PERCHED HIGH on a 60-foot cliff above the glittering Caribbean Sea, the intimate Amanera luxury resort blends itself seamlessly into a lush Hispaniola landscape—featuring of 2,000 acres of untouched jungle and a jaw-dropping Playa Grande beach. Located on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, the resort’s cliffhanger casitas, contemporary architecture, 5-star spa and restaurants, and world class, 370-acre golf course are the perfect setting for the ultimate spring escape.
Nothing could have really prepared me for my first impression of this magnificent property. Driving up to Casa Grande, I was welcomed by a staff member with a beautiful, colorful tropical drink in hand and the most sweeping clifftop views. It was literally like floating on air. The detail with which the staff of Amanera attended to my every need was just the relief I needed from a busy life and what vacation dreams are made of.
After I caught my breath, my “buggy” golf cart whisked me to my private Casita. My first impression was, “Wow!” From the size of the rooms to the abundant outdoor space, it immediately exceeded expectations.
Sleek, wood-paneled walls, natural stone, pastel tiles, a freestanding soaking tub and waterfall shower—all framed by tropical gardens—set the tone for total relaxation. Expansive sliding glass doors offer a seamless indoor/outdoor experience with an ocean view to inspire your yoga practice or hours of curling up with your favorite vacation novel. Casitas are situated on the front row of a 60-foot cliff, each with unobstructed views of the Caribbean. This nothing more relaxing than falling asleep and waking to the sounds of the waves each day.
Casitas are huge by any standard, boasting 800 square feet of living space indoors with 1,700 square feet outdoors, including a private pool stretching the length of your Casita. There are only 25 total Casitas at Amanera, accommodating a max of 50 guests.
This means you will never have to worry about a lounge chair on the beach or making a reservation for dinner. This type of privacy and personal attention really elevates Amanera to another level and redefines luxury.
Back at Casa Grande, a discreet reception area, serene library and cigar bar lead you to Amanera’s signature restaurant, featuring stunning indoor/outdoor dining areas. All your meals are enjoyed to a soundtrack of splashing water with a choice of dining along the infinity pool at Casa Grande or with your toes in the sand. Tucked into the sandy cove of Playa Grande Beach is the resort’s informal beach club restaurant—offering (literally) fresh-caught fish and seafood and the most delicious mojitos, fresh squeezed tropical juices, and coconut water.
You’ll want to make time for treatments in the holistic spa, inspired by native healing methods of the island’s Taino Indians. Before each spa journey, you are offered the fanning of sacred, traditional Palo Santo, “holy wood” smudging symbolizing a new beginning.
I needed to perk up my winter-weathered skin so I opted for the clay body wrap infused with guanabana leaves and a moon waning purification treatment that included a marine algae scrub, organic coconut oil massage, and facial. A divine state of bliss immediately followed.
When it comes to activities, you can literally choose your own adventure. The 72-par Playa Grande golf course boasts the highest number of oceanside holes in the Western Hemisphere. Off-site excursions range from whale watching, hikes in the rainforest, paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing lesson, and snorkeling. Or you can set off on a boat trip among the mangroves and natural pools that form a part Amanera’s aquatic playground.
Don’t leave without a lesson in the art of cigar rolling with Amanera’s resident expert or a visit to the cigar lounge—stocked with Amanera fine quality cigars along with the most popular brands from Central America.
Families are welcome to this intimate luxe resort. Amanera has an Eco Casita Children and Youth Program to keep the little ones happy and active. Guests of all ages can enjoy guided hikes through the on-site rainforest to learn about the native flora and fauna. Thematic arts and crafts, cooking, and dance classes enjoyed in the splendor of Amanera will certainly be topic of conversation back at school after break.
Amanera draws its name from the Sanskrit-derived word for “peace” and era, the word for “water” in Tanio, historically spoken by the indigenous people of the Caribbean. The perfect place to find inner peace, the Dominican Republic is well-known for its hot atmosphere, both literally and spiritually.
When I reminisce on my experience at Amanera, several wonderful memories come to mind. I left feeling transformed by the warmth of the sun, the rich soul of the Dominican people, and an elegance of design and architectural appointment.
Never was a detail missed or unanticipated by the staff; not a minute left me without beauty and peace. It was an experience fit for royalty yet as humble and comforting as a warm, sincere smile. Given the opportunity, I would return to experience Amanera again and try new adventures I didn’t have the time to enjoy. Que tenga un maravilloso tiempo!