The walls of this minimal Santo Domingo villa are over 500 years old and show traces of its life as the first hospital in the Americas. But while the building is no longer a place of medicine, it offers respite of a different kind after being transformed into a slow travel retreat.
Owners José Luis Meijías and Meyling Wetto took over two years to renovate the dilapidated building, adapting it from a crumbling ruin into a serene escape in the heart of the Dominican capital’s historic centre.
The duo divided the old hospital into seven private apartments, dubbed the Fixie Lofts, with minimalist interiors and whitewashed walls that show glimpses of the original brickwork beneath. These touches are teamed with rich ceramic tiles and concrete floors to create a soothing backdrop for living that honours the past.
Though they undertook much of the work themselves, the couple commissioned local craftspeople to make rattan chairs for the lofts which start at just $125 per night, and have balconies overlooking the villa’s courtyard cactus garden.
It is in the courtyard that the building’s history really shines through via the weathered walls and original stone archway. Meanwhile, a wrought iron gate leads to a hidden pool, tucked under the shade of the building’s walls – an unexpected and dramatic discovery.
C. Arzobispo Meriño 314, Santo Domingo 10210, Dominican Republic