Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

March 17, 2017

Lake Life Lately: Take Me Back to Punta Cana...

First Trip to Punta Cana // Beach

We're back (kicking and screaming) from Punta Cana! 

Breathless Resort from Airplane

Hubby and I had never stayed at an all-inclusive resort before and it was such a bizarre experience.  Normally we holiday by traipsing through Europe in the rain, trying to take in every last castle and museum.  This was different because we never left the resort - and our wallets never left the safe.  It was weird to walk up to the bar or coffee shop and not pay.  But wow, was it nice!
 

We had such a fun time vacationing in the sun with our friends!  We unplugged, we read.  We drank too much, ate too much.  We fell asleep on the beach and developed bizarre sun burns.  It was incredibly relaxing - especially because we stayed at Breathless, an adults-only resort.  We toured the neighboring family-friendly resort and it was such a different energy.  The only bummer was that the weather was unseasonably chilly and we had a few windy and rainy a couple of days - the beach was even closed for a bit.  But we still had fun just hanging out (remember, the drinks are free!), plus we found the tennis court, which helped warm us up.  Even when it was too cold to swim, we strolled the beach and just enjoyed our toes in the sand.

I was deeply committed to fully relaxing on this trip.  I didn't bring my laptop, I barely looked at my phone, and I let my brain slip into neutral.  I also wanted to put down the camera.  I wanted to live in the moment, instead of frantically trying to capture it on camera.  So much of blogging is about always getting things in pictures and it really changes my experience of thing.  There were a lot of people doing incredibly in depth, sexy "photo shoots" in the waves - for social media, I'm betting.  One woman was completely taken out by a wave while she posed for the 100th angle, with her poor Instagram husband snapping away.  Meanwhile, I was down the beach like...


In hindsight, I wish I had more photos of the four of us - especially because I seemed to be wearing the exact same dress in the few photos we did take (despite dropping a ton of money on six new bathing suits and summer dresses!)  But in the moment, it felt so freeing to leave my camera and cell phone in the room safe.  On a particularly cold and windy day, Hubby and I did stroll around the resort and I snapped a few photos to remember how beautiful it was.

Palm Trees
Punta Cana Breathless Resort

We were upgraded for free to a swim up room, which was AMAZING!  There was a squiggly shaped pool right outside our rooms and because the pool was hardly ever used, it felt like like a private pool just for us.  We were across from the "party pool" so we could hear the music and feel the vibes, without having to fight for a sought after deck chair.  I loved this little luxury so much. 

Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort

The party pool was just incredible - there was a swim up bar, too.  The whole resort had lots of places to swim and sunbathe.  The grounds were impeccably maintained, too - such beautiful plants!  

Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort

The resort rooms were gorgeous, with a little open air courtyard to greet us.  I never snapped a photo of the inside of our room because we made a mess of it in seconds, madly flinging on our swim suits for a (prohibited) evening swim our first night.  After that we put up a travel clothesline so we could wash and dry stuff, and from then on it was gotch-city in our room.  But there are some great photos on the website - the rooms really are that pretty in real life.

Punta Cana Breathless Resort

Sick of this dress yet?  I swear, I also bought this white eyelet one, this pretty green ikat one, this strapless maxi, this watercolor inspired one... There was even a pair of turquoise wedge sandals I have no proof existed.

To be honest, we only gussied up for dinner because during the day we tried to squeeze in as much time in the water as possible!  The resort was right on the ocean so it was a two second stroll through the resort pools, bars, and restaurants to reach the beach.  We've heard other resorts are larger and some even require a bus to reach the water.  This was so close we could hear the waves from our room.  We spent a LOT of time on the beach - you know me and being by the water!  There were a few "red flag" days, which meant swimming was prohibited due to waves, but we recklessly jumped in anyway and logged long hours in the ocean.

Punta Cana Breathless Resort

The ocean was GORGEOUS!  Crystal clear and surprisingly warm (as long as the weather cooperated)!  Our friends did some snorkeling close to the coral reefs but I was too scared of cutting myself on the coral.

Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort
Punta Cana Breathless Resort

I'm a little bummed we didn't have the nicest weather - resort staff kept apologizing for the bizarre cold front.  After spending weeks carefully buying a summer wardrobe, I spent a couple of nights wrapped up in Hubby's hoodie or under a blanket.  Although we had a few perfect days, I definitely could have been warmer, but that's just the story of my life.  Some day someone will surely engrave that on my tombstone: "Daughter, wife, feminist. She led a full life, but she could have been warmer".

Luckily the restaurants and bars were so chic (and the food was delicious), so we didn't mind lingering over breakfast or lunch while we watched for better weather.  One section of the main restaurant had a wood, green and teal theme - with cactus sculptures that I need to make right now! - that quickly became my favorite (I already shared a peek on Instagram because I was so smitten):

Punta Cana Breathless Resort

I left feeling inspired and I am definitely going to be adding some more beachy accents to the lakehouse, that's for sure - something to tide me over until we can go somewhere warm again!  Any suggestions for where we can escape winter next year? 



I swear, I really brought other clothes.
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24 comments

  1. LOL! But that dress is adorable!! I'd wear it up until it wore out! LOL! Punta Cana is a fabulous place...resorts are VERY relaxing. We love Florida and Myrtle Beach as escapes and I always come back feeling the same (i.e., We need some sort of beachy room in our house!!)

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    1. Haha, I guess it was my favorite dress too, lol. Super comfy. I know someone vacationing in Myrtle Beach right now - I'm excited to hear all about it. Yes, that desire to create an oasis at home is so strong. Like I just need a sea shell curtain and life will be better... :)

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  2. hi...really enjoy your blog....we were in PC the same week as you , I can tell from the "cold wind and rain" ...but it was still great...your resort looks amazing..have to check it out.

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    1. Hi Debbie! Small world!! Such a bummer about the weather, wasn't it? I was so freezing some nights, but it was still warmer than at home, lol. We loved our resort. Our friends had been to a few and this was definitely their favorite, so that was good to know because we had no frame of reference. The guys are friends at work and they picked it so I feel pretty spoiled because they did all of the research. Did you like your resort?

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    2. Hi Tanya....we love our resort..third time at Bahia Principe..it's teh beach that is really great in Punta Cana....you can walk and walkk...love it...yeah..it was cool at night..we turned off the air conditioner..never had to do that before..it was our third time there

      Love your lake house...and your townhouse...lots of inspiration for our house we just bought in prince edward county...don't move until the fall but I'm collecting ideas....take care and have a nice weekend

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    3. I'm already eyeing up places for next time. I would definitely stay at breathless again but because that was our first time ever going to a place like that, I'm curious about other resorts, so thanks for the feedback! And thanks for your kind words - I'm so happy you've found some ideas here :) Congratulations on the new house - what a fun thing to look forward too! And you have lots of time to plan and shop!

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  3. So much winter fun!

    Our family of 4, my husband, son & daughter-in-law, spent a week in San Diego in February. It wasn't super warm & the weather was a little weird. It was actually colder there than it was at our home in northwest Arkansas where typical Feb. temps are 30's to 40's. We had a strange warm front that week at home & hit 70's & 80's!

    Anyway, SD is a beautiful fun place. We went because my husband & son were both taking job training so it wasn't as fun for us as a vacation but still lots to see & do. Our favorite spot was Crystal Pier, a deep sea fishing pier where you can rent cabins right on the pier. There's a lot of fun shopping & great restaurants in walking distance of the pier. We spent alot of time there. Coronado Island is probably more like what you just did if you decide to try out SD.

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    1. What a great vacation (even though there was work involved) - so funny about the weather, though! That cabin rental sounds so fun. I love places where you can stroll and find neat little shops and places to eat. It sounds beautiful.

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    2. "San Diego" caught my eye. I'm a native! WOW you picked the wrong February to come. Nothing but rain and clouds. Hope you consider coming back, maybe in July to September when it's sure to be hot ;)

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    3. Have you ever blogged about an insider's guide? I don't remember if I've seen one on your blog...

