This article was sponsored by
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana
Family travel doesn't have to mean spending every waking moment together. In Punta Cana, parents can enjoy some R'n'R while their kids start a band.
The Dominican Republic is a popular travel destination for families seeking fun under the Caribbean sun. Punta Cana, located in the magical place where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Caribbean in a sea of lapping waves, is home to nature, wildlife and a warm climate – the perfect ingredients for the ultimate rock star getaway.
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana, a luxurious five-star all-inclusive resort, is located on the white sands of Macao Beach spanning 121 glorious acres. Between mesmerizing azure water, sky-sweeping coconut-bearing palm trees and the Hard Rock spirit, families are guaranteed a very special vacation. I know as much because my teenage son and I have holidayed at several all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotels. Somewhere between swimming, dining, exploring and laughing, we even came to appreciate one another’s music choices, creating a playlist full of memories.
Music is the heart and soul of Hard Rock Hotels. They believe music drives us, feeds the spirit and inspires the rhythm of our lives. The all-inclusive resorts, situated in Mexico and the Dominican Republic, marry unique, music-inspired programming with legendary memorabilia, all while celebrating the essence of the destination. Of course, 13 pools, nine restaurants and a bevy of unique experiences like guitar lessons, an Escape Room, bowling and indoor surfing don’t hurt either. Kids’ interests aside, parents who are long overdue for slow, indulgent dinners away from the littles and VIP R’n’R treatment will appreciate Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana’s undeniably luxurious grown up offerings, too.
But, be warned: once you vacation like a rock star it’s hard going back to ordinary life.
Kids (and parents) will love the drop-in Kids Club
Roxity Kids Club
Perhaps there is hope for a visit to the spa after all.
Drop the kids off at the Hard Rock Roxity Kids Club™ knowing they will be supervised, entertained and kept busy with stimulating games, crafts and music.
Outdoors, Roxity offers opportunities to snorkel, play water games, build sandcastles and join epic pool parties complete with floaties. Other activities include a mini-Olympics, dance lessons, talent shows, treasure hunts, yoga and nature walks. Evening-hour programming includes Music Madness, Movie Mania and a rockin’ PJ Percussion Party.
While the kids form rock bands with new friends, parents can relax at the 6,000-square-foot Rock Spa® where a lengthy menu of restorative treatments re-tunes mind and body. Make a few passes through the hot-cold-relax hydrotherapy circuit followed by a hot stone massage. After a day in the sun, restore your glow with a vitamin C facial. Rekindle romance with a 50-minute tandem “soulmate chocolate treatment” ritual for couples. Whichever session parents choose, they’ll relax with ease knowing the kids are well cared for.
Roxity Kids Club™ is set to open in 2022
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.
How it works: Simply sign your child into the Kids Club for drop-in service. The Kids Club is included in the all-inclusive experience.
For famillies with littles under the age of four, private nanny service is available through the Kids Club team for $20 USD per hour. Guests can reserve this service in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Teen spirit: from in-room guitars to magic shows
All-Inclusive Hard Rock Hotels have created a totally unique in-room experience called The Sound of Your Stay®. Teens will love this hands-on activity as they learn chords via in-room video lessons. The program allows guests to choose from 20 Fender guitars on loan (from Stratocasters to Telecasters to bass) and includes an effects pedal and high-quality AKG headphones. It’s like a pop-up studio right in your suite. There is no fee, simply a deposit.
Families can also get their in-room groove on by signing out a Crosley Record Player and a curated collection of 10 vinyl records ranging from classics to the latest emerging artists. This amenity goes by the name wax®.
Other family-friendly programming for older kids and teens include a musical quiz, a beach foam party, dance lessons and mini golf tournament. Once the sun goes down, enjoy live music (voilin, guitar or piano) in the Moon Lounge. Otherwise, channel your inner rock star at karaoke or dance the night away at the disco. (Mini disco opens earlier for younger kids). Prefer to step out of the spotlight and into the crowd? Attend a Dominican Party, Magic Show, Rock Show or Lion King Show. View the Calendar of Events here.
Amenties & activities to enjoy as a family*
When the kids aren’t building sandcastles and splashing in the shallows, there are plenty of amenities to be enjoyed as an entire family off the beach. Skip the sand at any of the spacious 13 pools (three are specifically kid-friendly) and while floating the lazy river.
Kids 15 and younger can slip and slide to their heart’s content in a wet-and-wild wonderland. The family pool is home to flume waterslides and activities set to a soundtrack of teen-friendly tunes.
On the FlowRider®, kids aged four and up can hone their surfing skills. The first time my son surfed FlowRider® he was nervous but after a lesson and some tumbles he got the hang of it. I cautiously watched from the sidelines.
