60-minute ride from Punta Cana International Airport
One of the few boutique hotels in Punta Cana, the quiet, 55-room Sivory lures mostly couples to its secluded location -- about a 60-minute ride from the airport. Service is impressive, as is the natural setting, but the beach doesn't compare to those further south.
With just 55 plush rooms, it's a true designer boutique -- a rare thing in the D.R. The natural setting is certainly calming, a long way from anything.
At Sivory, everything is designed to promote relaxation -- from the comfortable rooms to the spa to the reflecting pool attached to the lobby. When I checked in, a lounge version of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O' Mine" was playing softly and I was handed a chilled glass of champagne and a cool towel.
But to get to Sivory, you have take a 60-minute taxi ride from the airport before you arrive at the modest hotel entrance.
Guests are greeted on arrival with a champagne flute and a cool, vanilla-scented towel on a silver platter.
Daily "open eyes" and turndown service is included. Unique to Sivory, "open eyes" is essentially just a continental breakfast delivered to your door at the time you request -- a great way to ease into the day.
It's either a long car ride or a quick, expensive helicopter flight from the airport.
Sivory is located on the northernmost edge of Punta Cana. The ride takes about an hour from the airport. Sivory can arrange ground transportation to and from the airport, or they can also arrange helicopter transport each way. Both options are pricey.
Unlike the rest of Punta Cana, this remote beach isn't great for swimming, with its harsher waves and less-clear water.
In the winter, the wind picks up and drives the waves in, making the water far less clear and also creating a fairly dangerous crosscurrent. Winds are calmer in the summer, spring, and fall. The sand doesn't have big chunks of coral, but it's not the soft powder you'll find in more southern parts of Punta Cana. There are plenty of chaise longues and palapa umbrellas on the beach, though. There are also lots of palm trees, so grabbing some shade shoulnd't be a problem.
Guests are advised not to venture too far from the beach in front of the resort -- as is the case throughout the DR.
Modern, beach-chic, and big, with some of the best bathrooms in the D.R.
At 650 square feet, the deluxe junior suite feels more like an apartment than a hotel room. Huge and with a modern design unlike anywhere else in the Dominican Republic, the room features a desk area, a two-couch sitting area, a picture window, a giant bed, and a comfortable balcony. The rooms are clearly what make Sivory. And with multiple windows on multiple walls, the layout is not like your typical hotel room, either.
All rooms are clean and modern, with handsome dark wood trim, wicker furniture, and handsome big bathrooms with mod sinks and fixtures. It all looks pieced together from a West Elm catalog. The closet comes stocked with bug spray.
As for the bathroom, consider it a couple's dream: A two-person Jacuzzi and a two-person shower with two shower heads on opposing walls can make for a phenomenal romantic vacation. The whirlpool is next to a window and shaded by a bunch of ferns. (Not to worry: There are shades as well.)
Upgrading from the basic deluxe junior suite will get you your own plunge pool attached to a private terrace, a larger living room, and/or a kitchen.
The king-size beds come with four big pillows and super-soft 220-thread-count sheets tucked tightly under the mattress.
Guests can choose from four different kinds of pillows: standard, thermal, feather, or latex.
A window above the bed looks out onto some ferns, which brings a natural element right into the room.
Large flat-screen TV only gets a couple of fuzzy channels. The hotel also offers a DVD player and a free DVD borrowing library.
Only a few windows open and there's no screen on the sliding glass door. This will frustrate those who fly to the Caribbean looking for the gentle night breeze to wash over them. It won't happen -- you'll have to settle for that not-so-gentle AC gust.
Even in the standard rooms, the balconies are some of the best in the D.R.. You can also upgrade for a private plunge pool or a Jacuzzi.
All balconies are private and overlook the ocean. Even on ground level, the balconies are suspended a few feet in the air. Along its edges are two giant daybeds. A nice touch: bamboo wind chimes. Guests who upgrade from the basic deluxe junior suite get a private plunge pool or a whirlpool.
Sivory has a small pool with lounge chairs built into it, but it's not too impressive.
The pool is a bit of a letdown. Though it's technically an infinity pool, it's surrounded by a concrete walkway, so it lacks the same feeling as an infinity pool next to the ocean or one with a steep drop-off on one side. The wind, common during the winter months, picks up by mid-afternoon and can sometimes forces guests away from the pool area. There's a bar right next to the pool.
Small but clean fitness center, with big windows that look out on a grassy area. The fitness center has just a couple of cardio machines and weight lifting machines, but they're new and in good working condition. No personal trainers.
The open-air spa draws more guests than the beach or the pool.
The spa consists of an open-air room with a hot tub and a plunge pool. Off the main room, there's a steam sauna and a dry sauna. Both are kept very clean and are sufficiently hot.
There are also multiple massage rooms (hydro) and a beauty salon with a fitness center attached. To cool off, there are two sets of three different showers: a traditional shower, one with jets on the wall, and a bucket shower, where you pull the chain and a bucket of water tips, pouring its contents all over you.
This hotel is meant for couples, but it can accommodate families.
Sivory can arrange toys for kids and baby-sitting services, which is fairly standard for other luxe resorts like Tortuga Bay. But it is without a doubt designed for adults and couples.
A small family could share a standard room, if the kids are willing to bunk on the couches. Otherwise, four rooms have connecting doorways for parents who want to be close to their children but not in the same room. There's also the Sivory Grand Suite for families who want to have their own villa to themselves. This 2,250-square-foot villa has two master bedrooms, but staff can set up one of the rooms with two twin beds.
The restaurants can accommodate children but are much more geared toward an adult palate and are advertised as gourmet dining.
Families should be cautious venturing too far from the property, especially along the beach. (This is standard advice in the DR.)
For luxury resorts that are more family friendly, check Caso De Camp and Punta Cana Estates.
Impeccable. The staff keeps the resort looking immaculate.
Rooms are kept super-clean and odor-free. The lobby, which smells like fresh vanilla thanks to the cool hand towels given to guests during check-in, other common areas, and grounds are also extremely well maintained.
Sivory has a three upscale restaurants serving solid gourmet food, comparing favorably with just about everywhere in the D.R. except Tortuga Bay. Two bars and a cigar lounge round out the resort's eateries. The food is pricey, so it's not a bad idea to opt for the all-inclusive meal plan. There aren't any great dining options nearby worth leaving the grounds for.