Best Hotels

Accommodations offer a remarkable range—surfers' camps, exclusive boutique hotels, and amazing megaresorts,condos and villa complex or individual villas .

Amanera
Auto. 5 Carretera Rio San Juan, Cabrera, Rio San Juan, 33300 | (809) 589-2888

www.aman.com/resorts/amanera

Aman has done it again: the standard-bearer for Zen-inspired resorts has landed on a Robinson Crusoe–style beach on the Dominican Republic’s northern coast, putting the country back on the map for luxury seekers from around the globe. This time, the standout feature is a fully integrated golf course—the brand’s first—originally designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. After practicing your swing, order a round of passion-fruit caipirinhas and lobster rolls at the beach club, then take a siesta in your casita—one of 25 minimalist boxes of Indonesian teak and concrete set among dense native foliage, many with private pools overlooking the Atlantic. Young travelers are welcome, and they too get to live the fabulous life: the kid-friendly pool is a gleaming, all-white marble beacon, and the resort’s knowledgeable guides cater to guests of all ages on expeditions through the surrounding jungle reserve—all 2,000 acres of it.

Balcones del Atlántico
Las Terrenas, Samaná Peninsula

The hotel made its debut in 2011 on a protected, half-mile-long crescent of shore with 35 villas (botanical prints, Viking appliances, coral tiled bathrooms, and, yes, balconies galore).

Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe
Carretera Bávaro, Km. 1, Punta Cana,

Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, which reopened in December 2010 after a top-to-bottom renovation, is set on the picture-perfect Bávaro Beach, where two miles of soft white sand meet the calm turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. Aside from the stellar location, this mega-resort offers endless activities and a variety of dining options, including a tapas bar, steak house, and sushi restaurant. The new Las Vegas–inspired Club House has a 24-hour casino and a spa with a private outdoor pool. Amenities in the updated suites include pillow-top mattresses, 32-inch LCD TVs, and private terraces with Jacuzzis. For personalized service, book a Club Premium suite, which provides access to an exclusive concierge and priority reservations at the property’s à la carte restaurants.

Casa Colonial Beach Resort & Spa
Playa Dorada, Complejo Hotelero Playa Dorada, PO Box 22, Puerto Plata, La Altagracia www.casacolonialhotel.com

The absence of pink walls and plastic furniture isn’t the only refreshing thing that sets Casa Colonial apart from other hotels in the Dominican Republic. Guests arriving at the 2 1/2-acre retreat, on the northern coast, pass through the lobby’s majestic white arches while Edith Piaf croons in the background. They’re then led to one of just 50 suites, each an homage to colonial sophistication. Once settled, they can visit the low-density beach, one of the two restaurants, the rooftop infinity pool (with Atlantic views), or the 12,000-square-foot spa, which offers beachside Pilates and yoga classes.

Casa de Campo Resort & Villas
P.O. Box 140, La Romana www.casadecampo.com.do

This luxury resort on the Dominican Republic's southeastern coast offers spacious hotel rooms, suites, and villas. There's a diverse range of amenities, including a 370-slip Marina & Yacht Club, Polo & Equestrian Club, tennis center and shooting club, an expansive spa—and the famed Teeth of the Dog golf course. The Vegas-style grandeur culimnates in a 5,000-seat Grecian-style amphitheater inaugurated by Frank Sinatra.

Club Med Punta Cana
Higuey, Apt Posta 106, Punta Cana

Located on the Dominican’s eastern shore, the all-inclusive Club Med Punta Cana sits on a private, half-mile-long, white sand beach that features a gentle sloping edge for easy water entry. The 553 tri-level bungalows are spread throughout the resort's manicured tropical landscape, and each features a balcony with either sea or garden views. Offering even more pampering, the 32 Tiara Suites in the 5-Trident Luxury Club have access to a private infinity pool and lounge area. Club Med caters to families by offering age-specific programs for babies and teens. Activities for adults abound, as well, including flying trapeze and circus lessons, a tennis school, and organized off-site excursions focusing on scuba, snorkeling, golf, and even horseback riding.

Excellence Punta Cana
Playas Uvero Alto - Punta Cana, Cap Cana, 23000

www.excellence-resorts.com/caribbean-and-mexico-destinations/excellence-... Known for conjuring romantic vibes, this all-inclusive resort is plucked straight from the Colonial era. Guests can meander through coconut groves, or trace the Caribbean on the 30-mile stretch of white-sand beach. Eight restaurants and ten bars will keep you constantly fed and watered for the duration of your stay. Book a swim-up suite for instant access to one of two enormous pools, as well as a private terrace and such necessities as a pillow menu and in-room premium liquor. If you can pull yourself away from a siesta on your hammock, enjoy the island views on a coastal horseback ride, or with a moonlit massage.

