It’s the five-star Caribbean tropical paradise loved by everyone from Beyonce to Bieber, but can a 7,000-acre resort really deliver pure relaxation?
- Casa de Campo is made up of a hotel, rental villas and privately owned properties
- It boasts three championship golf courses, its own airport and a marina that has room for 300 boats
- The all-inclusive option offers plenty of activities – as well as seven restaurants to dine at
- Heads-of-states, financial entrepreneurs, Hollywood stars and top entertainers have stayed at the resort
It might perhaps be easier to list the A-list stars and world leaders who have not stayed at Casa de Campo.
The sprawling 7,000-acre resort in the east of the Dominican Republic has played host to Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Drake, the Jonas Brothers and Taron Egerton to name but a few.
U.S rapper Pitbull loved it so much he bought several villas and even opened a restaurant.
It is remarkably difficult to convey the sheer size of Casa de Campo
It isn’t difficult to see why A-list stars in their droves have been drawn to views like this, says Katy
Minitas Beach is everything you expect and desire from a Caribbean holiday, says Katy
Teeth of the Dog, pictured, has long been considered the No1 golf course in the Caribbean. It’s ranked No47 in Golf Magazine’s list of Top 100 Courses in the World
With our regular holidays being low-key and off-the-tourist track, it wasn’t without some trepidation that my partner and I drove through the imposing gates of this sprawling compound.
Can such a vast and glitzy place (it even has its own fake amphitheatre) really offer relaxation or any sense of intimacy?
The Marina is home to a plethora of swanky vessels – there is room for 300 boats – and some superb restaurants
Heads-of-states, financial entrepreneurs, Hollywood stars, sports professionals and top entertainers have all stayed at Casa de Campo
There are 7,000 acres in total for guests to explore and enjoy – it’s a tropical playground. Pictured is one of the resort’s elite ocean-front villas
Better described as a walled village with a hotel running through it, most of the properties are vast, privately owned mansions and villas.
And to help guests negotiate the sprawling site, each hotel room comes with its own golf buggy they can drive on the (mainly car-free) roads.
Not only does this deftly shrink the resort to a (just about manageable) size, it is unexpectedly fun and rather hilarious to whiz around from room to beach to restaurant in your little cart, ogling at the vast private mansions that make up the majority of the community.
Having said that, it is hard to over-egg the scale of the place (it has its own airport), and we quickly learned to leave ample time – at least half an hour in practice – to reach anything on the other side of the complex.
As well as the Marina, which plays host to leisure boats and visiting superyachts and has a host of restaurants and shops (plus a cinema should you so desire), there is Minitas Beach and Altos de Chavón (a replica 16th-century Mediterranean village originally built as a film set, and quite possibly one of the most surreal places I have ever been to).
Katy says of the accommodation: ‘The rooms are spacious and pleasantly minimal in design with the kind of bed you pray for in a hotel, namely, one where you can both starfish without touching each other’
The resort has an impressive health and wellness centre (above) where guests can regenerate
The resort welcomes children – it offers babysitting services, boasts an eye-catching family pool (above) and runs an early education centre
Beyonce and husband Jay Z are fans of Casa de Campo (left) and so is Welsh actor Taron Egerton (right)
The hotel itself is situated in the centre next to one of the golf courses, Teeth of the Dog, and is home to the main pools and a couple of the restaurants.
The rooms are spacious and pleasantly minimal in design with the kind of bed you pray for in a hotel, namely, one where you can both starfish without touching each other.
What to do
Altos de Chavón is a replica 16th-century Mediterranean village in the heart of the Dominican countryside, meticulously designed by Dominican architect Jose Antonio Caro and Italian master designer and cinematographer Roberto Coppa
Guests can paddle along the tranquil waters of the Chavon River and enjoy gorgeous views of lush vegetation and Altos de Chavon
Whatever your skill level, you can enjoy horse riding as part of the all-inclusive package
A very patient instructor helped Katy and her partner get the hang of clay pigeon shooting
Space, of course, means lots of activities to choose from. With three championship golf courses within the resort, a lot of our breakfast companions were clearly there solely to tee off. Not being golfers, we headed to the huge stables and paddocks for a guided horse ride.
While I always love just being on a horse, my other half was a little disappointed in the views offered along the way – the most interesting of which was seeing the professional polo players and their incredible horses all dressed up and ready for a game.
A clay shooting lesson was more of a collective success, as were days spent impersonating the uber-rich at the Minitas Beach Club.
The days slipped by ever-so-pleasantly lounging on Minitas Beach itself (separate from the Club). We lost ourselves in good books and bar and food trucks kept us contentedly fed and watered.
When the sun set, we’d hop onto our golf cart to change for dinner.
On one occasion our golf cart broke down late at night as we drove to a restaurant in Altos de Chavón. We were left weeping with laughter as we both tried to push it off the speed bump it had so unceremoniously got wedged onto.
We were, I hasten to add, swiftly rescued by a dashing member of the hotel staff.
What to eat
Katy tucked into some delicious lobster thermidor at La Casita restaurant (pictured) at the Marina
Casa de Campo lies on the southeast coast of the Dominican Republic and five-and-a-half miles from La Romana International Airport
Every guest has access to a four-person golf buggy
When it comes to food you certainly won’t pine for options. No less than seven restaurants are included in the all-inclusive option, serving everything from tacos to sushi to gourmet Italian fare.
And while it does feel a touch disingenuous eating authentic Italian cuisine at a table in a ‘traditional Italian trattoria’ (which incidentally was decorated by Oscar de la Renta) in a man-made Mediterranean medieval village… in the Caribbean, we couldn’t fault the quality of the food.
From sourdough pizzas and ceviche from the beach food trucks to the handmade pasta at the aforementioned Italian La Piazzetta, everything was exceptionally delicious.
The Pubbelly sushi restaurant in the Marina (another slightly surreal experience) was a favourite of ours that saw us return three times in the week. The Tuna Pizza in particular really stood out, as did the Yellow Tail cocktail, made with vodka, ginger water, passion fruit and chilli flakes.
Many restaurants both down at the Marina and up in Altos de Chavón weren’t included in the all-inclusive package.
But we were never tempted.
As we enjoyed lobster thermidor at La Casita, with views of the Caribbean sea, paying extra to eat just yards down the road at the STK restaurant just didn’t make sense.
So is it worth it?
If what you are after is an intimate, authentic or culture-packed holiday, then Casa de Campo probably isn’t for you (I don’t think we saw the same member of staff more than once during our whole stay.)
If however, you are after unparalleled luxury, served in a remarkably un-suffocating way, with an added sprinkling of Hollywood style glamour, and golf carts – Casa de Campo will prove to be just the ticket.
Katy was hosted by Casa de Campo Resort and Villas in La Romana. The property is offered by a number of UK tour operators.
Seven nights on all-inclusive basis with return British Airways flights, departing from London Gatwick on 22 September 2020 currently costs from £1,333 per person (based on two sharing a superior room). Transfers are offered for an additional £73pp return.
To book visit www.britishairways.com/holidays or call 0344 493 0120.
For more information about the hotel visit www.casadecampo.com.do.
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