A wedding destination that will leave you “Breathless”

As told by Marissa Every.

Choosing the perfect location for your destination wedding is far from simple. With over hundreds of locations and resorts to choose from, how can you be sure you are making the right choice?

Allow me to help.

In a recent visit to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, one particular resort that I visited stood apart from all the rest. Situated amidst the jungle and the ocean on the east coast of the Dominican Republic, Breathless Punta Cana offers a luxurious, modern, and picturesque location for anyone’s big day.

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

A brand new adults-only resort with a modern feel and a recent opening in early November, Breathless is the perfect place to host your destination wedding. Lively yet relaxing, it is the happy medium for everyone attending.

Choose from their many different ceremony locations, including on the beach with your feet in the sand or a rooftop gazebo with the vast sea flowing behind you. Following your ceremony, host a cocktail hour or private reception at one of their eight beautiful gourmet dining venues.

Allow your guests to feel at ease as the resort offers many daily activities for them to enjoy:

-        World class spa

-        Snorkeling and kayaking

-        8 different swimming pools

-        Indoor nightly theatre

-        Beach parties and other nightly entertainment

-        On site casino

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

Photo Credit: Breathless Punta Cana

Breathless is the perfect resort for meeting all of your wedding needs! Tie the knot here and leave everyone at your wedding feeling “breathless”!

Start planning today! Contact our Destination Weddings department by filling out our online form .

Unlimited Luxury for All

As told by Jeff Farinosi, Senior Graphic Designer

I have a SECRET to tell you NOW (whispering): you can call me AMResorts’ #1 groupie. The past 5 trips I’ve taken were all at Secrets and NOW Resorts if that tells you something! During my travels I’ve been in relationships and have also been FREE (happily divorced) in others! Besides my relationship status changing, my love for AMResorts has not.secretsbanner

Most people would throw a label on Secrets Resorts as being mostly catered for couples and romance. That is far from the truth. They are wide open and friendly to any type of human being or group of people. Whether a Dolce & Gabbana cologne-doused metrosexual or a gun-rack-in-the-back-of-your-pick-up-truck redneck, you’ll see all sorts or personalities sharing and enjoying the public areas together, whether it’s the lobby or the swim-up bar. I ought to know since I accompanied the metrosexual, the redneck and his wife on a few of my trips! At the end of the trip, all of them wanted more with no complaints.

So when selling the Secrets brand, I say go for it and describe that the resorts cater to all and not just the ones deeply in love. There are plenty of opportunities to get romantic and the resorts are overall quiet when compared to the kid-friendly resorts. But there’s never a feeling of being a “third wheel” when staying at a Secrets Resort & Spa.

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Hot Wedding Destinations in 2013

 

Considering a destination wedding in 2013? These 5 romantic spots are ideal for tying the knot in style!

1. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Caribbean islands are blessed with all the trappings for a spectacular destination wedding: powder-fine sand, crystal-clear waters and romantic resorts aplenty. But lately the tropic sun seems to shine brightest on the resort area of Punta Cana, thanks to new direct flights from wallet-friendly airlines AirTran and Frontier, it makes getting to this breathtaking (and affordable) stretch of paradise a cinch. The plethora of choices extends to lodging as well. No matter your style, there’s a resort for you: All-inclusive ease!  Resorts in this popular wedding locale come with staff planners to handle the work and packages that make pricing a breeze.

Travel Tip — Welcome your guest! Leave a gift bag in each room full of goodies for your guest. Don’t forget suntan lotion and trinkets to remind them of your wedding destination when they’re back at home.

2. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Fiestas don’t get any more authentic than in Puerto Vallarta. It’s the perfect spot to welcome guests with icy margaritas and exchange “I do’s” as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean. Sheltered by the jungled landscapes of the Sierra Madre Mountains to the east with romantic views of the Pacific to the west, Vallarta provides an exotic blend of cosmopolitan culture, Mexican flavor and nature at her best. Vallarta is home to Banderas Bay, where you can enjoy the thrill of whales up close from December through April. Vallarta is divided into two general areas: Puerto Vallarta to the south and Riviera Nayarit to the north.

