Revealed: The best places to stay in the Dominican Republic (the island famous types from Hugh Grant to Justin Bieber and Bill Clinton love to visit)
Every week our Holiday Hero Neil Simpson takes an in-depth look at a brilliant holiday topic, doing all the legwork so you don’t have to. This week: luxury hotels in the Dominican Republic.
It has hosted polo matches for five decades and even built an airstrip so Frank Sinatra could sing in its Grecian-inspired amphitheatre and jet in on a private plane for getaways. But, surprisingly, the hotel is set on an island where prices won’t necessarily break the bank: the Dominican Republic.
‘We’ve spent years reviewing the Dominican Republic’s best hotels and they’re as luxurious as those we see on other Caribbean islands,’ says expert Hugh Graham-Watson from travel website thehotelguru.com. ‘But while some prices are high, many can be good value.’
Casa de Campo offers guests other luxury touches such as a marina and beach-view villas lost in a forest of swaying palms, and is poised to open a lavish spa and wellness centre this spring.
Holiday Hero Neil Simpson reveals the best luxury hotels in the Dominican Republic, with his list including the five-star Casa de Campo resort (above)
Casa de Campo is poised to open a lavish spa and wellness centre this spring. Above is the hotel’s Teeth of the Dog Golf Course
Casa de Campo has welcomed guests from Henry Kissinger to Hugh Grant (pictured above at the hotel)
It is now taking bookings for its other expansion: a hotel-within-a-hotel of 58 over-sized suites with a private entrance and dedicated staff. Book seven nights’ all-inclusive in a Premier Club suite from £3,715pp including flights (british airways.com/dominicanrepublic). Or choose seven nights’ all-inclusive in a traditional Casa de Campo room from £2,266pp, including flights (tui.co.uk).
The Dominican Republic also offers a fashionable twist at the Oscar de la Renta-designed Tortuga Bay hotel. Set in the grounds of the bigger Puntacana Resort & Club, it boasts an exclusive enclave of 13 villas on a private beach.
The Dominican-born fashion designer chose each villa’s furnishings, artworks and interior designs – and guests can relax by Tortuga Bay’s private pool or enjoy the golf course, Six Senses Spa and other facilities at Puntacana Resort. Seven nights in a one-bedroom Tortuga Bay suite start at £2,830pp in spring, including flights and breakfast (loveholidays.com).
Another Dominican Republic hotel with a unique added extra is Eden Roc at Cap Cana, part of the luxury Relais & Chateaux family.
The 34-suite hotel has a mix of beachfront rooms with separate living and sleeping areas, plus a string of white-walled bungalows with vaulted ceilings and private pools. It has a spa, personal trainers for fitness sessions on the sand and access to three Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses.
Bill Clinton playing golf on the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana coast
Enjoy a fashionable stay at the Oscar de la Renta-designed Tortuga Bay hotel (pictured)
Secluded: Pictured is the exclusive beach at the 34-suite Eden Roc at Cap Cana resort
A short golf-buggy ride from the hotel is one of its newest and most unique attractions: a candle-lit underground grotto where you can book a romantic dinner for two on a wooden platform suspended in the middle of an ancient cave. A four-course meal with champagne, a private waiter and musicians is from £1,000 per couple, with a couple’s massage the following morning thrown in for good measure. Book seven-night holidays at Eden Roc at Capa Cana from £2,500pp including flights (scottdunn.com).
While beaches, watersports and golf courses are the main draws of the island, the Dominican Republic also offers a colonial-style capital city, Santo Domingo. Now a Unesco World Heritage site, its walls contain palaces, a cathedral, museums and markets galore.
It also hosts the boutique Casas del XVI hotel, with 20 large rooms across five buildings – one of which was once the home of the country’s president. Guests can expect private courtyards with mango trees, palms and pools. Lavish alfresco breakfasts are included in the room rate from £293 per night (mrandmrssmith.com).