Located on the beautiful and rugged north coast of the Dominican Republic, Amanera is one of the newest resorts of the super-luxury Aman hotel chain. The 2,000-acre resort is built on a hillside overlooking Playa Grande, a beautiful unspoiled mile-long beach.
As soon as you disembark from the plane, the resort’s representative will whisk you to a VIP lounge to fill out the necessary paperwork before leading you past the long lines at immigration. As you exit the terminal, an air-conditioned Mercedes SUV will be waiting to take you on the 75-minute drive to the resort.
It is easy to fall in love with Amanera. The setting is spectacular, and the Aman has designed Amanera, like all Aman resorts, to feel very private and intimate. A sense of calm and tranquility envelopes you the moment you pass through the resort’s gates.
One thing that sets Aman resorts apart is the extraordinary level of personal service and hospitality. At Amanera, the staff could not be friendlier or more accommodating. They seem to anticipate your every desire and are always looking for ways to make your stay more perfect.
The resort offers 24 one-bedroom casitas (and a single two-bedroom casa), all of which are well-spaced throughout the property and designed for privacy. The resort was designed by noted UK architect John Heath who used Indonesian teak, stone and glass to create a vaguely Balinese aesthetic that is the Aman’s signature look. The casitas feature double-height bedrooms and living rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer spectacular views of the ocean. In addition, each casita has an enormous private outdoor terrace with separate lounging and dining areas and most include their own infinity-edge plunge pool. The over-sized bathrooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that look onto a private garden of tropical plants and include a large soaking tub and walk-in shower.
For the ultimate getaway experience, consider the resort’s only two-bedroom accommodation, which features two uber-luxurious bedrooms, separated by a huge large living and dining area. The massive stone terrace features a heated infinity pool with unobstructed views overlooking Playa Grande beach. This villa, which comes with a small kitchen and its own personal butler, is perfect for couples or families.
The main building, which the resort calls Casa Grande, is a beautiful two-story open structure overlooking the heated infinity pool and the beach. The main building includes the main restaurant, a library, a cigar room, a spectacular bar and lounge area, boutique shop and fitness room. The resort’s stunning infinity pool is also located at the main building.
The resort’s main restaurant overlooks the beautiful Playa Grande beach and offers a mix of international and local dishes. The resort also has a casual open-air restaurant on the beach that is perfect for lunch or pre-dinner snacks and cocktails. While the resort’s food is uniformly excellent, the locally caught seafood and fresh ceviche are particularly notable. For a special romantic evening, the resort can set up private table with personal waiter in the lounge overlooking the beach, in the library or arrange a private BBQ in your casita with your own chef and waiter.
While the golden-sand beach at Playa Grande is stunning, the surf can be a little too rough for swimming. However, the beach, with its aquamarine water and swaying palms, is perfect for lounging and sunbathing. Also, Amanera can arrange a private beach escape to a nearby tranquil beach for a day of swimming, snorkeling and water sport activities with your own beach attendant.
Amanera offers activities and experiences catering to all interests. For pure relaxation, you can arrange for a massage, body treatment or facial at the Wellness Spa, which is housed in a beautiful former residence idyllically overlooking the ocean.
For the golf lovers, there is a magnificent Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed 18-hole golf course on the property (a first for Aman resorts). The 7,085-yard course hugs the rugged coastline. With its costal-style bunkers and rolling landscape next to the ocean, it is often referred to as the “Pebble Beach of the Caribbean.”
For adventure seekers, Amanera can organize several different activities, including guided nature hikes through the dense jungle, canyoning and rappelling, mountain biking, horseback riding, a boat excursion to a local lagoon, and a tour of a local cacao plantation.
For water sport fans, Amanera can organize kayaking and SUP excursions, scuba trips, deep sea fishing and kitesurfing in Cabarete (known as the birthplace of the sport).
During the winter months, thousands of humpback whales migrate from Alaska to the Dominican Republic where they mate and give birth. For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, Amanera will organize a 35-minute helicopter flight to the Samaha Peninsula where a chartered catamaran will be waiting for you. On board, you will meet Dr. Lilane Bentacourt, a renowned marine mammal specialist, who will be your guide as you follow these magnificent creatures. On this excursion, you will see mothers with their calves and males breaching, tail slapping and flippering. This is truly an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Amanera is a perfect destination for luxury beach getaway. We cannot wait to return.
All photos courtesy of Amanera