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  4. This is too funny. Two weeks ago before you left Canada I wrote you that I was in Punta Cana. Today you write about your trip and I realize you stayed at Breathless as well! We were there Feb 24 to Mar 4 and had great weather. I am surprised and sorry it got cold for you!

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    1. We almost overlapped! Small world! I had no idea you were at Breathless when you left your comment. Did you love it there? We looked at the weather and the week before and after our trip was amazing. We were in the middle of a few wacky days. I feel like I have my own personal thunder cloud, lol. Next time it will be warmer, I'm sure of it, haha.

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  5. The resort looks amazing! The one we stayed at in PC was no where near that nice. (we still had a nice time.).

    We also aren't really AI people but I have come embrace the most relaxing elements - on site meals, direct beach access, no worries, etc.

    Our last trip was to Royal Hideaway in Playa Car Mexico and it was great, by far the best food we experienced at any AI.

    Your dress coordinates beautifully with the background.

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    1. You're so spot on about the lack of worries! That was very freeing. Our vacations have always felt a bit stressful because we worry about missing trains and finding restaurants. There was a particularly bad mini-trip to Santorini that saw us stranded at the airport and hitchhiking back to civilization in the dark in desperate search of a toilet. Oy. This was peaceful. I'll have to check out that resort in Mexico - that sounds so enticing now that I've gotten a taste of this life.

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  6. OMG! That story stressed me out. That's what it was like traveling with my dad as a kid. He was fearless, frugal and took reservations were for suckers. We were left without a room the night before flying home from Germany when I was a teen. A small inn keeper took pity on us, callled the maid and we slept at her house. W saw so much but it was stressful at times.

    My mom and stepdad spend two or three trips a year in that region of mexico, Playa car, Playa de carmen, xcaret or Cozumel. That region has a great mix of really friendly people (who enjoy a good standard of living) beaches and history. There are several beautiful historic sites a short distance away.

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    1. Sorry to stress you out! I cannot believe you had to stay in a stranger's home - that is a crazy story! What a kind person to open her home to your family, wow. Thanks for those other recommendations. Next time we travel somewhere warm, I'd love to see some history and culture - I missed that, although just chilling in one spot was so nice.

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  7. So much fun to see your vacation. Thanks for sharing such a person post with us! Love it!

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    1. Hi Kristen! So happy you liked the photos. I love reading about people's trips because I feel like I get transported there - if only for a minute :)

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  8. WOW!! What a fabulous time you had! That picture of you with all those animals had me rolling. Thanks for sharing, and I'm definitely bookmarking this all-inclusive resort. We normally do DIY trips to urban areas (Paris, London, etc) but I am really in the mood lately for something tropical and restful.

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    1. I had eyed up that adorable iguana all week, the guy kept carrying him in these hilarious ways and he looked so content (the iguana, well, actually the dude too). I was jazzed to finally hold him and after the picture I cuddled that iguana for awhile (no other tourist wanted him - just the birds) and he totally fell asleep!

      Like you, I'm used to the DIY thing but this really was more restful, although I'd love to combine a resort with some sightseeing next time. Although I would 100% stay here again - it was really perfect.

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  9. The resort does indeed look gorgeous! Looks like you had a great time despite a few chilly days. I'm all about beach vacations where you do absolutely nothing. I've got Bermuda on my must-see list now.

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    1. I've been thinking about Bermuda too. If you go, I'd love to hear all about it!

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  10. My first ever tropical vacation was to Punta Cana. I'll never forget it - the white sand, the bright blue water, the warmth and humidity... sigh. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Well deserved holiday!There are so many all inclusive hotel resorts in Greece as well and the weather is really good from May on to October. I really think it is a good way to relax but there are the cons too as for example that you don't get to see the country you are visiting and also that the local restaurants and shops lose profit from the huge all inclusive hotels!Great pics!AriadnefromGreece!

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