Finding an unexplored vacation destination can be difficult when you’ve spent time in all seven continents like Laurent Fort, a senior manager at Luxury Retreats, has already done. To date, he’s lived in seven different major cities: Bordeaux, London, Miami, San Francisco, Paris, Toronto, and currently, Montreal. This spring, Fort added a new city to his collection: Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. With beaches, palm trees, and sun in his sights, Fort arranged to reconnect with some old friends in the comfort of two luxurious private villas. As it turns out, the villas were so rich in activities, Fort and his friends barely-if-ever wanted to leave. Here’s what happened.
LUXURY RETREATS: Let’s talk about the villas you stayed in during your weeklong trip in Punta Cana. When you first arrived at your initial destination, Villa Good Vibe, what was your reaction?
LAURENT FORT: Villa Good Vibe is simply beautiful, with a grand entrance, a big blue front door, and a massive high-ceiling lobby to welcome you. It’s a haven of peace, serenity, and privacy, but there’s plenty to do, too. The villa sits in the middle of a golf course and is located just minutes away from the golf clubhouse and 30 seconds from the beach. There’s a great staff, excellent food, and it’s very modern.
LR: After several days at Villa Good Vibe, you stayed at nearby Tropical Dream Villa in Cap Cana. What was your first reaction to that villa?
FORT: At first, it was hard to believe that the entire place is just for us. It’s enormous. What makes Tropical Dream special is the fact there’s so many possible activities for everyone: There’s a squash court, a game room, a cigar lounge, tennis court, and three pools. It felt like there was so much to see and do that there was no need to ever leave the villa. It’s a paradise for entertaining and keeping everyone busy, children especially. Plus, there’s the same attention paid to the details here, like excellent service, staff, and food.
LR: What made this trip a true Luxury Retreats experience?
FORT: Two things: the grandeur of the villas, plus the kindness of the on-site staff who were always there to help and make our wishes come true.
LR: Tell me about one incredible moment or an ideal day from your trip. What did you do, eat, see?
FORT: The best moment was when my friends and I gathered for our first meal. We were just so excited for the week ahead that we started planning our activities, and we couldn’t wait to tour the home and visit every bedroom. To top it all off, we had our first jump in our own private pool together.
LR: What is the one experience a first-time traveler to Dominican Republic or Punta Cana can’t miss?
FORT: Definitely visit the Eden Roc Beach Club. It is very, very high-end, and it looks like a dream landscape. There’s blue sea, gorgeous palm trees, very comfortable chairs, and butler service. The sand there is somehow extra thin and white. I’ve never seen anything like that before.
LR: If you could bring one thing from your trip home with you, what would it be and why?
FORT: I would definitely bring Maria, our cook at Villa Good Vibe. Early on, she made us a great meal of grilled lobster and the most amazing fried eggplant. We couldn’t get enough of it, and it was the talk of our group all week.
LR: Did you tick off any bucket list items while you were in Punta Cana?
FORT: I had my first ‘fish spa pedicure’ treatment, where my feet were cleaned by tiny fish. You put your feet in an aquarium, and the fish eat off your excess dry or dead skin.
LR: When you look back on this vacation in 10 years, what will you remember most?
FORT: I’ll never forget the amazing time and incredible moments I spent with my friends. Also, I really thought Punta Cana was a place aimed at attracting just mass tourism. In actuality, it’s well-preserved and extremely luxurious.
LR: Where in the world are you off to next, or where would you like to go?
FORT: My plans this summer include a trip to Burning Man. And I would love to someday go to Japan, Russia, and Australia.