We agree with the chorus of TripAdvisor members, whose reviews sent us here, that this is an utterly lovely, luxurious property, impeccably kept and professionally run in a part of the world not known for its consistent upkeep and service. Even the smallest room available, a junior suite, which we booked for five nights, is graciously appointed and palatial with an entry vestibule, kitchen, huge bath with double sink, soaking tub and, in our case, two terraces not thirty feet from an uncrowded, quiet Caribbean shore, e.g., no high-rises and only 35 guests who share a half-mile-plus coast that is raked of seaweed constantly. And yes, the airport welcome and send-off is exceptional since you skip the lines and are out of there and in your room within a few minutes of landing. The vibe here is a little more institutional than the kind of mom-and-pop establishment that many people seek out in the Caribbean. You don’t get to meet the owners (who include Oscar de la Renta and Julio Iglesias), nor do you readily form bonds with staff; but this in itself has advantages if you relish your privacy. HOWEVER, there are a few things to keep in mind before you book. 1) The final cost of your stay will be at least 30% greater than the stated cost of the room (18% sales tax plus an automatic 10% gratuity charge on everything). 2) Breakfast is the only meal included in the price. The food is good but not great and very expensive. Two people will generate at least $125 per day for lunch, dinner and drinks, and that’s in the low range. (The best restaurant is called La Yola and should be visited more than once.) 3) Tipping is manageable but awkward, and an all-inclusive rate would address the challenge. Otherwise, a stack of five- and ten-dollar bills brought from home will go a long way since dollars are accepted and the staff is apparently paid little and benefits greatly from our generosity. 4) There isn’t a whole lot to do beyond golf, the beach, an informal aquatics center (snorkeling, diving and so forth) and a delightful nature preserve with fresh-water plunge pools, a must-see. Snorkeling, for example, was well-managed, cost $100 cash for 90 minutes but is subject to a rough ocean swell that caused sea-sickness. So please, please, please work out your differences in advance and go as a loving, talking and book-reading couple since that’s mostly what you’ll be doing if you don’t play golf. That said, the setting is the best I have ever seen for families with young children who delight in an uncrowded beach with calm surf just a few feet away from their parents’ chaises-lounges and the lovely manse-like guest houses. There were many such families in residence during our visit, in addition to well-behaved teens who delighted in driving the golf-carts given to every guest. In selecting a room, you might first consider villas at either end of the property, i.e., numbers 622 (where we stayed) and 610, which are more private since they abut golf courses rather than other peoples’ rooms. But they are all nice, without exception, and even those few not directly on the ocean still have views of the water and are separated from the sand by a just few more feet of lovely, green lawn (see pics).
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