The Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace & Dominicus Beach Resorts in the Dominican Republic are family-friendly, all-inclusive, and alive with international flavor.
Fringing the southeast coast near La Romana, the Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace resort celebrates the best in tropical style. Set on 26 lush palm-studded acres on Bayahibe’s white sand beaches, the resort looks out across crystal clear waters to the enchanting Islands of Saona and Catalina.
This family-friendly playground is an all-inclusive vacation getaway with a European flavor. Within its open-air architecture are 330 beautiful oceanfront and garden view rooms and suites. Facilities include three fresh water pools, a children’s pool and Jacuzzi. During certain seasons, children under 12 (maximum of two per room) are invited to join their vacationing family to stay, play and eat free at any Viva Wyndham Resort.
We thought there was great value, a wonderful variety of continental cuisine, and a fun, international crowd. And a 2010 remodel and refurbishment of the whole place — including all of its standard category rooms, bathrooms, lobby, bars, and the renovation of its glass-like main pool — can only make good better.
An International Family Resort
Parents can choose as much or as little family involvement as desired, with enough space, activities and supervision to cover every detail for every age group. For a double dose of fun, additional facilities are available at the resort’s sister property, Viva Wyndham Dominicus Beach, just steps-in-the-sand-away. In addition to garden view rooms, Dominicus Beach offers ocean-front bungalows made of coral stone and thatched roofs so that families traveling together can request one of the 26 adjoining bungalows.
For one set fee you can count on gracious accommodations, food, wine, and entertainment, as well as complimentary enrollment in the Viva Wyndham Kid’s Retreat for children ages 4 to 12 at both resorts. Viva’s kid’s club is located in its own spacious, free-standing, thatched roof hut complete with TV, video games, a sleeping area with big comfy cushions, and an assortment of games. Parents of under-4s can book private babysitting through the concierge desk with advance notice.
Counselor-led activities include tennis, drawing and painting, archery, ping pong, windsurfing, mini tournaments, kayaking, volleyball, sandcastle building, talent shows, puzzles, and face painting. Lots of “international” giggling could be heard around the arts and crafts table, where it sure looked like a very happy group to us! Parents can steal some private moments alone while their children make new friends. The Club is open daily from 9am to 5pm and, as mentioned, private babysitting is available after hours.
The Viva Junior’s Club is designed for (extended) teens, 12 to 16 years-old. The program offers activities such as soccer, beach volleyball and billiards, and gives teens the opportunity to connect with others and have time away from parents and younger siblings. Participation in the club is included in the all-inclusive package, and additional off-property excursions are offered for a fee to cover local admission costs.
Photos by Mel Greenberg
Day & Evening Recreation All-Included at Viva Resorts
Water buffs share the passion of windsurfing, canoeing, sailing, water polo, water aerobics, and beach volleyball. For the more adventurous, scuba diving at the Viva Diving center with PADI & SSI certificate courses are available. A great variety of coral reefs can be seen at different depths, showing multi-colored fish typical of the region. More thrills abound with water skiing, banana boat riding, fishing and snorkeling. Local adventure tour operators offer several options for family members of all skill and fitness levels.
A treat for the grown-ups, the Metamorphosis Spa, as alluring and exotic as its name, lures you into a world of rejuvenation and relaxation. Indulge in an invigorating Anti-Stress massage, a unique Mud Body Wrap, or Turkish Bath Hydrotherapies. A variety of European Rejuvenating Facials using botanicals from local gardens, and seaweed from the bay are used to nourish and moisturize the skin. Lastly, don’t forget to pack your sneakers for the fitness center, with a selection of free weights, bicycles and elliptical machines.
Mouthwatering international cuisine can be enjoyed at any of Viva Wyndham Dominicus’ restaurants, from the main dining area to the elegant a la carte specialty places. We found the menu varied and quite good. The green flash of a Caribbean sunset is the downbeat for the nightlife with live bands and entertainment, musical theater and the Disco. Viva caters to a sophisticated young, international crowd, who thoroughly enjoy the various watersports during the day, and dressing-up, dining and partying at night.
Around the D. R.
If you tear yourself away from the resort, the Dominican Republic is is a very family-friendly island. Smitten with baseball, this island nation has proudly sent Julio Franco, George Bell, Pedro Martinez, Tony Fernandez and Sammy Sosa on to the American Major Leagues.
It is world renowned for great sport fishing, boasting big catches: marlin, sailfish, dorado, tarpon, snook, and bonito. Snorkelers seek out the undersea flora and reefs, and divers dream of finding old Spanish treasure.
Off the beach, the sporting life embraces horseback riding, golf, hiking and biking on excursions organized by the resort. Ecotourists are delighted with the island’s birds, plants and animals in their natural habitats along the beaches and offshore.
A short taxi ride away is the city of La Romana, built and maintained by the sugar industry. It remains locked into the pace of its past and offers an archaeological museum along with restaurants, and shops. Nearby Altos de Chavon, an artist colony set in a replica 16th century Spanish-style village, is a popular attraction, where local artisans still create their crafts in the village shops. Regular air service to La Romana International Airport is provided by American Airlines and American Eagle. La Romana also is on some cruise itineraries.
For a special daytrip, Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace organizes a beautiful excursion to the fishing village on Saona Island. Journey by motorboat, seating up to eight people, among starfish and mangroves along the coast of the DR’s Natural Park of the East. The only inhabited space with an offshore wildlife preserve is home to forests of swamps, pink flamingos, tree ducks, and white herons. You will arrive for lunch at Saona Island, where vivid colored houses and huts are filled with native arts and crafts. On the return trip, a stop at the Natural Pool lets you admire the big marine stars that live there.
Photos by Mel Greenberg
Resort Report Card
|Name:||Viva Wyndham Dominicus Palace|
|Seasonal Rates:||$$ – $$$$|
|Choice of Activities:||A|
|Quality of Amenities:||B|
|Bonus:||Italian owners bring friendly staff & European flair to the resort.|
|Note:||Food is better than average and rates are good value; kids free deals in summer.|
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