Sometimes the best part of traveling is the memories you bring home when you have a luxury experience. We’ve partnered with adventure, culture and smart-luxury traveler, Dr. Cacinda Maloney from the blog Points and Travel as she reflects on an unforgettable luxury experience in the colonial zone hotspot of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Santo Domingo – The First City of the New World
I recently have been extremely impressed with the choices available in both hotels and the culinary scene experiences in one of the oldest cities of the Americas: Santo Domingo on the Caribbean Island of Dominican Republic. It has a walled, cobblestoned historic center known as the Zona Colonial that dates to the 1500s. With the recent gateway to Cuba having swung wide open and being that the Dominican Republic is one of the closest islands to Cuba, businesses have been clamoring for position to the new incoming American dollar to the region. Therefore, it is no wonder that the city of Santo Domingo also gets its own facelift in tourist traffic, dollars, and extra polish on the old dilapidated facades. Today, Santo Domingo is a mix of old world charm and modern Latin flair.
With history that dates back to the 1500s, Santo Domingo is one of those cities with amazing Spanish-Colonial architecture, yet in badly need of repair all over town. But recently the upswing has begun to occur with an influx or interior designers, the gay community, and wealthy investors moving into the Zona Colonial area to spruce up the place. Sure you will still find run down places, right next to the newly refurbished spaces, but the ratio is getting better and the offerings of hotels were extremely impressive on my last visit there.
Here are some Great Places to Stay in Santo Domingo:
Casas del XVI – Truly this is a whole new concept in accommodations for the colonial city of Santo Domingo. Bringing together the past and the future, it provides the modern comforts of city life in restored historical houses that are welcoming and decorated gorgeously. It will definitely be beyond what you would be expecting. The houses are from the 16th century and are beautifully restored to become a romantic getaway for all your hospitality needs. This line of boutique hotels oozes charm and has upped the game of luxury in the historic Zona Colonial area.
“At last, “ you think “I have arrived.” Is printed in their promotional material and quite honestly, that is exactly what you will think!
It will make no difference which individual house you stay in that makes up the Casa del XVI. If you imagine the perfect Santo Domingo vacation, you will imagine Casa del XVI with its tiled roofs and vaulted archways. Each house has its own unique style and character.
Hostal Nicolas de Ovando is the one hostal you will WANT to stay in! It is really a hotel but called a “hostal”, so don’t be confused. It is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was actually the original home of the colonial city’s founder, the Governor Nicolas de Ovando, built in 1502. It is comprised of 3 houses and patios and has nice dining and an outdoor swimming pool. It is located on “Las Damas” street, which was the first paved street of the New World.
Billini Hotel – This charming and tranquil hotel is right in the heart of the Zona Colonial and once served as a guesthouse for members of the Dominican Monastery and Sisters of Mercy Convent during the 16th and 17th centuries. With its historic and beautifully restored architecture, it is a gem of the Spanish Colonial past and now a restored cosmopolitan and avant-garde place to stay. It is just steps from the vibrant shops and amazing eating scene of the Zona Colonial. It provides boutique luxury services and has an amazing rooftop bar and pool area that is worth checking out even if you don’t stay here. It has amazing views of the next door 16th century Iglesia y Convento Regina Angelorum.
Any of these places would make your trip to the capital city of Santa Domingo perfect!
And while you are there, don’t miss eating at these places:
and the classic Meson D’ Bari (I loved this place!).
For a foodie journey through Santo Domingo, visit A Taste of Santo Domingo – Dominican Republic’s Culinary Capital.
Dr. Cacinda Maloney is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity. For more information on the Travelocity Gnomads, visit travelocitygnomads.com.
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