Sun, turquoise beaches, rum and lots of fun. No wonder they call it the Pearl of the Caribbean. No wonder it received eight and a half million tourists in 2022. The Dominican Republic is a paradise on Earth in which Soltour has decided to expand its offer by taking advantage of the island’s magnificent golf courses to organize trips that are carefully planned down to the smallest detail, whether for groups of inveterate golfers or for more occasional players who travel with their families and also get to enjoy their sport.
On January 13, during Fitur, Soltour signed an agreement with the Dominican Republic to promote tourism to the Central American country.
The original idea was to offer agencies “innovative” solutions and the main novelty for 2023 consisted of direct flights from Lisbon and Madrid to Samana airport. In addition, the agreement focused on new products such as golf packages to attract a growing segment of travelers.
“This alliance reaffirms the continuity of the close relationship between Soltour and the Dominican Republic. We expect 60,000 travelers from Portugal and Spain to visit the country this year,” said Tomeu Bennasar, CEO of Soltour Travel Partners, at the time.
With 13 hotels in the areas of La Romana, Punta Cana and Samana, Soltour, the tour operator of the Piñero group, whose flagship is the Bahia Principe Hotels, decided to make a strong commitment to golf. There were two clear lines of work: the first was to incorporate Luisa Jiménez, a perfect connoisseur of the niche; and the second, almost personalized offers that could cover the different price ranges offered by the Dominican Republic.
Just an hour from Santo Domingo, in La Romana, the group owns the Bahia Principe Grand La Romana, a five-star hotel aimed at families, and Bahia Principe Luxury Bouganville, also a five-star hotel but only for adults. And around them, three golf courses to delight any amateur or the most demanding professional.
Within the Bahia Principe complex is one of the best courses on the island: the PGA Ocean’s 4.
With the Spanish Carlos de Linares as director of the course and with the quality certification that comes with belonging to the PGA of America and its brand, widely recognized around the world, PGA Ocean’s 4 has an original and entertaining course that impresses for its variety, diversity and modernity, harmonized with several environments that combine the four spectacular designs of its holes such as “Parkland”, “Scottish Links”, “Desert” and others of Caribbean inspiration next to the Caribbean Sea.
However, you don’t have to go very far to find two completely different courses, both from each other and from Ocean’s 4 itself, far from the sea, lush with vegetation and with varied, demanding and, above all, very entertaining designs.
Designed by the legendary Gary Player, Guavaberry Resort & Country Club stands out for its natural beauty, which gives it an identity of its own, which combines perfectly with the Spanish colonial architecture of its Club House, a real beauty at a short distance from the spectacular beaches of the south of the country.
Not far from there is La Estancia Golf Resort & Country Club, located in the heart of a natural reserve where the Chavón River gives it a unique identity and an unmistakable morphology. Designed by P.B. Dye, son of the legendary Pete Dye, the hand of the man who designed courses such as Fisher Island in Miami Beach or Harbour Links can be felt. The continuous challenges to play over eternal canyons or blind shots are a trademark of the house.
The Dominican Republic has two very clear identities. At least as far as golf and the sea are concerned. While the southern part of the country, with the collision of the waters of the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, has its own colors, the eastern part of the country oozes personality, whipped only by the ocean. And if we speak only golfistically, two courses mark the way of being: Corales Golf Course and Punta Espada Golf club.
With a clear commitment by Soltour to Meliá hotels, Meliá Punta Cana Beach is the adults only with 538 rooms where guests enjoy a more personalized attention with access to exclusive areas and services such as priority check-in, exclusive pool or snack and beverage service throughout the day. A luxury in the heart of Playa Bávaro and just a few meters from one of Meliá’s great novelties: Katmandú Park.
Conceived as an amusement park whose model began in the Balearic Islands -more specifically in Magaluf-, and which the group intends to extend throughout its hotel geography, Katmandu Park, inaugurated on March 15, 2023, offers immersive activities for young and old, a concept different from the usual, with a mini-golf course that is at least “peculiar” and attractions that are undoubtedly different.
This is the icing on the cake for Meliá, which has launched its new Falcon’s Resort concept, which will also be extended to its entire business and will leave no one indifferent. This is something it shares with the golf offer in Punta Cana.
Corales Golf Course is indisputably known for hosting one of the annual PGA Tour events -in this 2023 the British Matt Wallace won- and will remain in the memory of any amateur who dares to play it. Designed by Tom Fazio along the cliffs and ocean inlets with an apotheosis ending: the Devil’s Elbow.
Integrated into Puntacana Resort & Club, Corales is at the epicenter of Dominican tourism, because this is where it all began. The grandson of Italian immigrants who had already started two hotels on the island, Frank Rainieri, together with an American lawyer, bought a 58-million-square-meter plot of land and began what we know today as the paradise of Punta Cana. It is home to two golf courses (Corales and Cap Cana), hotels, residential complexes… and Rainieri was also the driving force behind the Punta Cana airport in 1984.
And of course, Punta Espada Golf Club, the jewel in the crown with perhaps one of the most iconic holes in the world. Designed by Jack Nicklaus, Punta Espada belongs to the select group of the best 50 courses in the world and year after year is chosen as the best course in Central America.
Undoubtedly, the 13th hole, a 225-meter par three overlooking the Caribbean Sea and with a devilish flag position, has contributed to the worldwide fame of one of the Golden Bear’s masterpieces.
Soltour has thought of all types of players to reinforce its golf offer in the Dominican Republic. With the experience gained over the years in Riviera Maya, Mexico, the Piñero group has wanted to address different options, locations and prices to ‘attack’ the largest possible target audience in an attempt to monopolize the offer to one of the largest tourist destinations in the world and increasingly golf.