Girlfriends’ Guide to Getting Away: Royalton Bavaro

by Stefanie Novik

The winter of 2018 was one for the record books (can you say, “snow in April”?!). So what better way to melt a little – and mellow a lot – than a warm weekend getaway in the Caribbean? (That’s a rhetorical question, obviously.)

My girl posse and I landed at the airport in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic late at night, but the mild tropical breeze greeted us with a friendly “Hola” – as did every person we came across.

And as we drove up to the breathtaking grounds of our temporary home, the Royalton Bavaro Resort, it was clear the only appropriate response was, “Hola, Paradise!”

I’d never been to the Caribbean, nor had I ever stayed at an all-inclusive resort, and it took me about five seconds to understand the appeal of both. This particular Royalton, part of a chain of upscale resorts throughout the region, is perfectly poised in the heart of Bavaro Beach — voted by several travel publications as the “Best Beach in the Dominican Republic.” I couldn’t wait for daylight to see that for myself close up. But given that it was past midnight when we finally checked in, what I really couldn’t wait for was a close-up view of a big comfy bed. And when I got to my room, I got that, plus a couple of amazing surprises…

Hola, soaking jetted tub in the foyer! Hola, swim-out balcony! And my personal favorite: Hola, exquisitely plated chocolate treats! “I think I’m gonna like it here,” I said to myself before falling into heavenly slumber.

In the light of day, I discovered first hand why Bavaro Beach was voted “Best” in the country. It taunts you with its serene beauty, its 50-shades-of-blue water, and its warm, white, soft sand. Walking for miles is a visually hypnotic experience – and a much more satisfying aerobic workout than two hours on a treadmill at the gym. Not to mention that you rarely see bridal parties, or couples exchanging marriage vows, at a gym. But on this beach, both are plentiful. Weddings are everywhere, each one more beautiful than the next. Cue the flashbulbs – and the tissues.

Full disclosure now: prior to this weekend, I never really wanted to go to an all-inclusive resort, because I’m a city gal, and I typically prefer my travel in cultural centers where there are endless activities to keep me “going” and “doing” all day and night.

But at a Caribbean resort, there’s really just one activity, one ethos, one vibe, one mantra for the whole of the experience: Beaching. I don’t know if that’s actually a word, but I think it accurately describes how one spends their time in a place like this.

There are essentially six steps to successful ‘beaching’ for a party of single gals: Sunbathe, Read, Eat, Drink, Nap, Repeat. You may also choose to add in an intermittent dip in a pool or a stroll on the sand. And if you’re feeling particularly bold, or haven’t quite adjusted to the chill, low rhythm of beaching, you can ship yourself out to a snorkeling expedition for a couple hours. It’s all good…as long as you remember that when you return to the resort, your beaching regimen must resume.

By Day Two, I was beaching like a pro. I especially had the ‘Nap’ step down, likely because I wasn’t used to the ‘Drink’ step in daylight hours. But with eight signature Royalton bars to choose from, and an endless array of island-y concoctions to sample – including a famous Dominican Republic staple known as MamaJuana (rum, red wine, and honey soaked in a bottle with tree bark and herbs – yummy!) – napping was inevitable.

Of course, my mini-snoozes could’ve also been attributable to more than one food coma, induced by the culinary options from any of Royalton Bavaro’s eateries (that’s on top of the bars that also serve food), offering everything from seafood to steak to pasta to burgers to sushi to Brazilian barbecue to haute cuisine chef’s tasting menus. I have to unbutton my pants just thinking about them all.

I did stay awake one day long enough to experience the resort’s wonderful spa, where I had a simply splendid facial…though I did nearly fall asleep in my chair. Hey, when you’re chillin,’ may as well do it full out.

Just an FYI: there are other things to keep you busy at Royalton Bavaro, like its Flowrider surfing simulation, along with plenty of native night-time entertainment at the resort and at off-campus places like Coco Bongo, a local disco/nightclub institution. If you need a retail fix, you can hit the stores at Plaza San Juan and Palma Real. And if you’re still craving for some action, you can zip over to some local zip lining.

But I have no wisdom or reviews to share on any of the above options, because, well…I was too busy beaching.

About The Author

Hiko Mitsuzuka
Entertainment Editor-at-Large

Hiko Mitsuzuka is a self-proclaimed pop culture connoisseur who resides in L.A. and obsesses over songs months before everyone else obsesses over them. He has worked in TV and commercial production ever since he left his native New York in the early 00s. He has worked at the world-renowned Anonymous Content and Carsey-Werner and freelanced as a treatment writer for award-winning directors as well as a contributing writer for 'Instinct.' In addition to writing about entertainment and travel for 'Bello,' Hiko can currently be seen in the roles of Manager of Creative Planning at Stun Creative (PromaxBDA's North America Agency of the Year, 2013, 2014, 2017), film critic for, and contributor for The Huffington Post. He's also currently working on the novel 'Slasher Movie Girl.' His obsessions include quoting old sitcom dialogue and stalking people on Instagram. His vices include chocolate chip cookies and movie theater popcorn. Tweet him @TheFirstEcho.

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