Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana – What to Know Before You Go
We recently got back from the Dominican Republic. It was my first time in the Caribbean and my first time at an all inclusive resort. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip. Here are some things I learned while there and for you to expect at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana.
Hyatt’s All Inclusive Resorts
We are not travel hacker credit card point people. I haven’t spent time on the ins and outs of it all, but after a few years with some Chase cards, we had some points built up and transferred them to World of Hyatt to book at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. I read a few times online that this was a good deal as far as points go and the resort appealed to us.
If you go this route make sure you have all the points you need. The transfer from Chase to Hyatt is not reversible. You also can’t pay the point difference in cash with Hyatt if you don’t have enough points (you can pay by night in cash, just not for a partial night). I learned that one the hard way – we were a few points short and waited a billing cycle for more points to be credited to the account before we finished booking. I didn’t want to pay $500+ for one night when we had the points to do it, I just had to be patient.
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Book the transportation to/from the airport through the resort. It’s worth a few extra bucks for the convenience and peace of mind. The Punta Cana airport has an open air terminal and an air conditioned terminal. We landed in the open air terminal. After an early morning, two flights and my plane clothes, I struggled in the heat.
Being able to quickly make it out of the airport and to the resort was awesome. At the transportation desks we found the sign with our name. They called our driver who was waiting outside with an air conditioned car and cold water. Once we picked up our bags at baggage claim we were on the road in about 5 minutes. The way back was equally easy, with a call time just before checkout. We were dropped right at departures and were on our way.
Change on the Plane
I had read this tip multiple times online. Did I listen? Nope. I packed a change of clothes and sandals in my personal item for this purpose. Then decided it wasn’t worth the struggle in the plane lavatory. I would have been significantly more comfortable navigating the airport and the open air lobby during check-in (it does take a few minutes) had I changed clothes.
Would it be an all inclusive post without a mention of what to pack? Here are items I was happy we brought/wish we had brought and items we took but didn’t use.
Things to Bring:
insulated drink cups for use by the pool – eliminate single use plastic, keep condensation from dripping everywhere, and keep your drink cold longer [my favorite one]
hat – maybe even more than one option, it’s hot and the sun is unrelenting
more coverups/swimshirt – its hot, you’re going to get sweaty
silicone wedding band – to keep salt, sunscreen, and chlorine off your regular one (here’s why I do this)
sunglasses floaty strap/back up glasses – the Caribbean might take a pair while doing watersports
clothesline – we hung swimsuits on our balcony and lost an article over the railing that we had to call someone to help us retrieve
floating drink coozie
all the hair options – hair ties, spin pins, claw clips, etc
micellar water – for keeping faces clean, as a spot stain treatment, removing chlorine from silicone watch bands and rings
cash for tips (the gift shop only does credit or charging to the room)
manners – it was amazing to me that several other guests didn’t thank or treat staff with respect, just because everything is included doesn’t mean the staff aren’t people too
Things to Skip:
towel clips for chairs
beach towels – there are stands full of them near the pools
jumpsuit/pants – it was just too hot, even at night
sneakers & closed toed shoes – maybe a pair for traveling days, but not for at the resort
Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana Specifics
Having never been to an all inclusive, I didn’t know how everything worked. There are no wrist bands here. Everywhere you’re asked for your room number to verify you’re a guest, including the Ziva Cap Cana next door. The first number represents the building, the second is the floor, then the actual room number. Each restaurant also asks about food allergies and special diets. The mangoes at the buffet were my favorite thing to eat while we were there.
WHAT I WISH I FOUND BEFORE WE WENT: Each morning the list of activities for the day is updated. The digital concierge has them, along with menus for restaurants, and hotel information. QR codes all around the resort make this easy to access.
The pool closest to the resort has more shade, but is for Club Level guests only. The afternoon we arrived, we unknowingly hung out at this pool. The next morning when we went to do the same, we discovered it was Club Level only. The second pool (closer to the beach) has beautiful views of the Caribbean, but doesn’t have as much shade. As long as there are umbrellas available, staff were very helpful in arranging them together so we’d have both chairs in the shade. This pool is bigger and the views of the beach make it a perfect spot to relax.
The beach gets strong morning sun, and is pretty hot in the mornings. Evening strolls to absorb the views were much more pleasant. The water was warm and lapped at the shore as opposed to having waves roll in. The area was cordoned off by a net in the water for swimming and water sports. There really weren’t seashells, but a good amount of seaweed. Regularly the seaweed is combed up by a tractor. A few resorts were in this area. You could walk a bit in each direction past them, but things were blocked off so you can’t go too far.
I was a bit worried about what clothes to pack because of resort dress codes. Really as long as you weren’t in a bathing suit/had a shirt on mostly everything was fine. Each restaurant does have a dress code listed by its entrance stating what is permitted and what isn’t.
Lastly, if you’re worried about a language barrier, don’t be. While the Dominican Republic is a Spanish speaking country, folks at the airport and resort spoke English too. We know some Spanish and did use that too. Whether in Spanish or English, “hello”, “how are you?”, “please”, and “thank you” all go a long way.
Save this for later when you’re packing for your trip!