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Samana Hotels

Some consider the beach at Las Galeras to be Samana's prettiest, so it's not surprising that's where one of the peninsula's largest hotels recently opened.

The 250-room all-inclusive Casa Marina, built in the midst of an old coconut plantation, has 200 standard rooms (all with two full beds) and 50 villas. Meals are served buffet style in a single large dining room, which gets very congested between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Activities at Casa Marina include horseback riding, diving, boat rental, windsurfing and most other water activities. Rates are $100 per person per night in high season. Web site: www.casamarinahotels.com .

Located right on the beach at Las Galeras, the much smaller Club Bonito has only 24 rooms: 15 with central air with an ocean view, six with garden view and four luxury suites with room service. Club Bonito, which emphasizes personalized service and formal dining, has just added a new family swimming pool.

The Club Bonito name is a misnomer since is not a club in the traditional sense. No membership is required and the excellent restaurant is open to the public. Rates range from $35 to $75 per person, based on double occupancy. Rooms with air conditioning are higher. Web site: www.club-bonito.com .

Between Las Galeras and the town of Samana is the all-inclusive Occidental Gran Bahia. It enjoys a spectacular location on the side of a cliff overlooking Samana Bay, has a private beach and its own golf course. The 110 rooms include 7 suites and 2 villas; dining is buffet and formal. Built in 1978, the hotel was renovated in 1998. Rates range form $125-$200 per person. Web site: www.occidentalhotels.com

The Occidental chain also includes the all-inclusive Cayo Levantado hotel on the popular picnic island of the same name. Located only a 20 minute boat ride from Samana city, the 44-room hotel was built in 1974 and renovated in 1992.

However, the island's 2 beaches are crowded with daytrippers between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Rates range from $125-$200 per person.

Although the all-inclusive 82-room Cayacoa is located right on Samana Bay only a 15 to 20 minute walk from the town center is very convenient. Rates range from $105 to $160 per person per night. Check to see when it had its last facelift.

At Las Terrenas, the all-inclusive El Portillo Beach Resort offers 227 rooms with balcony or terrace, kitchenettes and whirlpool baths. The extensive water sports activities include diving. The biggest attraction here are the miles and miles of unspoiled, almost deserted beach. A room is $150 per night. For reservations, email portillo@codetel.net.do .

Around the point from Las Terrenas at Punta Bonita beach, the 18-room Atlantis (809/240-6111) is a charming small hotel located across from six miles of beautiful beach. The restaurant, which has a French chef, is known for its fresh seafood. A single room is $50, a double with an ocean view just $70 per night. Email hotel.atlantis@codetel.net.do .

 

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