By night this mega-resort decorated with Arabian-style domes looks like a fairy-tale palace and its generally older clientele are a departure from the other Riu resorts. It is favored by German, English, and Canadians. In need of updating, particularly the bedding, the long-and-wide junior suites are simple but attractive; with dark wood against sunny yellow walls, it's shades of Old Havana. Each has a jetted bath and a terrace (but not necessarily a sea view), flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, and full liquor bottles in dispensers. The buffet options are wide-ranging but still best when you arrive early. There are several à la carte restaurants but no real standout. In the pool, a lively swim-up bar, four Jacuzzis, and semi-submerged lounge chairs add panache. The long stretch of beach and the pool complex are breathtaking, but by day's end the pool is often too dirty.
Playa Arena Gorda, Bávaro, Dominican Republic