Water slides, a gorgeous beach, expertly crafted cuisine, hanging with the locals—we’re thinking SpongeBob SquarePants, not Punta Cana locals—and a Pineapple Villa! Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana has it goin’ on. This is a kid’s dream hotel…and it’s not too shabby for us adults (in fact, the adult goodies are pretty awesome). Makes sense that it’s a great resort for both adults and kids when you consider its Karisma Hotels & Resorts who’s at the helm of this colorful playground. We visited the 208-room resort just a couple of weeks ago and although it wasn’t fully operational—the resort will celebrate its grand opening in August—we got a sneak peek of what it would be offering families once it was all open for fun. Here are some takeaways your clients are going to want to splash right into, but watch out for the slime….
• Run, don’t walk to Nickelodeon Place, home to AquaPark, which opened on June 18; as well as Plaza Orange, the area for entertainment and events; Character Central, where guests can meet their favorite Nickelodeon characters throughout the day; Just Kiddin’ hang out for do-it-yourself Nick fun, including daily supervised activities and programs for children 4 to 12 years old, plus meet-and-greets with Nickelodeon characters (Just Kiddin’ will open July 1 but with limited, non-Nickelodeon programmed entertainment from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. daily); NICK kNACKS retail shop; and a Sports & Entertainment Center. Kids will also have access to archery, tennis and a soccer field.
• Get up early to enjoy the Character Breakfast at Zest. Your clients will be hanging with the likes of SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick, Dora the Explorer, and Cosmo and Wanda from “The Fairly OddParents.” There’s also a conga line procession, delicious treats and lots of Instagram-worthy selfies (check ours out here).
• Eat, eat and eat some more—I’m sad, very sad that I didn’t get to try all of the eateries the resort will offer. That said, I did have delicious breakfasts at Sugarcane—what a spread, almost dizzying the amount of choices, and the venue itself is very urban hipster; had some finger-licking crockpot chicken wings at BRGRS.PH, where I also had The Delhi Truck burger, made with minted chicken burger on Naan bread, topped with yoghurt, cucumber and red onions (here’s the place to order a 2-lb. burger with all the toppings); and at Verdello, dined on its superlative Sicilian menu, and you can’t leave this restaurant without eating the sinful desserts. The resort will also offer gourmet corners, for some quick bites, and at Doppio Coffee Shop, guests can get a strong cup of coffee or tea, as well as some delicious pastries. Although we didn’t get to try it out, one of the restaurants that piqued my interest was Spacewalker, said to deliver “inter-stellar awesomeness. Spectacular light and sound effects accompany guests as they board their family shuttle and prepare for takeoff. Diners and their fellow astronauts will enjoy a menu of favorites from across the galaxy, served by spacewalking staff. Even the cocktails are out of this world!”
• A spectacular stretch of golden-sand beach fronts the resort, the Uvero Alto beach. Tell clients to go for an early morning walk or just enjoy the sun on one of the many chaise lounges. There are also a number of cabanas that guests can reserve for the full day (if you ask me, this is the way to enjoy that fabulous beach).
• Pineapple Villa—We didn’t get a peek at this 2-bedroom/3-bathroom accommodation, but I’m sure it’s going to be a must-book. It’s inspired, of course, from SpongeBob SquarePants’ own home at Bikini Bottom, but we’re guessing this one is a bit swankier. It’s 2,292 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor living areas, including a garden, patio, signature infinity pool, and private butlers. Rates at the Pineapple Villa start at $3,800 per night for up to four adults and two children or two adults and six children. Ok, for clients who might not have such deep pockets, all the other accommodations are just as fab: Check out the rendering of the 764.-sq.-ft., pool-access Swank Suites below.
• Ok, all of Nickelodeon Resort Punta Cana’s kiddie fun is all well and good, but where’s the spa, baby? It opens today, and here are the facts: Vassa Spa offers an herbal steam room, dry sauna, chromotherapy showers, bubble beds, whirlpool, and arctic and warm water pools. Guests will be able to escape into one of five treatment suites, a couple’s suite, or one of five “al fresco” treatment areas. Vassa Spa’s signature “perfectly pink” treatment program will be available for young visitors.
• Standard room rates start at at $345 per adult, per night and include the Gourmet Inclusive experience. Additionally, up to two kids under 13 years old Stay, Eat and Play Free with a minimum 4-nights’ stay when staying in a room with two adults; the third child will pay a child rate. Guests who book this summer can take advantage of up to 45 percent savings with the Sun, Slime & Savings! promotion, valid for bookings for travel through Jan. 31, 2017.
Additionally, travel agents who book at least three reservations for Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana are entitled to become a Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana Travel Specialist. Specialists will have access to exclusive promotions, added values and marketing tools, and will also be acknowledged as specialists on the Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana website to help them drive bookings, receive an exclusive 3-day FAM trip to the upscale property, and have access to the Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant Awards with special category recognition. In order to become a Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Travel Specialist, travel agents must book at least three reservations, and they must then achieve a minimum of 12 bookings for Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana as of Dec. 31, 2016 to maintain their status for 2017. Bookings must be registered on the Karisma Travel Agent Portal, karismatravelagents.com under the Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant or Agent Rewards profiles. Once bookings are registered, travel agents in good standing will be listed as a Nickelodeon Travel Specialist on nickresortpuntacana.com/Specialist. This program is open to all travel agents who are registered as Agents Rewards or Karisma Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultants in the travel agent portal. Bookings made at any time qualify. Group reservations are considered one booking.
Note: Nickelodeon’s full complement of entertainment programming around the resort launches on Aug. 15. Nightly non-Nickelodeon entertainment in Plaza Orange will begin July 1. Special rates are available during the resort’s soft launch phase.
We’ll have a more in-depth look at the property in the September 2016 Family issue. For some eye candy, check out my slideshow.
For more information on the resort and its whimsical offerings, visit nickresortpuntacana.com.