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James Andrew at the Playa Grande Beach Club

James Andrew at the Playa Grande Beach Club

I recently attended a dinner given by eBay CEO Devin Wenig with my impossibly chic friend designer Celerie Kemble. Over cocktails I shared with Kemble how utterly smitten I was by what she had created at the Playa Grande Beach Club.

To my surprise, she suggested McBee and I come to stay at her place there! We of course pounced on her offer – it was the perfect little James Andrew Happy Birthday getaway – an absolute dream!

The Playa Grande Beach Club is located on the dramatic north shore of the Dominican Republic where the rain forest meets the most beautiful beach setting. Kemble, who simply gets everything right, designed a pristine confection that stands in smart contrast to its lush tropical surrounding, and yet the design is entirely in harmony there. The feeling one gets is of a place that has been there for centuries. Marvelously maintained, it harkens back to a time of elegance and sophistication. It exudes charm and grace, while remaining ravishingly rustic. I couldn’t help but think of a mini Mill Reef or Lyford.

Entrance to the Playa Grande Beach Club

Entrance to the Playa Grande Beach Club

detail: light fixture designed by Celerie Kemble

detail: light fixture designed by Celerie Kemble

The buildings are inspired by local Victorian era architecture, with some hints of Kemble’s family home, “The Old Church” in Palm Beach, and there’s also a sense of a garden folly fantasy.

The Playa Grande Beach Club

The Playa Grande Beach Club

Kemble lovingly designed every element and worked with local builders and artisans to create the Playa Grande Beach Club – the results are other-worldly. Over the next few posts I will share some more aspects of the Playa Grande Beach Club, and if we manage to tantalize, why not book your bungalows there for the upcoming season!

The Playa Grande Beach Club dining pavilion

The Playa Grande Beach Club dining pavilion

Arriving at the Playa Grande Beach Club I’m pictured (top) sporting a Tom Ford gray and ivory linen/hemp/silk jacket and white cotton twill pant, Charvet Pairs bespoke shirt in mint and white cotton, mint silk pocket square, Seaman Schepps aquamarine and diamond cuff links, vintage Rolex, white braided leather sandals from Schettino di Capri, and a misting of Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.


  1. Dean says:

    Fabulous James!
    How nice of Celerie to invite you and happiest of birthdays as always!

    Dean Farris

  2. James, it was such a fun gift meeting you and Scott there. Thanks for this wonderful post, and while no photos do it full justice yours and the article are brilliant. We are already planning our return visit. Magnificent and blissful!! Celerie got it right. See you soon…Lynette

  3. James Andrew says:

    Thank You Dean,

    It was a most magical holiday!

    Stay tuned for much more!


  4. James Andrew says:

    Dear Lynette Lewis,

    It really was out of this world- other worldly- Celerie’s brilliance shines through at Playa Grande Beach Club!

    Hoping my posts will create lots of new friends and fans for this most sublime place!

    All Best and Many Thanks for ALL your very kind words!


  5. LA CONTESSA says:

    THOSE GATES and the ambiance reminds me of Penelope’s place in Montecito!

  6. James Andrew says:

    Darling La Contessa,

    The whole place is an absolute dream!

    Celerie’s brilliance shines through and all was so highly considered!

    I can’t wait to go back – stay tuned for much more!

    Hoping these posts make people book a stay at The Playa Grande Beach Club – these most perfect magical places are a rarity it seems.

    Much Love


  7. OMIGOD! How divine! (La Contessa! what a compliment!!) YIKES!!!!!

    I love this place beyond! It is total perfection!
    I have to tell you all…..I remember the “Old Church” in Palm Beach (it was indeed an “old church”….it was the former Episcopal Church building)!! And this incredible creation is very redolent of that amazing place.

    Celerie’s mother lived there…..I saw it something like 50 years ago (I am not kidding!) I was staying with my dearest oldest friend Britty!!!

    Celerie was not even born!! It never left my memory. So divine….her mother is brilliant. As is Celerie! Timeless….lovely, charming, personal. The quintessence of great decorating. Every detail perfect in its imperfection! There should be a book about the “Old Church”! The master bedroom was in the steeple! OMILORD!!! It took my breath away!
    Her mother Mimi! I think she wasn’t even a decorator yet! I was still in college!!!

    I doubt anything very much has changed in that church/house….and it would be so instructive for people to see it today. I could move in with my toothbrush today…..as well as 50 years ago!

    This amazing club and hotel…..is a rarity indeed! What a talent!!!

  8. LA CONTESSA says:


  9. James Andrew says:

    Darling Penelope Bianchi,

    I agree whole heartedly with La Contessa – a memoire is in order and will be a must read – a la Vreeland’s memoires.

    You know all the best, chicest, most sophisticated and wonderful people on earth!

    Thanks for all your tremendous love and support!!!


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