Expert Review: Eden Roc Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

Eden Roc Cap Cana Pool Suite Dominican Republic

I’ve stayed at over 600 hotels, more than anyone else alive on this planet, in the past 20 years, and I wrote a story on my top ten resorts in the world. After staying at Eden Roc Cap Cana, a Relais & Chateaux property, it looks like I’ll have to soon update that top ten list.

Opened in 2012, Eden Roc Cap Cana in Dominican Republic, just 15 minutes from Punta Cana International Airport, is stunning. You don’t necessarily get that impression with a quick glance of its website (hopefully they’ll update with better photos soon), but trust me: it’s a sanctuary with incredible rooms, food, amenities and unforgettable service.

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Eden Roc Cap Cana is truly luxurious with tons of heart and soul, and the lowest-tier room is a 800-square-foot-plus, stand-alone cottage with private pool, which right away tells you’re getting more than you bargained for.  The resort feels timeless, which is what I look for when I review stand-out properties. There’s an excellent spa, restaurants and beach exclusive to guests, and the resort is comfortably private (there are only 60 accommodations). Eden Roc is secluded in its own oasis in the 30,000-acre Cap Cana enclave, which makes a world of difference in a destination known for all-inclusive resorts.

7 Things You Need To Know About Dominican Republic

If you plan on staying at Eden Roc, definitely book through TripAdvisor. You can actually book hotels through the site, and I found they offer the best rates.

Take a look at Eden Roc Cap Cana in Dominican Republic.

