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The fact that the president of the Dominican Republic attended the opening-night party for InterContinental Real Santo Domingo in November is proof of the hotel’s importance to the tourism scene. Amid the dozens of well-dressed attendees at the inaugural gala, there was much talk about the shining new tower on Winston Churchill Avenue, which is the newest luxury hotel in this Caribbean capital city.
In true journalist fashion, I arrived too late to hear comments from Dominican President Danilo Medina. (I was running late from doing some pressing, sun-soaked research at nearby Boca Chica beach.) But I did have a chance to speak with Jorge Apaez, chief operating officer for Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), who says the property is at the forefront of a new era in this busy metropolis.
“A hotel like this is the gateway to the destination,” he said, adding that for years, the majority of the city’s hotel inventory was concentrated within the limited confines of the historic district. “Bringing this new InterContinental property to Santo Domingo allows IHG to bring different tiers of service to our guests.”
Apaez also noted the success the company has had with its recently renovated Crowne Plaza Santo Domingo, located on the waterfront Malecon boulevard, and the Holiday Inn Santo Domingo, set on the upscale, business-oriented Abraham Lincoln Avenue.
“This is one of the islands with the highest percent of international flights, which means there is high capacity for growth. It has been a very good location for our brands,” he said.
And this isn’t the last in the portfolio to debut here: Next up is Holiday Inn Express Santo Domingo, slated to open in mid-2018.
Top of the LineAmong IHG’s offerings in Santo Domingo, the 21-story, 227-room InterContinental — which is owned by Real Hotels & Resorts — is decidedly the most luxurious. The stately lobby is expansive and elegant, with subdued style and an attentive staff. My deluxe standard guestroom with two double beds was well-appointed with a variety of amenities and features, including strategically placed light fixtures; a wall-mounted, flat-screen TV; and vast, floor-to-ceiling windows that let in an abundance of natural light.
I appreciated the comforts of the sleeping area, but by far one of my favorite elements was the bathroom — spacious, perfectly white and well-lit, with an oversize mirror; a large, glass-enclosed shower; a water closet; and a stylish, standalone bathtub.
Travelers looking for additional services can opt for accommodations on one of the executive floors, which include access to a lounge with couches, tables and a bar. The city view from here is impressive, and executive-floor guests can also use the space’s 10-person meeting room for free, one hour per day, based on availability. The lounge serves complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea and open-bar drinks every evening.
A big selling point of the property is the pool and spa level. The swimming pool, which wraps around a rooftop deck, is especially attractive, with a line of comfy daybeds and a bar that sets a soothing vibe. Nearby, down the hall, is a well-equipped fitness center, which is free for guests, as well as a spa facility that offers expert treatments.
The InterContinental Santo Domingo’s on-site dining options kept me more than well-fed throughout the visit. The Market is the hotel’s casual eatery, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, with an extensive menu that ranges from pasta and pizza to salads, carpaccio and ceviche. Nau Lounge provides a hip ambiance for contemporary Asian cuisine and cocktails, while the top upscale option is Factory Steak and Lobster, a handsome venue that specializes in — you guessed it — steak and lobster, prepared in an open kitchen.
Guests will also find a variety of dining options and upscale malls within a few minutes of the hotel by foot or taxi. But with so much happening on-site, you may not want to leave.