Resort Review: Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

Zilara Resort View
The gathering space at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. credit: Catherine Parker

Set on a 40-acre site at Juanillo Beach the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana offers a pristine sliver of the Dominican Republic for guests to enjoy. A ground-up construction for Playa Resorts, this property and its family-friendly sister property, the Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana, offer flexibility for today’s travelers. Conveniently located minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport, the Hyatt Zilara feels worlds away. From the understated elegance to the dreamy pools to the pristine white sand beach, all that is missing is you. During my last visit, I enjoyed the resort and its amenities and wanted to share a review of Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic.

The Gathering Spaces at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

Guests enter the resort from the two-story open-air lobby, seeing the property below. The Lobby area offers lots of space to meet and relax from morning to night. This is where early risers can grab a coffee at the Deja Brew, serving barista-made coffee and light snacks. For those wanting a Mimosa or Bloody Mary, Gabriella’s, the lobby bar, is close by. 

On the first level, guests will find several of the restaurants and lounges. The others are located in the garden area and offer al fresco dining. 

Down a grand stone staircase, guest can enjoy the mature landscaping, two pools with their swim-up bars and cabanas and the turquoise water of the Caribbean beyond. The Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana’s gardens are punctuated with mature swaying Royal Palm Trees and sweetly scented Plumeria. 

With a streamlined design and a neutral color palette, the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana is a sophisticated resort. I particularly like the organic elements, like the found driftwood art pieces. 

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My bedroom at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana credit: Catherine Parker

My Suite at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana 

With 375 suites, the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana features four buildings flanking the gardens and pool. Accessible by an outdoor corridor and serviced by an elevator, my room was a quiet escape.

My Bathroom at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana 

With natural shades and wood tones, my room offered a luxurious bathroom off to one side. Its travertine floors underneath were cool on my bare feet, which I prefer for an island vacation. 

The bathroom featured a double vanity with a solid surface counter and an expansive back-lit mirror above. Between the sinks, I found a dressing vanity with a seat and a make-up mirror. 

The glass-enclosed shower was big enough for two and featured a bench. Bathers get the choice of two shower heads, a square ceiling-mounted rain head and a handheld wand. For convenience, I found a bench that matched the travertine of the floor tile. 

The shower overlooked the main room and featured sliding doors for privacy. Opposite the sinks, the bathroom complex featured a closet on one side, assisting in the ease of dressing. In the lighted closet, I found an iron and board, along with a pair of robes, slippers, an umbrella and amble hangers, including two lingerie hangers. 

The bathroom offered a separate water closet. This room offered motion-activated under-counter lights for nighttime walking around the room. 

Zilara Cap Cana Bathroom
My shower at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. credit: Catherine Parker

My Lounging Space at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

As the centerpiece of the room, I found a king bed dressed in luxurious white linens. The built-in headboard offers a pop of color above with reading lights, USB ports, electric outlets, a telephone and a clock radio. 

Opposite the king bed, there is a large wall-mounted TV with a console and a built-in bench below. Next to the sliding glass doors to the balcony, I found a settee with a cocktail table. 

For in-room beverages, guests can enjoy coffee service along with a mini refrigerator. Inside, I found a selection of Dominican Republican beers, juices, Coca Cola and Sprite. The room was outfitted with lots of bottled water for use during my stay. 

Outside, I had a furnished balcony overlooking the gardens and pools with the Caribbean beyond. There was a settee, perfect for afternoon sunning sessions or coffee while the sun rose. My room faced the east, and the sunrise was spectacular. 

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Brandos Zilara
Brando’s offers an elegant dining room with black-bottomed pools. credit: Catherine Parker

Dining at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

With a laid-back island vibe, Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana features six restaurants and seven bars or lounges. For even more dining options, guests at the Hyatt Zilara can venture to the neighboring Hyatt Ziva.


Open for dinner only, guests are greeted with the moody black pools that set the stage for the French Polynesian fusion restaurant. Enjoying my first night at the resort, I started with a French 75, a personal favorite that I recommend. The menu offers flavors like Fois Gras Miscuit, Tahitian Cru Ceviche and Zinfandel Onion Soup, all favorites for appetizers.

The menu is seafood-centric, with Salmon, Mahi-Mahi and Sea Bass featured as entrees. I chose the Mahi-Mahi, and my plate resembled an artist’s palette. 

As the meal came to a close, I sampled its Chocolate Fondant with Vanilla Ice Cream. An after-dinner drink cart circled the dining room, and I sipped on a lovely limoncello. Others enjoyed Grappa, though whisky and cordials are available. 

Brando’s is located in the restaurant area on the first floor. It is open for dinner only, and dressy resort wear is appreciated. 

