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One of the things that makes Casa de Campo appealing is that it has everything from nicely-designed rooms that start at $187, villas that start at around $850 and go up from there, and truly extravagant owned properties. This makes it not just a hotel or resort, but a community – granted, a pretty wealthy community. But no matter where you find yourself in that rich and fabulous scale you still get to experience everything the resort’s got going on.
The sugar-baron owners of Casa de Campo started out with sugar cane fields, then added a rum distillery (which produces a very nice sipping rum, Atlantico, which is a crime to hide in a sweet sissy cocktail so make sure to try some straight), then purchased and expanded the hotel in order to house their visiting business colleagues. From there, the Fanjul family started adding things as they saw a need or which friends and guests started asking for.
What that means is that today the resort has a horse ranch, a shooting center, a marina and even a small town. This is, of course, in addition to the family-owned La Romana Airport and a cruise ship port that was recently built. Holy mega wealth.
Although this contributing editor would have been pretty happy simply putt-putting around in her golf cart (one comes with each room and villa) looking at all the lush and lovely scenery, I recognize that this might not be everyone's idea of a trip to the tropics. So in the spirit of sharing, check out what else you can do below.
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We recently had the chance to have a look at the luxe 7,000-acre Casa de Campo in the DR so that we could sus out exactly why celebs like Beyoncé and Jay-Z, The Kardashians, Michael Jordan and the Clintons – even the final two episodes of The Bachelorette last season were filmed here – choose this resort as their tropical home-away-from-home.
We think that the answer is this: When you close your eyes and imagine a chic West Indies design idyll – dark mahogany wood, stone flooring (the native Coralina stone with a distinctive mottled pattern), sandy taupe furnishings, crisp white sun shades and linens to match – this is the place where it actually exists. Add to that rooms that are over 600 sq ft and villas that can be bought or rented and sleep up to 14 people (or more if you’re creative), and it’s quite the set-up.
Lots of room and villa pics below!
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Northwest Europe is going through a heatwave this week (or as most other places would call it, “summer”), but Aman Resorts is with you if you’re thinking ahead to your winter break to the sun: Amanera, its resort in the Dominican Republic, will open towards the end of 2015.
Above the view that will greet you from one of only 25 casitas the resort will have, with this particular setting reserved for one of 13 that have their own 10-metre private swimming pools. Their “raw, organic design” is meant to complement the natural setting, and each has a flat, biodiverse roof with a garden to help cool the interiors and be eco-conscious at the same time.
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Luxury Master Suite
While the northerner mass exodus to the Caribbean may be behind us, it doesn’t mean that hotels are now closed for the season. Oh no. In fact, the new AlSol Tiara Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic opened its doors for the first time yesterday, all ready for the family fun summer vacay.
Operated by Mexican-based AlSol Hotels & Resorts, the 112-room AlSol Tiara Cap Cana is located in Punta Cana between the ocean and Marina Cap Cana, so you’ll see lots of pretty yachts as you gaze out of your suite’s panoramic windows. It falls under the company’s luxury, family-focused AlSol brand (they also have the Azalea collection – luxury adult-focused hotels; All Ritmo – four-star family properties; and the Urban Collection, which are five-star hotels in major city centers.
The hotel is going for a Mediterranean, laidback chic sort of feel with a crisp white façade accented with cobalt blue and coral complements.
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We may have been off the mark thinking Aman Tokyo wouldn’t make a 2014 opening (it did), but our guess that Aman Resorts was not far off from adding a third hotel in China turned out to pretty accurate: Amandayan, in Lijiang, and Aman number 28, is now open.
Equally, that photo we dug out from the depths of the internet back in October was indeed from inside the all-suite resort. With a total of 35 suites, that’s a few more than the 32 we talked about at the time, but still a very small affair.
‘Dayan’ (lower case in the end in the resort’s name) is the historic name of Lijiang, established in the 13th century by the Southern Song dynasty. The old town of Lijiang, which Amandayan overlooks (see a photo below), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is in the Yunnan province, which puts it in far southwestern China, towards the border with Myanmar.
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A while back, we wrote about the Hard Rock Hotels' Rhythm and Motion Massage. Continuing the rigorous research, our newest contributor, Linda Marcisano, put herself on the table to experience something called "Synchronicity."
I walked into the treatment room at the Hard Rock Punta Cana for the “Synchronicity” massage ($210 for 50 minutes) only knowing that music was involved. Upon spotting a guitar lying on the massage table, I started to panic. Would I be serenaded during the treatment? Would an aging rock star (preferably Bon Jovi) appear to perform a solo? Would my masseuse, who didn’t appear musically inclined, use one hand to knead and another to strum?
