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New Years in Dominican RepublicBetter than Summer Campo
For this New Year’s Eve and as a cure for the winter family blues, head to Casa de Campo in the DR. Flight options are into Santo Domingo, which is about an hour and a half drive to the resort, or directly by Jet Blue into La Romana, just a hop, skip, and a jump away. At the Casa de Campo, there’s no “Are we there yet?”, because everything you could possibly want is a go-cart ride or telephone call away. The Casa de Campo is one of the most family-friendly resorts in the Caribbean, for kids of all ages, including Mom and Dad.
A Home Away from Home
The resort is conducive to family fun, whether you arrange for connecting rooms or make Casa de Campo your home away from home by renting your own villa. The locals refer to the Casa de Campo as their own Hamptons, and just like the Hamptons, renting a house is the way to go. With three to seven bedrooms, large living areas, private pools, and even beachside locations, this home may be even better than home. Especially because here you won’t be making the beds; each villa has full-time housekeeping and they’ll hook you up with a fully stocked fridge and grant all the special requests from your moguls-in-the-making. Instead of traveling via Range Rover (though that’s a possibility too), each villa has its own golf cart, to put-put around this 7000-acre playground.
The CDC (as it’s known by the locals) gives you the option of taking the full supplement, giving you access to seven restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For the kids, it’s an additional $57/day. If you’re lucky, like around New Year’s Eve, the CDC will be running a special where up to two kids eat free when Mom and Dad pay for their adult supplement. This is not your cheesy Club Med food either; the only cheesy thing is the crowd-pleasing mac ‘n’ cheese. Don’t be surprised if Mom and Dad order seconds––for the kids, of course.
Children are welcome at every restaurant at the resort. Whether they order the filet off the adult menu or stick with the basic kid’s fare, there’s plenty to choose from, with over 15 restaurants.
The highest quality food is at La Cana by Il Circo. This is not your typical all-inclusive grub; this chef has skills. There’s fancy dishes like sea bass and Dominican seafood paella for Mom and Dad, and gourmet burgers and pasta for the kids.
Le Cirque (yes, as in the famous New York-based restaurant), right on the beach, has the best setting of the restaurants on the inclusive package. This is the most formal of the restaurants, meaning collared shirts for the kids and a great opportunity to practice those table manners. La Piazzetta in Altos de Chavón is a hit with the kids, who can feast on one mean pasta Bolognese while checking out the sunset. Not on the supplement but perfect for casual meals is Oneburger, for juicy gourmet burgers.
The Good Life
Mom and Dad won’t have any homework to prepare for a vacation at the CDC. The top-notch staff does everything for you, including setting up that beach obstacle course. Morning, noon, and night, CDC features activities that will soak up your kids’ boundless energy, including horseback riding, tennis lessons, pool, and beach time, plus rounds of golf for the older ones. At CDC, your family is in for the good life.
Casa de Campo offers robust programs and facilities tailored to children by age, from the young’uns all the way up to the teens. They also have all-family activities at Minitas beach, like beach volleyball, merengue, and ping-pong. Talk about quality family time together.
Half- and full-day programs ($30 and $50) include scavenger hunts, kite competitions, beach and water activities, pony rides, and obstacle courses. In short, the kids will have all the reindeer games they want to play. Older kids can opt for tae kwan do and the fun zone, with a pool table and air hockey. CDC may even be cool enough for your tweens and teens who think they’re way too cool for school.
For budding socialites, Casa de Campo offers Kidz Night Out, from 6–11pm each evening, complete with dinner, movies, and games. Nannies are also available at $12/hour to watch over your brood while Mom and Dad spend some adult time away. Whether you’re looking for quality family time or getting your kids to spread their wings, CDC has it all figured out. The only downside is that after a weekend here, your kids will never look at summer camp the same way again.