By Alexander Britell
Editor in Chief
There’s a rule I have. You know you’re in a truly great hotel from the moment you step inside the lobby (or sometimes even on the driveway approach). You know because you feel an immediate sense of relief, that you’re somehow “home.” Because that’s ultimately what luxury is — it isn’t just design or attitude or sheen — it’s a feeling. And not everyone can achieve it. Of course, luxury can mean many things in the Caribbean, and it can manifest itself in different ways — from places built into the natural landscape to more traditional resorts to colonial-style outposts. But what’s uniform is that initial moment — when you realize you’ve found someplace truly special. Here are five Caribbean luxury resorts worth visiting right now.
Round Hill Hotel and Villas, Jamaica
When you walk into the decidedly old-school lobby here, with the key boxes and the black-and-white floors, you enter a slightly different kind of reality. Everything from the architecture to the Ralph Lauren-designed rooms has the feel of a novel. The only question is whether it’s a novel you’re about to write, or one you’re already in.
Four Seasons Resort Nevis
It’s got everything you’re looking for in a Caribbean resort: a large, typically quite beach; superb food; several top-level bars (including the wonderful 101 Rums bar) and an even better spa. And then there’s the extremely warm Nevisian service. But this resort offers something else: the feeling that you’re worlds away from the Caribbean you know, a journey that begins with the catamaran ferry trip from St Kitts.
One and Only Ocean Club, Bahamas
There’s a reason James Bond stayed here in Casino Royale — it’s one of the best hotels anywhere, Caribbean or not. What’s most striking when you arrive here is just how quiet it is — no matter if you’re in the lobby or the impossibly beautiful Versailles Gardens, you’re overwhelmed by silence and tranquility. And in today’s world, those are exceedingly rare qualities.
Secret Bay, Dominica
There’s no hotel like this in the Caribbean. A small complex of villas in bungalows, Dominica’s signature hotel pulls off the remarkable: it takes ultra-modern design and somehow weaves it effortlessly into the island’s natural landscape. Equal parts wellness retreat and luxury resort, this is a retreat to end all retreats, from your personal concierge (who brings and serves you every meal of the day) to your private villa plunge pool.
Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman
On service alone, this hotel just might be tops in the whole Caribbean — it’s seriously that good. But the quality expands far beyond that, from a perch on the magnificent Seven Mile Beach to the world-class Silver Rain Spa. And then, of course, there is Blue by Eric Ripert.
CJ Editor in Chief Alexander Britell can be reached at email@example.com.