In the small region of La Romana, on the Dominican Republic's east coast, the lack of amenities could well be the key to its charm.
The region is quiet, unspoiled and lacks the commercial element found in the more popular destinations. Ultimately, it proves to be one of the most authentic regions of the entire country, offering visitors a true getaway.
Locals hold that La Romana's privately owned, high-producing sugar mill first put the Dominican Republic on the map. Its hidden beaches and miles of natural landscape then inspired the opening of Casa de Campo in 1990.
The 7,000-acre resort has enough presence that the La Romana area frequently is referred to as Casa de Campo rather than its actual name.
Casa de Campo, known for its three award-winning, 18-hole, Pete Dye-designed golf courses, offers 300 hotel rooms with patios, large bathrooms and all-inclusive options, and 1,600 villas, with more in production.
The resort complex includes the new Los Altos residences, featuring one-, two- and three-bedroom, luxury, condominium-style units.
The villas, of which 150 are in the rental pool, are scattered throughout the property. Most have their own private pools and butlers; some have beachfront locations.
Casa de Campo is second home to CEOs and celebrities, including baseball star Sammy Sosa, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta and singer Beyonce.
Top golfers regularly visit the resort for both tournaments and leisure travel.
The legendary "Teeth of the Dog" course is the only known course with seven holes skirting the Caribbean Sea.
Within the complex, Casa de Campo also includes 10 restaurants; eight bars; a 250-slip marina and a yacht club with a new pier; 18 swimming pools; shopping plazas; the private Minitas beach; a 5,000-seat open-air amphitheater; an equestrian center; museums; the new luxury Cygalle Healing Spa; and Altos de Chavon, an artists' community with a range of eclectic shops.
It was built to resemble a 16th century Mediterranean village with cobblestone streets, stone carvings, fountains and shaded pathways and celebrates the arts and culture of the Dominican Republic.
Golf carts are provided free to all guests, which makes commuting through the resort complex effortless and fun.
The latest entertainment complex in La Romana is its first gaming facility, Casino Dominicus, which had its soft opening in January; the official grand opening is slated for late March. The facility features a 1,000-seat theater; upscale shops; a disco; floor entertainment, including belly-dancing on specified evenings; and three restaurants.
The casino offers a Las Vegas-style gaming experience with a Caribbean twist. It has 23 table games, a poker room, slot machines and large-screen TVs.
Casino Dominicus already has caused substantial buzz in La Romana, especially for visitors interested in nightlife, which the region lacked until now.
Complimentary shuttles are provided from most resorts, five of which are conveniently within walking distance.
Other activities in La Romana include half-day trips via catamaran or private yacht to nearby Catalina Island, where guests can snorkel, dive or lounge on the beach.
For more info or to book, visit www.casadecampo.com.
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