Whether you want to jet to Jamaica, Barbados, or another Caribbean island, there are plenty of hotels for the budget-minded. After visiting nearly a thousand hotels throughout the Caribbean, we compared and evaluated each to determine which ones offer the best bang for your buck. Here are our expert picks for the Caribbean hotels with the best value.
Jamaica's lush, laid-back Rockhouse creates a holistic haven -- gourmet dining, morning yoga, cliffside loungers, a premium spa, no kids under 12, and beautiful eco-appropriate design. But most astounding are the reasonable rates. (The slightly chicer Caves costs about three times more.)
This 138-room Mediterranean-style resort gets its name from the local flower, which is ceremoniously placed in rooms upon arrival. The atmosphere is unpretentious, and reasonable prices make it a good value on Barbados' south coast -- it's especially popular with families and wedding groups. All rooms have kitchens or kitchenettes, or guests can dine at two restaurants along the water. This resort prides itself on being eco-friendly, and amenities include a spa, fitness center, kids' club, and water sports.
We can definitively say that Grotto Bay Beach Resort is Bermuda’s best bang-for-your-buck hotel. It has consistently cheaper rates than most of its competitors, and a host of on-site amenities, including three restaurants and an incredibly special spa built within a natural grotto. Because of this, the 210-room upper-middle-range hotel attracts all kinds of guests, including families, couples, business travelers, and even Bermudians on staycations. Although rooms aren’t the prettiest or the most modern on the island, they’re spacious, and most have ocean views. Like many of its neighbors, Grotto Bay is also quite hilly, and requires a lot of stair climbing.
The mid-range Coconut Court Beach Hotel in Barbados offers fantastic value. The large beach is lined with palm trees, and is nicer than that of many of the luxury hotels in the area. The pool area is large and scenic, and the on-site restaurant and beach bar are convenient and popular. The hotel has a great location close to Bridgetown, and bars, restaurants, and entertainment are within walking distance. Other perks include free Wi-Fi, airport transfers, and an on-site gift shop and convenience store. The dark, drab lobby and the rooms, though, are tired, basic, and nothing fancy.
This relaxed, family-friendly condo complex offers 32 units in central Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, close to the small village of Governor's Harbour. With friendly Dave at the helm, an owner who is rarely far away, the peaceful grounds stay as easygoing as the rest of the island, which is known for its naturally rugged and secluded beaches. Guests requiring typical hotel amenities should probably look elsewhere, but units are bright, clean, and cheery, and come with fully equipped kitchens with stainless steel appliances, spacious bathrooms, pull-out sofa beds, and stackable washer/dryers. Guests can start the day with fresh chocolate croissants from the on-site deli, and then hit the beach across the street, or nap the afternoon away on a lounge chair at the pool. Guests tend to use the kitchens for dinner, or watch the sunset from Tippy's -- a popular restaurant with a fun mix of locals and tourists.
Comfort Suites is arguably the best affordable option in the expensive Seven Mile Beach area of Grand Cayman. A mid-level chain, it has all the expected basic amenities –- clean and modern rooms, business and fitness centers, free hot breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. Other draws include an attractive pool area, a small but beautiful beachfront, an on-site restaurant and bar with surprisingly good food, and a dive shop. It's hard to do better for your money in this area -- Treasure Island Resort may be a bit cheaper, but its rooms aren't nearly as nice. Just be aware Comfort Suites isn't directly on the sand -- it's about a minute's walk down a private path -- and its section of beach is a bit small.
Offering 11 eco-friendly bungalows in a lush, friendly setting, Natura Cabanas on the northern coast of the D.R. is a taste of serene luxury for a remarkably fair price. Guests enjoy delicious, fresh food, a clean, crowd-less beach, yoga classes, and a fabulous spa. It's quiet, and a bit rustic without TV or AC in rooms, but that's the point.
The "cheap seats" property of the Atlantis (though no part of the resort is cheap) has approximately 500 rooms in an aging retro structure dating back to the 60s. Renovations to these family-friendly accommodations include clean tropical decor with flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, mini-fridges, and coffeemakers with free Starbucks; bottled water, however, is not free, and is the first indication of just how expensive the resort is. Take it for what it is, though: Guests at the Beach Tower have access to 11 pools, including a lazy river and large pool next to the property, and a long stretch of white sand beach, as well as free admission to the 141-acre Aquaventure, marine exhibits, nightlife, and casino of the greater Atlantis resort. It’s a lot of walking to get around, but it has less crowded environs and a shuttle service between towers. Expect to be aggravated by restaurant prices and fluctuating hours of operation. Water-view rooms are highly recommended.
