You might think you’ve made a wrong turn on your way to Àni Villas Dominican Republic. Located at the end of an unmarked, this exclusive luxury resort is a welcome sight after following a decidedly unwelcoming path. But that’s the point: Secluded and hidden, the 14-suite luxury property is a secret known only to its guests.

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Against a backdrop of lush, low-mountain forest with views of the unspoiled coastline, Àni Villas join a handful of high-end properties that have recently sprouted along the island’s less-developed northern shore.

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Designed by the local firm Estudio Sarah Garcia, the Balinese-style property is split into two villas—one with eight master suites, the other with six—and both are ideal for hosting a private group or two. At the heart of each villa stands a massive 6,000-square-foot open-walled living and dining pavilion, which flows out to a sun-drenched tanning deck and infinity pool. Perched here above the Caribbean and enjoying the gentle onshore breeze, guests gather for conch ceviche, rum cocktails, or a game of billiards. In the evenings before dinner, the resort might present a local acoustic guitarist, a folkloric dance troupe, or a cigar-rolling demonstration.

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The luxury resort offers a relaxing setting in which to do absolutely nothing—but there’s also plenty of something: waterslides for kids, complimentary massage treatments, sunset shuffleboard matches, and a tennis court staffed by a resident coach. Guests in search of more are well-served to head back down the unmarked dirt road to explore this mellow coast with snorkeling, surfing, kiteboarding, or cycling around the nearby town of Rio San Juan.

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Our favorite adventure, however, is a boat trip through the dense Gri Gri Lagoon’s mangrove forest filled with squawking white egrets. When the boat docks at a local beach, a feast of local snapper and langoustine—prepared by Àni Villas’s attentive staff—awaits. The scene is a welcome reminder that the quintessential all-inclusive Caribbean experience need not come at the exclusion of local culture.

 

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