All-inclusive option available that includes meals, drinks, and activities
Pools are small compared to those at other D.R. properties
Restaurants are expensive
All-inclusive plan only includes the 6 resort-owned restaurants; surcharges for some menu items apply
About 10 minutes via golf cart from the rooms to the beach (all rooms come with a golf cart)
The D.R.'s classiest, most famous resort since 1974, the Casa de Campo hotel is part of a massive, 7,000-acre resort community that includes three world-renowned golf courses, an immaculate beach, a marina, the quaint "town" of Altos de Chavon, and numerous other on-site activities. It can take some time to get from place to place, but each of the spacious rooms comes with a golf cart for guests' use. Though the Eden Roc may offer more luxurious rooms, Casa de Campo certainly offers more activities and some prefer its upscale, yet slightly more laid-back, vibe.
A posh resort with world-class golf courses and pristine beaches
Golf is the main draw here, although its certainly not the only. Teeth of the Dog, the daringly named signature course, is easily one of the best courses in the Caribbean, alongside the White Witch course at the Ritz-Carlton in Jamaica. On the walkway adjacent to the course, you can even spot maintenance staff pruning the foliage and picking up dead leaves by hand -- it's that kind of place.
Unlike at most Dominican resorts, no one's piled on top of one another here. With more than 11 square miles of property, there's room to roam, even on a sunny day at Minitas Beach, where parents sip sparkling water with lime and watch their children play with plastic shovels and buckets by the calm oceanfront. But Casa de Campo certainly does not feel deserted and has a lively atmosphere.
There are a lot of white-collared shirts and slacks at this massive resort co-owned by the Fanjul brothers; they also run Flo-Sun, a huge sugar and real estate empire that owns, among other companies, Domino Sugar.
Frequented mostly by Americans and Spaniards, some of whom own private villas on the property, most guests come for the renowned golf courses; in addition to Teeth of the Dog, there's also Dye Four and The Links. Even Kim Kardashian took lessons from the pro on a vacation that aired on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
Technically located in the town of La Romana, the resort is really a city unto itself. It's a 10-minute drive from La Romana International Airport or a costly, 45-minute ride by car service from the Punta Cana Airport.
Casa de Campo contains 7,000 immaculately manicured acres. Though technically in La Romana, which has some of the D.R.’s best beaches, the resort feels like its own separate city (it even has its own signs on the highway).
That said, you’ll need to either rent a bike or use your golf cart liberally (included with the room rate) to get around the property. The main area with the pools, spa, and a few bars and restaurants is manageable by foot, but the beach can be a 10-minute drive (by golf cart), depending on your room location. It can take between 15 and 20 minutes to get to the marina, and that's putting the pedal to the metal. The tennis courts and the town of Altos de Chavon are also about 15 minutes via golf cart from the main area.
Thanks to a new road, the resort is now only about a 45-minute drive from the Punta Cana Airport. Some guests fly into Casa de Campo/La Romana International Airport (sometimes pricier than Punta Cana), fly via helicopter to the resort's private heliport, or sail their yachts to the marina.
The exquisite beach might just be the best in the D.R., but it takes 10 minutes by golf cart to get there. A fabulous French restaurant and water sports await.
Minitas Beach is immaculate -- there is not a single piece of garbage to be found anywhere. The sand is soft, and a man-made reef several hundred feet out keeps the water especially calm and safe for young children. Even better, lifeguards are on duty daily.
Water sports are available and all non-motorized sports are included in the all-inclusive supplement plan.
The Beach Club by Le Cirque serves as the beachside restaurant, offering tasty (but expensive) lunch and dinner options. There's also an ice cream shop, as well as several boutiques right on the sand.
The 454 rooms at Casa de Campo are spacious and sleek. They were decorated by two local designers (half by one, half by another) and all feature wooden accents with pops of color, high vaulted ceilings, sitting areas, and balconies. Bathrooms have his and hers vanities as well as separate showers and soaking tubs. Amenities include Wi-Fi, iPod docks, and large flat-screen TVs.
A significant chunk of Casa de Campo's property consists of privately owned homes and villas, many of which are available for guests to rent through the resort. Size and price vary greatly, but all feature fully equipped kitchens and many have pools.
Two small pools (by D.R. standards) in the main area, and one at the tennis courts
On a Caribbean island where enormous pools serve as the nexus of many a mega-resort, the pools at the Casa de Campo can seem small and bland. But they are pristinely kept and rarely loud or rowdy. Instead, guests relax, chat, and order poolside cocktails and lunch from the La Cana restaurant. The larger Lower Pool has a swim-up bar, but it was undergoing renovations during my stay. After a sweaty tennis match, guests can also take a dip at the small pool by the clubhouse.
The fitness center at Casa de Campo is big and modern. Located in the main area of the resort, it features two large rooms -- one equipped with cardio machines with personal TVs, balls, mats, and free weights, the other with weight-training equipment. Lockers are also available for guests' use.
Upon entering, guests are greeted by the trainer who offers a towel, fruit, a water bottle, and headphones. The trainer assists guests with using the equipment and is also available for personal training sessions.
Small, intimate spa has gorgeous treatment rooms, including outdoor water treatment areas
The intimate, secluded spa takes advantage of its natural setting among lush greenery with numerous outdoor treatment areas. Special water treatment areas feature outdoor hot and cold tubs, and pre or post-treatment, guests can relax in the outdoor meditation area. Even indoor treatment rooms feature large windows lined by bamboo.
