“Welcome to Casa de Campo”, said our driver. The relief to hear those words after a 45 minute private transfer journey from the airport following an eight hour flight was music to the ears.
But 10 minutes later, and we were still in the vehicle. That should tell you something about the sheer size of Casa de Campo. It’s hardly surprising then that this resort offers 90 holes of golf to challenge you, 13 tennis courts, a yacht and sailing club, three polo playing fields and a comprehensive 245-acre shooting facility to perfect your aim.
But before embarking on any activities, a much needed cold glass of champagne awaited us as we checked into our villa. Actually it’s probably more correct to say that it was a mansion. Those staying at the 7,000 acre Casa De Campo resort have the option to stay either in the 50 multi-bedroom villas or in one of the hotel’s 185 rooms and suites. Hugely popular with some of Hollywood’s elite including Jay Z and Beyoncé, our villa was within eye shot of the Kardashian’s holiday residence.
The villa had an expansive terrace, a picture perfect oceanfront view, and came with our very own personal chefs, butlers and maids. The individual bedrooms were so big they could easily have slept between two to four people in each. And the private pool was bigger than most leisure centre ones, and so large that you could easily do a good few laps and get a proper workout at any time of the day. I would recommend having a dip in the pool late at night not only to cool down, but just because you can. I found myself in there most days after I let my dinner digest late at night.
Sport is deeply rooted at Casa de Campo, so fitness enthusiasts can really rejoice. But even if you’re not, it’s a great way of trying your hand at some high-end pastimes. The resort is home to one of the world’s most famous golf courses too – The Teeth of the Dog – which has numerous awards under its belt. A bit challenging for the amateur golfer, the various courses are a golf lover’s dream.
Going around the resort in a buggy is fun, but horse riding provides a better view. The equestrian centre has a number of different horses and ponies to choose from, and riders of all abilities can take part. The super pros can even have a game of polo with other guests if they wish.
I’d never tried my hand at clay pigeon shooting before so it was great to be introduced to the sport while on the trip. Gary Salmon, the shooting director, was incredibly patient with me as I had a terrible aim when I first picked up my rifle. But with some expert guidance, and focussing on what I was doing, I managed to perform a hat trick. I left the centre feeling quite smug.
Balance is key, so after an exciting day of sports, the spa is not only an indulgence, but a real sanctuary for the body. The spa uses 100% natural products and offers a wide range of treatments both indoors and outdoors. Naturally I opted for a treatment in a secluded part of the beach. Listening to the sounds of waves, while two therapists (I greedily had the four hand massage) worked their magic, was utter bliss.
With seven restaurants to choose from, there really is something on the menu for everyone at Casa De Campo. For good old fashioned Dominican food, the Lago Grill is your place to go. Here you can find hog roast, chicken and fish prepared and cooked right in front of you. There’s also an Italian (La Piazetta) a Spanish (La Casita) a Mediterranean (La Cana by Il Circo) and an Oriental (Chinois) cuisine. But the real show stopper is the world famous Le Cirque Restaurant. The New York dining experience has been brought to the resort with a unique Caribbean flair. Portion sizes as you may expect are big and fish dishes plentiful.
People often talk about paradises, but this little gem situated on the south-eastern coast of the Dominican Republic in the town of La Romana really is. It’s family friendly, big enough to spend ample time there without getting bored, and a great way of trying your hand at something new. I certainly would never have got round to doing shooting if I wasn’t there. Just as well. Looks like I’m a natural.
For more information on Casa De Campo, visit www.casadecampo.com.do
By Sabi Phagura