A rotund lobby with an intricate mosaic stone floor makes for an impressive entrance to Sublime Samana Hotel & Residence – a two-story, horse-shoe shaped building with palm trees, exotic shrubs and flowering plants scattered along a well-watered lawn from which a paved pathway leads to a private beach two hundred yards away.
Located on the Dominican Republic’s more isolated northeast coast, the hotel is an oasis of calm, especially in comparison to the liveliness of downtown Las Terrenas two miles away, with a quiet ambiance pervading both the grassy area below the rooms, as well as on the soft, sandy beach itself. Private casitas line the pathway.
A tennis court, a basketball court, a gym and bicycles provide options for the more athletic while a play area, designed with a purple dinosaur theme, is complete with swings, a rope bridge and a hut on stilts caters to the adventurous whims of children.
The curved, palm-fringed beach is a long, sloping, narrow strip where spa treatments take place, with shallow turquoise water just offshore.
After an enjoyable massage under the fluttering curtains of a canopy, one is delighted to be handed chilled milk straight from the coconut.
For the more timid swimmer, there is also a small open-air pool closer to the hotel rooms and casitas, with lounge chairs and wicker tables set all around it for relaxation. Private, over water cabanas located alongside the paving stone pathway leading from the rooms to the beach, offer even more languorous options, if one decides to purchase a holiday home there.
The hotel rooms, all self-catering, are located along stone walkways that wrap their way around the entire building. Each has its own veranda overlooking the manicured lawn below, the nearby mountains behind or the beach area in front.
Breakfast can be taken either in the Bistro restaurant on the ground floor beside the lawn or, more interestingly, adjacent to it, outside, on a small terrace, shaded from the sun by white curtains and large exotic plants. The menu is a balanced one, including healthy options of fruits, yoghurts and cereal as well as more substantial items such as pancakes, hams, cheeses, omelets, breads and pastries. Two of the hot choices emanated classic local flavor – Mangu of Samana, a traditional dish of mashed, boiled plantain, served with fried eggs, caramelized red onion, coconut, cheese and sausage; and eggs ranchero – fried eggs served with fried corn tortillas, tomato chili sauce and guacamole. The other must-have is the coffee – strong, dark and Dominican, and brewed strongly.
While Sublime Semana provides enough diverse activities for an enjoyable stay, short excursions are possible, either to the bars and restaurants of Las Terrenas; a one-hour drive to embark on a leisurely boat trip such as those organized by ‘Tour Samana with Terry’ to see the humpback whales that arrive in Samanà to mate, give birth and nurse their young and an afternoon visit to the island of Cayo Levantado; or to the Los Haitises National Park with its calcified hills, caves, mangroves, sea turtles and a variety of bird species.