What’s the sound of one palm tree shaking?
It’s one of the most beautiful sounds in the Caribbean, an instant reminder that you’ve reached the zenith of tropical beauty.
And it’s a guarantor of instant relaxation.
But as ubiquitous as palm trees are, the sonic delight of a swaying palm isn’t quite as common as you think.
Even at many hotels in the region, delicate sounds like these can be rare, obscured by the hum of other guests; the music from a bar; the splash of a pool.
But there are some places where quiet and serenity are not periodic visitors: they’re the Caribbean’s most relaxing places to stay.
Sometimes it’s the hotel itself. For others it’s the calm of their natural environment.
At these hotels, quiet isn’t just a luxury — it’s essential, central to the experience, havens for the quiet of both sound and soul.
And it brings us to our tried-and-true relaxation test: can you hear the palm trees shaking?
Here are our favorite “relaxing” hotels in the Caribbean, where relaxation is an art form.
And where you can always hear the palm trees shake.
Kahari Resort, Exuma, The Bahamas The Bahamas It’s one of the best-kept secrets in The Bahamas. The Kahari, a collection of 12 bungalows on ultra-serene Stocking Island, a white-sand wonder just across the water from George Town in Exuma. It’s almost unimaginably quiet, with secluded entrances, private outdoor showers, and the feeling that you’ve got an entire island to yourself.
Galley Bay, Antigua Antigua’s legendary Galley Bay is renowned for as one of the Caribbean’s most romantic all-inclusives; but a large part of that comes from its spectacular natural beauty, where the relaxation comes from all directions; on one side, calming waves on white sand; on the other, a pristine lagoon with a narrow crossing. Whether you’re in the toes-in-the-sand or the secluded, artful Gauguin cottages, this is a place for retreat, reflection and endless relaxation.
Harbour Village Beach Club, Bonaire Its there the moment you arrive at Harbour Village, a luxury resort with the feel of an old Spanish village. No matter where you go at this resort, you’re enveloped in calm, from the deliciously quiet courtyards to the palm-lined private beach, the only one of its kind in Bonaire.
Karibuni, St Martin Hidden away in the hills of the laid-back Cul de Sac neighborhood on the French side of St Martin, Karibuni is a tiny collection of bungalows all looking out toward Pinel Island across the water. Most of the rooms come with their own private pools, and each unit is wonderfully secluded. If you want a little more energy, you can hop on the resort’s private ferry to its lovely beach club on Pinel.
Les Ilets de la Plage, St Barth It’s another side of St Barth, hidden away on the other side of Remy de Hainen Airport. There are just 11 villas here, tucked amid stunning tropical foliage, all right on the sands of St Jean Beach. There’s just something magnificent, something timeless about the setting, where you can look out at the bustling beach scene across the water but feel an entire world away. Even the periodic hum of a prop plane engenders its own momentary romance.
Laluna, Grenada There are just 16 cottages at Grenada’s original wellness hotel, the stylish, breezy Laluna, where the focus is on “intimate, relaxed getaways,” as the property says. Everything here is seemingly designed for serenity: a secluded beach, a private hillside and an impactful focus on art.
Bamboo Bonaire We just love resorts like these: boutique, private, tucked away. There’s a mix here of cottage and suites, all deliciously private, many with their own pools, tubs or jacuzzis (including some with magnesium plunge pools). It’s the essence of what makes Bonaire cool: it’s unpretentious but sophisticated, fun yet infinitely relaxing, all with hint of Bali to boot.
Anegada Beach Club, Anegada, British Virgin Islands The Caribbean’s ultimate glamping retreat just so happens to be set on one of the most relaxed places in all of the Caribbean: Anegada, the beachy frontier of the British Virgin Islands. And whether you stay in one of the luxury tents or one of the traditional hotel rooms, you’ll find exactly the kind of barefoot luxury you’re searching for.
Bluff House, Abaco, The Bahamas The Bluff House, set on 12 tranquil tropical acres surrounded by water on two sides, is one of the most legendary places to stay in The Bahamas, now triumphantly back after Hurricane Dorian. And it’s still the oasis it always was, a charming, carefree getaway on the endlessly lovable little island of Green Turtle Cay.
Dragon Cay, Turks and Caicos It doesn’t get much quieter — or more beautiful, than far-off-the-beaten-path Middle Caicos, where you’ll find the sanctuary called Dragon Cay, a place tailor-made for enjoying the wonders of this rugged, spectacular landscape, crowned by 2,200 feet of beachfront.
Coral Beach Club, St Maarten Whether you’re staying in the villas perched over Oyster Pond or your own private villa on the sand, this Dutch Caribbean resort delivers the quintessential residential resort experience: all of the comfort of a luxury villa with the amenities of a resort. And its intimate size means you’ll feel like you have your own private resort.
Strawberry Hill, Jamaica The breezy Blue Mountain setting of Island Outpost’s Kingston-area retreat is, in a word, intoxicating. It’s just different up here: the air, the breeze, the views, the pleasures of an afternoon rain shower. And then there’s the spa, one of the island’s best, where you’re immersed in mountain air and regenerated by expert treatments.