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10 Historic Hotels to Visit in the Caribbean

Sun, sea and sand aren’t the only things you can enjoy on a Caribbean vacation. Beyond the beach lie remnants of a bygone era that remind us of where we’ve come from as a region, and even today influence where we’re going. But you don’t have to visit a fort or museum to get in touch with the Caribbean’s storied heritage. Just book a room at any of these legendary resorts, and enjoy a dose of history with your holiday. CJ Travel Editor Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon has the story.

Historic Hotels

Admiral’s Inn & Gunpowder Suites, Antigua In Nelson’s Dockyard, four 18th-century Georgian-style buildings, constructed from bricks that came as ballast on British ships, now form a 23-room hotel complete with modern touches that include an infinity pool and spa. (We’re particularly big fans of the “Boom” wing pictured above, complete with elevated pool).

Graycliff, Bahamas Are you an oenophile with an interest in Caribbean history? Then run, don’t walk to Nassau’s oldest hotel, which was built in 1740 and today boasts a 175,000-bottle wine cellar that’s the third largest in the Western Hemisphere. 

Hermitage Plantation, Nevis Want to stay in what is likely the oldest wooden house in the Caribbean? Book a room at this boutique hillside charmer, where the main house dates from the 17th century and is said to have been frequented by Lord Horatio Nelson himself. 

Hostal Nicolas de Ovando, Dominican Republic Named for the country’s first Spanish governor, this roost in the heart of the colonial quarter on what is said to be the first paved road in the New World, comprises three stone houses that have been converted into a plush 92-room urban retreat,

Hotel El Convento, Puerto Rico In the heart of Old San Juan, a former Carmelite convent, which dates from 1651, is now romantic retreat with 58 handsomely decorated rooms – and, reportedly, home to the ghosts of its nuns, who haunt its halls. 

The Crane, Barbados When you’ve been around since 1887 and you’re the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean, chances are you’re doing something right! This 252-room resort on the island’s southeast coast proves the point, winning accolades for stellar service and amenities that include five pools and five restaurants.

Fort Young Hotel, Dominica Built back in 1699, this waterfront roost on the outskirts of Roseau was once (you guessed it) a British colonial fort. But now guests in its 71 rooms can enjoy thoroughly modern conveniences such as complimentary WI-FI, private rooftop whirlpools, and the Cannonball Kids Club. 

The very green property.

Ottley’s Plantation Inn, St Kitts A lush 35-acre property with an 18th-century sugar plantation at its heart is the pastoral setting for this 23-room inland resort, where guests can cool off in a spring-fed swimming pool or relax with a cocktail and watch vervet monkeys scampering over the grounds. 

The Copper and Lumber Store Hotel, Antigua The aforementioned Nelson’s Dockyard (a new UNESO World Heritage Site) is one of the region’s great restored towns — consider making this Nelson’s Dockyard inn (converted from an 18th-century storage facility) your base. Fourteen rooms, furnished with period antiques and reproductions and each named after Lord Nelson’s ships, are just the ticket.

Meliá Century Hotel, Puerto Rico In Ponce, Puerto Rico’s oldest hotel (established 1895) is not only an architectural landmark built in neoclassical and colonial styles but also an elegant (but decidedly cheap) 70-room retreat that’s walking distance to many of the historic city’s sights.

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