An All Inclusive Holiday with a Toddler and Baby in the Dominican Republic
|Great Travelling with Family - so much help with the Kids|
DestinationWe decided on the Dominican Republic, as the flight time was reasonable, it offers great value for money for all inclusive resorts and all year sunshine. Me and my brother had both visited once before, on our own family holiday around 18 years ago as teenagers and remembered having a lot of fun in those two weeks.
When it came to resorts my favourites which matched my criteria of having lots of a la carte restaurants, family friendly and large rooms were:
1.The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real
3.Tui Sensatori Resort Punta Cana
|First Taste of Sand - Yummy|
Once all the big decisions were made all that was left to do was shop for ridiculous cute baby swimwear and count down the days.
|Ready for their flight|
We had an afternoon flight meaning we could wake up as normal and leisurely make our way down to gatwick airport, I managed to pack all our gear into 4 suitcases and 4 hand luggages plus a stroller, I enviously looked on at my brother and sister in law with their tiny little rucksacks and one rolling suitcases making airport travel look effortless. On the upside though, this also meant thought they could help us out lots with all our extra pieces of luggage and children, as much as I try to pack only essentials with kids and babies it seems everything is a must.
|Me and my luggage|
|Enjoying her front row seat|
ArrivalUpon arrival at Punta Cana, one of the first things you will need to do is pay your $10 visa entrance even for children and infants. You will then need to queue again for immigration and for a final third time for customs, however by this point the staff were ready to leave for the day and just whisked us through the last stage. The transfer to the hotel took around 40 minutes, although it was not a private transfer booked there was only one other couple on our large coach which I am sure cut this time down and we reached the hotel fairly speedily.
Hotel Check In
There is nothing like the feel of that cold towel and taste of bubbles after a long day travelling, and this one was very much welcomed. The lobby area was large with an adjacent bar that Mr S took a seat at whilst holding both the sleeping babies. A straight forward check in and along with our copious amounts of luggage we were promptly whisked away to our new rooms on a golf buggy. The driver also gave us a very useful tour of the resort. Although the restaurants were still open for dinner we decided after baths and showers to order room service instead before falling asleep in the large queen size bed.
|Sliders for room service|
The ResortThe next morning due to the five hour time difference we were up very early and made it to breakfast in good time too, this was a large busy buffet with lots of options, my favourite being the chocolate pancakes with crispy bacon. The staff were all great in setting up high chairs and providing hot drinks and cold juices.
|Ready to face the day - Balcony photoshoot|
After fuelling up we decided to explore the resort, the Sensatori actually shares this large resort with Nickelodeon and is basically split down the half with either resorts rooms on their own sides. The hotel shares the large infinity pool, beach and Gourmet Village area. The main difference in the rooms were the colour schemes and Nickelodeon also offered two large villas which sounded amazing.
|Best Babysitters Ever|
All the staff you would meet whilst walking around were very friendly and often stopped to ask us how our stay was and chat to the kids.
|Ready to place her order|
The grounds are all kept beautifully with lots of gardeners working throughout the day to keep it all looking neat and tidy with many tropical flowers. Bubs often returned from his walks with his Papa with a flower for me, I hope he will stay like that forever.
|Twin Sinks, a freestanding bath and separate shower|
|Sofa bed and cot|
|Huge Balcony and new dinosaur toys|
It also meant the kids had an area to play in whilst we got ready each morning and evening, Bubs was in love with having two tvs so close by and lots of his favourite programmes available.
Food and Drinks
Overall all the food and drink we had over our time there was delicious, including the buffets. My favourite out all was probably the burgers, nachos at lunchtime and fresh passion fruit mojitos. We were lucky enough to try out all the restaurants across both resorts. The majority of these are located in the gourmet village, the main square that comes alive in the evenings with live entertainment, children's actives, pop up bars and food stalls.
|Fast Asleep Part2|
Kitchen 23 by Le Chique
|Chicken wings and watermelon bites|
|Crispy Fish Skin|
|Prawns and Scallops|
|Octopus and Black Bean Soup|
|Main of Beef|
VerdelloItalian - who does not enjoy Italian food wherever you are in the world. Mains were a lot tastier than the starters but the winner for me was the tiramisu desert.
|Dinner on a spaceship|
LighthouseAdults only breakfast buffet and a lunchtime buffet for all. Good ice- cream selection and hot rotisserie chicken.
|Chilling outside Zest|
SugarcaneMain buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, huge choice with all items being replenished quickly.
