Even though trips abroad might not be possible right now, we’re planning our ultimate escape for when travel can resume. One destination we’ve bookmarked is a Caribbean escape to the Dominican Republic: offering everything from white-sand beaches to ecotourism to colonial city charm, it’s got something for everyone. Here’s our pick of places to stay.
HOLIDAYS TO DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 2021
CASAS DEL XVI, SANTO DOMINGO
Whilst holidaymakers head straight to the beautiful beaches of the Dominican Republic’s vast Caribbean coastline, it’s well worth making an excursion for a night or two to the country’s capital, the UNESCO World Heritage Site colonial city of Santo Domingo. The stunning Casas del XVI is a collection of thoughtfully renovated properties dating back to the 16th century located in the heart of this historic centre.
If you can manage to peel yourself away from your beautifully carved wooden bed or the courtyard pool, you’ll be rewarded with the charming sights of the historical old town on your doorstep. Spend the afternoon wandering around the atmospheric religious buildings and soaking up the social buzz of the nearby squares, then refuel with a traditional hot chocolate at the Kahkow Experience.
Here you’ll learn how chocolate is made – the flavour is so good that barely any milk and sugar is needed, so you can justify stashing a couple of bars away to fuel more sightseeing. Make sure to stop off at Jenny Polanco boutique to pick up some outfits for the rest of your stay – the designer is known for her crisp, clean white linens embellished with subtle jewels that ooze Caribbean chic.
For 2021, Casas del XVI is running a #StaySmallStayLonger campaign offering guests a complimentary 3rd night when they book a 2-night stay. With freestanding baths overlooking your room’s stunning artwork and killer margaritas served with fresh local ceviche by your courtyard pool, you’ll be glad you extended the trip.
CASA DE CAMPO, LA ROMANA
Dripping in Hollywood legacy and Hamptons luxury, Casa de Campo and its mansion villa homes have attracted A-list celebrities, politicians and royals for decades, recently including Jay-Z and Beyonce, the Kardashians, Taron Egerton, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan, Drake, Alycia Keys, Bill Clinton and many more.
It’s easy to see why this huge 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic has long been a favourite for the rich and famous: from a beautiful marina full of megayachts, to the top-rated golf course in the Caribbean, to chic beach clubs and even a replica of a 16th-century European village, there’s something for everyone at Casa de Campo.
Guests can either stay in hotel rooms and make use of complimentary golf carts to get around, or for the ultimate experience get a group of friends together and stay in one of the resort’s spectacular villas with private pools. Private chefs are on hand to prepare barbecue dinners after a day of partying by the pool at SBG or to refuel after a game of tennis at one of the resort’s 13 courts. The resort also boasts exceptional horse riding and polo facilities, and runs equine retreats with unlimited horseback rides.
A seven night holiday through British Airways Holidays departing on 4 April 2021 from London Gatwick and including accommodation on all-inclusive basis in a Superior Casita room (based on 2 sharing) currently costs from £1,628 per person. Villas can be booked directly through the resort’s website and benefit from full access to resort facilities.
KI-RA HOLSTIC LIVING, LA ROMANA
If your kind of luxury is more about nourishing your soul and disconnecting from the outside world, Ki-Ra Holistic Living is the perfect escape. A family-run Bohemian retreat located off the beaten track, join a retreat or simply book a few nights in an oceanfront tent for an experience like no other. After a few days of spectacular sunsets, wholesome Ayurvedic food and nurturing yoga classes, you’ll feel completely rejuvenated.
British owners Kyra and Simon built Ki-Ra from scratch on a patch of jagged coastline surrounded by jungle, sensing the powerful healing properties of the land and its location. Kyra is a naturopathic doctor and oversees the preparation of exquisite meals made from herbs grown in the on-site garden, as well as teaching yoga classes and offering massages and therapies.
If you’re looking for a place to escape and recharge, this is for you. Scheduled 3-day retreats start at $600 per person, and rooms including full board and yoga from $205 per night (~£150) per night.
HARD ROCK HOTEL & CASINO, PUNTA CANA
If your kind of holiday involves limitless pampering, cocktails on tap and hassle-free dining, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is the resort for you. With 9 restaurants and 23 bars and lounges, you’ll need to stay longer than a week just to experience them all: from perfectly-cooked fillet steak to flaming teppanyaki, even the pickiest of eaters won’t be disappointed. Oh, and did we mention they’ll deliver unlimited slices of Oreo cheesecake to your room, 24 hours a day? That’s before we even get started on the cocktails…
Fortunately there’s a state-of-the-art fitness centre with on-demand Les Mills classes – including a full spin studio – to help work up an appetite. For those who prefer to work out in private, all rooms include on-demand yoga videos. And if you’d rather spend your holiday lying vertical by the pool or on the beach, there are 13 pools to choose from, where your pina colada glass will be constantly topped up.
Seven nights at the five-star Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana costs from just £1,211 per person through British Airways Holidays. Price is based on two adults sharing a Caribbean Suite King Room on an All-Inclusive Basis and includes direct return flights from London Gatwick with British Airways, transfers, and Limitless Resort Credits to be used towards spa and salon treatments, golf and tours and excursions.
NEED MORE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC INSPIRATION?
Still not completely sold on a stay at any of the above? Perhaps the adults-only vibe at TRS Turquesa is more your thing, where seven nights all-inclusive starts at £1,095 per person through British Airways Holidays. Sister hotel Grand Palladium also caters to families, or for a more secluded, exclusive feel, book a villa at the Oscar de la Renta-designed Tortuga Bay, where a seemingly endless stretch white-sand beach is footsteps away from your door – and treatments at the Caribbean’s only Six Senses Spa await.