Journey's offers a train car
Journey’s offers a train car that you can dine in. credit: Catherine Parker

Journey’s The Maharaja’s Express

The journey can be as delightful as the destination. The Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana celebrates this with its Indian Train Car restaurant. Its theming transports guests to a different time and place.

I started my meal with a Bombay Bramble, its signature cocktail with Bombay Saphire and several juices as I absorbed the surroundings. Taking in the design cues from places like New Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai, I was delighted in the details. 

Diners can enjoy Indian classics, from Butter Chicken to several varieties of Tikka Masala. The naan is offered in several flavors, from simple to garlic to chili naan, all flavorful and tender. The Journey’s basmati rice was cooked to perfection. 

Journey’s is located in the restaurant area on the first floor. It is open for dinner only, and dressy resort wear is appreciated.  

Shutter’s Beachside 

During my stay, I threw on my caftan and sauntered over to Shutter’s Beachside for lunch. With its perfect view of the water, it was the ideal location for a lazy lunch with its Caribbean Peruvian menu and colonial architecture.  

The menu features several appetizers that are large enough for lunch. The Tuna Tiradito was a stand-out during my visit. Entrees included chicken and beef options, though seafood was the star at Shutter’s Beachside, along with the view.

Shutter’s Beachside is located overlooking the beach and is an open-air restaurant. 

It is open for breakfast and lunch for Club Level guests and for all guests for dinner. Dress is casual. 

Juanillo Beach Zilara from Shutters Beachside
The view at Shutter’s Beachside on Juanillo Beach. credit: Catherine Parker

Waves Steakhouse

Overlooking the pool area, Waves is the Steakhouse at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana. It offers diner’s favorite cuts in a casual open-air restaurant. 

Waves is open for dinner only. 

Presto Snack Bar

For those guests who want to stay in their lounger, Presto Snack Bar offers food from a salad to a burger and a wrap. However, it is best for pizzas with options like Pulled Pork, BBQ Chicken and Mushroom and Arugula. 

Presto is located in the pool area. It is open for lunch only. 

The Pier 

With chef-created dishes, The Pier is an elevated buffet experience. During my stay, I sampled its offerings for breakfast. Each station featured an attendant for serving. I saw options like fresh juice and cold classics like cereals, yogurts and fruit. 

The Pier offered lots of baked goods, from delectable croissants to avocado toast and more. Hot entrees ran the gamut, like Eggs Benedict, Waffles and Dominican favorites. 

The Pier is open for breakfast and lunch. During busy seasons, it is open for dinner. The buffet at the Hyatt Ziva is always open for dinner.  

Deja Brew 

Located in the lobby, the Deja Brew offers barista-made coffee along with coffee cocktails. During the morning, guests will find baked goods perfect for a quick bite. Later, it serves cold sandwiches and ice cream. 

With its extended hours, Deja Brew is a popular spot and meeting place.

The Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana offers 24-hour in-suite dining at no additional charge. 

Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana guests can enjoy the restaurants at the Hyatt Ziva, like its brand-new The Blind Butcher. It is an experiential restaurant in which diners will use all their senses along with the four elements.

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The One-Eyed Cat Martini Bar at the Hyatt Zilara. credit: Catherine Parker

Bars and Lounges of the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

Cocktails with a pretty view are my favorite part of a resort vacation. 

One-Eyed Cat Martini Bar 

The One-Eyed Cat Martini Bar is a sophisticated choice for those looking for a classic cocktail. The mixologists are passionate about their concoctions, using unique techniques, like cocktail smoking. 

During my visit, I attended a mixology class and learned how to make variations of several cocktails, like Gin and Tonic and an Old Fashioned. The mixologists offered insight into the flavor components of different liquors. Like a good DJ, a good bartender takes requests, and our group had him light cinnamon on fire for a cocktail. 

This is where to go for a perfect martini or to sample a new-to-you drink. The ambiance is glamorous. 

The One-Eyed Cat Martini Bar is located close to the restaurants on the first floor. It is open from 5 p.m. to midnight. 


Across from Deja Brew, Gabriellas is the lobby cocktail bar. With ample seating and space, the lobby is a gathering space, and Gabriellas adds to that. 

Moments Sports Bar 

Moments offers multiple TVs and a pool table. 

It is open from 5 p.m. to 2 p.m. 

Pool Swim-Up Bars

Both pools offer swim-up bars: The Reef and Las Mareas. During my stay, I enjoyed a cabana (additional charge) with champagne service and light snacks. I highly recommend it for complete relaxation and indulgence.