3. Montego Bay, Jamaica

Exchange vows on this island paradise where reggae, romance and the Caribbean sun come together. Pioneers of the all-inclusive vacation concept, you won’t find an island that does it better. For many, it’s positively addictive. The country’s pulsating heartbeat is embodied by soulful cuisine, lively reggae and generous smiles from locals who love to show off their country. Getting married here is so simple that more visitors than Jamaicans are wed on the island every year.

Travel Tip – Planning an off-season wedding or honeymoon (May – Dec) can help you save big on hotels & other costs. Jamaica’s tropical climate does not vary from season to season so marry in the “off-season” and save!

4. Maui, Hawaii – U.S.A.

Maui is a hassle-free place to make a tropical wedding a reality. Both independent wedding planners and onsite coordinators at big resorts can pave the way to I do. There are countless reasons brides and grooms flock to this ever-popular Hawaiian isle. For starters, everything about it seems to cater to couples seeking one romantic experience after another (think unlimited sunsets and picture-perfect beaches). Although Maui’s certain to exceed your expectations as a tropical paradise, its unique inland offerings will give you the opportunity to turn a fantastic beach vacation into an unforgettable adventure. Plus, with direct flights from the mainland, the island is easily accessible for wedding guests.

5. Riviera Maya, Mexico

This 112-mile stretch of coastal paradise, with its white sand beaches fronting turquoise waters, tropical jungles and ancient Mayan ruins, provides the perfect setting for your fairy-tale wedding and heavenly honeymoon.

Travel Tip – While a tropical climate might be great for your tan, it can wreak havoc on big, fluffy satin dresses. Consider lighter-weight fabrics, a shorter hemline or a strapless gown to keep you cool on your wedding day.

 

Secrets Royal Beach Resort & Spa – Punta Cana

We have the cure for your Spring Fever! For those of you suffering from unpleasant cold weather, constant wind and snowfall and dreary days, your distress is over. Start thinking of warm weather, pristine beaches, unlimited gourmet cuisine and endless top-shelf spirits.

 

Read about a recent review of Secrets Royal Beach Resort & Spa, located in Punta Cana. As told by Apple Vacations own Kathleen Kroos, who recently vacationed there.

We left Philadelphia on a cold early January morning.  We left our coats in the car and boarded the airport shuttle for what was to be the most relaxing trip we had ever taken.   Even the plane ride over was restful!  Frontier Airlines seated us with plenty of leg room and the cabin crew was very pleasant.  We loved the quaint thatched roofed on the Punta Cana airport and were amazed by the efficiency of the airport staff.  All accompanied by the music of a local band.  We then met the Amstar rep., in his red and blue flowered shirt, who then showed us to our mini-bus for the ride to the hotel.

We were the second stop for the bus.  It was a pleasant comfortable ride. Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana had a beautiful exterior.  It’s in a park-like setting with a pretty little lake running through it. The hotel porters had already taken our bags and we went into the lovely lobby to register and be taken to our room.  Our room was sumptuous!  The king-sized bed was very comfortable and every evening it was decorated with rose petals.  Our balcony had a lovely view of the courtyard and lazy river below.  The bathroom was very convenient and beautifully decorated.  It had a room for the toilet and a vanity with double sink and a beautiful walk in shower.  My husband is an amputee and they had included a chair for him to sit in while showering.  Every one of our needs were taken care of by the hotel staff!

 

 

After looking at the room we put on our bathing suits and strolled around the pool, the lazy river and then down to the beautiful beach for a delicious snack, a stroll along the waterand an opportunity to sit a stare at our beautiful surroundings.  Other than the occasional waiter taking our drink orders we relaxed to the sound of the waves, and the far off sounds of other happy travelers enjoying their day.

The first night we chose the Oceana seafood restaurant for dinner (good food and service) and later went to the entertainment in the courtyard just outside the hotel.  We listened to beautiful music and laughed at comedians.  We were pretty tired after our trip and went to bed early that night.

