Multi-colored villas boasting large verandas with dipping pools, wicker chairs and soft lounge seating amidst luxuriant vegetation and melliferous flowers, palm tree branches bowing elegantly over a small lagoon – this is the essence of Eden Roc at Cap Cana, a tranquil retreat on the far east coast of the Dominican Republic.
Eden Cana hosts Punta Espada, an 18-hole links golf course, a full-service spa including open-air, water-side treatments, Caleton Beach Club, a swimming pool and a Koko Kids Club, resembling a massive tree house, with diverse activities including video games, a story-telling area and a mini-spa where girls can have manicures, pedicures and hair styling.
The resort complex – so large that every guest has their own electrical cart to drive with charging outlets outside every villa and at various other places – comprises 34 freestanding rental and owned villas. Opened in late 2012, Milan-based designer, Marina Nova in collaboration with Dominican architects, Franc Ortega and Andreina Rodriquez, have accomplished their task well – fashioning a luxury getaway that has the feel of a tranquil village than a traditional resort. They’ve nicely blended European influence, aka 1960s French and Italian Rivieras, with the spirit of the Caribbean as reflected in gaily-painted villas – cerise, golden yellow, azure plum and lime green – all contributing to one’s overall sense of well-being.
Villas are within easy walking distance of the hotel’s main lobby area and the Mediterraneo restaurant, which hosts breakfast, lunch and dinner. They provide ample space, divided into a large combined living room-cum-bedroom with adjoining bathroom accessed through full-size, mirrored doors, with double wash-hand basins opposite each other, a Jacuzzi, a shower and an ample ‘walk-in’ clothes storage area. An alternate outside shower permits the pleasure of that refreshing option, surrounded by privacy walls. In the main room, a folding door cabinet contained various sets of glasses for soft or alcoholic drinks, a circular table provided workspace and a coffee table stood beside a cosy white couch in front of a flat-screen TV. The overall color scheme – soothing cream and eggshell – is light and airy, a feeling enhanced by the high, V-shaped painted ceiling, white walls and coral stone mosaic floor. Each villa is equipped with Bose audio systems and iPads with innovative apps to control lighting, sound, air conditioning and even the mini-bar. iPads also allow guests to interact with front desk staff.
In terms of food and drinks, Eden Roc offers six options – the elegant Mediterraneo, which melds French and Italian cuisine and overlooks the lagoon; the more intimate Gastronomico, seating only 20 guests; La Palapa at the Caleton Beach Club, featuring seafood and other dishes; the Blue Lagoon Bar & Restaurant, presenting light fare and deli favorites; La Cava, providing a cellar-like ambiance, with a charming domed brick roof; and Riva Bar, inspired by the Riva Aquarama pleasure boat that was the symbol of glamor in 1960s Monte Carlo.
Fresh passion fruit juice, cava wine, homemade butter and marmalade, a large array of cheeses, hams, fruits and pastries as well as local wildflower honeycomb from the La Altagracia region welcome one every morning on the terrace at Mediterraneo (you can also choose to eat inside). Such delectable morning offerings are just a prelude to what chef Mauro Gianinazzi and pastry chef Gwendal Comellec can create for dinner.
After dinner, cocktails can be enjoyed at the Riva Aquarama where, enlivened by the piano playing of local musician Pablo, is just the way to end an evening.