Samana Day 4 – 5

Long over due, the last bits of the trip. I was delayed posting this as I just returned from another holiday / vacation to Sicily (poor me). I’m hopefully going to post about that trip sooner as I’m more settled (though things have not slowed down) and would like to get back into a rhythm.

But now – the remainder.

Day 4

We were heading into our last full day on the island. In order to live it up, we went on an excursion where we rode horses through a huge farm / plantation and then were escorted to a mega waterfall (the biggest in the Dominican Republic).

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The waterfall was amazing. When we arrived, we were blown away by how huge and powerful it was. It was hot but wasn’t super sunny by the falls so we were weary about getting into the falls to swim but I decided to jump in. Why would I turn down the opportunity to say that I swam in a waterfall. Full of rocks, I jumped in timidly and then splashed about, somehow managing to injure myself (I hit my foot on a rock).

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Later, we took a car back to our little bungalow and went out for a nice meal dressed in some summer formal attire (think linen pants for him, white short dress with flowy wrap). We ate at a somewhat French themed restaurant and had a great tasty but slightly overpriced meal (my favorite spot was the Gato Negro where we had our burger feasts two nights in the DR). It was a great way to end the day!

Day 6

For our last morning in Las Galeras, we left quite early as we had to catch a 2 – 3 hour bus back to Santo Domingo and the bus could be unreliable in terms of sticking to the bus departure schedule.

We said goodbye to our cute bungalow and jumped in a taxi to Samana and then bused it to Santo Domingo. We did have a bit of time to sit in the center of Samana and walk around a bit where I grab some photos of some rustic looking boats near a smelly body of water. haha

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When we arrived back in NYC at JFK, we made our way into the city to sleep in a hotel in midtown (The Bernic). Super fancy, super nice (I blogged about it). We ate NYC pizza and lounged away in a room with fluffy pillows and heated floors in the shower.

Overnight At The Bernic

It’s no secret that long overnight layovers suck. Not only is it likely that the city you’re visiting is likely to have nonexistent or crawling transportation, attractions and bars tend to be closed and more often than not, you decide to stay at the airport sleeping uncomfortably at the gate with your belongings tucked under your arms so they don’t go missing. This is no way to travel. At least, not a comfortable one.

I was recently faced with another late night layover dilemma in JFK. Either stay at the airport for 10 hours getting terrible rest or pop out of the airport for a bit of rest and to discover a city. I choose the latter.

Why you may ask? Traveling is amazing. New sights, new cuisines, new cultures. It’s a shame to waste that opportunity to explore by staying inside the airport or only looking to stay right near the airport for convenience sake. I wanted to explore NYC. Enter The Bernic Hotel – a boutique hotel in midtown that’s only a 45 minute cab ride from the airport.

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Inside The Hotel

The hotel is quite large. Larger than what you’d expect when pulling up to the building. The quaint yet chicly decorated lobby was small so it couldn’t fit a large group of guests for the purposes of hanging out. It did offer a bit of standing room but if you want to relax, I suggest going to the cool bar attached to the hotel or explore the city.

I did however end up staying on the 17th floor. So although it may not be that wide, boy oh boy is the hotel tall, lending itself to beautiful midtown views.

Arriving at around 11pm, I was quite out of it after having been through an entire day of travel (thinking long three hour shuttle bus rides, hours in an airport, tight gua guas with luggage (local Dominican Republic transportation) was greeted by the most pleasant hotel representative. She gathered all of my details, told me about the amenities (WiFi, heated floors, Nespresso, etc) and even provided a bit of helpful information on taxis and shuttle options back to JFK.

She handed me my keys and off to elevator bank I went.

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Inside The Room

Swiping my keys, I opened the door to an amazing room that did nothing but impress. My room had a large bed, two balconies, two TVs, a sitting room, a special treat for me and a bathroom fully equipped with heated floors. Yes, you read that right – heated floors!

Imagine waking up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom only to have your system completely shocked by stepping on an icy floor. This isn’t the case at The Bernic. Upon entering, the bathroom immediately begins heating up providing you with warm and toasty floors. It takes a minute to get going but it’s a must-have feature.

Walking about the space and checking out all the other pieces in the room, I realized I needed to get a move on as it was 11:15pm and my time in the city was running out. I dropped by my stuff off and went into the city to grab a quick and affordable bite to eat (something you can’t do at the airport or airport hotel) and check out some attractions.

After a bit of wandering, I entered this pizza shop near to the hotel that was delicious. I ordered myself a slice and some garlic knots. So so good and worth the walk. Bringing it back to my hotel, I opted to spend the rest of my night cozied up on my bed, eating pizza and lounging with some T.V in the background. Better than spending it tightly coiled up on the airport floor eating a bag of overpriced chips.

The Last Bits

At around 5am the next morning, I woke up feeling like a VIP ready to jet off on my next flight. I took a great shower (amazing pressure) and got ready to jump into a cab to go back to JFK.

Only a 45 minute to and from, this stay at a hotel in the city was definitely worth it for me. Treated to a luxury stay with fantastic amenities, hotels in the city are definitely the preferred way to handle an overnight layover when traveling.

Restoring a bit of magic into the travel experience, giving yourself the opportunity to rest and recover after long days in transit is a must. It makes for a better trip overall and allows you to check off a new and unexpected city to visit. If you are in NYC overnight and need a place to stay, The Bernic is amazing. Definitely worth the money and time. It’s an experience like no other and I plan to be back the next time have a long layover!