Usually this is something I say to my kids and occasionally my husband, but not this time.
It was the third day of the cruise my husband, the Original Obnoxious One, and I took after New Years to recuperate from our traumatic holiday experience with our kids. (see Happy Belated New Year.) The trip began in South Beach in the pouring rain – warm rain, but nevertheless, rain. The sky cleared somewhat for the first evening of the cruise, but then clouded over and the deluge commenced in earnest. This time the rain was not warm, but frigid and the wind was blowing furiously. We had purposely chosen a
minuscule smaller, less expensive room as we assumed the weather would be wonderfully sunny and warm, no hot, the entire ten days.
Our first port of call was La Romana, Dominican Republic and my husband and I were desperate to get some real exercise – not in the gym, but out walking in the real world, like we do at home in West Vancouver. So we stepped off the ship, into the 85 degree heat and humidity. By the way, anything above 75 degrees is considered a heatwave in Vancouver, and humidity in the summer is non-existent.
We walked through the town
to the colourful market.Next we marched single file along the highway and railway tracks to the high-end, ultra-exclusive sporting resort of Casa de Campo. I’d read about this place in several magazines and was rather intrigued – I knew there were a couple of golf courses, some very high-end villas, and that Oscar de la Renta had done the interior design.
We very politely yet confidently made our way to the Owner’s Entrance to enquire about a resort day pass, since we wanted our presence to be totally official and legitimate.
Inside the very tastefully done, air-conditioned Owners Office we approached the extremely attractive, perfectly coiffed and beautifully made-up local receptionist. She glanced up from her computer and saw a rather dusty, dirty, sweaty couple – water was actually flowing in rivers off the Original Obnoxious One’s big bald head, and I was way, way beyond the glowing stage. When we asked how much a day pass was, she glared at us and said $30 US each. We requested a map of the resort and asked her to recommend a route we could walk.
“Walk? Walk? You can’t walk here – Casa de Campo is 7,000 acres and contains over 1,700 private villas. Where’s your car?”
“We didn’t bring one.”
“Well, where’s your taxi?”
“We don’t have one.”
“How on earth did you get here?”
“We walked from the cruise ship, after going downtown.”
“You did what??? But that just isn’t done?! You must drive around the resort as security will not allow you to walk. No one walks!”
So we hired a taxi for $35 to drive us around Casa de Campo and its three golf courses, 3 practice golf ranges, 3 polo fields, various horse trails and jumping rings, 13 tennis courts all with a spectacular view of the sea, shooting center on 245 acres with over 200 stations for trap, skeet and sporting clays, not to mention 3 beaches and water sports such as kayaking, fishing, sailing and snorkeling. Let’s also not forget the Marina which is modelled after Portofino and accommodates boats up to 250 feet,Altos de Chavon the fake 16th century Meditteranean village, as well as more than a dozen bars & restaurants, and the 5 star hotel and spa.
After more than an hour driving through some of those 7,000 acres, we decided we’d had enough. Was Casa de Campo the preferred Caribbean jet set getaway as promised on the Leading Hotels of the World website? Maybe, even probably. Will we be staying there anytime soon? Never say never, but…we really like to walk, hike or run when on vacation. Just call us those crazy Canuks.