Did you ever have the perfect vacation planned only to be punched in the face by reality? Never? I suppose looking back, “everything happens for a reason”, as they say, but at the time it feels as though your head may just explode. My family and I attempted this trip to the Dominican Republic over Spring break, but a tiny little itty-bitty passport problem prevented us from going. My son’s passport expired 7 days before our trip and we didn’t realize it until we were checking in at the airport. Like, in line. At 4:30 in the morning. I was completely unaware that child passports need to be renewed every 5 years, as apposed to the 7 year adult renewal, and no, they couldn’t do anything to help us. So…
Take 2! 🎬 Luckily, the resort was able to honor our non-refundable trip before the end of June – whew! – so we felt very grateful to be given a second chance. From the minute we got to The Level at Melía Caribe Tropical, we were finally able to exhale.
The 5-star Level at Melía is located in Punta Cana on the resort’s beautiful, private, white-sand Bavaro Beach. It is a family-friendly, all-inclusive paradise which is really a resort within a resort; an upgraded VIP experience within the massive Melía Tropical. And I mean massive. The open-air lobby is a real wow factor; I just love this benefit of tropical living. We were promptly escorted to the VIP check-in lounge and handed the first of many margaritas. Ahhh, vacation! While waiting, a Mamma peacock and her sweet baby, one of dozens that roam freely through the tropical vegetation, were trained to wait patiently for a bite of a cookie or nibble of a cracker from a new guest.
After checking in to our beautiful suite we threw on our suits and headed to the extra-large VIP pool. Flanked by private cabanas, palm trees, peacocks and swim-up bars, it was just about perfect. The pampering began with a pool attendant preparing our cabana with towels and pillows and an attentive server taking our drink orders. Was there really a reason to leave the pool at all?
The private beach on the property, with it’s white sand and crystal clear water was lined with palms, thatched umbrellas and lounge chairs and offered an amazing sea breeze. We went to explore later in the day and having most of the beach to ourselves, found the perfect sloped tree to climb for pictures. (I already have my 13 year old trained to take the perfect shot.)
On a day excursion to Catalina, we traveled by catamaran to snorkel and swim over a coral reef and were able to hand-feed the fish. It was my son’s first time and it was so cool to see his expression when he jumped in the water and looked below. After snorkeling, we boarded the boat for Catalina and a had a fabulous Dominican lunch on the uninhabited island. The freshest fish imaginable! After swimming and sunbathing all day we headed back to the resort and I was able to capture a great photo of some colorful houses back on the main island.
I don’t know about you, but a vacation isn’t a vacation without a spa appointment. I had anticipated the spa all week and couldn’t wait to have a massage before we had to pack up and leave. Had I known how relaxing and beautiful the Yhi Spa was, I would have definitely scheduled more treatments. The massage was perfection and it and left me rejuvenated for the long trip home.
Looking back on this trip, I don’t think it would have been the same had we actually gone back in March as planned. The weather was perfect and we were just so happy we were given a second chance. Such is life, and a good life it is.