This Remote Collection of Bungalows in the Dominican Republic Is a Beach-Lover’s Catnip

Staying in one of Playa Grande Beach Club‘s powdery pastel bungalows, tucked along a remote shoreline on the Dominican Republic’s north coast, feels akin to being invited to a cool collector’s pied-à-terre for the weekend—which makes sense because that’s what it used to be. Designer Celerie Kemble and financier Boykin Curry created the beach club with friends and collaborators as a sort of clubhouse they could all retreat to but ultimately decided to open their doors (and reservation book) to travelers in search of something that can best be described as a jewel box in the jungle.

Dominican Victorian architecture sets the tone of the resort, awash in bright whites and sorbet hues. The storybook structures feel reminiscent of a gingerbread house, with hip roofs and triple gables, and patterned woodworking (tragaluz) that looks like white lace. These intricate bungalows are scattered throughout the grounds, enveloped by lush jungle greens. 

Interiors are reminiscent of Palm Beach garden whimsy with details like standalone copper bathtubs, light fixtures crafted from dried fruits, wicker daybeds, and even a tactile back bar brought to life by a mosaic of seashells. Everything is richly layered—texture and color are abundant but not overpowering. There’s also a wealth of vintage finds throughout the beach club that folds in with the atmosphere of a lived-in beach home.

The ‘Great Room’ is the property’s beating heart and includes a charming dining area, lounge, and bar. A few steps away, there’s also a library with an evening bar where tipples and cigars can be savored with an ocean view. All meals are served in this area, but if you’re in the mood to enjoy a plate of shrimp tacos and a frosty Presidente by the pool, the staff is all too pleased to accommodate.  

Everything about the property makes you feel at home. The moment you step out of your taxi, you’re greeted with a fresh lime and mint welcome drink. The French doors to your bungalow are flung open, allowing gusts of warm, salty air to waft in. Wraparound porches and sprawling grassy areas make afternoons with a book all too easy, and the melodies of an unexpected rain shower and frog ribbits serve as the ultimate bedtime soundtrack. It’s the kind of intimate, down-to-earth comfort that you just can’t get at a traditional luxury resort.  

Top Takeaways

Location: North Coast of the Dominican Republic (the two closest towns are Cabrera and Rio San Juan).

The Vibe: A secluded collection of design-led buildings and bungalows sandwiched between jungle and beach.

Food + Drink: The menu celebrates Caribbean cuisine and leans on fresh ingredients for its most memorable snacks and dishes, like the chips and guacamole that rotates its ‘chip’ (some days they’re made from plantains, others from a local root vegetable). The beverage list is also a reflection of Caribbean bounty, with fresh lime juice, cane sugar, and garden herbs shaken into refreshing cocktails. 

Amenities: All of the bungalows are equipped with a full kitchen, which comes in handy for brewing a morning cup of coffee or preparing post-swim snacks to be enjoyed in your private hammock. The property’s lap pool is also something to behold—it sits at the base of The Great Room and is flanked by latticed cabanas and lounge chairs with built-in drink shelves. Walk a few steps further and the soft grass becomes sand, as you’ve reached the private entrance to the beach. (How’s that for a ‘beachfront property’?) 

Any personal neighborhood recs? The Dudu Lagoon is a nearby highlight—adventurous types can drop into this natural pool via zip line. There are also hikes and horseback riding trails in close proximity to the hotel that guest relations can arrange for you to experience. (Tip: Ask your guide to find a fallen passion fruit along the way for you to slurp up—it’s particularly glorious on a hot, humid day).

Our favorite thing about the hotel: The standalone copper bathtubs are out of this world. Take a page from our book and schedule an in-bungalow massage (heavenly!) followed up by a long bath with the doors swung open (divine!). What’s more, Playa Grande Beach Club commissioned a local artisan to create bespoke bath products that can only be found on property. (The scent is Lime Salt.)

What’s nearby? The only other hotel on this one-mile stretch of beach is Amanera, which is perched on a cliff above the ocean’s edge. Walk the other direction a few minutes and you’ll discover local vendors hawking fresh bites and jewelry made from Larimar, a semiprecious stone found only in the DR.

Rooms: One, two, and three-bedroom bungalows (nine in total).

Pricing: For inquiries and pricing send an email to [email protected].

Closest Airport: Puerto Plata, about an hour and a half drive from the property.

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