Travel & Lifestyle | Winter has arrived, so it’s time to #SayHelloToLove

As I sit here writing this blog post, the snow is falling outside. It’s official. Winter has arrived. And that means that my mind is left thinking about how I can escape to warmer weather, beautiful beaches and to enjoy a relaxing vacation. Based upon our recent trip to the Dominican Republic via Booking Hello, I’ve got all the reasons why the Caribbean is just what the doctor ordered to cure the onset of the winter blues. 

Alongside Julio, Gracie Carroll and her boyfriend we hoped on a plane to Punta Cana en route to Catalonia Royal Bávaro. After an amazing experience in May when Julio and I went to Mexico to Catalonia Royal Tulum for a #HelloExperience, I knew that we were in for the perfect vacation away from it all. It had been over a decade since I last visited the Dominican and couldn’t wait to just relax alongside a special surprise we had been planning for months.

Using Booking Hello, planning a vacation is easier than ever. This travel website quickly became our #1 recommendation for family and friends who are looking to book a trip down south. To see what I mean, make sure to click here.

Once we landed at Punta Cana International Airport from our flight with Air Transat, the first of many perks from booking with Booking Hello was waiting for us. For those of you who have flown down south before, you know that arranging a taxi from the airport to the resort can be a nightmare. Booking Hello helps to coordinate a driver to and from the resort for you among other things – genius!

On Day 1, we checked into Catalonia Royal Bávaro after a short drive from the airport and headed to our honeymoon suite. What most of you didn’t know for the majority of the week was that Julio & I had been secretly planning our wedding while we were there and we made sure to reserve the honeymoon suite with just a few clicks.

The rooms of the hotel are absolutely incredible and you’ll see in the following Periscope video (uploaded to our Facebook Page) that we had a hard time containing our excitement. A fun fact is that on SEVERAL occasions we almost said honeymoon suite, but thankfully we didn’t blow our cover!

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On Day 2, Julio & I took to exploring the property and learning about it’s various amenities. The resort is in fact split into two sections: Catalonia Bavaro (which is family friendly) & Catalonia Royal Bavaro (adult only).

As a Royal customer, you can exclusively enjoy the following All Inclusive:

  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner in the a la carte restaurants, tapas, snack delicatessen or the buffet restaurant
  • Exclusive beach area with hammocks and beach umbrellas
  • All of the Spa installations (except massages and treatments)
  • Free internet connection (Wi-Fi) throughout the hotel
  • Access to all of the facilities at Catalonia Bavaro Beach, Golf & Casino Resort
  • Snacks throughout the day
  • Tea with cookies in the afternoon

And, of course, you’ll also enjoy the Bavaro Catalonia Resort’s All Inclusive:

  • Barbecue on the beach with beach party and orchestra (once a week).
  • Unlimited local alcoholic beverages, refreshments, water and hot drinks in all of the bars, restaurants and discotheque (free entrance)
  • Access to all of the sports installations and pools
  • Towels, hammocks and beach umbrellas
  • Daily program of day and nighttime activities
  • Merengue and native painting
  • Introductory golf lesson (1 hour)
  • All nonmotorized aquatic sports (1 hour a day of catamaran and snorkeling for adults and children)
  • Introductory scuba diving lesson in the pool.
  • Internet Connection (WI-FI)

An early morning meeting with The Wedding & Events team on the resort left me relaxed and ready for an incredible week. Over the next hour, we would finalize our plans for the top secret wedding behind the scenes after corresponding with them for the weeks leading up to our trip. The ease of booking and customizing our wedding with Booking Hello and Catalonia Hotels & Resorts helped to take all the stress of planning a wedding away. Not to mention the customization we had on the honeymoon experience post wedding – including (but not limited to) rose petals in our room, a romantic dinner for our wedding guests, decor, food and photography. All at the click of a button and executed perfectly… which for a perfectionist like me, is a HUGE relief! My wedding photography had to be on point, I wanted to look back on the day and see everything in amazing HD photos! My friend who lives in Virginia, researched for wedding photographers Charlottesville when she got married and I kinda went in the same vein, I did ALOT of research to get the best I could get!

We also got to tour Pearl Beach Club which would play an important part of the wedding later on in the week. This ultra chic beach club is adjacent to Catalonia Royal Bavaro, and although it isn’t included in the resort package it is a must for those of you who visit. Julio & I, being big goofballs, obviously had a little bit of fun taking photos and being ourselves. Because we were on vacation after all!


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For dinner we decided to enjoy tapas at Cata Tapa. This beautiful restaurant is centered beside the pool and offers a variety of beautiful dishes that are perfect for a romantic night with the one you love or with a group of friends. Many travelers assume that resort food is bland – not Catalonia Royal Bavaro. Their food & numerous restaurant options can cater to any culinary desire you may have.




