Doing business beachside might sound like a luxury — and an improbable one at that — but the Caribbean offers a surprising number of options for the suit-and-tie set. Some of the top hotels in the region offer both palapas and pagers, making themselves attractive options for business travelers. Whether power-exec couples need to dial into a conference while on vacation, or a company is looking to host a high-powered retreat, these hotels offer the services, meeting spaces, and attention to detail that is required to seal the deal.
The Ritz-Carlton is St. Thomas' classiest resort, located only five minutes from Red Hook's fun dining and yacht scene. Its private sailboat, fitness center, spa, and soft-sand beach -- a marine-life sanctuary -- are all among the best in St. Thomas. Business travelers should consider staying on The Club Level, which features its own lounge with gorgeous views of Great Bay and a dedicated concierge staff. The hotel also boasts 10,000-square-feet of indoor and outdoor event and meeting space, as well as a 53-foot luxury catamaran — perfect if your clients are boating enthusiasts looking to seal the deal at sea.
It's the top lodging on Grand Bahama, with immaculate grounds, great beds, and a convenient, scenic location. The Radisson also has a wide range of rooms, features, and dining options, but it can feel a bit impersonal. The hotel has its own conference center, as well as a grand ballroom, intimate meeting rooms — several in the hotel's stately manor house, and plenty of meeting spaces outdoors, amassing to 90,000-square-feet of event space. The business center is open throughout the day to assist.
Located in the capital city of Bridgetown, the Hilton feels larger than its 355 rooms -- likely because of its high-rise structure and the fact it holds the biggest hotel meeting facility on the island. Rooms are modern and appeal to both leisure and business travelers, but free amenities are rare. For those seeking a big hotel chock-full of American conveniences, though, this is the place. In addition to its ballroom (which can fit over 500 people), the hotel also features an executive boardroom, three meeting rooms, a fully manned business center, exhibition centre, and modern technology. The Hilton brand is synonymous with business travels, and guarantees the suit-and-tie set has everything they need at hand.
The 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. Up-to-date amenities include iPad-controlled lights, sound systems, and TVs with numerous channels in Spanish and English. For small corporate meetings or VIP conferences in the Caribbean, you can rarely do better than at Eden Roc. The hotel promises privacy, turnkey services, and access to world-class golf. Expert meeting planners man the state-of-the-art business center and can schedule a wealth of resort activities. Event venues — like the exclusive Caleton Beach Club, seen here — are equipped with video conferencing, LCD projector with screen, TVs and DVD, VCD and CD players.
The best of the three Iberostar resorts in Montego Bay, this 295-room all-suite hotel is light years beyond its neighbors in terms of decor, food, and features. While some elements remain shared with the lesser Iberostar Rose Hall Beach and Iberostar Rose Hall Suites -- for instance, the spa, fitness center, casino, nightclub, and shops -- guests at Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall get the pick of the litter with free access to all three resorts’ restaurants, bars, pools, and beaches. The all-inclusive plan at the Iberostar also includes concierge and butler services, ensuring business meetings will go smoothly. The hotel also has three conference rooms.
Excellence is a relaxing, adults-only, 446-room resort with a winding pool, in-room whirlpools, four-poster beds in some rooms, top-shelf martinis, and a great spa — plus more privacy and better (not great) food than at most Dominican resorts. The resort offers a 1,830-square-foot meeting room, which can accommodate approximately 200 people. Services include a high speed Internet access, secretarial assistance, and state-of-the-art multimedia technology.
Off the beach in Marigot Bay, adjacent to upscale shops and a popular marina, this quaint boutique hotel tops the competition in many ways. It's a fine choice for families (warm service; large one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites with modern kitchens and washer-dryers), couples (romantic locale, excellent spa, fresh cuisine), and yachties gone ashore — not to mention business travelers. In addition to its commitment to providing all of its guests with the highest level of service, Discovery also features a lovely meeting space that can host banquets, cocktail receptions, or classroom facilities.
A clean, modern resort with stunning views, this 478-room Marriott is a cut above every other hotel in St. Thomas, except, maybe, the pricier Ritz Carlton. It's sprawling, the food's overpriced, and it can, at times, become packed with conventioneers. But its excellent gym, great pools, top-notch beds, and soft-sand beach rival the island's best. Extensive renovations in 2011 only made things better. The Marriott has 19 meeting rooms — totalling at 60,000 square feet of event space — the largest of which can hold 1,200 people. The hotel also features a full-service business center, AV equipment, a film projector, and videoconferencing capabilities.
Located in the bustling cruise-ship center of Oranjestad, the modern, upscale 556-room Renaissance hotel offers an exceptional casino (one of Aruba's best) and its own private island (an alternative to a beach). It might not feel exotic -- it's attached to a shopping mall -- but it has great food and retail fun. The Renaissance Convention Center feature eight meeting rooms and 22,000 square feet of event space, as well as an exhibition space with great views. The hotel's private island can also be reserved for large group events.
A fine business hotel — pleasant staff, convenient location, a snazzy lobby, guest rooms renovated in 2009 — but leisure travelers will find several pleasant amenities, as well. Chief among those is an attractive pool area and sports activities. But the beach is small, the rooms lack balconies (save for on the sixth floor), and though the hotel is close to the sights of downtown Nassau, the area is dead at night. The British Colonial Hilton is smack dab in the middle of downtown Nassau — steps from the U.S. Embassy. The hotel features a well-equipped business center and an executive lounge, as well as a grand ballroom and meeting spaces.
Attached to the Caribbean's best golf course, the Rose Hall Ritz offers traditionally top-notch food, service, facilities, bathrooms, beds...well, everything. The resort's a safe bet, but the small, rocky beach crowds in the winter and its on-site restaurants can cost a fortune. In addition to an executive business center, free Wi-Fi, conference concierge and technology butler on-site, the Ritz also features 25,000 square feet of meeting space and a huge grand ballroom.