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The Canoa Coral

La Romana, Dominican Republic

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The area surrounding La Romana in the Dominican Republic has become one of the major vacation destinations in the Caribbean over the past few years. It’s always been a pretty busy area, but added investment in transport link and other amenities by the Dominican government has contributed to a tourism explosion. The area – which is only a three and a half hour flight from New York – has rapidly become the most popular resort center in the area for vacationers from the US.

Consequently, there are a very large number of resorts to choose from. If you’re looking for luxury but you don’t want to have to pay the truly enormous sums that it’s possible to pay in the area, you could do a lot worse than booking a vacation at the Canoa Coral resort. The Canoa Coral is part of the vast multinational Hilton chain, so the quality of the experience and service can be pretty well guaranteed.

The Canoa Coral is less than half an hour’s drive from the main airport at La Romana. It’s a spacious resort that doesn’t give the impression – as some do – that you’re spending your vacation cooped up within a tight perimeter. The grounds are beautifully laid out and manicured, and the main buildings pleasantly low-slung and discreet.

As you might expect, all the rooms and suites are of a very good standard. The most basic form of accommodation on offer is the standard guest room. These rooms are spacious, with either a king or queen sized bed, and each has a balcony or terrace and generously proportioned en-suite bathroom. TV, air-conditioning and many of the other conveniences that you might associate with this grade of resort – and, indeed, slight more upmarket ones – come as standard. If you have a family, or you wish simply to take the next step up in terms of luxury, you should consider booking of the Canoa Coral’s suites. Each has a double balcony, and a separate living area and kitchenette – allowing you the kind of space and flexibility that makes this sort of vacation such a relaxing experience.

As you might expect from a resort backed by the Hilton brand, the level of service on offer is exemplary. There is an on site convenience store, a full concierge service, a barber shop, a florist, a beauty salon full foreign exchange facilities. For vacationers who don’t want to drop the reins of their business entirely, the resort offers a number of services from photocopying and faxing right through to full-sized meeting and conference rooms.

If you want to get out and about a little, there’s an enormous amount to see in this part of the Dominican Republic. One of the most interesting places to visit in the La Romana neighborhood is Altos de Chavon. This beautiful village is perched high on a plateau above the Chavon river gorge. From a distance, you would think this was a truly ancient place – founded, perhaps by the indigenous Indians or the earliest Spanish settlers. Although the various styles of architecture are carefully designed to reflect the tastes of different ages, the truth is rather different: work began on Altos de Chavon in 1976. It is a purpose-built artists’ community and ‘cultural’ village. As you stroll the cobbled streets and lanes of this most remarkable of places you can plunge in and out of artists’ workshops to admire – and maybe buy – some of the beautiful paintings, sculptures and artefacts that are produced here every year. As you might imagine, a dizzying array of artistic styles is represented, although Spanish and native South American styles predominate. The performing arts are well represented, too: Altos de Chavon has a purpose built 5,000 seat outdoor amphitheatre for theatrical and musical productions. It’s often easy to think that the Caribbean is a vacation destination that offers only beaches and endless sunshine. Altos de Chavon proves that the region has a rich cultural life, too.

Back at the Canoa Coral you might feel a little hungry. Well, your dining needs will be catered for in the most professional fashion imaginable. A certain formality of dress is required at dinner in the resort’s three main restaurants. La Piragua, the largest, is open every day for breakfast lunch and dinner. It’s sister restaurants, Rigoletto and El Charro offer delicious Italian and Mexican cuisine every evening. If you feel like a quality dining experience in less a less formal atmosphere you should head to the Caribbean Grill. This fantastic eaterie, just a few feet from the warm, lapping waters of the sea it’s named after, serves a variety of hearty dishes that everyone can enjoy.

The Canoa Coral by Hilton is among the best and most popular of the mid-range resort destinations in and around La Romana – spend just a few nights there, and you’ll quickly come to appreciate why.

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