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The Dominican Republic has emerged as one of the world’s best value beach destinations thanks to its sun-kissed coastline, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant Caribbean charms. There’s a little something for every type of traveler in the DR: Nature lovers can go hiking and zip lining through the country’s lush tropical rainforests, culture vultures will adore exploring the colonial architecture and cobblestone streets of Santo Domingo, and beach bums can spend their days lounging on the powdery sand and sipping fresh rum cocktails. Even the most opulent resorts in the Dominican Republic are relatively affordable, although for travelers who prefer a more intimate lodging experience, there are also plenty of quaint, luxurious boutique hotels to choose from. Below, a handful of our favorite properties in the Dominican Republic.

Best Overall:  Samana Hotel & Residences

It’s all in the name: The Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences is simply the most sublime lodging in the Dominican Republic. This gorgeous, suites-only retreat is conveniently located near one of the country’s most popular beach towns, Las Terrenas, with stunning mountain scenery and towering palm trees encircling the property. Guests get the best of both worlds when they stay at The Sublime Samana: This peacefully remote hotel boasts a swath of private sand along the turquoise water, though it’s also within an hour’s drive of several natural attractions.

White-washed, contemporary suites are scattered around on the lush, immaculate grounds, and each commands either a garden or ocean view; suites are spacious and feature a king-size bed, bathroom with walk-in shower, living room, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, and a balcony or terrace, with all the luxury amenities you could ever need or want. There are two sleek swimming pools on the premises, complete with canopied daybeds, along with a premier spa, two gourmet restaurants, tennis courts, and a state-of-the-art gym. If you’re seeking the most luxe lodging in the DR, look no further than The Sublime Samana.

Best for Families: Casa Colonial Beach & Spa

Due to its spacious size, beachfront location, and relaxed atmosphere, family travelers love staying at Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, nestled between the honey-colored sands of Playa Dorada and the bright greens of Playa Dorada Golf Club. Downtown Puerto Plata, with its buzzing restaurant scene, is just a short taxi ride away. In addition to its prime location, this full-scale resort has plenty of amenities to keep travelers busy for days. Adults can work out at the sleek fitness center, take an oceanside Pilates or yoga class (totally free of charge), relax in the steam room at Bagua (Casa Colonial’s 13-room spa), or play a few rounds of golf; kids and parents alike will love splashing around in the resort’s rooftop infinity pool, an area that also features four private Jacuzzis and a poolside bar.

Service is ultra-friendly and attentive at Casa Colonial, and each of the hotel’s 50 guest suites is charmingly decorated with colonial-chic furnishings and original artworks. There are also two on-site restaurants here — Lucia, which serves inventive French-Caribbean cuisine, and Veranda, which offers delicious Dominican specialties alongside continental fare — so you never have to leave the resort.

Best for Romance: Sanctuary Cap Cana by Playa Hotels & Resorts

Situated serenely in Cap Cana, a hidden-away retreat inside Punta Cana, the adults-only Sanctuary Cap Cana is known for being a top lodging pick among honeymooners and romance-seekers. There’s no shortage of natural beauty here: The hotel is located near 30,000 acres of pristine white sand beaches and glimmering, blue-green waters, in addition to being a truly gorgeous space in its own right. With its magnificent stone facade and colonial-style design flourishes, Sanctuary Cap Cana resembles more of a Spanish villa than a flashy resort. There’s even a section of the property that’s designed to look like a 16th-century castle.

The suites and villas here are top-notch, featuring rich wood accents, elegant furnishings, and all the amenities: a minibar that’s re-stocked daily, espresso machine, flat-screen TV, silk slippers and bathrobes, and either a furnished balcony or terrace. During a stay at Sanctuary Cap Cana, couples can dine at one of five a la carte restaurants, opt for a number of soothing treatments at the world-class Sanctuary Spa, attend nightly cocktail parties, and pick between five outdoor swimming pools that are scenically nestled around the property.

Best Boutique: Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando

Centrally located in Santo Domingo, just a five-minute walk from Plaza Colon, the UNESCO-listed Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando is a historical treasure and easily the best boutique in the country. Comprised of three stone houses built in 1502, the hotel is named after the town’s founder, Nicolas de Ovando. Though the property’s 16th-century architectural details and impressive heritage design are striking enough on their own, there are excellent on-site amenities here, as well.

Guests love relaxing in the outdoor pool and bar area (where you can gaze out over the scenic River Ozama), sipping wine in the sun-splashed courtyards, and indulging in blissful whole-body treatments at the luxury spa. The 12-room Imperial Club is reserved for guests who want to take advantage of the hotel’s specialized services, like a private check-in, continental breakfast, daily drinks and snacks, and even a complimentary massage. Rooms offer an array of modern conveniences including satellite TV, mini-bar, direct-dial phone, and Wi-Fi, and most have spectacular views of the river and the bustling Las Damas.

