Review of Casas del XVI
I booked us for three nights at Casas del XVI and have never been happier with a hotel stay. Ever! Keep reading for my review of the boutique hotel Casas del XVI:
After about four hours we make it to Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo. I could tell that my husband was wondering exactly where I had booked us as our driver stopped the van on a tiny, cobbled street and told us we had arrived. There wasn’t anything that stood out from the street that screamed “hotel” except a tiny white plaque on the wall. Upon entering Casa del Arbol, however, it became clear that I made the right choice in booking here. Casas del XVI is comprised of several restored historic homes in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. Each has been gorgeously refinished, keeping some original touches. The rest has been curated by an amazing interior designer who even created some of the artwork herself! Upon check-in we were given mango and passion fruit drinks (the mangoes are grown on the tree in the courtyard of Casa del Arbol!) and are introduced to our butler, Ben. Oh, did I mention they assign a butler to you? We then follow Ben out of Casa del Arbol and around the corner to another casa, Casa Antillana (love this so much, each one has a different name and style!). Our casa was comprised of a main lounge, small dining room, gorgeous courtyard with large pool, covered dining area and lounge chairs. Only three guest rooms flank the pool and we were apparently the only ones staying here. Worked for us!
Classical music is playing in the air conditioned room when we’re let in. Ben gave us an iPhone to use to call him (his number is programmed into the phone) in case we need him. The room is beautiful, with a walk-in closet and a bathroom to die for! There is also a welcome note for us from the manager along with some fresh flowers. My favorite part, however, is that they had drawn a bath – complete with bubbles and rose petals. I could think of nothing better after the car ride here! The room itself opens up to pool and a few steps from the door to the indoor lounge and dining room.
This was the biggest stand-out for me when it came to the stay at Casas del XVI. Attentive, helpful, unobtrusive….all describe the staff, especially our butler. Always there to open the door (I don’t think we ever had to use a key to get into the main casa as Ben was always there as we walked up!) and to provide suggestions. He was also helpful in showing us where to exchange currency and providing fresh water (and mixing drinks). Our first night I asked about a restaurant I wanted to try and, rather than give directions, Ben walked us there! I also think the iPhone is a great touch however I only had to use it once.
Breakfast is included and not to be missed at Casas del XVI. The offerings were impressive and the food delicious. Fresh juice, homemade pastries and fruit to start with coffee. After that a range of choices, from oatmeal with dates and walnuts to fajitas to banana pancakes. It was a great way to start the day. The setup in the formal dining room is beautiful. If you get the chance you should book a dinner with Casas del XVI. While they don’t have a restaurant on site you can book dinner the day of and it is well worth it! Ben worked around my dietary restrictions and my husband’s preferences to coordinate with the chef and we were not disappointed. He confirmed the menu with us the day of, provided the wine list so we could select a bottle and let us choose where we wanted our table setup and the time. We decided to have dinner in the courtyard of the casa and it was setup with candles, soft jazz and the best service!
Casas del XVI is located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ciudad Colonial so you’re directly in the center of where you would want to be. Zona Colonial is very walkable and there are lots of sites, restaurants and museums within steps of the casas. We had no issues navigating the streets, finding amazing food or feeling safe when exploring (even at night). We also decided to take a day trip to the Ron Barcelo distillery, which is about an hour away. If you’re looking for the beach know that Santo Domingo doesn’t have one so you should add a day or so in another part (like Barahona, staying at Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge!) or stop at Boca Chica beach on your way back from the Ron Barcelo distillery.
I can’t speak highly enough about Casas del XVI. The casas are beautiful and I was lucky enough to get a tour of each one while I was there! The staff will do their best to accommodate a tour request, provided you’re not intruding on other guests or events, and I highly recommend it. The attention to detail, along with some restoration work on original features, make these casas spectacular. It feels like you could easily be spending a few days at your (very well off) friend’s house. Our stay was comfortable and the service is impeccable. You also can’t beat the location as this part of Santo Domingo is worth spending a few days exploring. The food is amazing, the rooms are comfortable, well equipped and the communal areas of the casas are beautiful and unique. If I’m ever back in the Dominican Republic I will absolutely be staying here again, even if just for a night! This is the ideal place for a few nights….but you’ll wish it was longer.
Do you have a favorite spot to stay in Santo Domingo? I’d love to hear about it!