Fez, about 240 miles northeast, was often an afterthought.
But slowly, quietly, a sophisticated scene is taking root.
After visiting the neighboring Netherlands Photo Museum and the lipstick-red New Luxor Theater, toast a trip well-taken with a Dutch Blossom cocktail in the hotel bar.
It also happens to feature Holland’s largest artwork: a trippy nimbus of mammoth, tumbling fruits and vegetables arching across the market ceiling on 4,500 aluminum panels.
Other recent starchitect landmarks include the multipurpose Rotterdam Central Train Station and native son Rem Koolhaas’s nhow hotel, sitting like a pile of stacked metal boxes on the south bank of the Maas River, the city’s reigning cultural hub.
But developments slated for 2015 in Puerto Plata are bound to lure well-heeled sun-seekers.
First up is The Gansevoort, offering three-bedroom apartments with private pools and four-bedroom penthouses equipped with rooftop hot tubs.
Other notable places to stay include the medina’s Karawan Riad, whose seven renovated suites offer a modern alternative to more traditional hotels, and Palais Faraj, a 19th-century palace transformed by architect Jean-Baptiste Barian. 7 is making waves with a rotating series of acclaimed guest chefs. Tour groups like Insight Cuba, Smithsonian Journeys, and Central Holidays operate under the “people-to-people” license focused on education and cultural exchange—the one Beyoncé and Jay-Z obtained for their much-publicized anniversary trip in 2013.