A lounge for club-level guests. 

hydrotherapy pool
The hydrotherapy pool at the Larimar Spa. credit: Catherine Parker

The Spa at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

One of my favorite things to do during an island getaway is schedule a visit to the spa. My favorite time to visit is in the morning. The spa is usually quieter than the afternoon, and then I get to lounge at the pool or beach for the rest of the day.

The Larimar Spa takes its design inspiration from the native cenotes in the Dominican Republic. It is named after the beautiful blue stone only found on the island as well. 

Located in a quiet corner of the resort, the Larimar Spa smelled like warm wood with citrus notes. The treatment rooms were spacious and relaxing with their muted color palette. The women’s dressing area was well-appointed with showers and restrooms. It featured a swimsuit dryer. 

The centerpiece of the Larimar Spa is the outdoor hydrotherapy pool. Mimicking a sunken lagoon, flowering vines and waterfalls fall down the sides of the opening.  Guests can enjoy the relaxing Hydrotherapy Circuit, including the pool, before or after their treatment.

The first Himalayan Salt Lounge in the Dominican Republic. credit: Catherine Parker

My Spa Experience at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

Massages are my weakness. During my stay at the Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana, I had a 30-minute head, neck and back massage. My therapist found my trouble spots, and the head massage made me swoon.

After my treatment, I stepped into the Himalayan Salt Lounge for a session to aid in breathing and relaxation. It is the first salt room in the Dominican Republic. 

I headed to the cool shower, outfitted with a rain showerhead. I followed with the steam room session for 10 minutes. It smelled with vapors and aided in deep breathing. 

Following the routine of hold and cold treatments, my spa attendant gave me a cup of exfoliating salt scuff to buff my skin for a few minutes before I enjoyed a refreshing, cool shower. This was a nice extra that added a healthy glow to my skin.

Then I entered the redwood dry sauna for 10 minutes. The redwood sauna is relaxing, and I don’t typically sweat in one. Instead, I feel my body dry off. After a hot element, I stepped into the cold plunge pool for an invigorating reset. 

Afterward, I was ready to enjoy a few minutes in its jetted whirlpool. Finally, I stepped into the hydrotherapy pool with its ribbons of water falling from the opening above. With several stations to enjoy, I focused the water jets on my back. The water temperature was perfect. 

After completing the circuit, I sat in a lounger where my spa attendant had left a bottle of water and some dried fruit. The entire session took about two hours.

The Juanillo Beach at Hyatt Zilara and Ziva is 5 acres in size. credit: Catherine Parker

Activities at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana 

A resort vacation might be a relaxing vacation, however, guests will find plenty to do during their stay.

The Pools at Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana

The infinity main pool offers waiter service and a swim-up bar. During the day, there is interactive poolside entertainment and classes, like aqua cycling. Private cabanas are available (additional charge). There is a whirlpool at the pool, and it overlooks Juanillo Beach.

The club-level pool is screened by plantings. It offers waiter service and a swim-up bar, Las Mareas. Private cabanas are available (additional charge). Guests will find two whirlpools at the club-level pool. 

Both pools are steps from dining, like Shutter’s Beachside, and are centrally located in the resort. Both pools close at 7 p.m.

Juanillo Beach

Located on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic, Juanillo Beach is calm and shallow water, perfect for swimming. The beach offers several full-size palm trees to cast shade. 

Both resorts offer lots of loungers. There is a pier close by. Water sports are included for guests. Sea kayaks and SUP boards are available first come, first serve. The morning is particularly good for water sports when the water is most calm.

There are Hobie Catamarans to reserve for a quick jaunt on the water. Both resorts have a designated swim area with a floating rope. 

Water park at Hyatt Ziva
Canapolis Waterpark at Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana credit: Catherine Parker

Canapolis Water Park

Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana guests can enjoy the waterpark at the family-friendly Hyatt Ziva. Canapolis features a lazy river with a grotto cascade and water cannons. 

The park offers five water slides. There is a separate pool and splash area for little kids with a smaller slide and water bucket. 

Guests will find lots of loungers with umbrellas. There are also food trucks in the area for quick snacks. 

Outdoor Theater

The Hyatt Ziva Cap Cana offers nightly entertainment and movie nights. Located in the 300-seat open-air ​​Marquis Theater, guests can enjoy live music or culturally-inspired shows.

Fitness Center

Located between the Hyatt Zilara and Ziva Cap Cana, the state-of-the-art 14,000-square-foot offers a separate cardio area, strength zone, TRX training, and a spinning room. It offers classes like yoga, step and Pilates.

The Hyatt Zilara Cap Cana features convention space. Weddings are particularly popular. There are numerous classes offered during the week; consult the schedule when on-site. 

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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