The 6-bedroom Peninsula House is, hands down, my favorite hotel property in the world. Being that my job is to experience various hotels, in every way possible from the point of view of a guest, holding this place with me is not an easy task. It’s not that I’m so special or so hard to impress, but I am very detail oriented and notice everything, good and bad, about a hotel. This one is perfect. I can say, as humbly as possible, that a stay at The Peninsula House is a requirement for any connoisseur of luxury hotels.
Perched on a 17-acre plot of land, situated on a bluff overlooking the turquoise Caribbean Sea on the Dominican Republic’s Northern Samaná peninsula, The Peninsula House is a mecca of peace, relaxation and good taste for any jaded traveler. I was a recent guest of the property, for three nights. I flew-in to Santo Domingo Airport and drove two hours north, up the newly built 7 highway, to Samaná. Passing the area my Google maps had marked as the hotel several times, I became frustrated as there was no sign, no grand entrance and no marking of any kind to signal I had arrived. I finally called the hotel and they came to my rescue, locating my car a mile down the road. As I followed their car, I turned off the quiet road and onto a hidden dirt path that went up a hill and through the jungle, for what seemed like a mile. At the end of the road, as I rounded the last turn, I came upon the most stunning Caribbean-style Victorian manor lit elegantly with lanterns, soft terrace lights and candles. I jumped out of the vehicle and was introduced to the co-owner of the hotel, Mr. Stamm.
He led me inside and to my room, on the second floor. My jaw dropped as I entered the home. The most perfect interior, something out of a pristine Architectural Digest or Elle Décor editorial, unfolded room by room. A candlelit courtyard littered with freshly potted orchids and wooden African statues. Sitting rooms with layer upon layer of global treasures and art sourced over the past 50 years by the lovely French co-owner, Ms. Marie-Claude Thiebault. A terrace opened-up with freshly cut flowers sitting on silver trays upon antique wooden chests. This was not a hotel I was entering, but someone’s private home.
My room was massive but cozy, decorated with antique wood furnishings, a large queen-sized four-poster bed, white linens, period paintings, small objet d’art and a sizable marble bathroom. The detail was flawless. But, the most impressive part was the wrap-a-round terrace with views over the property.
My bags were placed neatly in the room and I showered to rinse-off my airplane trip to the island. I prepared myself for dinner and made my way downstairs to a superbly set table with antique silver. I was offered a drink – I chose local Caribbean rum. I spent the next two hours indulging in the most fantastic food, international specialties accented with a Caribbean touch. The hotel’s chef was selected from Argentina and brought to the hotel to run the family’s kitchen.
After a satisfying dinner, I retired to my room and awoke fresh in the morning. The hotel’s hostess, for lack of a better term, is the loveliest Argentinian expat – Marcela. She greeted me at my bedroom door with an electrifying smile, offering breakfast. Soon, a parade of people entered with fresh fruit, crystal jugs filled to the brim with pineapple, orange and passion fruit juices, a French pastry basket and other goodies. I lingered on my terrace over breakfast and a fresh cup of coffee. It was the epitome of heaven.
After cleaning-up, I met the co-owners, Marie-Claude and her partner, Carry – who live in the house. The two met years ago in Europe and both had wanted to create a passion project somewhere to keep them busy. Marie-Claude was an avid collector of art and artifacts, having worked in various fields throughout her life, and Carry knew the hotel business from owning a small property in the South of France. Their idea was born when they traveled to the Samaná region and the rest, as they say, is history.
I spent the next three days at the hotel doing not much of anything. I moved between the main house, the beautiful stone pool area and the fantastic beach club a couple of miles down the road. The hotel offers guests a private beach club that echoes the same design and feel, but sits directly on the sand. It serves homemade and scrumptious cuisine for lunch and brunch – curating items like lobster-fried rice in a hollowed pineapple, or Caprese salad with tomatoes and imported Italian mozzarella.
The stretch of beach at the club is virtually empty, even in high season, which means you have nearly a mile of sand to yourself with the azure water providing a safe haven from the heat of the day.
The Peninsula House is a place to relax, almost in a way that allows a personal rebirth. You can connect with nature, take hikes, enjoy the beach or watch Humpback whales swim in and out of the bay. To me, this property is perfect, all around. It has a way and a charm that can make those who really understand detail and luxury, on a deep level, want to cash-out and move-in. Really. You must visit The Peninsula House. Missing it would be denying yourself a transformative experience you can’t get too many other places in the world today.