The story of Casa de Campo Resort & Villas 
XO Private Interview

Casa de Campo opened in La Romana, almost 50 years ago, as the first resort in the Dominican Republic.
This truly unique resort is also home to the #1 Golf course in the Caribbean.

Join us for this delightful interview with Andrés Pichardo Rosenberg, President at Casa de Campo,
and find out why everyone loves this La Romana resort.

The story of Casa de Campo Resort & Villas started in La Romana almost 50 years ago. How did it all kick off?
It was originally a retreat for multimillionaire business mogul Charles Bluhdorn, who built his estate in 1975 on Gulf + Western's sugar mill property, in Central Romana, where it quickly became known as the first luxury resort in the Dominican Republic. One of Mr. Bluhdorn's friends, the famous golf architect Pete Dye, was hired to design a golf course for the small community that was first installed in the resort. After Bluhdorn's passing, the Cuban-American Fanjul family bought Casa de Campo and opened it to the world.
Over the years, the property always remained at the forefront of new industry trends and fashions. How would you describe the DNA of Casa do Campo Resort & Villas today?

From its inception, the resort was destined to be a Sports enthusiasts mecca. With five legendary Pete Dye designed golf courses, equestrian and polo facilities, world-renowned shooting center, marina and yacht club, as well as tennis facilities. Over the years, however, the DNA of Casa de Campo´s community has evolved into a diverse multi-cultural and multi-generational destination providing our guests and residents alike the opportunity to experience world class sports, cuisine, arts, culture, and unsurpassed activities all under the secure confines of our 7000-acre gated community

How did you personally get involved with the property? 

I cherish the memories of my young adulthood when I regularly visited Casa de Campo for concerts, entertainment or just watch a tennis tournament with friends and family. We used to drive back and forth from Santo Domingo after an energized filled weekend.

Casa de Campo motivated me to pursue a career in the hospitality industry and little did I know that 35 years later, while living in Mexico with my family, as senior VP of Operations of 12 resorts, that I would be called to be offered the position I hold at the present moment. A call that motivated us to come back to the Dominican Republic to the best, the most and the first true resort in the country. My personal mission was to spearhead the consolidation of the actual resort, promote new projects and expansion, as well as bring to the forefront incremental demand by offering unique experiences in improved services with passion and attention to details, all possible by creating the best team of human talent available either within or outside the organization. 
“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution;
it represents the wise choice of many alternatives” - 
Andrés Pichardo Rosenberg, President at Casa de Campo
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas really put the Dominican Republic on the map as a high-end destination and achieved an iconic status. How did all of this happen?

One of the best ways to describe this is with our slogan, being the Caribbean’s best kept secret, where everyone can experience the highest form of Luxury in the Dominican Republic. For five decades, Casa de Campo has been known as the Caribbean playground to icons of yesterday and today, dating back to Frank Sinatra and now Jennifer Lopez, Michael Jordan, Lional Messi, Channing Tatum, Sandra Bullock, Taron Egerton, and many US Presidents. Casa de Campo Resort & Villas is continually evolving to meet and exceed the needs of our most discerning guests the world over.

About 70% of the properties are large estates. Casa de Campo has over 2,300 private villas, which range in price from US$500,000 to US$40,000,000, making it also one of the countries' most affluent communities, comparable to the Hamptons in the United States.

Do you believe that it has been easier to secure the overall success as a standalone property as opposed to being part of a global chain with global marketing and sales power?

There are pros and cons to each business model, but our company has built a level of success by remaining a standalone property that we would not have been able to achieve if we were part of a global chain. We are currently working on a project to increase the number of accommodations in Casa de Campo, but we believe in the potential to personalize ourselves in a way that is unique to our location and our company’s distinct culture. The level of service provided in our property and our exclusive facilities, stands out and sets us apart from both chain and other independent competitors.

