Planning Your Next Luxury Getaway? Look No Further Than Casa De Campo

What do Jay-Z, Michael Jordan, and Kim Kardashian all have in common? Aside from a net worth of over $1 billion dollars each, they all flock to a luxury haven known as Casa de Campo Resort & Villas in the Dominican Republic. In celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, the property continues to be lauded for its award-winning seaside golf courses, global gastronomy, and enriched cultural underpinnings. But perhaps the best part of this vacationer’s utopia is that us mere mortals can partake in the same pleasures there, too. Gratuitous celeb-sightings aside, this shining retreat is welcoming to everyone.

The resort is situated in La Romana, arguably the capital of the eastern end of the island. While famous folks arrive by helicopter or private plane directly to the property, it’s an otherwise easy one-hour drive from Punta Cana International airport for the rest of us. Upon your arrival, you’ll be greeted with over 7,000 sprawling acres of gracious living and gregarious adventures — which can be quite overwhelming to take in at first glimpse. As the premier luxury hotelier in the DR — which also boasts the first and top ranked golf course in the Caribbean for the past five decades — they’ve had ample time to grow and expand their mini empire. Fortunately, you’re on vacay mode; and despite a brief learning curve (and lots of help from google maps), you’ll soon find yourself effortlessly zipping to Minitas Beach Club for a sunrise soak in the Caribbean Sea, a hearty breakfast bowl at Lago Restaurant, and then back to the green for 18 holes followed by drinks at the infinity pool.

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What to Do

There are countless activities here that will make your stay one to remember. Think scuba diving off tropical Isla Catalina, playing polo on a champion stallion, taking aim at their shooting centre, and landing an ace or two on their ‘Wimbleton of the Caribbean’ Har-Tru Clay Tennis courts — the largest facility out of the chain of islands. Then you can zen out with a sports massage and yoga session at their wellness spa and recharge just in time for drinks, yacht-spotting, and nightlife curiosities at their Casa de Campo Marina.

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Golf: There’s no shortage of sights and spectacles to soak up but naturally, the place to start is with Casa de Campo’s golf experiences — the property’s initial claim to fame. Of the three award-winning courses (Teeth of the Dog, The Links, and Dye Fore) designed by legendary architect Pete Dye, “Dientes del Perro” or “Teeth of the Dog” is the unspoken crowning glory. The 7,000+ yards course is aptly named for its beautiful yet brutalist design, whose jagged cliffside rocks bear an uncanny resemblance to the fearsome growls of a dog’s canine teeth. Additionally, of this course’s 18 holes, seven are precariously perched along the Caribbean Sea; so in other words, you may be bidding adiós to a few balls due to their newfound watery digs. Even if the prospect of landing a hole-in-one doesn’t entice you, the opportunity to be enveloped in an azure sky, the salt-kissed air, and verdant foliage on the course alone is worth the early bird wake-up and tee time.

Altos de Chavón: Beyond the green, you’ll want to explore Altos de Chavón, a replica 16th century Mediterranean village. Conceived by acclaimed Dominican architect, Jose Antonio Caro; and Italian designer/Paramount Pictures cinematographer, Roberto Coppa; the dwelling is a melange of old-world design hallmarks found in Southern European coastal countries such as Italy, Spain, and Greece. While it’s not an “authentic” ancient place, rest-assured that the arts and culture they’ve curated is. It’s a community and cultural hive for local and international artisans. Makers are always on site crafting, weaving, silk-screening, painting, and more. Also present is the Altos de Chavón School of Design (affiliated with Parsons School of Design in New York), an archaeological museum devoted to covering the history of the Taíno (an indigenous people and principal inhabitants of the Caribbean islands before European contact), the stone sculpted St. Stanislaus Church for weekly congregations, and a 5,000 seat Grecian-style amphitheatre, anointed by none other than Frank Sinatra when he crooned to a sold-out show. The cobblestone village is replete with views of the Chavón River and particularly enchanting at night with stars illuminating the area overhead.

Spa: Seek sanctuary and serenity for your mind, body, and soul with the property’s Exclusive Spa. There’s pampering abound with their extensive roster of classic and holistic massages which span from sports specific therapy that address golf and tennis ailments, for example, to shirodhara which is an Ayurvedic treatment used to quell anxiety, stress, and the nervous system. While you’re at it, consider layering on some mindful meditation in the form of sunset yoga sessions to help you achieve inner balance. A lasting experience here with the spa that you can smell, feel (and almost taste) is their connectivity and use of native elements to enrich treatments: invigorating coffee Taíno for detoxification; sugar cane to exfoliate and soften skin; and papaya and pineapple to extract impurities from the skin. 

