The Best Hotels
If visions of sugar sand beaches and clear water dance in your head, there’s no place like the Caribbean to bring them to life. More than 25 countries beckon with their own unique charm, and while a small area of the Bahamas (including the Abacos and Grand Bahama) are hurting from hurricane damage, many others are still picture-perfect. And because tourism supports recovery, there’s never been a more important moment to get on island time. From sprawling oceanfront resorts where you’ll want for nothing to exclusive villas that make for the perfect island hideaway, we’re confident there’s a palm-lined paradise here with your name on it.
COMO Parrot Cay
Turks & Caicos
On a private island in Turks and Caicos, sprawling wooden decks littered with daybeds and lounge chairs overlook miles of pristine white-sand beaches. Private villas, bathed in sunshine and full of natural wood decor and white linens, have their own pools and come with personalized butler service. There’s a little bit of everything at Como Parrot Cay, with an emphasis on relaxation: holistic spa treatments and secluded beach walks; jaw-dropping sunsets and private beach dining; themed entertainment nights and local live music; and Mediterranean, Caribbean, or Southeast Asian-inspired meals at one of the property’s open-air restaurants. On top of its attention to detail and great service, Como takes sustainability seriously, with measures to preserve the area’s natural wonders, wildlife, and coral reefs.
El Blok Hotel
Vieques, Puerto Rico
On the tiny island of Vieques, which is part of Puerto Rico, El Blok is an architectural gem. Made entirely of concrete, the hotel is both naturally cooling and hurricane-proof, with geometric cut-outs that cast interesting shadows in the rooms. Situated between the ocean-front town of Esperanza (the drinking and dining hub of the island) and Sun Bay beach, El Blok’s prime location means you won’t have to hop in the car or call a taxi when you want to go exploring. The colorful yet sparse rooms are decorated with eclectic photographs, and each room has a balcony overlooking the island. The restaurant is one of the best on the island, serving internationally-inspired grilled seafood and meat dishes along with craft cocktails in a chic, candlelit setting. Don’t miss the rooftop sunset concerts–the perfect chance to mingle with locals and meet new friends.
The Island House
You’ll find this grand estate tucked along a bay on the west side of Nassau Island, a convenient location that’s still remote enough to be peaceful. Despite its towering, grand demeanor, the Island House is family-owned, and delivers a personalized, intimate experience, surrounding guests in pristine shades of white, tropical greens, and sun-faded wood tones. While you can easily arrange excursions to go swimming with pigs, kayaking, or touring the area’s art galleries, everything you need is on-site: private beaches, two restaurants (a choice of Southeast Asian or Mediterranean menus means you’ll never get bored), squash courts, spa, dance studio, generous wine market, and an art-forward movie theater.
This Dominica resort caters to the active traveler in search of off-the-beaten-path luxury. Spread out over steep seaside cliffs, just approaching this spacious, eco-friendly resort is an exciting trek; but yoga, diving, and visits to local farms will round out your adventurous experience. Inside the treehouse-like accommodations are polished teak interiors, bamboo furniture, and partially outdoor rain showers with earth-friendly bath products. Unwind after a day’s hiking with dinner of freshly-caught seafood or with massage services in treetop privacy, surrounded only by the sights and sounds of the sea and jungle.
Refined Balinese-style beach huts with four-poster canopy beds, wooden decks, and private plunge pools overlooking the sea—as well as a no-children policy—make Laluna perfect for a romantic getaway. On the remote southern end of Grenada, the vibe here is playful and unpretentious, but an infinity pool (with a breathtaking view) and onsite spa add touches of luxury. Superb beaches, chartered sailboats to neighboring islands, and Italian-Caribbean food in a thatched roof restaurant by the water create an experience that is laid-back yet once-in-a-lifetime unique.
New & Noteworthy
Le Sereno Hotel
Hurricane Irma may have devastated St. Barth’s, but the owners of Le Sereno took it as an opportunity to rebuild. After a year-long renovation, the intimate resort on the Grand Cul de Sac—a protected marine reserve home to a colony of sea turtles—is back and better than ever. Thirty-six rooms and suites done up in natural wood and stone surround the central pavilion, which features a pool overlooking the sea, a spa, a boutique, and an Italian restaurant that serves delicious pasta and spritzes. Guests can borrow glass-bottom kayaks, stand up paddleboards, and snorkeling gear, or work with the concierge to arrange activities like windsurfing and yachting trips to the island’s most remote beaches. It’s exactly the kind of place you want to retreat to after a night of partying at the island’s hotspots.
Mandarin Oriental Canouan
Less developed than St. Barth’s and more low-key than Mustique, Canouan has a reputation as the island where “billionaires go to escape the millionaires.” The tiny island has just 2,000 residents and one luxury resort. Formerly the Pink Sands Club, the property was recently reflagged as Mandarin Oriental’s first Caribbean resort. As part of the refurbishment, they’ve added sleek new patio villas and are working on building a group of stone villas. Guests spend their days sunbathing on the beach, indulging in fresh pasta at L’Ance Guyac, yachting over to the Tobago Cays, and getting relaxing spa treatments at the Balinese-style standalone spa.
Rich & Famous
Petit St. Vincent
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
This small boutique resort, surrounded by tropical forest and serene beaches, sits on a 115-acre private island in the Caribbean Sea. Here, personal service is at your beck and call—simply raise a flag up the pole outside of your private villa—but on an island purposely free of cell service or WiFi, there’s always the option to be left completely alone. And if you’re looking for extreme privacy, go ahead and book the entire island just for your party. Both the stone cottages and larger villas have generous wooden decks, teak interiors, and open floor plans. Wide glass doors and windows entice guests outside to lounge in the sun or enjoy a beach barbeque while sipping from an excellent choice of vintage wines.
Tried & True
The Caribbean isn’t known for the deluxe overwater bungalows of the South Pacific or the Maldives, but Jamaica has something even better: At Rockhouse Hotel in Negril, individual hotel rooms are built into the cliffs overlooking the clear azure waters of the Caribbean. Each thatched-roof cottage has its own private water access, making the sea the center of attention at this stylish slice of paradise. And although the setting is drop-dead gorgeous, this hotel would be beautiful anywhere. Everything is open-air, from the check-in and lobby to the bar serving fresh fruit juices to the lounge where you can play board games and sip rum punch. The restaurant is one of the best in town, with creative takes on Jamaican staples like jerk chicken, seafood curry, and more. This is the hotel you’ll forever be comparing other Caribbean hotels to.
Quintessential Classic - 2019 Winner
Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort
On a former sugar plantation in the Val de Pistons mountains, you’ll find these restored historic buildings, washed in white, overlooking the sea. Amidst the expanse of rainforest, rocky cliffs, and sugar mill ruins, find personal plunge pools, refined butler service, and customizable dining menus you can enjoy privately in your villa or out on the beach. Aside from the rainforest spa, select activities at Sugar Beach include tennis, deep-sea fishing, and whale and dolphin watching. The large main house is for socializing over sunsets and champagne, beachfront dining, and relaxing in the large pool and great room.