In a country dominated by massive all-inclusive resort complexes, these three- to 132-room boutique hotels are a breath of fresh air. Take a look at the best boutique hotels in the Dominican Republic.
Designed by Oscar de la Renta, the 30-room Tortuga Bay hotel offers amazing service (including preferential treatment at Punta Cana Airport), an on-site nature reserve (with hiking trails and swimmable lagoons), several superb restaurants, and three world-class golf courses. The hotel's beautiful and quiet beach is one of the D.R.'s best. Guests also have access to all of Puntacana Resort & Club.
The Eden Roc, opened in 2012, is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community -- which has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, marina, and beach club. The 34 colorful suites are clustered around a small, man-made lagoon and feature elegant decor (picture four-poster beds, intricate floor tiling, and spacious bathrooms). Up-to-date amenities include iPad-controlled lights, sound systems, and TVs with numerous channels in Spanish and English. Suites also come with small pools and golf carts for getting around the property.
This sumptuous 18-room hotel is utterly unique. Set on top of a picture-perfect cliff on the northern shore of the Dominican Republic, the upscale boutique is aptly named -- its Indian-influenced architecture and decor is indeed palatial. Rooms have attractive carvings, textiles, and balconies, and some have terrific ocean views. There are a pretty and quiet pool, open-air massages at the spa, and quality food that can be served just about anywhere on the property. The small, gorgeous private beach is a highlight, and though it can disappear seasonally, the renowned Playa Grande is a 10-minute drive.
One of the few boutique hotels in Punta Cana, the quiet, 55-room adult-only Sivory lures couples to its secluded location -- about a (bumpy) 60-minute ride from the airport. Service is impressive, as is the natural setting, and the beach is free of hawkers and tourists. Large, beach-chic rooms have some of the best bathrooms in the D.R., but are showing minor wear.
The 96-room Zoetry Agua is one of the most luxurious and tranquil all-inclusive resorts in the Dominican Republic. Catering towards couples, the resort boasts an uncrowded white-sand beach, sleek and spacious suites, a pristine pool, and one of the Dominican Republic’s top spas. Included amenities -- yoga classes, laundry services, top-shelf liquor, and even a horseback riding session -- are plentiful, but a difficult-to-reach location and no kids’ club make it less suited for families. But that’s just what makes it an ideal choice for those seeking a romantic and relaxing getaway.
Offering 11 eco-friendly bungalows in a lush, friendly setting, Natura Cabanas is a taste of serene, northern coast luxury for a remarkably fair price. Guests enjoy delicious, fresh food, a clean, crowd-less private beach, daily yoga and Pilates classes, and a fabulous spa. With no crowds, plenty of chairs, clear water, and soft sand, Natura's beach is the best beach on the north coast. Plus, service is excellent -- the warm, low-key owner even offers personal tours of the property.
It's one of the most stylish, most luxurious hotels in the Dominican Republic -- but it's surrounded by 14 crowded, all-inclusive mega-resorts in the gated Playa Dorada complex. Rooms are gorgeous -- chic decor, private outdoor tubs, and four-poster beds -- but at the beach, the rooftop pool, and on the balconies, guests suffer through their neighbors' poolside megaphones and karaoke nights.
Despite its kid-friendly mantra, this upscale boutique resort is a relaxing, appealing pick for both couples and families. The Reserve is pricier than its larger sister property next door, the Paradisus Punta Cana, but for good reason. The 132 classic one-bedroom units here (some adjoining) have separate living/dining areas, pull-out sofas, and spacious bathrooms with jetted tubs for two. Reserve guests can access the amenities and restaurants next door (minus Royal Services), so they don't lose out on features by staying here. The beach area is a good hike away, but the tangerine bikes are useful for getting around, and it's not too far to walk to the large pool complex, fitness center, yoga studio, and Asian-themed spa.
Often lauded as one of the best upscale hotels in the Dominican Republic, Casa Veintiuno is an intimate bed-and-breakfast with just three poshly decorated rooms. Thanks to hospitable Belgian owners, Casa Veintiuno exhibits a flair of European cool that can’t be found anywhere else in the area. Rooms are equipped with French designer bedding, Dutch mattresses, and Italian espresso machines. There’s a small pool surrounded by cushioned lounge chairs and a tropical garden, as well as an on-site gourmet restaurant that serves free breakfast. Though the hotel isn’t located on the beach, it’s within a five- to 10-minute walk of both of Sosua’s beaches.
With a beautiful terrace restaurant, ultra-modern lobby bar, and rooftop infinity pool with panoramic city views, the Billini Hotel offers an upscale city oasis. Set in the heart of Santo Domingo’s tourist-friendly Zona Colonial, the smartly designed property feels worlds away from the downtown urban hustle, but it's still within walking distance of many of the city’s restaurants, bars, shops, and Playa Montesinos. Its 24 rooms seamlessly blend modern design with original 17th-century architectural details and offer private outdoor spaces, free minibars, and a list of high-tech amenities.
With three al fresco restaurants, a lovely lobby lounge, two infinity pools with ocean views, and a modern spa, the Bannister Hotel is an upscale boutique option. All of its 33 spacious suites come with full kitchens and private balconies. Set on a quiet, picturesque marina (sadly without a beachfront), the gated property feels worlds away from downtown Samana, but it’s only a 15-minute drive to the town’s dining, shopping, and nightlife scene.
When the young surfers and night owls partying in Cabarete need a place to crash, the beachfront, four-pearl Ultravioleta Boutique is one of their classiest options. That’s because its 21 bright and contemporary apartments are a sharp alternative to the mediocre crash pads in the center of town. The location -- a 10-minute walk from the center of town and right on Kite Beach -- makes it's a quieter, upscale alternative. The hotel's sleek pool is a major draw, but there are no other features here, and the ocean here can be a bit rough for swimming.
Although you won’t find such amenities as an on-site restaurant or spa, the upscale Chateau Del Mar Ocean Villas has 20 apartment-style units, a small pool, and a prime central location. Well-equipped apartments have simple, modern furnishings and full kitchens; they attract families, couples, and friend groups looking to get away from the all-inclusive crowd. In this respect, there’s really nothing else like the Chateau Del Mar in Punta Cana.