“Welcome to the party!” A futuristic-looking cast of rock star greeters was on hand to set the tone as we arrived at Breathless, an AMResort in Punta Cana, for TIME—its annual client event. What I didn’t realize is that they say this every day. Life really is one big party at this neon slice of paradise in the Dominican Republic.
Over the next three days I would come to understand what defines each brand in the company’s portfolio: Zoetry, Secrets, Breathless, Dreams, Now and Sunscape. I also witnessed AMResorts’ thorough understanding of the meetings and incentives market; artistry around F&B and entertainment; and the mutually successful relationship they have with their meeting planner clients—a tribe of sorts.
The evening events were as diverse as AMResorts’ portfolio, from an unexpected Western-themed beach party at Secrets Royal Palm featuring wagon-wheel spinning and servers in cowboy garb to an outstanding Tomorrowland final night at Breathless with stunning crystal and laser decor and a futuristic vibe. A highlight was an elegant evening at Secrets Cap Cana, truly a treasure for incentive groups and just a year old. There, guests were greeted by a beautiful couple dancing in a fountain and a breathtaking soloist, bathed in blue light, singing from her own private island. A grand entrance.
We had a chance to tour the various properties as well, including the brand-new Now Onyx, which is adjacent to Breathless and can be used in combination. There, a Preferred-level pool was the epitome of elegance, with a view of the ocean as a backdrop. Luxurious suites opened up to their own private plunge pools and king-sized cabanas for lounging after a long day of doing…nothing. This property is the perfect fit for an incentive group, while the adjacent Breathless is suited for younger groups looking to dance with the DJ at the pool and party into the night at the on-site club or central courtyard bar. Another option is the upscale Dreams brand, which we experienced during a gourmet buffet lunch at the Palm Beach property.
The Dominican Republic has a strong infrastructure in place, with Amstar doing a first-rate job as the DMC, and guests able to choose from a menu of excursions. A snorkeling cruise on a glass-bottomed catamaran brought us face to face with nurse sharks (which don’t attack) and even allowed us to pet a stingray. Everyone enjoyed wading in the turquoise sea, drinks in hand, as the grand finale to a perfect trip. The excursion was sponsored by the Marinarium, an eco-tourism organization with preservation of the local sea life and reef at the core of its mission.
In the end, however, a highlight of that afternoon—and the entire trip—was the genuine warmth and enthusiasm of the staff. Five-star facilities are fabulous, but it’s the heartfelt service (a hallmark of the DR and of AMResorts) that makes them stand out from the rest.