Best for Luxury: Eden Roc at Cap Cana

If it’s true luxury you’re after, look no further than Eden Roc at Cap Cana, located inside the Dominican Republic’s elite gated community of Cap Cana. This dreamy resort complex features 32 suites, 2 villas, and 26 two-bedroom beachfront apartments for rent, all located on an insanely picturesque strip of sand, complete with lush gardens and a towering lagoon. The sophisticated amenities at Eden Roc don’t stop — there are six different haute restaurants to choose from, an oceanside spa, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, and even a kids club with a mini-spa. In addition, the Eden Roc Beach Club is a private club for guests craving an (even more) exclusive experience; facilities at the Beach Club include a private infinity pool, beach bar serving gourmet snacks, fitness and wellness spa, two restaurants, and personalized beach butlers.

Each of the hotel’s boutique suites is beautifully decorated, with high ceilings, gleaming wood beams, and luxurious linens. In a particularly thoughtful touch, guests get their own golf carts, which makes getting to and from the beach, shops, and restaurants easy and fun. For the best in luxury lodging in the DR, resorts don’t come nicer than Eden Roc at Cap Cana.

Best for Nightlife: CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts

For the bar-hopping nightlife seekers heading to the Dominican Republic, a stay at the CHIC by Royalton Luxury Resorts is just what the doctor ordered. Located on the lovely white sands of Punta Cana’s Uvero Alto Beach, the CHIC by Royalton offers both extravagant amenities and the perfect centralized location for exploring the area’s buzzing bar, restaurant, and nightclub scene. With 320 elegantly decorated guestrooms, this five-star, adults-only resort is spacious, luxe, and chock-full of some of the best amenities and on-site services you could imagine.

Here, guests can get pampered at the CHIC’s full-scale spa, partake in nightly entertainment in the form of live music and DJ parties by the pool area, dine at one of several restaurants on the premises, and enjoy private beach access and artisanal cocktails served by CHIC staff. Rooms are trendy, comfy, and equipped with all the essentials: free Wi-Fi, Bluetooth audio station, high thread count sheets, 24-hour concierge service, wall-mounted liquor dispenser, coffee and tea maker, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, and 24-hour room service.

Best for Business: Billini Hotel

Business travelers staying in Santo Domingo should book a room at the Billini Hotel, a downtown boutique property set in a beautifully restored convent. Combining modernist design with 15th-century brick and arches, the Billini is one of the most unique and exquisitely designed hotels in the Dominican. This first-rate hotel feels like a private oasis, but it’s actually just steps away from all the best shops, restaurants, and bars in Santo Domingo.

Accommodations here are warm, cozy, and ideal for those traveling on business — staff members are friendly, and there are several on-site facilities and services to take advantage of, including a top-notch restaurant (Castil, which serves both Dominican and international fare), an outdoor pool with stunning views of the city skyline, a well-equipped fitness center and spa, a wine cellar, shuttle services, and a complimentary business center with two internet workstations. Rooms at the Billini are attractively decorated with sleek tile, black-and-white prints of Santo Domingo, and bright splashes of color; plus, some rooms have private balconies or terraces that look out over the cityscape and the hotel’s peaceful courtyard area.

Best B&B: Garden by the Sea Bed & Breakfast

For the ultimate B&B experience in the Dominican, travelers should book a room at the quaint, relaxing Garden by the Sea. This top-rated bed-and-breakfast is situated just steps away from an immaculate private beach, in Sosua, and is lovingly run by hotel owner Nikki Wilson. The Garden by the Sea overflows with charm and thoughtful amenities, such as a sizeable pool and spa, a fully stocked outdoor kitchen, a bar with local beer and wine, lush gardens ringed by tropical plants and palm trees, colorful hammocks strung up all over the grounds, and a delicious complimentary breakfast of fresh fruit, juice, eggs, pancakes, bacon, and plantains.

The property consists of six guestrooms housed in adorable whitewashed bungalows with red-tiled roofs, and in-room amenities include a canopy bed, coffee and tea maker, kitchenette, TV, laptop safe, microwave, and other basics. At the Garden by the Sea, guests enjoy a highly personalized and comfortable experience, in a tucked-away gated community, directly on the beach.

November 27, 2018 / by / in

It’s not a surprise that the Dominican Republic says it “has it all.” Because the diverse Caribbean nation has something for everyone, whether you want to gorge on gourmet delicacies, scale waterfalls or discover its pre- and post-colonial history; take in a baseball game, hike a mountain or just lounge on some of the region’s greatest white-sand beaches. CJ Travel Editor Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon brings you the best Dominican Republic vacation for all sorts of travelers, and then check in to the places we recommend you stay when you get there.

