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The Rosen Report: Casa de Campo-Amenities and Great Value for a Luxury Vacation

April 5, 2022
Eric Rosen

Opening Comments

After almost no air travel for over two years, I have flown 8 times in one month. I just struggle breathing when wearing a mask for hours. I hope they do away with the requirement for planes and airports soon. The US is now running about 10% below the TSA checkpoint numbers from pre-pandemic, but 14 times more than the same date from 2020 as outlined in the chart below.

The last report was entitled, “The Most Interesting Man In The World,” and it received a lot of attention. I had heard from women intrigued and wanted to learn more, and I heard from men who were in awe of the amazing legend of Johnny P. Some suggested a future video of the day with me in Depends going up in his stunt helicopter or fighter plane. Although it would make for good TV, I would lose far too much street cred crapping in my pants on camera. I’ll pass. Monopoly anyone?

Friday, a long-time friend and senior Wall Street trader came to Florida for a conference to visit, and I spent the afternoon with him. He was a Navy Seal who served multiple tours in Afghanistan and he is about 8 years my junior. We worked out together. Yes, I got him on pull-ups, but he smoked me on everything else. My legs are sore, and I am waddling rather than walking. He is a bad-ass and a tri-athlete and proved to me I need more leg days. Thank you for your service to our country.

Today’s note has less Quick Bite segments, but a few are longer, as I feel they are important. Hope you enjoy. Jumping on a plane soon to return from Memphis.

  • Pictures of the Day-Nice Fishing in Rough Conditions

  • Casa de Campo-Amenities and Great Value for a Luxury Vacation

  • Quick Bites

    • Market Color/Markets,

    • Stock and Bonds Tough 1st Q

    • Biden Releasing SPR (Oil)

    • Work From Home

    • 7 Missing Hours, NOT

    • Don’t Say Gay Bill

  • Other Headlines

  • Virus/Vaccine

    • Data-Improvements Continue, but 10 States Seeing Cases Increase

  • Real Estate

    • General Comments

    • Palm Beach “Youthquake”

  • Hamptons High End Rental Market

  • US Condo Craziness (Miami and NYC Discussed Too)

Pictures of the Day-Nice Fishing in Rough Conditions

Given my travel, I had not fished in a couple weeks. In the winter and spring, conditions are spotty with high winds. I decided to make a run for it, with my friend, Dustin, despite challenging conditions (3-5ft seas). When we went through the inlet, the waves were pounding the boat, and the wind was 25mph. I lost my Scales hat in the inlet as we were going out to sea given a wave came over the transom at the time of a large gust. Bad hair day as a result. We caught a nice bull and cow dolphin (aka mahi) and a solid wahoo and came in as we were drenched. All were caught trolling. My freezer is full of fillets despite making a healthy portion of wahoo cevice and mahi tacos with homemade aoli.

Casa de Campo-Amenities and Great Value for a Luxury Vacation

Those long-time readers know that the my family had not taken a vacation since the pandemic began. They also know that I am frugal and hate wasting stupid money on hotel rooms.  I had heard of Casa de Campo, but had never been.  I booked a 3 bedroom/3 bathroom villa through the website in early February for the end of March break.  I struggled getting through on the phone to book golf and excursions via phone or email. I was connected with senior management through my sister’s friend. That connection ended up being a huge bonus as we received perks and were treated incredibly well during our stay.  The four of us were upgraded from a 3/3 to a 5/6 villa which could have easily slept 10-12 people.  It was a little tired in places, but I could have lived there for two months, unlike a traditional hotel room.

The facility is 7,000 acres and has something for everyone. Let me put this into perspective for you. For those New Yorkers, it is 8.3x the size of Central Park. For those in South Florida, it is approximately 35 times the size of the Boca Resort and 50 times the size of the Breakers in Palm Beach.  It is gated and safe, and we only left the resort once to ride dune buggies. It was fine, but overpriced for the experience.  

The amenities at Casa de Campo BLOW away the competition. Again, compared to Florida resorts, it is an unfair fight. CDC offers 90 golf holes (27 are private). One of the courses, Teeth of the Dog, is rated #34 in the world (#7 in Caribbean) and another, Dye Fore is a very legit 27-hole facility. There is every water sport available, world-class fishing, massive horse stables, polo, tennis, pools, basketball, shooting range, 8 restaurants, beautiful beaches, snorkeling, shopping and a huge marina. It is also a fraction of the price of the Florida resorts mentioned for accommodations and excursions. If I lived in the Northeast or Midwest and was looking for a high-end vacation at a good value, I would 100% check out Casa de Campo. I understand the prices for the winter vacation are almost double that of spring break, so something to consider. Also, this would be a great destination for a group meeting or event.

