Hard Rock Hotel

A Rockin' Weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana was an incredible experience. It was the first time either of us experienced an all-inclusive resort, and all we were thinking was “don’t make us leave”. It started from the moment we arrived. A short trip from the airport, you drive up on a beautiful property and are quickly greeted by friendly valet attendants. It couldn’t have been more than 1 minute before we were in the air conditioned lobby with tropical drinks in hand! After an overnight flight, this was a dream. We waited in a short line, spotted a few professional athletes, and took a stroll around the property before heading to our room. It was definitely a short stroll, considering how massive the property is. The Hard Rock Punta Cana boast 13 pools (with swim-up bars), 9 restaurants, 23 bars, a Jack Nicklaus designed golf course, a beautiful Rock Spa®, the biggest casino in the Dominican Republic, world class shopping, and over 1700 rooms.

After the warm welcome, opening our door to our Caribbean Suite took the experience to another level. Our room had a big, comfortable bed, a private bath with double showers, free liquor dispensers (an all-inclusive must), free Wi-Fi, a balcony overlooking the ocean and courtyard, and a hydro spa tub! We freaked out over the spa tub. It was so sad that we only had two nights here, because we could have easily spent a whole day just hanging out in our room ordering room service (which is included!!) and bouncing back and forth between the balcony and the hydro spa tub. But we made the most of it. We relaxed in the tub while watching the TV right above it (we don’t have cable at home), and spent one afternoon watching the sunset and smoking cigars on our balcony. 

While we only had 2 full days at the resort, we did our best to explore as much as possible. We definitely took in more than 2 full day’s worth of food… we probably ate more like a week’s worth. We ate our 3 dinners at Ipanema, Zen, and Toro. Ipanema is a Brazilian style restaurant where servers walk around with various meats and poultry ready to slice you your choice. Zen is a Teppanyaki style restaurant that specialized in both Chinese and Japanese dishes. While the food was fantastic, we were really here for the show the chef puts on as he creates the meal right in front of you. We enjoyed the family style meal and we made some friends at our table! Lastly, we ate at Toro, their amazing Steak house! At Toro we had some choice cuts of meat and enjoyed incredible views. On top of dining at these 3 restaurants, we may or may not have made a few trips to Pizzeto, their restaurant serving artisanal brick oven-style pizza into the late hours each evening. Please don’t judge us. Even with full bellies each night, we woke up hungry to indulge in breakfast buffets or room service. We tried to avoid lunch so we wouldn’t put on too much weight…

After breakfast or lunch we would explore to try and walk off some of the food. After dinner we would dance. The ORO Nightclub is the ultimate dance party! They had a local DJ that gave us a remarkably authentic Dominican nightclub experience. One night we went to a beach party, where we had some island cocktails and did more dancing. You could describe our trip here as lounging, eating, and dancing. At the end of the night (but also running throughout the day) you can catch one of the trams that will take you all over the resort. This is definitely a plus when you’re ready for bed and your feet can’t handle the walk back. 

We spent our days on the beaches and at the pools. The beaches are wide-open with beautiful white sand and warm blue water. It was surprising that with so many rooms, the beaches were very mellow. There were always plenty of open chaise lounges and hammocks for us to nap in. During the day, the beaches were always a relaxing, quiet place to be, while at the pool you could either find a good spot for a drink and a book, or you could get wild in some crazy pool activity. We did a little of both, spending most of our pool time lounging, but then also checking out the foam party and doing some water aerobics to burn some calories. All the pools had bars nearby, and many of the pools had swim-up bars. There was also a water park for kids, where Bobby was disappointed when he heard he was too big for the water slide. Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana even has a lazy river, where you can get in an inner tube and float a large loop around the property. Regardless of if we were on the sand, by the pool, or floating the river, the serene vibe and beautiful surroundings demanded we enjoy many naps while at the Hard Rock. Thank you for the relaxation!

With all that we did get to enjoy, we can’t forget to mention some of the amazing amenities we did not have time for (you need at least 5 days here). First of all, they have 9 restaurants and we were only able to get to 4. There are so many incredible cuisine options here, satisfying anything you can imagine. You can go to one of their specialty steakhouses or Asian cuisine like we did, or you can indulge in one of their incredible buffets! There is also an 18-hole golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus (arguably the greatest golfer of all time). We saw the beautiful course, but did not have time to experience it! For those of you that cannot hit a golf club, there’s also a mini golf course! 

You can probably tell that we did not have nearly enough time at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. We ate, drank, danced, and lounged. We didn’t even shop or spend time at the Casino! But we aren’t worried that we missed out, we just know that we need to spend more time here! If you’re interested in having a rockin’ time like we did, check out the website at www.hrhpuntacana.com

Thank you Hard Rock! We will be back!