Where to Eat

With eight dining venues to feast at, an in-dining (room service) program, two food trucks, and even an annual specialty event called Flavors By Casa de Campo which collaborates with internationally acclaimed chefs to offer guests classic and trending tastes, rest-assured that even the most discerning diners will have their palettes appeased here. With so many options, what is particularly admirable is how the culinary brigade can execute high-level dishes from every outpost with ease and consistency. This is thanks to the leadership efforts of culinary director Rodrigo Menéndez, whose two decades of culinary and hospitality experience reads like a jet-setting resume; and while he hails from Argentina, his gastronomic expertise has taken him to the United Arab Emirates, Spain, Colombia, Panama, and beyond.

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Back at Casa de Campo, each restaurant honours a specific cuisine and there are three standout favourites. Minitas Beach Club and Restaurant is seaside stunner for its watercolour sunsets, relaxing beach vibes, and jovial spirit. The ambiance is amplified with local delicacies such as Dominican Fried Snapper with Créole Seasoning; Chicharron de Pollo — tender marinated chicken with Dominican Wasakaka (herb and lime) sauce; and addictive tostones (Dominican fried plantain).

At Causa, a beloved trinity of Peruvian cuisine — Criolla (or Creole, is a global melange of European, African, and Indigenous American cultures), Nikkei (Peruvian and Japanese) and Chifa (Peruvian and Chinese) — is showcased. Done with deft skills and presented as shareable plates, be whisked away to Lima with lively dishes such as refreshing Leche de Tigre that’s teeming with a medley of supple octopus, shrimp, fish, and crackling; Traditional Beef Heart Anticuchos (grilled skewers); and El Taipa Roll featuring salmon, plantain, signature aji amarillo sauce, and crispy onions.

Situated on the cobblestone streets of Altos de Chavón, La Piazzetta is a fine Italian restaurant, graced with the decor flourishes of Oscar de la Renta, it’s also Casa de Campo’s very first dining outpost. While it’s an old soul, it doesn’t feel dated and instead feels like a love letter to slow, romantic dining. They also don’t mess with the classics here and honour familiar favourites such as unctuous lamb ossobuco, fresh and feisty seafood risotto, and creamy tiramisu kissed with coffee notes.

Where to Stay

No need to venture off site for alternate lodging options because the property offers numerous stay styles at various price points. Additionally, if you’re looking to book a spot this winter (2022), you’ll want to make reservations for the Casa de Campo’s brand-new suites and rooms — which have garnered an ample amount of praise and excitement, including from President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader. He remarked that the hotel has been a hospitality and tourism leader for the last 50 years since its opening, and this latest project is undoubtedly the talk-of-the-island. With a budget of about $90 million and spanning 18,300 square-feet, Casa de Campo will be expanding its resort by offering 64 new junior and presidential suites for guests to lavish and linger in. There will also be a dedicated destination spa and wellness centre which features hydrotherapy and relaxation areas. In the interim, if you’re keen to visit sooner, you can opt for a stay at one of the property’s beloved Rooms or Villas.

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Rooms: Under the ‘room’ category, guests are invited to book either the Superior Casitas, Elite Rooms, or Elite Suites. There’s a reserved elegance to these minimalist yet mighty spaces. Casitas sleep up to four people and the inviting, bright spaces are bolstered with lush tropical surroundings and are situated near the golf courses. These rooms are ideal for people who spend their days out and about and use the space primarily for slumbering. Meanwhile, both the Elite Rooms and Elite Suites can sleep six guests. They are well-appointed and offer cathedral ceilings, private patios or balconies, and are elegantly lined with mahogany wood and native stone. The Elite Rooms are great for those who want an added “oomph” of pampering. Meanwhile, Elite Suites offer more space, feature a separate seating area, dining table, and are ideal for families or large groups seeking an extended getaway and home-away-from-home. (From $599 USD per night)

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Villas: Located off the main hotel property, these fanciful villas aka mega-mansions are unabashedly over-the-top; so naturally, they’re particularly alluring to celebrities who seek out privacy in these stunning sanctuaries. Casa de Campo offers over 50 different unique villas to rent, each with their own design aesthetic (which span from Mid-Century Modern to Popular Tropical), decadent elements, and personality. All villas offer their own secluded retreat replete with private pools, jacuzzi, and maid and butler service. Of the four categories of villas: Classic; Garden; Exclusive; Oceanfront — our favourites are the ones that hug the Caribbean Sea with a prized example being Casa Bahia. This sumptuous villa has had many people call it home, including Jay-Z, Drake, the Kardashians, and Rihanna. Surrounded by emerald vines and towering palm trees, this luxury oasis features 10 bedrooms, infinity pools, vaulted ceilings, wood furnishings, and private beach access. While Casa de Campo remains a slice of paradise, these villas take it to another lofty level with their extravagant retreat-within-a-retreat experiences. (From $750 USD per night)