Likewise, the security and comfort of our guests, the variety of world-renowned activities, as well as the diversity of amenities found throughout our private gated community are second to none. Our guests and home owners alike can choose from an array of luxurious settings, from oceanfront villas to finely appointed hotel rooms, everyone is able to explore the grounds with their own casa golf cart, play some of the world’s top sports, celebrate unique weddings and more… its easier for our guests to find all they are looking for in one place. There is no other hotel in the world quite like Casa de Campo Resort & Villas.
Escape to paradise
The hospitality industry never ceases to change and innovate. Which plans are in the pipeline for the coming five years at Casa do Campo Resort & Villas?

Hotel development with new high-end rooms, a state of the art 20,000 square foot SPA, wellness physiotherapy, and new Concierge / VIP area. The following stage will be to build a new high-end restaurant for breakfast and lunch, a new Golf Clubhouse with a contemporary design and with a Pro shop, multi-function meeting room space, a fine dining Steak house with cigar bar lounge, Sports bar/restaurant with memorabilia of our Golf courses and designer Pete Dye while in Casa de Campo.

Which are your most important markets today in terms of guest arrivals? Which are the new markets that you are keen to enter?

The United States have always been our key market and has continued to grow substantially for us the past several years. We have likewise expanded our international presence throughout Europe, Latin America and Canada, and have grown these markets as well. There is tremendous upside within each these countries especially within the affluent demographics we cater to.
Inspirational experiences - 7000 acres of adventure
You've been operating within the Dominican Republic for quite some time now. How has the destination evolved over the years and where is it heading? Demand of our clients.

The Dominican Republic is an amazing country that has yet to be discovered by many tourists. We have focused our efforts in helping to promote the Dominican Republic to the affluent markets on a global level and have seen this segment finally start gaining more traction not only for us but for the destination as a whole. Exceeding our guests’ expectations has always been our top priority and we have seen increased demand from the high-end markets which has assisted us in continuing to raise the bar and develop new initiatives.

To address this demand, we have continued to build upon our live concerts in the one-of-a-kind amphitheater in Altos de Chavon and have created the Casa de Campo Concert Series & Events program. Along with creating new areas for our guests of all ages to enjoy together as families. Last year we opened up the Casa de Campo Petting Zoo in the Equestrian Center, added Fall & Spring Festivals, Oktoberfest, and developed many other seasonal activities for our guests and residents to enjoy together. Over the past 5 years, we have improved our facilities, renovated our hotel rooms, created new restaurants, and inaugurated the Marina Riverside Center at the Marina, a new meeting/event space overlooking the Chavon river and Caribbean Sea for the MICE industry. In a world of constant change, we continue to adapt to the modern era to uphold our position as one of the world’s leading resorts.

Could you share a most inspiring or hilarious anecdote that happened under your watch?

We are part of a community that has always contributed to social programs. Through our foundations - PBO and MIR, over the years I’ve seen great inspiring stories of resilience and perseverance with the academic programs and scholarships offered to local humble families, that now have their sons and daughters successfully completing careers in many professional fields. Guests can also contribute to this cause through their accommodation rates; a 10 percent donation goes directly to these programs.

PBO (Patronato Benefico Oriental) and MIR (Mission International Rescue) Charities are Dominican not-for-profit organizations and are part of the resort’s parent company, Central Romana Corporation. They hold an important position in our vision, whose basic purpose is to offer social assistance through different programs, for the development of La Romana and its surrounding areas.

Last, but definitely not least, what is the best advice you ever received as an entrepreneur/hotelier?

Our job is so fascinating, that it’s never finished! Every day we wake up to new challenges and have to be prepared by being resilient and patient, and facing the ever-changing world with creativity, leadership, and consideration that the client will always be the boss, they will never forget how you made them feel. Our goal is to exceed their expectations every time.

We should never forget that “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives” which is so true in our hospitality industry
Yvan Vermeesch
Belgian by birth, Yvan Vermeesch grew up across Africa before heading to the Caribbean followed by the stunning city of Prague before calling the Mediterranean island of Mallorca home. Always looking to innovate across the board and with a clear penchant for everything experiential in travel, Yvan Vermeesch takes great pride in connecting the finest players in bespoke travel around the globe.