Rocking out at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic
PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic – I’m rockin’ out in the Caribbean this week thanking my lucky stars that Hurricane Rina is hitting Cancun, Mexico, not this gorgeous golf destination.
The weather here at the Punta Cana Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is out of this world for a Midwestern boy, topping out at a sunny, hot 86 degrees.
I’ve been at the resort just a few hours and I already feel like I’ve rubbed elbows with greatness … well, at least sort of. I walked by comedian Jon Lovitz (see photo above) while he was relaxing on the beach. And I swore that guy at the pool was Jonathan Silverman, who was the lead actor in one of my favorite bad TV shows, “The Single Guy,” from the 1990s.
I’m visiting this vacation hot-spot to get a taste of the “Dominican Republic Hard Rock Sports Invitational,” which attracts guests to support the Dream Foundation. There are parties and poker events to crash later.
My afternoon was spent exploring this massive all-inclusive resort, home to nine restaurants, 15 pools, the country’s largest casino and a Jack Nicklaus golf course. There’s a hot tub in the middle of my room. How cool is that? My host assured me that everything was all-inclusive: from the bottles of tequila in the mini-bar in my room to the calls home to the United States and Canada. I met one couple staying here almost exclusively because they call home three or four times a day to check on their young children at home.
Outside my room, a mid-afternoon party was roaring at the topless adult-only pool called Eden (shhhh, don’t tell my wife). Every two minutes, a group started chanting “shot, shot, shot!” I can guess what happened next. I was young once, too, you know.
On the beach, which stretches for miles, there was someone kite-boarding (see above). I’ve never done it, but I want to. A group farther down the shore was horse-back riding in the surf, something my wife would kill to experience. At another spot, a couple on a “destination” wedding and their party were getting pictures taken in the sand. Why didn’t I think of that when I said “I do” in a nondescript Methodist church in Michigan?
Tomorrow, I’m visiting the two courses of the Punta Cana Resort & Club, a Tom Fazio and P.B. Dye design. Saturday, it’s a trip to Punta Espada, the host of a Champions Tour event, the Cap Cana Championship. And maybe I’ll even squeeze in a round at the Cana Bay Palace course on site.
I’ve never been to this section of the Dominican Republic before, but it’s already sky-rocketed atop my list of places to come back to with the family. It’s that good.
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