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Published on Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Over-sized resort that's not just about the golf

Golf nut Graham McKenzie is no stranger to handling a golf buggy, but this time it wasn't just for getting around the golf course. It's a necessity when you're staying somewhere the size of Casa de Campo Resort and Villas, La Romana, Dominican Republic.

First impressions: Big! Casa de Campo is Spanish for country house and, to be honest, this should be renamed Casa de Condado as it's more the size of a small a county. Yes, of course, it does have a hotel, more about that later, but the estate is enormous and stretches over 7,000 acres, which is roughly twice the size of the village in West Sussex where I live.

Location: It's a 45-minute drive from Punta Cana Airport, during which time you realise that much of the country is reliant still on sugar as you drive past mile after mile of sugar cane. Casa de Campo itself was, until 1975, part of a sugar empire for the Gulf and Western American-owned conglomerate.

Bedrooms: I had a one-bedroom suite in a wing attached to the main building, with a generous bathroom, massive king size bed, sitting room and two balconies. Better still, I got my own four-seater leather seated golf buggy to ease my way around the complex. A welcome pack of fruit, cheese and a wine were delivered to my chamber within 15 minutes of arrival, a copy of the Times popped under my door each morning and, had I desired it, further food and beverage room service 24hrs a day. Two 50inch plus TVs with an assortment of local and global stations and views across to one of the golf courses finished off the offering very nicely.

Wining and dining: The options for dining are wide and varied. On my 72-hr stay I only had enough time to sample a couple of the offerings. You can have breakfast in your room or, if you are staying in one of the many villas, have it cooked freshly for you. I chose to have mine at the restaurant near the golf courses called Lago. It serves up a high-quality buffet with several stations for freshly-cooked food including eggs, meat and the like. With an open plan design, it is airy, bright and has views of the famous Diente del Perro Golf course (The Teeth of the Dog). One evening I ate at the fabulous Minitas Beach Club where I almost sat on the sand whilst consuming delightful local seafood including the infamous Dominican Fried Fish. There is something very therapeutic about eating whilst listening to the gentle lapping of waves on the sand a few feet away. The next night I ate at the slightly more formal La Piazzetta, overlooking the fabulous Altos de Chavon. Set in what looks like an ancient Mediterranean village the food is Italian but with some international additions.

Facilities: You can try clay pigeon shooting, ride horses, swim, fish, sail, walk, run and, of course play, golf. The resort has four golf courses all designed by Pete Dye and three of those are available to visitors. I played the Teeth of the Dog which in parts hugs the coastline with spectacular effect. It has been voted the best course in the Caribbean many times. If your game is not up to snuff have a lesson at the modern teaching school which has enough technology to launch a space shuttle let alone a golf ball. Casa de Campo even owns a small private island to which trips can be made for further swimming, fishing and exploration.

For families: The resort is ideal for families especially if you take one of the villas with a private pool (the majority). Wi-Fi is available throughout for those that need access to the internet for business (or Fortnite). The choice of restaurants and abundance of activities should ensure that there are very few utterings of 'I'm bored'.

Highs: The quality of the service, food and welcome all stand out as exceptional. Couple this with the vast range of activities and you have an excellent holiday offering.

Lows: The greens were a bit quick.

Verdict: This is no mass tourism offering but a high-quality resort that spreads over a huge area of the countryside and coastline.

Price: Elite Room with Patio-Golf Cart included costs from $200 a night.

Graham McKenzie flew to Punta Cana with British Airways and was hosted by Casa de Campo. For more information contact Resort Marketing international.

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