For the first time in almost 5 years of relationship, Rapha and I decided to travel to the Dominican Republic together. I grew up there, for more than 17 years and Rapha lived In Santo Domingo (the capital) for 4 years. So, for our first time in the Caribbean together we decided to collaborate with the country’s best hotels. And, this how we ended up experiencing the Wyndham vacation resorts.
As you might know, we are not the luxurious type. We love to backpack, stay at people’s homes and, we usually don’t want to spend so much money on stays. But, this time was different, and we wanted to try something different. Collaborating with the tourism office board made us really proud of what we’ve achieved with our blog. We wanted to give back to our country of adoption, and really experience it through the eyes of locals. The staff was so friendly, and they were so amused we talked “Dominican” that we felt even more at home.
We decided to stay in the North of the island, near the Bay of Samaná, close to where my parents live. Wyndham vacation resorts and hotels are all around the world (46 countries in total!). This is just an example that shows you how reliable they are. In the Dominican Republic only they are located in 4 cities, and we had the chance to visit 2 of them.
One is known for its beautiful beach (playa Coson) and, the other one, is more known for the city of Puerto Plata. For us, it was a good way to experience two sides of the Dominican. One being the tropical vibes and the other one being the colonial heritage the island holds.
Bahia de Coson:
The Viva Wyndham V Samana is the most beautiful of the Wyndham vacation resorts we’ve visited so far. If you are visiting the North of the island, maybe even Las Terrenas the city I grew up in, you can not miss playa Coson. It has one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. You can walk from the hotel and find calmer beaches around. In fact, if you push to playa Bonita, you can even go to Carolina Surf School next to El Mosquito bar. There you’ll share the beach and surfboards with the french people who’ve made of Las Terrenas their new home.
Really close to Las Terrenas, the hotel offers a lot of possibilities. If you like to stay in the hotel and enjoy the breeze of the ocean while reading a book on your hammock, it’s possible. If you prefer to take a cab (we’d recommend something else) and go visit the city of Las Terrenas, or do one excursion, you can! The city is only 15 minutes away. If you walk on the beach towards playa Bonita you will be able to find cheap “moto concho” (moto-taxi) for 2 or 3 euros instead of taking a cab from the hotel. The Dominican Republic, let alone Las Terrenas, is not dangerous at all.
The Viva Wyndham V Heavens is located near Puerto Plata, one of the most colorful cities I’ve visited in the Dominican Republic. The resort has access to the beach, but it is less intimate than the one in Coson, as it’s surrounded by a huge amount of all-inclusive. However, the room was bigger than our apartment in Malmö!
What we liked about this hotel was mainly easy access to one of the most beautiful colonial cities of the Dominican Republic. We also liked the huge amount of restaurants available (included in the “all-inclusive” package) and the very friendly staff. If we had one feedback to give it would be: put less plastic chairs in the sand, it takes away from the natural experience we are looking for. Plastic has a way of visually polluting the places we travel to, but we also know that with such a humid climate it can be often hard to use other material.
All-inclusive vacation resorts “package”
It was our first time in an all-inclusive. We were pleasantly surprised while sipping on our welcome cocktails. It took us a few hours to really understand that, not only the bedroom was included in the price, but also the food, the alcohol, and most of the services.
It was a nice surprise for us, as we did not have to worry about our budget anymore. When traveling, food and accommodation are the biggest expense for us. And, even though we are not the type to stay in the hotel all day long, we managed to take advantage of the amenities of the hotel. We would wake up, go take some photos for the blog, come back and have breakfast. Then we’ll go visit and come back for lunch, before exploring again.
In addition to this, when we were not in the hotel to eat it was because my mom had prepared a delicious meal for us to eat at home. Then, my dad would drive us back to the hotel to sleep. The perfect balance of cozy time with Rapha, and time with my parents.
What makes a place memorable is not only the state of the bedroom, the quality of the mattress or the numbers of pillows on the bed. No, for us, it’s the small details that make a stay memorable. It doesn’t take a lot of money to create unforgettable memories.
Each time, when we arrived in one of the hotels, we received a welcome food basket. The first one had a bottle of champagne, some cheese (sad plant-based Kim and Rapha) and a lot of fruits (happy plant-based Kim and Rapha). The second time, a lot of fruits and a bottle of cider. Honestly, after those long hours of transportation, chewing on fruits with our feet in the water felt like heaven.
Viva Wyndham V Samana (Bahia de Coson):
This was definitely our favorite of the Wyndham vacation resorts, not only because it was a beautiful place, but because the bedroom’s human scale was all we needed.
