My family has visited Punta Cana, the eastern tip of Dominican Republic three times, but this last visit was the best yet. This beachy resort town is filled with all-inclusive mega resorts many which seem to be competing for the title of who has the most pools, best water slides, finest all inclusive restaurants and most fun drop-off activities for kids. My boyfriend and our 5 year old daughter took a 4 hour direct flight from JFK and after going through customs we easily found our pre-arranged hotel shuttle. We’ve stayed at both the Majestic Royal and Hard Rock in the past, this time we went stayed at the Nickelodeon Resort. The drive was about 40 minutes, so in total probably took about 1.5 hours from touchdown until we arrived. This one of a kind luxury resort is brand new in the Dominican Republic and the only one in the Caribbean. Upon arrival we were greeted with delicious green slime drinks and champagne, a welcomed greeting to this high-end all-inclusive resort.
After a quick check-in a golf cart and driver escorted us around the grounds and to our room, which not only faced the ocean, it had a swim up pool to our patio! Even though we were at a Nickelodeon resort, you actually don’t see Nickelodeon themes, logos or characters everywhere. The design is very chic using Nickelodeon’s classic orange as the main accent color. On the main hotel grounds the one exception is a giant pineapple shaped villa. If you don’t know who this belongs to you may not belong at the Nickelodeon resort, but it’s sister property Sensatori, both are Karisma properties. The Pineapple Villa belong to SpongeBob SquarePants 🙂 Separate from the main bank of hotels rooms and restaurants is a dedicated area called Nickelodeon Place where you get the full blown Nickelodeon experience with play rooms, drop off activities, water slides, character meetings and daily green slimings. In this area they also host nightly family entertainment which was a blast.
The first day our family got slimed which was shockingly cold and GREEN but surprisingly fun, even at 43. Our 5 year old loved it, particularly seeing me green, and is still talking about it. We spent quite a bit of time in the Aqua Nick water park and lunched at the cafe by the pool, Aqua Bite – you sit in actual swings at the table. Part of this fun area also has great indoor play room called Just Kidding where we stayed out of the sun a bit and enjoyed a big slide which lands in a huge ball pit filled with orange and green balls. This ball pit was awesome and deep, so much fun. This area of course has tons of Nickelodeon character toys to play with.
Central to most of the rooms is a large plaza, The Village. This is where most of the restaurants are located. You can pick from 8 gourmet restaurants, reservations for dinner are recommended. The first night we dined at Verdello, a traditional Italian restaurant. The food was delicious and the house wine was also nice (according to my boyfriend, I don’t drink). Every restaurant has separate children’s menus and the staff is very accommodating for any dietary restrictions. Even though all the food and alcohol is all-inclusive in the price of your stay, we left tips for the service.
That evening we went back to Nickelodeon Place and had a ball getting silly and singing karaoke with a bunch of other families. My daughter who is very brave and bold got suddenly shy so I, unfortunately had to torture the group with my best attempt at singing ‘Everything Is Awesome.’ Exhausted from the day of travel, fresh air and the pool we headed to our room by 8pm. Before crashing out we ordered room service for the follow morning’s breakfast – we had big plans for a day excursion and had an early pick-up time.
The second day our delicious spread of breakfast arrived bright and early. Fortunately you can order room service 24 hours – this is VERY accommodating for family members with unpredictable appetites – like kids. Shortly after breakfast we headed out to our day trip, an adventure at La Hacienda Park. This adventure is fantastic and part of the reason this was our best visit to Domincan Republic so far. To read about our day click here: Punta Cana – La Hacienda Park.
After our day at La Hacienda Park – a day of filthy fun four wheeling in mud, zip lining, horseback riding in the countryside and more, it was so nice returning back to our luxury resort. We headed to the beach and wrestled with the rough waves a bit. I’m glad my boyfriend was there to play with our 5 year old as the water was too rough for me to feel comfortable with her in it past our knees. The waves made for good fun playing on the sand and running away from them as they came crashing in. The sand isn’t the bright white sand some may expect but more of light brown, but very clean and soft.
