A unique destination of Caribbean fun.
The eleven square miles of the Dominican Republic’s Casa de Campo is home to two thousand villas where the rich and famous – think Bill Clinton, Beyonce, Justin Bieber and more – enjoy their holidays. Fortunately, there are also hotel rooms and an all-inclusive package that allow those of us on more modest budgets to enjoy the same facilities.
There are nearly 250 hotel rooms comprising Superior Casitas, Elite Rooms and Suites and the resort has recently added a new Premier Club Suite section complete with its own reception, check-in and club house facilities which include a bar and complimentary snacks. There are 58 Premier Suites in total.
I had previously stayed in an Elite suite, spacious and comfortable, but on this return visit I tried one of the new Premiere Junior Suites with a terrace overlooking gardens and a golf course. The large bedroom had a queen-sized bed, sofa, occasional tables and a dining table and two chairs. There was a bath and shower room, separate washroom with ‘his and hers’ hand-basins and a walk-in wardrobe. The suite was equipped with tea and coffee-making facilities, a hair dryer, iron, ironing board and, a first for me, a steamer.
When it comes to activities you are spoilt for choice. There are three golf courses, one of which is rated the best in the Caribbean. This really is golf heaven. The Equestrian Centre includes horse riding, three polo pitches and a dude ranch. The 13 tennis courts cater for all standards and there are professionals on hand for those looking to improve their skills. The shooting centre has over 200 traps and is considered one of the world’s best, whilst water sports include sailing, paddle surfing and kayaking on the resort’s river.
Of course, there is the usual swimming pool with swim-up bar and a well-equipped gym. However, since my last visit a state-of-the-art spa has been added. Its thirteen rooms overlooking calming gardens and water features offer a vast range of treatments.
There is so much to do at Casa de Campo that the only problem guests have is fitting it all in.
Activities such as the equestrian and shooting centres are in the huge seven thousand acre grounds but, apart from the central hotel area, there are three main centres of focus. The Minitas beach also offers two pools, one for families and one for adults only. There is a restaurant that is not part of the all-inclusive package but a food cart that is.
Although there is a small nearby airport and an on-site heliport, not all guests arrive by air. Casa de Campo has a top-class marina with 350 moorings, boatyard for servicing and repairs, a small supermarket, hardware store, cinema and boutique shops.
However, perhaps the most unusual location is Altos de Chavon. This mock 16th century Mediterranean village was built as a film set but never used. It contains artisan workshops, a nightclub, a fascinating museum covering thousands of years of the location’s history and a little church, popular for weddings. The nearby amphitheatre holds five thousand people. It was opened in 1982 by Frank Sinatra and during my visit preparations were being made for an upcoming Michael Bublé concert.
An all-inclusive package is recommended and there is a big choice of restaurants. Two are close by the main hotel reception area. La Cana is open for à la carte breakfast, lunch and dinner while Lago, a buffet restaurant, offers breakfast and lunch. Although often not mentioned, my lunchtime favourite was the nearby Nineteenth Hole, the terrace of the clubhouse at the Teeth of the Dog golf course. With lovely views over the 18th green and the sparkling Caribbean, it’s a relaxing place to chill out over a cold drink and a toasted Panini.
The marina also offers all-inclusive guests two restaurants. Causa specialises in Peruvian dishes whilst La Casita focuses on seafood and Spanish cuisine. Altos de Chavon offers a further two restaurants, La Piazetta provides Italian fare, although surprisingly not pizzas, whilst Chilango caters for those looking for authentic Mexican flavours.
As mentioned, there is also a food cart at Minitas Beach.
Due to the size of the resort, it is three kilometres to Minitas, five kilometres to the Marina and seven to Altos de Chavon, guests are provided with motorised buggies. Most guests get a neat red model whilst Premier Club Suite guests drive a larger black Premier Suites-badged vehicle. In the evenings, for those preferring not to drink and drive, there are half-hourly shuttle services to both the Marina and Altos de Chavon from the central hotel reception and conference centre.
Casa de Campo Resort and Villas, La Romana – Higüey Hwy., La Romana 22000, Dominican Republic.
Tel: (866) 860-5472 / (855) 559-0806
The resort is located on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic in La Romana. Casa de Campo has its own airport just five-minutes away and is serviced by JetBlue from New York on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is also served by other charter flights from the US, Canada, Latin America and Europe. Both Santa Domingo International Airport and Punta Cana International Airport are 50 minutes away.
Type of Hotel: 5-Star Hotel and Resort
Number of Rooms: 310 rooms, suites and premier suites and 2,000 villas. A four-seater buggy is provided with all bookings (more if there are more guests) and there is free Wi-Fi in buildings throughout the resort.
Price Band: Medium to high. The hotel is offered by many UK tour operators. Example: Tropical Sky offers a seven-night all-inclusive stay at Casa de Campo from £1,779pp, based on two adults sharing an Elite Patio Room and £2,799 for a Premier Junior Suite. This includes direct return flights from London Gatwick and transfers. Prices based on 13th June 2024.
Insider Tips: Don’t forget your driving licence – you will need to show it when you check in.
Reviewer’s Rating: 8/10
Mike Pickup is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer who covers all forms of travel including ocean and river cruising for UK national newspapers and magazines.
Photographs by Mike Pickup