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February 1, 2011
  • Carnival time
  • Costa Blanca opens first 9 holes
  • Choice wants more DR properties
  • Hard Rock's first all-inclusive resort
  • 492 Hotels in DR1 Directory
Carnival time
February is carnival time in the Dominican Republic. Check out the Sunday afternoon carnival parades in La Vega, Santiago and Bonao, which promise appearances by all the traditional carnival characters plus live band performances. Carnival's success has motivated the Santo Domingo East city government to celebrate its own carnival processions starting on Sunday, 6 February with a parade along Avenida Venezuela, followed by another on 13 February at Invivienda, and ending with a three-band bash on Avenida Espana on 20 February.
Santo Domingo's (National District) big parade, with carnival-winning groups from all around the country is set for 6 March on the Malecon.
Costa Blanca opens first 9 holes
Greg Norman, the legendary Australian golfer known as the Great White Shark, was in the DR to attend the opening of the first nine holes of the Costablanca golf course in Juan Dolio, which he designed. The Juan Marichal Golf Classic was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the benefit and marked the formal opening of the first phase of the course. 200 players came for the event, including several celebrities as well as Greg Norman himself, including Eva Longoria, John Franco and Dale Murphy.
Choice wants more DR properties
Choice International, operator of the Quality Hotel Real near Las Americas International Airport and the Clarion Hotel in Santo Domingo's Naco commercial and residential neighborhood is offering its operation and marketing expertise to local hotels. The chain, represented in the DR by the Grupo Real Hotels & Resorts (RHR the hotel division of the Poma Group from El Salvador) believes that the multiple brands Choice International offers makes a match for many local properties of more than 40 rooms in the two and four star categories. Rodolfo Guillioli, director of development and strategy for Real Hotels and Resorts, and Odalis Guzman, general manager of Quality Hotel Real, promoted their two-star Sleep Inn, three-star Comfort, and the Quality and Clarion four- star brands. The chain is open to hotels that are already in operation and those that are being developed.
RHR has the franchise for Choice Hotels International in Central America, Panama and the DR. It operates 15 hotels in the region and seeks to increase this to 25 hotels by 2014. On a global level, Choice has more than 6,200 hotels, including 4,900 in the US.
Hard Rock's first all-inclusive resort
The chain best known for its rock-themed casino resorts in Florida, Mississippi and Las Vegas has joined forces with Mexico's Moon Palace Resorts and is now promoting what it calls the "ultimate all-inclusive resort" with everything paid. The hotel has been rebranded as The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana. Its official re-launch took place on Saturday, 29 January with performances by the Gipsy Kings, The Wailers and other groups.
On the premises, celebrity chef Kerry Simon, dubbed the "Rock n' Roll chef" by Rolling Stone Magazine, unveiled his latest restaurant.
Celebrities coming for the opening included: Dania Ramirez, Pete Wentz, Ashlee Simpson and Colin Cowie, Adrienne Bailon, Julissa Benitez, Kerry Simon, John Dolmayan, MarteOvenus, Paula Garces, Jesse Metcalfe, Brandon Marshall, Darcey Johnson, Terrell Owens, Cheryl Burke, Michael Copon and Jessie Palmer.
Company executive vice president Michael Shindler said the opening is a milestone for the brand that started with a single cafe opening in 1971. "As we celebrate Hard Rock's 40th anniversary in 2011, we look forward to our Hotels & Casinos' growth, while staying true to our music vibe and rock 'n' roll roots."
"We are thrilled to be in partnership with Hard Rock International to offer the world's first ever all-inclusive Hard Rock experience," said Palace Resorts President and Owner Roberto Chapur. "The level of superior service mixed with the energetic Hard Rock atmosphere will undoubtedly set a new standard in the Caribbean." The hotel has 1,800 rooms and the largest casino in the DR and the Oro nightclub with 10,000 square feet across two levels.
To contact the hotel, see link at www.dr1.com/directories/contact.Hard_Rock_Hotel_and_Casino.html
492 Hotels in DR1 Directory
Around 500 hotels are listed in the revamped DR1 online Hotel Directory at www.dr1.com/directories/category.Hotels-&-Resorts.html
Funded by a grant from the European Union, DR1 Hotel & Resorts Directory makes it easy to find that small hotel, hotel or large all-inclusive hotel you are looking for.
In a country where hotels change companies and names, having the right information on a hotel can be difficult. DR1 has updated this information and made it available online. This is the most comprehensive and updated list available in any form or organization in the DR, private or government. Hotels are categorized as small hotels (less than 25 rooms), hotels (25+ rooms) and all-inclusives. They can also be searched for by location. All hotels are listed by room size and location, telephone contact and an e-mail contact.
Hotel owners can make it easier for future guests to decide if they are a match by upgrading their entry to a mini-website with up to nine photos, Google maps, and features including guest reviews, WYSIWYG to edit photos and content, among other advantages for just US$25 a month. Contact [email protected] for page upgrades.

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