Columbus, Ohio is a beautiful city and I truly enjoy sharing my love for local food, small businesses and events, but every now and then I catch the travel bug. I have an explorer’s heart and I love seeking new adventures, trying new things and embracing new cultures. Recently, I decided to travel to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to celebrate my 25th birthday with my best friend and boyfriend, Lawrence.
We stayed at an all-inclusive resort; The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real for three nights and four days and it was beyond perfect. It was my first time staying at a resort that was all in-inclusive so I did plenty of research before I booked. I highly encourage reading reviews and comparing prices at Expedia.com or TripAdvisor.com.
When we arrived at the resort it was absolutely breathtaking, from the service to the food, the entire experience was exceptional. The service went above and beyond and the food offered an array of international cuisine. Our hotel was one part of the resort which included 12 restaurants (one being a seven star restaurant) and three bars. We booked a one bedroom master suite which included 24-hour room service, a private terrace with Jacuzzi, a free minibar… and who am I kidding? Just look at the photos.
Our resort was right next to the La Playa Bávaro which translates to Bávaro Beach, which we enjoyed every day and never, had an issue with finding a cabana. Oh, and the drinks were always flowing. From the time we arrived to the time we left, we enjoyed several drinks (especially the mojitos and Mama Juanas). The bartenders were always on-hand even when you were basking in the sun. The services didn’t stop there, just like an infomercial – oh, wait! There’s more.
The YHI Spa Experience
On our second night we scheduled a couples’ massage at the YHI Spa and to be honest, it was a bit pricey. If it wasn’t for my birthday we may have passed, but we’re in our twenties so… YOLO! Disclaimer: We are not ballers, our bank accounts hate us and I will never say YOLO again.
Anyway, the YHI Spa was magical; it’s a beautiful oasis with burning scents of lavender all throughout each room. The natural setting truly allows you to relax and unwind from the world and I would highly recommend it for those looking to splurge.
Overall, The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real was truly out of this world. Did I mention the buffets had lobster tail every day? That should be an indicator that their buffets were top of the line. We even had hibachi (shrimp and steak) for dinner one night and yes, it was a part of the all-inclusive package. This resort will make you question every other resort, because EVERYTHING was truly all included (no hidden fees, no questions asked). Lawrence and I had an amazing time in Punta Cana and we’ll definitely stay longer the next time we visit. For more details about the hotel, see below:
The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real Resort
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
*Traveler’s Note: There is a Level II Travel Alert for the Zika Virus which has been reported in several countries throughout the Caribbean. Please visit the CDC website, http://www.cdc.gov/zika/ if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant before traveling to any of the affected areas.
The Special Gift
On our very last night, Lawrence and I wanted to enjoy the most of what we could. Obviously, the end of a vacation is always depressing the last 24-hours, but we decided to make the most of it. We enjoyed the pool, the beach and the amazing food – but most importantly each other. It was nice to get away and experience this beautiful country together.
Before we went to dinner, Lawrence suggested that we enjoy our hydrotherapy Jacuzzi just one last time and I, of course, agreed. He then ordered a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries to be delivered to our room and to be even more romantic I added bubbles (shampoo) to the Jacuzzi. As I made myself comfortable, mind you the bubbles were up to my hair at this point because putting three shampoo bottles in the Jacuzzi is never a good idea, Lawrence came into the room with the chocolate covered strawberries and the wine.
I went to grab a strawberry and before I could take a bite, Lawrence says – “Babe, did you really not see what was on the plate?” When I looked back on the plate, there it was… a small blue box with a gold outer rim. I looked up at him and he was smiling and I started crying. He gets down on one knee and then says, “I know I’ve made you wait more than what you wanted, but I love you, Morgan.” He opens the box and then says, “Will you marry me?” And yes, I start crying more and then I say, “Yes!”
It was so beautiful, intimate and perfect in every way. Honestly, my friends and family know more details of the full story, but long story short I was hoping to get engaged on this trip. Did I expect it? No, because Lawrence is the type of guy that will make a girl lose all hope before I ever guess what he’s really up too and I’m glad he did, because it was a once in a lifetime trip spent with the man I get to spend a lifetime with (yes, pun intended). Thanks for all the love and support we've received so far from family and friends.
My name is Morgan Pelt, founder and lifestyle blogger behind Columbus Living – a blog dedicated to sharing stories about local businesses, events and entrepreneurs. I grew up in Columbus and as a creative outlet; I like to share my adventures and experiences through writing, photography and social media. It's time to discover new places, try new food, and meet new people. Let's go!