The Peninsula House
What We Love
- Gorgeous interiors full of museum-quality art and antiques
- Top-notch, personable service (one of the owners lives on-site)
- Excellent food, courtesy of the Argentine chef
What To Know
- Children under 16 are not permitted
- The hotel isn’t on the beach, though there is an excellent stretch of sand a 10-minute drive away — it’s best to rent an SUV to explore the peninsula’s more remote areas
- The hotel can be somewhat difficult to find, so make sure you have good directions before setting out
- Free WiFi
- Room Service
The six-room Peninsula House is set on a green hillside overlooking the sea on the untamed Samaná Peninsula, a world away from the overrun and all-inclusive-resort-filled tourist areas in the DR. Here, you get cove beaches with powder-white sand (literally) and a lush jungle interior filled with mountains, waterfalls and tropical rain forests. The property’s chic sensibility would be at home in the South of France, which, incidentally, is where owners Cary Guy and Marie-Claude Thiebault ran their last hotel de charme before opening this property, in 2007. A potholed road leads you to an unmarked gate. Up the steep, winding driveway is the 15-acre patch of land on which stands the two-story Victorian-style plantation house, gingerbread trim and all. Guests have full run of the building and can settle down in the library for a nice chat, read a book on the veranda, which wraps around the house, play a game of pool, lounge by the sizable pool or just relax in the shade of a potted tree in the indoor courtyard.
Bed and Bath
Downstairs, the library, the pool room and the salons are appointed with Turkish carpets and French settees; upstairs you’ll find rooms with four-poster beds, antique nesting tables from France, Louis XIV chairs, framed Tibetan prayer book pages and 19th-century Balinese puppets hanging on the walls. Large mahogany soaking tubs and rainfall showers are highlights of the bathrooms. All the rooms have French doors leading to second-floor balconies – throw them open to let in the refreshing trade winds.
The property’s Argentine chef creates what may be the best food to be had on the peninsula. At breakfast, which you can eat in the dining room or outdoors, guests choose from a selection of fresh fruit, bread and hand-squeezed juice. Dinner is a more elaborate affair and often showcases fish caught just offshore. Guy, who lives on-site, is always happy to recommend area attractions, from the best deserted beaches to waterfall hikes and restaurants in town, but Peninsula House is such an idyllic setting, don’t be surprised if you’re perfectly happy going nowhere.
How to Get There
My husband and I spent a wonderful relaxing week at Peninsula House and it exceeded our expectations! Our room was gorgeous and very comfortable, and all of the shared spaces are elegant and filled with beautiful and interesting objects from around the world. While the room was furnished with antiques, it provided all of the modern amenities you could want including free WiFi, plenty of outlets, flatscreen TV, a very good hairdryer, fluffy towels, Frette robes and slippers and Occitane toiletries. The bed was King-sized and supremely comfortable and there was a sitting area indoors as well as table and chairs on the extensive outdoor balcony with breathtaking views of the property and the sea. All of the rooms are terrific and slightly different, ours had a bathroom with a large single-sink vanity with lots of room for personal items, and a deep soaking tub. A separate stall combined the shower, toilet and bidet. There's good air conditioning but also a ceiling fan and floor to ceiling shutters and windows if you prefer to enjoy the sea breezes.
There are lots of trees on the property which attracts birds and cute lizards. We enjoyed watching a mating pair of American Kestrels from our balcony as they hunted as well as the national bird, the Palmchat, woodpeckers, hummingbirds and a variety of other birds including the resplendent Broad-billed Tody, endemic to the Dominican Republic.
In February there's excellent humpback whale watching opportunities from Samana town, which is about an hour drive away, but other than doing that we just wanted to enjoy the beach. If you don't have your own vehicle, Nicole and the team will transport you to Coson Beach, a stunning strip of sand and palms fringing the clear blue sea that extends for miles, making it ideal for long walks or runs. Peninsula House operates a beach club there where the delightful team will supply lounge chairs, towels, potent drinks and delicious lunch. The beach was never crowded and at times we were the only ones around. The sand was soft, the water was an ideal temperature with waves that are fun to play in but not intimidating, and there's lots of shade. It was Paradise! There's also a tranquil pool on the property if you're not a beach lover.
We intended to try some of the restaurants in nearby Las Terrenas, however, we were so pleased with the quality and presentation of the food that we ended up having all of our breakfasts and dinners at Peninsula House. The setting outdoors on the balcony was so romantic and peaceful, and the meals so delicious that it felt like every dinner was Valentine's Day. There are special touches that we won't describe so you can enjoy the surprise, they really put the icing on this delectable cake. Breakfasts were also excellent with a range of choices, including great coffee (even great decaf which is too rare), freshly squeezed fruit juices, fresh fruit, luscious pastries and exceptional egg dishes.
The entire team defines hospitality and graciousness, they couldn't be more helpful, caring and willing to fulfill all of your desires. Housekeeping was practically prescient, taking care of things quickly and seamlessly without ever being intrusive and the room was always spotlessly clean.
If you're visiting DR, this is an enchanting place to base your stay.
If you're looking for a glitzy loud place where you can party all day and night and go down to the pool at 6am to get the best lounge chair, this is not the place for you. But if you're looking for a gorgeous and intimate (six suites) and elegant very small boutique experience on a hill in the middle of a jungle of palm trees, with spectacular ocean views, a small beach club on a gorgeous nearly deserted beach (where you can walk for a mile in either direction and encounter other beachgoers numbering in the single digits), where you can see spectacular folk art works every time you turn around, this is the place for you. But the best part is the feeling that whatever you want will be provided by the family that owns and runs the place.
This house defies description It is simply perfect ! We have traveled extensively and appreciate the refinements of exceptional accommodations and service Peninsula House has no equal The cuisine is a gastronomic delight the decor exquisite and service was like being cared for by your own staff. We spent a magnificent week in this magical house We look forward to our next trip.