The Billini Hotel
The Billini Hotel, Santo Domingo
Photo: Mikkel Ulriksen
Get your head out of the city and into the clouds at this convent turned boutique hotel in the heart of the historic Colonial Zone neighbourhood.
Built in the 16th century to serve as a convent for the Regina Angelorum order of nuns, the original building was so damaged by pirate attacks over the next century and a half that it had to be rebuilt in the 1700s. Since then, the current building has housed a Napoleonic arsenal as well as an Archbishop! Rising grandly in the heart of the Colonial Zone, the loving-restored Billini Hotel is the perfect base for anyone wanting to explore the 300-odd historic streets and buildings pressed into this corner between the Caribbean sea and the Rio Ozama.
With just 24 suites on offer, family-owned-and-run Hotel Billini is boutique enough to be attentive to each and every room and guest. The elegant suites boast tasteful vintage photography, state-of-the-art bathroom furnishings, and cloud-like goose-down bedding.
In the building’s original Spanish courtyard, centuries-old stone pillars contrast with high-end avant-garde red plastic sculpted chairs and creamy lounges, creating a tableau fit for a page out of Italian Vogue.
Take some time to soak up the view of the oldest European-built city in the Americas from the rooftop terrace.
What's for breakfast?
Savour pastries and delicious Dominican coffee at the on-site Corner Café, or opt for the continental buffet breakfast at sleekly-renovated Castil Restaurant.
How about lunch and dinner?
Don’t miss dinner at the romantic rooftop Moon Restaurant and Bar, with breathtaking views over the Colonial Zone and La Regina Angelorum church. Watch the sunset with one of the bar’s unique cocktails, and try the crispy cornflake shrimp with creamy passion fruit sauce or the black risotto and peperonata. Alternatively, head to Pizza Cyrano for a Dominican twist on pizza - try yours with shrimp or burrata - a cousin of mozzarella.
Is there a bar?
Locals can often be spotted sipping sunset drinks on the spectacular rooftop terrace. Afterwards, you’re in the middle of the best dancing bars Santo Domingo has to offer. Try out your merengue moves at Sabina Bar.
Activities and amenities
Ask for a room with a rainshower and your own private balcony, and enjoy sweeping views of the Colonial Zone. A free non-alcoholic minibar will keep you spritzed in the sultry Caribbean afternoon sunshine. If you need to relax before you can relax, head down to the on-site spa.
Within a short walk you can find...
The religious order that once occupied these walls still exists, and is just a short stroll down the road. The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo Regina Angelorum is open Monday through Saturday from 9AM to 6PM. It is possible to visit if you ask permission from the nuns who still live within its walls. In the Yglesia Cathedral of Santo Domingo, you can find the statue of philanthropist Don Fransisco X Billini, discoverer of the remains of Christopher Columbus, and the namesake of the Billini Hotel.
Need to know (before you go)
Check-out is a generous 12pm, but check-in doesn’t open until 3pm. High-speed WiFi is available, but expect to pay USD $15 a day.
For directions and bookings visit The Bilini Hotel on Hotels.com
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