Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic
One of the many magnificent views from the Dye Fore golf course towards the Caribbean sea
Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic
A view of the Chavon River from the undulating fairways of the Dye Fore golf course
Casa De Campo, Dominican Republic
Kayaking expeditions can be enjoyed by all the family down the tranquil Chavon River
- Family Vacations: A range of activities for parents and their youngsters: a beach club, swimming pools, tennis, biking, all manner of water sports and other outdoor pursuits, world class golf; sumptuous family lodgings; a wide choice of dining options.
- Romantic Breaks: Breathtaking scenery and ambience; a multitude of activities for couples; intimate dining; serene accommodations; beaches; a spa; every sport under the sun; historical sight-seeing and more.
THIS SUBLIME FLAGSHIP RESORT IS STILL
SETTING THE STANDARDS
In terms of Caribbean tourism generally, and golf particularly, the Dominican Republic is the hottest ticket in town. The fastest growing economy in Latin America has brought boom time in the development of new resorts and hotels. Many have golf nearby because there are currently 23 courses dotted around the island and others are under construction. Most notable among the former are three by Jack Nicklaus at Cap Cana, and one by Gary Player at the Guavaberry resort.
All owe their existence to Casa de Campo, the one that kick-started the boom back in the 1970s and which is still the island's flagship destination. It is the complete resort, a fine example of the genre and one of our favourite places in world golf.
Set in 7,000 coastal acres, Casa de Campo has every imaginable facility - not least three golf courses and 20 restaurants! Accommodation ranges from casita apartments for two to villas for ten, complete with butler and maid service. So expansive is Casa that guests use golf carts to get around. Only minutes away is the airport of La Romana, which receives private aircraft, helicopters and some international flights.
The Dominican Republic, roughly the size of Switzerland, shares an island with Haiti about 90 minutes’ flying time south of Miami and eight hours or so from London. Its capital, Santo Domingo, was the first city of the New World, with the first cathedral and the first university, both influenced by Christopher Columbus who popped in around 1492, en route to you-know-where. He named it Hispaniola.
Click here to see a local map.
ABOUT THE GOLF
The most senior course, known as Teeth of The Dog, opened in 1971, followed five years later by The Links, and most recently, by Dye Fore. Play all three twice and you'll have had a week to remember for the rest of your life.
Ranked as the leading course in the Caribbean and 43rd in the world by Golf Magazine, Teeth of the Dog is one of those courses, like Carnoustie or Dye's Kiawah's Ocean course, that complete a golfing education. It is a peerless experience; challenging, exhilarating, uplifting, totally satisfying and just a little terrifying!
Building it was a true labour of love, says Dye, to whom it is his favourite place on earth. In truth, he says, “God created seven holes:I was fortunate to arrive in time to complete the other 11!” He is referring to the seven breathtaking holes strung along the beach, arguably the most beautiful and testing stretch of golf in the world. All demand at least one shot over the ocean waves pounding on huge rocks – the teeth of the dog – usually through a cross wind which can change direction on a daily basis. So the course plays differently each time you tee up, which adds to the charm and the challenge.
Above all, though, TOD is fair: Dye has bequeathed “bail-out” areas for those not up to long carries and, an architect of the old school, his bunkering is more strategic than penal. Just miss the sand and you'll be in position A: if in doubt, lay up and rely on a hot putter. It's an examination of course management as much as character. Go for broke and it's a white knuckle ride; play it cool and you might just better your handicap. Either way, the goose bumps are free!
The Links course is another ball of chalk entirely. It's inland, to start with; it has some substantial elevation changes and a couple of lakes to keep you honest. Throw in a succession of elevated tees and greens, heavily influenced by that sea breeze, and some astute bunkering and you have a course you'll never tire of.
And then there's the Dye Fore, which is to die for... The stats alone are staggering: from the tiger tees it measures 7,740 yards; it has seven cliff-side holes dropping 300 feet to the Chavon River below; it has 40 mph gusting winds - and breathtaking 360 degree views! Welcome to Pete Dye´s latest gem at Casa de Campo.
Of the 18 picturesque holes on this Dye spectacular, numbers 12 and 15 are regarded as being among the greatest par three holes in the world.
“The course has spectacular views of the Caribbean, the Dominican mountains, the Chavón River below, the Casa de Campo Marina and the Altos de Chavón artists´ village," said Gilles Gagnon, Director of Golf at Casa de Campo.
"Visually, the course is intimidating and the par three´s are in a word...incredible. The Dye Fore addition to Casa de Campo´s golf triad rivals the Teeth of the Dog. Come play them both, then you tell us!”
Take your pick: historical, natural, scenic, aquatic or sporting, viz: tennis, horse riding and sailing, all available at Casa de Campo. The island generally is a delight for historians, who could spend a week seeing the sights in Santo Domingo, where the remains of Christopher Columbus are interred. There are rain forests and mountains in the interior; the pristine beaches are glorious, the game fishing world class, the sailing spectacular. All in a delightful climate. The Dominican Republic has something for everyone, of whatever age.
