*** Small Hotels in the Dominican Republic ***
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October 31, 2006
  • Cruise ship season under way
  • Wall Street Journal on DR
  • Feature on DR makes Sunday NY Times
  • Sun Village Film Festival
Cruise ship season under way
With the arrival of the Braemar at the Don Diego docks, the 2006-2007 cruise ship season started in Santo Domingo. The Port of Santo Domingo is currently in the midst of a massive remodeling project. The first 599 visitors who arrived on Wednesday, 25 October were met, however, with a traditional merengue band and dance troupe. The executives of the group that is now remodeling and operating the tourist docks are expecting 40 ships to tie up at the Don Diego-Sans Souci tourist docks this season. Santo Domingo now joins La Romana and Samana that already have underway successful cruise ship traffic.
Wall Street Journal on DR
In its Saturday, 28 October edition, the Wall Street Journal featured an article by Martin Edlund on new luxury tourism developments in the north coast of the Dominican Republic. The focus was on the Gran Bahia Principe Samana scheduled luxury resorts, Sea Horse Ranch villas success, new developments in Playa Dorada (namely Casa Colonial), and Cabrera, with Villa Castellamonte leading the way. The article was titled, "Destinations: Trying to be the New St. Barts", "Celebrities overtake backpackers on the DR's north coast."
Feature on DR makes Sunday NY Times
With the prediction that "the country is increasingly becoming the five-star playground of the Caribbean," Seth Kugel writes about current options for vacations in the DR in a feature in the New York Times Sunday, 29 October edition, starting from his stay at the Tortuga Bay boutique hotel in Punta Cana.
The feature is titled: "The Dominican Republic Offers a New Place in the Sun." In his article, he acknowledges that all-inclusive hotel "bargains are still there", but goes on to point out that: "As the winter season approaches, the Dominican Republic has all but been anointed with 'it-destination' status by celebrities, travel magazines and tour operators." His forecast is that the onset of what he calls paparazzi-drawing celebrities is "only the beginning", with more high-end hotels planned for opening in the next few years. He mentions the Westin Roco Ki Beach and Golf Resort scheduled for winter 2007, the Sanctuary Cap Cana scheduled for spring 2007, and several Gran Bahia Principe chain luxury hotels in Samana.
Addressing the question of how the country has made the switch from mass market to mixed market, he attributes this success to the quality of beaches, golf, many international flights, the escape-mode hotels provide, baseball, visiting celebrities starting with the Clintons, and a Miss Universe in 2003, tourism advertising campaign, lack of terrorism and anti-Americanism, and new investments in infrastructure.
"It's estimated that four million people will visit the country this year," he writes. He also mentions that this doubles the 1.9 million visitors who came in 1996 and points out that Americans are quickly taking over, where Canadians and Europeans previously dominated.
He points out that one of the country's greatest challenges is to push service levels so that they are on a par with the accommodations in order to successfully complete the crossover to elite tourism.
Sun Village Film Festival
The Dominican International Film Festival 2006 will take place at the Sun Village, Resort & Spa in Cofresi, Puerto Plata and at the Cine Roma of Puerto Plata city this coming Monday 6 November through Saturday, 11 November. Thirty-seven films are featured from the US, Cuba, Spain, France, Canada, Italy, Sweden, Argentina, Chile, Philippines, the United Kingdom, Brazil and the Dominican Republic.
For the program, see:
For ticketing information, see:
For information on the hotel, see:

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