Beach Yoga at Dreams Onyx Highlights
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With two beach yoga teaching vacations with Fit Bodies Inc. under my belt, I felt seasoned enough to approach my third teaching vacation confidently. During my kids first week of summer vacation, three months after our trip to Dreams Royal Beach, we headed via direct flight from JFK to Dreams Onyx in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
I mention in my Dreams Royal Beach article that the beach yoga teaching spots at the nicer resorts in the AMR Collection book far in advance; this was the case with Dreams Onyx. I wasn’t able to secure a teaching spot during one of my kids’ breaks from school, which is why we ended up going during their summer break. Due to a mishap at JFK that led to missing our flight, we arrived one day late, and felt more harrowed than ever after the long travel day, having traveled to and repeated the check in process at JFK twice.
Upon arrival, we were whisked by golf cart to the premier club check in area, located next to the water park. The check in staff took one look at our bloodshot eyes and exasperated expressions, then proceeded to book us in one of the resort’s new suites. To say the suite was a “nice” suite would be a gross understatement – the luxurious bathroom alone transported me to the Four Seasons experience with spotless, angular double mirrors and sinks, rain shower faucet head and warm, chocolate-colored walls. A sliding door separated the entryway and bath area from the rest of the suite, which included two king sized beds, a separate seating area, and deck with lounge chairs and an outdoor jet tub. Since we were located on the ground floor, the deck chairs faced a lawn lined by evergreens.
Teaching Beach Yoga
By comparison with my beach yoga teaching experiences at Dreams Tulum and Dreams Royal Beach, teaching beach yoga at Dreams Onyx was, in full disclosure, slightly disappointing only due to the fact that attendance was very low. On the first day, the entertainment team provided beach towels, showed me where to hold class, and rounded up guests nearby to participate, but seemed to have forgotten me all together for the rest of the week. The next day, a mother and daughter attended class, but only because a different class was on the schedule didn’t happen. The next day, one lovely young woman from Boston came, who was attending a wedding at the resort. She seemed to love the class.
The following day, no one showed up. I stretched in the shade below a palm tree and waited for about 20 minutes before leaving. While some might be thrilled by the prospect of being let off the hook from teaching, sharing my yoga practice and connecting with hotel guests had been a highlight of my two previous teaching experiences. So to travel all that way to teach yoga only to be faced with lackluster attendance was disappointing. I did account for the fact that this resort crowd appeared more interested in partying at the pool than extending the spine in downward dog.
On the last day, I posted an announcement about the class on the resort’s Facebook group and finally struck gold. The lovely woman from a few days prior showed up with her boyfriend, and two other women – one American and one Mexican. I led a light flow with a focus on the breath and mindfulness and received compliments after class. The woman from Mexico approached me afterward, fascinated by my arrangement as a guest teacher from the United States. She shared her life story, and we shared our social media contact information. I still see her posts on Instagram.
The restaurants, open air areas, walkways, pools and resort experience as a whole was comparable in many ways to luxury experience. The newer, modern facilities made all the difference. The main plaza had cushioned lounge seating in cool sea tones; the promenade leading past the plaza and winding swim out pools appealed to a sense of order and tidiness, with sculpted plantings and spotless walkways; it featured functional architecture around every corner–a gazebo, an oversize chess set, an arched walkway.
Every morning, before teaching class, I would walk to the main plaza and frequent the Coco Cafe – the coffee shop – where the staff whipped up rich, creamy lattes con leche de soya (soy milk) with sophisticated barista foam hearts – then stroll along the main thoroughfare to the beach.
The restaurants were situated past the waterpark to the far left of the resort. The buffet was the hub of activity throughout the day, with a massive seating area, impressive array of food, including plenty of plant-based eats such as salad, pasta, beans, rice, sauteed vegetables, and even vegetable sushi rolls one night for dinner. The quality of the food at all of the restaurants was very good – the highlights for us were the salad pizza at the Italian place, and the bean tacos at the Mexican restaurant. After dinner every night, we wound our way through the walkways to the main plaza, where my kids delighted in ordering ice cream from the resort’s gelato shop.
The beach was very similar to that of Dreams Royal Beach – a short stretch of sand marked by a shoreline wrought with sargassum, bumpy surf, and crowds. By comparison, we took an off-roading buggy excursion one day, and stopped during the tour at Macao Beach. Having grown up in Hawaii, I knew a thing or two about a pretty beach. Macao Beach – its stunning sapphire water natural and cove-like shape that prevented sargassum from accumulating – gave me a momentary taste of arguably the best beach in the Dominican Republic. Dreams Macao Beach, I’m coming for your seductive shores sometime in the future.
The waterpark at Dreams Onyx was the resort’s pièce de resistance. We looped around the bumpy river many dozens, of not, hundreds, of times in our one-week stay. My boys spent hours zipping down the death-defying slides not for the light hearted. There was one smaller slide, and plenty of younger kids, but the waterpark as whole was undeniably designed for older kids and adults. Loungers surrounded the pool and river, with lots of available seating.
Dreams Onyx is certainly one of the more high end properties of the Dreams resort chain. The resort experience as a whole was wonderful. As I shuffle through my memories of that week, my mind lingers on the early morning pit stops at the coffee shop, invigorating power walks, and charming rest stops at alluring seating areas throughout the resort.