The Best Hotels in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Embrace the want-for-nothing life with a stay at the all-inclusive Senator resort
Embrace the want-for-nothing life with a stay at the all-inclusive Senator resort | Courtesy of Puerto Plata / Expedia
Photo of Claire Dodd
11 June 2021

Bounce over to Puerto Plata, the oldest town on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, to be surrounded by the best beaches on the island, mountainous scenery and waterfalls. Though the mega-resort town of Punta Cana is more popular with tourists, those willing to venture further north are rewarded with a wealth of established resorts to suit every budget. Here are the best places to stay, all bookable on Culture Trip.

Senator Puerto Plata Spa Resort

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Courtesy of Puerto Plata / Expedia

Slick, breezy and, vitally, all-inclusive, the Senator is for those who want to embrace the art of a shoeless, watchless, wallet-free break. Though you may have to make some stressful choices. There are 13 dining options: one buffet restaurant, three speciality restaurants with an à la carte dinner service, seven snack bars, plus two additional gastronomic experiences, to be exact. Rum tasting is an extra cost, but surely mandatory – after all, you’re in the Caribbean. Play tennis, basketball or beach volleyball, borrow equipment for water sports, including snorkeling, diving, paddle surfing, bodyboarding and kayaking, or take advantage of the free-to-use hammocks and towels at the pool and beach. Be sure to book in advance for the ever-popular swim-up rooms.

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BlueBay Villas Doradas

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Courtesy of Blue Bay Villas Doradas / Expedia

It’s grown-ups only beyond this point. This premium adults-only all-inclusive caters to couples, newlyweds and groups of friends. There are 245 spacious and luxurious rooms, and the villas are perfect for larger groups. Some of the higher-tier rooms come with extras such as a bottle of rum and unlimited à la carte dinners. On the activity front, there’s cooking classes, dance lessons and tennis among the offerings. The Playa Dorada golf course is also on the doorstep. To note, wifi isn’t included in any room rate. But you’re on vacation – so put that cell down, and head to the spa.

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Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort

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Courtesy of Cofresi Palm Beach & Spa Resort / Expedia
Updated to balance the needs of both families and couples, the 468 rooms of this oceanfront resort include an adults-only selection tucked away from the melee. Entertainment-centric – and with many repeat visitors due to timeshare options – this busy resort often has live performances, from Caribbean dancers to fireworks and live music. Add 12 swimming pools, 11 restaurants, 12 bars, a nightclub and two full-service spas, among numerous sporting activities, including a golf course, and you’ll never be short of something to do. Rooms – classy in white and with dark-wood accents – have either ocean, pool or garden views.
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Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa

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Courtesy of Lifestyle Tropical Beach Resort & Spa / Expedia
Wake to the sound of the surf at Lifestyle Tropical Beach, which sits by 1.5mi (2.4km) of golden sands at Cofresi – a stretch aptly named the Amber Coast for the color of the sand and rich amber deposits found here. This all-inclusive resort feels more intimate than many of the others in the area, with cobblestone walkways and low-rise buildings set amid tropical gardens. The 282 rooms, which include 53 junior suites of dark-wood and rattan furniture, have ocean or mountain views. That said, the resort follows many of the tropes of the big hotels in the area; there’s daily live entertainment, 12 swimming pools, three children’s pools, 11 restaurants and 11 bars, plus kids’ and teens’ clubs.
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Sunscape Puerto Plata

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Courtesy of Sunscape Puerto Plata / Expedia

It’s a kid’s world at Sunscape, where there’s a red carpet children’s check-in experience, welcome treats and special resort passports for them. In fact, the Unlimited Fun package includes 24-hour access to food and beverages, including kid-friendly menu options. The Explorer’s Club, for kids aged three to 12 has weekly campout nights to fire their scouting spirit. But adults are certainly not left out. The resort is surrounded by an 18-hole golf course designed by the US golf architect Robert Trent Jones. Take a day trip to the Damajagua waterfalls, or head out to sea to visit the manatee marine sanctuary.

