“WHEN I SPEAK ABOUT ENERGY, I’m referring to everything that exists, because everything that exists has a frequency and energy,” says Jessica Borraccino, as she sits cross-legged before a small ensemble of crystal sound bowls, a rain stick and gong. I’ve used my own waning energy, impacted by the Dominican Republic’s notable humidity during hurricane season, to slowly saunter into a dimly lit room at Meliá Punta Cana Beach Resort. Yoga mats line the front of the room, and I settle into a spot, excited to participate in a sound bath. A sound bath is an ancient healing ritual using instruments to elicit sound waves released by crystal bowls to induce a feeling of deep relaxation during meditation. The vibrations produced have the ability to slow your brain wave patterns, creating more delta waves, which are the dominant waves present during sleep.
“Crystal sound bowls produce a vibrational sound that resonates with your chakras to help rebalance your body,” further explains Borraccino, who is originally from Italy, but has relocated to Punta Cana to facilitate yoga, meditation and holistic wellness services. While I’ve attempted to realign my chakras and access deep relaxation at several sound baths over the years, I’ve never done so at an all-inclusive Caribbean resort. And that is what drew me to this hotel.
As a health-conscious yogini who is less inclined to buffet-and-bar it up, all-inclusive resorts haven’t always piqued my interest. However, when I discovered Meliá Punta Cana Beach Resort had an adults-only, wellness-inclusive program, this island-gal-at- heart was downward dogging in delight.
The resort’s “Wellbeing 360 Experience” launched in 2020. This wellness program offers activities and rituals that are included in the daily rate, which are designed to connect guests with their physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and social selves. Its offerings include yoga, meditation, healthy culinary classes, bike tours, botanical garden workshops and fire ritual ceremonies. The hotel’s relaunch also included revamped wellness spaces such as its Silent Spaces that offer solo painting, sound healing spots, reading pods and labyrinth walks. The hotel’s fitness facility has also been upgraded with new equipment and group classes.
Concurrently, the resort also launched 24 “Level Wellness Suites” among the resort’s 178 Level suites, Meliá Hotel & Resorts VIP suites. These Level Wellness Suites include one spa treatment per day per person, a personal wellness concierge and a personal bicycle to explore the resort. Features in the suites include guided meditations from American author and wellness advocate Dr. Deepak Chopra, mood enhancing aromatherapy, dawn simulation to wake you gradually and gently, and a shower infuser that reduces chlorine.
As part of Wellbeing 360, guests can also experience the resort’s Yhi Spa. The 2,200-square foot space features seven suites with private outdoor showers, and three couples’ suites with a private Jacuzzi. ¡Si, si por favor to all of this! So, I took full advantage of all the things.
My meandering mornings would begin with strolling the gorgeous grounds, winding my way through extensive tropical flora and fauna and verdant lush gardens to the resort’s open-air beachfront yoga studio. Here, my body almost melted into the yoga moves and forward folds overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the humidity acting as a natural hot yoga studio. After an hour of hatha yoga, I would sweep the sweat off my brow and settle in for an hour of deep breathing meditation.
Also known as breath-work, I’m soothed by the sounds of ocean waves lapping up against the shore for the ultimate calm-inducing soundtrack.
Ready to refuel, a jaunt to the BALANCE Juice Boutique provides a splash of healthy nourishment before heading to a cooking class. On today’s menu: a poke party in our mouths. Bowls of kale, shrimp, avocado, carrots, pepper, chia seeds and more line a table. A nutritionist breaks down the nutrient values per bowl and then we’re off to create our own healthy, tasty lunch.
To top off my well-rounded wellness program: the spa, of course! Pools of water surrounded by muted tones of taupe and cream, accented with the greenery of hanging plants, help usher in a sense of calm. My massage therapist greetsme with the warmest of smiles before guiding me into a warmly lit treatment room. I’m tickled to try the resort’s special Larimar hot stone body massage. Larimar is a semi-precious beautiful blue and white stone with a marbled appearance found only in the Dominican Republic. The rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite is known to have many healing properties and helps with stress-related imbalances and inflammation. It is known to target the third eye and crown chakras.
The treatment begins with the sweet aroma of moringa oils wafted around the room before the therapist begins needling my always-tense muscles. Post massage, larimar hot stones are placed on the skin, eliciting a sense of warmth and calm. The therapist explains that using larimar stones to induce chakra restoration aids in relieving muscle tension, and reduces stress and anxiety. I feel like jelly in her hands in the best way possible.
The precious stones elicit a precious experience. Relaxed and reflective, I feel blessed to have experienced the warmth and wellness of the Dominican Republic. I cap it all off by wandering to the beach to catch a candy-coloured sunset for the perfect way to end a perfect day for this wellness warrior.
WHEN YOU GO
Nearby Meliá properties include its “signature” Punta Cana resort, the Paradisus, which recently launched an adults- only section called “The Reserve,” an oasis of serenity. The Reserve Lounge has premium- brand drinks and snacks, the Reserve pool and a private beach area with waiter service on Bávaro beach.
Falcon’s Resort by Meliá is a five-star all-inclusive resort also located on Bávaro beach. This newly rebranded property brings “resortainment” to the Caribbean with a new theme park, Katmandu Park, filled with rides, games and food trucks galore! Included in the “resortainment” is family yoga (and sunset yoga at the beach), dance lessons, movie nights, painting workshops, foam parties and aqua aerobics.