Looking for an exclusive family resort in the Caribbean? Try a family holiday at Casa de Campo.
Voted as one of the top resorts in the Caribbean by Conde Nast Traveler and has the top ranked golf course in the Caribbean – Casa de Campo has it all. Its stunning resort features an expansive marina, an abundance of activities and some of the Dominican Republic’s best restaurants. But Casa de Campo is not just for couples. I spoke to Niamh Parker, a 19 year old student who has just returned from a family holiday at Casa de Campo. Read her review to see just how good it is for a families too….
We enjoyed a family holiday at Casa de Campo resort over two weeks in July, but if truth be told, we could have stayed a little longer. This was our first family trip to the Caribbean, and after hearing my parents rave about their trips for years, I was eager to experience it for myself. We flew direct from London Gatwick Airport and landed in sweltering Punta Cana nine-hours later. After a short 30-minute transfer to Casa de Campo, we began one of our favourite holidays as a family.
We stayed in the resort’s hotel rather than in a villa, and both of our ground-floor rooms were lovely, each with terraces overlooking the hotel’s lake. Included with our two rooms were two golf buggies to get around the resort, which I thought seemed a bit unnecessary until we actually arrived. The resort is huge – set over 7000 acres. It took about twenty minutes by buggy to get to a majority of the restaurants, and about ten minutes to get to the beach, so the buggies were definitely needed to get from place to place.
According to my Dad, the golf at Casa de Campo was phenomenal, ( it was voted the Caribbean’s Best Golf Course in 2019 by World Golf Awards). The views of the Caribbean Sea and the numerous villas around the resort from all golf courses was also very pleasing on the eye.
He and my brother played almost every day, while my Mum and I spent time at one of the resort pools or at Minitas Beach Club. The latter was my favourite part of the resort – it was such a lovely place to spend the day. The beach club has a bar overlooking the ocean and a beautiful adults-only pool, as well as sun beds available on the gorgeous beach. The restaurant at Minitas was one of our favourites at the resort, and was the one we visited most frequently during our stay, enjoying both lunch and dinner there on multiple occasions.
The diversity of the resort’s restaurants was another of my favourite aspects. Seven of these were on our all-inclusive package, meaning we enjoyed a wide variety of food throughout our stay, from Mexican to Japanese to Dominican. The restaurants were mainly based at three different locations in the resort – our favourite was Altos de Chavón, which is a recreation of a seventeenth century European city built in the 1970s. This village was about twenty minutes by buggy away from our rooms, and we visited it both during the day to look round the shops and art galleries, and at night to enjoy the delicious foods at its restaurants, La Piazzetta and Chilango Taquiera.
There were also two restaurants at the Marina, Pubbelly Sushi and La Casita, which was also about twenty minutes from our room, but in a completely different direction. My favourite restaurant was undoubtedly La Caña, which was in the main hotel building, and served French cuisine made with local ingredients. We also loved the breakfast buffet on offer at Lago Restaurant, which had the most varied selection of food I think I’ve ever seen, including traditional Dominican food, fresh pastries and smoothies, with chefs to prepare fresh omelettes and poached eggs.
There were plenty of activities on offer at the resort, which kept us busy during our stay. My favourite of these was the horse riding, which we ended up doing multiple times because we loved it so much. The resort has an equestrian centre, at which you could book private guides to accompany you to the nearby cattle ranches. The guides were also on horseback, meaning we were riding the horses completely by ourselves, something we were all a bit apprehensive about, having never ridden horses before. Our worries soon dissipated though, as all the horses were lovely and very well behaved. I did end up riding a somewhat
temperamental horse named Andrew, but we all felt comfortable and confident on the horses, and we’ve all agreed it was one of our highlights of the holiday.
We also went clay pigeon shooting at the resort’s shooting centre, which was fun but quite challenging! My mum wasn’t the biggest fan of this, but the rest of us really enjoyed it, and our instructor was absolutely lovely. We also went on a day trip to Catalina Island, in which we visited one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The water was crystal clear, which made for a very enjoyable first snorkelling experience for my brother Charlie and I.
The resort also offered a buggy experience, in which you took a tour through the island’s countryside in your own dirt buggy, stopping to visit an ancient cave and a beach outside the resort. My brother particularly enjoyed being able to drive his own buggy, and we felt it was a good experience to get a taste of actual island life, as the resort is quite closed off from the rest of the island. However, we did feel this activity was quite expensive for what it actually was.
There was also a water sports kiosk on the beach, from which we could rent a variety of equipment, including sailing dinghies, paddle boards and kayaks. My dad and I rented a dinghy a few times and he attempted to teach me to sail, although this did result in us capsizing and having to be rescued by the coastguard, at which point we decided this probably wasn’t the best idea…
We received wonderful service from the resort staff throughout our stay, from being greeted with a glass of prosecco on arrival to an unwelcome wasps nest above our room, which was dealt with immediately.
While my mum and I were sat out on our private terrace, some of the resort’s staff offered us coconuts they had just shaken off down from a tree outside our room, so we could enjoy fresh coconut water. All the staff were lovely, particularly those in the restaurants and at the concierge desk, and this made our experience at the resort even more enjoyable.
Overall, our family holiday at Casa de Campo was an amazing experience and we truly wish we could have stayed for another week, or permanently for that matter! The variety of things to do, the choice of restaurants, and the sheer size of the resort, means there is something for everyone. There was no point during our stay when any of us felt bored. It is normally a particularly tough task on holidays to please my younger brother, who always wants to be doing some sort of activity. He was more than content with everything on offer at Casa de Campo. Although it’s not somewhere I would recommend for a Caribbean party holiday, it was a lovely place to spend a couple of relaxing weeks with my family, and we would go back in a heartbeat – in fact, I’m off to book my flights for next year now…
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