A Secret Oasis in the Dominican Republic
Halfway between the north coast towns of Cabarete and Sosua, far beyond Punta Cana’s mammoth all-inclusive resorts, Natura Cabana offers Dom. Rep. visitors something decidedly different: a secluded 10-hut beachfront oasis where you don't have to wear a plastic wristband and no one will make you enter the hairy chest contest.
Choose the gravel path less taken and wander through an untamed garden shaded by almond and palms trees to your thatch-roofed one-, two- or three-bedroom cabin. Each whimsically designed enclave instantly enchants with concrete walls studded with colorful marbles; rustic-chic bamboo furniture; and in the bathroom, talavera sinks and shower curtains fashioned from garlands of assorted sea beans and shells.
My pick: Two-story La Corale, where the entire upper floor is an adobe-inspired sleeping and living loft framed with wraparound windows and decorated with vibrant tapestries.
The petite property is big on amenities, with two restaurants (try the hearty Dominican breakfast at Karaya), a pool and a beachfront yoga pavilion. The spa features a whirlpool tub and an outdoor shower and a relaxation lounge.
But you may find, as I did, that simply swinging in a hammock is the most appealing activity of all.