By Ben KilbeyIf you are looking for some tropical splendour in the heart of the bustling and historically rich Caribbean city of Santo Domingo (the first city of the Americas) then there should be only one choice for your port of call. The newly refurbished and downright exuberant Melia Santo Domingo. The lobby is a mixture of 5-star quality and lush tropical gardens. Large tropical trees rise from the marble clad floor with colourful orchids swaying gently in every direction. The lobby is a work of art and brings a sensibility to the madness that is the Malecon (sea-front).The hotel boasts modern business facilities with excellent Internet connectivity. The business centre computers run off of a separate generator so when the power cuts kick in (which can be frequent in the Caribbean!) your work is safely maintained.
The business centre was included in the recent refurbishment process and consists of four p.c’s - each with high speed connectivity. The first ten minutes are free and then the cost is US$11 per hour.
If it is good food that you are looking for, then you won’t even need to leave the hotel. The award winning Da Vinci restaurant is a mixed fare of Italian and Mediterranean specialties - the house recommends the asparagus and melted Parmesan.
If you would prefer to sample some local cuisine, then La Canasta is a safe bet, offering well-cooked and authentic local dishes.
For breakfast there is the Casabe, a 24 hour affair with superb buffet breakfast and lunch. Reservations are recommended for all restaurants as it is cited that many locals also come to enjoy the food on offer, a sure sign of quality.
In order to get an idea of the various styles of restaurant the Da Vinci is a more up scale elegant affair, while Café Casabe is a more relaxed informal, dining experience.
If gambling is your vice then fear not as the hotel includes a world-class casino. The bright lights of Vegas may have nothing to fear but for a quality gambling experience, this is one of the finest in the city. Offering every amenity a casino can from craps tables to roulette.
Music to your ears:
If the sound of winning, or more so losing, is not to your satisfaction, then lay low at the well stocked lobby bar and listen to the sweet sounds of the resident piano man. It is a perfect way to while away the night as the subtle lighting mixed with the lush flora creates and ambience of serenity and calm, perfect to prepare you for the hustle and bustle of the waiting city. For a Cuba Libre you are looking at US$6 dollars.
The hotel consists of 245 rooms, each is individually air-conditioned with good in-house entertainment (from movies to Nintendo - great for the kids or the young at heart). The beds are king size and have a good mattress. The bathrooms are marble clad and come complete with bath and shower.
The rooms are tastefully decorated, with many offering good balcony views of the Caribbean sea.
On the upper two floors is the ‘Servicio Real’ or Royal Service floors for executives. Here is where you will find the Presidential Suite, 8 Royal Suites, 8 Junior Suites and 75 Deluxe Rooms.
Place to meet:
Business is an easy thing to conduct at Melia Santo Domingo, as the hotel is stocked with 9 meeting rooms with a maximum capacity of 700 individuals.
Once the business is complete and it is time to chill, head for the beautiful veranda pool located on the upper-ground level. This is a clean pool surrounded by beautiful tropical flowers in hues of red and pink, and comes complete with a bar and grill. From here you can observe the madness of the Malecon whilst sipping a freshly made cocktail.
For the more adventurous there is a fully equipped gym, 2 tennis courts and a spa and fitness centre.
In all the Melia Santo Domingo is a wonderful hotel for business or leisure alike. Combing a tropical elegance with a business savvy approach, the Melia is a winner all round from fine dining to pool lounging. Located in the heart of the Malecon it offers superb links to the entire city with the world-famous Colonial area only a short taxi ride away.
The Melia Santo Domingo is nominated in this year’s World Travel Awards in the category of Dominican Republics Leading Hotel.
For more information visit: www.solmelia.com
For more information on the World Travel Awards visit: www.worldtravelawards.com