Luxury and boutique hotels in Santo Domingo

Since the Dominican Republic was ‘discovered’ by Colombus’ little bro – who named Santo Domingo ‘La Nueva Isabela’, after Spain’s queen – it’s had a bumpy history: the English invaded, pirates recruited here, it’s reclaimed its independence three times and a dictator once named the city after himself (he was later assassinated). But, this historic intrigue has made the island so alluring, alongside its Atlantic-gazing beaches, penchant for theatre, literature and live music (merengue, bachata…), and dynamic attitude. Here you can immerse yourself in the Middle Ages, sample succulent seafood, then dance till late in the clubs along the Malecón and Downtown.

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When to go

Trade winds keep the island’s tropical climate balmy, but weather-wise it’s best to visit Santo Domingo from January to April or November to December. Or book your trip to coincide with February – carnival month in the DR, culminating in a massive fiesta on Dominican Independence Day.

Getting there

  • Planes

    Las Américas International Airport (www.aerodom.com) is the closest to Santo Domingo. There are direct flights from most major airports on the US eastern seaboard and many from European cities and most Caribbean islands, too. Transatlantic flights arrive via Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Hartsfield International, or Charles de Gaulle and Punta Cana airports; flights across the Pacific via San Francisco and Newark Liberty, or Portland and Hartsfield airports.
  • Automobiles

    If you’re staying centrally in the capital, it’s easy to hit the main sights on foot (it’s safest to discreetly use a map app to avoid looking like a tourist). Just as well, as driving in La Capital is a chaotic melee of horn blasting, motorbikes zipping between cars and traffic signs taken with a pinch of salt. Hotels can usually arrange taxis.