Campo el Suizo, Juan Esteban, km 10 Carettera, Barahona-Paraiso. Dominican Repúblic.
Not far from Barahona, the capital of the southwest of the island, near the sea, where fishermen, farmers and small traders live,away from the grand tourism, you can find Casablanca " El Campo Suizo".
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"Suzanne was ready for a change"
Posted by: Debbie
on May 1, 2010 >
Visited on: May, 2010 | Business | Solo
1785 people found this review helpful
Some ten years ago, Susanne Knapp, a project manager for a food magazine at the time, travelled by train from Frankfurt, Germany to Zurich, Switzerland. A small newspaper sales ad regarding a property on the south west coast of the Dominican Republic caught her eye. She booked a flight to Santo Domingo, took a bus, closed the deal and two months later she started the preparations which would lead to the Hotel Casablanca as we know it now.
“I guess I was ready for a change”, she says. Suzanne now occupies her time with activities she likes best: preparing delicacies in the kitchen, taking care of and interacting with her guests, decorating the hotel and gardening. During my stay it became absolutely clear to me that Suzanne deems the Casablanca as her personal piece of paradise, which she loves to share with us.
My arrival is about two hours later than I anticipated because the rental car company did not have my 4x4 waiting for me at the airport. Instead of zipping right away to Barahona area, I needed to go to the downtown Santo Domingo first. Thanks to my colleagues in the DR, who met me at the airport, this ordeal did not turn into a straight nightmare. Having said that, I did enjoy the ride in my white shining Ford Ranger with just 8 miles on the clock.
The Casablanca rooms are basic; they do not have television, air-conditioning, and fancy additions like a minibar or a hairdryer. My bed is comfortable. At night a slightly noisy ventilator helps to cool me down. Warm water has to be arranged beforehand with Suzanne. I imagine that some kind of gas heater needs to be turned on for a while. I just use the tropical version of cold water. I feel that the bathroom is the weak spot of the hotel mainly because I do like a real warm water shower and expect to find this standard in a Dominican Republic hotel that costs more than the equivalent of $ 35 US a night.
Now that all people who can not handle the above room situation probably skip to another hotel on our website (may I suggest my review on Casa Bonita), I will continue to tell you what these folks are missing and why I do seriously recommend you to consider hotel Casablanca when you are travelling to this pristine part of the Dominican republic.
For dinner Susanne prepares a salad with homemade vinaigrette, followed by an exquisite fish soup, made with 100% day fresh ingredients. Toasted mini-breads with an aioli dressing are floating on top. What a fine combination! The distinct but not overbearing anis flavor gave the meal, served with a glass of nice cold white wine, a Mediterranean tough. Breakfast is also a feast, starting with a fruit cocktail that must be the best I ever tasted. Not too sweet and deliciously creamy! After this enjoyment I can pick and choose from coffee, tea, milk, mango juice, bread, cheese, tomato, the egg (any way you like it), some kind of marmalade and honey.
The impressive cliff and beach pertaining to the property are rough in every aspect. You take the stairs down to the sea level where rocks, gravel and boulders do not allow for easy seawater access, but if you persist and take reasonable care you can take a bath, like I did. Whereas everything at the Casablanca is being inspired by ecological awareness, it is the beach that underlines how much we need this kind of attitude. While walking over the rocks towards the water I witness that the sea continuously throws back to the shore what we should never dumped in the water to begin with. Hard to keep up cleaning the beach when you run a six room hotel with just three people! On the positive side, Susanne has decorated a good portion of the hotel with the more natural offerings of the ever-pounding waves.
Susanne does not have any problem assisting you in finding additional information about the area, to suggest something to add onto your itinerary or let you use the phone when you want to book an excursion. If you fancy a drink, you have a choice of bottled water, soft drinks, natural fruit juice, beer, wine or rum and everything is being delivered with genuine kindness. I am extra grateful for the anti mosquito lotion Susanne offered me since I forgot to pick up some on the way down. The peaceful, secluded environment makes it unnecessary to think let alone worry about my safety.
Several seating areas are scattered all over the property. This is great way to enjoy the grounds from different perspectives and allows you to find your perfect level of privacy when more guest are staying at the hotel. There are a lot of (design) details to discover and enjoy. The two dogs, Socrates and his son Max, pose no treat at all and just hang around “doing their thing”.
After the great dinner, interesting conversation and a nice drink of aged Dominican rum I decide is time to go to sleep. During breakfast I feel rested, relaxed and ready to continue to explore some of the most beautifully stunning, underrated and adventurous parts of the Dominican Republic.