Best Boutique Hotels in the Dominican Republic

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A team of Oyster reporters spent weeks exploring 82 top hotels in the Dominican Republic. We slept in the beds, ate in the restaurants, tested the service, and scoped out the neighborhoods, all with an eye toward selecting the most distinguished properties. Here's a list of our favorite boutique hotels.

  1. Designed by Oscar de la Renta, the 15-room Tortuga Bay hotel offers amazing service (including preferential treatment at Punta Cana Airport), an on-site nature reserve, and several superb restaurants. The rooms have handsome, tropical elegance with tasteful design -- and posh Jacuzzi tubs. They are kept spotless and have great balconies and terraces with fantastic ocean views. Tortuga's beach has calm, crystal-clear water and soft white sand, and the 18-hole La Cana golf course at the Punta Cana Estates property, which surrounds Tortuga, was conceived by world-class designer Pete Dye.

  2. The quiet, 55-room Sivory lures mostly couples to its secluded location. Service is impressive, as is the natural setting, and everything -- from the comfortable rooms to the spa to the reflecting pool attached to the lobby -- is designed to promote relaxation. Guests are greeted with a champagne flute and a cool, vanilla-scented towel on a silver platter, and the concierge and front desk staff are available 24 hours a day. Sivory also boasts some of the best bathrooms in the D.R.

  3. This secluded 53-room getaway is an hour from the airport, but it feels a million miles from Punta Cana's mega-resorts. The waves pounding on the shore and water trickling through the serpentine pool are the only sounds you'll hear, and the giant rooms with gorgeous terraces, the top-notch spa, and two high-quality restaurants are all lovely. Service is highly personalized and attentive, the kind that can only come from a tiny resort.

  4. Offering 11 eco-friendly bungalows in a lush 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.

  5. 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. The hotel's 50 rooms are gorgeous -- but at the beach, the rooftop pool, and on the balconies, guests suffer through their neighbors' poolside megaphones and karaoke nights. The Caribbean-chic décor in the rooms includes a sisal rug, a plush white linen loveseat and wingback chair, modern artwork, and a mahogany four-post bed topped with Frette sateen linens. The service is superb -- warm, yet professional.

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