Without a doubt, Casa Bonita goes down as one of my favorite places I’ve ever stayed: it’s luxurious without being ostentatious, has friendly staff who aren’t overbearing and offers the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation.
When daydreaming about easy tropical vacations in the Dominican Republic, most people go straight to the all-inclusive resorts at Punta Cana. One of the only luxury accommodation options in the still unspoiled and secluded southwest region of the country, the eco-lodge offers an experience that is well-worth heading off the beaten path.
The view that never ends.
From our balcony, we could see the Caribbean and swaying palm trees and the rainforest: it was all degrees of wonderful. The deep blue of the infinity pool stretches out over the clear turquoise of the sea. No matter where you go on the property, you’re surrounded by endless skies and lush nature.
You won’t get bored.
Even though the hotel only has 12 rooms and one restaurant and is located a perilous drive away from any cities, there’s still plenty to do on site. Granted, I could happily read books by the pool ALL DAY LONG. But we also went for hikes in the lush green forest behind the property and walked along the crashing waves of the surf beach. We played a few games of tennis each day: there’s a court and free racquets (although you might want to bring some fresh balls!). I got an incredible massage set to the sounds of nature. There’s also an easy zip lining course through the forest: super fun!
The incredible staff.
Since the resort is so small, it honestly felt like we had an infinity pool and a staff of five all to ourselves. And the staff was just fantastic. They called my boyfriend the “professor of Brooklyn” for reasons that we still haven’t determined, but each morning, they seemed genuinely psyched to high-five the professor. They were there when you needed them without being overly pushy or in the way. The man at the front desk spent a good bit of time on the phone in Spanish with our rental car company straightening things out while we sipped mimosas by the pool. The entire staff defined excellent customer service: helpful, efficient, personable. It really gave Casa Bonita so much more of a personality: we knew their names, where they were from.
All of the coconuts.
We picked up a coconut water at the grocery store the other day, and laughed about how it was almost like we were back at Casa Bonita: I think that the trip will forever be defined by coconuts and rum. We sipped coconuts and rum on our balcony for happy hour, reading our books and watching the sunset and just being content in each other’s company. We spent an entire day playing in the pool, soaking up the sunshine, asking the staff constantly for one more coconut. The symbol of the ultimate tropical vacation.
The adventure to arrive.
A two-hour detour, driving in the pitch-black night, three flat tires on a deserted road: the drive to Casa Bonita was the journey from hell. However, it gave us a good story to tell when we returned and it made us appreciate the relaxation that much more. Even if you take the airport transfer (which I obviously recommend), I still think that there’s a joy in simply arriving: in navigating through the chaos of Santo Domingo traffic, in enjoying the view out the window of the sea and the villages and the fields. You’ve made it to a place that few have the courage to venture, and for that you’ll be rewarded.
Note: Casa Bonita kindly offered me a discount on part of our stay, but all opinions are my own.