Casa de Campo has plenty to keep families entertained, including a beautiful beach and activities such as horseback riding and tennis. The kids' club is split into three categories by age: Toddlers 'n Casa for ages one to three, Kidz 'n Casa for ages four to seven, and Casa 'Tweens for ages eight to 12. All include games and activities, and are available for half or full days. Staff is trained in first aid and CPR.
A teens' room includes games and movie nights, and the family fun zone hut offers indoor and outdoor activities. Families can also hire nannies to either assist with children during the day (while parents are present) or babysit in the guest room or villa at night.
All restaurants have children's menus and high chairs.
Casa de Campo has excellent food across the board, including an outpost of New York's famed Le Cirque. However, nothing comes cheap and many of the on-site restaurants are not included in the all-inclusive plan.
There are more than 20 restaurants in the Casa de Campo community, providing wide variety and some of the best food in the D.R. However, the excellent quality comes at a very sizeable price tag. Guests on the all-inclusive plan can order up as much as they'd like, but some items (such as my fish sliders at Le Cirque) include a surcharge.
There are 10 options for dinner, three of which are available on the all-inclusive plan. The most noteworthy two are The Beach Club by Le Cirque, an award-winning French restaurant on the beach with a casual vibe by day and a romantic, candlelit scene at night; and La Piazzetta, which serves up delicious homemade pasta in Altos de Chavon, a section of the property that's open to the public and is an exact replica of a 16th-century European village. Altos de Chavon boasts gorgeous views, tasty restaurants, numerous shops, and the hotel's small archaeological museum.
Several restaurants are also located at the marina, and Lago Grill and La Cana are both located in the main area of the hotel. Lago Grill is one of the few options open for breakfast, and La Cana not only serves the poolside crowd but is a popular spot for pre- and post-dinner drinks. Many nights it features live music.
The Casa de Campo property has nine bars (five of which are part of the all-inclusive plan) spread out across the main area of the hotel, the marina, the beach, the tennis center, the equestrian center, and Altos de Chavon. Like the food, cocktails are excellent but pricey.
La Cana (included) is a beautiful -- and popular -- spot for a drink al fresco. All-white furniture surrounded by canopies creates a sexy, cool vibe and there is often live music. Onno's Bar (not included) in quaint Altos de Chavon boasts over 100 drinks on the menu and late-night dancing.
The all-inclusive option is still pricey, but may be worth it.
Almost everything at Casa de Campo is pricey -- from the restaurants to the tennis court fees to the room service. However, an all-inclusive option is available that some may consider worth it. It includes:
All meals, including room service
Cocktails and drinks at the included restaurants, bars, and lounges
Unlimited horseback riding
Unlimited non-motorized water sports
One round of 25 shots of skeet or trap shooting at the shooting range
Children's rates include kids' daytime activities
Guests should be aware, however, that the all-inclusive plan still comes with plenty of additional fees -- including a delivery charge for room service, surcharges on certain menu items at the restaurants, and fees for minibar items. Plus, only hotel-run restaurants are included, which limits dining options.
The ampitheater at Altos de Chavon has concerts and events scheduled throughout the year
Unlike the mega-resorts of Punta Cana, Casa de Campo does not offer the sometimes kitschy (but often fun) daytime activities such as poolside dancing or limbo. But it does offer plenty of nighttime entertainment for adults and families. Although not offered every night, live music -- which often leads to dancing -- at the restaurants and bars is a frequent occurrence and the amphitheater at Altos de Chavon has brought in plenty of big names for concerts and shows. The kids' club also offers a "kidz night out" for children which includes dinner and activities, or families can opt to hire a hotel-appointed nanny.
Three golf courses, including Teeth of the Dog -- arguably the best course in the Caribbean. All are beautifully maintained.
There are three courses on the property, including Teeth of the Dog, Dye Four, and The Links, all of which were designed by World Golf Hall of Famer Pete Dye. Each course has 40 groundskeepers assigned to it, which doesn't come as a surprise -- it's hard to find a blade out of place.
The signature course is Teeth of the Dog, which has won numerous (and we mean numerous) awards. It is considered by some to be the best course in the Caribbean and one of the best in the world. Nonetheless, the Jack Nicklaus courses at Eden Roc are pretty spectacular as well.
As a huge resort community, Casa De Campo has plenty of on-site activities to offer. Though the property is sprawling, so you may have to speed your golf cart from the tennis courts to the golf course in order to make your tee time.
This beautiful, expansive property is a gorgeous setting for a wedding. And the recreated 16th-century village of Altos de Chavon even boasts a small chapel for an intimate ceremony. The resort offers three packages, all of which include the help of a wedding planner, a bouquet and boutonniere, and a cake.
There are a total of 17 venues available for the reception, most of which are located at Altos de Chavon, in quaint spots such as the terrace overlooking the golf course and the central plaza. Newlyweds can also opt to celebrate on the beach or by the main pool. Reception size can range from 40 to 600 people.
An episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians filmed on-site
This luxury resort has seen its fair share of celebs. There are reports that Sammy Sosa and Julio Iglesias own villas on the property, and the entire Kardashian clan descended upon the resort for a drama-filled family vacation.