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Agua Resort & Spa, Punta Cana 

Uvero Alto
Punta Cana
Dominican Republic
Tel: 809 468 0000
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From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

This romantic all-suite beachfront retreat north of the sprawling all-inclusives of Punta Cana is a diamond literally in the rough—the last two miles of the approach road are so bone rattling that it may be worth ponying up $200 for the ten-minute helicopter transfer from the airport in Punta Cana. But behind the resort's unmarked security gate, Agua is breathtaking. The open-air lobby has a soaring peaked thatch roof, and the 53 rooms, divided between two-story thatched buildings and freestanding villas, are arranged around two snaking pools and are no more than a one-minute walk from the beach. With classic clean lines, they are dramatic by virtue of their size (the smallest is 700 square feet) and simple comforts—wicker ceilings, dark hardwood floors and furniture, white-on-white beds, immense bathrooms with black slate showers and deep soaking tubs. Alas, the food at Areito, prepared by the kitchen staff formerly at Casa Colonial, could and should be better: Crêpes come stuffed with rubbery cheese; vegetables taste as though they were fresh out of a packet.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: December through March remains relatively dry, and nights are cool enough to be refreshing.

Which room to book: Nos. 47–52 are second-floor oceanfront suites that have decks over the Atlantic but offer the privacy that height affords.

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