Royal House Party at Casa de Campo

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The come from all over the world: Spain, Paris, London, California, Palm Beach, and New York. Quite often, the group includes French countesses and Italian counts; English lords and ladies; prime ministers and ambassadors at large; global titans of industry and finance; and this year…King Juan Carlos I of Spain himself! Some brought their families, while others arrived with a partner, or comfortably solo. And they all had one thing in common—they were anxious to enjoy a unique Caribbean house party, held at the ever-more-chic Casa de Campo in the sunny and stable Dominican Republic.

Pepe Fanjul has hosted these long weekends with his lovely and gracious wife, Emilia, for over two decades. “There are multiple generations bringing in people from completely different backgrounds and ages and everyone ends up having a great time,” said Fanjul’s daughter Emilia Fanjul Pfeifler. “It’s nice because Casa de Campo has something for everyone”—the golfers, tennis players, equestrian riders, yachtsmen, and crack game shots.

At Casa de Campo, life is less stressful, while the activities are more entertaining—sometimes exhilarating, sometimes relaxing. Before each evening’s dinner, which varies every night in location and theme, guests spend their days on Casa de Campo’s Har-Tru tennis courts, championship polo fields, Pete Dye–designed golf courses, deep-sea fishing for marlin, and of course, in the health spas. It’s a sportsman’s paradise, including a world-class shooting center where a keen gun can shoot properly driven pheasant and partridge, or be challenged by a sporting clay course that features a 110-foot tower! At “The Casa,” it’s easy to get used to the best-of-the-best.

Among the “regulars” at the Fanjul’s coveted House Party are former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and his stunning wife, Mila; Lord Charles Spencer-Churchill and his comely bride, Lady Sarah; Ambassador Earle Mack and his adorable wife, Carol; the eternally beautiful French Countess Christina de Caraman; Middle Eastern financier Wafic Saïd and his exceedingly stylish wife, Rosemary; American industrialist Wilbur Ross and his glamorous author wife, Hilary; Lord William and the divine Lady Annabel Astor; and the hugely successful fund manager Dixon Boardman, to name just a few.

This year, returning to Casa de Campo for the first time in many moons, was the fully recovered and re-energized Juan Carlos I of Spain, a close pal of Pepe Fanjul for over 50 years. Pepe is quick to point out that even among their über group of high-profile guests: “While our conversations cover a wide spectrum of international news, these remain private and within the confines of The Casa”—i.e., what happens in Casa de Campo stays in Casa de Campo. Regardless of their titles, trappings, and protocols, all of the invitees agree that this is a special weekend of Caribbean hospitality and charm that will forever be “booked in ink” on their globetrotting calendars.

“They are always fun,” enthused Fanjul’s daughter Emilia about Casa’s house parties. “Even though it’s a lot of the same people, you’re always talking to someone new. A lot of friendships are made. You’d be surprised how everyone is exchanging emails at the end of the weekend.”