Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

World-class amenities, championship golf courses and unparalleled hospitality set the tone for Casa de Campo, the Dominican Republic’s first resort which opened 50 years ago. To simply call it a ‘resort’ doesn’t do it justice though, it is a destination in its own right, a gated private community set in eleven square miles. Home to around 2000 luxury villas which come with private pools, butler and maid service, it is the perfect hangout for the rich and famous – think Bill Clinton, Beyonce, Justin Bieber and more. Fortunately, there are also suites and hotel rooms which allow those of us with shallower pockets to visit and enjoy the same facilities. All villas, suites and rooms come with a 4-person golf cart to help navigate the property. 

A recent addition to Casa de Campo is the 58 suite Premier Club with dedicated reception and exclusive lounge bar offering complimentary canapés and appetisers. All accommodations have a balcony or terrace as well as everything any guest could possibly need including private concierge service, customised pillow menu and 55” – 75” smart televisions. Gloriously comfortable beds ensure you’ll have the best night’s sleep you’ve had in months. To sum up, it’s totally full-blown lovely  and if you really want to push the boat out you could opt for the three-bedroom Premier Presidential Suite. 

There are a ton of things to get stuck into here. For many visitors golf is the number one attraction, which isn’t at all surprising, with three Pete Dye designed courses, one of these, Teeth of the Dog, is considered the best in the Caribbean. There is also an equestrian centre, polo pitches, 13 tennis courts – 10 are floodlit, an array of water sports facilities, private beach, three swimming pools and a stunning spa which has undergone a slick refurbishment. There is a full menu of pampering to be had including technology-supported, hands-free services such as Binaural Acoustic and Dynamic Stimulation. Treatment rooms overlook private gardens with outdoor rain showers to continue your zen.

Peruvian, Spanish, Mexican –  you can almost eat the atlas here with eight restaurants to choose between. One of my favourites is the upscale La Caña Bar & Restaurant – the name comes from sugar cane crops that surround the area – specialising in French inspired cuisine, while numerous bars sprinkled around the resort include the ultra-relaxing 19th Hole, which besides a long list of more-ish cocktails offers fabulous views across the golf course all the way to the ocean.

The resort also has a marina, home to super-expensive yachts and which is almost a community in itself with shops and a cinema. Casa de Campo also includes a fabulous replica 16th century Mediterranean village called Altos de Chavon, built by a Hollywood set designer. Now a cultural centre, it is home to artists’ studios, a museum, artisan workshops, restaurants, church, art galleries and a nightclub. Its main claim to fame though is its 5,000 seat Roman style amphitheatre, opened in 1982 by none other than Frank Sinatra and which regularly plays host to top name entertainers. 

It stands to reason really, one visit isn’t enough to Casa de Campo, with its easy-breezy charm, this somewhere to return to again and again.  

Higuey Hwy., La Romana 22000, Dominican Republic