Worth getting out of bed for
Following a soak in one of the two tranquil pools, a dip in the bath-like Atlantic and a good kneading at the rustic beach spa, you should feel refreshed enough for a little adventure. Explore lush mountains, protected coves and untouched natural areas by having the hotel arrange a horse ride to the dramatic El Limon waterfall, a snorkeling or sailing trip along the Cabo Samana cliffs or cruise in a speedboat to the ecological reserve, Los Haitises National Pak, a haven for sea birds and native wildlife.
January to March, witness the magnificent mating dance of massive humpback whales as the make their way to Samana Bay for their annual ritual. Ask the hotel to arrange a whale-watching excursion by boat with a local outfitter.
When in doubt, order the fish. The two Swiss owners and their German chef wisely capitalise on locally caught seafood in their inventive Asian and Mediterranean influenced menu at Mi Corazon. The mood is set with candlelight and wild tropical flora at this restaurant nestled in a courtyard of a Colonial Spanish villa just a 10-minute drive from the hotel in nearby Las Terrenas (+1 809 240 53 29), on Calle Juan Pablo Duarte # 7 , Esquina Carretera, Playa Bonita. Begin with crayfish carpaccio before moving onto deep fried prawns with jasmine rice and Asian vegetables. Gérard Prystasz, a former chef at the French Presidential Palace, has since embraced paradise at the Hotel Atlantis (+1 809 240 61 11) on Playa Bonita, a 15-minute drive from the hotel. He prepares a range of dishes – fresh grilled Dorado, island bouillabaisse – all with a French accent.
Bread is not a staple of Dominican cooking – a mix of Spanish, African and Taino traditions – however, the French have made their mark on Las Terrenes. Stop by La Boulangerie Francaise on Calle Principe in Plaza Taina, for pain au chocolat or a fresh baguette.