We had a great breakfast the next morning at the buffet and took our mimosas out to the beach to sit in the lounge chairs and enjoy the view.  After we’d been there about an hour, a man came up and invited us to a dance class.  He was gorgeous!  I took the class right on the beach just to watch this guy!  So did a large number of other women.  The rest of that day and the next are just one relaxing blur of relaxation, great food and friendly people all having a wonderful time!

Located amidst palm trees, lush vegetation and manicured gardens on an expansive sugar-white beach, this colorful Caribbean resort offers adults a seaside escape to romance, relaxation and Unlimited-Luxury®.

 

Nuptials at NOW Larimar Punta Cana

as told by Dani Laverty, Destination Wedding Specialist 

Couple: Kari and Neale

Wedding date: November 7, 2012

 

When the Kari’s mother, Christina (Chris), initially contacted me in March 2012 to assist her with planning her daughter’s destination wedding in Punta Cana, little did I know it would mark the beginning of a wonderful journey of not only planning the travel details for the wedding party of 16, but also what feels like a lifelong friendship.

Kari and Neale had already decided on the resort to host their special day by the time Chris reached out to me to begin the travel planning process.   I reached out to Now Larimar’s wedding coordinator, Cristina, in order to verify the resort’s availability.  Although there were a few minor hiccups when securing the ceremony date with the Punta Cana judge, as he is a very busy man with quite the jam-packed schedule, once the date and time was set, it was smooth sailing from there on out.

Over the 8 months of planning, the mother of the bride and I formed somewhat of a bond as we discussed travel and wedding-related details leading up to the big event.  From the purchase of Kari’s gorgeous wedding gown to the pre-wedding celebration party at home, Chris always kept me in the loop and shared wonderful pictures and stories that made me feel truly involved and connected to my bride and groom.  Fast forward a few months and it was time for Kari, Neale, and their closest family and friends to pack their bags and jet off to Paradise!  I anxiously awaited their return home mid-November so I could hear all about their trip.

Upon their return to reality, Chris shared all of the fabulous tales of their journey and described how the wedding and entire trip was nothing less than perfect.  Kari and Chris adored their wedding coordinator, Francina, who seemed to make everything happen just the way Kari and Neale requested without hesitation.  They met with Francina on Monday, two days before the ceremony, to confirm all of the final details of their ceremony and reception.  Francina arranged a rehearsal dinner the evening before the ceremony at “Capers,” Now Larimar’s delightful Italian restaurant, complete with personalized menus for the entire wedding group.  The wedding day came along with the sunshine, as every destination wedding couple hopes for.  Their quaint and simple ceremony was held on Now Larimar’s white sand beach, overlooking the rolling waves of the turquoise-blue Caribbean Sea.  Following the “I do’s,” the festivities continued with a seated lovely reception dinner on Now Larimar’s Quiet Pool Deck.  Although it was a warm evening, the group kept their cool by standing with their feet in shallow end of the pool.  A highlight of the reception was when the groom’s brother, Neale, caught the bouquet!

Along with any wedding, especially one planned in another country, there are sure to be a few glitches and delays along the way.  But, even though the beautiful bride happened to spill her mimosa on her dress just hours before the ceremony, there were no “bridezilla” moments; the crises was averted, the gown was salvaged (and looked flawless), and everyone got a good laugh!  The wedding photographer even complimented Kari and Chris for not having a bridal “meltdown” in the midst of the debacle.  Chris commented that the photographer the resort provided was “outstandingly talented, climbed all over the sand and everything else in sight, was very personable and very professional,” and that she would highly recommend his services for any destination wedding in Punta Cana.

Working with wonderful brides, grooms, and their families, like Kari and Chris, is what makes my job so fun. I can’t even begin to describe the joy I experience when, after months and months of planning, I have  the opportunity to hear all about the beautiful details of the destination wedding, learn about the wonderful memories made, and see the gorgeous pictures when my brides and grooms return home.

 

Christine, Mother of the Bride’s, comments:

Describe the experience with your destination wedding specialist:

“Dani was like a gift from heaven. We felt so overwhelmed until we met her.  We feel like have made a friend for life!”

