The main purpose for which foreign tourists go to the Dominican Republic is rest and entertainment on local beaches covered with soft white sand, as well as swimming in the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea. This small Latin American country (by area – 48.67 thousand square kilometers) is famous not only for seaside resorts, but also for its rich history. Santiago de los Caballeros, the second largest Dominican city, is home to several sites of great interest to overseas travelers.
Why do tourists tend to visit Santiago de los Caballeros?
The city, which is home to over 535 thousand people, is located in the tropical climate zone. The distance from Santiago de los Caballeros to the ocean coast is about 30 km. To get to Santo Domingo, the capital of the country, you need to drive 158 km by road.
The city was founded by 30 Spanish knights who came to the island with Columbus. This event occurred in 1494 The name Santiago de los Caballeros can be translated as “the city of St. James and the Knights”. Numerous tourists come to Santiago (as the locals used to call their city) to explore the historical, cultural and entertainment sites:
- a sculptural memorial complex dedicated to the heroes of the Republic’s Revival;
- Museum of Folklore, which houses a large collection of carnival masks;
- Sibao is a stadium and sports arena where trainings and competitions of local teams take place: “Aguilas-Sibaeñas” and “Matros”;
- A cultural center named after E. L. Jimenez;
- the Grand Theatre of Sibao, which hosts dramatic and operatic performances, as well as music and dance performances;
- San Luis – a well-preserved fort, erected in 1674 and rebuilt in the early XIX century; now there are halls of the Museum of Culture, the exhibits of which tell about the history of the city from the period of colonization to the present day;
- Las Aromas – a modern golf club with a public course;
- art galleries: Triptico Taller, Solo Arte Creatividad and Artisticajulia;
- a botanical garden where 50 varieties of palm trees are grown, as well as cacti, roses and medicinal herbs;
- a Catholic cathedral erected in the neoclassical style in 1895;
- two water parks: Mundo Acuatico and Kaskada;
- Tubanos and La Aurora are cigar factories.
The city is located in the green valley of Cibao. In the summer months, the air can warm up from + 27.6 to + 33.2 and above, in winter – from + 23.7 to + 28.9. The most favorable period for exploring local attractions is from the beginning of November to the end of March. It is during these months that most foreign tourists come to the city. For them, more than 200 hotels are open in Santiago, among which several hotels stand out, offering conditions that meet the latest world standards.
Hodelpa Gran Almirante
In one of the central quarters of the city is gran Almirante – a five-star hotel, part of the Hodelpa hotel chain, known to tourists for the high level of service provided. Gran Almirante is located next to the Women’s Institute of Technology, 1.1 km southeast of central park.
The hotel is equipped with 153 spacious bright rooms of nine categories. Each has wooden furniture. The interior design of all rooms is made in light colors. From the spacious balconies, guests can see almost all the main attractions of the city. A variety of leisure is guaranteed to vacationers thanks to the opportunities that open up for them on the territory of the hotel:
- Cirsa – casino with several gaming tables and machines;
- a spacious gym, available from 5 a.m. to noon;
- billiard room;
- a spa offering professional massage services as well as a wellness package;
- large outdoor swimming pool, equipped on the roof of the hotel and available from 9:00 to 21:00.
A team of highly qualified chefs takes care of the meals of hotel guests. On the territory of the complex there are three gastronomic establishments:
- Meson Las Tapas – stylish grill bar;
- Boka – a restaurant serving Dominican and European dishes like a “buffet”;
- El Navegante is a bar with a wide selection of original cocktails.
The main thing that attracts foreign tourists from the Hotel Gran Almirante is its location in the historical and business center of the city, the professionalism and goodwill of the staff, spacious rooms and leisure activities organized at a modern level. Free parking and transfer from the international airport are additional bonuses for tourists choosing Gran Almirante.
Geoffrey Maureen, Kitchener, Canada. My wife and I chose Gran Almirante because of the hotel’s advantageous location. The city center, close to many cafes and restaurants, attractions are also nearby. The second thing that intrigued us was the rooftop pool. The staff is very friendly. It so happened that I lost my passport in the hotel casino. I turned to the manager. He quickly found his passport with the help of security. My wife and I, in a great mood, continued to rest at the hotel for another five days.
