The Best Hotels
South America & the Caribbean
The vibrant continent and strings of islands on the Western Hemisphere hold many hotel gems that are so fine they make it hard to venture too far afield.
After all, would you want to leave your stunning room with its oversized ocean-facing balcony, floor-to-ceiling windows, delicate fabrics, large bed, and hand-picked antiques? Well, maybe for the Olympic-sized pool centered in a lush, tropical courtyard. Or perhaps the asado cooking class, olive oil, and wine tasting. Or maybe to experience the gorgeous melding of majestic nature with unrivaled architecture that’s so often found throughout the region. Whether you’re glancing at sunrises over the Caribbean Sea or sunsets over the Pacific, these hotels will all lift your spirits and provide you with everlasting memories.
Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel
Cap Juluca’s gleaming white Moorish Revival property houses 66 rooms and 42 suites. The hotel sits on the island’s best beach, featuring an infinity pool (in the most mesmeric shade of jade green) surrounded by plenty of day bed cabanas, and two well-appointed libraries complete with record players and captivating Caribbean art. Rooms each have a king-sized or two single beds, a sitting area, a private terrace, a dining table, a Nespresso station with an honor bar in beautifully designed and recessed cabinetry, and a bathroom with a solarium stocked with amenities from L’Occitane en Provence.
Culinary prowess is an area of pride for Anguillans—and a strength of the hotel’s, too. Begin your day with a complimentary breakfast served seaside at Cip’s by Cipriani (poached eggs followed by cronuts, perhaps?), and don’t sleep on the jerk pork tacos, which are best paired with an Aperol Sunset (the addition of ginger beer enhances the cocktail’s flavor profile exponentially).
Anguilla’s first inhabitants—the Arawaks—named the island Malliouhana, meaning “arrow-shaped sea serpent.” For those who visit or are fortunate enough to call it home, it’s called “tranquility wrapped in blue.” And you’ll find that tranquility here.
Cavas Wine Lodge
Tucked away in a secluded vineyard in Malbec wine country, a well-stocked cellar and an abundance of fantastic Argentine vintages sate wine lovers at Cavas Wine Lodge in Luján de Cuyo, exactly as its name suggests. Mendoza’s first boutique lodging—and the province’s only hotel with Relais & Châteaux billing—pays tribute to colonial architecture with every meticulous detail in the 17 stunning standalone suites. Among the many amenities: private plunge pool, rooftop terrace conceived for soaking up Andean sunsets, a hot water bottle at the foot of the king-size bed to warm cold toes and feet, and the option to have a staff member start a fire for you before bed. A polite note left during the nightly turn-down service highlights the time of the next morning’s sunrise so guests don’t miss the vibrant pink rays reflecting off the mountains is a charming touch.
For an energizing and relaxing experience, book the full wine-therapy treatment at the Moorish-style spa, which includes a unique Bonarda bathing experience. Energies reinvigorated, guests can also indulge in asado cooking classes, enjoy olive oil and wine tastings guided by the in-house sommelier, or get to know the terroir by bike. With every meal of the day contemplated, including eleveneses and afternoon tea, there’s almost little need to leave the estate. An extra draw to this location is that it’s just a stone’s throw to award-winning bodegas such as Catena Zapata and Susana Balbo Wines and restaurants such as Quimera and Angélica – Cocina Maestra.
Copacabana Palace, A Belmond Hotel
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You have your pick of the litter when choosing a hotel on Rio’s Copacabana Beach, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one as gorgeous as the Copacabana Palace. The Copacabana has hosted a dazzling array of notable guests, from Brigitte Bardot to Pavarotti to Madonna, cementing its status as a historical celebrity hotspot. Built by French architect Joseph Gire to mirror the hotels that line the French Riviera, the Copacabana is not only historic but was also pivotal in transforming this stretch of beach into the popular destination it is today.
Giving the feel of old Hollywood glamour meets Parisian elegance, the hotel is a glittering gem along the Brazilian shoreline. The facade resembles an actual palace with an Art Deco design that carries through the property. Rooms are genuinely stunning, with oversized ocean-facing balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, delicate French fabrics, large beds, and hand-picked antiques.
But the main draw of the Copacabana is its half-size Olympic swimming pool, which sits in the heart of the hotel’s courtyard, flanked by lush tropical foliage and white sun loungers. Around the hotel stand three restaurants—Pérgula, Mee, and Cipriani—creating a private oasis of fine cuisine and poolside lounging. Mee serves up pan-Asian fare, while Pérgula offers traditional Brazilian cuisine, but the most sought-after reservation is the beloved Ristorante Cipriani, a Michelin-starred eatery serving impeccable Northern Italian dishes.
Nicknamed the Caribbean’s “nature island” for abundant rainforests, mountains, waterfalls, and hot springs, the tiny island nation of Dominica, nestled between Martinique and Guadeloupe, is off the radar for most tourists. However, Canadian software entrepreneur Daniel Langlois and partner Dominique Marchand have been visiting for decades. Langlois is known for developments in animation and special effects used in films like Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. His latest creation is Coulibri Ridge, a luxury paradise for the eco-obsessed that opened in 2022.
