Another brand has joined the long list of hoteliers doing business in the Dominican Republic. But this newest collection of properties has no interest in competing with the all-inclusive beachfront resorts scattered along the north and east coasts of the island.
In fact, just the opposite.
Miguelina Butron, partner and vice president of marketing for Santo Domingo-based Mint Hotels & Residences, told me why.
"Our focus is offering a sense of place, outstanding service and authentic experiences that respect the environment and unspoiled locales," Butron said.
"We're asking guests to forget what they think they know about the Dominican Republic and come stay with us for a different guest experience at our smaller properties ... We hope that by staying at our properties it will change their perceptions of the island."
Santo Domingo-based Mint is a boutique brand of five, independently owned properties.
Its goal is to offer guests the opportunity to see another side of the country, one that encompasses its people, landscape, heritage and hospitality, according to Butron.
Mint is operated by Hospitality Management Solutions, a real estate development and management company with holdings in the D.R. and Central America.
The five Mint properties were chosen for their singular locations and for the way they capture the essence of the DR through their cuisine, design, service and natural beauty.
Casa Bonita Tropical Lodge in Barahona is perched between the rainforest and the Caribbean Sea on the south coast. Its 18 rooms include four new suites. Activities available for guests range from treatments at the riverside Tanama Spa to ziplining above the trees, hiking in the rainforest and surfing at a local beach.
Accommodations at the beachfront Punta Rucia Lodge in the fishing village of the same name on the north coast are in 12 individual A-frame bungalows. Several offer two bedrooms. The lodge has an infinity pool, a restaurant and bar, beachside spa, a private dock and a helipad.
El Portillo Residences in Las Terrenas on the northeast coast on the Samana peninsula offers one- to three-bedroom beachfront apartments with kitchens. The complex features a restaurant, pool and swim-up bar.
Los Altos Residences are set within the Casa de Campo complex in La Romana with views of the Chavon River and the resort's golf courses. Accommodations range from one to three bedrooms in size. Mint guests have access to the resort's pools, restaurants and beaches.
Accommodations at the Bannister Hotel & Yacht Club overlooking Samana Bay offer a full kitchen in each of the 32 units. Facilities at the hotel include two pools, waterfront restaurants and bars. There's complimentary water-shuttle service to the nearby island of Cayo Levantado as well as to several nearby beaches.
Rates at all five properties start at $250 per night, double, with breakfast.
Guests can combine two or more locations on the same trip through the brand's Mint Experience offerings that feature customized itineraries with services that include private helicopter or seaplane transfers, VIP airport escorts and local excursions.
Butron, who grew up in the D.R. and still lives there, said that "my D.R. is a hidden gem of luxury experiences just waiting to be discovered. A tropical paradise is tucked inside every corner of my beautiful island, and we want the Mint brand to convey the authenticity and biodiversity that the Dominican Republic has to offer."
Although it is a new brand, it is gaining attention from agents, who already account for 50% of the bookings, many of which are from the North American market.