What was the most memorable moment of your destination wedding?

“Seeing all the relaxed smiles on my families’ faces as my son walked my daughter down the aisle” .

 

 

Family Vacation in Punta Cana

It’s that time of year again for our annual family vacation.  I have vacationed in Punta Cana before and completely fell in love with the people and the culture in the Dominican Republic. Warm smiles friendly attitudes and a care free environment are the staples of Punta Cana and I was not going to chance losing that going elsewhere. The hardest part about planning an all-inclusive vacation with a family of 10, is choosing the right resort.  It’s a bit of a task finding a place that caters an age disparity that ranges 10 to 65 years old.

Set on the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic in Punta Cana, this resort offers 13 different outdoor pools with gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea and a secluded lagoon.

With activities that range from arcades to casinos, The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was really a ‘no-brainer.’  The moment we stepped off the Apple Vacations van and set foot on the property the whole family was blown away by the aesthetics of the place. Flashy, yet controlled; spacious yet completely decorated in rock memorabilia, the Hard Rock is really a sight to behold. All the rooms are full blown suites equipped with Jacuzzis, personal balconies and stunning views. It really has a way of making you feel like a rock star. Something tells me that’s exactly what they were going for.

 

 

The Hard Rock features luxurious accommodations, fine dining at nine restaurants, seven bars, thirteen pool with four swim-up bars, casino and spa.

 

The resort also offers a magnificent state of the art Spa and an elegant full service Casino. And when you're hungry, you'll have a choice of 9 different restaurants, wireless Internet service, a sports bar, 24-hour room service and much more.

The resort is home to 9 restaurants, 3 deli/snack bars, 15 bars, 15 pools, lounges/nightclubs, arcades, a spa, a casino, and a variety of shops.  Plenty to keep a large family like mine completely entertained. There are also a plethora of excursions available through the Apple representative on site.

 

When the sun goes down, Hard Rock knows how to rock. The fun has just begun. You can go check out a rock show, or bet against lady luck at the casino. Perhaps you want to test your own rock and roll voice at the Karaoke, dance the night away at the club, or sit, relax and have a drink at one of the many lounges. The possibilities are endless and so is the fun.

 

The majestic Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana brings the Palace brand of uncompromising, all-inclusive luxury to its newest destination - one of the most beautiful beachfront locations in the Caribbean.

 

This vacation reminded me why I love Punta Cana so much and why its growing in popularity as the years pass. With great people, great food, spectacular service, beautiful scenery and incredible beaches its not hard to see why Punta Cana is becoming THE place to vacation.  Don’t overlook this destination next time you are in need of a great vacation!

Happy travels…

Eagles land at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana

 

Part of my job at Apple Vacations is working with various media partners including radio stations and sports teams, and maintaining those relationships. I love this part of my job and I get to work with some really great people including Mike Quick & Harold Carmichael.

Philadelphia Eagles pro–bowl wide receivers, Mike Quick (#82) & Harold Carmichael (#17) are two local legends. They are both still very active in the Philadelphia sports community. Harold still with the team and Mike Quick can be heard on CBS radio in Philadelphia on Sportsradio 94 WIP.

Punta Cana is one of their favorite destinations, and Apple Vacations was able to send them there again this winter to Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana.

Harold called me upon his return and said it was the BEST trip he ever went on and the service at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana was the finest of any hotel he has ever stayed at! He said they spoil their guests so much is almost embarrassing, almost… And the beach was incredible. So much so he hardly left it during his stay. Secrets Royal Beach really won them over.

 

On behalf of my wife and myself, I would like to say thank you for one of the best vacations we have ever had. From the time we landed in Punta Cana, the first class services were awesome. The staff at Secrets Royal Beach made our stay very relaxing. The beach, the pool, dining, were all parts of a memorable experience for all of us. Thanks for arranging a fun vacation. Apple Vacations rocks!

 

So take it from Mike & Howard if you are looking for an amazing hotel with incredible staff and service, Secrets Royal Beach is the place!