Best Kid-Friendly Hotels in Punta Cana

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Most Dominican resorts say they're great for kids, but some hotels just take that extra step with kid-friendly pools, calm waves at the beach, supervised activities, cribs, and rooms large enough for a family. Here's a list of where to stay in Punta Cana if you want to make it through your trip tantrum-free!

  1. In addition to one of the most expansive pools in the D.R., Dreams offers extensive child- and teen-oriented amenities. The Explorers' club offers a full schedule of activities for young children, such as nature tours and "Looking for Shells and Snails." The kids club has large indoor and outdoor play areas and also offers childcare. For teens, the resort staff hosts organized sporting events, and there's even a "teen disco" at night. There's also an active lifeguard on duty on the beach.

  2. With fewer than 200 suites, this family-friendly section of Paradisus Palma Real all-inclusive offers a serene, luxurious environment. The property offers sprawling grounds, meandering pathways, and upscale amenities such as a top-notch spa, yoga, and a seemingly never-ending pool area; couples will find that the well-behaved little ones here are hardly ever a bother. Guests have free access to the services, facilities, and restaurants at next door Palma Real -– particularly the beach area, which this property lacks. Parents will likely appreciate the Kids Zone and babysitting services, while all can enjoy the daily excursions, quality restaurants and bars, and personal concierge service.

  3. With 1,790 rooms, 13 pools and restaurants, 23 bars, an 18-hole golf course, 65,000 square feet of meeting space, a massive spa and fitness center, and the Dominican Republic’s largest casino, the word “huge” doesn’t even seem big enough to describe the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. But the Hard Rock isn’t all about size — the massive luxury property also happens to be one of the nicest all-inclusives in Punta Cana. It’s equally suitable for families, couples, and those just looking to have a good time. With so much space, it’s easy for each group to find its niche, and the hotel’s mile-long list of amenities ensures everyone will find something to keep themselves occupied. 

  4. A kids' haven that's not quite directly on the beach, this 525-room all-inclusive resort one-ups King Neptune with what's billed as the largest resort water park in all of the Caribbean. Rooms are upscale and some categories have big whirlpool tubs; Family Suites with bunk beds are available. Restaurant options include a buffet, three a la carte restaurants, and multiple bars, and guests also have access to some options at sister property next door, the Royalton Punta Cana

  5. The Melia Caribe features a Flintstones-themed kids club with boulders and dinosaurs aplenty as well as an elaborate Flintstones pool, complete with colorful play structures, waterslides, and animal-print lounge chairs. But the main highlight of this resort is its massive, 450-square-foot family suite, which comes with two pull-out sofa beds that have "themed children's bedding" in addition to a big bed for parents.

  6. The 674-room Grand Palladium Bavaro is spread over spacious grounds (guests also have access to two sister properties) offering 15 bars, five buffets, and eight restaurants. Walking shoes are recommended, but family-friendly amenities, lower prices than some neighbors, and renovated rooms are the big draws. Kids and their parents will appreciate the outstanding kids' club, but the beach can get crowded. The sports center includes tennis courts, a soccer field, archery, basketball court, and mini-golf course. There's also beach volleyball on the beach and free use of snorkel gear, kayaks, and windsurfing equipment.

  7. The 1,600-room Palace Deluxe is the main resort at the Barcelo Bavaro complex, and features tons of on-site features including an attractive spa, a 24-hour casino, four pools, and 11 restaurants. But aside from substantial lines at the front desk, the guest capacity of the resort rarely shows: Guests do not have to search for spots at the pools and beach, and reservation requirements keep restaurants well organized. Couples, families, and partiers all mingle seamlessly at the property. Though the adults-only sister property has a slightly more romantic vibe, plenty of couples opt to stay here as it is where most of the features are located. The hotel's rooms feature iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and attractive, sleek decor.

  8. Despite its kid-friendly mantra, this upscale boutique resort is a relaxing, appealing pick for both couples and families. The Reserve is pricier than its larger sister property next door, the Paradisus Punta Cana, but for good reason. The 132 classic one-bedroom units here (some adjoining) have separate living/dining areas, pull-out sofas, and spacious bathrooms with jetted tubs for two. Reserve guests can access the amenities and restaurants next door (minus Royal Services), so they don't lose out on features by staying here. The beach area is a good hike away, but the tangerine bikes are useful for getting around, and it's not too far to walk to the large pool complex, fitness center, yoga studio, and Asian-themed spa.

  9. The Iberostar Bavaro Suites is slightly higher-end than the Iberostar Dominicana next door, and offers nearly 600 Junior suites(the only room type) spread out in 75 bungalow-style buildings. The Junior Suites are bright and contemporary, with separate seating areas and stocked minibars. A lucky few will have an ocean view, while most should expect garden views and a lot of walking. The renowned beach is the highlight, and there's a large pool adjacent to the sand with a swim-up bar, snack area, and kids section with slides. For food, guests can choose between the main buffet and a range of a la carte restaurants that require a reservation, or use the 24-hour room service. Golf, tennis, late-night bars, and free Wi-Fi are also available.

  10. This 708-room upscale resort a 10-minute drive from downtown Bavaro aims to appeal to guests of all ages. The foal points here are the large, music-filled pool area and the mock town center -- not the small strip of beach. The rooms are spacious, but not as stylish as one might expect from this category, and not many have ocean views. There are plenty of dining options and lots of activities for kids and teens, and prices are among Punta Cana's most affordable for an upscale resort. Majestic Colonial Punta Cana has a better beach, so it may be worth comparing rates. 

  11. This large maze-like property is arguably the best of the four Princess properties in Punta Cana. Set on a great stretch of slightly less crowded beach in the area of Bavaro, there are 808 condo-style units spread out over seemingly never-ending grounds. The sprawling property allows for more privacy but also means a long walk to the beach and pool area for many guests. The walk can be broken up with a little exploration in the ecological park, which contains rabbits, peacocks, chickens, and parrots; otherwise, guests will have to patiently wait for the tram, which comes around every 15 minutes or so. Decentrestaurant options and daily specials allow for dining variety, and the lively (but not too lively) bar scene is a highlight, especially in the lobby for pre-dinner drinks and piano music.

  12. Two Sirenis properties have merged into one here, with more than 800 rooms. Aquagames, the biggest water park in Punta Cana, has a number of cool vertical slides (adults love them, too), two kids' pools, and sunbathing areas. Guests have unlimited free access to the water park. The resort, which is on a beach, offers clean (if slightly basic) tropical-style rooms with colorful decor accents. Its facilities, including two swim-up bars, a full fitness center, evening entertainment, a disco, casino, and several themed restaurants draw guests from North America, Europe, and Russia. Not all the rooms have been renovated, though. Guests have complained about maintenance problems.

  13. The Iberostar mega-complex is made up of four neighboring properties, and the 500-room Iberostar Dominicana is perhaps the best option for families given its more compact size and adjoining rooms. It's also popular with couples, who can likely appreciate the romantic, manicured grounds and fountains, while partiers can take advantage of the lively scene at the pool and beach bars. The beach here is renowned for a reason, but the chairs nearest to the ocean often get snagged in the early morning. With access to the golf course, tennis center, late-night disco and quality food and beverage options, it's a stand-out option for the low price. Just don't expect to be wowed by room decor, or have free Wi-Fi.

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