Puntacana Resort and Club
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|Puntacana Resort & Club|
|Location||Punta Cana, Dominican Republic|
|Design and construction|
|Developer||Frank Rainieri, Ted Kheel|
|Other designers||Oscar de la Renta, Julio Iglesias|
Puntacana Resort & Club is a resort and residential community located in Punta Cana, La Altagracia Province, Dominican Republic; established in 1969 by businessman and hotelier Frank Rainieri and Theodore Kheel, a New York labor lawyer. The area now encompasses over 15,000 acres and includes Tortuga Bay hotel, The Westin Puntacana, a Six Senses Spa, an ecological reserve, five residential communities, nine restaurants, a full-service marina, two golf courses and the Punta Cana International Airport.
History and development
In 1969, Frank Rainieri, a Dominican entrepreneur in his 20s with a crop-dusting business and Theodore Kheel, a high-powered New York attorney and labor mediator, acquired a 58-million square meter lot on the eastern end of the Dominican Republic, which was covered with jungle and six miles of beach. Their first project was a 40 guest hotel called the Punta Cana Club.
In 1979, they constructed The Puntacana Hotel and the Punta Cana International Airport followed in 1984. In 2000, the first of the residential community developments began and six years later Tortuga Bay opened, a boutique hotel designed by fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. Puntacana Resort & Club has since grown to encompass over 15,000 acres and has served such guests as Henry Kissinger, Charlize Theron, Gabriel Byrne and the Clintons.
Corporate environmental and social responsibilities and policies have been pursued since the resort was built. The Puntacana Foundation- made of the Ecological Foundation and Community Services- has a 1,500-acre reserve that now serves as a research base for universities and a sanctuary for endangered species and has opened two schools- the Ann & Ted Kheel Polytechnic and the Puntacana International School- and a free health clinic in the local community of Véron.
Amenities and facilities
- The Puntacana Hotel: Initially a hotel property with 10 two-room villas in 1971, it now has 130 rooms and 21 beach casitas. The hotel was completely refurbished in October 2009 and offers activities such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, whale watching, waterskiing, canoeing, deep-sea and shallow-water fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.
- The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club: a Westin Resort property with 200 rooms and 10 suites, located in the Playa Blanca area of Puntacana Resort & Club 
- Tortuga Bay: Made of 13 private beach villas, this upscale boutique hotel, one of the "Leading Hotels of the World," was built in 2006 and designed by Oscar de la Renta.
- Restaurants: Options include the award-winning Oscar de la Renta-designed restaurant Bamboo at Tortuga Bay, the beachside restaurant at Playa Blanca, award-winning La Yola at the marina, and the Westin Puntacana Resort and Club seaside Braza restaurant.
- Six Senses Spa: The spa has eight indoor private treatment rooms, four outdoors palapas overlooking the beach and a staff from around the world. Some spa treatments include local medicinal plants.
- Real Estate: The resort's five private residential communities, known collectively as The Estates, are Tortuga, Hacienda, Arrecife, La Marina and Corales (the most exclusive of the communities). Corales residents include Julio Iglesias and Mikhail Baryshnikov.
- Golf: The resort has two golf courses: P.B. Dye's 27-hole La Cana (opened in 2001 and "the first course in the Caribbean to use paspalum, a grass seed that can be watered using sea water") and its additional 9-hole course located in the Hacienda community, and the 18-hole Corales (opened in 2010 and designed by Tom Fazio).
Puntacana Foundation: Social Projects
The Puntacana Foundation’s Social Projects office, established in August 1998, focuses on promoting and assisting in the sustainable human development of local education, health care, culture, sports and community organization of the underserved in and around the Punta Cana region of the Dominican Republic through a variety of activities, projects and collaborations.
It has collaborated with development-focused entities such as Save The Children, USAID, the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM), the Punta Cana Rotary Club, La Altagracia Tourism Cluster, the Punta Cana Hotels Association, Universidad APEC, Instituto Ciencias Visuales de España, the Dominican Government's Ministries of Health and of Culture, the Verón Municipality, the United States Chamber of Commerce, Pack For a Purpose and others, and is part of both the Clinton Global Initiative and the United Nations Global Compact communities.
One of the Puntacana Foundation’s Social Projects' current areas of action is with the Ann & Ted Kheel Polytechnic School in Verón. The school was built by the Foundation in 2004, is the only public high school within 50 miles of the Punta Cana International Airport, and teaches technical and adult education classes such as hospitality, English language, computer applications, refrigeration, electricity, plumbing. The school is said to be an “…outstanding contribution to the development of the Eastern region.” The Puntacana International School in Punta Cana- a modern, bilingual, private school for Puntacana Resort and Club’s employees’ children- was built and is managed and maintained by the Foundation. The Foundation also assists and manages the procurement of school-related item donations (such as sports equipment and classroom paraphernalia), the maintenance and upgrading of various Punta Cana region public schools and the education and training of public school teachers, as well as student educational workshops.
