April 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Newsline newsline.gif (8042 bytes)International Focus Dominican Republic

On course: The golf villas at the Punta Cana Resort and Club
On course: The golf villas at the Punta Cana Resort and Club

This Spanish-speaking Caribbean nation, which shares the island of Hispañola with French-speaking Haiti, has undergone tremendous development in the past decade. Its sandy, palm-fringed beach resorts now attract visitors from North and South America and Europe. With 22 golf courses and at least six more in the works, it’s also a haven for enthusiasts of the sport.

Cap Cana
The 29,000-acre Cap Cana resort, adjacent to Punta Cana, is under development. It will feature three Jack Nicklaus signature golf courses, the 53-cottage Nicklaus Lodge, 12 additional guest properties and a large marina. One golf course is to open by year’s end; the rest of the project should finish by late 2004.

Juan Dolio
The 126-room Embassy Suites Hotel Los Marlins Golf Resort opened last month in this town on the southeastern coast. The new property features a spa and fitness center and the 18-hole Los Marlins Golf Course. Also nearby is the 18-hole Guavaberry Golf Course, designed by Gary Player.

Puerto Plata
Viva Resorts is building a 228-room property, Viva Tangerine, in Cabarete, just outside Puerto Plata. The all-inclusive property is scheduled to open in November, complete with a full-service spa. (Spa treatments will be offered at additional cost.)

SuperClubs has taken over the 466-room Puerto Plata Beach & Spa Resort. Following a renovation last fall, the property reopened as Breezes Puerto Plata.

Punta Cana
One of the most exclusive getaways in the Dominican Republic is the 419-room Punta Cana Resort and Club, a 15,000-acre development on the island’s tony east coast (high-profile jet-setters such as Julio Iglesias and designer Oscar de la Renta have palatial beachfront homes here). The property, which has a distinctly European flair, is currently undergoing a renovation to guest rooms and public areas. In addition, the resort is adding six golf villas (for a total of 12), which are scheduled to open next year.

One of the resort’s key draws is the 18-hole P.B. Dye-designed golf course. An elegant clubhouse featuring decorative touches by de la Renta opened last year; a spa will open in the club in 2004.Other future developments at the resort include a convention center, two more P.B. Dye golf courses, a polo club, a sporting club and a mini-zoo.

Another property in the area, the 735-room Punta Cana Spa & Casino Beach Resort, is now managed by SuperClubs; it has been rebranded as Breezes Punta Cana.

La Romana
In this resort area on the nation’s southeastern shore is the luxurious 450-room Casa de Campo Resort. A third golf course is planned for the property. It will be designed by Pete Dye (father of P.B.), who also designed the resort’s two existing courses, Teeth of the Dog and the Links.

The Metamorphosis Spa, with eight treatment rooms, a Turkish bath, a sauna and a fitness center, has opened at the 330-room Viva Dominicus Palace. The spa also is available to guests from a sister property, the 530-room Viva Dominicus Beach, which has finished a renovation of its 48 oceanfront bungalows.

• By Lisa Grimaldi IMAGE
Lisbon’s 194-room Pestana Carlton Palace Hotel, formerly the Palácio Valle Flor, opened last year. The main building, a national monument, was restored to its grand 19th-century ambience, and two wings were added to house the guest rooms. The property has 15 meeting rooms, a fitness center, formal gardens and an outdoor pool. (011) 351-291-209100; Back to Newsline
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