Destination spotlight: Dominican Republic
In just a few hours’ flight from the East Coast you can surround yourself with 250 miles of beach in the Dominican Republic. The second-largest nation in the Antilles (after Cuba), the Dominican offers a diversity of place that makes it unique, with coastlines along the Caribbean and Atlantic.
In Puerto Plata, where you can stay at Virtuoso-preferred Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, you’ll encounter a sprawling landscape of mountains, valleys, rivers and beaches where Dominican tourism got its start. It’s also the area Christopher Columbus visited on his first voyage, encountering native Tainos, and you can tour the ruins of the settlement the Spaniards established. You can also get an aerial view from the Caribbean’s only cable car, which carries passengers to the lush botanical gardens of Mount Isabel de Torres.
On the picturesque Playa Grande between Puerto Plata and the ecotourism haven of Samana, you’ll find the boutique Amanera resort, an oasis of golden sands and secluded bays at the rainforest’s edge. In the winter months, the waters teem with humpback whales as they mate, birth and train their calves.
The country’s southern (Caribbean) side is where you’ll find La Romana, with excellent calm waters for diving and an array of award-winning Pete Dye golf courses. Based at Casa de Campo Resort & Villas you can enjoy fine dining, shopping and golden beaches and be close enough to visit Altos de Chavon, a replica of a 16th-century Mediterranean village complete with outdoor amphitheater.
Punta Cana lies at the confluence of the Atlantic and Caribbean, where countless waves over countless years have developed a 30-mile stretch of tropical white-sand beach paradise. It’s tailor-made for relaxation, which is why it’s home to Tortuga Bay Hotel and Eden Roc Cap Cana and their fabulous spas. It’s the quintessential destination for fun in the sun.
COVID entry protocol
There is no requirement for a negative PCR test. Arrivals will be subject to temperature screening, and some visitors will be subjected to a breath test. Anyone displaying symptoms or who fails a breath test will be isolated at an authorized location. Travelers must complete an online e-ticket which combines a traveler's health affidavit with customs declaration and embarkation forms. (Through Dec. 31, airlines will hand out paper versions of the forms on flights, but after Jan. 1 they will only be accepted in electronic form.)
Where to stay
Hotel Boutique Casa Colonial Beach & Spa A seaside paradise, the all-suite Hotel Boutique Casa Colonial Beach & Spa occupies a choice spot on the island's exotic north coast. “Colonial chic” best describes the elegant, laid-back atmosphere and decor of this resort. A Junior Suite is a lovely choice for its spacious balcony, Roman-style tub, flat-screen television, and sitting area. For dinner, Lucia restaurant features a wide selection of gourmet Caribbean fusion dishes and delicious desserts. Be pampered at the Bagua Spa, where treatments are based on tropical treasures from the sea, or tee off on the adjacent Playa Dorada Golf Course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr.
The fact that Amanera offers Hispaniola’s most refined stay is evident from a mile away. That’s the length of Playa Grande, the immaculate beach that fronts this Bali-inspired resort. The glass-and-teak main house highlights nature’s artistry, as do the 25 casitas and a two-bedroom clifftop villa; most accommodations feature personal pools facing the sands. Take a jungle trek, get a seaside massage, or sip Santo Libres at the beach club, then puff a hand-rolled Dominican puro in the cigar lounge. Rees Jones renovated the adjacent golf course, touted as “the Pebble Beach of the Caribbean.”
Casa de Campo Resort & Villas
Beach escapes become more invigorating through play. White-sand beaches and clear, blue waters surround La Romana, but at Casa de Campo, there are even more places for games. The 63 holes of golf designed by Pete Dye challenge you; 13 tennis courts, three polo playing fields, and a comprehensive 245-acre shooting facility await. But this legendary resort offers more than great sports; expect gorgeous rooms, private villas, and amenities such as dazzling pools, exclusive Minitas Beach, award-winning restaurants, a well-appointed spa, a full-service marina, and the native history and culture of Altos de Chavón artists’ village.
Tortuga Bay Puntacana Resort & Club
Tortuga Bay, the only AAA Five Diamond property in the Dominican Republic, features 13 beachfront villas draped in stunning designs by Oscar de la Renta, named in Vogue “the master of timeless American style.” Completely renovated by Markham Roberts in 2017, every suite has updated technology and design curated to enhance guest experience. Discretion, serenity, and impeccable service define your stay. Explore five miles of white-sand beach, 45 holes of championship golf designed by Tom Fazio and P.B. Dye, a Six Senses Spa, a tennis center, and a 1,500-acre ecological reserve with 12 natural springs.
Eden Roc Cap Cana
Eden Roc Cap Cana is the only Member of Relais & Châteaux in the Dominican Republic. Within an exclusive gated community, it boasts a private beach with a tropical forest, the Punta Espada Golf Club with a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course, and a brand-new, 20,000-square-foot Wellness & SPA center. The hotel presents 34 lavish Casitas, 26 beachfront suites, four new Ocean Villas featuring private pools and butlers, and two multibedroom villas. Indulge in fine dining at Mediterraneo, seaside dining at La Palapa, and international cuisine at BLUE. The Beach Club has an infinity-edge pool, private beach, and beach concierge service.