By Tiffany Ryes – email@example.com
An enchanted destination covered in a blanket of glistening turquoise waters that make up a landscape broken by a spattering of lush tropical palm trees and pristine white sand beaches… If there is a place called paradise, many people will say that it is the Caribbean.
The Caribbean’s more than 700 islands have long been a dream destination for people ranging from vacationing families to the rich and famous. It offers a wide buffet of activities and places of interest for the wide-eyed visitor, such as the island-hopping experience of the Bahamas, the spicy food and music of Jamaica, the party scene of Trinidad, the private luxury of the little island Anguilla, or the trekking gems on the peaks and in the valleys of Dominica.
For the discerning traveler who seeks a luxurious escapade, the Caribbean also offers a plethora of pleasures that truly are pieces of heaven on earth.
Jade Mountain (Soufriere, St. Lucia)
Boasting its unrivaled iconic view of the Petit and Gros Piton mountains, the Jade Mountain Resort in Soufriere, St. Lucia, is pure luxury at its finest. Recipient of multiple tourism and hospitality awards, Jade Mountain Resort is an architectural treasure celebrating what the Caribbean is all about: natural beauty.
With its bold designs merging and enhancing its unparalleled natural attractions, Jade Mountain Resort ingeniously makes every one of its guests feel closer to nature. Cut off from noisy cities, this honeymoon destination prompts its guests to breathe in the entire splendor of the place without the sterile, predictable comforts of technology.
Jade Mountain is deliberately isolated to provide guests utmost privacy, solace and luxury, yet is close enough to Jade’s sister resort, Anse Chastanet, where free cocktails can be enjoyed on the soft white sand closer to the sea. Anse Chastanet also offers art galleries, shops, restaurants and bars, watersports facilities and scuba-diving activities.
Most of Jade’s 29 enormous suites and infinity pools are connected to each other by individual bridges, each one gliding into another like a natural part of the landscape. Riddling the resort’s expanse are stone sculptures watching over detailed pillars and waterfalls cascading into koi ponds. The privacy offered by each suite is enhanced by the absence of a fourth wall, which allows the beauty of nature to spill over into the lavishly furnished rooms. Most of the rooms are built with a fiber-optic-lit underwater chromatherapy pool. There are also two major-domos dedicated to each suite, granting gracious service and assistance for just about anything, from turning down the bed for the night to arranging trips around the island, to ensure guests have a flawless experience.
Fowl Cay (the Exumas, Bahamas)
The Exumas island chain in the Bahamas presents Caribbean-bound visitors the island-hopping experience of a lifetime. The visit is not complete, however, without a visit to the Exumas’ crown jewel, Fowl Cay.
Fowl Cay is a 50-acre luxury haven for those seeking a private island retreat yet wanting the option of exploring the rest of the Exumas’ 365 islands, islets and cays. Each of the six ultra-luxe villas dotting the island comes with a personal 17-foot powerboat for guests to freely enjoy the islands to their heart’s desire. Aside from the boat, each villa comes with a personal butler. After exploring the islands, hungry guests revel in sumptuous dishes tastefully prepared by a professional chef. Meanwhile, the villas themselves are spectacularly spacious, offering up to three beautifully furnished bedrooms. With its authentic plantation-style décor, the villas are surrounded by multiple decks and terraces giving each a breathtaking view of the whole island and the neighboring cays. Inside, guests can enjoy a massive fully-stocked kitchen, as well as a comfortable living room with flat-screen satellite television.
At the highest point of Fowl Cay is the Hill House, where guests can enjoy cocktails as well as superb three-course meals in the indoor dining room or the screened-in porch. Outside to the South Beach, guests can participate in water activities such as boating, kayaking and windsurfing. The North Beach is perfect for those seeking to lounge peacefully by the seashore, while those wanting more adventure can try the hiking trail leading to the West Beach.
Neighboring Fowl Cay is the Thunderball Grotto, which is well-known as one of the best snorkeling spots in the Bahamas.
Hotel Le Toiny (St. Barthelemy)
Sitting on 28 acres of tropical hills and lush meadows, Hotel Le Toiny is an exclusive, five-star luxury resort that is in a whole class of its own in the already prestigious St. Barthelemy. Secluded and intimate by design, Hotel Le Toiny is discreetly nuzzled above the Le Toiny beach. The hotel itself boasts of a classic old-world Parisian charm. It houses the ritziest restaurant on the island, the world-renowned Le Gaiac Restaurant helmed by Chef Jean-Christophe Gille, serving sophisticated French and local cuisines. Each of the restaurant’s dishes is prepared with herbs, vegetables and spices freshly picked from the organic greenhouse within the vicinity.
Carefully constructed on the gentle slopes and tropical palm groves of the island overlooking a shimmering lagoon—and beyond, the Caribbean Sea—Hotel Le Toiny houses 15 very private pastel-colored bungalows. Each of these villa suites provides a sweeping view of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Each villa has its own infinity edge pool, expansive teak deck and full-service kitchen, complete with a bar kit and Nespresso machine. The walls are whitewashed, the ceilings high, and the floors are of dark tropical hardwood, matching the furnishings, which are made of teak and mahogany. Each bedroom is pure French luxury, with a French Colonial-style four-poster bed complete with 350-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets and crisp bedding. The bathroom is equally spacious and spectacular, with Italian tiles, Villeroy & Boch tubs and high-end toiletries.
