Legendary beaches with luxury accommodations and world-class golf create everlasting memories in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Grupo Puntacana, led by original founders Frank Rainieri and Theodore Kheel present “ A Unique Way of Life” on 17,000 acres with eight miles of sugar white sand beaches on the Tortuga Bay and 45 holes of championship golf against the beauty of the Caribbean sea and the Bay of Corales. The Tom Fazio designed Corales Golf Club opened to numerous awards such as #14 of Top 20 International Golf courses. La Cana Golf Club was listed at #15. These are the only two courses in Dominican Republic that made the list. Corales has 6 holes on bluffs overlooking the Bay of Corales with the last three aptly named the Devil’s Elbow. The enormity of its layout can be explained in golf course design. Average golf courses are on 150 acres with around 89 acres of playable grass. Corales is set upon 350 acres with 230 being Paspalum Supreme. Now add strategically placed bunkers and massive elevated greens with water features among native tropical vegetation and immaculate floral designs and you have one of the most awe inspiring courses of anywhere in the world, especially sensed on the finishing green with a 180 degree view of ocean and waves. Mr. Ranieri wants you to enjoy the course, and go enjoy your family, so the beach beckons. Rather than linger at the 19th hole, take an ice-cold Presidente beer with you. It is stored in the freezer with no fear of exploding bottles because like vodka, it has enough alcohol content -beware.
P.B. Dye also created 27 holes of magnificent golf with four holes on the ocean and ten holes viewing Tortuga Bay. The La Cana Golf and Beach Clubhouse designed by Oscar de la Renta accentuates the golfer’s paradise. Newly opened, the Westin Puntacana Resort and Club features just 204 rooms to preserve the uncrowded beach experience, each with an ocean view. The resort includes 16 suites, meeting and wedding facilities, outdoor pool and grill, cigar bar and children’s club. Enjoy walking trails, full service spa and Segway guided tours of the area. For an even more intimate and relaxed setting, Tortuga Bay has 30 luxury units for $1k/night in between a double reef for prime snorkeling or scuba diving. The area has thirteen fresh water lagoons, and natural aquifers supplied by 10,000 feet high, unseen peaks of snow. Just 200 meters from the shore Jay Overton, Director of Golf at Corales, can spin a tackle, and call the caddies to watch his Marlin catch. Imagine watching a pair of 350-pound marlins sky rocketing off the boat, knocking up the dorado or sharing the sea with a pod of 30 docile pilot whales, 18-20 feet long. Jay came out of retirement from the Caymans, after a storied PGA and hospitality career that included Innis brook. He is now running the show because “this is how the Caymans was 25 years prior.”
Daily fishing expeditions are available at the Punta Cana marina. Or just say hola to La Yola restaurant there perched on the shore in such a way that feels like you are boating. And the seafood is as fresh as it gets.
Iguana Cove is the private beach for Corales, a who’s who residency. Co investors of the Group, Oscar de La Renta from Santo Domingo and Julio Iglesias from Spain dwell in harmony, hosting the likes of Barbara Walters and Hillary Clinton. A hideaway for the rich and famous, they jet in to the private runway adjacent to the main terminals of Punta Cana International Airport. If you don’t own a jet, you can still feel like a dignitary, flying in on one of 97 direct city flights and met by a representative at the tarmac, whisked away in a golf cart, led past the customs lines, no baggage checks and voila, safely transported to your accommodations. VIP treatment is limited to golf packages and homeowners. How? Grupo Puntacana owns the airport. After buying all the land, they gave the town of Verona to the people. It is a win/win for workers and community with no welfare, no unemployment. Work is done the old fashioned way. Landscapers trim meticulous lines with machetes. Education is available for all. Medical facilities are said to have more effective diagnoses and cures than some in the US as staff is either trained in the US or Cuba. The Puntacana Ecological Foundation was established to ensure the integrity and preserve the natural resources of the region. Universities like Cornell, Virginia Tech, Harvard, and Columbia are all affiliated with this foundation. Grupo Puntacana has grown from 1969 to encompass more than 26 square miles of sustainable luxury living. If you have the means, it might be a nice retirement option. Pristine white sandy beaches meet natural tropical vegetation – strategically placed by God – the best of the island, with a low-key lifestyle. To find paradise, visit www.puntacana.com