Following the impressive though exhausting excursion to Lago Enrique and Isla Cabritas, I pass by the Casa Blanca to pick up my luggage and head directly to the most renowned hotel in the Southwest part of the DR, the Casa Bonita, some 10 km further down the road towards the west. I am tired and can’t help to arrive slightly frustrated since for the last ten days I have been trying to make a reservation via the website and by phone.
Initially the reception at the hotel desk was not that friendly either, but to be fair I have to say that the attitude of the night staff improved by the minute. I pay my bill in cash, receive my key and Casa Bonita finally can start to impress me. My room is all right. In dominant sight I find an electric wine cooler stocked with 4 bottles of wine, priced at around $ 20 US each. There is no television. I notice an agreeable smell in the room. Not just the room but the sheets and towels also have the same nice fragrance. Less impressive are the dead or at least dried out flowers in my room. This should not happen. While the hotel is located at a distance of about 500 meters from the road, the noise of cars with powerful boom boxes still interfere with the serene environment that is definitely being provided by almost everything else. Another irritating noise comes from the motor of the Jacuzzi, which I can still hear while using the walk in shower with a wooden floor in the dimly lit bathroom. I could use another light next to the mirror.
I walk to the centerpiece and highlight of the hotel: the infinity pool overlooking the distant sea. Absolutely stunning! In the middle of the pool stands a palm tree. While floating on my back looking up I realize that this perspective is absolutely new to me. The wooden and sturdy sun loungers with thick white pillows are really comfortable. Before settling down to watch the moon rise through the palm trees, which indeed are everywhere, I walk to the bar to do my “ how good is the bartender” test by simply ordering a Margarita. The bartender, who turns out to be the same guy who I talked to while checking in, squeezes about five lime’s and pours two shots of tequila gold and countreau over the ice in the shaker. Soon my drink is being poured into a large cocktail glass with a lightly salted rim. Delicious! The grounds of the hotel are being kept into tip-top shape; everything is being done to offer postcard impressions from almost every possible angle. I can confidently predict that 90% of the guests make use of the elevated open-air restaurant next to the bar that almost naturally grants similar great views by overlooking the pool and the sea in the background. The design team has again done an excellent job by creating the modern luxurious ambience that you see in travel magazines. A remarkable detail is that the food, with entrees starting around 15 $ US, is not expensive at all for a hotel with grand allure. This demonstrates a certain respect towards the guests who do not have a lot of dining options within a distance of, let’s say, ten to 15 kilometers. I order the tuna with a ginger and soy sauce that turns out to be enjoyable though not emotional. The glass of white wine could have been a little cooler. Half way through my dinner a song is being played with rather foul language. This definitely should not happen and neither should I have to listen to the same ABBA song twice. The smal
l details that may be insignificant in a less expensive or less pretentious hotel stand in the way of being able to say that I enjoyed a true 5* experience. Still I would like to go back, knowing that nothing in life is perfect except for that incredible pool!
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