Prevue July/August 2013 - (Page 46)

Dominican REPUBLIC Annual buyer/supplier event touts new properties & venues [ON LOCATION] MICHELLE SOLOMON All roads lead to the Dominican Republic. That was the main message during the Dominican Annual Tourism Exchange (DATE) this spring, hosted by Bávaro Beach Resort & Convention Center in Punta Cana. The biggest buzz throughout DATE was the completion last year of the new Coral Highway. The 4-lane road connects the three most popular tourist regions in the country: Punta Cana on the east coast, La Romana/Bayahibe on the Caribbean coast, and the historic capital of Santo Domingo. The drive from Santo Domingo’s majestic Colonial Zone to Punta Cana was cut in half to two hours. La Romana to Punta Cana is now 40 minutes, down from two hours. For meeting planners this creates huge new opportunities for multi-destination travel, with convenient day trips departing Punta Cana to La Romana and the capital. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Santo Domingo’s colonial center includes the palace of Christopher Columbus’ son Diego, America’s first cathedral, as well as a buzzing hotel, restaurant and nightlife scene. The government is heavily investing in Santo Domingo to preserve this walkable city. The big news this year, the Melia Santo Domingo will be reflagged in December as the Sheraton Santo Domingo following a $6 million renovation. The 245-room hotel facing the Caribbean Sea offers 9,700 sf of meeting space including 11 conference rooms. “Today belongs to the future,” said an upbeat Radhames Martinez Aponte, technical vice minister at the Ministry of Tourism. He revealed that the ministry has allocated $13.3 million for 2013 this year with the goal of attracting 10 million visitors a year by 2023. Luis Emilio Rodríguez Amiama, president of the Hotel & Tourism Association added, “Reaching out to planners and groups for meetings and conventions is also a very large part of the campaign, too.” For pre/posts, we love Accor Hotels’ chic duo in the old city: Hotel Frances and Hotel Nicolas de Ovando. PUNTA CANA & CAP CANA Punta Cana’s newest development is the Punta Palmera Beach Resort in Cap Cana, which just opened 85 of a planned 192 luxury condos with sophisticated residential interiors. The 4-story buildings with Spanish tile roofs are tucked between the Jack Nicklaus-designed Punta Espada Golf Course and Cap Cana’s glorious white beach. The condos range from studios to three bedrooms, with 2-bedroom units predominating, averaging 3,100 sf. Furnishings include lots of marble floors, cool white colors, artful wood trim and furniture, a whirlpool in the master bedroom, and the mother of all hot tubs on ground floor patios. One of the most sought after hotels for incentive groups, 46 | prevue magazine 35-50_CARIBBEAN.indd 46 7/3/13 11:52 AM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Prevue July/August 2013

Planner's Pick: New Zealand
Fresh Meets: Autograph Collection
Bureau Buzz: Monterey County
Good Business: South Africa
sea Shores: Small Ship cruising
The Local Kitchen
Special Section: Caribbean
Dominican Republic
On Location: Hilton/LXR, Puerto Rico
On Location: The Broadmoor
The South, Florida & Las Vegas
On Location: Starwood Resorts, San Diego
On Location: Travaasa Austin
On Location: Moon Palace Cancun
On Location: IRF Cancun
Check Out: Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana

Prevue July/August 2013