From the buzzing beaches of Punta Cana to the colonial old town of Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic has enough historic sites, crystal-clear shorelines and lively jungles to satisfy all kinds of travelers. There’s also a mix of hotels to match, including all-inclusive beachside resorts, boutique ecohotels in the unspoiled southwest and a converted colonial building in the capital. Here’s our pick of the best.
A stay at the Bannister Hotel between January and April might reward you with views of humpback whales basking in the ocean. Here, luxury apartments have all the trimmings of five-star hotel suites, with the bonus of multiple bed options, kitchenettes and private balconies with marina or mountain views. As it’s based in an exclusive yacht club, there are many activities available, including regattas, fishing tournaments, a cinema under the stars and barbecues on the seafront.
Sitting on a cliff above Playa Grande on the northern coast, Amanera is a luxury resort with all the finer things in life. The 25 casitas (little houses) lie within lush grounds and have terraces with uninterrupted ocean views. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors fold away to melt the barrier between the outdoor space and the indoor living area. All come with high ceilings and fine wooden finishes, and the grandest have private infinity pools overlooking the Atlantic. A 10-hole oceanside golf course, horseback riding, hiking and a jungle-cocooned wellness spa provide entertainment for the day.
A medley of suites and casitas makes up the lavish accommodation at Sublime Samana on the northeast coast. The one-bedroom suite is the only option that doesn’t come with a jacuzzi on a private balcony. However, everything here is exceptional, including the pool’s long turquoise channels, the golden-sand beach and the Coconut Whispers Spa’s luxurious jungle cabins. The hotel’s location on the Samaná Peninsula brings jungle hikes, snorkeling and boat tours to watch humpback whales frolic in the bay.
Within a stunning biodiverse haven for birds on the southern coast, this retreat nourishes the mind, body and soul. The jungle-surrounded grounds ooze boho charm, with a quiet swimming pool, hammocks strung between trees and rustic cabanas dotted throughout. The accommodation comes in the form of ocean-facing Raj-style tents, where you can wake up to the sound of birds chirping in the trees. Alternatively, opt for one of the bright and airy cabins with treehouse vibes. Holistic stays include yoga, spa treatments and full-board vegetarian cuisine.
From boutique villas to stylish beachfront suites, the accommodation options at Eden Roc are a lavish affair. The most expensive villa comes with four bedrooms (two with living rooms), a shared living and dining area, a full kitchen and a private infinity pool. Suites feature sea-inspired decor in a breezy interior. On the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, Eden Roc sits on Cap Cana, a beach resort next to the cerulean sea and bone-white sand. Want your water even calmer than the Caribbean? Two huge lagoon pools offer a cooling respite from the sun.
Hodelpa Caribe Colonial is a modern gem in the heart of Santo Domingo’s colonial old town. Lining the narrow, cobbled streets around this hotel are buzzing street cafes, art galleries and lively restaurants – everything you could want. Rooms are stylish, with a hint of minimalist-chic keeping things airy. The rooftop solarium is the perfect spot for a post-sightseeing cocktail, and a hot breakfast from the buffet is a great way to start your morning. What’s more, there’s an on-site ice-cream parlor.
This villa-style hotel looks like it’s growing out of its dramatic clifftop location. A bright white façade and grand columns create a sense of classic beauty, while a marbled lobby with sweeping staircases lets you know you’re in for a lavish stay. The four-poster beds and Moroccan-style windows in each room don’t let you down. A lagoon pool is at the heart of the resort, while cliffside golf and a spa day are also in the cards. Elsewhere, towering rocks surround the private, white-sand beach, guaranteeing exclusivity.
If you don’t want to splash too much cash but remain in the heart of Santo Domingo with a few luxury touches, Billini Hotel is the place for you. During the day, visit the rooftop pool, where you can catch views of the shambling colonial town roofs from the sun loungers. Meanwhile, each room is packed with modern comforts and huge beds but retains glimpses of the building’s historical past, with an exposed, uplit wall or bricked archway. The peaceful courtyard with a firepit is the perfect spot for a sundowner after you’ve hit the sights, cafes and shops of the surrounding streets.
This adults-only hotel is packed to the rafters with all-inclusive amenities. On the sweeping sands of the Punta Cana beachfront, water- and coast-based activities can easily fill your days; think beach yoga at sunrise, surfing and volleyball by day, and beach bar cocktails at sunset. A labyrinth of swimming pools fills the hotel grounds, with daybeds, loungers and poolside bars lining the sides. Rooms come with varying levels of luxury to suit all budgets, with stylish rooms with garden views, swim-up suites or villas with private pools.
Looking to escape it all? Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge is in the unspoiled and untamed southwest, where tree-coated rolling hills hum and croak with jungle wildlife. This small ecolodge has thatched-roof rooms with all the luxury of a modern boutique hotel. Every private balcony comes with uninterrupted views of the mountains, and some rooms have private pools. Organic products in the bathrooms and at the jungle spa add a touch of ecofriendly opulence. Get to know the surroundings with a jungle-canopy tour, hiking, biking or coffee-plantation experience. The coast is a few minutes away, where you can snorkel, sail and surf.
If you’re searching for inner and outer peace, look no further than Zoëtry Agua – Punta Cana’s answer to a five-star wellness retreat. Villa-style accommodation with thatched roofs and cathedral ceilings line the verdant garden – follow the river-like swimming pool to a slice of private beach. The four restaurants serve gourmet international cuisine made with local produce, while sundowners can be enjoyed at the swim-up bar, beachside hut or grand lounge.
This boutique hotel in Punta Cana is all about big plantation-style rooms and high ceilings. One glimpse of the bright yellow façades of the beachfront buildings, and you know you’re on holiday. The accommodation comprises junior suites and villas. Suites have private balconies with golf-course, ocean or garden views, while the villas have shaded patios and are steps from the beach. There are six restaurants, ranging from casual bar dining to award-winning gourmet cuisine. In addition to the hotel’s marina, golf course and equestrian center, there are nature trails and secluded natural swimming spots within an eco-park.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino has entertainment for all ages and styles. A kids’ club, minigolf and bowling keep families happy, while grown-ups can sip cocktails at one of the four swim-up bars or hit the casino in the evening. Oro Nightclub is the place to see and be seen when the sun goes down. Rooms of all sizes are modern, with sleek, rock-star touches, and the top-end spaces come with a personal assistant.
This vast all-inclusive Cap Cana resort is set in the soft sands on the Punta Cana coast. Swimming pools weave through the grounds, and you can choose to while away the days on the loungers or try a spot of windsurfing in the clear water. Families can enjoy the waterpark, which has waterslides, a lazy river and water cannons. A series of lavish suites and ocean-view rooms with balconies are on offer, all designed in calming sand shades with pops of Caribbean color. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes, including a beachside grill, sea-fresh sushi, rustic Italian and a sumptuous buffet.
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