Minutes away from Casa de Campo is the enchanting village of Altos de Chavon, perched high above the Chavon River. Cobblestone paths, coral stone fountains and terra cotta buildings create a village, built it in the late 1970s, to emulate a 15th century village in southern Italy or Spain. You will discover craft workshops, artists' studios, galleries and several restaurants. Weddings are frequent at the St. Stanislaus Church, as few places can be more romantic than Altos de Chavon. The performing arts are showcased in the village's 5,000-seat amphitheater, inaugurated in 1982 by Frank Sinatra, and still attracting big name performers. Visit the Regional Museum of Archaeology, a small but insightful display of the island's rich pre-Columbian heritage.
Where the Chavon River meets the Caribbean at the water´s edge of the resort is a chic new community and paradise found for sailors: the Casa de Campo marina.
Inspired by the old seaside villages of the Mediterranean, but equipped with all the most modern services, the marina extends over more than 90,000 square meters. It has 105 residential units including villas and town house-type apartments, many with a private pier. The marina is virtually self-sufficient with numerous shops and restaurants, pizzerias and cafés.
It also boasts a yacht club and sailing school, a shopping mall with boutiques, an international bank, a gourmet deli, rental cars, furniture store and cinemas. It is also the centre of the night life and the natural backdrop for shows, sports and cultural events.
ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN
Casa de Campo´s award winning activities programs provide a safe, supervised environment for the kids to interact with children, often times from a variety of countries around the world, providing them with a fun and culturally enriching experience.
Daily programs include Toddlers´n Casa for 1-3 year olds; Kidz´n Casa for ages 4-7; and Casa Tweens for 8-12 year olds. The programs are supervised by experienced staff and include lunch. For teenagers 13-17, the Bonche4teens Club features pool tables, music, movies and more.
WHERE TO STAY
There is an extensive choice dependant upon budget and the size of your party, from hotel rooms for two people to villas having from three to five bedrooms. The latter have private pools and maid and butler service.
Casa de Campo has a choice of over 20 restaurants and 15 bars and lounges. Many of these restaurants participate in the resort's inclusive supplement which includes: breakfast, lunch and dinner or room service (delivery charge extra); unlimited drinks in resort restaurants, bars and lounges; unlimited horseback riding, tennis and non-motorized water sports at Minitas Beach (lessons not included) and one round of 25 shots of skeet/trap shooting. The children´s rate includes participation in age-appropriate daytime activity programs.
WHEN TO GO
The average annual temperature is 77F with August being the hottest month and January the coolest. The temperatures range in summer is from 89F to 95F and in winter from 75 to 90. There is no rainy season. Showers are frequent but fleeting, often lasting only minutes.
Golf here is playable year-round so an off-peak holiday, in the northern spring and autumn, is attractive for golfers with families. It will be slightly cooler then, too. Golfers should be aware that each of Casa´s courses close for a month between May to September for maintenance and rest. In 2010, the maintenance schedule will be as follows: The Links, May 10 to June 11; Teeth of The Dog, June 14 to July 23; and Dye Fore, July 26 to August 31. During this period the golf rates will be discounted.
TIPS TO ENHANCE YOUR HOLIDAY
The nearest international airport for general aviation is at the capital, Santo Domingo, which is 70 minutes by road from the resort. But only minutes away from Casa de Campo is La Romana international airport, adjacent to the tourist town of La Romana, which receives limited flights from the United States, Canada and Europe as well as private aircraft and helicopters. The airport has extensive duty free shopping.
For family holidaymakers rental cars and reliable taxis are available via the concierge if you wish to see the many non-golfing attractions. Golfing guests at Casa will find everything close to hand and a rental car would be superfluous.
Packing Tips & Dress Code
Informality is the essence of Casa de Campo so smart casual is quite acceptable for dining, even for the five star restaurants, although the ladies might prefer to wear something rather more fashionable for a romantic dinner. There will be ample opportunities for this. As with most up-market resorts, swim suits are best reserved for the pool and the beach and should be covered up elsewhere. Don't forget a hat for golf and the various sporting activities on the water. And if you like "messing about in boats" you should remember to pack your sneakers.
Officially, the Dominican Peso. However, the US dollar is widely accepted (and is often preferred, particularly by retailers). For current rates of exchange, click here.
Spanish. However, you should have no problem speaking English within the resort.
+1-809 (then add the local number).
Other Local Insider Information
To check up-to-date visa requirements before you travel, click here.
HOW TO BOOK YOUR VACATION
Request a Quotation or Use Our Recommended Golf Tour Operator
PGT can negotiate discounted rates and bonuses for our readers. Simply contact us giving details of preferred dates and your requirements and we will contact the resort on your behalf.
Alternatively you could
Book Through A Tour Operator
If you require a total holiday package including flights, transfers, accommodation and golf reservations PGT will recommend the tour operator who serves the resort or destination of your choice and negotiate any possible discount available.
To order US dollars from Travelex at the guaranteed best price availabe in the UK - at 0% commission, and with free airport pickup click here.
Insurance isn't fun but it is both important and a sensible investment when travelling overseas (particularly when transporting expensive golf equipment). We recommend American Express .