Hostal Nicolas de Ovando
Calle Las Damas, Santo Domingo, www.accorhotels.com

In Santo Domingo’s beautifully preserved colonial zone, you’ll find this 16th-century hotel. The 104 spacious rooms channel old-world romance with high ceilings, solid wood beds topped by snowy white duvets, and shutters on the windows. At the hotel’s French-inspired restaurant, locals and visitors gather for duck breast with honey and ginger.

Hotel Doña Elvira
207 Padre Billini, Santo Domingo, www.dona-elvira.com

What’s It’s Like: This rambling 16th century former colonial mansion was transformed into a 15-room guest house in 2004 but it hasn’t lost any of its old world charm. Twenty-foot ceilings with original wood beans adorn the entrance and the courtyard in back has a pool and a 100-year-old mango tree. Rooms are a bit old fashioned and kitschy, but in this setting it works. The hotel even offers Spanish lessons.Why It’s a Bargain: Located in the middle of Old Town Santo Domingo, sidewalk cafés, museums, churches and theatres provide days worth of activities all within strolling distance.

Hotel La Catalina
Los Farrallones, Cabrera, www.lacatalina.com

The hotel is set in a Day-Glo–colored tropical garden on a hill overlooking the nearby fishing town of Cabrera. Better suited for peace-seekers than partygoers, most of the 32 quiet suites and condos are equipped with large beds, kitchenettes, and private bougainvillea-fringed balconies (all have ocean views). Swim in one of the two pools on the hotel’s manicured grounds, or head to the beach: some of the island’s best (Caleton, Playa Grande, Orchid Bay, Diamante, La Entrada) are a short drive away.

Melia Caribe Tropical
Playa de Bávaro, Punta Cana, www.meliacaribetropical.com

While it's so sprawling that a mini-train shuttles guests around its vast grounds, the Melia Caribe Tropical offers a Royal Treatment upgrade which tames the beast. Royal Treatment guests can take advantage of the extensive amenities of a mega-resort while staying in their own wing, complete with dedicated butler service, as well as a private restaurant, pool, and exclusive stretch of Punta Cana's spectacular blue water and bone-white sand beach. A beach concierge and runners fetch drinks and cool towels to your shady palapa. The distractions are many: golf, a climbing wall, windsurfing, a zip line, seven pools, tennis, casino, and a cigar bar. The Flintstones-themed kids' club operates until the late evening so parents can enjoy some uninterrupted yabba-dabba-you time.

Natura Cabana
5 Paseodel Sol, Cabarete, www.naturacabana.com/ING/index.html

What’s It’s Like: Just 10 minutes from the small bustling beach town of Cabarete, the 10 bungalows, with roofs made of palm fronds and stone-and-bamboo interiors, blend into the jungle-like environs. The earthy spa menu includes mud wraps and salt scrubs; the two restaurants prepare organic dishes, from ceviche to fish stir-fry. Activity-seekers can turn to the helpful staff, who will arrange scuba diving in Sosúa Bay and horseback riding through nearby villages. Why It’s a Bargain: The lush north coast of the island has fast become a favorite destination for windsurfers who enjoy the authentic vibe—and lack of tourists.

Peninsula House
Las Terrenas, www.thepeninsulahouse.com

The DR continues to move beyond the all-inclusive market with the help of the Peninsula House, which debuted early 2008 in a restored Victorian plantation house on the Samaná peninsula. The six tasteful suites showcase designer Serge Robin’s take on global style and are filled with Louis XV chairs, handwoven rugs from Turkey, and a cosmopolitan collection of objets d’art (African masks; Indonesian marionettes). All have terraces overlooking a remote jungle setting.

Puntacana Resort & Club
Punta Cana, La Altagracia www.puntacana.com

Built in 1971, Puntacana was the first resort development on the untouched east coast of the Dominican Republic. Since then, its shores have seen tremendous growth, and so has the property—from its inception as a tiny 10-villa hotel to a sprawling complex that caters to every taste. These days, there’s a newly opened Six Senses spa, a 70-slip marina, a pair of Tom Fazio– and P. B. Dye–designed golf courses, nine restaurants, seven bars, a biodiversity center, and a 1,500-acre nature preserve. The main hotel’s beachfront casitas were recently given a makeover. Khaki-hued walls, dark wicker furniture, and throw pillows in graphic botanical prints pack a tropical punch. And the new Tortuga Bay—an exclusive 32-suite resort-within-a-resort designed by part-time resident Oscar de la Renta—has been a hit with boldface names (Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart among them). Each of the villas has a fully stocked kitchen, an oversize coralline stone bathroom, a clean Caribbean aesthetic, and a personal golf cart for exploring.

Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana
Playa Juanillo, Cap Cana, Punta Cana, La Altagracia www.secretsresorts.com/sanctuary/index.asp

Secrets Sanctuary Cap Cana, in the Dominican Republic, was redone in late 2009. It has a state-of-the-art spa overlooking the beach, access to two Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses, and spare, cool décor (Zen-inspired beds; stone or wood-paneled walls).

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