Staying in Hotel Le Toiny prompts guests to love the idleness of the intimate villa. They simply put up the red mailbox flag, which is Hotel Le Toiny’s version of the “Do Not Disturb” sign, at the villa gate to enjoy exclusivity and complete privacy. Venturing outside, guests can enjoy various amenities such as the cottage spa and fitness center. On the crescent-shaped shore of the Le Toiny beach are a number of sports and recreation activities, such as scuba diving and snorkeling, surfing, wind or kite surfing, open-sea fishing, hiking, golf, tennis…and sailing with a fully manned crew to nearby islands.
Cap Juluca (Anguilla)
For guests looking for the old Caribbean charm and the ultimate in luxurious relaxation, Cap Juluca in Anguilla is the perfect destination. Located on the sweeping white sand beach stretch of Maundays Bay, Cap Juluca is truly designed for romance as it offers an amorous respite with the unique and impressive Greco-Moroccan architecture prevalent throughout the 180-acre estate.
Staffed with well-trained and warm Anguilla locals, guests are welcomed into the arched Moorish walkways that lead to the lobby and split to luxury clothing boutiques and entertainment rooms that house more than 2,000 books and more than a thousand DVDs. The Dome, adorned by golden handcrafted ornaments from Morocco, stands at the end, much like a visual finale.
Cap Juluca offers 15 stately villas, all facing the nearby pristine Caribbean Sea. Each villa is consistent with its upscale Moorish theme, giving guests a sense of a peaceful oasis in the middle of the sea. The villas boast of large verandas opening to the oceanfront, turquoise-and-white tanning decks and pools, as well as private garden solariums. Inside, the spacious accommodations feature a cool white background overlaid with bold bursts of blues and browns.
The Maundays Club offers coffee, cocktails and opportunities for conversation among guests. For sit-down dining pleasures, Cap Juluca features three distinct restaurants. Blue, arguably named after its open-air beachfront scenery, presents a selection of Anguillan and Caribbean feasts. Pimms, the resort’s signature restaurant, offers fresh seafood with Caribbean flair. Lastly, Spice offers a spread of innovative cocktails and tapas-style dishes with a more laid-back, relaxed ambience.
Outdoors, the fine-as-sugar sand provides plenty of space for sunbathing, while prompt attendants deliver refreshing sorbets and drinks. Also, an expansive mosaic-tile pool offers an equally rejuvenating alternative.
Gansevoort (Turks and Caicos)
The British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos takes pride in its motto “Beautiful by Nature”, which, in fact, it truly is. At its heart is the gorgeous Gansevoort located on Grace Bay in Providenciales, within the larger island group of Caicos.
Gansevoort is well-known for being one of the poshest, most sophisticated resorts in Turks and Caicos. It is famous for its trendy architecture and modern-looking grounds, as well as the hippest nightlife on the island. With 91 rooms designed as suites and studios, Gansevoort is a modern mix of breathtaking views and confident, updated luxuriousness that gives a nod to the carefree South Beach style. The rooms are spacious, bright and with an open design that creates a relaxing ambience. The sliding glass doors and enormous picture windows open to the prized white sand and cool blue waters of the Grace Bay beach beyond. The interior is without a doubt sleek, young and urban, with low-platform beds and modern-minimalist glass-walled showers. Its amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi in rooms and throughout the property, a modern pool with poolside service, private parking spaces and a state-of-the-art fitness center famous for its trademark core-fusion fitness classes. Its premiere suite is the 1,100-square-foot Luxury Oceanfront Suite that offers the best in modern opulence. Guests can also enjoy the prime location offered by the Luxury Beachfront Spa Studios that directly opens to the picturesque horizon, courtesy of the Atlantic Ocean.
The resort is close to the Sibonne Beach and Turtle Cove, as well as the Coral Garden Reefs. The Salt Mills Plaza and the Regent Village Shopping Mall are nearby, but for food, Gansevoort offers eclectic cuisine at the chic Stelle Restaurant. Recreational activities range from scuba diving and deep-sea fishing to yoga and golf.
Petit St. Vincent (St. Vincent and the Grenadines)
Hailed by Forbes as “The Dreamiest Private Island Hideaway in the Caribbean”, Petit St. Vincent is a 115-acre stretch of luxury all wrapped up in an island of rolling hills, white sand and aquamarine waters. The private island is located at the southernmost tip of the Grenadines and boasts of a mere collection of 22 spacious one-bedroom cottages and two-bedroom beachfront villas.
If there is such a thing as low-key luxury, Petit St. Vincent is its epitome. Deliberately without telephones, Wi-Fi and television, the exclusive island resort stays true to its promise of escape. However, superb cane furniture, fixtures, décor and amenities can make guests feel as if they are back in time like island castaways—only without the primitive discomforts! Each cottage is made of local blue bitch stone and purpleheart wood. It has a separate sitting room and bedroom, dressing room, toilet, bath and shower. For those guests seeking a Balinese treatment, the unique treetop spa will indulge.
The excellently trained and attentive staff outnumbers the guests, ensuring that everything the vacationers need is at their fingertips. The two restaurants onsite offer different views—one of the hills and one of the beach—but each provide a spread of fresh, local produce masterfully prepared by gourmet chefs. Petit St. Vincent is also celebrated for its unparalleled wine cellar for the haute palate. For the wanderlust-filled seeking island activities, there are opportunities to charter a boat for island cruises or snorkel at the Tobago Cays Marine Reserve.