It’s all yours. From the two bars through the infinity pools to the water slide. The gym, tennis court and spa too. From six guests through to 28, the entire resort is yours.
Set on a fertile Dominican Republic peninsula, overlooking the Caribbean, these four acres provide the ultimate in privacy and personalisation. This is your very own private resort where there are more staff than guests.
It is a welcoming place where everybody knows your name. From the moment the staff greet you with a chilled flannel and iced passion fruit juice, they all know your name. ÀNI takes service to another level. Soon Eddy and Victor learn exactly how and when you take your coffee for breakfast, which local beer you would like with your lunch.
ÀNI, from the Swahili for a journey forward, offers an opportunity to gather family or friends. In paradise. And for the length of your stay, a reviving minimum of five nights, you need never think about money, never touch a single Dominican Peso.
Everything is inclusive. The canapés on arrival. All meals. Drinks from both bar and minibar. Up to a dozen spa treatments a day. All activities too, be it kayaking or paddle-boarding around the headland, cycling into the town of Rio San Juan or a sunset cruise.
Amber and Larimar, named after the jewels of the Dominican Republic’s rich geology, are two living villas surrounded by 14 spacious suites. A wide bed, beyond king size, takes centre stage in the bedroom, looking out over the infinite blues of the Caribbean. That is a total of 28 beds for your friends and family for a once-in-lifetime getaway. Though, ÀNI, unsurprisingly, has a very high proportion of returning guests …
Every night the turn-down service, which also returns my washing, topped with a fragrant red hibiscus flower, lowers the blind on this epic view. Then, in the morning, from my bed, I use the remote control to raise the blind to reveal the glory of the Caribbean.
Throughout suites and the resort, the art stops you in your tracks. A short drive takes us to the ÀNI Art Academy, an education charity founded by ÀNI owner Tim Reynolds to teach students how to earn a living from their innate skills. As he said, “I can either fill my house with art or fill the world with artists.” Guests often commission work from the artists, perhaps for a family portrait or their favourite landscape.
For the tropical heat, every room has a fan and its own climate-control. Sea breezes cool the teak veranda, where you can either recline on the sun-loungers or sit at a table and chairs sunk into the dark timber. Quietly secluded, never overlooked, each suite has an al fresco shower.
Everything at ÀNI is about choice. You even get to choose the fragrance of your toiletries. Lemongrass, eucalyptus, or lavender. Prior to the visit, ÀNI provide guests with some sample menus, so that they can plan their meals. That includes pre-dinner canapés and kids’ menus too.
Guests can also design their daily programme. Early on the first morning, before the sun beats down on scorched palms, a walk through the local undulating countryside is a good way to get to know the terrain and its people. Similarly, the next day, a bike ride explores the coast to the nearby fishing port of Rio San Juan.
On that ride, guests spy an idyllic soft sand beach gently slipping into azure waters. By the time they return a few hours later, the ÀNI team have created a pop-up beach club of sun loungers, umbrellas, kayaks, paddle boards and impromptu bar. A BBQ lunch is served shaded by white chiffon curtains.
The pre-dinner slot becomes a favourite with guests. They can take a cocktail class, adapting an old fashioned or a passion fruit margarita to their own taste. Perhaps easy on the Angostura bitters and light on the sweet cocktail syrup. Maybe an extra dash of tequila as the sun slips into the Caribbean.
Another night sees rum-tasting and cigar rolling. Although a pro can nonchalantly roll a cigar in around 40 seconds, this is a challenging task when you take it on. Then it is dinner, set in a myriad of locations around the resort.
After the last dinner, an exquisite seven course tasting menu, with paired wines, there is one last special moment. We are invited to write a wish on a lantern before it ascends, trailing flames into the dark night sky. Some guests wish for contentment, happiness, and peace. Another writes, “To do it all over again,” whilst I simply wish, “To return to ÀNI”.
ÀNI Dominican Republic fact file
aniprivateresorts.com offer their unique all-inclusive resorts in Anguilla, Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Learn more about Dominican Republic at GoDominicanRepublic.com.