The Verón Rural Clinic, renovated in 2006 in cooperation with the Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) and the Dominican Ministry of Health, is a free public health clinic with an average of 150 patients per day. The Clinic has a laboratory, examination rooms, a sonographic machine, an ambulance and a separate pediatric unit. The Foundation is also involved with improving the health education of local doctors and the community, supporting and managing health care activities such as VCOM’s medical missions and free ophthalmological exams and surgeries during certain times of the year.
The Foundation promotes local artists through the Puntacana Art Gallery, cultural festivals such as the Puntacana Carnival, a yearly symphonic orchestra and choir concert, a softball and baseball field in Véron and a basketball and volleyball court at the Ann & Ted Kheel Polytechnic School.
The Ecological Foundation
The Puntacana Ecological Foundation, focused on the protection and preservation of the natural flora and fauna resources within the Punta Cana region, was created in 1994. With a goal of contributing to the sustainable development of the Dominican Republic and creating “…(environmental/conservation) interchanges with prestigious universities to develop education and research programs”, the Ecology facility has collaborated with educational entities such as Cornell University, Columbia University, Harvard University, Virginia Tech, Rutgers University, Syracuse University, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (of the University of Miami), Stevens Institute of Technology, University of South Carolina, Leiden University of the Netherlands and the University of Puerto Rico.
The Ecology’s research and education facility- the “Center for Sustainability”- was established in 1999 and focuses on the creation of solutions to environmental challenges related to local tourism. The Center has laboratories and classrooms, offices, a library, and a dormitory with extended stay facilities.
The Partnership for Ecologically-Sustainable Coastal Areas (PESCA), which includes eight kilometers of protected reefs, seeks to balance the continued growth and development of the region, the long-term health and sustainability of the coastal zone and coral reef and assisting the needs of local stakeholders through activities such as sustainable fisheries management. Conservation practices of endangered species such as the endemic Ridgway's Hawk and the Hawksbill Turtle include extensive monitoring and habitat protection.
The Ecological Foundation also has a park and reserve named “Indigenous Eyes.” The park is a lowland subtropical forest, covering 1,500 acres of land with twelve freshwater lagoons (five of which visitors may swim in). A petting zoo, sugarcane exhibit and an Iguana habitat are located near the Center, as well as a fruit tree garden, a worm composting facility which converts solid waste into high quality organic soil, an integrated solid waste management program for the entirety of Puntacana Resort & Club, a vegetable nursery and a small-scale beekeeping operation.
Punta Cana International Airport
The Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ), built in 1984 and located just 5 minutes from the Resort, is a privately owned commercial airport and the second busiest airport in the Caribbean. Owned and operated by Grupo PUNTACANA, it continues to expand and currently boasts four million passengers annually.
- 2012: Oscar de la Renta-designed Bamboo Restaurant of Puntacana Resort & Club's Tortuga Bay wins the AAA Four Diamond Award (0.25% of over 37,000 AAA-approved restaurants achieve this distinction.)
- 2012 & 2011: Puntacana Resort & Club's La Yola Restaurant is awarded the AAA Three Diamond Award (less than 3% of over 37,000 AAA-approved restaurants achieve this distinction.)
- November 2010: The Puntacana Foundation, along with the organization Save the Children, wins the Texaco Award due to a joint community project promoting education in eastern Dominican Republic.
- 2010: Puntacana Resort & Club receives the Golf Resort of the Year Award from the International Association of Golf Tour Operators, an award established in 2000 to recognize the exceptional resorts in the world of golf travel.
- June 2009: Due to the ecological and community service activities of the Puntacana Foundation, Puntacana Resort & Club wins the Condé Nast Traveler’s “World Savers Award.”
- March 2009: Puntacana Resort & Club wins the “Clean Development” prize for Central America and the Caribbean, for its integrated solid waste management program by the Central Committee for Environment and Development.
- January 2009: Puntacana Resort & Club receives the Destination Stewardship Award from the World Tourism and Travel Council, for being "a pioneer in sustainable tourism management with nearly three decades of innovative work in the Dominican Republic".
- May 2008: Puntacana Resort & Club is listed in Island Magazine's 100 most socially responsible resorts in the world.
- November 2007: Tortuga Bay, owned by Puntacana Resort & Club, receives the “Leading Hotels of the World” prize for excellence in environmental practices.
- October 2007: The Ecological Foundation receives the “Brugal Cree en su gente” Prize for Excellence in Environmental Protection.
- September 2007: The Ecological Foundation receives the annual prize for Corporate Social Responsibility from the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic.
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- The Westin Puntacana Resort & Club
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