A veritable Caribbean paradise with its verdant mountain ranges, white beaches and rainforests, these are the best villas in the Dominican Republic.
This Spanish-speaking Caribbean island has carved out a niche for itself as an oasis of luxury famed for its hospitality. A perennial favourite with golfers attracted by the year-round award-winning courses, it remains equally popular with sun lovers, blissfully reclining on some of the world’s most tranquil beaches and sipping rum-based mamajuana, the local drink of choice.
The light, breezy residences at Las Palmas al Mar have a homely feel and fully equipped kitchens. Each abode has been thoughtfully designed to merge with the natural surroundings. Friendly staff are on hand to help with quad bike hire, whale watching trips and high-sea fishing for dorado and tuna, as well as intel on the best beaches to visit in nearby resort town, Las Terrenas, known as the pearl of the Samaná Península.
Dominican-born designer Oscar de la Renta turned his attention from frocks to interior design with great success at Tortuga Bay. Here, 13 luxurious villas, with one to four bedrooms, perch alongside white-sand beaches in a private enclave within Puntacana resort. Views of La Cana Golf Course and the crystal-clear Caribbean waters are suitably beguiling. Fine-linen appreciators will enjoy the Frette bedding, plus there are two award-winning restaurants to dine in each night.
All-inclusive resorts are often let down by their limited dining options, but there are five restaurants within this gated haven, including the oceanfront Blue Marlin. The plethora of activities includes dance lessons, ping-pong and tennis clinics. Villas reflect the property’s Spanish colonial architecture, and the largest even has its own private pool and furnished terrace. Recipient of the Dominican Republic’s Best Golf Hotel award, Punta Espada is renowned as one of the finest courses in the Caribbean and was designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus.
It’s only fitting that a resort named Amanera, meaning peaceful water, should evince a feeling of calmness throughout. Guests are encouraged to stroll the idyllic 2.5km (2mi) oceanfront via the aromatic orange and lime tree orchard, through lush mangroves and beaches, eventually arriving at Playa Caleton’s dramatic cliff. Thrill seekers leap from this cliff into the glistening ocean below, while the resort’s accomplished chefs prepare a seafood beach barbecue made with the catch of the day.
Set within exquisite private gardens and surrounded by rainforests and tropical gardens where peacocks wander freely, Balaji Palace is a nature lover’s dream. There’s a private-access beach in a prime position to witness spectacular sunsets, and if you’re feeling energetic, a host of activities will keep you occupied, including whale watching, sea fishing, horse riding and golf.
These swoon-worthy residences are the epitome of Relais & Châteaux style. Oceanfront bungalows come with a personal chef, 24/7 private butler and infinity pools that merge into the glorious surroundings. It’s luxury all the way, with tastings and private dining in the wine cellar and pampering at the world’s first Natura Bissé spa. It’s easy to see why this resort is a fixture on global awards lists, from winning Best Luxury Hotel in the Caribbean to Wine Spectator’s Excellence for Mediterranean Restaurant award.
A firm favourite with A-listers, from Frank Sinatra to Beyoncé and the Kardashian clan, this resort has retained its mantle as a luxury haven par excellence ever since opening 50 years ago. It’s a haven for activity lovers, with three golf courses (including the Caribbean’s number one, the Teeth of the Dog course), an equestrian centre, a shooting centre and three beautiful private beaches for those seeking a more relaxed sojourn. At Flavours restaurant, world-renowned chefs fly in to host weekend culinary affairs.
A private resort built into a peninsula, ÀNI is a premium luxury hotel on the north of the island. Whether enjoying a celebration with friends or taking advantage of the heavenly beach, this resort is dedicated to your relaxation. With the creative use of glass walls, the villas offer unhindered views of the dramatic coastline and beyond, as well as free-standing baths and outdoor showers. Everything you desire, from water sports to shuffleboard and clifftop golfing, is thoughtfully provided within these two idyllic acres.