Set upon a hill in a semi-gated community a few kilometers west of the center of Las Terrenas, Casa La Nouba is a private villa that would not be out of place as a Caribbean Bond villain’s luxury hideaway. The rooms are large and sophisticated, there’s a swimming pool with stunning views out over the ocean, and there are plenty of seating and lounging areas. The colorful French owners — Pierre and Stephanie — live on-site and are incredibly welcoming and helpful. If you are lucky their daughter, Sophie, will also be visiting. Expect to be invited to sit and drink wine with them in the evenings. Stephanie, known locally as Tamalou, does a lot of work around Las Terrenas with the stray dogs and cats. There are dozens of friendly rescued animals padding around the villa. Casa La Nouba is around a 10-minute walk from Playa las Ballenas, but other than a few restaurants there’s not much else around. You need to stock up on food and drink in Las Terrenas, which is most easily reached by motoconcho. Breakfast is included.