Moments of Zen at Club Med's resorts in the D.R.

Strollers and strobe lights often go hand in hand with the family-friendly Club Med brand, and this was the case on a recent visit to the resort’s two outposts in the Dominican Republic, in Punta Cana and Miches.

At the Club Med Punta Cana, I chatted one evening with a couple from Charlotte who were on vacation with their 8-month-old and 4-year-old. “We haven’t seen them all day,” said the father, pointing to the youngest in his stroller being tended to by his mother while his older brother explored the Cielo Bar, which turns into the nightly party spot each evening, with dancing and live music.

“I went to a Club Med as a kid, and now it’s our kids’ turn,” he said.

One key reason why mom and dad could spend the day by themselves was Club Med’s Baby Welcome service, for kids as young as 4 months. The resort also has clubs with various activities for up to 17-year-olds.

For sure, kids won’t be bored. And neither will adults, with 25 sports and activities on the property’s 100 acres included in the room rate; the trapeze at the resort’s Circus School, tennis, yoga, archery and miniature golf are just some of those options. There are also nightly theatrical shows at two venues; One evening I caught a performance of “Grease.”

The exclusive bar for the Tiara Suites at the Club Med Punta Cana. The suites also have an exclusive pool.

Hideaways for adults

Just as with the youngsters, the resort offers grown-ups areas that are all their own.

My stay in the adults-only Zen Oasis was quiet, as the name implies. It is located on the outer fringes of the property and features an adults-only pool and ample suites with large private patios and canopy daybeds.

A weekly exception to the solitude happens Wednesday evenings, when the resort puts on a Zen Party, offering barbecue, a DJ and flamingo pool floaties. 

Guests looking for even more exclusivity will find it in the Tiara Suites, the resort’s only waterfront units, which offer an exclusive pool and bar. 

Earlier this year the resort renovated 90 family rooms and added 48 Family Superior rooms and 36 Family Deluxe rooms. 

These units each have two bedrooms and are located near the heart of the resort and its family-friendly amenities. The resort said the rooms’ modern design “is combined with decor that reflects the region’s natural elements, which guests can view from fully furnished balconies or the open-concept bathrooms with large [rainfall showerheads], drawing inspiration from the brand’s Zen Oasis concept that focuses on well-being and relaxation.”

The property’s main restaurant, Hispaniola, has been redesigned to what the resort describes as a Caribbean beach bistro that draws inspiration from Punta Cana’s art, music and culture. The entrance to the oceanfront eatery has been outfitted with Dominican-inspired decor, brightly colored elements and trendy and modern lighting fixtures.

The menu features global and international cuisine, with fish and vegetables from a grill station, roasted meats from the churrascaria and fresh seafood from the raw bar. There are also plenty of dining options for kids.

The resort is very accessible upon landing at Punta Cana Airport, and that’s not by coincidence: The airport was initially built to get visitors to the property, which opened in 1981 as the destination’s first all-inclusive resort.

Airport transfers are included in the price of the stay at both resorts.

Environmentally conscious landscaping at the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda.

On to Playa Esmeralda

Located about a 90-minute drive from the Punta Cana outpost, the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, which opened in 2019, is divided into villages, as the different sections of Club Med resorts are known: the family exclusive Explorer Cove; the family-friendly Caribbean Paradise and La Perla; and the adults-only Emerald Jungle and Archipelago. Together they comprise 335 rooms.

The property is only seven acres smaller than the Punta Cana resort, but it is less sprawling and more walkable.

My stay in a Caribbean Paradise room was comfortable and colorful, with pink and orange decor that enlivened the space, along with a tropical view of green foliage from my patio door.

Getting to and from the resort’s center and its primary restaurant, Cayuco, was a quick jaunt. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the buffet-style Cayuco offered a nightly rotation of dishes, from beef miso soup to roasted rabbit. Younger diners can take comfort in knowing that kid staples like burgers and pasta were also available.

The a la carte Coco Plum restaurant, which like Cayuco is included in the rate, offers indoor and beachfront dining and is open for late breakfast as well as lunch and dinner.

For an additional fee, guests looking to elevate their dining experience can opt for the dinner-only Coal & Copper steakhouse, which serves up charcoal-grilled cuts of meat such as rib-eye and dry-aged steaks. It’s located next to Cayuco.

The water in the Emerald Jungle's Zen Pool at the Club Med Miches Playa Esmeralda is filtered naturally.

Situated away from the resort’s center, the Emerald Jungle offers a quiet setting, its green-tinged Zen Pool offering a natural swimming experience rather than a chlorinated one. Emerald Jungle is also home to the Bar Limon swim-up bar. 

Guests staying in La Perla’s 20 suites have access to an exclusive pool, while each of the 19 suites at the Archipelago village has a private pool as well as exclusive access to a private section of the beach.

At Miches, as at its sister property in Punta Cana, activities are varied. And Miches also offers nightly live shows, one of which during my stay was a performance of traditional Dominican dances. 

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