The Soft Opening was Definitely Great but the Grand Opening…
well, let me just say in my most humble of opinions, I found it to be GRAND!! I mean it is sensational! I check in and to my delight, every staff member that I’ve met this past June are still there- more on them later. I head to my suite and was knocked over by the sheer magnificence of it all. I decided to do a video right there and then:
I was famished from my flight and decided to drop off my bags and head to the NEW Club Lounge!
Now I’m no stranger to Club Lounges. It usually is the best financial option for breakfast, substantial midday snacks, a cocktail hour or two, and coffees & teas all day. I knew that from my travels so I thought, “Now, Marriot’s Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel has a Club Lounge- okay, let me see the lovely room, get a cappuccino and maybe a piece of pastry while I watch some tennis.”
First of all, it’s NOT just a “lovely room,” it’s a very large space that is about 2 to 3 times the size of most swanky café lounges in New York City. It is beautiful, modern, and very chic! They have intimate seating for couples as well as wonderful seating to accommodate large families. The colors and style of the furniture pieces just make you feel like you’re sitting inside a page of a style magazine. My favorite piece was this large sharing table outfitted with fruits, muffins, and even candies just begging for me to sample them. What a great place to gather with family or friends before heading out to an excursion or before heading out on the town. After being pleased that there were large flat screen TVs everywhere (I did want to catch tennis) I decided to check out the afternoon snacks. Now I wouldn’t call these “snacks” at all, they were more like Midday Offerings! We’re talking fresh fruit & cheese platters and seafood canapes. Cute mini sandwich wraps and small bowls of Caprese salad (fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil) were there for the taking. They also had salmon skewers and other hors d’ oeuvres- I had chicken dumplings but I also saw pork belly and beef apps. I had the opportunity to try the myriad of desserts- berry cheesecakes, chocolate cake, flan, and even fruit tarts. These “snacks” could very well have been “lunch.” I never did get to watch tennis that first day. I was too mesmerized taking in the panoramic views of Santo Domingo that the Club Lounge offers. You may even go outside onto the Club Lounge deck and take in the tropical breeze. Club Lounge Mini Clip
Besides being an amazing place to relax, the Club Lounge is a great place to work. As a travel journalist, you spend a lot of time in your room writing as I did in my previous trip at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel. The Club Rooms offer a large beautiful space I grew accustomed to (I want to take home that chair-and-a-half by the window) but the Club Lounge is perfect for business too. There are plenty of spaces to hook up your laptops and mobile devices and there free WI-FI is exceptional. I took a couple of conference calls there and all that my colleagues wanted me to do is “pan the room” so that they could see the amazing lounge. I even showed my Partner the views that include the property’s large pool, tennis courts, and fitness center. The Club Lounge also has a business center within it where you have access to PCs and Printers – a great place to print out boarding passes. I even gave a mini-workshop at the Club Lounge to a small team and it was not only productive, but wonderful. The lounge closes its services at 10pm but Club Members have access 24 hours. Most nights, I just plug in my laptop, use the free WI-FI, and try to catch the tennis game “late-night replays” while sitting comfortably by the cushy window seats. In fact, this is exactly where I am writing this article from now.
Now for me, as always, what makes a hotel “Grande” are its Staff Members. I believe that you can be in an old motel, but if their staff is stellar, than it can make for a great “stay.” Now if you’re in the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel by Marriot, you’re in for top-notch service!
As you check in, you may encounter a wonderful front-desk staff member named Edilly. She’s not only professional and charming in demeanor, but she’s so easy to talk to. She makes you feel comfortable and you also feel like you can ask her just about anything. We became fast friends although she’s young enough to be my daughter and is younger than my own son. jajajaja!
Up in the Club Lounge, my NEW favorite space, you’ll get to know three special staff members – Katherine, Yoel, Tovucelly, and Rachell. Their warm smiles may greet you early during breakfast service or later in the evening where they’ll excitedly ask you, “How was your day?” The restaurant staff are also so hospitable – be sure to check out the bar too for an evening nightcap. A couple of days a week, the sommelier will make specialty cocktails and spirits right in the lobby. Get your camera phones ready to take pictures and videos!
The GM Mike Knights was on his own holiday so I met with his assistant – Fatima! Now this young lady is NOT your average staff member. Don’t get me wrong, they are ALL welcoming, hospitable, professional, friendly and they all make you feel that your wish is their command (like you’d experience at ANY Renaissance Hotel) but you’d want to hang out with Fatima. She’s so cool and on the cusp of art and culture in Santo Domingo, that you just want to experience the Dominican Republic through her eyes. She loves questions and can steer you in the best directions to soak up a little local color. Tell her H. Luiz says hello when and if you see her!
The Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel by Marriott- nowhere else I’d rather be!