Recently there have been a slate of new lounge openings and one-upmanship in the airline industry, including the excellent and still growing American Express Centurion Lounge network and the ongoing roll-out of the United Polaris Lounge product.
But one Caribbean airport just upped that ante with its resort-style approach to putting fun back into air travel.
The Dominican Republic claims to have more international airports per capita than any country, and this makes it easy to fly direct from the US to wherever you are headed in the tropical vacation paradise. But the most popular destination for visitors is the Punta Cana region, a coastal area on the island’s easternmost tip, home to multiple resorts, from the luxurious Puntacana Resort & Club to many bargain priced all-inclusives, such as Club Med and Hard Rock properties. It is also the main gateway to the largest collection of luxury golf courses in the entire Caribbean: The Puntacana Resort & Club has three top-shelf layouts by Tom Fazio and P.B Dye, famed Casa de Campo resort has three Pete Dye designs including the Caribbean’s #1 rated Teeth of the Dog, and the Jack Nicklaus’ signature Punta Espada course at Capo Cana is also nearby – all of these feature massive amounts of breathtaking coastal exposure.
So it is good news for golfers and beach lovers that the Punta Cana International Airport recently opened a new VIP guest lounge. The airport was already one of the world’s fastest, most hassle free and user friendly foreign gateways for arrivals, but now it is equally impressive on your day of departure. The lounge’s flagship feature is an infinity edge swimming pool - outdoors - overlooking the tarmac, and it was designed by famed Dominican architect, Antonio Segundo Imbert.
“We strive every day to offer an exceptional experience to travelers who rely on Punta Cana International Airport,” said Frank Elias Rainieri, Director of Punta Cana International Airport. “We are thrilled to offer our visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy themselves as they wait for their flight.”
Inaugurated in 1984, the Punta Cana International Airport (PUJ) claims to be the world’s first privately owned international airport, and is located within the 15,000-acre Puntacana Resort & Club (though it serves all the other properties as well). In its first year less than 3,000 international passengers passed through - in 2016 there were 7 million arrivals. Due to sustained growth over the past five years, they have added a second runway, new terminal building and the new lounge.
In addition to the one-of-a-kind pool and sun terrace, the new lounge will have dedicated hospitality rooms with showers, changing areas, toiletries, towels and more. It also offers all the expected airport lounge amenities such as comfortable seating areas with complimentary food and drinks.
The VIP lounge will be available to owners at Puntacana Resort & Club, First and Business class passengers, anyone that purchases the optional VIP service (which includes expedited immigration upon arrival) and will be open on a walk-in basis for $50 per person (lounge only). Most importantly it will be available to members of global lounge programs I have covered here in the past such as Lounge Pass and Priority Pass, the one that I personally use, and now a popular amenity with several luxury credit cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve, very popular with frequent travelers.