Last Updated on March 21, 2023

“If these walls could talk” may be an overused expression, but when a hotel is more than 500-years old, there isn’t a better way to describe the feeling. Such is the case at Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando Santo Domingo.

Built in the year 1502, the elegant Santo Domingo boutique hotel, part of the Hodelpa Hotels property group, is situated in the heart of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic’s historic district, known as the Zona Colonia. The Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando Santo Domingo combines colonial architecture, rich Spanish colonial furnishings and modern luxury providing guests the ultimate small-hotel experience.

The property has even been deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

My spouse and I recently stayed here, delighted to be surrounded by so much history.

History of the Hotel Nicolas Ovando Santo Domingo

Lobby of Hodelpa Nicholas de Ovando Santo Domingo.
Lobby of Hodelpa Nicholas de Ovando Santo Domingo. Photo by Michael Kompanik

Once the residence of Fray Nicolas de Ovando, the first Spanish governor of the Americas and companion of Christopher Columbus, the historic building is comprised of three original stone houses. In 2003, the property was renovated and lovingly transformed into a luxury boutique hotel.

Many original fixtures remain within the Santo Domingo luxury hotel. Throughout the grounds are areas of exposed brickwork, thick wooden ceiling beams, and arched entryways. The 15th century structure includes the original library and billiards room, and several gathering areas.

Old and new converge seamlessly here. Classy, elegant, yet laid-back and charming, everything about the hotel and grounds made us feel welcomed and comfortable, with a warm sense that we had selected the perfect home base for our Santo Domingo explorations.

Santo Domingo Boutique Hotel

Each of the 92 guest rooms and four suites embrace the property’s rich Spanish colonial heritage. Guests, however, can choose a historic Colonial room or a slightly more modern Contemporary. Being history buffs, we selected a Colonial, with a postered and curtained queen bed, sitting area and rustic marbled bathroom set three steps above the main bedroom area.

Opening an original wooden-doored window, we noted that we were directly across from the fountains and grounds of one of the many historic structures of the Zona Colonia. Yes, we were indeed surrounded by even more history.

Santo Domingo Luxury Hotel

Our historic colonial room.
Our historic colonial room. Photo by Michael Kompanik

An outdoor pool overlooks the riverfront area surrounded by guest loungers. The impressively-sized fitness center is located right off the pool area.

Beautifully manicured gardens and a terrace with fountains made for a lovely experience strolling through the grounds. There are so many places to just sit and relax with a good book and a cocktail.

For those wanting to dine at the Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando Santo Domingo, the elegant signature Restaurante 1502 is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. La Taberna Del Mojito bar serves its signature house cocktail, the magnificent Mojito, but also has a savory menu of casual tapas, fresh salads and local staples such as mofongo (a mashed plantain dish).

Guests are welcome to sit in the lobby, the cool shaded outdoor arcade, one of the many patios, or at the pool.

For those who enjoy cooking, classes are also available for an extra fee, but what an experience to participate in preparing some of the Dominican Republic’s favorite dishes, and then eating that five-course meal overlooking the river caressed by gentle breezes!

Likely the best amenity of this Santo Domingo boutique hotel is its staff. These friendly, attentive and caring people are more than happy to accommodate guests’ every need, helping you fall in love with their hotel and their beloved city of Santo Domingo.

Book your stay at Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando Santo Domingo!

Hotel en Zona Colonial Santo Domingo

Evening walk through the grounds at Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando Santo Domingo.
Evening walk through the grounds at Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando Santo Domingo. Photo by Michael Kompanik

Zona Colonia is the old historic and vibrant part of the city where all the action takes place. The area consists of a maze of narrow streets filled with architectural wonders ranging from the 15th to early 20th centuries. You’ll also find a myriad of restaurants, coffee shops, cigar shops, boutiques, galleries, and lots of places to enjoy the local entertainment.   

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Because the cobblestoned and bricked city is so easily walkable, and there is so much to experience here, where to stay is an important factor. During our time in Santo Domingo, we were able to check off everything on our ‘to do’ list just by strolling through town, and of course, taking a horse and carriage ride through the historic district.

Dining at one of the most picturesque areas of the city overlooking the lighted home of Christopher Columbus’ son was only a five-minute walk from Nicolas de Ovando.

To use another old adage ‘it doesn’t get any better than this.’ Truth be told, it doesn’t, when staying at Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando Santo Domingo.

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