The restaurants are shockingly good and again relatively inexpensive for resorts.  My two favorites are SBG at the marina and a Mexican restaurant called Chilango, which is in Altos de Chavon. It is a small re-creation of a 16th century Mediterranean style village at the top of a large elevation with amazing views.

Everything is quite casual. I was told one restaurant required pants for men and Jack and I were the only two idiots wearing pants. Everyone else was in shorts. Again, it was a good dining experience at La Cana despite the wardrobe miscommunication.  

When you go on a family trip, every family member does not want do the same thing at the same time. Casa de Campo gave Jack the option to play world class golf (most resorts have terrible golf) while Julia met friends at the beach.  There is something for everyone and the overall service was good enough for me.  One critique on golf was despite amazing views (nearly Pebble Beach), great layout and condition, the greens were a bit slower than I felt they should be for a course of this magnitude.  The practice facility was good enough with an excellent short game area, but I would have liked to see higher quality golf balls on the range.

Teeth of the Dog

Dye Fore (marina in the background)

Now the constructive criticism.  I had a challenge in booking restaurants and excursions prior to arrival until the manager got involved, and then it was easy. I was told other patrons had a similar experience. The place is a bit overwhelming at 7,000 acres as the signage could be improved. You can easily get lost driving around on the golf carts provided to guests. Another benefit is no rental car needed, given rooms get two golf carts which seat 4 people each. I never saw the hotel rooms, but understand some are a bit underwhelming. I would rent a villa to have the best experience. I enjoyed staying in a villa and having laundry done. But the villa we stayed in was spacious, but a little tired. This did not bother me. I am told it would have been worth approximately $2.5mm if it were for sale.

Casa de Campo has many big hitters who own homes:  Bloomberg, Fanjul family (own CDC), John Henry (Red Sox owner), Mark Anthony, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Sammy Sosa, Bill Clinton, J-Lo, Pitbull, Shikara, Lawrence Culp Jr (CEO of GE) and many others. Jeff Bezos left the day I came as he parked his yacht at the impressive marina.  My point is, uber wealthy people live and vacation there. However, my biggest disappointment is Casa de Campo allows an “All you can eat/drink” crowd which is approximately 25% of the business.  I would have thought it was 10%, when I was there, but there was definitely a heavy drinking crowd of young people at the beach which resulted in some obnoxious guests.  Traveling internationally also adds a wrinkle, especially with COVID protocols and the need to be tested to return to the US. Lastly, although the gym is fine, the equipment was a bit tired for a facility of this magnitude. I am told they have ordered new equipment which will be coming soon. Although the property is almost 50 years old, they continue to remodel and spend to improve it. There is a $90mm capital expenditure going on right now to add rooms as well as a new destination spa, health and wellness center.

The Rosen family would go back for sure and plan to do so.  What I think would be fun is to rent a large home for two families. Villas come with a housekeeper and a butler.  Buffet breakfast was included and was impressive, but the housekeeper would make breakfast for you if asked and is included in the villa price. The lunch buffet was less appealing and costs $190 for a family of four and underwhelmed on quality.  Also included in the price of the villa is bottles of water, fresh fruit plates and snacks, which was nice.

On pricing, we paid $9,500 for 5 nights+ another $2,500 on food, golf, excursions. I also spent approximately $1,000 on tips. Yes, this sounds pricey, but relative to what is available over spring break, it is shockingly cheap for what was to be a house with breakfast and two golf carts included. It also came with a full-time house keeper and a butler! At The Breakers, you would spend $2,000-3,000+ for a room with two beds.  Don’t get me started on the price of food or amenities at the Breakers, as it is almost double Casa de Campo.  Wine is overpriced, but the mixed drinks were incredibly reasonable on the vacation. A Patron Silver margarita was $13. Go check the price at any other resort and it is likely double or more.  A reader stayed at the Montage in Deer Valley while my family was in Casa de Campo and a room with two double beds was $2,700/night with taxes and fees. Don’t even ask for a bottle of water, ski rentals or lessons/lift tickets, as they are offensively priced.

No, Casa de Campo is not without flaws, but the ability to rent a villa with a full kitchen, housekeeper and laundry for the effective cost of a room in the mountains or a Florida resort make it worth the trip. This was one of our two kitchens for perspective. You also do not need to rent a car which is nice. These are all the pictures of the villa. In the end, we had two years without a family vacation and I realized how much I missed them. My kids will be out of the house soon, and it was nice to enjoy time away together. If flying privately, there is a private airport very close by. Given, I now know the senior management, they agreed to give me the email address to handle VIP clients. If you are smart enough to be a Rosen Report reader, you now have access to help navigate and plan your stay. Reach out to Miram Sanchez (mi.sanchez@ccampo.com.do). She was amazing for my family. Let her know the Rosen Report sent you, and I am sure you will get some special treatment. We are likely going back next spring.

