The designs of both Oscar de Ia Renta and Markham Roberts make for interiors that have an effortless glamour and elegance that fit perfectly with Tortuga Bay's beachside location.
Santo Domingo on the Dominican Republic is famous as the oldest continuously inhabited community in the New World (Columbus landed there in December 1492). It's also the birthplace of Oscar de la Renta, the couturier best known for having dressed Jackie Kennedy. The youngest of seven children, he left the city at the age of 18 to study painting in Madrid before apprenticeships at both Balenciaga and Lanvin.
Although he established his career and made his home in the USA, the Dominican Republic always remained close to his heart —he maintained his citizenship and was the country's Ambassador-at-Large. His adoptive son, Moises, was also a native of the tiny Caribbean country.
The designer's influence spanned both fashion and interiors—at his homes in Connecticut, New York and In the Dominican Republic, he artfully combined English Classicism (he was a devotee of William Kent) with the exotic influences of his birthplace. His second wife, Annette, was a fan of large-scale chintz. All these had a bearing on his work, from the clothes he designed to the furniture and textile designs he created for Lee Jofa.
He created schemes that reflect both their natural and cultural surroundings, so, instead of homogenous hotel minimalism, the interiors were influenced by the Dominican Republic's Spanish colonial past. Suites and villas were furnished with a mix of simple four-poster beds, larger-than-life florals and relaxed, woven furniture that was perfectly in tune with the island.
De la Renta died in 2014 and, last summer, the interiors were updated in the same spirit by the New York interior designer Markham Roberts. With a background in the history of art and architecture, he was the ideal choice for the project and he drew together the influences of both the island's rich heritage and de la Renta's distinctive style. The result is a perfect blend of the two and a lasting tribute to one of the Dominican Republic's most celebrated and creative figures.
Tortuga Bay (http://tortugabayhotel.com/); Phone: 809.959.8229). Markham Roberts Inc (latp://markhamroberts.com; 212.288.6090)
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