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Top 10 hotels in Dominican Republic
Arguably the most diverse of the Caribbean nations, the Dominican Republic tempts with a compelling mix of tropical rainforests, savannah deserts, sugarcane plantations, hidden villages, and white-sand beaches backed by turquoise-tinted waters. We check into the island’s very best hotels, all of which are located on the glittering east coast.
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana
The scene: It’s all rock star swagger and high-end glamour at this supersized resort set on sparkling white sands stretching 121-acres along Macao Beach. There’s 13 expansive pools with swim-up bars and waterslides, nine globe-spanning restaurants, 23 signature bars and lounges, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a 46-room signature Rock Spa®, and a larger-than-life casino with Vegas-style gaming tables, slot machines, a poker room, and a VIP area.
The sleep: An attractive décor scheme prevails in the sumptuous guest rooms and suites, all of which have private balconies, flatscreen TVs with digital channels, and bathrooms with double hydro spa tubs, dual showers, plush bathrobes and slippers, and free toiletries. Bluetooth-enabled wireless alarm clock radios, coffee makers, minibars stocked with soda, bottled water and local beer, and your very own liquor dispenser complete the live-like-a-rock-star touches.
Most standout: Once you’ve exhausted the outdoor activities and exhilarating entertainment options, head to ORO - the electrifying cool dance club to rival those found anywhere else on the island. Spread across two levels, there’s Kryogenifex® special effects, award-winning Funktion-One sound, show lighting, a two-storey-high LED wall with over 300 individual screens, an infinity edge bar, and a dance floor where you’ll have plenty of space for showing off your moves.
More information and to book: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Punta Cana
Excellence El Carmen
The scene: Set on a palm-studded sandy beach right where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic, this secluded paradise ticks many of the boxes required for an idyllic Dominican Republic getaway. Catering just for grown-ups, life here mostly revolves around the 23 pools, nine outdoor Jacuzzis, fully-equipped gym with 607-metre jogging course, 16 bars, 12 restaurants, and daily activity schedule that includes scuba diving, dancing lessons, and cookery classes.
The sleep: Characterised by the colours of the Caribbean (sunny yellows, lush greens, ocean blues), guest rooms and suites have king-size beds (or doubles), balconies or terraces with lounge furniture (some have hammocks), and bathrooms with rain showers, oversized Jacuzzis, and Bvlgari toiletries. Further luxe touches include Nepresso machines, bathrobes and slippers, and flatscreen TVs. Some accommodation types have private gardens and plunge pools.
Most standout: For a mind and body reboot, the Miilé Spa has a 15-person hot-water whirlpool, Swedish sauna, steam rooms, experience showers, hot and cold plunge pools, a hydrotherapy circuit, and much more. It also offers an excellent selection of just-for-couples treatments and therapies from across the globe, including the signature By The Ocean Couples Massage, Vitality Couples Ritual, and Luxury Couples Pedicure.
More information and to book: Excellence El Carmen
Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa
The scene: Rolling out the red carpet for guests of all ages, this award-winning resort lives up to its name with a prime position overlooking Uvero Alto’s pristine golden sands. Equally impressive are the head-spinning amount of wining and dining options, the exciting dawn-to-dusk activities, and the Unlimited-Luxury® programme that will leave you wanting for nothing. And having one of the largest free-form swimming pools in the Dominican Republic isn’t bad either.
The sleep: Available in six categories, all of the 620 light and airy rooms and suites have a private terrace of balcony with a garden or an ocean view. There’s also king-size beds (or two doubles), well-appointed bathrooms with bathtubs and/or showers, flatscreen TVs with satellite channels, CD/DVD players, MP3 docking station alarm clocks, and tea and coffee-making facilities. The complimentary mini-bar is filled daily with soft drinks, bottled water, juice, and beer.
Most standout: The two highly-rated kids’ clubs are a godsend for parents seeking time on their own. The Explorer’s Club keeps children aged three to 12 happy with arts and crafts, games, movie screenings, treasure hunts, weekly campouts, and a pirate ship waterslide, while the Core Zone Teen's Club occupies too-cool teenagers with games (Xbox, PlayStation, Wii), a rock climbing wall, a snack bar, and nightly social events that run from 8:30pm until midnight.
More information and to book: Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel
The scene: Flaunting its new good looks following a recent refurb, this small-scale boutique hotel to the north of Punta Cana lays on the luxury with a private palm-studded beach, fabulous infinity pool, well-appointed fitness centre, and excellent gourmet restaurants that offer food and wine pairings. Catering only for adults, it’s bang on-point for honeymooners and romantic duos who want little more than to escape from everyday life in an intimate and grown-up setting.
