Westin makes its debut in Dominican Republic

By Gay Nagle Myers
GayNagleMyersStarwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide’s opening of the 204-room Westin Puntacana Resort & Club in December not only marks the debut of the brand in the Dominican Republic but also the arrival of a European plan (E.P.: room only, no meals) property in a destination known for its all-inclusive resorts.
“The Dominican Republic, and Punta Cana in particular, is known for all-inclusive offerings, but we are seeing a demand now for E.P. properties,” said Francisco Blanch, director of sales and marketing, Starwood Resort Collection, Caribbean & South Florida.
“We are the first defenders of the all-inclusive concept, but we feel that there is a large market for the E.P. product, as well,” he said.
The resort will be located in the Playa Blanca area of the Puntacana Resort & Club, a 26-square-mile enclave that includes the 30-room Tortuga Bay resort, Six Senses Spa, a 1,500-acre ecological reserve, Insightfour residential communities, a marina, a variety of restaurants, a shopping village, 45 holes of golf on three courses and Punta Cana Airport.
In addition, Punta Cana Village, a small community bordering Puntacana Resort & Club, offers an additional selection of eight local restaurants.
The Westin will offer an all-inclusive meal plan as an option to its guests, according to Blanch.
A modified American plan (MAP: room plus two meals a day) is under consideration, as well.
Starwood’s other resort in the area is the Four Points by Sheraton, which opened last November near the Punta Cana Airport and targets the business market.

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