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Casa Colonial, Puerto Plata

Editor's Pick
Dominican Republic, Caribbean: The pool at the Casa Colonial
Playa Dorada
Puerto Plata
Dominican Republic
Tel: 809 320 3232's insider take:

As the hyperdiscerning crowd that frequents this place already knows, Casa Colonial has raised the bar for luxury lodgings on the island. (Donatella Versace has stayed here—need we say more?) The hotel's 50 suites occupy two white Mediterranean-style villas with Spanish tile roofs (one with a palatial sun deck, an infinity pool, and Jacuzzis). The interiors are grand but quietly so, with gleaming marble floors and columns, high arched doorways, and rich fabrics in creamy colors. The expansive suites have private balconies, beds with Frette linens and upholstered headboards (some have gauzy canopies, too), potted orchids, and a mix of woven rattan and wooden furnishings. All have flat-screen TVs and high-speed Internet, and the spacious bathrooms feature double basins, walk-in showers, and enormous Roman-style tubs. The hotel's common spaces are just as opulent and include a superb Caribbean/Asian fusion restaurant, Lucia (one of the island's best), and the Bagua Spa, where the treatments use ingredients like honey, royal jelly, and crushed amber gemstones. The only part of the property that's not particularly impressive is the small beach; although it's golden and dotted with white chaises, it's bordered on both sides by crowds from neighboring all-inclusive resorts. Many guests forgo it altogether and opt for the rooftop infinity pool instead.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:
The country's hottest address is hidden in plain sight, in the Playa Dorado Resort Complex, better known for its rollicking all-inclusives than for its high style. That's where you'll find the coolly elegant Casa Colonial, with its 50 spacious rooms, swell spa, and cordoned-off patch of beach. The look is an artful blend of Spanish colonial—graceful archways, wrought-iron grillwork—and contemporary touches, such as clean-lined furniture draped in monochrome fabrics and a rooftop pool deck made of glass and wood. Rooms face either the sea or the fragrant gardens and come with Frette linens on mahogany beds so high you may need a running start. Management is still working out kinks in the kitchen, but both dining rooms are so pretty you might not even notice.—2005 Hot List

When to go: November through February.

Which room to book: Any oceanfront suite

Amenities: Bar/lounge, Beach, Pool, Gym, Spa, 24-hour Room Service, Wheelchair-accessible

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.