10 Links to Help You Plan Your Trip to Casa de Campo

1.     Full Contact info with direct phone numbers for all departments

2.      Official US Embassy Covid restrictions for the Dominican Republic

3.      How to get to the Resort

4.      There are All Inclusive Package options

5.      Current Offers and Promotions

6.      The best rates are in the summer when you Book Early

7.      Booking Group Meetings

8.      Full list of Resort Amenities

9.      Dining options at the resort

10.  Resort Covid Guidelines

Quick Bites

  • Market color from Oppenheimer: Friday’s payroll number came in a touch light but still robust enough to keep the Fed undeterred.  The release came with slightly higher avg. hourly earnings and a slightly lower unemployment rate.  Additionally, ISM manufacturing missed by a pretty wide margin and decelerated from last month, and ISM prices paid printed much hotter than expectations and well above last month. Stocks were modestly higher on Friday as investors assessed a new quarter of trading and a troublesome bond market recession indicator. Another interesting development to keep an eye on is what fed funds futures are pricing in out to 2023-2024.  The market had been pricing in 50 bps of CUTS for some time now, now they are close to pricing in 75 bps of CUTS.  They show the peak fed funds rate slightly above 3% now and 2024 rates below 2.5%. 

  • Two stories showing a challenging first quarter for stocks and bonds. For the first quarter, the Dow and S&P 500 closed down 4.6% and 4.9%, respectively. The Nasdaq lost 9%. The NASDAQ lost $1.99 trillion in the quarter, and the 2nd chart shows the worst performers. For the three major averages, this was worst period since the first quarter of 2020, which marked the start of the Covid pandemic in the U.S. and saw the S&P 500 tumble 20%. The start of a rate hiking cycle from the Federal Reserve, high inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine all contributed to the struggles for equities this quarter. U.S. bonds’ worst quarter in more than 40 years has come to a close. The Bloomberg U.S. Aggregate bond index—largely U.S. Treasurys, highly rated corporate bonds and mortgage-backed securities—returned minus 6% in 2022 through Wednesday. Yields on short to medium-term Treasury Bonds—which rise when their prices fall—have logged their biggest quarterly gains in decades, with the two-year yield rising the most since 1984 and the five-year yield the most since 1987. However, oil was +36.5% for the 1st quarter.

  • In my last note, I included some headlines around Trump and 7 missing hours of phone logs around the events from January 6th. I wrote, “This is concerning if true,” so at least I had the suggestion that it was not yet fact. The damning headlines were in dozens of media outlets and I presumed there was some truth. Unlike the media, I try to correct misinformation in the Rosen Report. CNN is reporting all logs are accounted for and the countless headlines in question are not true. If CNN is reporting something positive on Trump, you know it is true as they despise him. Below were headlines and Tweets from various sources about the now disproven phone logs. How many will retract and set the record straight? Look at Bob Woodward’s comment. How many times has the media been wrong about major issues and then does not correct it. Very hard to believe them at this point. This is a link to Trump related media failures on Russia. Again, this happens on both sides.

Other Headlines

  • A $300,000 Dolce & Gabbana Tiara You Can Only Wear in the Metaverse

    • Readers seem to appreciate these crazy stories. Anyone dumb enough to spend $300k for a tiara in the metaverse needs to have their head examined.

  • Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel Takes Home Hollywood’s Biggest Payday

  • Apple TV Is Sitting on a $120 Mil Will Smith Movie for Fall, Plus Investors in His Company May Be Holding a $60 Mil Bag

    • I hope it bombs. I refuse to ever pay to see another Wil Smith movie and hope others follow suit. He is now officially dead to me, but for the record, the movie, Hitch, was hysterical.

  • Apple employees say they'll quit over Tim Cook's return to office push

    • I prefer a hybrid model, but the new rules have some employees quite upset.

  • Facebook parent company backtracks on requiring COVID booster for workers coming to office

  • Deutsche Bank spares worker who admitted to spending corporate funds at strip club

    • Idiots. They should all be fired for being stupid.

  • A key inflation gauge sets 40-year high as gas and food soar

  • SPAC Tied to Trump’s Social Media Venture Sinks as Downloads Slump 95%

  • Kim’s sister enraged by Seoul’s preemptive strike comments

  • Border agents brace for surge, say Biden admin has ‘no plan’ with Title 42 set to be lifted

    • I am opposed to such a policy shift. I am for strong borders. I am not opposed to immigration, but not supportive of illegal immigration. There is a process to follow. This makes zero sense to me.

  • NYU tour groups harassed by homeless in Greenwich Village

    • Read this article and tell me that you would want to attend this school if you took this tour. This hits close to home as I lived in the Village for 10 years, 150 yards from Washington Square Park. My kids grew up in that park, and I saw the deterioration first hand. Leadership matters. Below is a picture of Jack sleeping on the swings in Washington Square Park in 2007. We would be unable to do this today given the drugs and crime.

