How suite it is: Sol Melia opens high-end all-inclusive in D.R.

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PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- Not many all-inclusive resorts boast all-suite accommodations, fine dining and a bellini cocktail bar, but thats just part of whats on the menu at the Paradisus Palma Real, a new Sol Melia resort here.

Fanning out over 86 acres, guest quarters at Paradisus Palma Real lie in a horseshoe shape around an elaborate core of restaurants, theater, casino and other facilities. A long line of pools form a chain along 2,600 feet of beach, while ponds, lagoons and streams create picturesque spots among walkways and around palapa huts that shade oversize Bali beds.

Sol Melias $120 million investment represents an expenditure of $217,000 per suite, confirming the resorts spot in the Dominican Republics luxury market.

The 554 suites feature plasma TVs, coffeemakers, irons and boards, radio/CD players, alarm clocks, umbrellas, safes, separate jet showers, air conditioning and minibars.

New take on all-inclusive

Susanna Mander, director of brand management at Sol Melia, said the company is promoting the resort primarily to the couples, families, and meetings and incentives markets -- with a new approach.

With the opening of our fifth Paradisus, weve introduced a concept that attaches emotions to the guest stay, appealing to the five senses, where guests experiences will surely stay with them after they leave.

A top-of-the-line Royal Service booking includes Jacuzzi suites, dedicated butler service, private beach and pool, a separate dining pavilion by the beach and exclusive access to those inviting Bali beds.

Over on the garden side of the resort, Family Concierge Suites offer either a separate bedroom for parents or a bed alcove arrangement, whereby sliding Japanese-style screens allow privacy while children sleep on the pull-out living room sofa.

Diners have a choice of six restaurants: three a la carte venues and three offering ample buffets. The Bellini Bar serves many libations, but the signature drinks come in peach, passion and coconut flavors, to name a few.

On a wellness note, the fascinating part of on-site Spa Paradisus -- apart from massages -- is the Water Ritual Center, a room outfitted with all sorts of water-based treatments.

The idea is to proceed around the center from sauna to steam room to an array of showers, from needle sprays to a simple chain and bucket.

Sol Melias Club Amigos incentive program for travel agents awards a point for each night booked at any property, good toward earning room nights for agents own use or for resale. Retailers earn 10% commission on bookings.

All-inclusive rates range from $500 to $1,200 per night. To reserve, call (800) 336-3542. For more information on the property, call (809) 688-5000 or visit www.paradisuspalmareal.com.

To contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to [email protected].

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