The lobby with vaulted, bamboo ceiling is modern, visually impressive and elegant. I found various design inspirations, from Polynesian and Southeast Asian to French Riviera and Caribbean. I loved the space, and it was one lobby I didn’t mine hanging out in. Also, notice something rare? It’s not crowded and busy like most other resorts in Dominican Republic.Check out the check-in desk. It’s gorgeous with a wall of stringed lights, and an old-school canoe adds to the thoughtful design. Check-in was a breeze, btw. It took less than 5 minutes. This sunken garden is just past the lobby. I loved how the resort went above and beyond with design details like this. There’s also something extremely soothing about seeing a garden as you first arrive, let alone a beach resort.Just past the garden is the main resort area, home to two massive pools. We arrived on an extremely cloudy day, and our butler (every guest has a dedicated butler) gave us a brief tour and dropped us off at the beach while our room was getting ready. The majority of the resort is right here, including the main restaurant, beach bar, private beach, spa, fitness center, beach suites and La Palapa restaurant. 
The pool on the left has amazing depth and both pools are long. The one pictured here is mostly for kids. Don’t you love the floating garden in the middle of the pool? Also, you can see some of the beachfront suites in the corner of the photo. They overlook the pools and beach area. There are plenty of thatch-roof palapas on the white sand beach. It’s quiet (no salsa music or whatever you hear at other resorts), which I was thankful for since I love the sound of the waves. The ocean breeze is gentle, hence swaying palms. The Caribbean sea is gentle here, thanks to the way the beach is laid out like a cove. It’s perfectly shallow for kids, and you can swim as far as you like. The sand was incredibly fine, and the water the perfect temperature. Beach service was impressive and efficient. Not only did regular beach staff come around with treats (like sample smoothies) and take your orders, masseuses went around offering complimentary, five-minute neck and shoulder massages right on the spot. Should you need anything, the palapas and cabanas have little blue flags you can raise, and someone will come right away. Kris and I were booked in a Pool Suite, which are about a mile away in a dedicated enclave, home to a second lobby, fitness center, restaurant, kids club and outdoor pool. Some people may find it an inconvenience, but I loved it, especially since every guest receives their own electric golf cart to get back and forth. This was quite possibly one of my favorite things. I love driving golf carts, so much I would never let Kris drive. The main resort is about a 3-minute drive from the pool suites.  There’s not much between the Pool Suites and the main resort but miles of golf course… and a whole lotta sky. There are 34 Pool Suites, which are essentially standalone, cottage-style villas, each with its own driveway for your golf cart. The separate enclave felt like a small residential neighborhood since the villas are right next to each other, surrounding the lobby and pool area. It was a true oasis removed from the main part of the resort.The pool suites are *breathtaking.* I don’t use that term lightly, but once we entered, we were overwhelmed with how elegant, modern and refined a cottage could be. There was a fusion of design elements, from Mediterranean to Caribbean, with mosaic tiles, a vaulted ceiling with chandelier and colorful furnishings and fabrics.Our villa was spacious and flooded with sunlight. Also, I need to reiterate, this is the *lowest* room category. Some resorts in the Caribbean have standard rooms the same price, but three times smaller. The villa bathroom is almost as big as the villa itself, with a walk-in closet, two vanity areas, a toilet room with bidet and a large window (that opens), and a stone bathtub that could fit four people. My readers know I get excited with a window in a hotel bathroom, so this absolutely blew me away.Here’s the outdoor rain shower, surrounded by stone walls. Note: there is a second rain shower (inside). You practically have a nice little garden courtyard with glass-wall. Honestly, I’d be surprised if this outdoor area hasn’t been the set of a Versace campaign.Speaking of outdoor area, every Pool Suite villa has its own private pool and gazebo in a very private backyard. The landscape was pristine, the pool is heated and the gazebo provided the perfect setting for some casual downtime. The best decision any guest at a luxury resort in the Caribbean has to make is: should I use my personal pool or the resort infinity pool today? That’s modern comfort for a five-star resort, and Eden Roc truly delivers. The villa is hooked up with all the latest technology (fast wifi, portable Bluetooth speaker, even HDMI cord if you want to watch a file from your laptop on the 55″ TV screen — we watched JoJo Rabbit one night). It also has a great mini-bar, espresso machine and Acqua Di Parma toiletries. We ordered burgers and champagne for room service. The burger hit all the right spots, cooked perfectly. I had come from another Dominican Republic resort, where they said resorts in DR don’t do medium rare. It was such a wildly dumb statement, and this burger was living proof. I loved the colors at dusk, with the Caribbean pastel green, the brilliant orange glow of the inside lamps, the reflection of the pool. The villa could have been a painting. One beautiful thing about this little section of the resort are the sprawling lagoons and pools in the center of it. We never went in, but it’s a reason to come back. I was surprised none of the staff had mentioned this natural crater, “Gardens of Eden,” an ecological reserve, so I’m glad I stumbled upon it. If you squint, you can see Kris on the platform below, left of center. It was a gorgeous spot, tucked away behind the pool, incredibly awe inspiring and staggering in size. Couples can arrange romantic dinners here at night. The spa was a gorgeous sanctuary, and again, a lot of thought was put into the design, including these live vertical gardens. The spa reception has a glass wall looking into the sunken garden. I loved this. Too many spas in the Caribbean have lobbies in windowless rooms, yet this lobby manages to incorporate nature. The spa is intimate, with a steam room, ice room and showers, and a quiet waiting area where I received a healthy beverage served in a carved-out cucumber. My deep tissue massage was excellent.
Eden Roc has a fully equipped fitness center. Speaking of luxury, there’s an in-house personal trainer on site, who can give you pointers during your work out, as she did for my friend Kris.Kris and I went for the aerial yoga, though we ended up doing normal yoga on mats. I loved the space with the bamboo ceiling. The beachside restaurant, La Palapa, is casual, serving elevated lunch foods, like whole fish and sushi. The views are perfect. There’s also a Mediterranean restaurant serving breakfast (buffet and a la carte with fresh juices and dishes), Riva Bar and Blue Grill + Bar.I loved Eden Roc. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a private getaway, whether romantically, with family or with friends. It’s one of those resorts I took hundreds of photos, and we could have extended and stayed for days if we had the time. That’s a big statement, since I usually get antsy being at a resort for more than two nights.

In order for a luxury resort to be truly luxurious, the rooms must be exceptional, the food must be outstanding, and the service must be personal and back-bending, and Eden Roc exceeded expectations.

The One Secret At Punta Cana Airport Only Luxury Travelers Know

For more information or to book, click here.

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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