Destination: Punta Cana-Bavaro, Dominican Republic
Some time ago I was invited to a large and rather fancy dinner at the Secrets Sanctuary Resort. Very exciting since I never visited this 5 star ”Adults only” resort before!
The arrival is breathtaking; the almost setting sun casts an intense orange glow from behind the terrace, straight through the entrance and the extravagantly pouring water of the fountain in the lobby, which is located at the romantic and colonial section of the resort. The colonial atmosphere feels a bit like I just have arrived in Habana Vieja of Cartagena. Five friendly smiling, splendid looking mulato men, dressed in casual linen off- white “Pajamas” with straight fit pants that are slightly too short, a blouson with a sexy slit in the neck and no-frills but nevertheless beautiful leather sandals are welcoming me. The Bellboys of the Secrets Sanctuary! A couple of elegant young women pass by me. They wear tight black dresses and high heels, sway their hips, giggle and without loosing a second of conversation, grab both -in an almost orchestrated move- a glass of champagne from the waiters tray before disappearing into the large crowd that has gathered on the large terrace on the rear side of the main building. I have had a busy day exploring the sights and did not have time to change my clothes. After reflecting on my own appearance I have to come to the conclusion that I am slightly underdressed. I also still have a camera hanging around my neck. I take a deep breath in order to transport some of my self-confidence from the base of my stomach into my head and continue my path towards the crowd, pretending that everything is just absolutely peachy. On top of that I put on a smile that could have been cloned from an American toothpaste ad. Before long, I make some friends who found, just like me, a sushi buffet next to a fast melting yet still rather large ice sculpture depicting the hotel initials, and try the deliciously fresh Japanese engawa and negi-toro-maki. After a short welcome speech, all guest are being invited at the expensive looking round tables that are located near the pool, one floor down. I decide to sneak out because I do not feel at ease in my “Debbie discovers” outfit and I have to wake up very early tomorrow. Soon I find myself at the subtle lit reception desk, waiting for one of these handsome bellboys who will return some of my belongings that I temporarily surrendered upon arrival. The heat, high humidity and perhaps the few glasses of champagne I consumed are causing me to sweat profusely. A charming young, blond haired lady who is also wearing a linen outfit, nicely asks me, in perfect English, if I would care for a glass of water. This indeed sounds wonderful. Caroline soon returns with a large glass of water with ice cubes and a slice of lemon that she gets from a nearby simple yet stylishly dressed table. It is clear that the Secrets Sanctuary Resort pays attention to the smallest details. It turns out that Caroline Escroignard is the resort’s Wedding Coordinator. I make an appointment with her for the next day, after all it is very interesting to find out a little more about the services offered by a hotel; especially this exceptionally elegant one!
The next day I meet Caroline under the bright shining sun. While striking up a conversation, we step into one of the golf carts the resort uses to transport the guest to their rooms. The resort is not that big, but it is kind of chic to drive around in such a small white mini car. During the tour, which takes us to the different parts of the resort, a smiling Caroline tells me that her golf cart driving skills have improved quite a bit over the years. “In the beginning every corner I took meant an uprooted plant or prematurely cut bunch of flowers”.
Caroline is a French native. After finishing her study at the sports academy of Normandy she began her journey passed various resorts while working as an animator. This explains how she learned to speak a number of different languages fluently.
Since 2007 Caroline works at Secrets Sanctuary and more recently she took on the position of wedding coordinator. “We are fully booked with weddings for this and a major part of next year”, Caroline tells me with pride. This comes as no surprise to me after seeing the many facilities that Secrets Sanctuary has to offer. The tastefully decorated rooms, fantastic beach, bright blue ocean, top-notch service, the patient and polite staff and, as a cherry on the cake, Caroline who will listen to you and organize all your wedding wishes, makes me wonder where else one could find a better location for a wedding or honeymoon.