao where you can learn about hand-rolled cigars, coffee, and cacao production, and have a taste. Toast to the beauty of the Caribbean with some pineapple wine after cooling off in an underground cave filled with five meters of crystal clear water and a waterfall.

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Last but not least, Barceló Bávaro Beach Resort has 14 specialty restaurants, including à la carte options such as México Lindo (Mexican,) Kyoto (Japanese,) and La Dolce Vita (Italian). In addition, there is a 24-hour sports bar with countless televisions and luxurious seating. There are also 16 various bars scattered throughout the property to ensure you’re never without a piña colada or other refreshing beverage of your choice.

Before you book a trip, keep in mind that the resort can be a bit noisy at times, given the large amount of vacationers and young children on the property. Though the scenery surrounding the area is stunning, the enormous capacity of the resort may cause some trouble when searching for a secluded, peaceful spot to truly unwind. All in all, if you’re looking for a tropical getaway with enough activities, shops, and restaurant options to keep even the most demanding traveler busy, this is your place.

Since Barceló Hotel Group’s recent restructuring, three new distinctive brands have been introduced to its already impressive collection: Royal Hideaway Luxury Hotels & ResortsOccidental Hotels & Resorts; and Allegro Hotels. Barcelo Hotel Groups now is involved in more than 109 properties and 33,000 rooms in 20 countries.

Photos Courtesy Barceló Hotel Group
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