Our 13 Favorite Luxury Hotels in the Caribbean
While there are many great budget-friendly hotels in the Caribbean, the islands are also known for their luxury properties, where guests are treated to day trips aboard yachts, couples are offered massages in sumptuous spas, and rooms are twice the size of a New York apartment (although, we guess it's not too hard to be). We’ve compiled a list of our favorite luxury hotels in the Caribbean so you can start planning what to do after your new year’s resolution of winning the lottery (that’s not a new year’s resolution, but, really, who hasn’t had that on the list for at least a decade?) comes true.
One&Only Ocean Club - Bahamas
Bringing tranquility to otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the 105-room Ocean Club's personal butlers, beautiful pools (one for adults, one for families), restaurant from Jean-Georges, and access to Atlantis's water park, casino, and other attractions make it one of the Caribbean's best resorts.
Sandy Lane - Barbados
Decked out in signature pink, the 112-room Sandy Lane is the creme de la creme of Barbados -- indeed, it's one of the most luxurious resorts in the world -- known for unparalleled service and distinct touches. Guest amenities run rampant; perhaps the most noteworthy is access to the super exclusive Green Monkey golf course with a separate apparel line that can only be purchased after completion. A Rolls Royce Phantom, top-notch spa, outstanding restaurants, and celebrity sightings are just a few aspects that set the elegant Palladian-style hotel apart from the rest. This is a very special place, for those who can afford it.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba - Riviera Maya
As one might expect from the ultra-luxurious Banyan Tree brand, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba is one of Playa del Carmen's most sought after resorts. All of the 164 villas feature sleek Asian-inspired decor and Mexican textiles -- as well as walk-in showers, plunge pools, walled-in grass lawns, patios with hammocks, outdoor bathtubs, and fully stocked bars. The grounds, white-sand beach, and lagoon-like pool blend seamlessly with the surrounding nature. When you consider the high-end spa, plethora of outdoor activities -- such as golf, snorkeling, and eco tours -- and the fantastic dining, it's very hard to find anything wrong with this property. Only the Rosewood Mayakoba can compare, but the rooms are arguably a little nicer here.
Casa de Campo - Dominican Republic
The D.R.'s classiest, most famous resort since 1974, the Casa de Campo hotel is part of a massive, 7,000-acre resort community that includes three world-renowned golf courses, an immaculate beach, a marina, the quaint "town" of Altos de Chavon, and numerous other on-site activities. It can take some time to get from place to place, but each of the spacious rooms comes with a golf cart for guests' use. Though the Eden Roc at Cap Cana may offer more luxurious rooms, Casa de Campo certainly offers more activities and some prefer its upscale, yet slightly more laid-back, vibe.
Hotel Le Toiny - St. Barts
Undoubtedly one of the most prestigious hotels in St. Barts, this exclusive 15-villa luxury resort with a Parisian flair sits amid 28 lush acres of natural hills and beachfront. The private villas are spacious and airy, each with its own infinity-edge pool, and the views here are jaw-dropping. The French restaurant is one of the island’s most renowned, one of the many reasons celebrities come here to relax. Rates are nothing to sneeze at, but you'll definitely receive the all-star treatment that should come with such a hefty price tag.
GoldenEye Hotel & Resort - Jamaica
The 21-room GoldenEye is hands down Jamaica's hippest and most luxurious resort. It's also one of the island's most historic, as the former home of Ian Fleming, and the hideaway at which the author scribed all fourteen of his James Bond novels. Today, the property, which reopened in 2010 after an extensive $50 million renovation, includes stunning cottages and villas overlooking a private beach and lagoon, as well as two happening restaurants, two pools, a tree house spa, and an extensive roster of on-site activities. The rates might cause some to flinch, but those who can afford it will find little cause for complaint.
Jade Mountain Resort - St. Lucia
Romantic? Undoubtedly. Unique? Absolutely. Expensive? For sure. Through an innovative, open fourth wall, each of Jade's 29 enormous suites overlooks the sea from its chromatherapy-lit whirlpool tub, canopied bed, and private infinity pool. Getting to Jade Mountain can be tedious, even nauseating, but its organic cuisine, doting service, unwavering silence (no TVs, radios, or children), and extraordinary design make the long journey worthwhile.
Four Seasons Resort Nevis - Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis
This Four Seasons sits on a large, attractive beach on the small island of Nevis. The gorgeous rooms here may be the highlight; the updated decor has a Ralph Lauren-like look, with a blue-and-yellow scheme accented by pops of color and dark wood furniture; the massive bathrooms feature separate showers and tubs. Plus, almost all rooms have beautiful views, of either mountains or the ocean. The hotel's remote location makes this a popular pick for couples on a romantic getaway. But with its long list of on-site amenities, this resort is well-suited for families as well. There are three pools, multiple tennis courts, a golf course, and a kids' club. The spa is a bit small by Four Seasons standards, but this hotel is top-notch -- and worth the time it takes to get there.
La Samanna - St. Martin
Easily the most luxurious resort in St. Martin, the 55-acre La Samanna resort brings tranquility to an otherwise tourist-filled island. Featuring two beautiful pools, an extensive wine cellar, a yoga and Pilates studio, a European-style spa, and the island's most pristine beach, this 81-room, eight-villa retreat is hard to beat. The vibe is about as fancy as it gets for St. Martin, so of course everything -- from the nightly rates to the dinners and spa treatments -- comes at a sky-high cost.
Parrot Cay and COMO Shambhala Retreat - Turks & Caicos
Accessed via a 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales, this 1,000-acre all-inclusive resort on a private island is the definition of tranquility. With an incredible infinity-edge pool, world-renowned COMO Shambhala Spa, waterfront Balinese-style villas, doting service, and more than three miles of pristine beaches, it's easily one of the most luxurious and romantic options in the Caribbean. But hefty price tags put it out of reach for many, and the rare level of privacy comes at the cost of convenience -- a boat commute is required to reach any nightlife or shopping.
Turtle Inn - Belize
One of two resorts in Belize owned by movie director Francis Ford Coppola, Turtle Inn is an intimate luxury resort set alongside a beautiful stretch of the Caribbean Sea near Placencia. The resort offers a peaceful setting and Balinese-style private cottages and villas, each with a fabulous indoor/outdoor bathroom, a screened porch, an iPod dock, and a minibar stocked with wine. The hotel offers three solid restaurants that use organic produce grown on-site, two serene outdoor pools, and an authentic Thai spa with a long list of treatments, plus great freebies including loaner bike cruisers, free Wi-Fi in public areas, and free transfer to the local airstrip. Excellent snorkeling and scuba diving at the Belize Barrier Reef is a short boat ride away.
The Viceroy Anguilla, opened in 2009, is the most modern property on this tiny island -- and arguably the most luxurious. The Kelly Wearstler-designed resort manages to mix an upscale look with a laid-back, beachy feel, and features sleek lines, modern amenities, numerous art installations, earth tones, animal prints, and wooden, stone, and gold accents. This look continues through the 166 rooms, which have romantic balconies as well as marble bathrooms with separate showers and soaking tubs. Though the Viceroy certainly attracts couples, the resort features a kids' club and teen's club, and families can be seen splashing around in the pools and heading to the tennis courts.
The Beloved Hotel - Cancun
The ultra-luxe Beloved, on a white-sand beach, features 109 suites with super sexy decor. They're all-white, with spacious, sleek marble bathrooms and whirlpool tubs, and have the vibe of a luxurious New York City hotel room -- except they're about four times the size and feature private balconies, many with ocean views. The expansive spa and fitness center are great, and the two pools -- complete with food and drink service -- are large and attractive.