For every Caribbean mega-resort, there are plenty of charming boutique hotels with intimate layouts, elegant rooms, and thoughtful details. After visiting 200-plus boutique hotels in the Caribbean, we compared each to see how they stacked up. Take a look at our picks for the best boutique hotels in St. Lucia, the Dominican Republic, Curacao, Jamaica, St. Barts, the Bahamas, Tortola, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Antigua, and Barbados.
Jade Mountain is an architectural marvel. The entire resort is built like a tabletop, about 75 to 100 feet above the shore, and faces St. Lucia's famous dramatic volcanic peaks, the Pitons. Each of the 29 guest rooms shares the stunning view beyond their missing "fourth wall" (each room also has a whirlpool tub with underwater lights, a sundeck, a raised canopy bed, and, in most rooms, a private infinity pool). Organic cuisine is served from a chic open-air restaurant, and guests can expect unwavering peace and quiet throughout (there are no TVs or children). Though there is no beach, guests can take a short shuttle ride or hike down to use the two beaches, free water sports, and dive center at sister property Anse Chastanet. All in all, Jade Mountain is well worth the price and bumpy ride to get there.
Designed by Oscar de la Renta, Tortuga Bay is a 30-room boutique hotel set within the posh Punta Cana Resort and Club development. In addition to its massive and tasteful suites, Tortuga Bay's amenities include a world-class golf course, an on-site nature preserve with private lagoons, the Six Senses Spa, several superb restaurants, and one of the best stretches of beach in the D.R. If you need anything else, the resort provides a cell phone so you can call your "villa manager" at any hour. Guests even get VIP passage through security at the airport.
The 23-room Baoase is the top luxury resort on Curacao, without contest. The luxury boutique hotel is a Balinese-inspired paradise where the details make the difference -- hand-carved teakwood pieces, gift bags left on the beds, and candles lit all around the property are just a few examples. The highlights of the resort are the elegant rooms and villas, some with private pools, the excellent fine-dining restaurant, and a lovely (though man-made) stretch of tranquil beach.
Located in the D.R.'s gated Cap Cana community, the luxurious and high-tech Eden Roc 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 (picture four-poster beds, intricate floor tiling, and spacious bathrooms). Up-to-date amenities include iPad-controlled lights, sound systems, and TVs with numerous channels in Spanish and English. Suites also come with small pools and golf carts for getting around the property.
Composed of 11 colorful gingerbread cottages, this uniquely stylish adult-only eco-boutique hotel from Island Outpost (a hotel group owned by Jamaican music legend Chris Blackwell, best known for helping bring Bob Marley’s music to the world) is tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs. Doing away with in-room TVs, the all-inclusive and upscale Caves brings luxury in the form of outdoor showers, private candlelit dinners inside a cave, fresh cuisine, and some of the friendliest, most attentive service in Jamaica.
As far as location and views go, the luxurious Sugar Beach has the best of both worlds: It overlooks St. Lucia's iconic Pitons poking out of the Caribbean Sea, and is situated right on one of the island's best white-sand beaches. Its 79 rooms are minimalistic, chic, and mostly white, and all come with private plunge pools, butlers, and 24-hour room service; the larger villas and cottages offer living rooms and huge bathrooms (some with outdoor showers and hot tubs). Features include a family-friendly pool, fitness center, tennis courts, and free water sports. The romantic tree-house spa is one of the island's best. The resort's restaurants and bars are pricey, but all-inclusive rates are available to help guests keep costs in check.
Ever wondered where the stars go for some R&R? Look no further than the minimalist Le Sereno, a chic boutique that provides all-around luxury. The simple, elegant interiors by famed designer Christian Liaigre are matched by top-notch amenities and lovely views of the ocean, and the option of in-room (or oceanfront) spa treatments as well as 24-hour room service makes for a truly pampering experience. The hotel’s restaurant, while tasty, is quite pricey -- even for fancy St. Barth's -- and the semi-private beach is not as pretty or wide as the island’s numerous other strips of sand. The hotel is best for couples who don’t mind paying a little extra and renting a car to reach the secluded romance of this hillside hotel.
Fowl Cay is a 50-acre private island resort in the Bahamas' Exumas Islands with a 28-guest capacity, highlighted by three isolated beaches, lush and spacious grounds, and unparalleled privacy. 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 true standout. However, some of the villas feature outdated decor and worn furnishings that seem inconsistent with the resort's high nightly rates.
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.
Far, far removed from the crowds of Nassau is this 40-acre boutique resort on Eleuthera Island. This property, which opened in 2013, is a hot spot for celebs seeking privacy, and features a jaw-dropping infinity pool and cliffside bar sitting between two man-made, pink-sand beaches. Chic, airy rooms have white decor, and enormous villas with private plunge pools and state-of-the-art kitchens are on offer. Non-villa guests without kitchens should plan on eating at the sophisticated restaurant often, since nearby options are limited. Luckily, the menu changes daily based on produce from the garden and the sushi chef spears his own fish. Cove Eleuthera is best suited for a four-day getaway -- anything longer and guests may get bored.
