Now that Christmas has been and gone, I can't help but day dream about basking in the warm glow of the summer sun. Why wait until summer though (unless, like me, your bank account is crying right now), there are some amazing winter sun destinations. Escape the frost, and the endless mornings of de-icing the car, grab a mojito, and get some much needed vitamin sea.
Some of you that follow me on social media, or have read my blog, will know that I recently got married. We researched for a while about where we wanted to spend our honeymoon, and with us getting married in winter it made looking for the sun even harder. That's when we were recommended The Dominican Republic.
It was an easy 8 hour flight there, which we spent watching films and being spoiled by Thomas Cook in the food department! We even has a mini ice cream, which seriously made my flight.
We stayed at the Grand Palladium Hotel, in a Junior Suite. On arrival we were given a fruity cocktail, and taken to our room where we received a lovely gift of fresh fruit. I was even surprised to find that the mini bar was part of the All Inclusive, and was re-stocked daily! Hello Champagne!
Our Room was bright and spacious, with crisp white wash walls, and shiny tiled floors, it oozed luxury. There was an impressive Four Poster Bed that took centre stage of the room, which was complete with an array of tropical inspired pillows.
We had the luxury of a deep Jacuzzi style bath, as well as a separate bathroom complete with shower. The room also came with a pretty patio area over looking the pool.
From our door there was a path that lead straight to the beach, where you could hear the soft hum of the waves, gently swashing in and out. It was so refreshing to roll out of bed in the morning, and head for a long walk on the soft white sand, before breakfast.
The hotel complex itself was vast, we probably didn't even cover a quarter of it in the week that we were there. It has an impressive 22 bars, 8 a la carte restaurants, 5 pools, a spa, and a casino! There's definitely plenty to keep you busy with just the hotel itself.
We spent most of our time relaxing in each other's company, only moving from the sun lounger for a dip in the sea, or another cocktail. However, our restless feet couldn't relax all week and we were itching to do some exploring. We decided to book ourselves on to two excursions, the first one being a Mega Truck Safari.
We were picked up from our hotel in this vibrant, beast of a vehicle! Once every one had been picked up we set off on the first part of the trip, to the sugar cane fields. We learnt about how it is harvested and the sheer hard work that goes into each working day. It was an eye opening experience, which lead us on to travelling to Higuey. Higuey is the 8th largest city in Dominican Republic, we drove through the main centre, passing schools, shops, brightly coloured houses and more. Our destination was the Basilica of La Altagracia.
We had some free time to explore the Basilica of La Altagracia and had a cheeky rum tipple, before carrying on with our tour. Our next stop was a local coffee and cocoa plantation, where we were going to be given the opportunity to try some real Dominican chocolate & coffee. Two of my favourite things.
We got to experience the whole process of making coffee and chocolate. It was so interesting, and the work that goes into making them is unbelievable.
We were treated to a buffet style dinner, with the most breath-taking view.
After filling up on rice and beans and taking in that view, we headed back to the truck for a quick stop at a stunning river, and then on to the local beach for a little R&R before heading back to our hotel.
For our second trip of the honeymoon, we booked a catamaran trip to Saona Island. Saona is the most stunning island I have ever seen, it has even been used for the Bounty Chocolate Bar Advert. The white sand is so soft, it's like walking on a cloud, and the crystal blue sea is a dream to swim in.
We frolicked in the sea, lapped up the sun and treated ourselves to a cheeky Pina Colada. This excursion is a seriously relaxing one, from lazing on the catamaran, to floating around in the sea, expect to return to your hotel feeling revitalised.
Dominican Republic is the perfect place for a winter sun escape, it has the enticing white sand, sparkling blue sea, and plenty of adventure too. It was an idyllic place to spend our honeymoon and we have so many special memories to take away with us from it.
What are your 2017 travel plans?