    • Man struck on head with machete at Penn Station subway stop

  • Virus/Vaccine

    • Data is improving, but the case reductions have slowed sharply recently. We are seeing single digit reductions in case growth, after a period of pronounced declines. Of note, I looked at individual state charts and found 10 states actually seeing slight upticks in cases and some decent upticks in positivity in the past week. NY and Florida are on that list. The good news, the gains are from a very low base, but something to keep an eye on. You can track state by state data on this link. Deaths continue to fall more dramatically after a period of being sticky.

    Real Estate

    • Despite the move in rates, many markets remain hot. I spoke with someone from Memphis and a house built in 2020 of 4,500 ft, on just shy of an acre, went on the market for $725k. In an hour, there were 11 offers and it sold for $753k last week. I do believe housing prices will cool given the rates increase and what has become unaffordable in many cases. Some are calling for a crash. I am not there yet, but believe this insanity will slow. A friend and reader bought an apartment in South Beach. Months later, he called me and asked if he should buy the apartment next door and I screamed, “YES!” Within a year (no combination of units) a broker told him he can get double what he paid. I spoke with representatives of Panther National. I have written about this Palm Beach Gardens property extensively in the past two months. There are 218 homes being built with amazing amenities and golf, but it is quite far west. There are now reservations on 220 homes (exceeding the # available) in a little over 2 months since opening for reservations. I put my reservation down one week after they started taking them, and I am #59. Obviously, some buyers will fall away. Price point is $3.5-10mm. You can see the full write up in my report dated 1/23/22 entitle, “Puff Piece.” The lack of quality inventory in South Florida is truly remarkable. I am seeing a slight uptick from ridiculously low inventory levels, but I see a lot of aspirational pricing.

      • This article is entitled, “Palm Beach Gets a Younger Grove.” When I moved down 5 years ago, I never considered Palm Beach Island seriously, as I felt it was too old of a crowd. My how things have changed. South Florida is no longer just for blue-haired people with walkers. The number of families and younger professionals who have moved down is crazy. Recently, a private equity partner (32 years old) moved down with his wife (no kids). This is not the kind of family who moved down prior to the pandemic. The look at a recent trivia night at the Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Fla., was anything but trivial. The crowd of 20 to 30-somethings skewed surprisingly young for a cloistered resort town that is known for its septuagenarian snowbirds, discriminatory private clubs, old-money socialites and former President Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Social observers have called it a “youthquake.” The social face-lift is not limited to the Colony. The narrow island of Palm Beach — 16 miles long with many billionaires according to a 2021 Forbes ranking and a median sale price for a single-family home of about $9.9 million according to Redfin — has drawn young arrivistes from New York City and elsewhere, who fled during the pandemic.

    • Article about summer Hamptons rentals being hard to come by this year. I enjoyed the Hamptons when I went for almost 20 years, but cannot fathom going for more than a few days at a time now. It is so horribly congested and lacks the infrastructure for the volume of people today. Last summer, I nearly had a nervous breakdown going .7 miles to a boxing class. After 35 minutes, I parked my car and ran to not miss the class.  It is beautiful there, but too stressful for me to enjoy it. Data from the Hamptons real estate listings site Out East also pointed to a dearth of high-end inventory. Of the 1,359 rentals currently available on the site for a Memorial Day to Labor Day rental, 44% are cheaper than $100,000 while 2% are between $500 and $750,000. Just 0.04% of the market is asking over a $1 million. Covert’s top rental for the summer is a home in the village of Southampton that went for more than $1 million for the season. However, it pales in comparison to the listing he currently has in Bridgehampton with a price tag of $1.65 million for the month of July alone.

    • I found this article on condo prices in the US in the Real Deal. The typical U.S. condominium unit sold for a record $319,000 last month, or 14.6 percent more than a year ago, according to a new report from Redfin. The increase was caused in part by a shortage of listings for houses — whose median price is up to $406,000 — causing home shoppers to look at condos instead. The condo market is still not as cutthroat as that for detached homes. Nearly 75 percent of detached-home sales in February involved bidding wars, compared with just under 65 percent of condo sales. But condos have kept heating up as more buyers are priced out of the detached-home market. Listings remain as rare as they have been in ages. Listings for condos fell 28 percent over the past year, twice as much as for single-family homes, and 40 percent of condos are selling over their asking price. (It is a dramatic shift from the beginning of the pandemic, when remote work and other factors caused sales to drop 48 percent.). The median condo price in Miami rose to $383,000, an increase of nearly 33 percent year-over-year. Inventory fell by roughly 30 percent over the same period. In New York, the median condo price rose by 11 percent to $599,000.

    Eric Rosen
    The Rosen Report
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