BY Lisa Lindblad
August 27, 2018
DR’s south coast has always been the go to beach with its Caribbean waters, golf courses, all inclusive resorts and, indeed, some lovely private houses. But, in the last few years, the northern coast has come in to its own with deep pocket investment and style that matches the beauty of its mountain-to-beach coastline.
The mountains, lushly green and surprisingly precipitous, are a playground for those who love nature and sport. Canyoning over waterfalls and hiking on trails that wind uphill and then down to the sea can give you a week of strenuous exercise. Windsurfers will find a paradise in Cabarete. Snorkelers and beach bums have aqua waters and multiple coves to explore. And, come November 1st, golfers will revel in what is sure to be the finest golf course in the Caribbean. For those looking for rest and consistent good weather on the doorstep of the US East Coast, they will find it in spades in a handful of delightful hotels, resorts and private houses.
Ani Villas is an exclusive-use, 14 bedroom resort with the soul of a home and the amenities and service of a 5-star hotel. I have rarely been in a property that works so well and that feels so good. The perfect place for large families or groups of friends – our group of 22 ranged in age from 1.5 years upwards – the nightly rate includes everything from delicious food, wines and alcohol to all-day spa therapies. There are four bedroom bungalows with lounge area for families with children; spacious, deliciously comfortable, king bedded bungalows for couples; gym and spa; and, the hearts of the property, two huge lounge areas that lead onto infinity pools and the gorgeous sea beyond. (Ani Villas has three sister properties in Anguilla, Sri Lanka and Thailand).
The best classic hotel is Amanera, one of Aman’s recent additions to the portfolio. Perched on the ocean cliff and surrounded by a most beautiful golf course designed by Rees Jones, Amanera for the moment offers only one 2-bedroom bungalow, all the others being one-bedroom. Within the year, multi-bedroom villas will be added into the inventory.
A charming 6-room hotel is Playa Grande Beach Club created by interior designer Celerie Kemble. Three of the bungalows are one bedroom and the balance have three bedrooms with living rooms, terraces and kitchens. All open on to a lush garden that leads down to Playa Grande.
And, finally, the option of private house rentals. There are many good ones and of all sizes but particularly stunning is this 8 -bedroom stone beauty with its staggering pool