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Over the decades, Casa de Campo has changed. What hasn’t changed is the true beauty of this place and all the incredible players doing their part to constantly elevate the experience. Jason Kycek, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Casa de Campo Resort and Villas, impresses us with how much passion, focus and resources are being directed to projects like the creation of over fifty new hotel rooms and a new world-class spa — along with many other yet to be announced plans. His commitment is simple, yet difficult: Raise the bar a little every day.
CCL: Let’s start with the history so we can have a good 30,000-foot view
Jason Kycek: We’re going to be approaching our 50th year anniversary in 2024. The property is considered the first resort built in the Dominican Republic. We are not your typical resort in the Caribbean. We’re a little city of 2,400 homeowners that happens to have a resort component within its gates. So once you’re inside Casa de Campo, whether as a homeowner or as a resort guest, you’re intermingling with everybody who’s part of the community.
Over the years, everything that has been built here has ended up being the best in the world. Like when Pete Dye was hired to build the Teeth of the Dog golf course, he was starting out in his career and nobody knew who he was. Fast forward 50 years later, and he’s regarded as probably the preeminent golf architect in the world. Outside of the incredible golf, there’s the equestrian center with polo and the shooting center, which is for people who are into trap and skeet shooting. The tennis center is the largest in the Caribbean, and it’s soon to be expanding into pickleball and paddle tennis — I believe, we’ll probably be one of the first resorts in the Caribbean that will cater to all three sports. And then, of course, the Marina, the largest in the Caribbean. A whole other little world within Casa de Campo: it has its own restaurants, there’s a supermarket, a movie theater, and a hardware store. Again, it’s just part of the complex. Then the coup de grace is Altos de Chavón. That’s the artist village — a replicated 16th-century Mediterranean village, which is celebrating its 40th year anniversary this year.
If you looked at the competition, the one thing they had on us was a spa. Don’t get me wrong, we have a spa here, but it’s more of a resort amenity where guests can get a massage, a pedicure, manicure but it’s not a destination spa or a determining factor for people to stay with us, that is what we are currently working on and will open soon.
CCL: So can you tell us a little more about the new spa and what people can expect from it?
JK: Our objective with this spa is for it to be not only the best spa health and wellness center in the Dominican Republic but one of the best in the world. It’s going to be a true destination spa where you have available a series of well-known treatments but we’re also going to incorporate some of the latest high-tech technology products that are in the market right now. And the physical footprint of the spa is very large, it’s going to be over 18,000 square feet.
We’re going to have a VIP suite, which can also be used as a bridal suite, with an indoor-outdoor pool area. We have a lot of weddings throughout the year so it’ll be perfect for that too. We also get celebrities here and sometimes they don’t want to be seen so these new suites and club will be perfect for them as well.
But then we have the 2,400 people who will live here, either full-time or off and on throughout the year. A lot of homeowners are going to New York, Paris, Miami and LA to get these services and treatments; we’re looking to bring all of that here so they have everything they need in Casa.
All this started a little over five years ago when we told upper management that we should look into achieving two new goals: to build more rooms and a destination spa. Fast forward now five years later, and they broke ground on both facilities last November. And an exciting new chapter in Casa de Campo is about to begin. It’s a big milestone for the company but looking at the way we’ve grown, thankfully we convinced them.
CCL: How many more rooms are going to be added?
JK: Fifty-eight suites. They’re at a whole other level from the existing product we have right now as well too, and I consider it will be treated as a separate hotel within the hotel. So we’re calling them the Premier Club and Premier Room rooms and suites section of the property.
Guests staying in these suites will be taken to the premier club for check-in and it’ll be a private exclusive area only for the resort guests staying there. They’ll have their own end-of-the-year club, bar and lounge area. The other exciting thing for us too is this area will have the first presidential suite on the property. It was designed not only to be a presidential suite for guests to enjoy, but we have a lot of celebrities and a lot of dignitaries and government officials that come through here and always travel with their own security or bodyguards. For example, if they have private security, they will have available two separate rooms outside of the presidential suite for their itinerary or where their security guards can stay in or be positioned right outside the presidential suite as well if that’s needed. It’s an exciting project fast coming upon us needing to be completed because we’re welcoming our first guests, on December 23rd. We’ve been working around the clock to get everything finished.
