A wonderful Caribbean New Year
Finally we leave for the Dominican Republic – quite an exciting departure for our family, heading for the sunshine instead of the snow, and Punta Cana was beckoning… We were joining a good friend of ours, Lucy Doughty, who has a beautiful home on the ocean. After the weather London has been serving up with alarming regularity, I was desperate for some sunshine. Our good friend Tim Attias was also coming with us and we were joining the even more mad Spiros (Arabella & Glen). So far so promising.
We unfortunately travel with obscene amounts of luggage and as I had no clue what to take I had left nothing to chance! Violet was thrilled to be re-united with her friends Skyla and Sienna (Spiro) and the house was a child’s paradise – shallow turquoise waters and soft, powdery sand galore. Sand castles were constructed with haste.
The first night we were off to Casa de Campo to see a Julio Iglesias concert at their beautiful amphitheatre. Well we were told to dress casual and on arrival we looked like the shoddy relations. South Americans are chic and the women really do look put together. Hair had been done and full make-up was definitely the norm…We had spectacular seats – almost able to touch the holy man himself! As we walked to our seats we were introduced to the seriously dashing and divinely talented designer Oscar de la Renta who was the guest of honour and next to him was another star from the Fashion world, Carolina Herrera. I have met her a few times before and she always looks immaculate with a capital I. As the lights dimmed Julio’s younger wife Miranda slipped in and sat next to Oscar. When Julio came onto the stage the packed amphitheatre went tonto! It was great to see him perform all his classic love songs in Spanish as he really does speak the language of Love. He also has three backing singers. When I say backing singers I mean knockout girls who do a sort of wiggle and a samba and coo a lot! My goodness I couldn’t take my eyes off them.
The show was quite wonderful and the next thing we had the President of Haiti stand up and make his way to the stage. Yes, he and Julio turn out to be huge friends and fans of each other and they even performed a couple of duets!! Quite surreal. Luckily the crowd were super orderly when it came time to leave. We then headed off to a fabulous house where we were rather rude – starving hungry we said our ‘hellos’ to our host and our friends Fawaz Gruosi from De Grisogono and his sexy squeeze Valerie and then literally stormed the buffet. It was a huge outside dining room filled with every kind of delicacy you can imagine and we all just went a bit nuts! A hugeTurkey, Italian pastas, crab jumbo, lobster… The dessert table was absolutely beautiful too – decorated with candy canes and roses as if we were at a wedding. Mini tiramisus were light and too sumptuous to refuse. Out of nowhere a gaggle of ex-Berlusconi babes arrived and the dance floor was suddenly jumping with seriously expert salsa dancers. I decided the boys had had enough eye candy for the night and rather meanly packed us all off home.
The day of New Years Eve arrived and we were all consumed with Lucy’s pre-party for the kid’s. I have never seen as much candy, 2013 sparkly hats or hooters. She had even got a couple of mechanical mules to sit the kids on. However the piñata was her coup de force. All our girls took to bashing the poor tinkerbell with a frenzy. Never have they had such uncontrolled fun… the only tears came when the sweets finally littered the floor and the little ones weren’t quite so savvy at collecting their stash. We finally headed off to get ready and returned suited and booted ready to bring the New Year in. I was in my trusted Missoni, Arabella in coral Pucci and Lucy in Jenny Packham. We jumped into the cars and arrived at our party as the heavens opened…Defying the naughty rain we had fun. Lots of champagne flowed as we all got into a festive spirit wearing silly hats and trying to get with the salsa programme. The count down began and suddenly we were kissing total strangers and watching fireworks! All very different to Gstaad I must say!
Amazingly we all woke up without hangovers and headed off for a spot of dolphin swimming in the sea. Lucy had arranged a private swim with the owner of the local aquarium and as you can only imagine the girls were super excited. It was the perfect New Year’s day excursion and watching Violet feed a dolphin calledIsis was a moment to treasure. The swim was out in the sea and although I do believe that animals should be left in the wild we had a great experience. Watching Giorgio pretend he wanted to hold onto the dorsal fin and swim around made me laugh out loud!
Our last lunch was a feast with a beautiful table at a fabulous restaurant called “The Palapa” at the Eden Rock hotel. Endless plates of fresh seafood and carpaccio’s of shrimp and mahi mahi made ourCaribbean adventure complete. I must personally recommend the gazpacho – it was to die for delicious…
Unbeknownst to me Giorgio had one last treat in store before we left – a sunset horse ride! Now even I would know this is a silly reality – horses are dangerous and unpredictable but hey ho he was so enthusiastic… Vivi and I helmeted up and headed off with a Dominican boy who naturally spoke no English! A great start. Vivi is besotted with horses and has had many pony rides but to say she rides is a slight stretch… Likewise I can ride but as my tired pony got the bit between his teeth so to speak and decided to see who was the boss, I could sense we were in for an interesting hour! The whole thing was a tad chaotic and even better when Giorgio joined us cowboy style riding in flipflops!! Did I mention marrying an Italian is never dull?? Thankfully our ride was a success and apart from a couple of jitters and being taken off into a swampy forest we loved it. The enormous smile on Violet’s face as we headed back along the beach to the house one last time made it all the more magical. Thank you the Dominican Republic for a very special holiday.
Off to Miami for some last sunshine…
Happy New Year!