recently took a look at the pace of hotel development in the Caribbean,
and one destination's sheer number of projects jumped out at me time
The Dominican Republic appears to have more development on
the drawing boards, in construction, ready to debut or recently opened
than any other Caribbean destination.
totaled nearly 70,000 rooms at the end of February, including four new properties
that added 1,754 units to the total count, according to STR.
Association of Hotels and Tourism of the Dominican Republic, or
Asonahores, confirmed 11 properties will be added to the inventory in
the next three years, totaling 15,000 rooms.
Every week brings an
announcement of another ribbon-cutting ceremony, or a photo of a
groundbreaking with hotel executives and developers holding shovels and
flanked by Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina and tourism
minister Francisco Javier Garcia.
At the recent Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange conference in Punta Cana, three
more hotels announced plans to invest, expand and update properties: Be
Live Hotels with its seventh property; Amhsa Marina's investment of
more than $25 million in updates to its luxury Casa Marina Beach &
Reef hotel in Sosua; and Viva Wyndham's expansion of its adults-only
Viva Wyndham V Samana.
"Hotel activity represents more than 8% of the
Dominican Republic's GDP, amounting to more than $840 billion in income
for the country in 2018," Encarna Pinero, CEO of Grupo Pinero, parent
company of Bahia Principe, said at the official grand reopening of the
adults-only Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar in Punta Cana, following a $26
million investment in extensive renovations.
Pinero said that the hotel sector "is essential to the growth of this country."
the pace of development is directly related to the country's strong
arrival numbers. Javier Garcia said recently that the D.R. "outpaces the
global average of annual tourist arrivals. The country is continuing to
see an upward trend regarding tourism."
Statistics bear him out. The
D.R. topped the list in 2018 of Caribbean destinations that welcomed
the highest number of stayover and cruise visitors: 6.5 million, up 6.2%
over 2017, according to the Central Bank of the D.R.
of what's recently opened and what's soon to open requires a detailed
spreadsheet, but here's a brief recap of some of the hotel companies on
- The Palladium Hotel Group debuted its 115-suite TRS Cap
Cana Hotel in November, joining its TRS Turquesa Hotel, also in Punta
- The adults-only Sanctuary Cap Cana celebrated its reopening
in January following a $44 million redo that added 140 more suites.
- Marriott International plans to open three hotels under The Luxury
Collection, W Hotels and Ritz-Carlton Reserve brands in Puerto Plata on
the island's north coast, representing an investment of more than $350
- Marriott also has begun construction on its first AC Hotel in the country, in downtown Santiago.
- Presidential Suites Cabarete in Puerto Plata opened its first phase in December.
- The Grand Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real by Melia, the Spanish hotel
company's newest resort in the Bavaro beach area in Puna Cana, welcomed
its first guests that same month.
- Construction crews are hard at work at Playa Hotels and Resorts' 750-room Hyatt Ziva and Zilara Cap Cana complex.
- The former Dreams La Romana, rebranded last fall as the Hilton La
Romana under Playa's expanded partnership with Hilton, is going through
- Hampton by Hilton Punta Cana Airport and Commercial
Center has broken ground adjacent to the Punta Cana airport; it will be
the first Hilton-branded hotel in the area.
- The $100 million Club
Med Miches Playa Esmeralda, an hour's drive from Punta Cana, is the
company's first new resort in the Caribbean in 25 years and the first to
join the brand's Exclusive Collection. That property is set to open in
late November in an area new to tourist development.
- But it probably won't be alone for long. Four Seasons is expected to hang its shingle in that same area by 2021.
Correction and clarification: An earlier version of this report incorrectly attributed end-of-year room counts to STR; those numbers were from a statement from the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.
The report was updated with numbers from STR that reflect the number of rooms in the country as of February.