The oldest city in the New World -- and its top hotels -- exudes an enchanting old-meets-new vibe. Take a look at the most romantic hotels in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
Take away the cars and electric street lamps on Calle Las Damas (the first paved street in the New World) and you'll feel like you're stepping into the 16th century. The hotel was once the home of Santo Domingo’s founder, Governor Nicolas de Ovando, and much of its beautiful Spanish Colonial architecture remains perfectly intact. It’s no surprise that the three buildings that make up the hotel are collectively listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Like the lobby and common areas, the rooms feature original fixtures and details, like exposed brick, thick wood ceiling beams, arched entryways, and shuttered windows that have been well preserved or restored. Every room has modern amenities: minibars, flat-screen TVs, Nespresso coffeemakers, and free Wi-Fi. The outdoor pool offers decent views of Rio Ozama and La Residence restaurant serves up fine French dining in one of the city’s most romantic alfresco dining spaces. Its terrace extends into a charming, open-air courtyard awash in brick, Spanish tile, and lush tropical greenery.
Though it's in the heart of Santo Domingo’s tourist-friendly Zona Colonial, this smartly designed property feels worlds away from the downtown urban hustle. A beautiful terrace restaurant, ultra-modern lobby bar, modern-meets-Mediterranean courtyard, and rooftop infinity pool with panoramic city views work together to create an upscale-oasis vibe. The 24 rooms seamlessly blend modern design with original 17th-century architectural details and offer private balconies or terraces, free minibars, and high-tech amenities, like flat-screen Smart HDTVs, Bang & Olufsen Wi-Fi radios, and tablets which can be used to order 24-hour room service. Billini is not as all-out Old World as Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovando, but it is nonetheless steeped in history and is one of the smartest, sexiest picks in the city.
El Embajador's large-scale, '80s-era architecture has nothing on the romance, intimacy, and history of Hodelpa Nicolas de Ovanda and Billini, of course. But a sense of grandeur and solid list of resort-like amenities -- including a luxurious alfresco restaurant -- give it a good amount of appeal. Although it lacks a beach, the lovely pool area, well-manicured grounds, a small casino, and several restaurants and bars tick many of the essential boxes for a Caribbean getaway. The hotel’s flagship restaurant, El Jardin, has a strict dress code and an elegant Old World atmosphere, filled with fine dinnerware, furnishings, and fabrics. A classy, outdoor terrace offers intimate and romantic open-air dining beneath a massive banyan tree.