Whether you’re looking for a secluded bolthole, crowd-free private island, iconic resorts with abundant facilities, a hip retreat or historic, understated elegance, the Caribbean is capable of delivering all types of luxury hotel. We’ve handpicked some of our very favourite places to stay on these colourful isles; read on to discover the reasons why we love them…
Hermitage Bay, Antigua
Welcome to world of impeccable service, secluded hillside cottages and infinity plunge pools; when it comes to romantic retreats, Hermitage Bay is tough to beat. Nestled into the hillside above a hidden bay, each Balinese-styled cottage is blessed with far-reaching views across the bay and ocean beyond. The beach is one of Antigua’s finest – a long stretch of soft, white sand, unspoilt by motorised watersports (they’re banned, in favour of more relaxing pastimes). The food served in the main restaurant will be among the best you’ve ever tasted – it’s hard to go wrong when you’re eating fish caught just a couple of hours ago, served with produce freshly picked from the resorts’ own organic garden. If you’re looking for relaxation, privacy and pampering – Hermitage Bay ticks all the boxes.
Carlisle Bay, Antigua
Boasting a secluded, tucked-away location, this elegant resort manages to blend regional style with cool, contemporary calm. Almost by accident, it’s become surprisingly popular with families, given its excellent childcare amenities for all ages from tots right through to teens. Remarkably, the resort has created an environment where both couples and families manage to happily co-exist. Guests with children are given the multi-roomed suites on one side of the property, whilst honeymooners and couples get the split-level suites on the other – so no one feels disturbed, or needs to worry about disturbing other guests. Each has their own beach, and two of the four restaurants operate family hours. Indigo on the Beach offers an open-air, sandy-footed setting – whilst East, dishes up fine Asian-fusion feasts – both are exceptional.
Rock Cottage at Blue Waters Antigua
Perched on a rocky peninsular jutting out over the Caribbean Sea, Rock Cottage boasts ocean views of 270 degrees. A perfect hideaway of whitewashed walls, marble tiles and plantation shutters, a stay at Rock Cottage is everything a Caribbean holiday should be. Upon arrival, you’re given a mobile phone so you can call concierge at any time, who are on hand to ensure your every need is met. Along with numerous sundecks (which are cleverly positioned to enable you to ‘follow the sun’ throughout the day), it’s got five airy bedrooms and a large private plunge pool. It’s the kind of place, surrounded by inviting emerald waters, where you could spend several days holed up and – happily – not see another soul – except of course, the wonderful staff.
The House, Barbados
With just 34-suites, this hip hotel located in the heart of Barbados’ west coast is an exclusive adults-only haven. You’ll feel well-looked after here: the moment you arrive, you’re steered towards a beach cabana for a complimentary ‘jet-lag revival’ massage before afternoon tea and evening canapés – the perfect way to de-stress and start your holiday in style. A good choice for honeymooners, The House has been recently voted one of the Best Hotels in the Caribbean for Romance at the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2016. It’s right next door to highly-rated Italian restaurant Daphne’s, which provides the all-day dining menu for The House (which, unexpectedly, is exceptionally good). But for an extra special dining treat, indulge in a candlelit meal for two on the beach – you’ll remember that evening forever.
Sandy Lane, Barbados
Sandy Lane is perhaps the most ‘obvious’ choice for a luxury holiday in Barbados – as the island’s most iconic luxury brand, it’s the place to see-and-be-seen. It’s not uncommon for guests to return to Sandy Lane year after year, and first-time visitors will soon find out why. The sweeping staircases and marble-clad bathrooms help to embody to air of exclusivity, but it’s really the outstanding levels of service which draw people back time and time again. Staff are on hand to cater to every whim, and seem to have fine-tuned their mind-reading capabilities to predict and deliver exactly what you need, before you’ve even realised you want it. It’s easily the most expensive resort in Barbados, and one of the swankiest properties in the whole of the Caribbean; you’ll need deep pockets to stay here.
Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St Lucia
With a gorgeous location in the Valley of the Pitons, this converted eighteenth-century sugar plantation has to be the best place to stay on St Lucia. Formerly Jalousie Plantation, it’s come a long way – when it first opened as a hotel, it was only accessible by canoe. Nowadays you can take a taxi from the airport, or, even better, a helicopter transfer – which gives you phenomenal views of the pitons as you descend into this beautiful retreat. A $100 million-plus investment from luxury lifestyle brand Viceroy has seen it blossom into a sophisticated resort hotel, with a sumptuous treehouse-style spa being just one of the many highlights.
Palm Island, The Grenadines
Live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasies to the hilt on Palm Island: switch off, unplug and reconnect with what’s really important at this idyllic resort. Imagine having an entire Caribbean island as your plaything; you’re free to explore the coastline, wander the meandering paths lined with palm trees, read the latest page-turner on the white sandy beaches or witness some amazing underwater sights on a scuba excursion to the nearby reefs. There’s also a spa, tennis courts, pool, gym and library. Evenings are low-key (although Mondays and Wednesdays see a live band drafted in), and generally revolve around a gourmet meal at the island’s intimate restaurant, followed by a moonlit stroll on the beach. Don’t pass up the chance to take an evening cruise aboard the resort’s private boat, sipping champagne as you watch the sun gently disappear into the ocean – magic!
Cotton House, Mustique
Mustique is an exclusive bolthole quite unlike anywhere else on earth; a remote, private island in the Grenadines, coveted by the rich and famous. It would be easy to name-drop some of the celebrities and royal family members who fondly flock to its sandy shores, but in the interests of taste we’ll concentrate on the merits of the hotel itself. Of which there are many – from the overarching atmosphere of refinement, to the glamorous Great Room (designed by eminent theatre visionary Oliver Messel), to the rugged cliffs that tower over the crowd-free powder-soft beaches below. It’s impossible to find the words to describe what makes Cotton House such a special place to stay, other than to say if you value privacy and true understated luxury, it’s the best place on the planet to unplug, unwind and embrace the ‘no news, no shoes’ ethos, completely unbothered by the outside world.
Have you stayed at a truly exceptional Caribbean property? Share your experiences with us in the comments below…
Spencer Groves is Commercial Director at letsgo2.
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