Eventually we got cleaned up for dinner and made our way to try some Interstellar Cuisine at the space shuttle themed restaurant Spacewalker. We felt like we were in a space shuttle, the design of the restaurant was so cool. They have space helmets for kids to play with and a fantastic desert that is not to be missed, it’s a giant chocolate egg they drizzle hot chocolate syrup over at your table until it breaks open revealing a creamy surprise. Afterwards we walked around the plaza and came upon an acrobatic show which was like a mini cirque du solei performance. We topped our night off with some additional sugar, cotton candy, which they were giving out to spectators enjoying the show. Everything in the evening has a magical glow, between the sun going down and the sparkling pools you really feel the specialness of this resort. Needless to say, we slept well that night but not before ordering room service for breakfast again, we had another early adventure planned for the morning – Dolphin Island. To read about our morning adventure interacting and riding a lovely dolphin named Luna, chick here: Punta Cana – Dolphin Island.
After swimming with dolphins we made it back to our hotel by lunch time. We enjoyed a nice burgers at Brgrs.PH which has a famous family sized one. We knew it was too big for us so didn’t get that one but it did look pretty fun to eat. After lunch we went to one of the large infinity pools with a swim up bar – our daughter made friends with some other kids which we continued to run into at the resort. We requested a tour of SpongeBob SquarePants Pineapple Villa and fortunately no one was in it so we got a tour! This villa is massive, it has 2 bedrooms plus indoor and outdoor living areas, an infinity pool, a garden, patio and private butlers! Our daughter was in awe – I kind of think she’s starting to think SpongeBob is real… Afterwards made our way back over the Aqua Nick and played on the slides and floated in the lazy river.
For dinner that night we went to Wok Wok and sat next to the friends we made at the resort. We all enjoyed delicious Asian cuisine and sake. The entertainment that night was a performance, meet & greet and dance party with Paw Patrol’s Chase andMarshall along with Dora the Explorer and her sidekick Boots. Kids went crazy over this, it was adorable to see. Later that evening we watched a live Michael Jackson tribute led by talented performers who kept everyone’s attention through a 30 minute show. It was a night to remember!
Our final morning we sadly only had a few hours before heading to the airport. We finally tried breakfast out of our room at Sugarcane, a the buffet style restaurant – the range of offerings was amazing and everything I tried was delicious. We enjoyed a quick dip in the pool off our patio and I packed up our suitcases then we made our way to our airport shuttle. We definitely should have stayed another day. We’ll have to come back – there were so many activities we still wanted to try. Nickelodeon Resort is luxury and it costs a premium – however there are always promotions. The the food and quality of activities and amenities at Nick tops the other two all-inclusive resorts we previously visited by far. I look forward to returning!
Check out a tour and some fun we had on the property:
- When booking dates, check your passports! Mine was expired so we had to re-book our trip. I hope I never have to learn this lesson again.
- Bring $10 cash per person for entry tax at the airport.
- Resort attire is required at the restaurants at night, so pack a sundress and button down.
- The resort grounds are sprawling, bring comfortable shoes. You can also be escorted by golf carts which regularly circle the property.
- Bring your own sunscreen to avoid paying a premium for it onsite.
- Pool towels are provided so no need to pack towels.
- Pack your own life jacket or water wings if your child uses them, these are for sale onsite but not free.
- You can easily stay at the resort and never leave, however the day trips we did were fantastic. If you can only do one La Hacienda Park was our favorite.
- Bring a stroller if you have little ones.
- Most everyone speaks a little English, although it was fun practicing our Spanish when possible.
- Nickelodeon Resort only takes visa and mastercard. They also take US dollars.
- The luggage weight limit is less in the Caribbean than domestic flights and most other countries, so check with your airline to see their policy to avoid any extra weight fees.