Its 14 rooms are fully off-the-grid with solar being the primary energy source, and wind turbines serving as backup. High in the mountains overlooking the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, purified rainwater fills two infinity pools facing majestic Morne Fou mountain, with views of Martinique in the distance.
Marchand is a gardening enthusiast who planted her love for the surrounding countryside into the resort’s 285 acres, providing produce for the two restaurants. Other signs of sustainability: compostable coffee pods and a compost container in each room’s kitchen cabinet, and the absence of single-use plastics. Minimalist modern décor features eco-friendly materials such as recycled teakwood, 100% recyclable aluminum, and stone from the surrounding area.
Jumby Bay Island
Antigua and Barbuda
Jumby Bay Island is exclusive with a capital E. Once you land in Antigua, board the resort’s private yacht and get whisked away like a rock star to the 300-acre private island. Welcome to a world where the house Champagne is Moet & Chandon, the spa offers ancient West Indian and African healing remedies, and villas, like the Lazy Lizard, sleep 12 comfortably in roughly 6,000 square feet.
The new ocean-view suites aren’t too shabby either, thanks to soaring ceilings, open-air bathrooms, and a kitchen poised for a private chef to show off their culinary skills.
You’ll find bikes, three pools, tennis courts, waterskiing, cooking classes, windsurfing, snorkeling, the Waterfowl Sanctuary, and more. There are programs for young children and teenagers, from wildlife discovery via bike or boat, and boxing for teens. Parents can enjoy a candlelit dinner on the beach and have a nanny look after the kids. Wind down after dinner at 1830 Bar for cocktails with West Indian spices.
Palacio del Inka, a Luxury Collection Hotel
Once the Incan Temple of the Serpent and part of the entrance to the Qoricancha Sun Temple, Palacio del Inka maintains its rich history. After the Inca lost control of Cusco, the temple passed to Gonzalo Pizarro in 1542 and later to the Marquis of Seville.
This Luxury Collection hotel by Marriott offers five-star amenities like butler service, marble bathrooms, and 24-hour room service. Palacio del Inka also offers numerous ways to connect with Peruvian culture, past and present. Art tours showcase colonial architecture, Inca walls, and an impressive collection of 17th-century paintings. Guests can experience Peru’s world-famous cuisine with a personalized chef demonstration at the hotel’s Inti Raymi restaurant, a favorite with foodies. The breakfast buffet is lavish, with a separate buffet that’s entirely gluten-free. The hotel’s Andes Spirit Spa is the most famous in town and has Cusco’s only hydrotherapy whirlpool.
Palacio del Inka’s 17 Imperial Rooms around the main courtyard are the most historic and feature the original 17th-century wood doors. Other rooms are modern construction though they offer the same uniquely Cusqueñian blend of colonial and Inca styles.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Time stands still at Round Hill Hotel and Villas—a two-night stay feels like a week. Peaceful sleep and blissful dreaming come easily here, thanks to incredibly comfortable beds made up with crisp yet buttery soft white linens, cloud-like pillows, and heavy drapes that block out unwanted light. But since you won’t want to sleep away your vacation, rest assured the magical wonder of this place continues.
Service is a hallmark of the Round Hill experience. The staff treats each request as an absolute priority, and satisfying them is made into an event in a manner that is inherently Jamaican. Whether ringing the front desk, ordering a cocktail at the beach bar, or asking the villa staff to prepare and serve breakfast at 11 a.m. so that you can sleep in, the melodic affirmative responses seem more like a Ska tune than an automatic reply. Round Hill’s staff dedication to gracious hospitality is practically unparalleled.
Everything at Round Hill is, as Goldilocks says, “just right”: the temperature of the pool, the beautifully manicured lawns and landscaping boasting native flora, the rum punch you’ll sip while wading in the warm Caribbean Sea, the hors d’oeuvres and piano music during pre-dinner drinks at the Cocktail Bar, and so much more.
Sanctuary Cap Cana
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
You’ll feel like royalty at Sanctuary Cap Cana, and it’s not just because of the castle on the property and its uber-luxe suites. You know you’re in a mesmerizing place when you enter the lobby and see Selenite Healing Crystals above the fountain displayed in a circular, cascading formation. Exhale. Begin your journey.
This adults-only, private gated community in Punta Cana set on a white sand beach, also wows with its Spanish Colonial architecture. Villas with private pools, butler service, and massive outdoor spaces elevate the experience.
Relax at Sanctuary Spa, on the private beach, take a yoga class, meditate, or refresh yourself at one of six pools. The hot spot is Blue Marlin, a restaurant with ocean views, fresh seafood, and special Dominican Nights where traditional music, dance, and performances captivate diners. Sanctuary Cap Cana’s lore is interesting too as it is named after a church in a fishing village, and the resort has repurposed certain remnants of the church, most notably Love Bar’s antique bell-gabble.