There’s a reason that pirates loved the Caribbean so much. It’s because if you have the option of being a scurvy dog anywhere on the high seas, and can live wherever the tradewinds take you, you’d go to the warm, tropical paradise as well. Sure, there’s also loads of natural resources in the area, a temperate climate, and all those nice merchant ships to rob that might have contributed to pirates putting down whatever roots they could in the Caribbean Garden of Eden, but we prefer to think of it as a strictly fun choice made by those wacky pillagers.
Though there’s still pirates to be had out along some of the old rum-running routes, the modern Caribbean is more a splashdown point for people looking to get away from it all and enjoy sand, sun, surf, and the slower, steel drum-paced life that the islands have to offer. It’s packed with tourist traps and overpriced bungalows, with plenty of legitimate thieves still in operation, looking to take your money for watered-down booze and weak accommodations. Which means being wary when traveling there is still a good idea. To help you on your weary way, we’ve found the 16 ideal resorts to be found among the getaways and hideouts along the spice highway.
Bare white walls and dark wood floors await you at the minimalist Le Sereno, devised by the master of minimal, Christian Liaigre. Though it sounds spartan, the intent is plush comfort with the least number of distractions possible, allowing you to enjoy the plush luxury without a sensory overload. Between soaking and sunning, there’s plushness to be had at every turn, letting your tired body rest, relax, and rejuvenate.
Las Casitas Village & Golden Door Spa
Technically part of the El Conquistador Resort, this tiny little “village” has an infinity pool that slides right into the bay, depending on your swimming preferences. Snorkeling, water taxis, and loads of waterfall-laden trails ensure the naturalist is contented, while a massive golf course and access to any number of soft sand beaches are there for those who like their nature a little more groomed.
Though it could fall into being a standard all-inclusive resort, the Jamaica Inn lets you pick and choose the kind of package deal you require, whether you need simple food and drink, or want to experience their whole-hog options, which will leave you in a puddle of soothed muscles and eased nerves.
Romantic as well as relaxing, the high peaks of the Jade Mountain resort offer views that look out over the blue-green waters and rocky bluffs, allowing the undeveloped splendor to sweep you away. Each enormous suite – known as a sanctuary – looks onto the ocean, but blocks away the rest of the world, giving a sense of floating in heaven’s own playground.
A fitness resort, you’ll find little in the way of rest at the BodyHoliday, but the endless yoga, Pilates, archery, and water sports are there to rejuvenate you even as 5 various restaurants cater to making you as healthy and content as possible, without wrecking your swimsuit body.
Le Soleil d’Or
Cozy and playful, Le Soleil d’Or was started by a New York woman who wanted beaches and bluffs to help her escape the bustle and noise of the city. With a feel like a truly private getaway, the brilliance of this escape is that it bears a single vision of life as far from humanity as a person can get.
Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort & Spa
Families seeking to flee from ordinary life who still want to bring their kids along will find Turks & Caicos to be sent from on high. The entire resort is geared to accommodate all age groups, with nannies for the newborns, waterparks for the older kids, and lots of serious alcohol for parents who need a chemical retreat from their offspring.
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino
Though it’s a bigger, corporate style resort, there’s something to be said for a little anonymity. The kindly staff helps provide as much privacy and discretion as you require, while only too happy to help you find all the activities – of various legality – that your heart desires. Fun, sun, booze, play, and more than a little easy vice on hand give this a casual, anything-goes vibe along with sweet obscurity.
Sitting on its own island off of Antigua, you’ll be surrounded by all the beaches and palm trees you could ever possibly want. The rooms are outfitted with any range of amenities, from immense suits for honeymoon couples to outdoor showers for those who want to go right from the beach to bed. Never has “all-inclusive” been both so broad, and so highly personal as it is at Jumby.
Fowl Cay Resort
28 guests are all that fit on this tiny island outside of Exumas. Those 28 people are given free reign over 50 acres of lush tropical land, with a private boat for each room, villas that drag you into the sunset, and a sense of intimacy that is more like staying with some extremely polite friends who cater to your every need before you utter it.
Montpelier Plantation & Beach
At the center stands an 18th century sugar plantation, which was one of the very first structures built when this land was untouched by human defilement. Wine, wind, and laziness are on order here, with a private beach 6 miles away for easy bike/swim excursions, and lots of ways to waste away under the scorching sun.
Four Seasons Great Exuma at Emerald Bay
Big families who love each other, but also don’t want to be right on top of one another will find this the perfect mixture of togetherness, and get-the-hell-away-from-me-ness. Though it is a Four Seasons, with marble floors and the attentive staff, you can easily escape the sense of being trapped among the masses with private views, and lots of escapist places and activities for fine-tuning your experience to be whatever you wish.
Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall
Cabanas, massages, drinks, volleyball, golf, and screaming nightclubs all manage to meld together at the Rose Hall without interfering with one another. Lazy days can quickly turn into hot nights, all with a minimum amount of added expense. It’s the summer vacation you always wished you’d had, all in a single locale.
Caneel feels more like a private playground than it does a true resort. The reason being that most of the world’s wealthy have been vacationing here since before it was officially a vacation spot. Accessible only via ferry, or your yacht, there’s a definite sense of isolation here, making it feel like the most welcoming, enjoyable small town ever to land on the face of existence.
Once the home of St. Bart’s first mayor, Eden Rock invites visitors to “experience the best of the best,” which is more than just a spunky slogan. Each suite is a work of art with a staff that seems dying to meet your every need. If you’re among those who like being waited on hand and foot – then you’re in for a surprise when the jubilant attendants will go the extra mile to wait on you finger and toe.
Atlantis Paradise Island
Swim with the dolphins, gamble away your life savings, or hit the miles of waterslides before entering the gigantic spa, excess is the watchword of Atlantis, so be prepared to take in a lot of pleasure day after unbelievable day.