Americans planning a trip to the Dominican Republic are often given all kinds of advice on what to and not to do upon arrival. Advice columns are filled with cautionary tales advising travelers not to drink the water from the tap, and where to and not to go in order to stay safe. Though the Dominican Republic has been called a third world country, many familiar comforts can be found in the country, especially in the capital of Santo Domingo.
The Dominican Republic is on the ascendency. The country seems to be growing by leaps and bounds, with foreign investments pouring in. In the capital of Santo Domingo – the 50’s themed burger and fries restaurant Johnny Rocket’s has just built and opened their largest location in the world. Also, in the capital can be found numerous familiar chains. Both McDonald’s and Burger King have locations in Santo Domingo, as do Tony Roma’s and Outback Steakhouse. Though the eateries are by no means ubiquitous, familiar food options can be found without much hassle.
Santo Domingo also has numerous shopping centers where even the most discerning shopper can find cool clothing and gift options. Among the largest are Plaza Central and Mega Centro. Blue Mall and Acropolis are in the more upscale area of Santo Domingo – with Blue Mall featuring a full scale Louis Vuitton store. The newest megamall to open, Agora Mall, is only the latest in a series of shopping centers to open in the capital, and will soon be eclipsed by an even larger mall.
Luxury hotel accommodations have not kept pace with the development of shopping centers in Santo Domingo. The majority of options for hotel include small to medium sized locally and foreign owned hotels, with some being international chains. This, however, is soon to change. The Marriott Company recently announced that the company will build a 131 room hotel, under their luxury JW Marriott brand, on the site of Blue Mall. The hotel is expected to be completed and open in 2014.