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Trip Guide to the Sophisticated Side of the Dominican Republic

Trujillo/Paumier A seaside villa steps from the Caribbean.

Photo: Trujillo/Paumier

Forget the days of package tours and all-inclusives. With the recent opening of some very sophisticated hotels, the Dominican Republic is trying to compete with the Caribbean's most luxurious destinations. Dominicans seem to be enjoying a special boost of self-esteem lately, and they're luring fresh admirers. "Obviously, I'm extremely biased," says one of the nation's famous sons, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta. "But we are very different from most of the other islands in the Caribbean. We're very proud of our history and culture. We know who we are."

Read the article

Inspired by: The Dominican Republic, the New Gold Coast — by Alexandra Marshall, Published May. 2006

Hotels (6)

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    Tortuga Bay at Puntacana Resort & Club

    Not to be outdone by Sivory Punta Cana, the Puntacana Resort & Club has recently unveiled its own boutique offshoot, Tortuga Bay Villas. Designed b

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    Hotel Doña Elvira

    What’s It’s Like: This rambling 16th century former colonial mansion was transformed into a 15-room guest house in 2004 but it hasn’t lost any of i

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    Sivory Punta Cana

    A new breed of boutique hotel is sprouting up along the Dominican Republic’s Caribbean coast, giving the area’s massive all-inclusive resorts some ... More
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    Hostal Nicolas de Ovando

    In Santo Domingo’s beautifully preserved colonial zone, you’ll find this 16th-century hotel. The 104 spacious rooms channel old-world romance with

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    Casa de Campo

    Vegas-style grandeur on the Dominican Republic's southeastern coast with a diverse range of amenities, including an equestrian center, yacht club,

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    Casa Colonial Beach Resort & Spa

    The absence of pink walls and plastic furniture isn’t the only refreshing thing that sets Casa Colonial apart from other hotels in the Dominican Re

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Restaurants (7)

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    Eze Bar & Restaurant

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    Aura Beach House

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    El Conde Restaurant

    Located in the Hotel Conde de Peñalba in the center of the Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone), this casual café serves traditional Dominican cuisine for

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    La Yola

    A meal at La Yola, located right on the Caribbean, replicates the feel of al fresco dining on a yola, or small fishing boat, except in a more elega

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    La Casita de Don Alfredo

    Come evening, the popular surfing town of Cabarete takes on a South Beach-like vibe, as laid-back surfers and resort guests meander among the casua

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    Mesón d'Bari

    A time-honored restaurant in the Zona Colonial (Colonial Zone), Mesón d'Bari serves fresh regional fare in a restored, two-story house. Inside, the

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    Bobo's

Activities (8)

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    Calle el Conde

    Cheerful market street in the heart of the Zona with missable trinkets and unmissable atmosphere. (Handicrafts, other than cigars, are not the Domi

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    Parada 77

    Grungy but welcoming two-room bar and club with an attractive, bohemian crowd, plus a live merengue trio on weekends.

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    Fortaleza San Felipe

    If you can tear yourself away from the cruising teenagers on Puerto Plata's neighboring boardwalk, pop into this colonial fort, built to protect pr

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    Museo de las Casas Reales

    Once the seat of the colonial government, this museum houses everything from Taino artifacts to 16th-century armor to an old apothecary shop lined

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    Catedral Primada de América

    The first cathedral to be built in the New World is grand and imposing, with a curious combination of Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque features.

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    Alcázar de Colón

    The former house of Columbus's son Diego is crammed with antiques. For a more thorough explanation of the sacristies, it's worth it to hire (for a

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    Boutique del Fumador

    Factory workers hand-roll some of the world’s finest cigars at this two-level store on Calle el Conde, one of the major shopping streets in the Zon

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    Praia

    Located about a $5 taxi ride outside the Zona Colonial, this spot is where the children of sugar barons and visiting movie stars go to let their bl

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