Pitbull Live in Punta Cana!

During our amazing stay at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, we had the opportunity to rock out with Pitbull! He performed in front of a full house at the Filmore Lounge on-property.

We did not really know much about the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino experience when we first arrived. The idea that there would be a concert on-property seemed EPIC (and it is), but it is in fact the norm at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino properties.

Also, the resort is essentially a music museum. Hard Rock Hotels are recognized globally for their distinctive design that says “This is Hard Rock” (a Hard Rock slogan). From the moment you walk in the lobby, the walls are adorned with curated memorabilia from rock legends we all know and love (who often donate the artifacts themselves). This too, is the norm at all Hard Rock Hotel & Casino properties. What makes it even more awesome is that they embrace the attitudes, culture, and charisma of each location to make it unique. Local music culture and history will influence the design of each property. So if you are in Latin America you will see Shakira memorabilia, compared to Palm Springs you will see Frank Sinatra memorabilia. Along with the locally inspired artifacts, at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana guests will be eager to see Elton John’s hand-painted piano, Tommy Lee’s Motley Crüe silver space ship outfit, Gene Simmons’ custom axe base, Sammy Hagar’s 1926 hot rod, and MADONNA’S LIMOUSINE. That’s right, they have the sparkly, sequins-tiled limousine that Madonna used at the Grammy’s in 2001. This is definitely a standout in the collection of rock memorabilia at the resort. The music memorabilia on-property at the Hard Rock definitely gets you in the right mindset before heading to a concert :)

In terms of the Pitbull concert, we did not know what to expect! We were not sure how many people would be there, if we would know that many of Pitbull’s songs, and what kind of performer he is. All we knew is that he is the king of collaborations. He has recorded songs with Ricky Martin, Christina Aguilera, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Belinda, Austin Mahone, Ne-Yo, Marc Anthony, Enrique Iglesias, Usher, Eminem, Fergie, Chris Brown, Ke$ha, and more! We had our fingers crossed that maybe one of them would be there? 

Before the show, we did a little more research on Pitbull. First of all, Bobby had to dig into how he was able to collaborate with so many major artists. It turns out the Pitbull is a very savvy businessman. We also found out that he uses his fame in a positive way… challenging his fans to push themselves and pursue their dreams. He helped build the Sports Leadership and Management Charter Middle and High School in Little Havana, the neighborhood where he grew up in Miami. He came from poverty and used the obstacles in his life to fuel his journey to becoming “Mr. Worldwide”.  

And did you know that his stage name and style all come back to his past? Maybe you actually thought his name was Pitbull? His name is Armando Perez. He grew up in Miami, the child of emigrants from Cuba. It was his family that inspired him to learn about his Cuban background, and why he learned of José Martí. Martí was that Cuban national hero and poet that taught Armando the effectiveness and power of words. He used these words to escape the streets of Miami, and it was then that he identified with a pit bull. He said in an interview that pit bulls have a lock-jaw, and they refuse to give up because they are too stupid to lose. He believes that the lock-jaw like quality has been the key to his success. As for his style, you will never find Pitbull performing in casual clothing. He shows up in Armani suits to show his maturity and evolution. He wants to inspire young people to leave their old lives and go after something bigger

So after a little background, we were pumped to see Pitbull perform. We would be looking closer at his suit (especially as it gets really hot in most venues), and were excited to see his energy for a close-to-home-crowd that he undoubtedly inspires. 

Honestly, we were blown away. Pitbull rocks. Solo, without any of the superstar artists he collaborates with, he brought a remarkable show to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. He came out dressed in a black tailored suit, and from the moment the first song began he never stopped dancing. The show is a combination of choreographed dancing from Pitbull and his dancers, as well as plenty of songs were he interacts with the crowd and is having a blast. The energy is high, the fans are crazy, and Pitbull and his dance crew put on quite a performance.

He played over 15 songs, the majority of which were major hits that we knew all the words to…

- “I Know You Want Me”

- “The Anthem”

- “Bon Bon”

- “We Are One”

- “Give Me Everything”

- “Don’t Stop The Party”

- “International Love”

- “Timber”

- And plenty more!

We couldn’t believe how many songs we knew! We were really impressed by his stage presence, how excited he was to be performing, and how thankful he was for his fans. There were multiple times where he talked about how grateful he was for the opportunity to be with us, and there was an authenticity to him that we really appreciated. He definitely wow’d us!

Thanks Pitbull, for giving us an amazing experience and for encouraging us to shake our Bon-Bon’s! It was an awesome night! 

Thank you to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana for sponsoring this post!