We recently enjoyed a stay at The Peninsula House, a secluded hideaway on the Dominican Republic’s Samaná Peninsula. (The Dominican Republic occupies roughly two-thirds of the Carribean island of Hispaniola.) Situated on the island’s relatively undeveloped north coast, the peninsula has extraordinary natural beauty sans the commercialism of the island’s more developed southern and eastern coasts. The peninsula is known for its long, empty beaches, rain forests and whale watching. In fact, it’s said that during the winter months, over 75% of the humpback whales that cruise the Atlantic seaboard come here to conceive and give birth!
A short drive up a secluded dirt road leads guests to an enormous gingerbread mansion. The inn’s eclectic architecture combines elements of British Colonial (the Victorian façade) and Spanish (a colonnaded inner courtyard). Six spacious guests rooms with French doors open onto wide verandas with stunning views of palm groves and the sea.
Best of all is the hospitality of the owners, Marie-Claude Thibault and Cary Guy, a well-traveled couple who met in southern France, then decided to build their dream inn. Marie-Claude filled the house with art and antiques she collected from her travels; Cary, a talented chef and former innkeeper, designed the menus and contributed his own works of art.
Although the house is not directly on the water, Marie and Cary gladly shuttle guests down the hill to the “beach club,” a doll house version of the main house that’s just five minutes away by car. There guests can walk a mostly empty 6-mile beach (Playa Coson), take a swim and dine on huge plates of fresh lobster and other seafood. As a former guest has said, “A visit here is like staying in a private Eden.”
As irresistible as anything at the Peninsula House is the cuisine. Dinners are served on fine china (they say if you stay a week, you’ll never see the same pattern twice) and accompanied by outstanding New World and European wines. There’s simply nothing like dining on the veranda by candlelight while listening to a symphony of tree frogs and crickets!
The Peninsula House has been recognized by the likes of Conde Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, and Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report as one of the most special hotels in the Caribbean. For more information, go to thepeninsulahouse.com and look for our upcoming story in Charleston Style & Design magazine.
Accented by African masks and other antiques collected by the owners, the living room is a wonderful place to relax. The popular billiard room is visible through the doorway.
A pristine beach, Playa Coson, is just five minutes from the Peninsula House. Adjacent to the beach are the inn’s cabana and restaurant.
This appetizer of shrimp, avocado and mango, served on fine china, was prepared by owner and chef, Cary Guy.