Platino Hotel & Casino
“Platino” is a small three-star hotel, located in a quiet place 2.4 km from the fort and 1.6 km from the city center. The hotel is suitable for tourists who prefer comfortable living conditions and gambling in the casino. Hotel Platino has 91 comfortable rooms of four categories. For guests of “Platino” there are several opportunities for spending interesting leisure:
- casino gambling;
- a pleasant pastime in the recreation area, where a spacious gazebo is installed;
- excursions with inspection of the city historical and cultural sites.
Opposite the three-storey building of the hotel is the territory of a small tropical garden, decorated with an elegant fountain. Hotel Platino is a great place for lovers of a quiet pastime during the day and entertainment in the casino in the evening. The hotel also provides ideal conditions for organizing wedding ceremonies.
Delicious breakfasts are served in the cosy restaurant. The menu is dominated by local dishes. The bar, designed for small groups of vacationers, is rich in soft drinks and high-quality alcohol of different strengths.
Chris Morgan, Seattle, USA. Platino is a wonderful hotel, the rest of which was for us, three tourists from the United States, a real holiday. Thanks to the care of the staff, we felt at home. The place is very quiet. Even the hotel’s casino doesn’t disturb the peace. The rooms are spacious and clean. They have everything to enjoy a carefree holiday. We had breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Different dishes were served every day. A big plus is that the city attractions are quite close to the hotel. The cost of rooms may seem to someone overstated, but a well-organized service compensates for this drawback.
Hodelpa Garden Court
For tourists who do not want to spend a lot of time on the road from the airport, the most suitable option is to stay at the Garden Court Hotel , which belongs to the Hodelpa network. The hotel is located about 10 km from the historic center of the city. The distance from the hotel to the nearest international airport is 5.5 km by road or 4 km in a straight line.
In the Garden Court guests will find 131 comfortable rooms of three categories. The interior of the hotel premises is made in light colors. Leisure of guests is organized at a decent level that meets modern requirements:
- swimming in an outdoor pool of rectangular shape;
- classes to strengthen and maintain health in the fitness center;
- relaxing in the shade of trees in a green area or on sun loungers by the pool.
The hotel has a small business center, equipped with equipment necessary for negotiations and business meetings. Guests of the hotel eat like a “buffet” in a small restaurant. The lounge bar is open throughout the day and offers a wide range of cocktails. Garden Court is an ideal hotel for those who want to live for a few days in comfortable conditions away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Catalina Ortiz, Ponce, Puerto Rico. The second time we stayed with a friend in Garden Court. We choose this hotel because of the excellent service. The smiles of the staff are the first thing that catches your eye when you come here. The spacious rooms are always clean. The hotel has a well-groomed territory. Part of the space is a green area for relaxation in the daytime. Sun loungers, pretty big pool, at least everyone had enough space to swim at any time. Another part of the territory is covered with brown tiles. Breakfast is served both in the rooms and in the restaurant. Anyone who dreams of a relaxing holiday and comfort, we advise you to choose this hotel.
Camp David Ranch
Among the tourists there are always those who want to relax in conditions close to rural, but at the same time not to lose the usual comfort. The most suitable option for such travelers is the Camp David Ranch, located 18 km northeast of the center of Santiago. The hotel positions itself as a boutique hotel, which has 18 homely rooms. The interior design of the premises is decorated in muted light brown tones.
The hotel is located on a hill, the height of which is just over 600 m. From here you can clearly see the residential buildings and status buildings of the city, as well as the seemingly endless valley covered with dense tropical forests. Guests of camp David Ranch can organize their leisure time by taking advantage of the hotel’s facilities:
- massage in a small spa;
- acquaintance with the history of the automotive industry at the permanent exhibition of old cars;
- pleasant rest in the shade of the trees of the tropical garden, located on the territory of the hotel;
- cycling in the surrounding area.
For lovers of international, Dominican and Mexican cuisine, the doors of the restaurant are open, which has a spacious terrace. The lobby bar serves several varieties of juices, cocktails and soft drinks. Hotel “Camp David” is a place that is often chosen by young couples for a romantic holiday.
Joseph Crofton, Colchester, UK. Camp David Ranch is ideal for travelers like our family – lovers of a relaxing holiday away from the noisy city streets. Beautiful tropical nature, spacious rooms, delicious food in the restaurant, polite staff, location on a hill from where you can admire the city buildings – for all this we chose this hotel. The chefs of the restaurant each time surprised with new dishes of fusion cuisine. We advise anyone who wants to spend their holidays in a calm and carefree environment to stay at Camp David.
