I can’t say that I’ve been to any other resort in the world where my room came with its own golf cart. But Casa de Campo in La Romana, Dominican Republic, you definitely need one. The property encompasses more than 7,000 acres. Its mammoth size would be difficult to navigate – or enjoy to the max – without transportation.
Along with its beaches, restaurants and multiple swimming pools, it has it own polo and equestrian center, marina, tennis facilities, Pete Dye-designed golf courses and spa, plus 185 guest rooms, villas and suites, fit for A-list celebrities and mere mortals who appreciate luxury.
Jay Z and Beyoncé are repeat guests at this mammoth resort that’s so well equipped you rarely have to leave it. They opt for one of the gorgeous villas, Punta Minitas #34, in case you’re wondering. It has its own private beach, ceiling made of coral, outdoor showers and a gourmet kitchen that would be the envy of even professional chefs. Justin Bieber and Elton John are also fans of this property because it offers them privacy and security, plus has its own helicopter pad for discreet arrivals.
For those in need of a wellness boost, The Spa onsite takes health seriously. It takes a holistic approach for its treatments and a naturopathic doctor can help guide you to the services that will benefit you the most. When it comes to fitness, Casa de Campo does have an excellent gym, but it also has more interesting fare like kickboxing and sunrise yoga on the beach.
If you need to work out some aggression, you can book a session at the Shooting Club, which spread out over 245 acres. You can shoot clay pigeons or try your hand at skeet or trap shooting. First off, you’ll get a crash course in the proper handling of firearms to keep everyone, including you, safe. Back at the clubhouse, you can boast about performance while sipping cocktails in a space that looks like it came out of the movie Out of Africa, thanks to tribal art and an abundance of animal prints.
They say that polo is the sport of kings, but you can give it a whirl, too. Casa de Campo is one of very few resorts worldwide that has an equestrian center where polo is an option. You don’t have to play, if you’re not comfortable riding on top of a horse. There are matches at various times throughout the year from November to April. It’s a thrill you won’t soon forget. Hotel guests are also welcome to wander around the stables and say howdy to the beautiful, and very expensive, ponies that reside there.
Catch a concert at Altos de Chavon, a stunningly beautiful recreation of a Mediterranean village, complete with an amphitheater, which hosts a wide range of performances under the stars. Local artists are also sprinkled throughout the property, so you can catch basket weavers and carvers in action. There are many cute, but pricey boutiques, where you can buy handcrafted souvenirs, from cigars to artisanal chocolate from the ChocoMuseum. If you’re the hands-on type, you can sign up for chocolate making classes to learn the many things you can create with its bean-to-bar chocolate.
Golfers are spoiled, too. Casa de Campo has three Pete Dye-designed courses, including the very challenging and gorgeous Teeth of the Dog, which has repeatedly been voted the best golf course in the Caribbean. Young travelers can learn the basic skills of golf at the Junior Golf Academy, for ages 4 to 15.
When I visited, the culinary offerings were undergoing a bit of a shakeup. There was a slew of new staff coming onboard to improve the offerings. That’s a good thing because the food was a bit of a letdown. It wasn’t at the same level as the rest of the resort and service was pretty mediocre generally speaking. While the staff was friendly, it lacked the polish you’d expect at a luxury resort. I hope to get back there for an update soon and see what improvements have been made.
One of the strengths of Casa de Campo is the range of restaurants it can offer, from sushi to Italian to Dominican fare. Like the rest of this five-star resort, boredom is not an option!
Michele stayed as a guest of Casa de Campo. As always, her thoughts and opinions are her own. Photos courtesy of Michele Sponagle and Casa de Campo.