There has been much talk about alternatives to Santo Domingo. I don't know about you, but I'd rather visit different places on the island before jumping ship. The country has so much to offer other than the capitol city.
Which brings me to Bonao. It's located northwest of Santo Domingo in the central mountains. Being just over an hour from Las Americas airport it could be a day trip or an overnight adventure. If you're an outdoors person you will not be disappointed with the mountain vistas, the beautiful waterfalls and rivers and the quaint little villages in the area. Also, Bonao now has the second largest Carnaval celebration in the country.
If you want to stay a night or two, you should check out www.ranchowendy.com for accomodations and activities: hiking, horseback riding, exploring caves, barbeques, etc. The discriminating traveler will appreciate the private baths and free internet.