The sleep: There’s a chic and elegant look in the 55 garden-facing suites, all of which have air-con, ceiling fans, and plenty of living space. Available in five categories, you’ll have a private balcony with daybeds, separate lounge area, flatscreen TV with free movies, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a minibar. The en-suite bathrooms have bathtubs and showers, bathrobes and slippers, make-up mirrors, hairdryers, fluffy white towels, and free ETRO toiletries.
Most standout: Set right by the sea, the Aquarea Spa & Wellness Centre is a striking 4,300-square-foot space with a Jacuzzi, pool, couples’ saunas, hydrotherapy circuit, meditation gardens, and custom-designed treatment rooms. Restorative therapies include deep massage, lymphatic drainage, mud and seaweed wraps, and face and body treatments using locally-grown extracts and essences. There’s also a fitness centre with cardio and weight lifting equipment.
More information and to book: Sivory Punta Cana Boutique Hotel
Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa
The scene: If you want a beautiful beach right on your doorstep, this upscale sleep is set on the golden sands in Uvero Alto - one of the most gorgeous villages on Punta Cana’s Coconut Coast. Offering a heady dose of Dominican Republic glitz and glamour in the comfort of a resort complex, you’ll have access to 11 gourmet restaurants, nine bars and lounges, a sumptuous spa, and evening entertainment such as fashion shows, themed club nights, and gala parties.
The sleep: All of the 750 spacious and spoiling rooms have a balcony or terrace with Jacuzzi, king-size bed (or two doubles), bathroom with shower, and all the mod cons you’ll need. Upgrading to an Xhale Club room gets you more luxuries, including a personalised check-in and checkout with concierge service, free Wi-Fi access, newspapers delivered to your room daily, afternoon snacks and fine liquors in the Xhale Club lounge, and enhanced in-room amenities.
Most standout: There’s no shortage of appealing activities; from lazing by eight pools to blissing out in the lovely spa. Further highlights include dance and Spanish classes, aerobics, beach volleyball, watersports (windsurfing, snorkelling, kayaking, introductory scuba diving lessons), and snorkelling in the nearby coral reefs. Those who fancy a day out can take an excursion to Santo Domingo - the capital of the Dominican Republic and one of the Caribbean's oldest cities.
More information and to book: Breathless Punta Cana Resort & Spa
Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana
The scene: A vast sugar-white beach edged with palm trees dominates the view at this adults-only escape. Complete with an Unlimited-Luxury® programme offering upgraded services and amenities, there’s a large free-form pool that winds through the perfectly manicured gardens, six on-site dining options (including a ton more at the Now Larimar Punta Cana property next door), and a slew of fun attractions that include a four-lane bowling alley and an on-site casino.
The sleep: Overlooking the pool, sea, or gardens, all 373 comfortable rooms feature king-size beds (or two doubles) dressed with luxe linens, furnished balconies or terraces with Jacuzzis, marble bathrooms with showers, and flatscreen TVs with CD/DVD players and cable channels. For an extra charge, the VIP upgrade gets you much swankier room perks and includes access to the private beach, pool, hydro tub, and lounge areas.
Most standout: There’s a wide choice of treatments, rituals, and therapies on the menu at the indulgent Secrets Spa by Pevonia® - a magnificent space spanning over 17,000-square-feet. Choice from a selection of massages (hot stone, aromatherapy, Swedish), facials, and salt glows - or book one of delicious tropical body wraps with papaya, pineapple, crème fraîche, mango, or passion fruit yogurt. Side-by-side massages are also a tempting option for couples.
More information and to book: Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana
Now Onyx Punta Cana
The scene: Set on a remote, palm-studded beach in Uvero Alto, this contemporary-styled resort is perfect for families, groups of friends, and honeymooners who don’t mind children. There’s five superb pools (including an infinity pool, children’s pool, and saltwater pool), limitless gourmet à la carte dining and top-shelf beverages at 10 restaurants and 10 bars, a world-class spa, two kids’ clubs (one for little ones, one for teens), and a full agenda of land and sea activities for all ages.
The sleep: The 502 modern suites overlooking the flower-filled gardens or the sparkling ocean have private terraces or balconies with whirlpools, king-sized beds (or two doubles), flatscreen TVs, minibars that are filled daily, and beautiful bathrooms with rain showers and free toiletries. Ground floor suites are all swim-out and offer direct access to a pool from the terrace. For families with young children, interconnecting rooms are available on request.
