Santo Domingo’s Ciudad Colonial is the oldest European settlement in the new world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Because of this, the area is rich with architectural, cultural and historical treasures like the first cathedral, hospital, and university in the Americas. The town itself is a virtual museum filled with ancient monuments, enchanting nightlife and romantic colonial mansions. In this location, Casas del XVI, an eight-room luxury boutique hotel, will be opening up in March 2014.
Built inside three individual houses dating from the 16th century, the new residences—Casa del los Barcos, Casa del los Mapas and Casa del Arbol—make up the old neighborhood created by the island's earliest European settlers. They all maintain the integrity of their original architecture while offering guests updated accommodations and modern amenities.
The interior of each house focuses on the area’s international influences and honoring the Dominican culture with a different theme in each home. Maps, navigation and pineapples (a symbol of hospitality) are all various décor themes within the buildings. During the early expeditions to the Americas, Pilot Alonso Perez Roldan, a traveler with Christopher Columbus, inhabited the Barcos house which is the two-story suite now. The other two homes have a total of seven more guestrooms.
A mixture of colonial charm and local artwork fill the residences which feature cozy interiors, handcrafted local and international furniture, and modern sophistication. A personal butler also attends to guest’s needs. At Casa del Arbol, a cigar bar, library and Spanish-style courtyard add to its allure, while the outside of Casa del los Mapas is an outdoor dining area and pool in Casa del los Mapas. Across the way, local art exhibitions line the walls of Casa de los Barcos.
Pre-opening rates start at $225 per night and include daily à la carte breakfast prepared each morning by the butler at either Casa del los Mapas or Casa del Arbol. Meals must be arranged ahead of time in Casa del los Barcos. Guests can also choose from a variety of excursions such as Old City guided strolls, a flavors of the city tour and tasting series at the area’s finest restaurants, or a rum experience at the historic Ron Barcelo distillery.