Dinner - only visited on one night when the theme was global and tried a selection of dishes from all over. Even if you dined here three times a day you would not get bored.
My only issue with the restaurants was the pointless booking system involving visiting a gazebo three days before, it would be much easier to just email ahead and book out for the week.
|Chilling in the Bar before kids kick out time|
Kids and Baby Facilities
The restaurants were all fully catered for kids and toddlers with high chairs and boosters seats.
The buffets each had a kids section with comfort food favourites, along with a baby section of purée and pre made packets available. A separate kids menu was also available in the a la carte restaurants or you could easily order off the adult menu too.
|Kids outdoor play area|
In roomThe hotel has an extensive list of baby items they are happy to provide in the room, including bottle warmers, steriliser, baby changing tables, monitors etc. This is great and means you can travel a lot lighter, all we ended up using from the hotel in the end though was a second stroller which was very useful in the evenings when both would end up falling asleep at the same time.
|Changing table and Baby Bath|
|Kettle, Monitor, Bottle Warmer and Steriliser|
|Kids Pool, water guns and mini loungers|
|Kids pool and spray area|
Nickledoen resortAs the resort is linked to the Nickelodeon resort you are also able to go over to this section which includes a larger kids club and indoor soft play area, along with meet and greet with popular Nick characters such as paw patrol, Dora and Spongebob square pants.
As much as Bubs loves Chase and Marshall I think he got scared of the life size versions and refused to go and meet them, much rather spending his time playing inside the kids club with their toy counterparts.
The Nick water park is also a part of this area, however Sensatori guests need to pay a premium to use this, around $30 each. This seems unfair as all other facilities are shared between guests. We only spent a few hours here as the majority of slides are for older children, I would say if they are under 5 this is probably not worth the money.
The sand was soft and clean more golden than white though. A large stretch of private beach with lots of available seating, on a few days however it was very windy by the sea making it very choppy to even paddle in.
|Infinity Pool - spot Bubs|
|Regulars at the Bar|
|Spot the photoshop edit|
The actual pool was always chilly when you got in but soon warmed up.
It started with being shown to the waiting area where a heated neck weight was placed around me along with a comfy blanket on a cosy lounger, the therapist then arrived to collect me and show me to the room. The actual massage was amazing and sent me off into a deep sleep, it was one of those hours I did not want to end. I think when your feeding and holding a baby for so many hours a day you don’t realise how much you put your body through until you fully relax.
I was then shown back into the waiting area and given another heated neck pillow along with a herbal tea and shown where the other facilities were also located. I did not use the sauna and jacuzzi but it looked wonderful too.
Check out from the hotel was all straight forward and something I did the day before our actual departure to make it easier the next day. Tui had sent all guest a standard departure letter stating the time of the coach transfer however I then received a text with a later time, luckily I spoke to the on-site rep about this as we were actually on the later transfer due to being on the BA flight and not the TUI one. One family got the earlier transfer, they ended up at another terminal and wasting far more hours at the airport so make sure you double check.
Punta Cana airport was actually pretty good with lots of American fast food outlets, I got to have a Taco Bell fix and a small kids indoor playground too that helped Bubs burn off some extra energy.
Our return plane was only a few days old, having just been picked up from Singapore. Lovely seeing the future of BA especially as some of their planes are very dated now, much comfier seats and touch sceeen TVs are a welcomed addition. Unfortunately despite being brand new our bassinet table was already broken, luckily we were able to kindly swap seats so Bubs2 could nap lying down otherwise it would have been a problem.
The flight was nice and empty so we were able to spread out and the hours back home flew by fairly quickly. Before we knew it we were landing into a grey gatwick on a cold Friday morning. The upside being we all manged a family nap that day from 11-5pm to try and overcome the jetlag. The kids also kindly had lie ins for a whole week after returning.
I would highly recommend this resort to families and also to couples who don't mind seeing children on holiday as there are plenty of areas to escape to. It was the first time we stayed at a Tui Sensatori resort and I was extremely impressed.
|More impressed than they look in this pic|