The Bannister – Hotel & Yacht Club
What We Love
- The Jetsetter rate includes daily breakfast, a welcome drink and a cold towel upon arrival
- A relaxed, friendly vibe
- The fresh-caught seafood at the hotel’s restaurants
- READ MORE: A Caribbean Island for Everyone
What To Know
- Suitable for couples or families
- A free kids club is available; it’s open on weekends but must be prearranged on weekdays
- The hotel has no beach, but there’s plenty to explore nearby
- WiFi is free but a little spotty
- January through March is whale watching season
- Free WiFi
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
Boutique sleep and full-service marina on the pristine Samaná Peninsula, with three restaurants and an infinity pool
Even seasoned travelers are still discovering the Dominican Republic’s Samaná Peninsula. It was once at the end of an arduous five-hour drive from Santo Domingo, but the arrival of a modern highway cut the journey to just over two hours and invited posh, upscale properties like the Bannister Hotel to set up shop in this still-pristine enclave. A world away from the megaresorts that overrun other parts of the DR, here you get cove beaches with powder-white sand and a lush interior full of mountains, waterfalls and jungles. The Bannister Hotel opened in a gated community in late 2010, bringing with it one of the area’s only full-service marinas. The decor is more posh than tropical, with a palette of natural colors, white linen curtains, dark wood bed frames and rattan chairs.
Bed & Bath
Modern and understated, guestrooms are spacious and include fully equipped kitchens and private terraces overlooking Samaná Bay or the surrounding mountains. Suites have a separate bedroom; all bathrooms are stocked with products from Italian company Acqua di Parma.
Days are spent lounging by the infinity pool right at the water’s edge, enjoying the top-notch spa and playing tennis on the resort’s two courts. With three restaurants, the hotel tries to please all tastes, turning out some of the best food on the peninsula. La Regata has a menu of Italian favorites, including pizzas made in a brick oven. The hotel also houses an outpost of Ibiza’s famed Cafe del Mar, where the chef serves up dishes that spotlight the region’s access to fresh seafood, much of it caught just offshore. At the end of the day, wind down with a water-based treatment in the Bannister’s 3,500-square-foot Ni Spa & Salon.
In the Area
Excellent dining is practically at your doorstep. The Samaná Peninsula is home to a large community of European and American expats who have opened up restaurants in former fishing shacks, many concentrated in Las Terrenas. We like Mi Corazon for its romantic courtyard and tasting menu of local dishes such as house-smoked saddle of pork and spiny lobster bisque. During the day, explore the interior of Samaná on a horse with a ride through the El Limón forest to the 170-foot El Salto dell Limón waterfall. For more watercentric activities, charter a boat to deep-sea-fish the large concentration of marlin offshore. Or just hit the beach; of all of the area’s sandy spots, the remote Playa Rincon is the most beautiful and least crowded.
How to Get There
Overall, The Bannister is nice. The Sales Manager was very helpful and amazing. She assisted me prior to my arrival. All of the employees were truly nice, kind and helpful. After a few years of living in Dominican Republic, I am fully aware of what to expect and not to expect. Given this knowledge, it helps to manage my expectations. I stayed in the Admiral Suite. The size of the suite is nice. The balcony view is amazing. The bathroom is small and the toilet is so close to the shower that you can hardly get in or out without touching it. It's in the way. The kitchen is very, very outdated, it is not an inviting kitchen to cook in and there is no oven if you need one. The furniture is dated. The water is luke warm at best. The wifi does't extend into the suites. Many have stated that they got wifi in the lobby, however I did not. I used the spa and got a full leg wax for $50. I felt the price was great. My technician was very nice and tried her best but I was still left with a lot of hair on my legs. I had to show her and help her to clean-up her work but eventually I got tired of being in there for so long, I just gave up and told her that everything was fine. I still had to shave with a razor. It is not all inclusive, which I knew ahead of time but if you are looking for a place where you do not have to worry about how much you are spending on a meal, this is not the place for you. Breakfast was included in our room rate. The breakfast was good and had several options to choose from. My favorite place to layout was the Ocean Club! It's such a beautiful view! We took a boat to Bacardi Island which is a local public beach. We have been to that beach before so we already knew what to expect. They have local vendors along the walking path to the beach and they harass you from the moment they see you. They want you to purchase their goods and they do not take no for an answer. When we stepped off of our boat, a man was there and walked with us the entire way to the beach trying to be our tour guide. We kept explaining to him that we've been there before and we didn't need any help or guidance. He was aggressive and kept telling us he knows best and to trust him. He continued to come over to our chairs on the beach as we tried to relax. Several people walked by selling cigars, shells, etc. and kept trying to make us buy them and kept coming back over and over. It's very annoying and frustrating when you are on vacation away from your daily life stresses and trying to simply relax. We ate at one of the food locations at the beach and the food was very, very good. Our Captain was very nice and fun. The food at the restaurants at The Bannister is just ok. We stayed 4 days and 3 nights. Overall, we had a good time.
Beautiful hotel by the marina, although it has no beach. The room (admiral view room) was awesome. I would totally recommend it.
The only thing I would comment on is that the breakfast menu is rather small, not many options and the jacuzzi in our balcony was difficult and slow to operate.
The hotel exceeded my expectations! It nicely tucked away from normal traffic which made it nice and quiet. The staff were accessible at all times. The spa was wonderful and that hot stone massage was to die for. The hotel lobby was spacious and airy which made it so much enticing and engaging. The view from our ocean view balcony/terrace was absolutey exquisite and breathtaking. The room was very clean and very organized. I would definitely be going back.
Highly recommended! Great place, very well kept. Comfortable suites with everything you need for your stay. Three different restaurants to choose. Very friendly and helpful staff. Special thanks to Wellington!
The hotel staff was so friendly and attentive. They even upgraded our room and helped us navigate back to Santo Domingo to meet up with my family. In all the places I have been when it comes to service and hospitality The Bannister Hotel tops the list. The hotel itself was mesmerizing and even though we were tempted not to ever leave the hotel some of the activity options were unbelievable. Definitely coming back.