Michael Edwards enjoys exclusive use of the ANI private resort in the Dominican Republic.
Imagine having a holiday resort all to yourself. A private paradise where you choose the menu and the day’s programme for the fortunate family or friends who you have invited. You could even manage the dress code. Perhaps an 80s theme night with your playlist? Or smart chic for a seven-course taster menu paired with wines? For five nights or more, from six to 28 guests, the entire resort is yours.
Far from the Dominican Republic’s mass tourism costas, the ÀNI Private Resort sits pretty in four acres on the quieter north coast at Rio San Juan. Overlooking the Caribbean from a lushly fertile peninsula, the resort invites you to gather your favourite people for the ultimate holiday.
It’s hard to tell whether being with the people you know and love is a bigger selling point than being segregated from people you don’t know and might not love. They might create ripples in either of the Instagram-friendly expansive infinity pools. Or worse still beat you to the tennis court, pool table, pickle ball or pre-dinner canapés.
Two dark-wood, open-sided, high-ceilinged living villas, Amber and Larimer, have architectural hints of oriental temple tranquillity. They are surrounded by 14 secluded suites: generously spacious and photo shoot luxurious. Within every suite, an emperor-sized double bed looks out over the ever-changing ocean blues. Caribbean light flows across the marble tiling. Bedside, a remote control raises and lowers the blinds.
Artwork, in both the rooms and public areas, is from the nearby ÀNI Art Academy. An educational charity created by ÀNI Private Resort founder Tim Reynolds to give aspiring artists the opportunity to develop their skills. Often on a visit to the ÀNI Academy guests are tempted to commission work.
A free-flowing open-plan bath area leads past a free-standing half-egg bath and an opaque glass shower room. The rear garden is home to an outdoor shower. Giving guests a choice of toiletries – the lemongrass ÀNI signature fragrance or eucalyptus or lavender – epitomises the guests’ freedom to design their own stay.
Exclusive and all-inclusive use of the resort has benefits. Guests can indulge themselves at the spa up to 12 times a day whilst the adjacent gym is open 24/7. Ramp up the adrenaline on the twisting water slide. As kids have their own pool and waterslide, they too relish the freedom from queues. As the ÀNI motto says, “It’s all yours”.
After a day devoted to excursions or swimming or paddle-boarding the pre-dinner early evening slot pulls friends or family together again. A cocktail masterclass creates an old-fashioned and shakes a passion-fruit margarita. Next night a rum guru brings in 26 rums for guests to taste. Sampling them all is not compulsorily. After a little tuition, guests can also try their hand at cigar rolling. The Dominican Republic produces more cigars than any other country, with workers combining as a pair to produce up to 800 cigars in a day. Most guests are a little slower.
An evening cruise with sparkling wine and canapés, plus guests diving into the Caribbean, silhouetted as the sun sets, is the stuff of a thousand music videos.
Another unifying shared experience is a cookery class. Juan, the executive chef, shows guests how to create red snapper ceviche from a fish brought in by local fishermen.
For many guests, the high spot of the holiday is a day at ÀNI Private Resort’s chic pop-up beach club at Rio San Juan. Inevitably guests joke that the town is named in honour of executive chef Juan who creates a remarkable beach BBQ of chicken, lobster, pork, and ribs served with numerous salads. Paddleboards and kayaks await at this impromptu beach club of sun-loungers, sun-umbrellas and bar. But if it all gets too much for guests, ÀNI’s masseuses are on hand to give calming head and foot massages.
Everything is all-inclusive. Activities from early morning countryside hikes and bike rides as well as food, drinks and minibar are all included. For breakfast, guests select from the buffet and can also order hot food, which can include Dominican specialities. Across their stay guests may opt for a Dominican-themed lunch, a Mexican lunch, and a mix of formal or family-style evening meals. Perhaps with that seven-course taster menu for a spectacular final evening dinner.
The name ÀNI comes from andjani, a Swahili word, for a forward journey. For guests at the ANI Private Resort, it is a journey of education that introduces them to the Dominican Republic. They discover the country through its art, beach, cigars, cuisine, countryside, dance, geology, people and rum. From an idyllic private resort, with impeccable service, ÀNI presents an irresistible collage of Dominican Republic life.
Tell Me More About ÀNI Private Resort, Dominican Republic
ANI Private Resort, Autopista Rio San Juan Cabrera Km #3,
Sector La Caribe, Rio San Juan, Dominican Republic
T: +1 (718) 887 8178 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reservations start from a minimum of five nights from 14,000 USD per night.
ÀNI Private Resort also has private resorts in Anguilla, Sri Lanka and Thailand.