“Hidden gem,” is a term hotel people throw around far too indiscriminately. But not when they use it to describe the Dominican Republic’s Casa Colonial Beach & Spa. In Puerto Plata’s gated community of Playa Dorada, a vacation known for its all-inclusive resorts, guests discover an intimate, elegant setting for an idyllic Caribbean wedding. As you would expect with this kind of exclusiveness, the hotel is relatively small, with everything scaled accordingly except for the 50 rooms, suites, actually, which are huge, with marble bathrooms best appreciated from the oversize Roman tubs. The style is contemporary, with furnishing, décor, and architectural elements clearly selected by the eye of an artist. The Bagua Spa is a meld of local and European-style treatments.
Celebrate in style with a Caribbean fusion menu at the formal restaurant, Lucia, one of the best in the country. The ceremony locations can accommodate up to 300 people; may we suggest you consider the gazebo, by far the most private outdoor location (the beach, though lovely, is public). And if you’re inviting more guests than will be able to stay at Casa Colonial, no worries: Families with kids are probably happier at one of the area’s dozens of all-inclusives, where diversions include shops selling amber jewelry and other uniquely Dominican products, two casinos, and a Robert Trent Jones designed golf course.
It’s just 15 minutes from Puerto Plata’s airport (which has a host of nonstop flights from the U.S.). If you don’t want to rent a car, taxis are fairly easy to book.
Keep in mind
Not much further afield, there’s plenty to do for the actively inclined, including one of the world’s premier locations for kite boarding. To which you can respond, as you bliss out beneath a sun awning on the wooden deck of the Casa Colonial’s roof-top pool, “Have fun.