Surfsong Villa Resort is somewhat of a hidden gem on Tortola. The upscale seven-room property is minutes from the airport, yet most people driving by probably don’t even realize it’s there. Completely surrounded by palm trees and tropical gardens, Surfsong feels like a private estate, with individual villas dotting the expansive property. Surfsong doesn’t have typical hotel amenities like a pool, spa, or fitness center, but the resort’s incredible tranquility draws travelers seeking seclusion. Each of Surfsong’s seven villas is exquisitely curated with custom wood furniture, gorgeous slate floors, and thoughtful amenities like Nespresso machines and beach bags. A real highlight here is the impressive on-site culinary team, who can prepare custom menus for guests during their stay.
Ladera Resort is an adult-only luxury hotel set on a forested ridge overlooking the Pitons. With private plunge pools and lots of local furniture, the resort’s 32 rooms, which are completely open to the elements on one side, make a bold impression. The rustic, chic decor found throughout the rooms and common areas connects guests to nature without skimping on style -- although the open-air spaces and lack of TVs won’t be to everyone’s taste. Features include a wonderful restaurant and a clifftop pool, both with great views, plus a spa with outdoor mineral pools. There’s no beach on the property, but the resort provides free shuttle service to nearby Sugar Beach.
The 42-room, luxury Christopher St Barth’s balances an urban chic ethos with contemporary French design and tropical island vibes. Large rooms offer rustic charms like peaked wooden ceilings alongside accents like minimalist four-poster beds and glazed concrete floors. The lush grounds house a Sisley Spa, a pricey ocean-front restaurant, and the ultimate hotel pool -- an elegant infinity number overlooking the ocean that's large enough to make up for the lack of an on-site beach.
This sumptuous, upscale 18-room hotel on top of a picture-perfect cliff on the northern shore of the Dominican Republic is aptly named -- its Indian-influenced architecture and decor is indeed palatial. Rooms have attractive carvings, textiles, and balconies, and some have terrific ocean views. There are a pretty, quiet pool, open-air massages at the spa, and quality food that can be served just about anywhere on the property. The small, gorgeous private beach is a highlight, and though it can disappear seasonally, the renowned Playa Grande is a 10-minute drive.
For leisure travelers who want to stay in Old Havana, the 96-room Hotel Saratoga is the best luxury option (and it's priced accordingly). The chic rooftop pool with great city views, upscale, stately rooms and plush suites, impressive art displayed throughout, swanky bars, free Wi-Fi (rare for Havana), and air of historic elegance help make this a top pick.
The upscale, 15-room Olive Boutique Hotel is an inviting Condado hotel with a rustic-chic ambience and a vibe that feels laid-back and high-end at the same time. Rooms are modern and stylish, and include thoughtful details like daily fresh cookies and premium toiletries. Outdoor terraces in all rooms are a major bonus -- they have vibrant Spanish tiling and luxe modern furniture, and some feature Condado Lagoon views. A beach is just two blocks away, and the hotel has a swish rooftop bar and lounge with a plunge pool, plus excellent on-site dining at Sage Steak Loft.
Cocobay is a stylish adult-only all-inclusive offering an intimate, authentic Caribbean setting and great views. Situated on a bluff overlooking the sea, the charming boutique resort features 57 separate cottage-style rooms painted in Caribbean pinks and blues. The rooms have a rustic style featuring exposed wood beams, and some have private plunge pools.
Little Arches Boutique Hotel is a small upscale boutique property with only 10 guest rooms. Due to its small size, the hotel has a private, luxurious ambiance, and the rates are reasonable for this caliber of property. The rooms are both cozy and stylish with sophisticated furnishings and attractive Earthenware pottery accents. The views from the pool and sundeck area are breathtaking and the hotel’s on-site restaurant, Café Luna, is highly regarded. However, the hotel is not located directly on the beach (it’s a two-minute walk down the road), which may be a drawback for some.
Owned by the same couple for decades, the historic Gallery Inn is run like an informal bed-and-breakfast -- guests are greeted by name, much of what the restaurant serves is grown in the garden, and no two rooms are the same (though they do share lots of Spanish-style charm). Also like a bed-and-breakfast, the hotel lacks amenities such as TVs and a fitness center. The property's main draws include the convenient Old San Juan location, ocean views from the wine deck, and the artsy, laid-back feel. The innkeepers are both artists, and it's evident they put thought into every detail of the restoration -- expect beautiful Old World details like brick floors, wood beam ceilings, rich rugs,sculptures, and antique knickknacks.