Punta Cana Feature

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New and Noteworthy Resorts

Two major resorts were in various stages of completion as this book was being written.

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Hard Rock's first all-inclusive property is on spectacular Macao beach, delivering superior luxury in an all-inclusive format. When you first enter the grand lobby, the size of it all and the larger-than-life displays of music memorabilia may leave you gasping. The oversized guest rooms and suites are ultra-luxurious, but you need to decide if you prefer to be where the action is—closer to reception, the restaurants, and the casino—or would rather have a waterfront suite overlooking the sparkling Caribbean. Because of its size you would have to be shuttled from the beach or to the lobby, and waits can be long. The food is exceptionally good—notably the buffet, which offers small, grazing portions of appetizers, soups, and desserts. The 121-acre property has one of the largest casinos in the Caribbean. And then there's the Rock Spa, a 68,000-square-foot, bi-level facility. This resort can be hard-core fun, yet simultaneously romantic. Pros: this is a fun place; quality service, particularly waitstaff; nice variety and quality cuisine. Cons: doesn't have a Caribbean feel; not for those who prefer a boutique property; complaints balloon when the resort is overly full. Blvd. Turístico del Este 74, Km 28, Playa Macao. 809/687–0000. www.hardrockhotels.com. 1,787 rooms. In-room: a/c, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bars, golf course, pools, tennis courts, gym, spa, beach, water sports, children's programs, laundry facilities, business center. All-inclusive.

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