Day 3 involved us waking up early for a Safari tour of the area with Compay Eco Safari. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, “Safari” is used interchangeably with the word “Tour” and doesn’t involve elephants and lions like one might assume back home in Canada. A full day of adventure lay ahead and the four of us set out to explore what lay outside the resort’s walls!

This is a full day adventure tour that offers you the opportunity to discover the Dominican Republic’s traditional side on board a 6×6 truck accompanied by a professional tour guide, you’ll go through villages, schools, rivers, plantations of sugar cane, coffee, cacao, tobacco, and others, as well as a ranch where you can do horseback riding and taste a dominican typical buffet, then visit macao beach.

-Comfortable clothing.
-Insect repellent.
-Cash for souvenirs



The view right now tho… ??? Day 3 with @booking_hello & @cataloniahotels has been perfect. ?

A video posted by Daniel Reyes (@dothedaniel) on

Helping you to book tours such as this one is yet another perk of planning your vacation with Booking Hello. The day long experience helped me to see parts of the country I might never have had the chance to & these are just a few of the memories from Day 2!

Day 4 involved some much needed down time at the beach & some fun in the sun. Sipping on mama juana, piña coladas & laughing… makes me want to book another trip right now! We had a lot of fun on Periscope while we were down in the Dominican Republic and the following video may have been recorded after a few beverages. 

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The toughest part of Day 4 was packing up our towel to move in between the pool and the beach in order to stay in the direct sunlight. Sounds rough, huh? That is just one of the things that waits for you when you book your next vacation with Booking Hello. Thankfully we had brought down our favourite Nella Bella bags to help carry around the beach essentials – the perfect accompaniment for any travel you have in mind!

After a shower and a delicious meal, and thanks to the organization of Booking Hello, we got ready to head to Coco Bongo Punta Cana!

Yes, the infamous Coco Bongo was yet again a part of our Caribbean experience. Dressed to kill, it was time to party into the wee hours of the night. For those of you who have never been to any of their locations, it’s an experience you simply have to see for yourself. A mix of dance club meets cabaret with talented (and very attractive) dancers and staff. It’s ALWAYS busy so make sure to get your Booking Hello agent to help you organize tickets in advance. You won’t regret it! #CocoBongoStyle forever!



Having an amazing night that we didn’t want to end, we of course had to continue partying at Imagine Punta Cana. This hotspot is known around the world since it is a cave that has been transformed into one of the best clubs in the Dominican. Locals & tourists alike gather to dance the night away and we were no exception!


Day 5 started off a little rough for us after a late night dancing, but it was totally worth it. Although Julio wasn’t feeling very well (by his own doing), it was time for a wedding rehearsal. The anticipation of the upcoming big reveal was almost more than I could take! To see the details behind our special day, never before seen wedding photos and some behind the scenes video, make sure to read my full #SayHelloToLove wedding feature here.

Creating the perfect vacation, wedding and subsequent honeymoon was easier than I could have imagined thanks to the team at Booking Hello and Catalonia Hotels & Resorts. Now that we’ve experienced their properties in the Caribbean, I have the urge to explore their European properties with Julio in 2016. Let’s hope it’s one of our exciting trips in the new year!



After what I consider to be the perfect wedding, it was time to celebrate in style. Dinner at Pearl Beach Club followed by an epic night of dancing and performances was the best way to cheers to my new husband. 



Day 6 (a day early from a regular booking via Booking Hello) unfortunately was our final day. We of course had fallen head over heels in love with the resort, the staff, the food and the experiences that are only a few clicks away for you thanks to Booking Hello

A huge thank you has to be given to the Wedding & Events team, as well as the helpful staff at Booking Hello and Catalonia Hotels & Resorts. Without them, none of this would have been possible and I will always remember the memorable wedding and vacation we were able to create with them. We were ready to #SayHelloToLove, to sun, to relaxation and a well deserved vacation.







Back home in Toronto after an amazing week with my new husband. #SayHelloToLove ?

A photo posted by Daniel Reyes (@dothedaniel) on

Make sure to follow @GracieCarroll & @Fashionights on Instagram & Twitter – stay tuned to and for their #SayHelloToLove adventures!

If you’re looking for an amazing vacation to wash away the winter blues on the beaches of the Dominican Republic, make sure to check out Booking Hello to pick the Catalonia Hotels & Resorts property of your dreams. We promise you that it will be one of the best vacations you’ve ever had!

To get inspired from your own travel adventures, follow @BookingHello on Twitter & @Booking_Hello on Instagram today. For behind the scenes from the entire Catalonia Hotels & Resorts family of destinations follow @CataloniaHotels on Twitter & Instagram. Trust me when I say their photos will inspire you to book your next vacation today!

Photos: Booking HelloCatalonia Hotels & ResortsCatalonia Royal Bávaro, Julio Reyes, Gracie Carroll & Daniel Reyes


Daniel Reyes