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Taking The Next Step

Long-time Dominican Resort Poised For Expansion, Growth

By Steve Pike | August 2, 2022

When Jason Kycek arrived at Casa de Campo Resort & Villas five years ago, the 40-plus-year-old resort already had earned the reputation of being a top destination in the Dominican Republic, if not the entire Caribbean. But the 7,000-acre property—best known for its Pete Dye-designed Teeth of the Dog golf course—was struggling a bit with occupancy.

So what was Kycek’s recommendation to Casa de Campo’s owners?

“Build more rooms,” said Kycek, the resort’s SVP of sales and marketing. “We had only 244 rooms and villas. There was a need for more because of the size of the property.”

While that sounded counterintuitive, there was a method to the madness that now extends to this winter when the resort’s Premier Club at Casa de Campo—highlighted with exclusivity, personalized service, and privacy—opens in December.

“The rooms and villas we have are beautiful, but we want the property to take the next step and surpass the Dominican Republic as a whole,” said Kycek.

Hence the Premier Club. Delayed two years because of the pandemic, the “hotel within a hotel” concept will feature 58 luxury suites, including 26 Premier Junior Suites (King Sized Beds), 27 Premier Junior Suites (Double Beds), four Premier One – Bedroom Suites, and one Premier Presidential Suite. The Presidential Suite will be the first at Casa de Campo.

Each suite will offer amenities not found in other parts of the hotel, such as an exclusive jet-black Premier Club golf cart (with aged leather interior) for traveling throughout the resort, private concierge service and nightly turndown service, and a customized pillow and aromatherapy menu.

In addition to the Premier Club Suites, the resort in March 2023 will open a destination spa and wellness center that Kycek said will be the best in the Caribbean.

“It’s something that we’ve been missing here,” said Kycek. “The only thing our competitors have had over us was a destination spa. We had a spa, but it was more of a resort amenity. This will take the property to the next level.  People are going to come here for health and wellness stays and to experience the spa.

“We’ve grown a lot, thankfully, over the past six years. This is a direct result of our growth. If you haven’t been here in the past four years, this is a totally different property. We’re financially successful now and bringing in guests from all over the world.”

That growth actually began five years ago when Casa de Campo renovated its private Minitas Beach to include the Minitas Beach Club & Restaurant, as well as a pool, overlooking the Caribbean.

“That really was the spark that started it all,” said Kycek. “It’s really nice for families. We’ve added a juice bar and ice cream shop, food trucks and retail shops. Now the beach is always packed.”

Next came the renovation of the 65 rooms at the Pete Dye Lodge.

“They always were in good condition, they just needed to be modernized,” Kycek said. “Now they are at the same level as our Elite rooms.”

From its equestrian stables to its tennis center and shooting center, Casa de Campo has carved its reputation on having the deepest portfolio of recreation in the Caribbean. But it is best known for golf, thanks to Dye.

The legendary golf course architect, it can be argued, is the single most important figure in the history of Casa de Campo. His Teeth of the Dog course—which opened in 1971—is an oceanside masterpiece and put the resort on the map as an international golf destination. His other two courses at Casa de Campo—Dye Fore and The Links—each would be signature courses at other properties.

A statue of Dye stands near the entrance to Teeth of the Dog. He and his wife, Alice—who collaborated with her husband on golf course designs around the world—had a home overlooking the Caribbean Sea at Teeth of the Dog.

“Each of our activity centers are world-renowned,’’ said Kycek. “But our DNA is golf. When Pete Dye came down here, there was nothing. This place started as a golf course. Golf is our strength and will always be at our core.”

It’s a core that continues to get stronger.

 

 

Credit
Steve Pike
Author

Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than 25 years ago and has covered all sports including Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL, NBA, as well as beat writer for nationally ranked collegiate baseball and basketball teams. As a travel and golf writer, “Spike” has climbed volcanoes in the Canary Islands, ascended the Great Wall of China, teed off in the Austrian Alps, and shared single-malt scotch with Sir Michael Bonallack at the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. A die-hard baseball fan, Pike named his son Zachary Seaver after his childhood hero, New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver. Pike lives with Zachary, daughter Keilly, and wife Brenda (an ovarian cancer survivor, trained journalist, master teacher, and an active member of the DAR) in the South Florida village of Wellington.


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