Soha Suites II
Apartments are a great opportunity for travelers who want to relax in comfortable conditions, as if they had not left their city apartment. Soha Suites II, located 1.3 km east of the historic center of Santiago, is ideal for this large category of tourists. Near the hotel there are three well-groomed parks: Israel, Rosa Duarte and Privado.
Guests have access to an outdoor swimming pool and gym located inside the apartment building. To prepare breakfasts and dinners, vacationers use the equipment installed in the kitchen corner. In a spacious room, the interior of which is made in light brown, beige and white tones, four zones stand out:
- living room;
- dining room;
- Dressing room.
Guests can dine at one of the restaurants or cafés located nearby. Travelers who know the city well most often recommend three gastronomic establishments: Saga, Foodtopolis and La Arboleda.
Clemens Patkul, Potsdam, Germany. We were in the Dominican Republic with my wife for the first time. Apartments Soha II suited us throughout. Firstly, it is an opportunity to spend a few days together in an unfamiliar but interesting place. Secondly, the beautiful location of the hotel. Close to cafes, supermarkets, attractions, shops, restaurants and shopping centers. Thirdly, unobtrusive, but always ready to help the owners of the hotel. Next time, if we are in Santiago, we will stay again in this apartment.
Centro de Santiago
Many tourists prefer to relax in guest houses, combining the comfort of hotels and the home coziness of apartments. Centro de Santiago belongs to this type of accommodation. The name of the guest house immediately indicates its location in the city center. “Centro de Santiago” offers tourists accommodation and rest in three comfortable rooms.
In a small green area of the hotel among tall branching palm trees there is a relaxation area with an outdoor pool. Breakfast is served in the guests’ rooms. The menu is discussed in advance with the owners of the hotel. If desired, you can have lunch and dinner in restaurants and cafes located next to the guest house:
- La Cocina de Nana;
- Marisco Caribeno;
- Max’s Delicias;
- Puerta del Sol.
The hotel rooms are spacious rooms with modern furniture, large beds, a comfortable bathroom, as well as a kitchen or corner equipped with electrical appliances.
Valeria Svetlova, St. Petersburg, Russia. My husband and I have long dreamed of visiting the Dominican Republic. We did not want to stay in a luxury hotel, so we chose Centro de Santiago. I liked almost everything: central location, rich breakfasts, delicious coffee in the morning, clean rooms, lovely pool, very spacious balcony. I would like to especially note Yesenia – the owner of the guest house – a friendly and friendly woman. It’s a pity that we do not know Spanish, but despite this, the communication turned out to be very interesting.
Hotel Casa Jum
The three-star Kaza Hum Hotel is located in a quiet side street on the north-eastern outskirts of the city, about 6 km from the historic center. Casa Jum is a great place for fans of rest in a narrow circle of relatives, colleagues or friends. The hotel has six small furnished rooms with small balconies, each of which has an armchair and a table.
The spacious terrace of the hotel is a great place for daytime sunbathing and evening communication. The hotel’s small restaurant serves grilled dishes. Guests also enjoy watching sports competitions on television screens. The nearest restaurant to Casa Jum is Piscaderia del Norte, where you can have lunch or dinner. The menu of the gastronomic establishment includes fish dishes and seafood.
Didier Lemaître, Makuria, French Guiana. After spending a week at Casa Jum, five of us who like to travel, I wanted to stay here for a few more days. A quiet corner of the city and a cozy room is exactly what we were looking for. The hotel staff are very friendly, especially Laura , the girl who works at the reception. Breakfasts always included a few simple but delicious dishes. I especially liked the coffee and passion fruit juice. To get acquainted with historical monuments and beautiful places, we rented a car at the hotel. We recommend Casa Jum to anyone who wants to spend a few days of vacation without fuss and fuss.
Which hotel to choose?
Holidays in Santiago de los Caballeros are suitable for tourists interested in the Dominican Republic, the history and culture of the country, as well as the lifestyle of the Latin American people living here. Each of the hotels named earlier offers amenities and services without which it is difficult to imagine the rest of modern tourists: free Internet, parking, transfer and much more. However, if we take into account such advantages as a wide choice of rooms and leisure activities, close proximity to historical and cultural sites and the professionalism of the staff, the Gran Almirante Hotel wins in competition.