We had a Vibe Room, with a view on the garden and a plunge pool. At night, we could light the pool and drink our bottle of champagne with our feet in the water. The garden would create the perfect natural wall to keep us away from the people walking by and the employees. We really felt like in a cocoon.
Viva Wyndham V Heavens (Puerto Plata):
The V Heavens is one impressive all-inclusive. The Amnesia suite was literally bigger than our apartment in Sweden, around 60 square meters. The king-size bed looked fabulous next to the spacious living room and the private balcony.
The mini-fridge was filled with water bottles (no drinking water in the country) and sodas every morning. And, this was actually really good for us who needed water for our daily adventures. Not sure if so much space is needed for us, as we used the room only to rest. But, for someone here to relax, this is more than perfect. It’s crazy how we get used to fancy lifestyles, isn’t it?
The food (and drinks)
Wyndham vacation resorts work really hard to make you feel at home. The V Heavens was the one with the most restaurants, 5 in total! The most surprising thing for us was the fact that we could order room service around the clock. No vegan option though.
The buffet: Both Wyndham vacation resorts had a buffet. Always open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There, you could really experience Dominican foods which we found amazing. We are used to Dominican hotels trying to copy occidental cuisine (which never tastes really good). You can enjoy savory food like me or, if like Rapha you like sweet breakfast, there are fruits, pancakes, and more.
The restaurants: We didn’t know at first, but if you have a special diet like us, you can go to the reception and ask them to sort something out for you. The resorts are built like small villages, each restaurant has its own menu. Some Italians, some Dominican, other with a “fusion” cuisine. Just keep in mind that Dominicans are not used to special diets (some think eating fish or dairy is vegan) so they might make mistake. Therefore, if you are/need to be strict with your diet, we would recommend you to have a serious conversation with the staff, especially the manager/receptionist.
The bars: There is nothing more vacation-like than grabbing a cocktail and go sit by the beach, am I right? Well here you can do that and for free. The bars are open late in the Wyndham vacation resorts, and they serve pretty good cocktails. And if they close too soon for you, well there is always the hotel’s discotheque open from 11 PM to 2 AM!
To keep you inside, the Wyndham vacation resorts provide you with a lot of activities that are free to enjoy. You can play tennis, grab a kayak or canoe to ride the blue waters. There are a lot of performances, dance classes and fitness classes happening around and in the pool too. The staff is really friendly. I had the chance to take a yoga class, something I also do in Sweden, and the teacher was really good.
Some water sports are included in the “package” but some others need you to pay an extra fee. Make sure to ask them before so you do not end up with an additional cost on your bill.
The Wyndham vacation resorts want you to live the Dominican experience without missing any of the comforts you’d have back home. For us, staying fit is quite important. Sports are a way to relax and keep your mind away from work. We especially enjoyed the fitness center, when the rain was pouring we’d go there, waiting for the sun to come back. The room has good machines, aeration, and water. Pleasant surprise!
One thing we need to travel and work at the same time is good wifi. And that was challenging in the hotel. There was wifi, everywhere, but not enough for us to upload content fast enough for our blog. But, we were lucky to have a Dominican sim card with a phone number and 30 GB of internet. If that is not something you can do, we’d suggest you ask the receptionist to help you find a better wifi spot.
The convenience store and the laundry service are also very good. If you do not want to leave the hotel while you’re there you won’t have a problem. Your clothes will be clean. The store will provide you with what you need. And, if you’re in need of some “me time” the Spa and beauty salon (not included) will make your day.
What we loved
One big plus for us was the very nice staff and well-behaved visitors. I had experienced in the Dominican Republic tourists feeling like they can do anything, say anything and be rude just because they were on vacation. It can really have an impact on your stay if people around you are not respectful of your space, and it was not the case here. Well managed!
What we loved about the Wyndham vacation resorts was that it was really easy to get away from the tourists. And, we could do leaver either by the beach in Coson or by taking a “carro público” to Puerto Plata. We didn’t feel trapped like we would in other all-inclusive resorts.
Also, we loved that we could eat 24/7 and didn’t have to wait for hours outside the restaurants. The swimming pool and the beachfront in Bahia Coson were our highlights of the Wyndham experience. Again, if you have to decide which one to go to: our favorite was the Viva Wyndham V Samana.
This was an honest review from the Wyndham vacation resorts both in Puerta Plata and Bahia Coson, who we collaborated with our trip to the Dominican Republic. However we did not get paid to write such an article, and you can trust us with the genuine information we provide.