Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana Offers a Carefree Island Escape

Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana Offers a Carefree Island Escape

Super luxe villas, swim-up suites, excellent food, and wellness are just some of the things on offer at Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. Luxurious Magazine’s Deputy Editor, Sabi Phagura, headed to the Caribbean to experience the region’s renowned hospitality and warmth.

It’s been years since I’ve been on a resort-style holiday, often overlooking them for a more adventurous-style trip. I guess we’re all a tad guilty when it comes to ticking off the things on our bucket lists and cramming in as many experiences as we can in a single trip. But sometimes, it pays to slow down and take it easy, and one of the great things about Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana is you can do as much or as little as you want.

The giant blue flip flop sculpture greeting guests arriving at the resort

The resort has a whimsical and playful vibe, which was evident from the moment our group checked in to a choreographed dance by ear-to-ear beaming staff to the tune of Lady Gaga’s song Bad Romance. It was hard not to fall in love with the joyful greeting.

As we meandered through the resort to get to our villas, we saw plenty of references to American singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett in the shape of lyrics around the property.

My favourite and perhaps poignant for this trip was, “Go fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see.” And as True Jimmy Buffett’s music fans are called Parrot Heads, giant colourful parrots are painted on the exterior walls of the resort.

The five-star all-inclusive resort opened its doors to guests in November 2021 and is the second resort (Cancun opened in 2020) under the Island Reserve brand, a partnership between Margaritaville and Karisma Hotels & Resorts. It is located on Juanillo Beach in the sought-after “Cap Cana” gated complex, which has its own marina and private golf course, and, conveniently, is just 20 minutes from the Punta Cana airport.

Villas and suites

Inside the Island Reserve Swim-up Villas living room

The resort is separated into two sections: Hammock (adults-only) and Wave (family-friendly). There are 519 suites, including 40 ultra-luxe Island Reserve villas; my villa in the Hammock section was an extension of the carefree, laidback theme the entire resort encompasses. And to top it off, as a villa guest, I was allocated a personal butler for a comfortable stay who was on hand to help with anything I needed.

The interior of one of the Beachfront Luxury Suites

With its tropical design aesthetic of turquoise hues to reflect the Caribbean, the open-planned villa was tastefully decorated with a coastal colour palette complete with a seating area, a balcony overlooking the resort, a rain shower and a double vanity space. And, of course, I wasn’t surprised to see a Jimmy Buffet’s “If life gives you limes, make margaritas” quote in the kitchenette where the minibars are personalised with stock from Joe Merchant’s provisions.

While I could have easily relaxed in this space, the complimentary Margaritaville flip-flops were beckoning me to head out and explore the rest of the resort.

The views from the Jimmy Buffett Suite

Before I go into detail about what I discovered, I should mention the other properties at the resort, which include the Paradise Rooms, and the 1,400-square-foot, penthouse-level Jimmy Buffett Suite (above). The Son of a Sailor Suites is another standout and is perfect for clients wanting fabulous views of the ocean; and features separate living and sleeping areas, a kitchenette, and a dining table.

An aerial view of the sandy beach and turquoise waters fronting the resort

The property is located on Juanillo Beach, which is known for its turquoise waters, white sand, and calm waves. However, the beach is a tad on the rocky side. Nonetheless, this doesn’t impact relaxation time as plenty of deckchairs and loungers are peppered about, so you can still enjoy the beauty and tranquillity.

There’s no shortage of swimming spaces at the resort. You only have to head to the resort’s rooftop events space (perfect for weddings, too) to get a bird’s eye view of all the pools available. There’s an infinity pool, the sinuous pool in the main hub and the second-floor plunge pools; so many options that it’s often difficult to choose.

There is a plethora of tantalising cuisines to satisfy the taste buds. The food and beverage offerings were a big focus when planning the resort. With 15 distinct food and beverage venues, it is always “Five o’clock Somewhere” at Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana.

As we arrived at the resort at lunchtime, I kicked off my food-tasting marathon at the adult-only Rum Runners, where I tucked into a selection of delicious Caribbean-inspired dishes and plentiful salad from the buffet cart. Some of the popular dishes include signature Caribbean dishes like Jamaican Oxtail, Cajun Seafood Bowl, and Rum Pudding.

