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Most of Apple Vacations’ offerings in or near Puerto Plata, the rediscovered jewel of the Dominican Republic’s north coast, are all-inclusives. However, these two hotels serve as reminders of why some visitors to the Caribbean prefer the EP model.

Casa Colonial Beach & Spa, whose exterior evokes a colonial mansion, is for clients who want bona fide luxury. This 50-room boutique offers guests Playa Dorada’s advantages—the lovely beach, access to the Robert Trent Jones, Sr., golf course—and true sophistication in the interior decor, an adult-friendly mix of mahogany with white furnishings. To that, add excellent cuisine and wines, the Bagua Spa, the professional staff, and the stylish rooftop infinity pool. Rates from $4,004.

Villa Taina is a 4-story, 57-room hotel that’s right on the beach at Cabaret, a mecca for windsurfers and kiteboarders (the Cabaret Wind Sports Club is right at this hot). Cabaret—and Villa Taina—attracts many athletic types who want to play all day and enjoy drinks and good food well into the night at the beach resto-bars and clubs. Rooms start at $1,260.

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