Global Day of Discovery at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino

This post has been sponsored by Marriott. All opinions are my own. 

One of the highlights of 2017 has unquestionably been spending three days in the beautiful Dominican Republic, as part of the Renaissance Hotels’ Global Day of Discovery. This spring, nearly 170 Renaissance hotels around the world celebrated the 6th annual Day of Discovery on May 17th, centered around the spirit of the Renaissance including their mission to celebrate the people, neighborhoods, traditions, and cultures that make every location unique and special.

Day One

We started out our journey to the Dominican Republic on a flight from SLC to JFK, the JFK directly to Santo Domingo. Our cab driver, sent to us from the Renaissance, met us at the airport and was incredibly friendly. He gave us a lot of interesting and fun information as we drove about 30 minutes from the airport to the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino.

Upon arrival we were very excited to be promptly introduced to the hotel navigator or concierge staff. Katherine, Kerluis, and Francis were instrumental in helping us situate ourselves and plan everything for our entire stay in Santo Domingo including things to do on and off the property, where to eat, and of course activities planned for the Global Day of Discovery.

After several hours of travel, there is nothing more inviting than arriving to a fresh and spotless room. We absolutely loved our accommodations at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino and decided that regardless of all the great things to do in Santo Domingo, it was vacation enough to relax and spend time in the room. Because we were there to celebrate the Global Day of Discovery, Marriott sent us a special welcome including a thoughtful drink station for homemade lime-coconut beverages, and a spa package with a gift certificate for two massages. Heaven!

Still feeling a little jet-lagged and groggy, we decided to eat something light and refreshing for lunch while enjoying our beautiful view from the room. Our room service at the Renaissance was fast and delicious! We enjoyed a light Caesar salad, fresh bread, and a meat and cheese plate- my kind of lunch!

While Cody caught up with some stuff for work (PS- the wifi signal for our entire stay was amazing. It’s so nice to be able to reply on a good signal while traveling especially when you work remotely.) I spent the better half of the afternoon relaxing by the beautiful pool and reading a book. Could this first day get any better?

After returning to our room and cleaning up (shower was on point- perfect temperature and water pressure #itsthelittlethings) we set out for the lobby of the Renaissance to take part in festivities for the Global Day of Discovery. We instantly were welcomed by the incredible hotel navigator staff including Katherine, Kerluis, and Francis that we had met earlier that day. There was live music, an art display and several hour devours being served on platters- my kind of party!

After mingling with other guests and eating our fair share of appetizers, we made our way outside to the main location for the Day of Discovery celebration. The outside was decorated so vibrantly with colorful lights, stations for more food (yes!), all accompanied by a live DJ who set the ambiance for a fun a festive night. We enjoyed sampling different food items, dancing to the awesome music, and meeting another influencer, Caroline, who was also at the Renaissance in celebration for the Day of Discovery. Day one in Santo Domingo was definitely a success!

Day Two

Day two in Santo Domingo was a day filled with sightseeing. Thanks to navigator Kerluis, we were able to spend the better part of the seeing several of the historical highlights of Santo Domingo! It was fascinating to learn about Christopher Columbus and the history behind the development of the Dominican Repulic. We were able to visit the place of his burial, his son’s home, and see original walls built around the city. I also really enjoyed getting a chance to look at the Cathedral of Santa Maria la Menor, the first cathedral built in the Americas.

After spending the better part of the day seeing so many fascinating places in Santo Domingo, we took some time for a delicious authentic Dominican meal. If you know me, you know that eating well when traveling is an absolute priority.  I enjoyed one of the most popular dishes in the Dominican Republic, known as “the flag” including rice, beans, and meat. Avocado, plantains, eggs, and salami are often included in typical Dominican meals also. It was simple yet so delicious!

Our hotel navigator at the Renaissance helped direct us to all of the great local spots for the entire duration of our trip! Francis from the hotel navigator has a true passion for food and eating out, so we connected really well instantly. At the end of our second day in the Dominican Republic, she accompanied us to one of the absolute best restaurants in Santo Domingo, El Mason De La Cava– a restaurant in a cave! The restaurant highlighted several upscale dishes perfect for a nice evening out including appetizers, soup and salad, and several house specialty entrees. My favorite of them all was the grilled salmon fillet- exceptional!

Day Three

It wouldn’t be vacation without sleeping in a little. Day three at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino was kicked off with a lazy morning and a delicious, light breakfast. I especially loved being able to enjoy the tropical fresh fruit and local meats and cheeses. Because breakfast is 100% the most important meal of the day!

After a plate (or two) or breakfast and packing a small day bag, we headed to the beach for the day! There aren’t too many beaches right in the heart of Santo Domingo, so we took a 30 minute drive to one of the best nearby beaches, recommended by our hotel navigator, Club Hemingway near Boca Chica! Our hotel navigator Katherine has an affinity for the ocean and loves spending time at the beach, so she decided to accompany us for a gorgeous and relaxing day at Club Hemingway. This was the perfect thing to do after a busy sightseeing day.

There was something for everyone at Club Hemmingway- a clean, immaculate pool with pool side service, to a beautiful, spotless beach with a beautiful boardwalk leading up to an oceanside restaurant. The combination of beach + food + sunshine is hard to top! Katherine helped me look over the menu and choose some of the more popular, local dishes. It was so fun trying everything!

Just like all of our time in Santo Domingo, day three came and went exceptionally fast! Before we knew it, it was time to get ready and pack our bags. Cody and I ended our incredible trip to the Dominican Republic in the best way possible- with massages. After sightseeing for the past few days, it was so nice to relax and enjoy some time at the spa.

Our experience in Santo Domingo and staying at the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino couldn’t have been better. Everything from the spotless room to the pool to the incredible navigator recommendations absolutely made our trip! It was such an honor to celebrate the Day of Discovery with guests from all over the world. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Santo Domingo, the Renaissance comes with my highest of recommendation. It will unquestionably be our place to stay for every visit we take to Santo Domingo! A huge thank you to the incredible staff at  the Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel & Casino and also to Marriott Rewards for allowing us to enjoy an unforgettable experience.

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