Cayo Levantado Resort

The Dominican Republic’s first luxury wellness resort

Far from the raucous crowds of Punta Cana, Cayo Levantado Resort aims to bring a tranquil wellness getaway to the Dominican Republic. It starts with location — the resort puts you on a secluded private island three miles off the coast of Samaná, a rustic fishing village. It’s only accessible via boat. When you land at Cayo, you’ll find Victorian-like buildings nestled among lush green foliage and your personal ambassador (a guide who helps with everything from arranging golf cart rides throughout the property to sending you the daily list of activities) waiting to escort you to your accommodations.

The first of its kind from family-owned Grupo Piñero (whose brands include Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts), this all-inclusive hotel doesn’t just include the food and drinks. A bevy of complimentary wellness classes, ranging from juice therapy to ice bathing, come with your stay, too. Choose your preferred path — refresh, restore, relax or renew — for a tailored experience led by nutritionists, spiritual and holistic practitioners and trainers to meet your goal. But even if you don’t want to go full force into the three-, five- and seven-day wellness itineraries, you can dabble.

In between classes, sunbathe in the hotel’s three beaches and two pools or refuel at the six restaurants and eight bars. And in the evening, retire to your Old Caribbean-inspired suite or villa, with palm tree wallpaper, wicker furniture and a pink-flower-tiled bathroom. Bonus: some come with their own plunge pools.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • Look for a woven archway with a whale sculpture hovering above it to find Yubarta (which means “whale” in the indigenous Taino language), the wellness center and hub of the Dominican Republic hotel. Surrounded by palms and gardens, the serene Yubarta offers a koi pond and a cenote. Most of the excellent wellness classes, like sound bath (this is a must), shamanic healing and yoga, take place here under large palapas.
  • Head to the white-sand private beaches for some peace and quiet and the chance to swim in the pristine blue waters.
  • The beachside pool entices with submerged loungers, easy access to the sand and Carey restaurant and Instagrammable ocean vistas. Meanwhile, the sprawling inland pool invites you to lounge in daybeds tucked inside red-and-white-striped cabanas and hammocks with a drink from the open-air bar.
  • Don't miss a meal at Senda. While the restaurant requires an additional fee, it’s worth it. Senda takes you on a creative, delicious culinary journey through the Dominican Republic. The progressive tasting menu starts with a welcome cocktail (a refreshing mix of sparkling wine macerated with limoncillo — a local fruit — and acacia honey) outside the restaurant, and you’ll continue to stop off for bites near the entrance, at the bar and more, until you make your way to the table for heartier courses. The most memorable dish was the melt-in-your-mouth beetroot raviolo stuffed with local goat cheese and doused in a rich broth.
  • Manaya, which also incurs a fee, sets a dark, moody vibe for its luscious steaks and other meaty fare. Be sure to order the already-buttery croissant-like rolls that get even more indulgent with the accompanying bone marrow and sea urchin butters. And pair your fare with a selection from the more than 170 bottles on display in a glass wine cellar.

Things to Know

  • Once you arrive in the Dominican Republic, go to Simi Baez, where the hotel’s boat will fetch you from the pier for the 10- to 15-minute ride to the island. Wait for the pickup in the Victorian-style building, whose bright, cheerful interior includes seafoam walls, green accents and white marble floors. Sit in a wicker chair while a staff member prepares tea or a cocktail from the palm-leaf-wallpapered bar.
  • Come between January and March for whale season. Guests have spotted the majestic humpbacks from the guest rooms.
  • Take the luxury hotel’s boat excursion (an added fee) to nearby Los Haitises National Park. You’ll float along the mangroves with pelicans, frigates and about 170 other bird species flying above. Then your guide will take you inside several caves to see pre-Hispanic petroglyphs and pictographs and the occasional bat.
  • The hotel's public beach offers a glimpse of Dominican life with locals flocking there for a day of sun and vendors selling wares. It’s more boisterous than Cayo’s private stretches of sand.
  • Don’t overlook the charming La Molienda café, where you can enjoy sustainably sourced Dominican coffee and cheesecake or other desserts at one of the high-top tables. Or order it to go and your java will come in an eco-friendly glass mug with a lid.

24-hour room service
Babysitting services
Fitness classes
Indoor pool
Outdoor pool
Getting There
Isla Cayo Levantado, s/n; PO Box 32000, Samaná, Dominican Republic
SDQ (2 hr 30 min)   AZS (1 hr)   EPS (30 min)  
Additional Details
To get to Cayo Levantado Resort, you will need to take a 10- to 15-minute boat ride provided by the property from the mainland.
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