Most standout: Not only can you enjoy limitless à la carte dining with no reservations required, but also you can take advantage of 20 additional dining and bar options at Breathless Punta Cana next door. Guests on the Sip, Savor & See programme may also visit eight neighbouring Dreams and Now Resorts & Spas for dinner, cocktails, and live entertainment (this must be arranged through the resort concierge by 3pm and does not include transportation).
More information and to book: Now Onyx Punta Cana
Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana
The scene: Located along a stretch of private beach in Punta Cana, this boutique-style wellness sanctuary has two large infinity pools, three à la carte gourmet restaurants, and an extraordinary spa and gym. Best of all, most of the services are included on the Endless Privileges® programme, so there’s no need to dip into your pocket and pay extra for enrichment experiences such as cocktail-making, cigar-rolling, painting, yoga, power jumping, and dance classes.
The sleep: All of the 51 rustic-chic suites come with French doors leading to a private terrace or balcony. You’ll be spoiled further with a king-size bed (or two queens) dressed with lightly-scented pillows for a heavenly night’s sleep, a well-sized bathroom with a deep-soaking tub and Bvlgari toiletries, and a flatscreen TV with DVD player. Nice extras include a nightly turndown service and a minibar filled twice-daily with premium beverages and deli snacks.
Most standout: Although you’ll receive a 20-minute complimentary treatment in the spa, you’ll end up hankering for more time in this spirit-lifting place. There’s a Jacuzzi, Finnish and steam sauna, indoor pool, sensation showers, Inox bubble beds, and private rooms for therapies and treatments designed to leave you stress-free and glowing from within. Equally impressive is the state-of-the-art gym which has cardio equipment, free weights, and a couple of stair climbers.
More information and to book: Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana
Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa
The scene: Opened in 2016 as the 15th property in the Secrets’ portfolio, this adults-only resort is located within the gated community of Cap Cana along the glittering sands of Juanillo Beach. There’s eight restaurants, a signature Spa by Pevonia®, an infinity pool, and access to a Jack Nicklaus golf course, marina, stables, and equestrian centre with polo fields. You’ll also get to experience Unlimited Luxury®, meaning you’ll never have to lift a finger during your stay.
The sleep: The 457 ultra-stylish suites have plenty of mood-setting luxuries. Expect king-size beds (or two doubles), furnished balconies or terraces with deep-soaking tubs, flatscreen TVs with CD/DVD players, and marble-clad bathrooms with rain showers, plush bathrobes and slippers, and free bath goodies. The salubrious Preferred Club suites have a living room with dining area, two flatscreen TVs, an espresso machine, and far more living space.
Most standout: Golfers can arrange tee times at three golf courses, all of which are nearby. Play the Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole course at Punta Espada Golf Course, or experience the challenging wetlands and wide fairways at Nick Price’s Punta Blanca Golf Course. Alternatively, the Cocotal Golf & Country Club built on a former coconut plantation has two courses by Spanish architect Jose “Pepe” Gancedo - the so-called Picasso of the golf designing world.
More information and to book: Secrets Cap Cana Resort & Spa
Eden Roc at Cap Cana
The scene: Setting the luxury benchmark for the Dominican Republic higher than ever before, this boutique resort is located in Cap Cana - the sparkling 30,000-acre gated community on the island’s eastern tip. Fashioned after a chic European village, it offers style-seekers a large pool, a ravishing spa with cabanas, several incredible restaurants, a private members-only beach club, and a colonial-style wine cellar that famously houses some of the best wines on the island.
The sleep: The 34 suites and villas with private pools and covered gazebos are what make this place so special. Further luxe touches include an iPad that controls everything in the room (temperature, television, Bose surround sound speakers), a Nespresso machine, and access to 4,500 newspaper and magazine titles via a free PressReader app. Bathrooms have coral stone bathtubs with marble Jacuzzis, Acqua di Parma toiletries, and plush bathrobes.
Most standout: Inspired by the Riva Aquamaran pleasure boat that was the symbol of glamour in 1960's Monte Carlo, the lavish Riva Bar is the resort’s vintage bar locale. Open daily from 5pm until 1am, it’s the coolest place to enjoy carefree afternoons listening to the tinkling of piano keys and sipping classic cocktails and signature drinks. The fun continues at La Cava, the charming wine spot cleverly designed to resemble a cosy cellar (wine tastings are available on request).
More information and to book: Eden Roc at Cap Can