Dominican Republic Vacation
On the island’s eastern tip, Cap Cana is a private community adjacent to Punta Cana’s airport. Completely self-sufficient, it has its own marina, Jack Nicklaus golf course, and even its own adventure park. But it’s the resorts along its three-mile white-sand stretch that draw foodies, seduced by the menus of almost 50 restaurants in the enclave, which serve up everything from tacos to imported steaks. Eden Roc at Cap Cana, arguably the best resort in the whole country, offers a luxurious base for your culinary exploration, with 34 suites and villas that come with their own golf carts for navigating the sprawling property; a club at Caletón Beach; and three superb restaurants of its own.

Dominican Republic Vacation
Sun and sea are served with sides of high-energy water sports and year-round tradewinds in Cabarete, a bohemian north-coast enclave set against a backdrop of emerald mountains that’s the perfect Dominican Republic vacation for the active traveler. Kiteboarders flock to Bozo Beach and Kite Beach, and surfers hang ten at Encuentro. And when you’re exhausted from your efforts, relax and recover at Millennium Resort & Spa, which has mod one- to three-bedroom condo-style suites; a beachfront restaurant, infinity pool and spa; and a Laurel Eastman Kiteboarding school on-site.

Dominican Republic Vacation
On the northeast coast, the peaceful Samaná Peninsula offers diversions for visitors who want to do it all. There’s humpback whale watching in the spring; the rugged trails and native birds of Los Haitises national park; as well as water sports and hiking opportunities galore. But because it also has several breezy beaches (the offshore isle of Cayo Levantado is a standout), this region suits those who want to do nothing at all. Either way, you won’t have to choose at the elegant boutique The Peninsula House in Las Terranas (the region’s original tourist hub). The hillside great house-style bed-and-breakfast is an oasis of subtle and sophisticated style, with antique reproductions in just six suites, a garden pool and its own beach club.

Dominican Republic Vacation
Founded in 1498, the DR’s capital of Santo Domingo is where the Americas’ first cathedral, hospital and university were built, and its well-preserved Zona Colonial is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Recognized for its architecture, theater, opera and ballet companies, as well as several museums, it is also the home of the charming 24-suite Billini Hotel, where free breakfast and Wi-Fi; ‘round-the-clock concierge service; and a slick rooftop pool and bar make it a solid choice within walking distance of the city’s sights.

Dominican Republic Vacation
If you’re searching for miles of pristine white sand bordered by turquoise waters and leaning coconut palms, look no further than the Dom Rep’s most famous resort town, Punta Cana, where 20 miles of beachy east-coast bliss awaits. And the perfect PC perch has to be Tortuga Bay Hotel Punta Cana Resort & Club, whose 30 sophisticated suites and junior suites (designed by native son Oscar de la Renta) are serviced by solicitous concierges. Factor in 45 holes of championship golf; world-class dining and a Six Senses spa, and the sand is just the beginning of this leisurely but never boring Dominican Republic vacation.

November 20, 2018 / by / in ,


One of the Dominican Republic´s most exclusive adults-only all-inclusive resorts, Sanctuary Cap Cana is putting the finishing touches on a jaw-dropping $35 million modernization effort.

The property’s refresh includes artfully crafted lobby spaces, updated restaurants and bars, an enhanced world-class spa and a state-of-the-art fitness center. Guest rooms have also been reimagined as part of the project.

Vacations at the Sanctuary Cap Cana meanwhile, feature an almost dizzying variety of entertainment and activity options including live nightly entertainment, theme parties, cocktail parties, and five swimming pools, (one of which is a saltwater pool.) The swimming pools also include Freshco, a swim-up bar.

And still, there’s more.

Additional offerings range from cocktail classes to ping pong, dance lessons, beach football, tennis clinics, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature Championship golf course.

There’s also wine tastings, cooking lessons and Spanish classes for those looking for a taste of culture. While guests with a competitive side can join a game of bocce ball, darts or bingo.

In search of a few hours of indulgent wellness? Look no further than the Sanctuary Spa, which provides a serene atmosphere featuring hydrotherapy and indigenous treatments designed to create a refreshing, invigorating and peaceful experience. Guests can choose from a variety of soothing, relaxing and results-driven treatments including massages, facials, manicures and pedicures.

The resort’s location is also a notable highlight. It is within Cap Cana, a private retreat known for its 30,000 acres of stunning beaches, and oceanfront valley roads. Cap Cana also features one of the most spectacular marinas in the world, famous and accredited by international journals for its fishing.

All of these attractions and amenities combined with the region’s turquoise waters and white sand beaches make a visit to Sanctuary at Cap Cana unforgettable vacation.




November 11, 2018 / by / in