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Emotions by Hodelpa Playa Dorada

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Courtesy of Emotions By Hodelpa Playa Dorada / Expedia

Roll out of bed straight into a cooling pool when you stay in the luxurious swim-out rooms at this hotel. All the rooms at the Emotions resort have a warm ambience, and sliding patio doors allow for ample natural light. Further your relaxation with a trip to the spa, where there’s a sauna, steam room, jacuzzi and a spread of treatments, including a chocolate body wrap. This is another resort close to the Playa Dorada Golf Course. But with so many on-site treats, from tipples at the Oak Wine & Cheese Bar to fresh lobster at the beachfront Bigaro restaurant, it’s tricky to make it off the property.

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Casa Colonial Beach & Spa

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Courtesy of Casa Colonial Beach & Spa / Expedia
With hardwood four-poster beds, freestanding claw-footed bathtubs and wraparound verandas, the Casa Colonial resort has all the trappings of old-school Caribbean style, but with a modern twist. The sleek rooftop pool is one of the standout features of what is one of the most high-end resorts on this stretch of coast. Rooms – of which there are just 50 – are moments from the ocean and fringe the private resort beach. They have private balconies, living areas with marble floors and Bose stereos, coffee makers and minibars. Spend time in the orchid garden, just beyond the main lobby, and relax in oversized adirondack chairs beneath the banana trees. Head to the roof at dusk, and claim one of the four private jacuzzis while sipping cocktails from the Aqua Bar.
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The Crown Villas at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort

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Courtesy of The Crown Villas at Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resort / Expedia
This collection of 90 five-star villas, all unique in design, is located on top of lush hills and soaring sea cliffs to offer unbeatable views. Each features distinctive Caribbean decor and has amenities such as private pools, air conditioning, ceiling fans and cable TV. A daily maid service is also provided.

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  • Grand Paradise Playa Dorada

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    Courtesy of Grand Paradise Playa Dorada / Expedia
    The Victorian-style buildings of this resort house 425 guest rooms and 94 suites on the spectacular Playa Dorada beach. But there’s much on offer to lure you from the warm sand and glowing waters if you allow it. The vast list of distractions includes a casino, nightly live entertainment, water sports (windsurfing, jet skiing, water skiing and banana boats), night tennis and volleyball. Special occasion? The Select VIP Club offers a hotel within a hotel and comes with plenty of perks, such as garden or ocean views, a private concierge and a private beach area, to name but a few.

    VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort

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    Courtesy of VH Gran Ventana Beach Resort / Expedia
    Amid lush foliage, the Gran Ventana is a stunning property slap bang on the beach. There are 506 beautifully appointed rooms with soft aqua tones and colonial touches running throughout. Along with the prime location, other perks of this all-inclusive resort include three pools, a kids’ club and a mix of dining options, from an elegant gourmet Caribbean restaurant to a casual poolside cafe.
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    Iberostar Costa Dorada

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    Courtesy of Iberostar Costa Dorada / Expedia
    This all-inclusive mega-resort sits by the neon waters of an award-winning beach and has three large lagoon-style pools at its core. An on-site dive center will help you access the world beneath the waves. Feel like you’re doing your bit to keep the waters pristine, knowing the hotel is free of single-use plastic. If you’re traveling with the family, there’s a kids’ club running during the day and a babysitting service for when you need some grown-up time.
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    Blue JackTar

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    Courtesy of Blue JackTar / Expedia
    The serene rooms in seafoam colors make a cosy base from which to settle into your Caribbean break. This resort – contained in high-rise steel and glass – neighbors an 18-hole golf course, with rooms featuring private balconies or terraces that look onto the ocean, course or gardens. Guests looking for a little more privacy, or seeking a longer stay, should book a condo that includes kitchen facilities and whirlpool baths on private balconies. Personalized aromatherapy and bedding selections are available. Don’t forget to relax with afternoon cocktails and snacks at Jack’s Kite & Grill Beach Club, looking out onto the waves.

    Sophia Mills-Francis contributed additional reporting to this article.

    These recommendations were updated on June 11, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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