I’m delighted to publish this story by my dear friend and former co-worker Andrea Chrysanthou. Andrea works full-time and has two teenagers and a toddler, so she is definitely a busy mom who needs and wants a proper vacation for the whole family! The Nickelodeon Punta Cana is a brand new property in the Dominican Republic, and I’m so pleased she offered to share her family vacation story with us!
Nickelodeon Punta Cana Review: An All-Inclusive for the Whole Family
If you have toddlers, I just got your attention. When we told our three-year-old we were going to somewhere he could meet his favourite Paw Patrol characters, he couldn’t sleep until we were on the plane.
The new Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana, home to some of Nickelodeon’s most popular cartoon characters, did not disappoint. For the first time, we, the adults, didn’t have to choose between the luxury that comes with an adult all-inclusive and the fun-filled activities that come with more family-friendly resorts.
This hotel had it all. Perhaps it’s because it’s part of the Karisma Hotels & Resorts chain, a brand known for its upscale hotels, luxurious hotel rooms and gourmet food offerings. In fact, Karisma hotels are branded as “gourmet-inclusive,” rather than an all-inclusive.
New parents will be thrilled to know you can leave most of your baby necessities at home. The hotel has strollers, bottle warmers, cribs, and even Gerber baby food available for free on request.
Nickelodeon Punta Cana Review: The Fun
Parents with toddlers or young children will be thankful for the many other amenities. Our son would have been happy just to meet the Nickelodeon characters but there is so much more.
Nickelodeon Place sits on one side of the resort and houses everything that will make your children shriek with joy. Aqua Nick is a water park with three water slides, splash pads, spray grounds and a lazy river. While it may look small on first inspection, there’s more than enough to keep children amused. We loved the warm water in the lazy river, which was shallow enough that we could walk in. *Bring a small inner tube for your little ones, as those at the resort are too big to hold them.*
TODDLER TIP: Bring a small inner tube for your little ones, as those at the resort are too big to hold them.
While you’re there, sign up to get slimed but don’t worry, the slime is just green-coloured water.
At the entrance to Aqua Nick, you’ll also find Character Central. Ask the staff for the character schedule and make sure you’re nearby when Dora, Sponge Bob, Paw Patrol, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come out.
Also nearby is Just Kiddin’, the hotel’s kids’ club. Our son loved the slide that lands him in a giant ball pit, and when he wasn’t pulling down all the Nickelodeon-themed toys, he was colouring and making crafts with the staff. Bear in mind, you can’t leave your child in the kids’ club if they’re under the age of four, but we hung out with our little guy for an hour on a hot day and he had a ball while we relished in the air-conditioning.
Nickelodeon Punta Cana Review: The Rooms
And while the kids likely won’t notice, you’ll guaranteed to be impressed with the hotel rooms. From small Pad rooms to full-scale villas, there’s not a space that hasn’t been thoughtfully laid out.
All have spa-like bathrooms featuring freestanding tubs and rain showers, fully stocked bars, comfortable couches, and balconies so large that they have their own day beds. My husband and I spent many an afternoon lounging on the balcony while our son was napping in the room.
Those with older children can enjoy the swim-up rooms. Their balconies lead to small pools surrounding all the hotel buildings. We weren’t comfortable with direct access to water for our inquisitive son so we chose a second-floor room.
If you splurge for one of the three “Pool Super Villas,” you’ll get your own private pool with its own sundeck and garden. The villas are almost 3000 square feet and come with a premier bar and your own personal butler.
The most luxurious accommodations, however, can be found in The Pineapple. You can’t miss the giant fruit-shaped villa in the middle of the resort but while it’s impressive from the outside, your jaw will drop when you see the interior. Inspired by Spongebob Squarepants’ home under the sea, the décor is quirky, but the overall feel is completely luxurious.
The two-bedroom villa also has its own pool and private court but it also features a second-story with a twin bedroom, and even an outdoor shower and freestanding tub. It also comes with its own butler.
Each building also has its own concierge so you can reserve a cabana by the pool or the beach (no more waking up at 6AM to claim a cabana by laying your towel on it).
Nickelodeon Punta Cana Review: The Food
Food takes centre stage at Karisma resorts and the new Nickelodeon Punta Cana hotel is no different. There are eight restaurants and a buffet, referred to as a presentation restaurant because the folks at Karisma are well aware of the negative connotations associated with buffets. Extra care is taken to make sure everything is always fresh and that there is ample variety. Kids will love the donut bar and the slime (coloured chocolate) fountain.
The other sit down restaurants range from upscale gourmet (Kitchen 23 which, depending on your package, may come at an extra cost), to out of this world (SpaceWalker, where hosts dressed in space uniforms and purple wigs serve you under moody lighting) Our favourite was BRGRS.PH, a restaurant with an indoor food truck. All the burgers are great, but if you’re brave go with the Machete Burger. It’s made for six people and is so massive that servers cut it with a machete.
If your kid doesn’t get his fill from the visits to Character Central, sign up for a character breakfast at Zest. This is also an additional charge but all the characters show up and you can dance and take photos with them. Our son literally jumped up and down for two minutes straight after Chase and Marshall (Paw Patrol) came out.
Nickelodeon Resorts Punta Cana really does have something for the whole family. The only drawback we found was that Nickelodeon Place is across the street (you access it under a bridge) from the rest of the resort but there are golf carts throughout the resort at all hours and the drivers are more than happy to shuttle you back and forth. It’s a small price to pay for what truly was an unforgettable experience.
Andrea Chrysanthou is a mom, avid traveller, and freelance blogger. You can reach her on Twitter @CallMeAndreaC
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