The Radisson is a modern, upscale 229-room chain hotel with a quarter-mile of beachfront on the bustling Grand Anse in Grenada. Renovations provided updated furnishing and a sleek, clean feel, though as with some corporate brands, the look tends to be a bit generic – there’s not much by way of Caribbean flavor. Even if there isn’t much local "spice" within the fences (Grenada is the Spice Isle, get it?), guests are a short walk along the sand from local food and crafts. But with lovely amenities such as the excellent oasis pool, the Radisson offers a great value for an upscale property directly on the beach.
The 27-room Anacaona is a solid mid-range option in Anguilla’s West End. It offers access to the same gorgeous white-sand beach as the neighboring Viceroy -- through an off-property path -- as well as to the nearby Greg Norman’s golf course and a few restaurants. Rooms are large and airy, and have great amenities, including large flat-screen TVs with dozens of channels, iPod docks, free Wi-Fi, and Frette linens. But most bathrooms are lackluster, with old tiling and fixtures. With two small pools, free snorkeling equipment, a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach, the hotel is a good pick for value.
With 68 apartment units on world-famous Grace Bay beach, Ocean Club West is an upper-middle-range family-friendly property that consistently offers incredible bang for your buck in pricey Providenciales. Though the lobby isn’t stunning and room decor varies between the individually owned apartments, Ocean Club West’s impeccably manicured grounds, large pool, and gorgeous beachfront attract a year-round clientele — most of whom have visited the property several times before. Ocean Club West is within walking distance of a handful of Grace Bay shops, restaurants, and bars, and guests have access to all of the amenities at sister property, Ocean Club, which is about a five-minute drive from the hotel.
The 16-room, mid-range hotel sits on the tip of less-visited Basse-Terre in Guadeloupe. This property, dotted with tropical fruit trees, is located in Deshaies, an hour from the airport (over curvy mountainous roads) and the tourist hubbub in Grande-Terre, but 500 meters from a beautiful beach. Cheerful, rustic rooms lack TVs and ocean views, but include kitchenettes. Parents may appreciate the lobby bar while kids will likely spend time at the outdoor saltwater pool. Just note that while the free breakfast is excellent, lunch and dinner are not served on-site, and Wi-Fi is mostly limited to the lobby.
St. James's Club Morgan Bay is a three-and-a-half-pearl resort located on St. Lucia's Choc Bay. The resort’s 345 rooms offer appealing views of the grounds, pools, or sea -- but have generic decor. The big draw are the resort’s reasonable all-inclusive rates, which include food and drinks at six restaurants, plus an extensive array of activities and entertainment. The resort’s solid on-site features include four big pools, a small spa, a well-equipped fitness center, and a decent beach. While St. James's Club doesn’t offer anything out of the ordinary, guests seeking a convenient, all-inclusive experience are likely to be satisfied.
The least expensive of Montego Bay’s Iberostar trio, this upbeat, and at times rowdy, all-inclusive mega-resort features tons of amenities -- four restaurants, four bars, water sports, a spa, a theater, a casino, a nightclub, and an awesome kids' club -- all for seriously affordable rates. The rooms may be small, the decor may be outdated, and the grounds may be packed to the brim at times, but it's one of the best values on the island.
Perched on a dramatic hill above Dawn Beach in St. Martin, this 51-room condo property has jaw-dropping views. A rooftop pool and spacious balconies take advantage of the vistas, and full kitchens and pull-out couches are ideal for families or groups looking to save. There is no restaurant, bar, or spa, but Princess guests have easy access to the casino, beach, shops, and several dining options at the mega-resort Westin next door.
This upper-middle-range resort in popular and beautiful Simpson Bay on the Dutch side is one of the best values on the island. It's enormous, especially for St. Maarten, with 342 rooms, six pools, four restaurants, and a long beach. Most of the rooms are stylish and modern and have full kitchens, king beds, flat-screen TVs, and memory foam mattresses. Although the resort is huge, it doesn’t have a big-box, cheesy feel. There are a few small annoyances, including a fee to use the fitness center, a long check-in time, and lukewarm showers at certain times of the day.
