When it comes to destinations that have it all, the north coast of the Dominican Republic is pretty high on the list. The entire island is a wild but real fantasy, though the more touristed parts such as Punta Cana, home to dozens of stunning resorts, don’t feel quite as private or perhaps immersive. That’s not to take anything away from the heavenly getaways so popular for honeymooners, but only to highlight one lesser-known area that’s especially appealing for adventure seekers.
If this part of the island is a hub for romance and privacy, the epicenter is Amanera, an Aman Resorts property located in Rio San Juan. Amanera, meaning "peaceful water," is a dream of a luxury resort. Think champagne and canapés in your individual casita—with a sexy yet minimalist design, tons of glass, and maybe even a private pool—breakfast in bed, turndown with rose petals, and sunset cocktails at secretive locales. Beyond the lavish treats, there are some things that might tempt you out of that casita.
Our services are very personalized and tailored to the preferences of our couples.
"Amanera has several spectacular settings in which to create the most memorable moments, a personalized service that ensures a seamless, stress-free experience, while the range of activities—both on land and at sea—and excursions to sites of cultural and natural interest in the Dominican Republic keep all ages engaged and entertained," says Lawrence Tuck, General Manager of Amanera. "Our services are very personalized and tailored to the preferences of our couples. We can adapt to just about every request from balloons and rose petals as a surprise welcome in the private casitas to private dinners and flower arrangements of all kinds."
The biggest siren call comes from the mile-long Playa Grande, hands-down the country’s most beautiful and emptiest beach. The sand is soft and deep and the palm trees fringing it with the Atlantic on the other side make it a true paradise. The private verdant jungle actually continues for 400 acres, perfect for nature lovers who enjoy hiking, biking, and four-wheeling. Amanera can even arrange a sunrise nature walk to take in the views from their pavilion at the top of the rainforest—and reward yourself with a delicious breakfast surrounded by tropical wonders.
Turning up the adrenaline are opportunities like the quest to learn kiteboarding in its birthplace. The exciting water sport is an iconic activity on the north coast due to the ideal wind—en route from the airport to Amanera, in fact, it's advisable to stop by Cabarete beach to watch the boarders skim over the surface in zig zags and fly into the air for tricks. Other water sports to experience during your stay include kayaking and standup paddleboarding through lush Laguna Gri Gri, home to an ecosystem of birds, fish, and reptiles.
Golf enthusiasts don’t get it better than this: Playa Grande Golf and Ocean Club, which Amanera is within, hosts the Dominican’s most pristine course, designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. It has signature Discovery Land Company (the private club and residential developer who owns the whole lot) Comfort Stations—stops along the oceanfront holes (some even go over the ocean) for the most opulent spread of gourmet snacks, Casamigos tequila, candy, and virtually everything you could crave.
Tee times should be booked early to ensure you can play the course since a limited number per day are available to Amanera guests (otherwise it’s totally private).
The culinary experience at Amanera is world-class. "We invite our newlywed couples to experience a voyage of the senses that will awaken their emotions and inspire unforgettable memories under the tropical firmament," says Tuck. Casa Grande is Amanera’s main restaurant featuring a terrace that overlooks Playa Grande, where guests can sit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu is full of vibrant flavors with dishes that reflect the culinary traditions of the Dominican Republic—we're talking fresh produce and seafood prepared in the most impeccable of ways and thoughtfully paired with delicious wines.
The Beach Club, tucked into a sandy cove on Playa Grande, is truly an escape. Enjoy local recipes and the classic dishes of Latin and South America, and partake in experiences like a ceviche cooking class. It's open for lunch and can also be reserved for private-dining events and special-occasion dinners right on the beach. There's also the Lounge Bar, offering complimentary afternoon teas, cigar rolling demonstrations, and expert-led rum tastings paired with Dominican chocolate, of course.
For honeymooners, a 'Romance at Amanera’ package also beckons, which includes:
- Four-night stay
- Welcome bottle of wine and romantic turndown
- Daily continental breakfast
- Romantic evening cocktails for two
- One Amanera candlelit dinner
- One 60-minute couple's massage with palo santo blessing
- One couple’s fitness session
The spa at Amanera is a sanctuary in its own right, featuring a garden overflowing with plants and herbs used during services like the New Moon treatment. This sensory experience opens the root chakra and features a grounding hot stone massage to clear energy. The therapy wraps up with tuning your root and heart chakras to the same frequency to bless your new beginning and bestow peace. Afterward, you can enjoy a cup of tea and relax by the pool for hours if you so choose.
There’s no denying: This slice of heaven is the stuff of honeymoon dreams.