Other outdoor activities include a good old-fashioned round of Rock Star Mini-Golf or a lively tennis match on the courts. There is also beach volleyball and soccer for sporty fun in the sand.
Need a break from the sun? No problem. Wander over to The Boulevard and check out the brand-new Bowling Bar with six lanes and an automatic scoring system. (The Boulevard is also home to VR Exgame with leading edge virtual technology.) Head to the Arcade for flashing lights and spinning wheels to compete against friends or family. Alternatively, work together at Escapology, where you’ll work as a team to find clues, solve puzzles and open padlocks to escape in under an hour. If all that wasn’t enough, older kids and teens craving invigorating space combat can enjoy Laser Tag and hide among a galactic jungle.
Phew. Time to hit up a restaurant and refuel.
*Some activities may cost an additional fee.
Dining to please both adventurous appetites and pick eaters
With unlimited food and beverages spanning nine restaurants, no one goes hungry at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. From picky toddlers to daring teens, there is something delicious and nutritious for every rock star.
Start off with a hearty breakfast at The Market Food Hall, decorated with plants inspired by the tropical greenery that envelopes Punta Cana. (It’s like eating in a modern-day greenhouse.) Match the green vibe with healthy fruits and juices, alongside comforting breakfast favourites. Talented chefs prepare meals upon request if your little rock star has special dietary needs. The Market is also open for lunch and dinner, so go back and sample dishes from around the world prepared fresh with locally sourced ingredients.
Being on vacation (and not having to cook or clean!) is the perfect opportunity to try new foods and experience flavours from around the world. Bistro Med serves Mediterranean and Lebanese food such as falafel, dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) and hummus – a great solution to get littles to crunch their veggies – just dip and munch. Other dining options include Ipanema, a Brazilian-style restaurant grill and Los Gallos, a fun choice with traditional Mexican recipes like cactus salad, five types of tacos and churros with chocolate sauce for dessert. Since most kids enjoy pizza, head to Pizzeto and feast on brick oven, Neapolitan-style pizzas before hitting the beach. My son and I loved Zen for our sushi fix and there are several vegan and gluten-free options at this teppanyaki eatery. After sunset, watch as chefs whip up flame-licked meals in real time.
Save a night to dine Italian-style at Ciao with fresh, made-to-order pastas or a big bowl of kid-approved spaghetti and Bolognese sauce. There is also an ice cream parlour with mouthwatering flavours including dairy-free options and a coffee shop serving baked goods and snacks.
If it’s one of those nights where the kids want to stay in, take advantage of in-room dining with 24-hour room service.
Awaken Your Senses Dining
On the flip side, Awaken Your Senses Dining is a unique, immersive and multi-sensory dining experience that incorporates high-resolution video projection, an interactive touch table, scent synchronization and surround sound to virtually transport diners to another world. For 90 minutes, your family will dine on the finest cuisine in magical surroundings; it is not to be missed. Awaken Your Senses is booked through the vacation planners and not included in the all-inclusive fee. Note: 18+, minimum group size is four; maximum is 12.
Rooms and suites for perfectly configured for families
Rock Family Suite
The impressive Rock Family Suite (one bedroom; 1,175-sq-ft) has a king size bed, two queen size sofa beds, a walk-in closet, dining room, living room and two full bathrooms. Family-friendly highlights of this suite include beach toys, an Xbox 360, plush bathrobes for kids and adults, and a complimentary cake to celebrate little rock star's birthdays.
Rock Family Suite
Regardless which suite you choose, everyone sleeps like celebrities atop 300-thread count Egyptian cotton bedding while streaming complimentary music channels on 55” flat screen LED televisions. All 1,882 luxuriously appointed guest rooms and suites feature balconies or terraces. Cribs can be ordered upon request and laundry service is available for an additional charge.
Bubble bath loving kids can soak in the deluxe hydro spa tab and lather up with cruelty-free, biodegradable bath products. Other room amenities include a Bluetooth alarm clock, hair dryer, iron, ironing board, coffee maker, digital safe, and a direct dial phone with unlimited free phone calls to Canada and the continental USA. There is a stocked mini bar that doubles as a place to keep items cold.
A personal assistant is available in Rock Royalty Level.
When you go
- There are direct flights from Toronto to Punta Cana and flight time is 4 hours and 15 minutes. Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary require a one-stop layover.
- The Dominican Republic operates on a 120V supply voltage and 60Hz so if traveling from Canada you won’t need a travel adapter.
- Visitors entering or exiting the Dominican Republic are required to submit a digital form: Customs Declaration and Health Affidavit
- Hard Rock Hotels implemented a signature Safe + Sound Program with enhanced cleanliness and sanitation protocols for peace of mind and added precautions. They follow guidelines issued by the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control.
- There are onsite testing options available to families returning home to countries which require negative COVID-19 test results.