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Golfing Guavaberry in the Dominican Republic - A Golf Feature for Women

Golfing Guavaberry in the Dominican Republic

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We Canadians consider ourselves a hearty people, however, the 2003 winter was excessively bitter cold and endless. By February we had had enough and were ready to trade in our winter boots for a pair of sandals.

Travel ads for the Caribbean beckoned us south like the Siren's called to Odysseus. One by one our colleagues seemed to disappear for a week then reappear sporting tans and relaxed smiles. Feeling left out, a person can crack under the pressure and the decision is made. South or bust!!!

I walked into my kitchen and yelled at nobody in particular, "I'm officially sick of winter!", I emailed my editor and suggested he plan a trip south to write a golf article. He jealously obliged and my travel companion and I soon began planning a golf/relaxation trip to the Dominican Republic, to write about two new Hilton properties (Marien Coral by Hilton and the Costa Caribe Coral by Hilton) and the Guavaberry Golf Resort. Our departure date couldn't arrive too soon!
The Dominican Republic is a well-known favorite destination of Canadians from Newfoundland to British Columbia. It is the second largest island in the Caribbean, with a population of eight million and a landmass of 48, 442 square kilometers. The island offers something for everyone - seductive sunsets, the highest mountains in the Caribbean, rolling landscapes, villas, busy cities, and over 1,500 kilometers of gorgeous beaches. The island is actually entitled (Hispañiola) and hosts two countries: Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Dominican Republic is located on the east side of the island and is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.

My traveling companion, Kevin, an avid bogey golfer like myself, and I, flew into Puerto Plata, located on the northern tip of the island. We were looking forward to experiencing and writing about two hotels recently acquired by Hilton and the Guavaberry golf course.

Prior to departing we considered the best method of getting around the island. We obtained maps; we inquired about car rates and researched public transportation and hotel shuttle services. In the end we were undecided and concluded that this was one item we could arrange upon arrival. We have driven in many places including: London, England; Athens, Greece; Germany and even Montreal. Heck, if you can drive in Montreal without an insurance claim, you can drive anywhere, right? As a result, we opted to a rent a car to get us around the island. Figuring we're both careful and confident drivers and competent navigators, we didn't anticipate too many problems.

Our arrival in the Dominican was a pleasant and swift custom's experience and we quickly found ourselves outside the quaint airport watching the taxis and buses come and go, and all the other tourists boarding their all-inclusive package shuttles.

Over to our

right was a row of little shops and car rental outlets. We arbitrarily selected one and asked to look at some of the cars for lease and stated we needed one for the week. We negotiated with a friendly agent named Gypsy who spoke superb English and we decided on a 7-year-old white Nissan Sentra with only 40,000 km. We didn't think about it at the time, but 40,000 km on the 180 km island is a lot of driving, and suggests the car had seen its better days. We completed the walk-around and we checked the tires, which looked satisfactory as long as it didn't rain. The best we could arrange was a fair $190 USD for the week. It was a box on wheels with air-conditioning and a radio, with manual windows. We would discover our simple, run-down Nissan with spongy, springy seats, was one of the better cars on the road.

The deal signed and sealed, we fired it up and off we went, map in hand. I was the prepared navigator and Kevin the confident driver. We laugh when we think how naïve we were.

Somehow the excitement, and unclear directional traffic signs, led to taking the wrong turn out of the airport and we drove one pleasant and interesting hour the wrong way. At that point we should have known that we might be up for a bit of challenge.

Eventually we did find our hotel, which was actually only 15 minutes from the airport. Our first destination was the Marien Coral by Hilton. Situated on the Puerto Plata "resort strip", the Marien Coral by Hilton is the last resort property before you reach Puerto Plata proper. As we entered the resort, we immediately knew we were in for a special treat. Our first impression was one of awe.

The resort emits a sensation of serenity and decadence. Swaying palm trees line the circular driveway bringing your vehicle directly to the entrance. Our car door was graciously opened and a friendly smile welcomed us to the Marien Coral by Hilton. A chilled glass of fruit punch is in our hand even before our luggage and clubs are unloaded and we are led into an open-air spacious lobby, accented with a marble floor and inviting couches and a panoramic view of the common pool beyond. The lobby teases us, offering a glimpse of what's to come.

Hilton Caribbean, a division of Hilton International, and Coral Hotels and Resorts decided to join forces in late 2002. As a result, the Hilton Caribbean entered the all-inclusive resort market with the addition of four resorts in the Dominican Republic. Hilton is the first major hotel chain to embark in the all-inclusive-resort market in the Dominican Republic and further plans are underway for Hilton to expand in this market; with the addition of new properties in Haiti and Barbados.

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By Lise Lacasse, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Read Jetsetters Magazine at

About the Author
Lise Lacasse, Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent. Join the Travel Writers Network in the logo at

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