Need to know
Seven suites in two casas: one Superior and three Deluxe rooms in Casa Arbol (the ‘treehouse’) and three Luxury Rooms in Casa de los Mapas (the ‘house of maps’).
3pm, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 12 noon; early arrivals can stash away their luggage and relax in the courtyard until their room is ready.
Double rooms from $283.50, excluding tax at 28 per cent.
Breakfast is included.
Former Dominican Republic president Ulises Heureaux resided in Casa Arbol from 1887–1889, and Casa de los Mapas is so called due to its many wall-hung maps, inspired by an itinerant cast of characters who’ve stayed over the years. Casa del Diseñador is the former home of a Dominican fashion designer, and Casa Macorís was originally part of the colonial-era Convento de los Dominicos. The hotel’s inviting pumpkin-coloured library is irresistibly cosy; plonk down in a purple sofa with one of its small selection of books.
At the hotel
Courtyards, library, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: private butler, flatscreen TV, iPod dock, radio, free bottled water, air-conditioning and Antica Farmacista bath products.
Our favourite rooms
We love Casa del Arbol’s ‘pineapple room’, in the Deluxe category, where historic gravitas and island ebullience come together like a conquistador in Carmen Miranda headgear. Kitsch fruit-filled paintings, pineapple-shaped light fittings and a headboard with an elaborately carved – yes, you guessed it – will make you crave a piña colada.
Guest may use the pool at Casa Macoris or the unheated pool in the inner courtyard of Casa de los Mapas (unless either Casa has been booked for exclusive use). This pretty patch has grassy banks, tropical ferns and palm grass along one edge, and a smattering of day-beds; after sundown it’s lit by candelight.
A good book to read in the courtyard; we recommend Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz’s tragicomic tomes, which capture the island’s patois. Bring a Field Notes pad in which to sketch the varicoloured tropical birds that flock to the courtyard’s mango tree (in Casa Arbol) and potent bug spray to keep you bite-free while doing so.
The best beaches are found further afield, but there’s plenty to explore nearby; ask your concierge to plan a tour. If you'd like an in-casa spa treatment or personal-training session – whatever your whim – have a word with your butler.
Family groups are welcome. The Superior Room sleeps a family of four on two double beds, and a free baby cot can be added to Deluxe and Luxury Rooms. There are no special services, but butlers can arrange babysitting, child-friendly meals and baby kit.