The Dominican Republic is a multitude of destinations. But the country is so large and diverse that you may think you know the DR when, actually, you don’t. Sure, you may know about the traditional tourism hubs like Punta Cana and Puerto Plata, but places like Cabarete, the North Coast and the wonderful city of Santo Domingo, remain very much under the radar for many travelers. And so are many of the best Dominican Republic hotels.
The best way to see the robust, varied soul of this beautiful country is in its European-plan accommodations. So while you may be used to the everything-included vacations that have in many ways put this destination on the tourist map, these are the places that offer you a real, authentic taste of the Dominican Republic.
Here is our on-the-ground inspection team’s rankings of the best places to stay in the country — the top Dominican Republic hotels.
Tortuga Bay This is the best hotel in the Dominican Republic. The boutique gem has long been the best-kept secret in Punta Cana, and that’s because it’s a luxurious, incredibly thoughtful property. The interior of each of its villas was designed by the late Oscar de la Renta, and it’s that kind of effortless style that pervades the property, home to 50 suites across 15 direct beachfront villas.
Eden Roc at Cap Cana This Relais and Chateaux property is a gourmand’s dream, with two world-class restaurants, stunning rooms and a picturesque beach club at Playa Caleton. Set in the tony corner of Cap Cana, it’s the South of France meets the Dominican Republic. Even better? Every room has its own plunge pool.
Amanera The newest hotel in the Dominican Republic has quickly risen to the top of the pack. It’s got all of the classic style and amenities at an Aman resort, with a beachy DR twist. The story is the 36 superb “pavilion” rooms, each counting exquisite hillside views. Even better, it’s home to the Playa Grande Golf Club, which debuted in 2015 and is already among the region’s top courses.
Casa de Campo This La Romana property is, simply, a complete resort. You’ve got everything from shopping villages to golf to tennis to horseback riding to high-end dining. There’s a full-service marina, an artist’s colony nearby … and then there’s the golf, which is arguably the best in the Caribbean, home to three Pete Dye courses. This is a world in a resort.
Casa Colonial A work of art. This high-design hotel, the brainchild of Roberto Cassoni and his wife, designer Sarah Garcia, who have made this boutique property in Puerto Plata a destination in its own right. The highlight is the rooftop infinity pool, a masterpiece of its own.
JW Marriott Santo Domingo Set in a modern skyscraper in the heart of Santo Domingo’s Piantini business district, this is one of the coolest hotels in the Caribbean, with high-tech rooms, a jaw-dropping transparent-parent floor balcony bar and rooftop pool. Even better, there’s a luxury shopping mall at ground level.
Hostal Nicolas de Ovando This isn’t a hotel. It’s a time machine. This lovely hotel is set in a building that dates back to 1502, with 104 rooms and suites in the former home of Santo Domingo founder, Governor Nicolas de Ovando. The hotel, which is set on what was the first paved road in the New World, is a one-of-a-kind experience in the region.
Gansevoort Dominican Republic Playa Imbert The North Coast of the Dominican Republic has been experiencing a hotel development boom. One of the pioneers was Gansevoort which recently opened this high-style, contemporary beach resort on Playa Imbert. The 48-unit hotel has 24 lofts, 17 apartments and six penthouses.
Peninsula House This luxury outpost on Plaay Coson in Las Terrenas bills itself as a guest house, and that’s the spirit that fills the Victorian-style property. This is an old-school hotel that hearkens back to Old World hospitality. Make sure you don’t miss the Beach Restaurant.
Casas del XVI The Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo is itself one of the best destinations in the Caribbean (although it remains under the radar), and it’s home to an increasing number of luxurious small hotels. A recent entrant is the Casas del XVI, a boutique built across three 16th-century buildings. The property celebrates the past with a modern twist.
Billini Hotel This is an ultra-modern, artistic property in the heart of the Colonial Zone, with bright colors and a trendy vibe. There are 24 suites with luxurious accents from Bang & Olufsen Wi-Fi radios to private balconies. The bar and restaurant are terrific, too.
Westin Puntacana Resort & Club This Dominican Republic hotel is set on one of the best stretches of beach in the country, and the hotel lives up to that quality. This is an elegant hotel focused on active, wellness-passionate travelers. But it’s also great for an easy Caribbean escape.
Sublime Samana Hotel and Residences The Samana peninsula is one of the most beautiful places in the Dominican Republic, and it’s still a great way to see the still-unexplored, raw nature of the country. The seven-care resort has one, two and three-bedroom suites and casitas, with a breezy but luxurious air.
Renaissance Santo Domingo Jaragua Hotel and Casino Perhaps the most famous hotel in Santo Domingo, the recently transformed hotel has a great casino and a sprawling site. It’s the kind of hotel that makes business travel fun. This 300-room-and-suite property is right on the Malecon in Santo Domingo, in the heart of where the action is.
The Bannister Hotel Right on the beach, this retreat is set in the heart of Samana Bay, with 28 suites and an active atmosphere. There’s a lot to do for a small hotel, from fishing tournaments to yoga to lounging on the sand.
Ultravioleta Cabarete This ultra-chic beach hotel is at the nexus of residence and hotel, with a spectacular beachfront pool, modern, cool design and a great location between downtown Cabarete and Kite Beach. The property has 21 luxury apartments, with interior design by AltriTempi.
Millennium Cabarete Another great example of Cabarete’s diverse and increasingly trendy hotel product, this is a resort and spa with a “hip” environment. It’s great hotel for millennials and beach-seekers, the kind of people that have always frequented Cabarete. The pool is great, too.
Four Points By Sheraton The story here is the location: this modern Punta Cana hotel is close to just about everything, and just seconds from the airport. It’s become a haven for the increasing number of people who come to Punta Cana to do business. But even if you’re here for leisure, the convenience makes it a great option.
Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge This eco hotel in the still-untouched corner of Barahona is about experiencing nature and wellness. There’s a great spa, 12 guest rooms and one ocean-view suite, and a focus on “sustainable living.”
Sheraton Santo Domingo When it opened its doors in 2014, this represented the return of the Sheraton brand to the country after a decades-long absence. Today, the hotel has 255 rooms and suites, copious meeting space, and perhaps most importantly, a terrific lobby bar.