It's not often that one of the world's most well knownand respected fashion designers decides to step outside the drawing room and off the runway and into the world of design travel. Though it’s commonplace for an interior designer to lend his name and expertise to the decor of a hotel or resort—there’s the Kelly Wearstler-designed Viceroy in Miami and the Christian Lacroix-designed Hotel du Petit Moulin in Paris, for example—for a fashion designer to do so is outside the norm.
But no one ever said Oscar de la Renta was just any fashion designer. The Dominican Republic-born designer has a residence on property at the luxury Puntacana Resort & Spa, the main property to the boutique and more intimate Tortuga Bay Resort & Spa. It’s the latter, though, that bears de la Renta’s signature design aesthetic—luxurious and refined—with a touch of casual Caribbean comfort. As a member of the Leading Hotels of the World and the only AAA Five Diamond-awarded hotel in the Dominican Republic, Tortuga Bay boasts just thirteen luxuriously appointed villas along a private three-mile stretch of white sand beach. It’s the perfect setting for the designer’s pet project, where he showcases a mutual respect for both his Caribbean heritage and his high-fashion lifestyle.
The plantation-style interiors of Tortuga Bay—from the alfresco lobby to the luxurious oceanfront suites just steps
from the white sand beach—is where de la Renta pays homage to the privacy and sense of calm the designer loves deeply about the Dominican Republic. Working closely with architect Rhina López Marranzini and Dominican Republic-based designer Aurora de la Rocha, de la Renta established a playful yet sophisticated color palette of white, beige, and yellows, which add warmness, calmness, and simplicity to the rooms. The backdrop of the crystal-clear, turquoise-blue Caribbean water serves as the perfect complement to an otherwise wholly neutral aesthetic—which is exactly what de la Renta had in mind when he made the serene setting the focus of this intimate yet luxurious property.
But it’s the addition of locally sourced materials such as wicker, sea grass, and mahogany, which were used to create the custom chairs, rugs, four-poster beds, and all other furniture in the suites all made by artisans from the Dominican Republic that are the highlight of the property. Rustic natural elements mesh seamlessly with white walls and crisp, white 350-count Frette linens while pops of color are scattered throughout. It’s the perfect coupling in paradise.
Design was not the only focus when Tortuga Bay was dreamed of. While relaxation is one of the key elements to this luxury property, adventure is also an integral part of what makes Tortuga Bay so appealing. (Regarding the former, the Six Senses spa on property is exquisite, featuring an extensive spa menu and indoor and outdoor relaxation areas overlooking the turquoise-blue water and white sand beach.) Professional golfers come to Tortuga Bay to play its forty-five holes of championship golf boasting six oceanfront and fourteen ocean-view holes on the Tom Fazio-designed Corales and P.B. Dye’s La Cana. Set between rocky cliffs, coral reefs, and the expansive Caribbean Sea, Corales is the true draw to Tortuga Bay. The ocean, inland lakes, natural cliffs, and coralina quarries prove to be impressive if not challenging obstacles for even the most experienced golfer.
For those who don’t hit the greens, the property offers half- and full-day excursions that allow you to experience Punta Cana and the Dominican Republic fully. Between zip-lining the island jungles and exploring the Dominican Republic’s natural caves to horseback riding on the beach and snorkeling the nearby reefs, there are ample opportunities to leave the chaise lounge behind in favor of adventure.
But while de la Renta has certainly put his touch on the property, it’s an understated elegance that makes Tortuga Bay so special. From the serene privacy to the elegantly-appointed suites, Tortuga Bay is a can’t-miss destination on the growing island of Dominican Republic.
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