July 8, 2003
  • Sofitel’s Nicolás de Ovando opens
  • Boom year for tourism
  • Many bargains in Santo Domingo
  • Renovated Jewish Museum in Sosúa
Sofitel’s Nicolás de Ovando opens
Just in time for Santo Domingo’s Pan American Games, the legendary Nicolás de Ovando hotel opened its doors on Calle Las Damas. The hotel, operating under Accor’s Sofitel brand, is located in the Spanish colonial-era palace that in 1502 served as the residence of Governor Nicolás de Ovando. The elegant building many years back lodged such dignitaries as the King and Queen of Spain. Now with its lovely views of the Ozama River and freshly renovated to meet five-star-hotel standards, the historic residence-turned hotel welcomes new VIP guests. The formal opening of the 104-room hotel is slated for 24 July.
The Sofitel is the only one of three leading hotels under construction in Santo Domingo that had hoped to open in time for the Pan Am Games that actually has done so. The other two, the Mariott Courtyard on Máximo Gómez and the possible Hilton at Malecón Center should open later this year.
To contact the hotel, Email: [email protected]
Boom year for tourism
According to a Central Bank report, 2003 has been the best year ever for tourism in the DR. This marks a sharp contrast from the gloom of 2002, commonly referred to in the tourism sector as the “lost year”, when tourism withered following the 9/11/2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. The income derived from the holiday industry in the first four months of 2003 is estimated at US$900 million – up 16.3% from 2001, which had previously held the record for top tourism earnings for the DR. On the upsurge is the eastern region, mainly the Punta Cana/Bávaro area, while the North Coast is seeing a decline, according to El Caribe. The paper’s editorial comment remarks that the country must not be complacent, but should make the most of this promising situation. It warns that everything must be done to maintain the country’s good image abroad, and that the preservation of social stability is crucial for the tourism boom to continue in the years to come.
Many bargains in Santo Domingo
For those arriving with hard currency, and receiving record-high amounts of pesos in exchange, these are good days for shopping in Santo Domingo. People in search of great deals should visit Santo Domingo’s shopping centers, where they will surely find bargains. In addition to the normal summertime sales, many stores have decided to close and are liquidating their inventories. Check out Plaza Central and Acropolis, the Winston Churchill malls; Il Prato, for top European-brand shoes and located on Federico Geraldino #41; or Malaquias, where they are advertising up to 70% off on men’s clothing.
Renovated Jewish Museum in Sosúa
El Caribe newspaper highlights the recent reopening of the renovated Jewish Museum in Sosúa, Puerto Plata province. Just next door to the Jewish Synagogue and near to the Casa Marina Beach hotel, the museum recounts the story of the group of about 1,000 Jewish settlers who arrived there in 1939, having accepted an offer of free land from of Dictator Trujillo. The museum has been rehabilitated thanks to contributions from original settler families, including the Strauss family of the Productos Sosúa dairy farm, and the Hess family among others, who have maintained the museum that gives their history. Eliahu Lopez, the ambassador of Israel, and Eva A. Kendeffy, the ambassador of Germany, both attended the reopening ceremony of the Puerto Plata attraction. For more on the story of the Jewish settlers in Sosua, see http://www.us-israel.org/jsource

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