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Casa de Campo: Great Family Fun for All
By Hideaways Member Services Manager June Ahmed

When it came time to plan a family vacation with my husband, Ahmed, and our 11-year-old son, Aaron (see his take below), we wanted to cover all the bases--some "grown-up" things for the parents, and plenty of kids' activities to keep a bright young boy occupied. The perfect choice was Casa de CampoTHC in the Dominican Republic, a 7,000-acre playground with so much to do that no one could possibly get bored. What an impressive place! Good thing a golf cart is included with your room for getting around this sprawling resort, or you'd be exhausted your first day.

The Parents' Perspective

Our home away from home was one of the recently updated Elite rooms, a cool and shady haven with modern furnishings, a large flat-screen TV, and plush crisp-white bed linens and pillows. The room was airy and spacious, and the cathedral ceiling with ceiling fan made it feel even larger (ask for a cathedral-ceilinged room when you book). The bathroom and dressing area were nicely finished, and the shower was exceptionally large, with a window that overlooked the garden area, but which was high enough for complete privacy.

Casa de Campo has done a wonderful job of sprinkling its 20 restaurants (yes, 20!) in different settings all around the resort, and many are part of the all-inclusive supplement. Our first night there, we had a fabulous meal at The Beach Club by Le Cirque. This open-air restaurant has beautiful views over the water. I had lamb chops so tender they almost melted in my mouth, and Aaron devoured his sirloin tips. Dinner was so delicious that we ate too much and had to pass on dessert, much to Aaron's dismay. After dinner, we walked along the marina and did some shopping. Of course, my husband found a cigar store and stocked up on a nice assortment of quality Dominicans, like a squirrel preparing for a long winter.

One morning at breakfast we told our server how delicious the coffee was, and asked where we could get some. He actually offered to pick some up for us at the local market. We gratefully accepted his offer, knowing how nice it would be to enjoy Dominican coffee once we were back home--sort of like prolonging our vacation. The next morning he had two pounds for us with the receipt, and the price was right!

We loved Casa's beach. Its soft white sand was wonderful underfoot, and there were comfy chaise lounges spread along the sand, with big umbrellas and palm trees to sit under. The friendly wait staff provided towel service and got us beverages from Le Cirque. We found many non-motorized water toys to try out, from paddleboats to windsurfers.

Casa de Campo is a great resort for all ages, with a popular Kidz Club broken out by age-appropriate groups. Aaron went to the 'tweens program for a half day and said he had a great time, met a lot of kids, and wished he could have gone for the full day.

While Aaron was enjoying the Kidz Club, Ahmed and I went to the Cygalle Healing Spa for a couple's massage. The spa is new and tastefully done. I could feel the stress and tension melt away the moment I walked into this oasis. After enjoying a cup of herbal tea, we were taken to a private room through a secluded garden area where they hold yoga classes each morning. The hardest thing was deciding which treatment to have from their extensive selection. The best part? Hideaways members get a $200 spa credit when staying there!

I have to say that Altos de Chavon, the resort's old-world-style village, was my favorite place at Casa. The cobblestone streets, decorative ironwork, and charming shops made for an enchanting day. With St. Stanislaus Church, a picturesque plaza, and breathtaking views of the Chavon River, it's the perfect place for a destination wedding. Aaron and I visited one day and got to experience a live band--we even did the merengue with the professional costumed dancers. Fun!

We visited Casa de Campo in August, and the plus side of going off-season is that there were no real crowds to speak of, and we always had a great table at dinner. The down side is that some of the activities weren't being held, like polo matches. Even so, we made the most of every hour of our five-day stay and still didn't cross off many of the activities on our "to-do" list, like the cigar factory tour (of course) and an off-road drive to nearby sugarcane fields. Guess we'll just have to save those for next time!

The Kid's Perspective
By Aaron Ahmed, age 11

When my teachers ask me what I did on my summer vacation, I can tell them I got to go to Casa de Campo with my mom and dad. It doesn't get any better than that!

Since there are so many things to do, I'll just list the more fun things, like swimming. There are two pools, one that's square and one with a swim-up bar, where they have smoothies for kids (ask for "no rum") and alcoholic drinks for parents. Then the horse ranch has more than 1,000 horses and ponies, so there is a trail ride for all ages. Just be prepared, your buttocks will hurt afterward.

Now, if you're a kid and your parent(s) golf, you've got to try it at Casa de Campo. They have three golf courses all designed by Pete Dye. The names are The Links, Teeth of the Dog, and Dye Fore. If you're a beginner golfer, I'd start on The Links, because it's not as busy so you can take your time. That's the one I played with my mom, and you also get a caddie, and I drove the golf cart--awwwwesome!!! Our caddie's name was Somba, and he was great! He was very nice and helped my game a lot.

For all you parents out there who need a day together to go to the spa or just do nothing, please tune in. Casa de Campo has a kids program your child will love. There are four age groups, one for toddlers 1 to 3, then kids 4 to 7, 'tweens for kids 8 to 12, and the teens program for ages 13 to 17. There are also trained nannies to watch your kids and do fun things with them if parents want a night out.

The Kidz Club has its own building that is shared with the Family Fun Zone. They have two pool tables, an air-hockey table, a ping-pong table, two Xbox 360 Elites, a Wii, and two PlayStation 3s--all the good stuff. Outside, they have a basketball hoop if you play basketball. And that is only what they have for families. You can do even more things if you're signed up for the kids program, like crazy science, water games, and body painting. There's a half-day program from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., or a full-day one from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Also, the beach is an awesome place to go. For first-timers to Casa de Campo, the beach is called Minitas Beach, and next to it is The Beach Club. The water is about the same temperature as the pools--warm. You also can rent rafts to float on in the water. And for kids, don't worry, they have smoothies there as well. Some activities you can do are snorkeling, paddleboats, and, if you call the concierge, there's scuba diving at one of the reefs. For parents who want a massage while their kids play at the beach, they have massage tables right there.

Other things you can do by calling the concierge are fishing, sailing, and kayaking, but that's just what you can do on the water. On land there is shooting, tennis, horseback riding, golf, and polo. Lessons for these are also available. If you're interested in caves, Casa does cave tours near the town of La Romana. And if you miss having your bike, don't worry, you can rent one for a 24-hour period, and there are only two rules--don't leave the resort with it, and don't trash it!

The main thing is, since the resort is about 7,000 acres, everyone will find something to do, every day you are there--and believe me, you will never be bored. I sure wasn't!


AT A GLANCE: Casa de Campo THC

Location: La Romana, Dominican Republic

Accommodations: More than 300 rooms and suites, plus a selection of three- to six-bedroom Classic and Exclusive villas.

Amenities: Full spa, more than 20 restaurants and bars, two pools, private beach with Beach Club, equestrian center, Kidz Club.

Activities: Water sports, horseback trail rides, polo, golf, clay shooting, tennis, bicycling.

Outstanding Feature: Having three Pete Dye golf courses is pretty impressive, but then, so are the 7,000 acres of restaurants, shops, and activities.

Rates: Start at $195 for a Superior Room.

Aficionado Perk: A $200 spa credit during stay.

Further Info:

Reservations: Call Hideaways Travel Services at 877-843-4433 (+1-603-430-4433 internationally), or e-mail

September 2010

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