Many stateside beaches become enjoyable again once that summer weather hits. But there are still quite a few reasons to plan a Caribbean summertime escape; hotel prices are much lower than the ones you’ll find over the holidays and spring break, you won’t have to worry so much about the kids’ schedules with school and sports and extracurriculars (if you decide to even bring them…), and — no matter what time of year — you can’t beat the islands’ beaches. So here we bring you the 10 best beach hotels in the Caribbean. Take your pick…
This see-it-to-believe-it romantic retreat is perched on a dramatic cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It is spread out over a whopping 426 acres in northwestern Puerto Rico, and there are just 20 casitas, so guests may feel as if they have the land to themselves -- especially in the evenings underneath the bright stars and moon (don't miss a dip in the 24-hour saltwater pool). Guests can start the day with a hike down to the beach at sunrise and then play a challenging round of golf on the best course on the island. There are plenty of other activities on the premises, or guests can simply enjoy the casita's scenic patio and private plunge pool in absolute serenity. The hotel is working on a massive 10-year expansion project (away from the casitas) and construction annoyances will be kept to a minimum. With the outstanding dining program, there's no real reason to leave. Wi-Fi is free.
Secret Harbor Beach Resort is an upscale boutique property located on Nazareth Bay on the East End of St. Thomas. The resort’s beach is truly a tropical paradise, with palm trees, hammocks, loungers, white sand, and turquoise water. The resort has two on-site restaurants and a lively beach bar. Guests have a choice of Studios or One- or Two-Bedroom Condos, and each has updated decor (except for some bedspreads) and fully equipped kitchens. All units are beachfront and offer greatviews. The pool is slightly off-site, a two-minute walk to another property, but with this beach, you won’t miss it.
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.
With six pools, a sprawling water park, a shopping center, a spa complex, and more restaurants than you can shake a breadstick at, the family-friendly Beaches is clearly the Turks and Caicos resort with the most features. But many of the rooms could use an update and the romance factor is virtually non-existent. Still, an all-inclusive resort with this many amenities is enticing -- unless it's peace and quiet you’re after.
This 225-room luxury all-inclusive, couples-only resort is one of the newest additions to the Sandals brand. It’s spread over a sprawling 17-acre property on the southwestern tip of the island, but all the main property features are centrally located, so it’s not difficult to find your way around. With five pools, a lovely spa and fitness center, numerous activities, and 10 restaurants, couples won’t be at a loss for things to do. It’s the romantic touches such as fire pits, gazebos, and swinging chairs on a pier looking out over the water that make the property distinctly Sandals. However the romance may stop short at long walks on the beach – the beachfront area is limited due to rough waters on this part of the island, and ocean swimming is reduced to aroped-in cove.
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 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. The rates might cause some to flinch, but those who can afford it will find little cause for complaint.
This 310-room colorful but basic resort is the lowest-priced of the four Princess-brand properties in Punta Cana. This family-friendly offering (with two pools and separate kids’ clubs for different age brackets) is situated next door to the more party-friendly Caribe Club. Both of these properties share certain amenities such as the lobby, nightly entertainment, tennis courts, and unreliable Wi-Fi; it can take a 10-minute walk or tram ride through the mangrove trees to get from one area to the next. Tropical’s rooms tend to be pretty outdated (the larger “Familiar” option is a better bet), but for those looking for a great beach location for a low price, this is the place. Guests have access to three restaurants and seven bars (there is a fee to use the restaurants at Caribe Club) and a nice spa.
Carlisle Bay offers understated luxury on Antigua's southern coast. The resort has dedicated sections for both families and couples, and successfully appeals to both with its lovely white-sand beach, calm ocean, free non-motorized water sports, and impressive kids' club. The 82 rooms are modern and sophisticated if not very distinctly Caribbean, and the food is both expensive and unimpressive. But the extensive features and services (many of which are free) still make this one of the island's top luxury options.
This is called One&Only for good reason -- there’s nothing quite like it on Paradise Island, or anywhere in the Bahamas for that matter. The 106 rooms and suites, split into two sections, are luxurious, though those in the newer Crescent Wing are a bit more modern and stylish. Guests have access to the amenities at the Atlantis but the advantage of being removed from the crowds. Expansive manicured grounds have two outdoor pools, a romantic garden and statuary modeled after Versailles (a dream for weddings), and the endless stretch of white-sand beach and turquoise waves. Health and wellness nuts are spoilt for choice with daily yoga, an 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, an indoor/outdoor fitness center, and a Balinese-style spa with private villas. After a day in the sun, guests return to the room to find champagne and strawberries waiting, and many choose to begin their evening with sunset drinks at Jean-George's Dune restaurant.
St. Lucian by Rex was one of the first major resort hotels to open on St. Lucia, unfortunately, it has not kept up with the times and is now in need of renovation. Despite its imperfectly polished image, the resort holds a prime beachfront location, an adequate pool area and beachfront restaurant, and all-inclusive rates that are half of what other nearby all-inclusive resorts (such as Sandals) charge.