A photograph showing inside the spacious Punch Bar lounge

When it comes to beverages, Margaritaville’s signature tropical cocktails are always flowing – for an authentic taste of the Dominican Republic, guests can sample over 60 kinds of rum at Rum Runners.

The wooden sign welcoming guests into the Boat House

Patrons can dine at pan-Asian street food-inspired bites at Mon So Wi, decadent cuts grilled to perfection at JWB Steakhouse and seafood delights at The Boat House. This is also the place to head to for breakfast.

It’s one of the biggest dining areas I have seen, serving a range of foods, including Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cuisine.

Inside Frank and Lola's which uses wood to great effect in its interior design

Handcrafted Italian creations can be enjoyed at Frank & Lola’s if you like pasta and pizza.

For a showstopper meal, I suggest you hire out the Trattoria private dining area. Situated in the middle of the restaurant, this intimate space, with its walls lined with wines and food, caters for a small group of people with servers on hand to make your dining experience as enjoyable and memorable as possible. The pizza and arancini certainly did it for me.

Inside the Landshark Brewery and Grill

A standout signature of Margaritaville Island Reserve is the LandShark Brewery and Grill, a unique establishment where guests can enjoy live music and watch their favourite sports on enormous screens. It also brews lager on-site. We had a private tour with the brewmaster, Juan Castillo. Beer fans will be delighted to learn that a beer tap trolley can be hired to enjoy in their villas.

And you don’t even have to head to any of the restaurants for food. Room service is on tap around the clock, and the floating taco lunch is served right in the pool. The massive round tray is a feast of margaritas, tacos, salsas, guacamole and chips. The best bit is no one needs to see your burgeoning tummy submerged in the water.

Entertainment and other amenities
While the 5 o Clock bar provides daytime entertainment, the Punch Bar is the evening hot spot. Here you will find live music, plenty of dancing and a chance to mingle with the resort’s guests.

July 4th celebrations were right in the middle of our trip, and I witnessed first-hand how much the Dominicans love a party. Treated to dancers on stilts, donning various bright and colourful costumes, including some in Transformers regalia, I realised just how much fun this resort is.

A photograph showing the pool area at the St. Somewhere Spa

For instant escapism, there is Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana’s St. Somewhere Spa, which provides 11,000 square feet of relaxation and is home to 14 mindfulness-inducing treatment rooms, including a signature Bridal Suite and a full-service beauty salon.

The equipment inside the Fins Up Fitness Centre

Although I didn’t have time to immerse myself in this area (there were way too many distractions), I did start my mornings with a visit to the Fins Up Fitness Centre to work up a sweat. With all those food offerings, I just could not afford to go.

But the gym isn’t the only place to burn off some calories. Guests have access to yacht sailing at the Cap Cana Marina and tee times at the Jack Nicklaus Punta Espada Golf Club nearby. You can also Practice your serve at volleyball on the beach or try your hand at pickleball before, a blend of badminton, table tennis, and tennis. It’s perfect for one-on-one matches or doubles.

Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana is a resort that mirrors the Caribbean’s chilled-out atmosphere – a carefree island escape that encourages guests to truly wind down.

It was refreshing not having to do as much as I normally am tasked to do on my trips for a change, and dare I say; my time at Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana reminded me of my hedonistic university years over two decades ago—a lovely link to my past but with way more luxury than I could afford back then. To quote Jimmy Buffett, “I’m growing older, not up.”

Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana – Where and How?

Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana is just a 15-minute drive from Punta Cana International Airport (a 9-hour flight from London).

The Island Reserve Swim-Up Villas start at £506.69, while the Island Reserve Private Pool Villas range in price from £494.77 up to £509.69, depending on the season.

For more information on the resort and its facilities, visit

Read more travel reviews, guides, news and features here.

The resort's large outdoor swimming poolMargaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana Offers a Carefree Island Escape 2

Sabi Phagura

Deputy Online Editor

Sabi Phagura is a health, fitness, travel and lifestyle journalist with over 14 years experience in both print and broadcasting media. With Luxurious Magazine, Sabi has travelled the world and experienced some of the finest things that it has to offer. Sabi is one of our most eager and enthusiastic journalists regularly finding unique and exciting destinations. She always creates articles that showcase the subject in the best light via her wealth of knowledge in the luxury travel and dining sectors.

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