During the cold months, there are several wonderful places to visit that are great for a weekend jaunt, cost-effective and gorgeous weather. This 4-Part Article Series will chronicle the culture within the Dominican Republic and all of its beautiful Caribbean culture of the delicious cuisine, fabulous art scene, hotels/bed & breakfast stays, and the Haitian Diaspora.
As a native New Yorker, I would agree, many fall/winter newlyweds often look for a place to honeymoon that is tropical and seems less commonly visited… Although, the fantasy and allure of being a trendsetter with finding a perfect getaway hotspot can be somewhat challenging and expensive, it can work out well traveling to the nearby Dominican Republic.
Visiting the gorgeous Caribbean can offer an array of optional stays at great boutique hotels, AirBnB, and all-inclusive resorts; so be prepared to plan your trip according to what experience you wish to have. Be sure to check all travel websites for customer reviews and call properties for clarification of travel from airport to the property.
Top 5 ‘Must-Haves’ for trip:
2. Dominican Pesos (Inquire with your US bank)
3. WhatsAPP download (Phone App for free international texting)
4. Spanish Phrase Booklet
5. Language Translator App (Phone App)
First stop was the Colonial District of the Capital City, Santo Domingo.
Having never traveled to the Dominican Republic, I was armed with several levels of excitement; hopeful that I would get to experience most of the great things within the land’s Latin-Caribbean culture! Filled with beautiful people, shops of local art, chocolate, pastries and other great restaurants and cafes, I was eager to get to my hotel…
Hotel Saint Nicholas, Calle Merino N. 266, Zona Colonial, Santo Domingo
KEY FACTS: 12 Rooms, Perfect For Wedding Party or Bachelor/Bachelorette Party, Free Breakfast, Must be 18 Yrs, Free Wifi in all public area, Check-In 2pm/Check-Out 12pm
The Hotel Saint Nicholas accomplishes the execution of boutique lodging to PERFECTION! The quaint juxtaposition of Art Deco and Nouveau riche flavour makes for a comfortable and safe and affordable honeymoon getaway. A boutique hotel full of delightful splendor with its own restaurant that serves a magnificent breakfast included with your stay is definitely a diamond amongst so many other jewels.
Just minutes from Calle El Conde (El Conde), named in honour of Count Peñalba who defeated the English in the 17th century. This infamous promenade begins at Parque Colón, continuing to El Conde gate acting as the pedestrian epicenter of shops, financial institutions, restaurants/cafes, and make-shift art exhibits for tourists; also a lovely way to pick up all of your needs and gift items whilst stopping for a bowl of the ‘OH SO GOOD’ Sancocho.
Perhaps the word “epicurean” isn’t completely sufficient for Rodney LoveJones, who often describes himself as the ultimate “Lifestyle Curator”. “I believe in all beautiful things; all the time”, says LoveJones, “Even if supplied with minimal detail, I enjoy the idea that I can create and close on great experiences for clients.”
LoveJones, a native New Yorker, who now resides in Atlanta GA, specializes in creating synergy and partnerships mixing the Art-world & Culinary arenas. He is an art enthusiast and private sales representative for several artists on the rise as well as a Global Sales Rep for a list of American visual artists and celebrated Black Artist and Visual Historian, Charly Palmer.
A man of many talents, LoveJones started his illustrious career in the early ’90s as a fashion stylist for high fashion magazines, music videos, celebrities, and later became a Model/Talent Agent. The fashion industry was his avenue to later move on to magazine publishing and advertising industry. Motivated by his grandfather’s mantra, “know your worth,” this urban-fashionista switched gears in summer 2005 to follow his passion towards the sweet and savory. LoveJones departed a career in magazine publishing to create BILL JONES EPICURE— a highly successful catering company and brand devoted to those with refined taste.
LoveJones captured the attention of many notable clients like President Bill Clinton, Celebrity Makeup Artist Sam Fine, Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, Senator Vincent Hughes, Vanessa L. Williams, and Model-Mogul Tyra Banks with his creations of such palate pleasers as Amaretto Pound Cake, Sweet Potato Cheesecake, Haute ‘Chok-Lit’ quad Layer Cake and a Pecan Tart that does not disappoint true dessert connoisseurs.
In Spring 2012, LoveJones switched gears, leaving the bustling city life and relocating to the sunny beaches of San Diego, California. Settling in the township of Encinitas, LoveJones joined forces with Diana Benedek, PhD. of now-defunct 2GOOD2B Bakery & Café as Chef-Partner and Marketing Director of the only gluten, corn, and soy-free safe haven for those suffering from severe food allergies and health issues. LoveJones took on the task of redesigning the complete line of products and menu of 2GOOD2B’s recipes with one goal in mind: to develop menu items that taste no different from the best restaurants or bakeries nationwide. His award-winning baguette stands as a tribute to his success. Finishing his fourth year, Chef LoveJones has established 2GOOD2B as a tastemaker within a new realm of healthful, conscious eating.
Beauty and style was always his motivation and the connective thread weaved through his personal and professional ambitions. Summer 2020 kicks off to launch his personal project, “Love Language, byLOVEJONES”, a creative avenue to showcase food, art, personal street-style, travel, and youth mentoring.
As a Chef, LoveJones has been showcased in Essence Magazine, San Diego Union Tribune, Zagat,0810 Magazine, Home & Gardens, The Reader San Diego, Fox 5 San Diego, and KUSI San Diego and is a contributing Art & Lifestyle Editor for World Bride Magazine.