A unique seven-thousand-acre resort with something for everyone
Casa de Campo is situated in Romana in the Dominican Republic. Romana was originally home to the world’s largest sugar mill, owned by Gulf + Western, famous for such brands as Paramount Pictures, Viacom and CBS. However the area was transformed into a tourism destination, starting with the building of the Teeth of the Dog golf course which opened in 1971. Designed by the legendary Pete Dye it is generally regarded as the best course in the Caribbean. Two more were to follow and the resort opened in 1974.
It’s difficult to describe the place. Hotel – yes it has 247 rooms in a spacious garden setting – but its enormous seven thousand acres also includes 1,800 villas. As well as three golf courses there are three polo pitches, stabling for several hundred horses which guests can ride, zip-lining, clay pigeon shooting, thirteen tennis courts and a range of water sports. Oh, then there’s a cigar factory! Of course there are the usual facilities such as a fitness centre, spa, pools and numerous bars.
Many of the villas are available to rent. They range in size from three to eleven bedrooms and breakfast is prepared each morning by Casa de Campo’s own staff.
The spacious hotel rooms are built in small clusters scattered in a tropical garden setting and within a few minutes’ walk from reception. However, in Casa de Campo, no-one walks, not even the golfers. Rooms are available on an all-inclusive basis (recommended) and come with a golf buggy, a necessary mode of transport for such a vast area. Guests need to produce a driving licence at check-in.
From the hotel area it is three kilometres to the beach, five to the Marina and seven to the village of Altos de Chavon, with four of the six restaurants covered by the all-inclusive package at the latter two locations. However, in the evening there is also a half-hourly shuttle service from the hotel reception to these locations for guests who prefer not to drink and drive.
There are two restaurants in the hotel area, one a buffet restaurant popular for breakfast. In addition, the Nineteenth Hole at the nearby club house for the Teeth of the Dog golf course, has a delightful balcony overlooking the course and on out to sea and is popular during the day where it serves drinks and substantial ‘light bites’.
Altos de Chavon, a mock sixteenth century Spanish village, was built as a film set but never used as such. It’s home to a number of restaurants, artisan workshops, museum, church and night club. An Italian restaurant, La Piazzetta, and Mexican Chilango are included in the all-inclusive package for lunch and dinner. Nearby is a five thousand seat Roman-style Amphitheatre. Opened in 1972, the first performer was Frank Sinatra, clearly a tough act to follow, but many have done so, including Elton John, Andrea Bocelli, Gloria Estefan, Julio Iglesias, Placido Domingo and more.
The beach at Minitas has the usual facilities and water sports, along with two pools, one for families and one for adults only. There is a restaurant serving lunch and dinner, not in the A I package, and food truck that is.
The impressive Marina, crammed with multi-million-pound yachts, would not have looked out of place in Monaco. Two more all-inclusive restaurants, Pubelly Sushi and La Casita, a Spanish restaurant focussing on seafood, are at the waterside, providing a glamorous setting for lunch and dinner.
There is so much to see and do in Casa de Campo that fitting it all in is probably the only problem guests will have.
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: 247 rooms and 1,800 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: Direct booking room rates are from £245 per person per night, all inclusive. However, British Airways Holidays offers a week all-inclusive, with flights from Gatwick to Punta Cana from £1350 per person excluding transfers.
Insider Tips: Don’t forget your driving licence. And unless you want a villa, shop around and book an all-inclusive package with a UK tour operator if you live in the UK.
Reviewer’s Rating: 7/10.
Mike Pickup is an award-winning travel writer and photographer who has over one hundred features a year published in newspapers, magazines and travel trade titles. He previously spent several years working in the cruise industry.
Photographs by Mike Pickup and Casa de Campo