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The Rock Spa has quite the prelude to the actual treatment, so let’s start there.
I arrived 30 minutes before the massage (it was recommended to check in an hour before but we were in knee deep at the casino’s craps table) and led to the locker room where I was introduced to a guide. Whereas other spas show you where the amenities are and let you have at it, the Rock Spa actually accompanies you, kind of like a circuit, recommending how long to use each and in what order.
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What do we love more than hotel openings? Surprise hotel openings!
We had no idea that Gansevoort Hotel Group was planning an oceanfront resort in the Dominican Republic but here it is!
The Gansevoort Playa Imbert on the country's north coast will be opening on December 15 with just 48 luxury suites, in one and two-bedroom loft layouts, along with three-bedroom apartments and a handful of four-bedroom penthouses, each with their own private rooftop jacuzzi. But you should know, the property was previously The Ocean Club Luxury Residences and Gansevoort is making it over into a hotel.
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Andi Dorfman, bad-ass lawyer turned America's newest "The Bachelorette", took the three potential loves of her life, on a tropical adventure to the Dominican Republic with the hope of getting to know her suitors more intimately (coughFantasySuitecough) and perhaps, receiving an on-bended-knee proposal, complete with a diamond ring (by Neil Lane, of course.)
Andi, Josh, Nick and Chris all shacked up at the luxury all-inclusive Paradisus Punta Cana Resort, a Meliá hotel right on the Punta Cana beach. The resort is stunning and gorgeous and seemingly everything you could want from a romantic getaway. There are close to 700 rooms and suites to choose from so whether you're on a lovers' getaway or a family vacation, you'll find a room to suit your needs. There are also nine restaurants and bars, a Yhi spa, and activities galore, for all age groups.
But the only activity we cared about in Monday's night "Bachelorette" episode was vying for the Final Rose.
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Amanyara, Turks & Caicos
We might have only gotten two out of four hoped-for openings from Aman Resorts last year (that would be Aman Canal Grande in Venice and Amano’i in Vietnam), but despite the wait for Lijiang (China) and Jordan, we’ll continue to keep an eye out for anywhere else Aman might be popping up in the (near) future.
One likely destination is the Dominican Republic, which would make it the second Aman in the Caribbean, next to Amanyara in the Turks & Caicos. Rather than the popular eastern region of Punta Cana, the hotel will be part of the Playa Grande development on the northern coast, east of Puerto Plata and kitesurfer’s paradise Cabarete.
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The Riu Punta Canta's adults-only swimming pool promises no Marco Polo
In a somewhat shocking move, Riu Hotels & Resorts–one of the biggest and most traditional of the big-box all-inclusive resort chains–is suddenly introducing a slew of new and thoughtful brand-wide amenities boldly aimed toward getting their Americas properties into the 21st century.
After spending lots of time in many all-inclusives, we though many brands would never change their buffet-lined, screaming-kid, non-Internet-having ways. Bargain rates? They haz ‘em. But innovates? They never.
Except now, RIU is.
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Starwood Hotels continues their global expansion by opening the 124-room Four Points by Sheraton Punta Cana on September 28th, the first US-based, internationally-branded hotel to open in the Dominican Republic.
This is the newest addition to the Puntacana Village, which is designed to be a tranquil community with all the services and amenities of an urban area. The village includes a mix of both residential and commercial real estate, an international school, a retail and dining galleria, churches, financial institutions, medical centers, gyms, and, now, a Four Points by Sheraton. The hotel hopes to attract both business and leisure travelers with its low rates (starting at $96 a night) and location.
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Another day, another hotel called Eden Roc. We're not kidding. But this plush new, all-suites property in the Cap Cana area of the Dominican Republic is a lot fancier than its U.S. namesake, the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach.
Time will tell if it can become as legendary as its French namesake, Hotel Du Cap Eden Roc (a celeb and Lagerfeld fave).
What we can tell you is that Eden Roc at Cap Cana brings a new level of luxury to the area (and gets you far, far away from the party-happy scene in Punta Cana so beloved by reality TV stars).
The first 12 suites opened amid lush landscaping earlier this month, although the rest of the suites (some of them bigger than your house) and the resort's restaurants will be unveiled in October, as a more official grand opening. Earlier this year, we caught a glimpse of the candy-colored exteriors peeking through palm trees and can attest to the generous size of even the entry-level suites.