Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Do You Like Pi

Beach, Caribbean, Family


Casa de Campo

Dominican Republic


What is it about the Spanish-speaking islands in the Caribbean that simply ensure a tastier Piña Colada? Is it because the drink likely originated from them (the name is Spanish after all) or  that they  cook more with coconut milk than say, Jamaica? I’m not sure, but as someone who has visited her fair share of the Caribbean islands and ordered a gluttonous amount of piña coladas in her day, I am confident in declaring the Dominican Republic as the home of the Caribbean’s best Piña Coladas, especially when they come served in an actual pineapple, like they do at Casa de Campo.

This past week I flew down to the DR – an easy 3-or-so hour flight on Jet Blue – flying into capital city, Santo Domingo, but more wisely, out of La Romana Airport, which is but ten minutes from the sprawling 7,000-acre resort of Casa de Campo. I spent four nights in a ground-floor Elite guestroom just a stone’s throw from the main pool with a terrace overlooking one of the resort’s three golf courses. The rooms have been redone in the past three years and are spacious, comfortable and very clean, thanks to twice daily housekeeping service. My fellow travelers and I were treated to multi-course meals around the resort, a boat trip to a private beach area and castaway lunch (see image above) and even a round of golf of the resorts award-winning Teeth of the Dog golf course. The highlight for me was by far and away the golf.


The course features multiple waterside holes on both the front and the back nine and plays well yet formidably with approachable tee shots and unforgiving greens. I had a wonderful round with two lovely ladies from Long Island and would have been back on the course each day of the trip had our schedules allowed for it. I would highly recommend a golf trip down to this beloved resort. I’m aware the sport fishing and the equestrian center are of equal high merit, however, as a golfer, I can’t help but steer clients towards what I know and truly enjoyed firsthand.

Casa de Campo

La Romana, Republica Dominicana

Tel: (809) 523-3333

Casa de Campo Website

Posted in: Beach, Caribbean, Family

Published by Meg, Saturday, November 23, 2013 No Comments

Caribbean Family Vacation Planning

Beach, Family, Friend Of A Friend Consulting



Oh how those beaches do siren call

Oh how those beaches do siren call. This one is on Mustique

Right now I am in the middle of planning various Caribbean family vacations for some clients. Three years after the debut of my book, Caribbean Hideaways, I find that I’m still just as drawn to those beautiful islands, but now not just for a solo adventure or romantic jaunt, but also for a no-fuss, visually and culturally engaging family trip that won’t break the bank. I’m convinced they exist, it’s simply a matter of matching the client to the right place.

Many of my clients them have young kids, like me, and are eager for a getaway that promises sun, sand and simple pleasures. Shockingly, it’s harder to find than you think. This is where the taste-meter play such an integral role in working with a Travel Advisor. With a gluttony of so-called options and worse, misleading photos and unreliable reports online, planning a vacation feels like a brutal gamble, ultimately fueling the need for one even further. What I try to do for my clients is first, recommend places I know firsthand, which helps that I’ve visited 22 islands in the Caribbean for my book and make annual pilgrimages to my favorites.

A new resort that's caught my eye: Balcones del Atlantico. What can I say? I'm a sucker for model boats

I’m a sucker for model boats

Then, second, help them discover places and learn to look at them critically based on what’s online. Having researched places online for almost ten years now, there are Buy Viagra various warning flags that I can spot from a website alone – particularly Caribbean or beachfront properties. For instance: if you don’t see a shot of the building or any part of the property showcasing that it’s actually on the beach – it likely isn’t. Websites will lure you will arching palm trees and aquamarine waters, but if you want to ensure they’re right out your door or just steps away, be sure to investigate directly.  This tip and others are what, I hope, will lead my client base to grow. I’ve done this for years folks and I hope to get to every place I recommend so that I can feel 100% confident in it being a fit for my clients – especially for those highly-anticipated, annual spring-break trips.

With all that in mind, below is a newly relaunched resort in the Dominican Republic, Balcones del Atlantico, that I’m currently considering recommending to clients and friends. I have yet to go myself, and so I’m looking into a quick jaunt next month to verify its fit. Anyone been?  It seems ideal by my research, but nothing matches actually visiting for real verification and vetting.

The view from the water

The view from the water

The aerial view of the pool

The aerial view of the pool

Interiors look quite chic, though I wonder about the natural light since this photo is taken with all the lights on

Interiors look quite chic, though I wonder about the natural light since this photo is taken with all the lights on — another thing worthy of noting when you look at interior photos.

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Posted in: Beach, Family, Friend Of A Friend Consulting

Published by Meg, Monday, February 11, 2013 No Comments

about meg

About Meg


Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.