Photos courtesy of the Puntacana Resort & Club
Take a swing at Corales golf course, relax in your private home, or savor a Caribbean sunset.
Connect with nature without sacrificing luxury at the Puntacana Resort & Club By Mary Murray
70 PALM BEACH ILLUSTRATED
Courtesy of the Puntacana Ecological Foundation
The Puntacana Ecological Foundation’s Coral Gardens preserve the existing population by growing the invertebrates in artificial nurseries.
One of the pleasures of living in South Florida is the ability to hop over to the Caribbean in a matter of hours. Feeling the need for an escape Friday morning? Book an afternoon flight and arrive in time to watch the sunset over azure waters, piña colada in hand. Few island destinations are as easy to travel to as the Puntacana Resort & Club in the Dominican Republic. The resort owns the nearby Punta Cana International Airport, which hosts direct flights from 96 cities including Miami. It also offers a VIP arrival service that puts you at the front of the customs line and delivers you directly to your room. Rest assured, this will be the only rushing you do the entire trip. In Punta Cana, island time is the norm and relaxation the only creed. The Punta Cana tourists know and love today is largely a byproduct of the Puntacana Resort & Club. In the early 1970s, Dominicanborn Frank Rainieri and American investor Ted Kheel began development on a lot in the southeastern province of La Altagracia. What started out as a 10-villa hotel grew into a high-end, allinclusive destination that sparked economic growth throughout the region. In 1997, singer Julio Iglesias and the late fashion designer Os-
car de la Renta became co-investors and built homes on the property, signaling a new era of luxury living in the Dominican Republic. Today, Puntacana Resort & Club homeowners include Iglesias, Annette de la Renta (Oscar’s wife), and Russian dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. A handful of the resort’s 310 homes and 80 condos are available for rent, meaning you can enjoy the wonders of paradise in a secluded residential environment complete with a full kitchen, private pools, and staff. Of course, you could always settle for a beachfront villa in Tortuga Bay, Puntacana’s AAA Five Diamond boutique hotel. De la Renta designed the interiors of each room as well as the magnificent Bamboo restaurant, where chef Marco Antonio Paz del Alamo marries local ingredients with Mediterranean