Rare Caribbean Find: Natura Cabañas

Small is Beautiful

In a destination known mainly for its plush, sprawling all-inclusive resorts, Natura Cabañas' secluded 11-hut beachfront oasis, halfway between Cabarete and Sosua on the D.R.'s north coast, is an unexpected retreat. Gravel paths meander through an untamed garden shaded by almond and palm trees, leading to a compact collection of whimsically decorated, thact-roofed 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom cabins. Rustic-chic interiors incorporate rough-hewn concrete walls embedded with jewel-like marbles, bamboo furniture, talavera sinks and shower curtains fashioned from garlands of sea beans and shells. Cozy two-story La Corale is a circular standout, its entire upper floor an adobe-style sleeping-and-living loft decorated with colorful tapestries and framed by wraparound windows. The petite property is big on amenities: Two restaurants (try the Dominican breakfast at Karaya), a pool and a breezy beachfront yoga pavilion offer ample diversion. An intimate spa features a whirlpool tub, outdoor shower and relaxation lounge. But guests may well find swinging in a hammock the most compelling activity of all.

From $80 in low season ($90 in high); (809) 571-1507; www.naturacabana.com