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Paradisus Palma Real, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Greetings from Paradisus Palma Real on the beach at Punta Cana. I’m seated on the balcony watching the waves lap the shore, the sand as white as sugar. Incense are filling the air with a spicy smoke, and Balinese music is lilting softly on the stereo.

Heaven? You tell me:

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My day has been about water rituals.

First, a run along the beach, with the sun’s rays beating on my back and the beats of Springsteen propelling me forward.

Second, an egg-white omelet stuffed with vegetables for breakfast, and coffee as strong as it is in Spain.

Third, a tour of Palma Real by Paradisus, a Melia hotel they tell me is among the nicest in Punta Cana. As it’s my first time here, I cannot say for sure. What I do know is this: their Royal Service is helpful and nice, and the beds are lose-yourself comfortable.

Fourth, a doze on the beach. Those cabana beds! I’m taking one home with me.

And finally, a water ritual. In the spa. Hot. Cold. Sauna. Steam. I am ready for bed. But wait… there’s a nine-course dinner to come, and then… well, then, it’s rumoured Michael Jackson is in the buidling.

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Photos by Lori Knowles

The following is an excerpt from my Family Fare column in the Toronto Sun:

It’s no wonder Justin Bieber loves this place.

Atlantis, the extraordinary resort on Paradise Island, Bahamas, is Vegas for kids. Its mind-spinning action — 13 pools, snorkelling lagoon, Mayan temple with waterfalls and slides, swim-with-dolphins program, 140-acre waterpark, teen hangout, oasis of tropical fish and… oh, yes, five Bahamian beaches — plays like a high-octane video game, one that never shuts off and requires the energy of Red Bull from morning to night.  Bieber, the continually mobbed Canadian 16-year-old teen sensation, is a fan. He shot his hit video Never Let You Go here in the hotel’s aquarium, and will resurface at Atlantis this spring for a live concert…

But you don’t need the frenzy of a Justin Bieber crowd to liven up Atlantis. The resort’s relentless vim is a guaranteed magnet for any kid…

For the rest of the story, visit http://www.torontosun.com/travel/international/2010/05/17/13973851.html

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