24 Feb The Beach Club
THE BEACH CLUB
A luxury hotel in the Caribbean without a beach, or a Beach Club, for that matter, would be the equivalent of a non-luxury hotel in the Caribbean. When we bought land on a loma we immediately understood that The Peninsula House with its expansive views of the coastline would also need a luxurious beach club on a great slice of beach for our guests. Lucky for us, our chosen part of the Dominican Republic was just starting to be discovered which meant that there were plenty of available waterfront parcels, and land prices, at the time, 20.., were relatively low in comparison to the other islands in the Caribbean basin. Add in the appealing beauty of the empty beaches making it just the right time to look for an opportunity.
Opportunity came knocking, just like it heard our request, when we met a couple of French citizens living on Martinique who had just the kind of slice of beach we were looking for, directly on the Playa Coson, in close proximity to the hotel. It was perfect. After several quick discussions and a signature, we became the proud owners of a 2,000 square meter piece of heaven – which included a four walls and thatched roof structure.
Twelve years ago, when we walked onto the beach, looked right, then left, all we could see was sand, water, and sky – zero people. Today, when we walk onto to the beach and look in both directions we might see ten people and consider it a crowded day.
The acquisition of the beach was the easy part. We needed to build a Beach Club worthy of our hotel and guests. Right away we ditched the bug-infested roof, kept the four walls and floor, enlarged the windows and built out from there. We added two bathrooms, a shower, some storage, a minuscule professional kitchen, and a wraparound terrace. This would become our home for the next 2 years,
Building the restaurant was not with-out incident – two months in we had the small hurricane I spoke about in an earlier post which left access to our property almost nonexistent. We sent our faithful incagado, Nino to check on the property and our new construction early in the afternoon following the storm, when we felt it was safe to go in. However, he had to walk the last 4 kilometers to our site because the roads were impassable. He found our construction site relatively safe – one downed coconut tree, and the watchman/cook hired to protect the construction material and feed the crew, safe but a little soggy and shaken as he had spent the entire night in our newly built cistern because his usual residence, a little makeshift cocina had simply blown apart with the storm.
Fast Forward two years:
When we moved out of the beach club and up to the big house we simply took out our bed and personal belongings – then installed a mahogany bar which we stocked with local rums and fresh juices, added some tables and chairs, art work, and a tropical, beachy-style menu which emphasized locally sourced products, and flavors.
For example, arriving diners are immediately greeted with a bowl of roasted, salted coconut flakes – our way of saying buenas dias – to open their appetites to grilled local fish, lobster, and langostino with mango butter, pasta dishes with or without seafood, a very good burger, Thai rice with shrimp from the bay of Samaná, salads with or without added seafood, house made ice creams including to-die-for chocolate ( made with Dominican chocolate), brownies, and flan, et Voila! – Instant Beach Club – so to speak – our own beachside bar and restaurant, The Peninsula House Beach Club was born.
BTW – should you fall asleep on a chaise planted at the ocean’s edge, Luca will send someone to remind you that it’s time to eat.
Hasta la playa – Cary