No More Megaresorts: 10 Unique Boutiques in the Caribbean
Hidden among the Caribbean's many mega-resorts are some of the most unique, intimate boutiques travelers can imagine. With laid-back, eco-friendly attitudes, these petite hotels are some of the best in the region, offering personalized service and truly relaxing atmospheres. So consider passing on that 500-room all-inclusive and indulge in some intimacy at these wonderful boutiques.
1. Fowl Cay Resort, Bahamas
Crowded beaches are unheard of on this private island resort where a maximum of 28 guests at a time have free range of 50 acres and three beaches. Personal boats for daily excursions, on-call service, spacious villas with fully stocked kitchens and wet bars, and a host of all-inclusive activities make Fowl Cay a standout gem in the Exumas.
2. Biras Creek Resort, British Virgin Islands
The Biras Creek Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat with just 31 suites in the BVI. It features two beaches -- one calm, looking out to the North Sound, and the other slightly rocky. Guests have access to free Wi-Fi and bicycles, as well as a long list of on-site amenities: tons of water sports, tennis courts, an attractive pool, a game room, an on-site restaurant (which has a dress code for dinner), and a (tiny) fitness center. Even when occupancy is at its height, the 140-acre resort can feel empty.
3. Ladera Resort, St. Lucia
This unique luxury resort in St. Lucia is made up of 32 one- and two-bedroom villas, each carefully carved into the surrounding hillside overlooking the island’s iconic twin Pitons. The villas -- which have missing fourth walls, and in most cases, private plunge pools -- are a main draw, as are the spectacular views and lush grounds. The Ladera Resort also features some fabulous amenities, such as an infinity lagoon pool, a gorgeous open-air restaurant and bar, an open-air fitness center, and a lovely spa with black water soaking baths.
4. Point Grace, Turks and Caicos Islands
The luxe Point Grace in Turks and Caicos is heavy on style and refinement, with British Colonial design and 28 huge, multi-room suites (they start at 1,080 square feet) featuring kitchens, terraces, and opulent bathrooms. Property highlights include a lovely, tranquil pool, personal beachfront service, a small but spectacular spa, and one of the Providenciales’ most romantic dinner spots. However, its remote location on the point of the beautiful, 12-mile Grace Bay beach — while peaceful and quiet — makes it necessary for guests to rely on expensive taxis or car rentals to explore the island.
5. Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic
Eden Roc, opened in 2012, is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community -- which has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, marina, and beach club. The 34 colorful suites are clustered around a small, man-made lagoon and feature elegant decor. Suites also come with small pools and golf carts for getting around the property.
6. Hotel La Banane, St. Barts
The retro-chic Hotel La Banane, located just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Lorient Bay, makes up for a lack of amenities with a hipper-than-thou scene. It's a Parisian escape on St. Barts, with rooms inspired by 1950s Paris -- white-and-blue tiling, open bathrooms, art books, wall murals, and vintage minimalist furnishings add to the vibe. The nine freestanding bungalows all have indoor/outdoor showers and private terraces, and two small pools are surrounded by palm trees and white lounge chairs. This place is tres chic -- not to mention sexy. It's a good choice for couples looking for a getaway with ambiance.
7. 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 wrote all 14 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.
8. Hotel Le Toiny, St. Barts
Undoubtedly one of the most prestigious hotels in St. Barts, the exclusive 15-villa Hotel Le Toiny possesses a Parisian flair, and 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, and thus 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.
9. Zoetry Agua Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Anyone seeking peace and quiet will be delighted with Zoetry Agua. This secluded 53-room getaway is an hour from the airport on a bumpy dirt road, but it feels a million miles from Punta Cana's mega-resorts. With massive suites, secluded terraces, and private plunge pools, there's hardly any reason to leave the suite if you're seeking a relaxed getaway. For this reason, Agua is probably one of the best honeymoon spots in the Caribbean.
10. Sibonne Beach Hotel Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos Islands
The 28-room Sibonne Beach Hotel was one of the first properties on Grace Bay, and has endured as one of the only budget options -- with a solid value -- on the Turks and Caicos sand. There's no gym or spa — only a small circular pool and a modestly priced restaurant, but the hotel's pretty beach is a great perk, and is just as lovely as those that line luxury properties in Grace Bay.