CCL: And the name Premier Club is also worth noting. It’s kind of a little nod to the past because that was the first high-level club that Casa de Campo offered back in the day.
JK: I remember when I first came here in the mid-90s and going into that check-in experience at the premier club as well, too. It was incredible. So yes, we are tying it to a little nostalgia.
CCL: How many guests are going to be checking in on the 23rd? Do you have a headcount yet?
JK: Yeah, I think we have about 25 rooms confirmed out of 58 rooms. Around 50 – 75 guests most likely.
CCL: You mentioned the check-in experience that’s going to be different for these guests; Are there any other kinds of unique experiences that set these rooms apart?
JK: We’re still defining which amenities we’re going to have in the rooms but for example, there’ll be a high-end bath amenity. The rooms themselves are going to have the latest state-of-the-art technology-wise, everything can be controlled from a panel next to the bed.
We’re also including a blackout feature. Sleep has become a big selling point or a topic in the tourism industry. Usually, in a room, you always have at least some little light shining somewhere whether it’s from the cable box light or the AC for example. These are going to be built so they can be completely blacked out. You won’t see any light whatsoever. From how it was described to me, you can’t even see your hand in front of your face.
Also, here in Casa de Campo, part of the fun and part of the experience is that every guest has a golf cart. The traditional golf cart for the resort guests is red and is included in all rooms and buildings we rent. For the premier suites, we decided we’re going to change the golf cart. They’re going to be black, longer and with a tan beige interior. They’ll have the premier club logo as well. They will also be all-electric — traditional golf carts are still all gas — making it a fancier golf cart. So, when you’re riding around Casa de Campo, everyone’s going to know, oh, you’re in a black golf cart, you’re staying in the Premier Suites, and that will be another little differentiating factor for them as well too.
It is an exciting time for our company and guests alike with all of the improvements we are making throughout the property. We are grateful to be able to take Casa de Campo to the next level and raise the bar in luxury hospitality within the Dominican Republic.”
CCL: Can you talk to us a little bit about the art component? We hear that is something you’ve been interested in.
JK: It’s been one of the many projects I’ve been working on — revitalizing and building upon our art history and culture segment. We’re also bringing artists in, and we just had one of our first artists, Kristin Simmons. She’s young, internationally renowned and one of the top pop artists in the world right now. And so we were able to bring her here, and she had never been here before. We hosted a cocktail reception for her in the evening. She met with the school in Santo Domingo and all of our team here on the property. Initially, we brought her in just for a couple of days just so she could brainstorm and see the kind of canvas we have here for her to work with or do future art exhibits.
Before she got here, we had a couple of meetings and I thought, why don’t we just introduce you to the homeowners here in the community because to me it’s important for us to not only obviously constantly promote Casa de Campo. I always say I wear two hats. My Casa de Campo hat, of course, is my top priority. But I’m also an ambassador to the Dominican Republic. Art like she does never even thought of coming to the Dominican Republic. We’re putting not only Casa de Campo but the Dominican Republic on the international art scene.
CCL: It seems like a win-win for everyone. I mean, seems like it’s good for the country, it’s obviously good for the resort. But the artists I mean, create for just from a creative standpoint, but also from having an opportunity to meet potential clients and stuff like that.
JK: You’re absolutely right. And without question, I guess that’s how I approach everything, it has to be a win-win for everybody. And so that’s how we looked at it with her as well. And she was, in particular, as a person, she’s fantastic. But absolutely, it has to be a win-win for everybody. My goal has always been to make Casa one of the hottest destinations in the Caribbean and the world. And it has all the facilities to do that.
Originally published in our sister publication Casa de Campo Living Magazine Winter edition 2022