This 115-room resort may not be the best in Turks and Caicos, but thanks to a 2010 renovation, it is one of the best for the price. Spacious and stylish contemporary rooms, a large free-form pool, a fitness center, tennis courts, a small spa, and a beachfront restaurant put this upper-middle-range property a cut above.
The real draw at this 42-room Turks and Caicos boutique resort is the rooms -- spacious and modern with full kitchens, they’re just about the best you can get for the price. But on-property amenities are few -- two pools, a small fitness center, and no restaurant -- and a short walk through neighboring resort Grace Bay Club is required to get to the beach.
Villa Marbella Suites is located on Frenchman’s Bay on St. Thomas' south coast. It's a tiny hilltop property with only four rooms, giving it a relaxed, intimate atmosphere, and every unit offers gorgeous views of the bay, Charlotte-Amalie, and the surrounding area. The rooms are stylish yet homey and all have fridges, microwaves, and coffeemakers as well as beach towels, coolers, and bags. Property features include a pool with terrific bay views and a gas grill, but no restaurant or beachfront -- and there's not much within walking distance. The property feels like a bed-and-breakfast, minus the breakfast, and as rates are cheaper than at most inns in the area, it's a great value.
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.
An upper-middle-range beachfront property, the Grand Magdalena (like many resorts on Tobago) offers rooms at reasonable rates; the price covers a buffet breakfast, bicycle rentals, shuttles to a nearby beach, and numerous other freebies. Facilities include afitness center, large pool, and nearby spa, and the hotel has numerous restaurant and bar options (although the restaurants can be overpriced). Rooms are simple, and some furniture shows wear and tear, but all feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and best of all, ocean views.
This 18-unit condo hotel in Simpson Bay offers some of St. Maarten's most affordable and spacious rooms. And on that strength alone it's a great choice for families who want plenty of space to stretch out and a full kitchen for homemade meals. Still, this place is cheap for a reason: minimal service, no pool, no restaurant, no fitness center, and no beach access.
With a central location on Jamaica's beautiful Seven Mile Beach, a pool and whirlpool, and clean, comfortable rooms, the Negril Tree House Resort is a great budget option for families, couples, and groups. A good-sized buffet breakfast is included, and the hotel also features a beach bar and grill with freshly-made jerk chicken, as well as room service. While the resort is small and has fewer amenities than some of the other properties on the beach, its proximity to other activities and restaurants provides guests with plenty of nearby options. Massages on the beach can be arranged and yoga classes are available. The beachfront restaurant and bar occasionally host live music, and though the scene is lively, it's not out-of-control spring break style.
A dirt-cheap Punta Cana all-inclusive not far from the beach, whala!bavaro attracts a young, international crowd who’s ready to party. Though the hotel itself isn’t particularly rowdy, guests take advantage of whala!’s all-inclusive alcohol, three pool areas, and fun beach club. whala!’s proximity to downtown Bavaro’s restaurants and bars is another plus, but the hotel seriously lacks on-site entertainment options — unless of course, one considers watching the masses viscously overtake the buffet a form of entertainment. Rooms are clean, but pretty bare bones, with humdrum decor and few amenities.
The Naiboa offers the least expensive rates of the five resorts on the D.R.'s Riu complex, and it is readily evident why; rooms are dated, food is bland, liquor is bottom-shelf, there are pesky fees for Wi-Fi, and the beach is a bit of a walk. But once on the sand, the resort proves to be a solid budget option, as the beach is absolutely gorgeous, and offers plenty of water sports and entertainment. Families will likely appreciate the kids’ club and large pool, although some find the poolside activities to be more of a noisy bother.
This 22-unit beach hotel oozes Jamaican authenticity, with colorful and flower-filled grounds, an action-packed beachfront setting, and a friendly local staff. Make no mistake, this is not a luxury resort -- there is no pool, spa, or proper fitness center, and modern comforts such as air-conditioning and TVs are largely missing. But those in search of a genuine experience at low rates should be pleased.
Family-owned since it was built in 1993, Travellers Beach Resort is a centrally located property on Negril’s Seven Mile Beach, a short walk from restaurants, bars, and shops. An affordable mid-range option for groups, families, and couples, the resort features a big outdoor pool with swim-up bar, casual beachside restaurant, and a number of activities. Rooms are simple and clean with some modern touches (some rooms feel dated, but the hotel is in the process of renovating many of its older rooms). Personal, warm service from hands-on owners is often noted by satisfied guests.